Real Talk

 

I woke up to snow falling at a steady pace just on the other side of my living room’s window. It wasn’t like yesterday afternoon where the snowflakes had been wet and the size of my dogs head (that is a pretty accurate comparison by the way) no this morning it was just regular snow, you know, the kind you expect to find in mid-January while you’re freezing and only dreaming of warmer days.

Blankets of the white stuff cover everything this morning. “It will be gone by noon” is what the various people who walk into the shop today will say. Although annoyance will be nipping at the back of their throat just as a small dog nips at the ankles of a human who they want the attention of.

The snow, really, is neither here nor there. Well, actually, from my understanding it is here AND there and just about everywhere. A teeny tiny part of my brain keeps wondering if this is it. Is this the snowpocolypse? Is this how it ends? Snow flurries and cold. It’s like a cruel fucking joke man.

Oh worry not my friends I only tease. I’m sure it will be gone by noon just like my imaginary customers say. I am reading The Stand by Stephen King, so you know, I’ve got a lot of grim and apocalyptic thoughts going on in the ole nog lately.

I keep gazing outside though to find the snow and what I am assuming to be cold waiting for me. For the last two weeks I’ve been walking to work. 4 km there 4 km home. It’s no great achievement, it’s not like, body building or marathon running but it’s something and I’ve been feeling pretty good about it I suppose. I’d like to walk to work today but for previously stated reasons (the impending snowpocolypse if you didn’t quite catch my drift ~boom~) I keep shying away from the idea. Imaginings of an imminent death or serious injury continue to sully the dark places in my brain.

You see there is always the possibility of somehow getting held up in some crazy and outlandish situation that I cannot even fathom right now and freezing to death…You can freeze to death in minus five, right? Well, scratch that, what about the constant worry of pneumonia? It is dreadfully wet out there and a 4km walk in the stuff would only result in the horrendous throes of sickness by the end. Obviously. And we can’t rule out the crazy lunatics that will undoubtedly surface at the beginning of any End of Days. I’m sure that includes the snowpocolypse too.

Ugh, when did I become such a big baby you guys? When did I start worrying endlessly about slipping on ice and breaking limbs? It wasn’t THAT long ago when I was carefree. It wasn’t that long ago when I would throw caution to the wind and do all of the sporadic and random things that now make me cringe. In present time caution is a dear friend who I hold close to my breast with an uncompromising grip.

As I continue to mull over a nice brisk walk to work this morning I imagine trudging my way up the concrete stairs of the walking bridge that connects the Northside of my city to the Southside. With my luck I’d ever so gracefully slip upon the one patch of black ice it holds beneath its snow covered dress and that would be all she wrote folks. Literally. I would tumble down a 20 foot drop all the while bashing my head against not only hard but FROZEN stone. There I would lay on the ground beside my maker, the walking bridge, for hours as falling snowflakes encased me in a catacomb of cold hell.  No one would come to my rescue or even see me because no one in their right mind would be out and about on a leisurely walk in the damn SNOWPOCOLYPSE! And thus it would be sometime after noon when a passerby—safely ambulatory now that the snow had melted—would find me groaning and moaning by the concrete clad staircase in which I had plummeted from hours before. No, today I think I will drive.

Stay safe out there folks, it’s a brave new world now.

Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

 

Wow! Two posts in one week? What kind of bizarro land is this? Man alive how things have changed! I remember a time when I would write two posts in one day. Man I was egotistical and obnoxious. Thanks for hanging in there you guys. Because now, now my friends I am the most self-adjusted, well-rounded, down-to-earth person I know. I’m so awesome.

So I’m not even exaggerating here when I say that I had THE WORST DAY OF MY LIFE yesterday. Sure nobody died. And yeah I went to bed with a roof over my head, warm socks on my feet (yes I’m the wierdo who sleep with socks on) and a belly full of a delicious dinner digesting ever so happily in my stomach. But either way, it was THE WORST DAY EVER.

It wasn’t the face that I had been painting the office at work all day that got me down. Even though that is a bitch of a job and nobody in their right mind should want to partake in such activities. And it wasn’t the raging customers that seemed to continue to stroll through the doors yesterday either. It wasn’t even that one guy who kept comparing us to Subway and asking why we didn’t have certain menu items that they did. Despite the annoying eye twitch in the corner of my right eye, this was just another day at the grind.

The real problem was the furious case of mom-guilt that had slowly been inching its way up the back of my spine and burrowing itself deep into the back of my brain.

I should have seen it coming. I should have known that it would be on the brink of my psyche any day now. The signs were all there. I had been so busy with work. My spirits had been way up. I was actually feeling pretty damn good. The mom-guilt is there to knock you back down to size.

All day long this skulking just under my skull was telling me that I could do better. That I must read more with Lars. That I must listen to his long and drawn out stories of Super Mario Brothers more intently than the mere nod of a head and smile I usually offer.

This thing that was wrapping its long, antiquated talons around all that is good in my memory was reminding me that I must spend more time with Sophie. I must get her into the singing lessons she so desperately wants to be in and what about those art lessons she was asking about last month?

The mom-guilt had broken me and by midday I was nothing but a withering urchin shirking my obligations as an operational human being of society. Where is that dark hole and how long can I hide there?

Perhaps it had had enough of telling me how terrible of a mother I was because soon after lunchtime it began in on the other aspects of my life. The mom-guilt never straight up tells you you’re doing a shitty job. It just gives you a little nudge in the right direction. Hints, if you will.

*Boy oh boy, Jamie sure does work a lot harder than you.

*Oh look, that mom can handle her kid having a temper tantrum in public without totally losing her cool, why can’t you?

*Just a reminder friend, you have guests coming to visit next week and you’re home is literally the most squalid habitat on the face of the planet.

That evening when I drearily trudged into the house, I told the kids to play quietly downstairs. Meanwhile the mom-guilt laughed excitedly at how easily I had dismissed the homework portion of our routine. I ran a bath and sobbed; desperately trying to drown away this teeming culpability that had been building up inside of me all day long.

After I hugged and kissed my kids goodnight I too retired to my bed. I didn’t think about much. I literally zoned out on Gilmore Girls and wondered what it would be like to live in the magical hamlet of Stars Hollow. I needed sleep.

This morning I found the mom-guilt had disappeared, gone for now but certainly not forgotten.

Maybe it wasn’t the absolute “worst day of my life”. Probably not even in the top ten. But what I do know, is that the mom-guilt is real and when it takes holds it can be a hassle to break free from. For a long time I used to think it was just me, that I was just the worst mom ever, I was letting the mom-guilt win.

Now I look at it in a different way. I take what it so very subtly tells me, mull it over to see if any of it is viable information (mostly it’s not) and then quietly and matter-of-factly tell it to fuck right off.

And then I go back to being awesome.

So when I use this idiom, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” I mean the mom-guilt. Don’t let the mom-guilt grind you down friends. Because we all know how much of a raging bitch she can be sometimes.

Post Expo Post

You guys! I’ve managed to somehow, someway, wrangle a whole 40 minutes of spare time to write a quick blurb about, well, life I suppose. Sure I may have skipped wearing make-up today and merely tossed a bowl, the milk jug and a handful of cheerios at the small humans but you know what? I’m writing and I’m friggen stoked about it.

So I’m sure you’ve all been on the edge of your seats wondering how the infamous food and beverage expo went for us. Well, to put it short and sweet—it was fucking fantastical! Like a dream come true folks. The perfect portrait of grace and elegance all wrapped up into one drunken food fest. Absolutely superb.

We had such a surplus of helpers there so our food went out fast and efficiently.

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People were coming back for seconds despite a plethora of other food vendors in the vicinity. It was a blast! I don’t think Jamie and I have had that much fun since we started up The Hot Wire!

Not that slinging sandwiches isn’t, like, the best time ever, but getting to mingle with a throng of fun and fabulous foodies was pretty freakin’ great too!

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The best part is, it’s paying off already. We are on day three now of post expo extravaganza and we’ve already had a bunch of people coming in asking for “The Roma” or “the panini we had at the food show”. There has been folks walking through our doors sayings, “yeah we tried you out at the show and couldn’t wait to come try another panini.”

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So needless to say, I think we will do it again next year.

Mom and Ashley came down to hang with the kids over the weekend while we were busy busting our butts and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. They took the kids to a hotel where they slid down waterslides and ate pizza for dinner. I’m pretty sure the kids had, literally the best time of their lives. And definitely a monumentally more marvelous time than they would have stashed away under one of the prep tables at the expo…which was the alterative if Mom wasn’t able to make it down here.

