Archive for August, 2009

And the band played on…

August 25, 2009

I’m blogging more often than Linda these days – quick, somebody check to see if the apocalypse is nigh…

Kira’s doing a lovely job of making me want to try Active Life: Extreme Challenge for Wii. As someone who’s last posted Wii age was 78, I can sympathize with her and her destroyed calf muscles. However, I can tell you that one need not pursue an “Active Life” to induce the feeling that one is over the hill and halfway down the other side.

TKATGATI has a boyfriend and the boyfriend has Rock Band. He brought it over last night and the children invited me to play.

I’d tried it before at the Didn’t The 80’s Rock And Isn’t That A Great Reason To Have A Party party, and knew that my eye-hand co-ordination is shameful to one who grew up on PacMan and Mappy. So I tried a round of playing the bass and did a respectable job, all things considered.

And then they gave me the microphone.

After the first song, TKATGATI suggested I was not singing with very much energy. I lamented that, given a song I actually knew, I’d do much better.

It should be noted that of the available selection, I knew only Hungry Like The Wolf and Eye Of The Tiger. So Hungry Like The Wolf I went. Then Eye Of The Tiger.

Then I needed a nap.

I also need RockBand, ’cause it’s wicked fun. Can you get the Footloose soundtrack with that?

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All the important things

August 24, 2009

Normally, I’m pretty aware of “time.”  I may not always have the best grasp of the minutes or the hours, but days, weeks and months I’m pretty good at.

Why then, does it suddenly shock me to realize that two weeks from tonight I will be the parent of Someone Who Lives In A Dorm?

It’s this chaotic broken summer is what it is. Green Kangaroo was supposed to be home only on Fri and Sat nights, being off at her camp job the rest of the time. But first there was the week when my grandmother fell, and GK came home in the middle of the week for a quick hospital visit. Then she (GK, not Grandma), got a promotion to Day Camp and the first week’s day camp was a block from home, so she was home all week. The next week’s day camp was a little further afield, so she was home four nights, gone two nights, then home again for two nights. Now it’s Week The Last, but due to a family vacation next week…

She’s only going to be sleeping at home FOUR more times before she moves.

Gah.

The pile in the corner of her room grows large – towels, toiletries, all the bits and bobs that a university dorm room supposedly requires. Tonight was a “grocery” shop, groceries consisting primarily of KD cups,  tea bags and Oreos.

Hopefully, she’ll buy a few pens and some notebooks before classes start.

I’m a Grandma?

August 22, 2009

Frankie 3Meet Franklin J. Haggert the Third.  He belongs to The Knee and The Girl Attached To It, and joined our family scant 48 hours ago.  We granted permission a year ago, and she’s taken her time in finding the right dog, the right time, etc.

Frankie is, according to his press, a min pin/poodle cross. He’s 3 1/2 months old, has no papers, but certainly has the leaping skills of a Min Pin. He’s also absolutely adorable and I haven’t heard him bark yet. We walked to the corner store the other day and had to carry him home – he weighs less than the bag of milk I was carrying.

He’s bonded nicely with TKATGATI, whimpering when she disappears into the bathroom. He’s getting used to the rest of us, his built-in babysitters.

And once she’d called me Grandma, well, how could I not buy him that adorable little bandanna and three different kinds of treats?

On my own two feet

August 19, 2009

Well, I did it. I cancelled my car insurance. In a little less than a month from now, on my 38th birthday, I will become a pedestrian.

I’d already been considering giving up the car on that date.  Forking over the cash for plate renewal, e-test and a few unpaid parking tickets was hard to imagine, for a vehicle that has a better than half chance of giving up the ghost by Christmas anyway. And quite frankly, a newer vehicle isn’t in the cards for a while.

And then yesterday, I got my insurance renewal notice, which featured an increase of $500 a year. I have a 22-year, spotless driving record, and my car insurance on a ten-year-old minivan was going to be more than it was when I was 16 years old.

I called the insurance company and was basically told there was nothing they could do. The drivers of Ontario, apparently, are an accident-prone bunch, and so rates were going up up up.

