Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Jello Canadians! Heh heh.

Happy Canada Day, all!

Today, Canada turns 143, but it doesn't look a day over 75! Unless you live in downtown Winnipeg, in which case just smile politely and feign surprise (I kid! I kid! Love you, Winnipeg!).

I didn't become a Canadian citizen until I was nearly 17, and it happened right at the end of June, so my mom's friends threw us a little barbecue where I was introduced for the first time to the popular North American phenomenon, the Jello Jiggler. And so, while all of you out there are busy associating Canada Day with things like beavers and maple trees and counting down the days until hockey starts again, may I be so bold as to add another important Canadian symbol to your repertoire: J-E-L-L-O!!

Today marks 20 years of me celebrating Canada Day as a Canadian citizen. Naturally, I wanted to do something special to mark the occasion.

Behold! My homage to the nation I love, and the dessert that reminds me I'm home:

I love living in a country where I have the freedom (to slightly paraphrase the Charter) to make any old petroleum-based dessert I please. This one is made of strawberry jello and a tub of Cool Whip. In my defense, the strawberries in the middle there came directly out of our garden, and I'm making homemade strawberry ice cream to go with it. Patriotism has never boasted so many empty calories!

This July 1st, may your barbecue be delicious and your beer plentiful. Happy Canada Day, kids!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

So, No One Really Needs Me Then?!

Flying is a little like riding a roller coaster. Well, with (hopefully) less screaming, and a $500 charge on your credit card at the end of it. And when you get off, you find yourself magically transported to the place where your prom date threw up all over your $200 dress and everyone you knew who had a dream in life ended up working at the car plant. Very, very surreal.

My 4-day relaxation vacation was lots of fun. I visited with my family, checked out an exotic new Dollarama, rocked out to Guitar Hero and accidentally abused a geriatric tabby cat. The less said about that the better, really.

I forgot how hot and humid it gets down in the armpit of Ontario. I also forgot that Windsor is the only city in Canada where one of the scenic walking/running trails doesn't have a river or trees running along it for your healthy enjoyment, but instead boasts a long row of tool-and-die shops (the parking lots are impeccably groomed, though). But the lack of mosquitoes was nothing short of heaven, and I found so much great stuff at the gigantic Value Village at the end of my mother's street (HOW does she restrain herself?!) that I'm now in serious need of a walk-in closet. Photos to come. Obviously.

And the Captain and the kids did great without me! I kept calling home under the guise of "just checking in" (though really I was expecting to hear sirens and chaos every time) and they were all having a grand old time. The kids were happy to see me when they got up this morning, but that was really more about the presents they knew I'd picked up for them. So overall, it looks like I'm actually pretty redundant around here.

Three-week Caribbean cruise, here I come!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

You know when you do something that you can't undo and then immediately regret it? Well, I've done one of those things. Sort of.

When the Captain returned from Afghanistan, I made the rather dramatic proclamation that I needed a break from my life, which, over the past seven months, had been worse than anything he could possibly begin to understand. Bear in mind that he was somewhere where things were exploding all the time, and where he had to take numerous medications to stave off exotic illnesses like malaria. So, as you can imagine, there was a lot of eye-rolling.

But I persevered, continued to be extra theatrical about needing a break, and then went and booked myself a non-refundable 4-day trip home to see my family. By myself!

So this week, for the first time ever, I am going to leave my children with their dad for more than one day. Okay, there was ONE time when I took a 48-hour "relaxation vacation". And by that, I mean that I left Firstborn at home with the Captain and my mother so that I could go push Rosemary's Baby out of my birth canal. But that doesn't count.

And now we come to the horrifying regret part. I mean, I'm still totally looking forward to getting on a plane and actually being able to read a magazine and drink my complimentary Diet Coke without anyone yelling, crying or throwing up on me. And I can't wait to see everyone and have a legitimate break. But the idea of leaving my kids in the care of anyone else, even their father (who, for the record, is very capable) has me absolutely terrified.

I've made a list for the Captain, which details things like what time Firstborn needs to be up in the morning, the homework routine, and numerous reminders that all doors need to be kept locked to stop Rosemary's Baby from heading down the highway on the lawnmower. And I picked up pill boxes for both boys so I can pre-administer their vitamins. I'm going to make all of Firstborn's school lunches in advance and lay out all his outfits too. Am I sounding like a control freak yet?! Because if the Captain rolls his eyes at me one more time, they're going to get stuck that way.

I guess the things in life that are really worth doing should always be met with with a pinch of trepidation. I'll be back with the play-by-play next Sunday!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Even 6 Year-Olds are Jumping on the Bandwagon

Today I got the scare of my life.

The Captain has just bought himself a new guitar, so when it arrived this morning, he got busy checking it out, while Firstborn made use of the giant box it came in. Before long, I was in front of the bathroom mirror counting grey hairs and I heard Firstborn say, to no one in particular, "Where's Doggie? I want him in my coffin with me."