My eyes keep wandering over to the bottom right hand corner of the screen where the time is displayed. Only twenty minutes left before I have to pull myself away from this computer and get the children to school. Still, that’s enough time to finish up…that’s what she said. Clearly I’ve been hanging out with Jamie too much lately.

For days now I’ve been mentally compiling a blog post to tell you guys how great this past weekend was. How fulfilling it has been to see the happiness spread across strangers faces moments after we shove our paninis down their throats. I’ve been wanting to tell you how excited I am for the future and all of the ideas that are now fighting for attention in my wandering mind.

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But here I sit, in front of my computer and all that occupies my brain is that gleaming fact that I am in desperate need of a refill on my coffee.

I’m sure as soon as I, say, strap myself into the car and am driving to the school some beautifully prophetic prose will come to mind about existence and friendship and fulfilment and whatnot but right here, right now, my brain only processes one thing: STRONG COFFEE=LIFE.

This is probably because in the deep recesses of my mind I know that today is yet another hectic adventure in the demanding life of a panini posse. Maybe it will be so busy we’re run off our feet. Perhaps we will invent the newest fad in sandwich attire. Or possibly some other amazing and newfangled opportunity that I cannot even fathom will present itself, once again turning our entire world upside down. And that my friends, is the best part of it all.

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The Expo

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I haven’t told you guys about the expo yet. The expo. THE EXPO. This thing is what our life is revolving around right now. It’s official name is the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo and The Hot Wire Panini Café is in it. This is not an event to enter into lightly my friends. They are estimating around 6000 people to be in attendance and an average of 600 patrons to visit each booth. Don’t quote me on these numbers, they are just what my frazzled mind picked up when we were going over the details with Chris. He’s the mastermind of this beautiful thing.

Four months ago when Jamie and I were approached about buying a booth we were thrilled! The Hot Wire Panini’s name had travelled far enough for an actual real live food expo to seek us out and ask if we wanted to join. It was flattering and gave us just a big enough boost of confidence to believe that we could pull this off. No problem-o, was probably my naive reaction at the time. However presently, as the expo draws nearer we have begun to feel the pressure.

Here we are, just the two of us running this entire place by ourselves. We eat, sleep, and breathe The Hot Wire Panini and that definitely cuts in to our socialising time. When we told Chris that it would probably just be the two of us working the expo he actually LOL’d. “Sorry guys, there is no way just two of you will be able to do it alone. You’ve got to get some help.” He said after the awkward realisation that we weren’t in fact pulling his leg came to pass.

So this is our first quandary. We need help for this expo that is taking place in two weeks from now and are not 100% sure that we will be able to get it. We’ve lined up a few of Jamie’s chef friends from back home but that is a four hour drive away and we all know how quickly Alberta roads can turn on a person in the mid-January weather. So who knows if they will even be able to make it? We can’t afford to hire anyone, that thought is actually laughable. And we aren’t close enough to anyone here who would be willing to work for the prestigious payment of beers at our place afterwards. So it comes down to one thing, hoping to the good baby Jeebus that the weather is on our side.

Second issue, the small humans. Oh how (hashtag)adorbs it would be to have the wee panini pipsqueaks running around selling paninis to all of the people at the expo, alas, NO MINORS ALLOWED. So now I have the pleasure of attempting to find a babysitter for a 12 hour timespan. No problem-o my ass.

Then comes the prep work of feeding 5-6 hundred bitesize panini samples to prospective customers. Finding all of the necessary decor to make our booth look inviting—alluring if you will. All the while running the shop during its regular hours.

Wowza, by this point you must be thinking that Jamie and I are gluttons for punishment. We’re not, we swear. We just really get off on the onset of regular anxiety attacks.

They say that owning your own business takes everything you have in you. That’s a lie. It takes more than everything. It takes resourcefulness. So much resourcefulness in fact that you must reserve your resourcefulness to uncover more resourcefulness. It takes having the nerve to try new things and pick yourself up off the floor when they fall flat.  It takes so much risk that sometimes you just crave a boring, dreary kind of day. It takes patients. Patients with yourself because everything you do is a trail run and 50% of it isn’t going to work out the way you intended. It takes the ability to make a botched attempt into a new opportunity. And enough confidence to know that all of this pressure and fear and failure and heaviness in your heart will eventually be worth it. It takes the optimism to glance contently into the future. Many of these qualities I didn’t know I possessed until we started really getting into the nitty gritty of entrepreneurship. Perhaps they were born out of necessity.

This expo is a fantastic way to get The Hot Wire’s name out there. We know our product is good. The reviews speak for themselves. Now it is time to showcase our panini perfection in one convenient location for all to enjoy. It isn’t that the shop is doing poorly. Our numbers are good. But we do have our slow days, sometimes even slow weeks. These are the days when it is a struggle to find a positive outlook on things. These are the moments when the fear creeps in and we have to will it away with thoughts of what tomorrow might bring.

It is a terrifying business to be in, but a thrilling and challenging one too. And the only way to achieve our goals is to work hard, takes chances and get the word out. The panini word. The Alberta Food and Beverage Expo is our golden ticket and there is no way we are about to squander that.

With a bit of planning, a little luck and a lot of culinary craftiness I’m confident we will get through it. We’ll make our impression on this city of Lethbridge and they will be talking about that one time The Hot Wire Panini rocked the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo for years to come!

And that, my friends, is what this whole shebang is all about.

Grab a ticket and hop on

I’m sitting at this computer, a coffee to my left and a pile of Hot Wire paperwork to my, er, further left. Don’t you know, coffee always takes precedence.  I am looking at this keyboard and thinking, “it’s been a while old friend.” I’m feeling a little dramatic because a life without embellishment would result in me withering away into an endless black hole of worthlessness. And that would be a bummer man.

It’s been weeks, month’s maybe since I last sat down and wrote. Sure, I spew a few lines here and there. When I do write, as I’m sure my long-time Mama readers will vouch, it’s a little on the fatalistic side. I swear, I’m not as angry and disgruntled as my latest writings would suggest. It’s just what seems to be spilling out at the moment, and as they say, you can’t argue with art.

Every week or so I horde a little time to scour through some of my old Me Plus Tree columns or pull out a few Blogging Mama bits and revel in all of the time I used to have for writing these long drawn out blurbs of hilarity. As you also know, I am horribly, dreadfully, without even a little bit of shame one of the vainest human beings I know when it comes to my writing. I literally laugh out loud at my own work. Perhaps I shall seek help one day about this.

The kids have done a 360 on their blogging position and now are loving the fact that I have a treasure trove of funny stories involving them. Some of the more appropriate tales have come to be their bedtime stories and they laugh and laugh as I recite these babblings to them in loud and outlandish voices. This arrangement works well in the fact that we can achieve our nighttime routine and my need to satisfy the teeming narcissism in my soul at one convenient time.

It’s pretty great and I must admit I love being able to make these stories what they were always intended to be; a journal for my kids. Rereading these moments helps remind us all where we’ve come from and how far we’ve journeyed. And that is a really cool thing.

Last night I spun a well-known tale for them about a wee girl hiding under the computer desk with shitty pants and a mischievous twinkle in her eye. They laughed and my heart swelled at the sounds of their giggles over a story I crafted so many years ago. That life seems like it is so far away now and I’m so thankful I have these writings to keep us connected with that time in my young family’s lives.

It got me to thinking. There are so many things happening right now. Amazing, tough, terrifying and thought provoking things and…I’M NOT DOCUMENTING ANY OF IT!!!

Of course there is the fact that we are running a business, working at that business full time, bringing up babes and trying to find a life somewhere in-between all of that too. Where do I find the time to write? I’m sure all of the great story tellers of our time found themselves asking the exact same question. And the answer? Well, I guess the answer is, I have to just find the time. Whether it be a break at work or early in the morning hours or long after the kids are snug in their beds at night.

I could probably just stop binge watching Gilmore Girls a few nights a week and all of my writing quandaries would be solved. Ah! But they are just so saucy, who couldn’t love that quirky mother/daughter duo?!

My coffee has stopped steaming and the pile of paperwork is still staring at me relentlessly so I suppose it is time to start the day. However today I will go about my work, with a contentedness I haven’t had in some time. I’ve wrote. Perhaps it wasn’t the start of a great novel or a short fiction story that really makes you think, but it was something. Something my children will one day rummage up and begin to read, reminding them of our adventures on this wild ride we call life.

Who Am I?

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During my last year of being twenty I found myself constantly musing over what it would be like to be thirty. More specifically, how glorious it would be to get the hell out of the awkward and stroppy moments of my twenties and into the self-assured, cool as a cucumber stage of thirty. You see, because everyone I spoke to back then in regards to turning thirty said I’d love it! They told me that thirty is flirty and fabulous. Thirty is the time when you really get to know yourself and blossom into a new and better you.