I work from home, in the middle of the city. The “kids” are mostly adults, who I’m not technically obligated to chauffeur around (though it’s nice to sometimes) except for the 12-year-old. She gets the school bus. The church is three blocks away. The grocery store is a moderate walk and a $10 cab ride home. And although the mass transit system here isn’t perfect, it’s workable.

So in the interest of saving an estimated $400 a month (insurance, gas, etc.) I’m putting the keys away and lacing up my walking shoes.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-car. I love having a car, hassles aside. I love the convenience and the freedom that comes from having a car. But I can take a lot of taxis for $400 a month.

I’m a little nervous, but I’m looking at this as a wonderful opportunity to try something different. I’ll have to be a little better organized, think ahead a little more often, but, you know, that can’t hurt, right?

Plus, it fits in with our recent shift to try, where we can, to be a little more ecologically responsible. You know, growing some of our own food, not running the air conditioners, etc.

Wish me luck!

Hanging out with Steven

August 17, 2009
My very own Funky Bird

My very own Funky Bird

I am so happy I have kids that can make me cry. The good kind of cry, where you just feel all happy, or touched, or loved, or simply overwhelmed by how very, very blessed you happen to be.

That’s Steven over there on the left. I named him Steven instantly, and even though I’ve since realized he looks more like a Timothy, I’d already called him Steven, and what are you going to do when that happens? You can’t just change the names of things on a whim.

Steven arrived a few days ago. My Green Kanagroo, home from her summer camp job for a week, had been shopping at a thrift store, and presented him to me, with this explanation:

“Now you don’t have to waste time looking for your Funky Bird, ’cause he’ll be right there on your desk in front of you.”

So I cried.

Long-time readers (all two of you!) will know the signifigance significance importance of a Funky Bird. That my middle child – this wonderful, amazing, unique Green Kangaroo of mine – not only gets the reference but knows how important it is to me and respects that importance, is truly a blessing. It’s so much more meaningful than simply saying, “Quit whining and write something Momma.”

So now I have a Funky Bird and no excuses. And Steven and I have just been hanging out at my desk for the last few days trying to learn how to fly all over again.

You have to flap your wings, at least to begin with. And maybe that’s what blogging needs to be, for me – flapping. Blog posts don’t have to have a point, or a theme, or even make sense to anyone but me. They can just be me, flapping away at the keyboard, maybe flying in circles a bit, until some sort of reliable pattern develops. It’s okay if there’s no specific direction here – this is just the exercise.

**

The other day Littlest was out delivering a friend’s flyers while he’s on vacation. She mentioned having seen the mailman.

Littlest: I stopped and waited for the mailman. But he just said Hi and kept on walking. He walks really fast.

Me: Indeed he does. But he’s friendly.

Littlest: Yes. But he didn’t stop walking, so I didn’t get to talk to him.

Me: That’s too bad. But why did you want to talk to the mailman?

Littlest: I wanted to ask him if he was happy with his job.

I did not pursue the conversation, but wondered why my 12-year-old has suddenly turned into a talk show host, wanting to interview civil servants. Is she practicing to be a reporter? Interested in exploring a career in mail delivery? Looking for a kindred spirit?

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that she thought of asking, and how cool and interesting is THAT?

**

Got me thinking about the mailman. He’s delivered the mail on our block, and adjacent blocks, for more than ten years now, at least. And I realized – that man probably knows more about the goings-on and evolution of every family on his route than most of the neighbours. Think about it – diaper coupon mailers and Baby Bonus cheques, tax refunds, driver licence renewals, credit card statements, publisher rejections, magazine subscriptions, student loan forms, university application materials – life stories, learned through the mail without ever even having to open it. 

There’s a book in there somewhere.

**

Saw Julie and Julia with the girls the other night, and felt a little proud of myself afterwards. I liked it. The Julie parts in particular have not been kindly received by the reviewers. But afterwards I decided not to be jealous of someone else’s success. Julie Powell may be as navel-gazing as the rest of us in the blogosphere, but I’m not going to be annoyed that her self-examination got her a book deal and then a movie. Because you know what? She didn’t just find her Funky Bird – she figured out how to make it fly. Good on her.