I came rushing out of the bathroom to find my child laying funeral-style in his new box. I stood there aghast, half of my brain trying to compute the cost of a child psychiatrist, and the other half trying to recall some sign in Firstborn's recent history that he was suicidal, homicidal or otherwise demented. Finally, I found my voice.

"Buddy, get out of that box."

"Why? Look, it's a coffin! I even have a pillow!"

"Okay, you can't pretend to lay in a coffin. It's MORBID!"

"What's morbid?"

"Deathly and depressing. Now get out of there! Quit pretending to be dead!"

"I'm not dead, I just sleep here."

And it was at this point that I saw the first-grade printing on one of the box flaps. "Warning: Do Not Touch. Vampire Coffin!"

So that's why he kept trying to bite my neck. Whew! Dodged a bullet there!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No Cavities! But Plenty of Wrinkles, Apparently.

I had a dental appointment today, which I was approaching with about a 20/80 mix of dread and excitement. Not that I'm actually excited to see the dentist. When he takes that horrible hook and starts scraping between my front bottom teeth (every. single. time. I don't even chew with those teeth! How are they getting so filthy?!), I cringe a little. I'm just glad he hasn't yet graduated to that screaming water contraption so many dentists prefer nowadays. That thing is like nails on a chalkboard.


I was excited because it meant I was driving into Booming Metropolis for a civilized day in the city while the Captain held the fort here for a change. I had my whole route mapped out, from Bulk Barn, to dentist, to grocery store, to Giant Tiger, to winemaking supply store.

I didn't spill flour all over myself like I usually do at the Bulk Barn. I did, however, manage to slop natural peanut butter all over my hands. So when I got into the dentist's office and saw the sign asking patients to please refrain from using scented products because of allergies, I was a little concerned. Not only was I "scented", I was scented with peanut butter, the most allergenic thing ever. But in the end, the dentist was happy with my teeth and no one dropped dead from anaphylactic shock, so you really can't have a better dental visit than that.

After an uneventful grocery run, I grabbed a few (unnecessary) items at Giant Tiger and hit the cash register. And this is when everything went straight to hell.

The girl behind the counter was very upbeat, quite a pleasant surprise considering the quality of customer service these days. So I have to hand it to Giant Tiger, they do have themselves a friendly cashier, just maybe not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Here is a transcript of our conversation:

Airhead Cashier: Oh my God, are you related to Elizabeth?


Airhead Cashier: Wow, I seriously cannot believe that because you look exactly like this girl who works here named Elizabeth.

Me: How funny. Small world.

Airhead Cashier (waving over the other two cashiers to come look at me): Oh my God, doesn't she look exactly like Elizabeth?!

Second Cashier: Not really. Well...maybe a little.

Me (starting to get a little self-conscious from all the attention): Well, there you have it...

Airhead Cashier: You guys don't know what you're talking about! She looks EXACTLY like Elizabeth! She looks so much like Elizabeth, she could totally be Elizabeth's MOM!

Second and Third Cashiers (scuttling away and avoiding eye contact): Back to work, then!

And now you know why I ended up purchasing THREE wine kits at the supply store.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Happiness is an Empty Inbox

I have battled addiction and won! The chains that bound me to an unhealthy habit have been cut. I'm free! I'm free!

I've deleted my Facebook account.

Facebook was fun for a while, and I admit I'll miss being able to share photos with my family and close friends so easily. I will also miss that smug feeling of having the most amusing status update of all my friends. But really, these are not reasons to spend hours every day on something I know deep down is a waste of my time and brain power. Besides, I'd rather be blogging.

After letting everyone know I was leaving, I made sure to get all the email addresses of people I want to stay in touch with, and publicly posted a link to my blog so any interested parties can follow me here. And now that I'm off, I couldn't be happier.

As it turns out, I don't really care how my buddies, family members, casual acquaintances and people who only added me because they needed a 700th friend are doing in Farmville or Family Feud. I don't care if they like "Alcohol", "Not Being On Fire", or "If I Get 10,000 Fans I will Name My Baby Megatron". Seriously, the news feed was becoming the biggest annoyance in my life.

I'm also pretty sure that no one else found my status updates anywhere near as witty as I did. Did they really need to hear that my 6 year-old consistently beats me at Monopoly? Or that last night I dreamed I had a ginormous walk-in closet and was thoroughly disappointed to wake up? Come on people, this inane junk is what blogging is for!

The best thing though is that for the first time in WEEKS, I have had time to go through my emails, clear my inbox and still have time left over to blog! For all my whining about not keeping up with posting and commenting because of all the crazy goings-on around here, I have to admit, wasting time "social networking" was what was really holding me back.

So now I suddenly find myself with (almost) enough time to still keep in touch with my loved ones, get a little housework done and spend time with my family. I just know that getting that monkey off my back is going to allow me to enjoy life more.

At least until I get sucked in by Twitter.