Well, as it turns out something as simple as age doesn’t define how one acts and feels in day to day life. Huh, go figure.  I don’t mean to be a downer over here but as far as mental stability goes, I’m pretty sure I was better off in my late twenties.

Sure my circumstances have changed from then to now but I still thought that I’d have a bit better grasp of that age old question, “Who am I?” by now.

Recently it seems that a big stinkin’ pile of reality has decided to plop itself warmly ahead of me, hindering my progression in any which way I may desire. This forces me to deal with my “issues” and to “plan for the future”. Blah, blah, blah is what I have to say about that.

To be clear, everything that I thought I had wrapped snugly around my pinky finger in my twenties has hopped over to the middle one and is giving me a big fuck you.

I’m still shoving short stories and manuscripts into the faces of any editors who will read them. I now understand the yarn about the desperate playwright who is relentless in their quest to get someone, anyone, to read their play. I’m the fucking playwright guys! Not only am I receiving polite rejection slips, I’m also getting back not-so-polite rejection slips. Like, “don’t quit your day job” and “you use words like ‘awkward’ and ‘stroppy’ which make your writing awkward and stroppy.”

But at least I have The Hot Wire to fall back on right? If becoming a famous writer and winning The Nobel Prize doesn’t pan out the way I had hoped, then at least I can fulfil my other delusion of becoming famous by co-owning/operating the greatest sandwich shop on the face of planet earth…right?

Not exactly. Maybe we will still get there, but not because of yours truly and her stellar skills with other human beings. It has recently come to my attention that everyone on the face of the planet thinks I come off fake and uninterested when I am working at the panini palace. WHAT? That can’t be right! People love me! I asked Jamie if this was true and he just smiled and gave me a kiss on the forehead. Well we all know what that means don’t we! So apparently even my customer service skills (that I always assumed were terrific) are actually “awkward” and “stroppy” like everything else in my life.

I don’t know any more you guys. I so badly just want to become famous with little to no work involved and live in a big mansion on the outskirts of a rolling hill with a pond and a goat named Angus who keeps the grass trimmed. Why does everything have to be so difficult all of the time?

The kids are doing alright I guess. I think I’m probably, at the very least, not failing miserably in that department. They are growing up to pretty fucking rad so, you know, I got that going for me.

Who knows, I’ve got another birthday coming up, and to completely disregard the whole moral of this entire post…maybe 31 will be the year Lindsay gets her groove back.

Because seriously, hard work and improving oneself is overrated anyways, right?

Self Love

There is a lot of talk these days about self love. Now I`m not really sure if in fact when people use this phrase they are talking about, you know, feelings and confidence and inner happiness and junk…Or, if they are talking about getting freaky with yo` bad self.

I`m cool with both options A and B.

However I`m especially talented at reminding myself how indeed awesome I am. And when I say awesome, I literally mean awe inspiring (probably just to myself, but a win’s a win in my books). So like, deadly awesome.

I mean, I sat down to the computer the other day with a bowl of popcorn, logged onto Facebook and scrolled MY OWN FACEBOOK WALL because I find myself so fucking interesting. And I laughed and laughed at my own clever posts and status updates.

I don`t know guys, I might have a problem. Can there be too much self love? Well obviously the answer to that question is yes because of the unfortunate reality of chaffing.

But when it comes to inner love, I don’t think you can over do it. Sure people may think you are self involved and kind of obsessively vain, but, I’m pretty sure there are worse things to be in this life.

Example: a killer clown who roams dark streets harassing innocent humans who are simply trying to go out on a goddamned jog because they are feeling a little bloaty that day.

**As a side note, regarding the newfound phenomenon of these stupid ass clowns – I will run a face-painted bitch DOWN if I happenchance upon one. I don’t care how scary it is or how fast the bastard is coming up on me, my first instinct is to eradicate the danger. Henceforth go even more psycho on said danger and terrify the living beejesus out of it. Like, probably start singing Adele’s “Hello” in some sort of indistinguishable accent while crab walking towards him with the toothiest smile I can muster across my face. That’s survival right there people.

But this clown conversation is clearly meant for my latter post (Rage Demons) and is feeling a little out of place with all of this self love talk. So I digress…Just, be careful out there friends.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, it’s okay to love who you are and what you got. It’s actually great to do so! Maybe balance it out with some occasional self loathing over awkward teenage memories and the constant worry about a looming apocalyptic future; because we can’t be happy ALL THE TIME that is an outrageous thing to ask of anyone.

That’s why the clowns have all gone cray.

UGH so much more to talk about when it comes to self love! I could go on and on and on and on. But I think you guys get it. I think you feel me when I say go forth and love inwards with fervour and the pure intensity that your bitchin’ self deserves.

And if anyone tries to tell you that you’re a “sociopath” or have a “narcissistic personality disorder” don’t worry about them, they’re probably just a psychotic clown in their off time anyways.

Rage Demons Unite

Have you ever been so angry that you were shaking? Have you ever been so incredibly pissed off that tears streamed down your face and you couldn’t do a damn thing about it? Have you ever felt the intense power of fury rise up from your gut and envelope your being whole?

If so, did you sort of like it?

I was having a good ole chitty chatty with a girlfriend the other day (who I won’t name because I don’t want to inadvertently out her as a Rage Demon, like myself) and we were talking about this mysterious emotion which has recently befallen our everyday lives.

The smallest thing can set it off. There I was trying to get the kids set up online with their schools absentee website. I was attempting to download the app…because as we all know, there’s an app for that and everything else these days and the damn thing kept locking me out. Each time the error screen popped up after entering in the six digit code that they sent me a little inkling of rage would wriggle its way deeper into my better judgement.

“I know right!” My friend said as I told her the story, “and I’ve tried to do things about it. I’ve tried EVERYTHING! Meditation, healthy lifestyle, the works!” She explained.

Now this is where my friend and I differ. Yeah yeah, I try to control my rage because I don’t want the general populous to think I’m bat-shit or anything but there is a little part of me that kind of likes it. The rage, I mean. Like, okay I know how that sounds, totally demented right? It’s just that sometimes when the wrath unleashes and ferocity courses through my body I feel…weirdly at home.

It makes it even better (or worse, depending on how you are looking at this bitch) when someone close to you, perhaps a parent or a spouse, tells you to “calm down” or “take a breather.” Like, please, I beg of you, do not attempt to manhandle my emotions. However I can take a message and get back to you as soon as I’m done completely throwing a fit over whatever it is that has set me off this time. But if you push it and continue to tell me how to feel, unfortunately, I will be forced to be 100% the worst human being on the face of the planet to you. So, just leave a damn message.

As I am throwing my hands up in the air and summoning the deep guttural moans of a manic zoo gorilla enraged by captivity (Not Harambe, NEVER HARAMBE.) I guess I just kind of adore that feeling of pure vitality that rushes over my person. It’s like, “wow Lindsay, you are so out of control right now. It is impressive.” It’s almost as though I have an out of body experience and all I can say as I’m watching myself yell words that aren’t words at all but just offensive slurs and stomp around while the other humans in my midst literally dive out of my line of fire, “Bravo you beautiful bastard, you’re doing this thing right.”

Now I know what you are thinking as you read this. How can she make temper tantrums look so cool?

It’s a gift.

Of course there is always the problematic issues of loss of relationships, high blood pressure and shortened life span when it comes to routine rage’n.  Perhaps that is just the price one pays for such thrills.

Who knows! Ahh the mysteries of life.

Still haven’t downloaded the absentee app, if you were wondering. But I’m saving that baby for next time I have a hankering for a frenzied rage sesh.

So, moral of this blog post….

Hahaha I’m just kidding, there is absolutely no moral here my friends, not even if you dig really really deep.

Let’s Share!

If you are a fellow Rage Demon like me, what are some of your triggers? Here’s a few of mine!

-People who whisper when partaking in non-whispering conversation.

-When the last of the school designated snacks have been devoured without me knowing and I have to use my creativity to pack lunches ten minutes before school.

-When two minutes after scrubbing the bathroom someone takes a shit and leaves streak marks of their bowel movement behind for proof.

-technology of any sort at any given moment.

-When anyone tells me to do anything that is not on my current agenda.

-People who disregard all forms of punctuality.

-People who take blog posts seriously.

(except for this one…this one is totally serious.)

8 Ways to be a Good Customer (and avoid the bad juju)

Ahh the joys of customer service. *she says as an involuntary twitch travels over her left cheekbone.*

I suppose this vocation needs no real introduction because all of us, at some point in our lives, have probably partook in such means of work.

Except, maybe that’s not true. Maybe, there is a portion of human beings who have never had to take an order, clean up after someone or do anything remotely of the sort. Because, correct me if I’m wrong here, I feel like if everyone knew what it was like to work in customer service, well, there just wouldn’t be as many delusional asshat customers as there are.

But that’s not the way we humans work is it? I’m as bad as the next guy. Just a few weeks ago I was a total jackass to the cashier at the gas station because they had changed their pumps to prepay and they hadn’t thought to reach out personally to me and let me know this vital information in advance.

Why did I feel the need to stomp around like a friggen maniac because I had to go in the store and pay before pumping my gas? Now looking back it was outrageous of me and I hope to God that the gas-bar attendant got a good laugh in at me on account of my temporary insanity.

However, I received all of that bad juju and more in karma today at work. It was pretty much a day from hell. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I need me some redemption, I need to make things right again in the universe. I can’t deal with anymore “hell-days” so I’m here to right my wrongs.  

So here it is. Redemption.

A list. Because everyone loves lists.

8 Ways to be a Good Customer (and avoid the bad juju):

  1. When entering a business location if greeted, it is wise to greet back in a friendly/polite manner…as is, and has always been the social norm since, well, pretty much forever ago. When one does not greet back it is awkward and makes actually no sense at all; leaving the greeter to conclude that they must be in the midst of a total fucking chode-monster.
  2. Do not, under really any circumstances, ask the person behind the register if, “anything is good here.” It’s a completely senseless question. Like, I’m not sure what you expect the answer to be but in pretty much every scenario, whether it’s an employee/owner/volunteer, they are probably going to tell you that the product is good. Even if it is some little shit employee, they aren’t risking their job to tell you all the gruesome truths and malevolent corporate secrets of this establishment. Sorry to break it to you, but nobody is going to think twice about spewing out some rehearsed line, “of course it’s good…Everything is good here at Daisy Dukes Dildo Shack.” So save everyone a lot of weirdness and just don’t ask and judge for yourself.
  3. This one is more for just the food service industry so it pretty much involves everyone on the face of the planet. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, go into an eatery during lunch/dinner to inquire about anything other than eating right then and there. No, they do not want to hear about your cutting edge new knife product. No, they are not interested in your organic vegetables. NO, they cannot give you a minute of their time. Why you ask? Because they are balls to the walls busy with people who are actually spending money at their establishment. Try again in the downtime…or don’t, nobody cares.
  4. Do not treat a cashier any different than you would treat the owner of a business. Plain and simple.
  5. Many of us like to talk about only eating and shopping locally. It’s great. It’s actually fantastic because it is a community minded way to be. I applaud you for that. The thing is, when you shop/eat locally that often means you are doing so at tiny Mom and Pop businesses. Sure they may have fantastic food and yeah, I bet every lunch hour that you go in there they are just hopping busy. That doesn’t mean (even in the slightest) that they can afford employees. So, before offering your breadth of knowledge just know that the last ten customers probably said the same, “looks like you need to do some hiring” spiel before you. And despite the general consensus of these people who have never come close to seeing the financial books of this establishment, unfortunately, that doesn’t make their suggestions even a little bit more attainable.
  6. Sometimes businesses run out of stock. Don’t argue with the staff about it. If they are out they are out. No amount of “well this is ridiculous!” will change that.
  7. If you notice a customer in front of you being a right ol’ bag-O-dicks to the cashier, please by all means, say something. It is in fact your business as a human being to stop the blatant verbal abuse that customer service people endure daily. Be the difference.
  8. If you’re sort of shy and non-confrontational, that’s okay too, once the cashier has so aptly moved the smacktard on his way, show the person behind the till your solidarity by rolling your eyes and saying quietly, “what a jive ass turkey that slime ball was” and then promptly pull yourself out of the 70’s and continue on with your day.

 

Heed these words my friends! And know that out there somewhere there is a retired front desk associate wearing an avenger’s shirt that is two times too small bottling up karma, watching and waiting for the perfect moment to throw it in the face of some twittlefuck who has told off his last cashier.

In other words, the bad juju’s a bitch, and she’s coming for ya.

 

Early Morning Brain Activity

Well, here I am again. That didn’t last long did it? But, with me being the narcissistic and 100 percent self-absorbed human that I am, I mean really, how long did I expect it to last? So I am back at it. I’m back writing on this blog of epic proportions. It may not be often, it probably won’t be interesting in the slightest, but I’ve got to hear myself think once in a while. Decidedly, this is how I must do it.

So it’s 6 o’clock in the morning, I’m drinking my coffee with almond milk in it and it is probably the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. Hopefully it’s one of those creations that you get used to after a while becasue I’m trying to make “healthier” life choices right now. Or maybe I should just start drinking it black. Like my hair…and my soul.

Just kidding, my soul is grey at best. But it is well on its way. I blame this on two distinct things. One is working in customer service again. Don’t get me wrong, the people I love, I REALLY love—that, may have come off a little too strong, shall I go as far to say creepy? Probably.

We have these regulars that are pretty much the greatest people on the planet! I actually get excited when they walk through the door because I realise that for a mere moment in time I will be relieved of the shit-storm which is the customer service industry. Okay, okay that was dramatic.

But they are just so awesome compared to the horribly awful people that sometimes darken the door of our shop-I won’t go into detail in fear I will frighten you too much. But it makes me realise that nice people are something NOBODY should take for granted. You guys can quote me on this: Nice people are the nicest.

So I’m sure you get it, nice people are nice and rude people can go and suck some big fat monkey balls. Nutshell.

Uhhh what else, what else? *she says mentally sifting through the vast experiences and moral lessons she has had since turning off The Blogging Mama.

Well, I guess the two most important things would have to be that I still haven’t got any fiction work published (my reason for leaving in the first place) and I now have an unhealthy obsession with Vampires. Little late on the last one, kind of missed the boat there.

Which brings me back to my blackening soul. Reason number two for darkened soul: I’ve eagerly turned myself over to the popularly evil side of vampire enthralment. No I haven’t gotten myself wrapped into the whole Twilight mania. I’m more sophisticated than that you guys. I, ahem, have fallen madly and deeply into the grasps of a little production called “True Blood” and it is AMAZING.

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing with my life, and then I pretend that I’m on the run from evil fang wielding vampires and the good vampires have come to save me and then Jamie will turn into a vampire and we will have us some crazy human/vampire lovin’ and it will be glorious until all the crazy religious folk start coming at us because of our taboo Vamp/Human relationship.

And I realise that I am exactly where I need to be in this life.

So Friends, to sum up; still desperately trying to make my fiction work “a thing” (not to sound needy, who me? Never), I love nice people and really really dislike not nice people. I’m going to start writing on The Blogging Mama a bit more regularly than my former verdict of never again because I have a sever inability to stick with any decision I’ve ever made. And, if there is a vampire reading this I’d really like to meet you…But please don’t kill me.

Well, it’s been a slice folks.

And I’m sorry if you got through this post and are now thinking, “What a waste of the last fifteen minutes.”

Jokes on you if it took you fifteen minutes to read this.

 

2 Cent Saturday

 

Some days I can do three loads of laundry, make a pancake breakfast, and get a week’s worth of writing done all before nine a.m.

Some days I find myself huddled in the corner of the bathroom with a bucket of Nutella attempting to scarf it down as fast as I possibly can without the offspring locating my whereabouts.

It’s all about balance you see. It’s about having the ability to discover what kind of day you’re going to have before it has even started. Will it be an “I am Wonder-Mom” kind of day? Or, more likely, will it be a pajama pants because you can’t even bring yourself to squeeze into the yoga pants kind of day? It’s about accepting the plight that is parenthood and giving into it gracefully.

Because when it comes down to the nitty gritty we can’t do the Wonder-Mom thing every God-damn day. Well not without a vessel of Valium and about thirty-five martinis that is. And you know how the Granola Moms frown upon that these days. So we are left with having to accept that some days we just can’t do it all.

It is either one or the other—slobby do-nothing Mom or Wondrous Wonder-Mom. Black. White.

Or at least that’s what everyone’s been telling me.

There is this strange mentality that I’ve noticed popping up lately and that is that everything seems to have to be all or nothing. Perhaps it has always been like this and I’ve just been too wrapped up in myself or apathetic to notice. But I’m noticing now, and it’s weird and makes me feel uncomfortable.

As parents we seem to categorise ourselves into these sections. Like “hover moms” “free range parenting” “no preservatives” “McDonalds parents” and we hang on to these stereotypes like they were our first born child.

Let’s get real here people. I try my damnedest to feed the Lars and Soph clean healthy food, however when I’m pressed for time or simply having a PJ pants kind of day they are getting a big ole box of KD with extra ketchup. I let my kids play in the backyard unsupervised because I’ve smashed “stranger danger” into the farthest depths of their brains. However I still go and check up on them every single night before I turn in to assure they are breathing. I’ve been doing this for eight consecutive years now and in all honesty I can’t see myself stopping any time soon.

Picture this if you will: me, sneaking into Lars’ apartment when he is 25 years old and stealthily popping my head over his bedside to investigate whether or not he has breath sounds. It will be when I ever so gently place the small mirror I’ve brought (because I like to think ahead) over his mouth to see the breath in question that his girlfriend at the time awakens. Resulting in extreme awkwardness. For them.

Motherhood is weird and poor Lars will never be able to keep a steady relationship with my crazy shenanigans.

I think as a society we need to expel this notion that when it comes to parenting there is only wrong or right. In most cases at least. Obviously some things are just downright wrong and some things are gloriously right. Like Tacos.

Ain’t nobody gone tell me tacos on their wrong list.

Ahem, Oh look once again I’ve been sidetracked by the fabulous thought of tacos.

Anyway, it’s the ego’s downfall that we are constantly at war with each other over issues like which parenting methods are best and what colour a dress on the internet is-I don’t know why I’m still on that, it was like a million years ago.

If we could for one moment set aside those big pulsating ego’s we could see that in most cases there is a middle grounds that we can all come to reside in and be overall contented with. And if there isn’t? Then allow your self-image a few moments of humility and try to see something from another’s point of view. The stubbornness we exhibit does not progress us as a society. We stay stagnant at an impasse because none of us can agree on what’s best.

If we open ourselves up we may learn a thing or two, moving forward into new potentials.

Or, you know, just go sit in the bathroom and consume copious amounts chocolatey Nutella, whateves.

The Toothpaste Predicament

My son has a certain way of doing things. He is stubborn and persistent and to tell you the truth he probably gets that from yours truly. The kid has a mind of his own and will most likely continue to do things in his own weird way. And it’s really never been a problem, well, until it was.

One of the small and seemingly insignificant things he does, is when putting toothpaste on his toothbrush he lays the tube on the counter horizontally over the edge while holding the brush directly beneath the nozzle. He then will lean his entire weight down on the tube, generating a magnificent surge of peppermint smelling sticky stuff onto his brush.

I have told him time and time again not to load his toothbrush this way since he is wasting paste, making a god-awful mess and not to mention annoying me to no ends. I have made him scrub away the caked on mess he gets on the counter, cabinetry and floor and I have showed him how to properly remove the toothpaste from the margins of its cylinder.

At the time he listens to my advice with knowing eyes and a complacent smile.

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However he rarely abides by my suggestions and when I am not glaring over his shoulder he continues to use his unconventional ways when preparing to brush his teeth.

This morning, like most mornings, I woke up and had the overwhelming urge to pee. I stumbled to the bathroom still half asleep, plopped myself down and let flow.

Maybe I saw the bright green gob of paste on the toilet paper out of the corner of my eye. Maybe I did not notice it at all. Or maybe at the time I simply did not care to comprehend what the effects of using that particular piece of paper would do to my poor nether regions. What I know for sure is that soon after, I experienced a kind of unease that no human should ever have to endure that early in the sunrise hours.

As I stood up it happened. The slight burning sensation commenced.

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I paused mid stance and thought, “Well that is rather uncomfortable.” But engaged in a little shimmy thinking maybe that would help.

To be clear that made it absolutely worse.

Before I could know what was happening to me, my entire front bum was encompassed with a burning awareness that would have made the depths of hell envious. I froze to the spot, wondering what in the name of Hades Torch was happening to my fuzzy peach. The tingle had evolved into a scorching attack of soft skin and tenacious pink flesh. It seemed to creep into every crevice of my cave of wonders, not missing a single cranny!

I let out a yelp and instinctually grabbed for my lady garden, but straightaway realized that that was a terrible idea. I’m not sure why the contact of my hand made my plight even worse but it did.

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It was then, as my entire hoo-haw was being consumed by the horror of this red-hot suffering that I looked to my right and saw the toothpaste container hanging guiltily over the porcelain counter. There was a gob of green toothpaste on the floor beneath the toilet paper roll…And slowly I began to put the disturbing pieces of this predicament together.

Without thinking I hopped bowlegged into the bathtub, cranked the cold water and began splashing soothing fluid onto and around my notorious V.A.G. Instant relief came to me and I began feeling a bit more relaxed. That was until I heard the doorknob rattling.

I considered the spot that I was in.

Legs spread as wide as the Grand Canyon, pelvic thrust towards the serenity that was the flowing cold water tap, and an expression of pure horror combined with an unsettling look of reprieve plastered on my face. I didn’t know who was on the other side of that door, all I knew was that I wanted NOBODY to see me in such a perilous position.

It was not my voice that next exited my person, but something else…Something from somewhere deep within me.

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A half-hoarse demented demon creature shouted in the darkest and most sinister way, “DON’T COME IN HERE! I’M BUSY!” I then continued splish-splashing the pacifying water on my Susie Q.

Finally the horror of it all had passed. Completely and utterly worse for the wear, I hobbled out of the bathroom.

I found my son.

I crept up close to him, leaned in so my words would hold a little more value and ominously told him that if he ever left toothpaste anywhere in that bathroom other than his toothbrush I would throw the thing in the garbage and he would never be able to brush his teeth again.

He nodded his head, his eyes were wide and I could tell he knew in the deep of his soul that something terrible had just happened.

To this day the bathroom has been kept incredibly tidy by the small humans I share it with. However I’m no fool, never again will I let my guard down and allow my velvet underground to fall victim to the dreaded toothpaste predicament.

The Best Damn Jam This Side of the Web (Yes, The Blogging Mama has Turned Food Blogger)

So there I was about to make a pot of jam, when I got struck with the most fan-fucking-tastical idea I’ve had since I decided to deem Helen (don’t act like you don’t know her) as my blogging alter ego.

Before I go on, I have some apologies to make to you, dear friends and readers. As of late, I have undoubtedly abandoned you all and it is pretty obvious that you have more than likely been going through some outrageously cray withdrawals over the lack of Blogging Mama showing up in your news feed. For this and all of the mental hardships my absence may have caused you I am truly sorry.

But I’m just going through some stuff right now okay.

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I’ve decided that I want to be more earth friendly, frugal, and resourceful in my approach to life and existence in general…Or at least give all that jazz a shot. You know, see what the big hype is all about. So for the last few months I’ve been growing a bunch of my own food, baking my own bread and doing a hell of a lot of canning.

So between all of that and the raising of boy and girl child, I’ve been a little swamped.

BUT THEN IT HIT ME!

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Maybe…Just maybe,

I could be a food blogger!!!

I could combine my love of entertaining you and my love of food…

TOGETHER,

FOREVER!

*Hundreds of food bloggers, from all corners of the world, suddenly feel a universal urge to facepalm for no apparent reason*

But honestly how hard can it be, I thought nonchalantly as I pulled out my trusty cell phone deeming it just the right tool to take the photographs I would need to bring this new food blogging dream to fruition.

So on today’s menu we have a pot of SUPER SIMPLE 3 INGREDIENT RASPBERRY JAM!

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Shall we begin?

Yes.

That was actually a rhetorical question, but let’s just try and breeze on past this awkwardness. 

Super Simple 3 Ingredient Raspberry Jam

What you will need: 

  • 4 cups Raspberries (go ahead and raid your neighbours garden- like Mom always says, “the more you pick the more they produce!” So really, you are just doing them an awesome favour. Your neighbours will surely be thanking you in the long run.)
  • 4 cups Sugar
  • The juice and pulp of three lemons

  • 1 Water Bath Canner (many people would argue with me and say that you don’t need a water bath canner for this type of canning due to the copious amounts of sugar that will preserve just about anything without bringing it up to a bacteria slaughtering temp. My response: WHY DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE TO TAKE THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING I DO?!)
The one on the left is the canner (but if you don't know that already you probably shouldn't be using this blog site as a tutorial) **DISCLAIMER
The one on the left is the canner (but if you don’t know that already you probably shouldn’t be using this blog site as a tutorial) **DISCLAIMER
  • Between 10 to 12 half pint canning jars
  • 1 Jam Pot (much like this one I Instagrammed earlier)

#jampot #justsomeafternoonjammin #rasberryjam

A post shared by Lindsay Brown (@lindsaybrown31) on

  • 1 Lemon Juicer

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  • Canning Funnel

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  • Canning magnet 
  • Run of the mill ladle 
  • More tea towels than I care to admit 
  • Canning picker upper thingy 

Let’s do this.

  1. Combine raspberries, sugar and lemon in jam pot over medium heat.
  2. Meh, put it on high heat if you like to live dangerously.
  3. Watch that shit carefully!
  4. Nobody likes burnt jam people.
  5. Meanwhile fill your water bath canner a little under half way full.
  6. Due to buoyancy and junk you will have to fill your jars with water before placing them into the water bath. Water should always be at least half an inch above the jars.

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   7. Begin the boiling/sterilizing process of the jars and their lids.

(but just pretend the jars are in the pot in this picture and the lid is on the pot too)
(but just pretend the jars are in the pot in this picture and the lid is on the pot too okay)

   8. After jars have boiled for ten minutes and jam has thickened it is time to begin ladling the jam into the jars. Have a dry clean tea towel laid down beside your jam pot to place the hot jars on. Use your picker upper to retrieve all of the jars and place them on the towel. Then begin to ladle your jam.

Forewarning: This is a bitch of a job. Hot jam can be ridiculously hot.

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    9. Next, after your lids have been simmering this entire time, use the magnet to retrieve the lid as well as the screw ring. This also must be carried out with extreme caution as these little bastards will be quite warm too.

   10. Screw tops on until fingertip tight.

   11. Fingertip tight means that you are just using your fingertip strength to tighten them. So obviously not like hulk shit…If that was what you were doing taker down a notch.

   12. Using your canning picker upper thingy place jars back in the water canner and let boil (in canning lingo “process”) for ten minutes.

  13. Use picker upper to lift jars out of the water bath and place on clean dry tea towel.

You will begin to hear the wondrous sound of the lids sealing shut- POP POP POP!

It is delightful, I tell you, DELIGHTFUL!

Feel free to create your own geometrical shape with your jam creations.
Feel free to create your own geometrical shape with your jam creations.

PS- If you have jam left over, repeat entire process of sterilizing jars, jam ladling, “processing” ect.

Okay, get ready to have like a totally foodie orgasm…IN YOUR MOUTH.

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Next time on the blog, 

Wheat Bread.

Yep, that’s the best name three intense minutes of brainstorming got me. Time well spent.

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Until we cook again my friends:

Bake Boldly

Create Cuisine with Class

Eat Gloriously

And try frying something naked at least once in your life

(thrilling I tell you, absolutely thrilling)

“Just Keep Swimming”

I had decided to take the children swimming. Jamie was working and I didn’t feel like tracking down any other adults to come with. “No worries,” I said to myself, “I can deal with a couple measly kids at the pool.”  Two kids to one adult; those odds weren’t too bad.

We started out on a pretty positive note and managed to get our swimsuits on without incident, which in itself was surely a small miracle. The kids dutifully walked through the prep showers when asked and we even managed to score a radical floating mat in the shape of a butterfly before hopping in the water.

Once we were in, I noticed that Lars had begun to stare at something. I followed his gaze to find a lady with a considerably voluptuous chest playing volleyball. And, due to an unfortunate serious of events one of her hefty breasts had managed to wrangle its way free from her suit and was hanging out for all to see.

Here was my dilemma. I don’t want my children to be afraid of the body; I don’t want them to recoil in fear when it comes to the sight of nakedness (however awkward the situation may be). So in an attempt at normalcy I acted cool and continued nonchalantly playing the shark game where I chase the kids around making, what I feel to be, some pretty spot-on shark noises.

I continued glancing over at the woman fleetingly though and she had still not noted her boob-out-of-suit situation. The whole damn pool seemed to be letting this poor woman carry on participating in a very “bouncy” game of volleyball with her gargantuan boob flopping footloose and fancy-free. It appeared that everybody was holding their breath waiting for someone to speak up. Or perhaps we were all just waiting for the other one to gyrate loose.

As I waded towards her—because somebody needed to stop the madness—I thought about what I should say, “Um excuse me ma’am your breast is out, (proceed pointing uneasily towards upper torso area) just thought I’d let you know.” Was that seriously the best I could come up with? Thankfully I didn’t have to say anything since she became aware of her slip-o-the-nip seconds before I reached her. I glided right on past and pretended to be retrieving a floating ball for the kids. Smooth, I know.

Now that the momentary mammary was now just a memory we could get down to some serious swimming business.  But like kids tend to do, they were beginning to take things a little too far.

They had turned on me. Sophie was doggy paddling in her lifejacket like a bat out of hell towards the deep end. “I just love to float there Mama!” She was screaming as she tried to make her escape. Lars was terrified to go anywhere near that area of the pool and was vying for me to continue playing the shark game with him.  Meanwhile I had secured the location of Sophie by towing her around by that little handle that is attached to the head rest of the life preserver.

Their ear-piercing screams sounded like banshees as they splashed chlorine infested water into my eyeballs. At one point Sophie jumped directly on my head and nearly drowned me. Lars began crying because he thought his sister had fatally sunk his mother and knowing Lars, was probably fretting about the years of therapy that would ensue because of the incident. I wrestled my way up to the surface and found myself face to face with an old acquaintance. She was as surprised as me, except I was sputtering for air and had a trickle of snot dripping from my nose.

I instantly discovered that the pool is probably the worst place to meet an old friend. You are wearing next to nothing, your hair is almost certainly a hot mess and if you are there with children you are probably running after them; your legs jiggling persistently in the most unappealing of ways. We made a bit of small talk while Sophie tried dunking me again and Lars poured a bucket of suspiciously warm water over my head. She was the one who ended up making a weak excuse to have to leave, and for that I was thankful.

When I decided it was time to leave as well, I bribed the children into the van with enticements of chocolate and candy. Now, they chow down while I sit at my computer and recount the experience. Maybe it wasn’t all that bad, but next time I may try a little harder to get my adult to kid ratio up.

The Famjam Endgame

I woke up this morning with poetic sentences yodeling from the tip of my tongue. Of course, I didn’t have the wherewithal to write them down while snuggled cozily in my bed.  With a six year old sprawled across my legs, a four year old subconsciously fighting him over who gets the cushy area of my hind quarters,   a dog in my face and a husband spooning me, it was impossible to get to a pen and paper. So now the words have been carried off into oblivion.  Figures.

Poetry is too ceremonial for how I am feeling today anyways. Thoughts of family float in and out of my skull as I pound on the keys of this old laptop. My dad in particular. I think of the years I appointed him as my hero, the moments I inked him as the villain.  I think about how on and off the two of us have always been. Since the birth of my children we’ve been on, which, by the way has taken great care on both of our parts as we are perhaps the two most stubborn people I know. Nevertheless, despite all of our shortcomings, I love the pigheaded man dearly.

Now forgive me if the following gets a little sentimentally sloppy, I’m sick with a cold and the Feels have caught up to me in my weakened state of mind. I always tend to gravitate towards writing about my family when feeling at odds; don’t ask me why, I’m not a brain doctor.

When I was 19 years old and about to set off on my first real journey, I hit a road stop before even taking off the parking brake. The problem at hand was that my mean old landlord at the time wouldn’t give back my damage deposit—I needed that money to get out to the west coast where I had decided to start my life, you know, like really really start my life. I cleaned the place spotless and pleaded with him amicably (as amicably as I get, I suppose) but he still contrived reason after reason to withhold the four hundred dollars from me. Back then, that amount of money was worth a small fortune. Hell, it still is!

Many things from my past have faded, now just morsels of memory suspend between conscious thoughts and hopes for the future, but not this. This recollection has always stayed clean and detailed in my mind. I had gone to my parent’s house after a particularly angry yelling match with this blasted landlord and I told Mom and Dad about my troubles. Dad was appalled. No one treats his family like that.

We hopped in Dad’s truck not ten minutes later and drove to my apartment building. With some words of conviction on Dad’s part I had the four hundred bones in my pocket before dinner time, and the next day I was off to Vancouver Island.

Dad is always unthinkably humble when I bring up this specific moment in time. “Oh well, that’s what family does.” He will say, or something textbook like that. He and Mama bear have always been firm believers that one must stick up for their own. “If you don’t have family, you don’t have anything.” They told me and my brother that a lot when we were kids.

Now that I am, admittedly, older and hopefully a little bit wiser I understand what “family” my parents were always preaching about. Perhaps they may not always be blood related. Maybe we fight with them, maybe we butt heads. Maybe we don’t share the same ideas and that can sometimes cause friction between us. Maybe we go months without talking or seeing each other. Families are the people that can participate in all these things and still love unconditionally.

I look at Lars, Sophie and Jamie and I know that they are my family. I can truly see what my mom and dad meant when they talked about family so many years ago. I guess my parents did have some pretty important things to say as I was growing up.  Funny how those like-minded ideas begin coming to light at a certain point in one’s life.

Now however, as I teach my children and help them grow into the human beings they are meant to be I will take this meaning of “family” one step further.  I want Lars and Sophie to know that they can treat anyone like family. To help those in need as though they were their kin, because in some universal way, we all are. Imagine the breathtaking world we could live in if we all had a “that’s what families are for” approach to one another.

sylvancrew

Parenthood Paranoia

Having kids is stressful. Understatement of the century said every parent in the history of parenting. More like once the seed is implanted every minute for the rest of your life will be peppered with what-if’s and Oh My God’s!

The other day as I dropped Lars off at school I noted a forlorn backpack just laying there in the middle of the sidewalk. To any normal human being, a backpack in the midst of an elementary school may not be too odd of a thing to come across. To me however, I think, that’s exactly what the terrorists want you to believe. Or maybe it’s the psychopaths that are targeting my child’s school. Perhaps an unbalanced lunatic freshly escaped from a nearby insane asylum. Yes, an insane asylum, because the mere thought of it is terrifying.

And what of this backpack I wonder as I linger menacingly outside the main doors of the school, not quite able to bring myself to return home. What could this mysteriously lonesome backpack be holding? All sorts of bloodcurdling antidotes begin to accost my mind. Because really, who would just leave a backpack all alone if not for some horrendous ploy of trickery and evil?

I am about to bolt at the thing and fling it out of the vicinity where my son waits in line with his schoolmates when a kid runs towards it and flings it over his back. “Don’t want to forget that!” A passing parent says to the child and the boy smiles back timidly.

I am now flabbergasted that my obsessive worrying was for naught. For a moment a run of the mill backpack had me tormented almost to panic. Was I the only one? Is there something wrong with me? Because I’ve never heard of other parents becoming this freakishly anxious over seemingly run of the mill occurrences.

Of course, this same day I am at my sister Ashley’s house, when I miss a call on my cell phone. It is from Lars’ school. My phone does this nifty thing when somebody leaves a voice message on it, it texts me the message. This is a great feature because I forgot my voicemail password long ago. The text says, basically, that Lars had bumped his head on something and was very upset about it and they were keeping him in for recess.

Strands of paranoia are now cutting off my air supply as I try to dial the number of the school back. My cell phone provider does not like Ashley’s house location however and all I get as I wait impatiently on the line is dead air. I try to compose myself. Deep breaths.

But my baby needs me!!!  This is what the crazy lady inside my head is screaming as I coolly ask Ashley to use her cell phone. My keys are being neurotically fiddled with in my hands to avoid her noticing them shaking. This is worse than the damn backpack incident I think to myself.

I get a hold of the school. I tell them I am Lars’ mom and I’ve had a call from his teacher. At first they aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about because, let’s face it, I am probably acting frantic and not taking the time to explain myself properly. Finally after a bit of edginess on my part and some good ol’ fashion tolerance on theirs they put me through to Lars’ classroom.

Turns out the poor kid basically walked into his open locker and jabbed his eye with the corner of the metal cabinet door. OUCH! I can imagine the kind of scream he laid out for them and I know it wouldn’t have been pretty.  It was Jamie’s day off work so I called him to go and pick Lars up from school. I just couldn’t bear Lars sitting there all sad and hurt with a shiner from the fight he had lost with the edge of the locker.

Upon pick up Lars seemed fine, but I was still happy to have him home so I could inspect the damage, which was actually quite miniscule, one of those hurts that you feel more than see I imagine. It makes me wonder if it will always be like this. Will I always be paranoid of the things we as parents cannot control?

And this is just Lars—my careful and cautious youngster. Wait until I start in on all of the things that keep me up at night when it comes to the wild and untamed Sophie!  Parenting definitely is a stressful endeavor…I think I’ll go and hug my mom now and tell her how amazing she is.

The Room

It is three o’clock in the morning.  My eyeballs are stinging and lack their necessary moisture. The smell of pungent urine assaults my nostrils. I was awoken several minutes ago by a waif looking four year old staring into my soul from the side of the bed. Her hair perpendicular, astray. Her eyes are wild and unpredictable.

“What are you doing baby?” I am hoarse and a disenchanted reality glides over my conscious brain. I was having the most delightful dream that Margaret Atwood and I were chumming it up and talking about all kinds of amazing literary stuff. Tough break Lindsay, she says in the cool way she would as the last of her presence flits out of my mind.

“ Mama.” Sophie is crying.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, but as I reach towards the girl to pull her up to snuggle I feel the cold devastation of pee-pants. She hasn’t peed the bed in months. However the evening prior I was at Red Deer Collage listening to a captivating talk by Margaret Atwood, hence the dream, on the creative process. The kids were already in bed when I arrived home but according to Jamie’s account Sophie was not pleased with my forsaking her at bedtime.

I stumble into her room with an armful of fresh sheets and un-peed-upon blankets. As soon as my big toe crosses the threshold of daughter darling’s room, the soft under skin of my foot is molested by something squashy, soggy, and that possesses too much give on impact. I hear the slight sound of a POP. I look down to find I have ruptured the splatter toy which she often throws at my walls, leaving a darkened stain on the tan paint. The carpet is soaking wet with a fluid from the toy I cannot identify. It will have to wait until tomorrow. I need to focus on more pressing matters at the moment.

In the amount of time it takes me to cross from one side of the room to another, I trip over a deconstructed Barbie house, three Bratz dolls with obscenely pointed features that bite at the already sopping  sole of my foot, and an oversized wicker Easter basket that holds all sorts of half-eaten treasures.

I pull off the bedding and bundle it in a tight ball then chuck it to the hallway. I want to let out a he-woman war cry to vindicate my swelling frustrations but before I let loose, I see something. Sophie’s closet is full, jam-packed really, of odds and ends. I drop the clean sheets on the bed and move closer. For some reason an ominous film darkens my mind and for a second I become overly concerned I am going to see someone eyeing me from the collection of objects in the closet. This is what happens when you’re awakened in the dead of night with residual thoughts of Atwood and her superb story telling abilities circling your peripheral intellect. I don’t see anything in the end, which is okay by me. Instead I note the excess of stuff crammed lovingly all over my kid’s room. Things like old cardboard boxes, thousands of scribbled on sheets of paper, Barbie’s with their heads popped off and those heads peppered throughout space and time.

I turn back to my task, realizing what it is that must be done in the morning hours. I will have to come and clean this place. No longer can I shut the door and pretend my ignorance to this problem of unpleasant proportions.

Sophie stumbles back into the room from the bathroom. Her eyes are beginning to weigh their lids down and sleep will most likely come easy once I finish making the bed. I realize I have forgotten to grab a pillowcase, because yes, the pee has indeed reached the corners of the pillow. I must incoherently say what I need aloud  because next thing I know Sophie is digging through the disaster that is also beneath her bed and pulls out a pink flowered pillow. Of course she had one stashed away, what four year old doesn’t have a reserve head cushion on hand?

I still think a good old fashioned purge and clean would be good for the girl child’s room. I’m a little concerned that next time the dog ventures in there he may just get swallowed up and lost forever.  As I finally am able to close my eyes and return to dreamland I briefly wonder if Margaret ever had to stumble over pointed toys and mayhem messes. If so, she probably wouldn’t have lost sleep over it, so neither will I.

Spring Cleaning

A miniature green and yellow triceratops greets me when I open my eyes. He is plopped on top of my chaotic bedside table and for some reason, upon waking, my eyes move automatically to him. “Well good morning small play thing.” I say, but not loud enough to give my husband a reason to commit me. Dino tells me he is there to remind me of the shambles in which my house resides.

“No, surely you are mistaken dinosaur.” I say calmly- coolly even.

He informs me that I am the one who is mistaken. Even though I did stay up until the wee hours of 10 pm tidying up the crumbs from the counters, the dishes in the sink and the toys from the floor- little dinosaur speaks of a different kind of cleaning this early morning.

Spring-cleaning.

I groan deeply (and not the good kind of groan) in my bed where I lay and I think about the dreadfulness that is spring-cleaning. I think about the undersides of the living room couch cushions and shudder. I think about the cutlery drawer and all of the crumbs and junk that manages to find its way in there and a wave of nausea overcomes me. I think about the awful amounts of dust that would perhaps asphyxiate my pink colored blinds if they had breathing capabilities and a single tear rolls down my cheek.

Each year this moment of realization comes, usually in some surprising and creative way, and each year I’ve learned to fight it vigorously. Spring-cleaning can only lead to heartache and woe.

Let me tell you about it…

A few years back, when spring cleaning didn’t have the same sickening ring to it as it does now; I decided to clean my closet. This was a time when Lars was beginning to potty train. It was a time before I became neurotic about my loathing for all things potty training. I am clearing away the shoes and purses that are stuffed in the back of my closet when I begin to smell something familiar. What could it be? What could that darn smell be that makes me want to stuff tampons up my nostrils. I grab for one of my purses and feel the pleather (I’m classy like that) is sodden and stinky. I immediately become conscious of the smell- later in my potty training quest; I will undoubtedly be able to distinguish it from miles away. Urine- hello old friend. At the time I had thought, due to the dry pull-ups, that small Lars had been proficient in his toilet training endeavors but instead he had simply been using my closet as his own personal pee place.

In later years of spring-cleaning, I would come to discover more unbearable surprises, each year the grossness gauge rising. One time it was poo streaked Thomas the Tank Engine undies stashed discreetly under the bathroom sink. The next year it was curdled milk bottles hidden away in secret corners for later consumption. Apple cores in heat registers. Bread crusts in the Tupperware drawer. My children are obviously terrified that one day I will stop feeding them and they have come to realize they must keep reserves.

And please don’t even get me started on the basement conditions!

So instead of getting out of bed I lay there stock-still and silent. Maybe, just maybe, if I try hard I can forget that the prophesized time of spring-cleaning is closing in. I had hit the snooze button when the dinosaur began his talk with me this morning and now once again my time has ran out and the bleep, bleep, bleep of the device is scratching at my ears.

I roll over to push snooze once more when the dinosaur catches my eye again. He stands on the bedside table with a half drunk water bottle, a bottle of hand lotion, a used sting of floss, and a decorative box that holds all sorts o knick knacks in it. To be truthful I’m not even sure what the contents in that box are.

Again, the prehistoric plaything reminds me about my cleaning quest. I tell him to shut it because it’s my house and it really isn’t as bad as he is making it out to be.

The dinosaur begrudgingly agrees and I feel accomplished for winning a battle of wits with a small inanimate object.

But then the Barbie reminds me, as I step on her head while moving towards the bathroom, that Spring-cleaning probably wouldn’t seem so terrible if I was an overall better housekeeper in the first place.

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Shut it Barbie- what do you know anyways.

Walking on Thin Ice

Sophie 2 editAlthough ‘walking on thin ice’ may be the more readily used phrase, this winter I’ve come to the conclusion that any kind of ice walking is a dodgy endeavor. I think back to a time when I could spritely move across the slippery substance with a cool self-confidence. In light of recent events, I’ve come to discover, sadly, my children have not inherited this trait. And no longer can I myself glide to a sought out destination- I am much too fragile for that in present day.

The children and I decided to take the dog for a walk yesterday. The sun shone its rays of warmth down for us to catch on the ends of our rosy noses. A chinook wind urged us to keep on as we made our way to a local park to play. The beauty of the day was certainly not lost on me and I reveled in the togetherness that I had with my kids and yes, even the dog. As soon as the four of us stepped out of our front door, I could tell it was going to be a great day.

We walked upon a path that lead almost straight from our home to the park. It was mid afternoon so the sun had been shining on it for the better half of the day, which left it sodden but free of slips. It was one of those good refreshing kind of walks.

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We arrived at the park and the children had their play. I read a little on the bench, because yes, I am one of those mothers who read on the bench instead of participating on the adult death trap they call playground equipment. Plus, who would have looked after the dog?

When it was time to leave I spontaneously thought, hey let’s have an adventure and explore a different route home. Amazing. Ingenious. Spectacular!

Stupid.

I didn’t stop to realize that the road less traveled was also shaded by large buildings and trees. It also didn’t occur to me that there was a surplus of construction projects yielding a loss of travelable sidewalk on this particular route. Moreover, logical reasoning seemed to slither away when I managed to forget the difficulties that occur when trying to do anything at all with two small humans and a sometimes-ornery shih tzu.

“OH MY GOSH- this is ridiculous!” Were my overtly censored feelings as I tiptoed gingerly across the uneven surface. At this exact moment I was holding on to Sophie by the underarm- basically dragging the child along because as it seems she is extremely challenged when it comes to keeping herself upright on said slippery surfaces. I hold the dog leash in my alternative hand but even the canine is having troubles keeping himself vertical.  Lars holds tightly onto the back of my jacket and I am positive he is doing absolutely no legwork (literally) to assist our cause. Instead, he holds his grasp tightly and slides upon his grip-less boots from the propellant of my efforts.

We fall about half a dozen times within a half block radius and I am about to say, “Screw it” and risk the oncoming traffic to make the rest of our journey when I see an escape. There in front of us, as though a beautiful mirage in the middle of a heat stricken desert- is sidewalk. And to titivate the situation even more, it is clean of ice and slips.

I feel like a football coach in the ending minutes of the big game. I am cheering my people on, in a we-can-do-this kind of attitude!

“Okay guys, see- we just have to get to that sidewalk, walk carefully, we’re almost there…” Sophie has begun crying for no reason other than she is “bored” of walking on the ice. Lars still slides eagerly behind me but I can feel the sloppiness in his stature, which isn’t helping my balancing act. We are 3 feet from sanctuary when it happens- he sticks his foot out and it lands between my shuffling fur-lined boots. I trip. We all fall. Sophie screams. Lars begins crying. I say a string of curse words I shall never repeat.

These days it seems that when it comes to winter roving, choosing the path more travelled is by far the much safer choice. As for the rest of our trip; we ended up making it, but just by the hairs of our fur-lined boots.

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Storytelling

Have I told you about my two little parrots? I’m sure I’ve mentioned them in an article or two- I have come to quite enjoy their antics you know. These two little parrots currently reside in my home but once upon a time (at different times of course) they set up residence in my uterus, which is probably why I can never manage to get too angry when they start in on their tricks.

“Um Mama?” Lars begins in a tentative, treading softly sort of voice.

“Yes Lars.” I reply.

“So umm,” he pauses to gather his thoughts, “well I have some bad news.” This is never something you want to hear come out of your 6 years old’s mouth, I think immediately. “So you know how sometimes the toilet gets plugged?”

“Yes I am aware of that.” I say, desperately hoping I’m not actually hearing the sound of drip drip dripping water in the background.

“Well,” another long pause, this time I’m sure, because he does not know how to move forward in our conversation without getting in trouble. “Well, you see I didn’t realize it was plugged, and well, I flushed it.”

“Okay.” I say in a long hopeful and drawn out sort of way.

“Well the water started going up, and then up some more…” His eyes are wide now and I can blatantly see the pure exhilaration the ordeal has caused the small human. “And Mom it suddenly just went flowing over the sides of the toilet! It was like a waterfall Mom and it just kept coming and coming!” He is using grandiose hand gestures now- a telltale tale sign that one is at the heart of a great story.

I know I need to move. In truth, I should have been running towards the main bathroom as soon as he began telling me his restroom account. But it’s not really a restroom at the moment now is it? Seemingly, judging by my sons version I should begin gathering coupled flora and fauna, erecting a vessel and preparing to wait out a lengthy downpour. But perhaps in our specific case: we could call the trouble an Outpour.

If I am about to walk in on that kind of tempest I must have my wits about me. So I sit. I collect myself within the frame of a second or two. I cannot take longer than that because if I do I will have soggy floorboards to contend with and God knows what the contents of that seeping toilet water contain. My son has managed to keep such details behind his yapping gums.

Husband, with clearly a snappier reaction time than I, grabs an armload of towels from the linen closet and with words that are appropriate for neither a Day-Writers description nor the ears of a child, stomps his way to the bathroom.

I follow close behind him because I cannot be the weirdo spouse that does nothing except dwell on the utter horror of the untimely situation they’ve been put in. Well, not so much put in rather than pandered too. Who lets their kids hang out and create shenanigans in a bathroom anyways? So I get up and walk towards the mess.

“What can I do- is it as bad as Lars said?” I ask.

“There’s a lot of water- I just don’t understand how it could have came from the toilet. It is all under the sink and not even close to the toilet. I don’t think the floor slants that much.” This is an inside joke that we often mull over- referring to the shoddiness of our homes structural integrity.

“Lars are you sure it came from the toilet?” I ask realizing both of the parrots are right behind me.

“Well…” and it is not long before I find out the truthful story of how delightfully mesmerizing it was to watch Sophie fill cups of water from the sink and dump them upon the floor.

So you must be wondering where the parrot part comes in- yes often I call them parrots because unfortunately they seem to pick up on the less than lovely (albeit inspired) words I spit out in times of frustration. However I’ve also coined the phrase for the two because each day they exhibit another trait that I too can call my own.

Some may call it fibbing, but when you do it with the kind of flair Lars had this evening, I can’t imagine naming it anything other than polished exaggeration- and hell, there are a lot worse things in this world than a good story teller.

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