Monday, May 31, 2010

Expletive deleted

Big blue eyes on that Kid, and he sure knows how to use them to the best effect. Just now, he looked up at me (bat bat bat) and said winsomely, "Mommy, won't you (bat bat bat) come and snuggle on the couch with me and watch Yogi Bear? You know, sit on the couch next to me, just like old times? (bat bat bat)"

Helpless to resist, I reply, "Of course, sweet potato."

Then--probably surprised that I acquiesced on his first try--he got a little flustered.

"Not yet, not yet actually. Maybe in a bit when I'm really lonely. I'll call you."

Me: "Oh don't be silly. You're more important than the laundry. I'll just sit right here and we can watch together."

Kid: "Great. Great, mom. Umm, I just need to use the washroom. Be right back!!"

And then, from the bathroom, I hear Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh!

It took me a moment to realize that he was in there blowing up a whoopie cushion.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I was 7 when I got the fright of my life. I was visiting the twins across the park, which was one of my favorite things to do. There were 8 kids in that family--kinda normal in our Catholic 1970s coterie, but 5 more than we had at our place--and they had more or less been ceded the basement of the house as their territory. It was carved up into a murky warren of bedrooms with interesting lighting, secret doors, paper-thin walls, cigarette carton mandalas and record album covers on the walls. Older sisters who wore bras, brothers who listened to Cheech and Chong, other brothers who were allowed to smoke, a hippie sister who kept a pottery wheel in one of the downstairs bathrooms. Bean bag chairs.

Upstairs, there was a more concerted effort at order. I remember flowers in vases, watercolours on the walls, a sofa that had no toys or Cheerios within 15 feet of it. The floor was clean. The kitchen floor.....was waxed.

Not what I noticed first, though, when I tromped into the kitchen to get a glass of water. As it turns out, I tromped right across a freshly waxed floor that the Mrs had hired someone to do for her, and then back again on my way downstairs. I had no idea until I heard the scream.


I don't think there are caps big enough to convey the decibel level of that shriek. And as loud as it was, the noise of it was nothing compared to the hysterical rage it conveyed. It was as though I had ruined a kitchen floor recently polished by the Nazgul.

I fled the house, fled--as it turns out--the long-standing friendship I enjoyed with the twins, fled the freedom of walking across the crescent park that separated our two houses, fled uncomplicated Halloweening routes, fled the ability to raise the blinds in my bedroom lest She be glaring out her kitchen window at me. As a Catholic schoolgirl, Lord knows I felt watched by All Kinds of Mysterious Powers, but none more so that Mrs W across the park.

And the thing is, she never forgave me. She never called to say sorry for frightening me, sorry that I didn't feel like I could be friends with her kids anymore, sorry that I never again went to her home after having practically lived there for a few years. She didn't look at me when we were at church. She didn't stop in snowstorms to offer me a ride home from school. She didn't offer to take me to Girl Guides with her kids. I was totally, completely cut off. What bugged me most about that situation, other than the fear, was that I knew I would never listen to Cheech and Chong again as there was NO WAY my mom would put up with that kind of language.

Looking back, I guess I can see that she was pissed with me. Probably having 8 kids of her own made her a little less sensitive to anyone else's. Maybe she really felt that her floor was the most important thing in the world. I don't know. Sometimes I can't quite believe that things really went down like that, but you know what? They really did.

The moral of this story is not that I never yell at my Kid's friends. It's that I don't give a shit what my kitchen floor looks like, and whoever wants to walk on it, in whatever state they or it happen to be in, well that person has my blessing. Come on in. Don't wipe your feet.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Fine then, V is for Vendetta (and Vegetable)

Vendettas. I'm kinda gifted at them. This is something that I've managed to keep a secret for a long time, because I think that the funniest jokes are the private ones, and the best revenge is always, always unlooked for and mysterious. Personally, I enjoy the mail-based revenge protocol.

My favorite thus far involved sending a serious of suggestive vegetable postcards to a weasely liar man in LA over a period of years, knowing that his psychotic redheaded girlfriend--the one who threatened to shoot my husband (SHOOT. HIM.) because he shouted into what turned out to be her bathroom window about possibly getting the music turned down so that we couldn't hear it across the courtyard in our own shower--would freak. Suggestive vegetables, you say? Oh yes, I do say.

Take a look, for example, at an artichoke:

One purple lipstick kiss at the back of the card. No signature.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lor.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Everyday a little miracle

Here is an oil slick on my driveway: courtesy the blinding rain/slush and my 1992 Toyota Camry:

And in the time it took to post that photo, the slush has turned to outright snow. Apple blossoms in the snow. Another of the universe's little miracles. This place is full of them.

With God as my witness

I swear: getting that Kid out the door in the morning will be the death of me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

V is for Giving Up

Haven't written for a while on this thing because I have been daunted by "V." Am officially giving up on alphabet thingy now. Since last we met, I have been on a gondola in an alpine windstorm, have been freaked out by vagina dentata face in a puppet show, have been freaked out by an inappropriate server name created by an anonymous neighbor (and have contemplated asking the police to come and raid all the bungalows on my block because there's a freak out there somewhere), have chased the coonhound out of a duckpond, have seen a moose, purchased Star Wars comic books for boys who cannot yet read, had an unpleasant conversation with a man we shall refer to as "Smelliot" (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE), experienced the heartbreak of chin hair, wept unwillingly over "Lost," and bleached my gramma's teacups. Life's rich pageant.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Kid's new career ambition: platinum miner. He's been reading the beautiful D'Aulaires' Book of Norse Myths and playing with his Lego Power Miners and Castle sets rather a lot lately and now wishes, I think, to be a vengeful and avaricious dwarf. Which he pronounces "dorf." I kind of go out of my way to make him say that. And "big bad woof." Moving along.

So I've been noticing vengeful dorfs popping up in the strangest places around the house. One poked at me with a sword as I was doing laundry. Another jumped on me while I was sleeping the other day. It yelled "Where are my diamonds??" WHERE ARE MINE? was the obvious response.

Lor, what do dorfs eat?

I could see him out in the back yard an hour later, thinking about it.

Lor, do dorfs have mommies?
They do not. They are born by banging two rocks together and chanting "dorf dorf dorf."

My favorite dorf-related artifact so far:

"Dorf v. Caterpillar: Battle to the Death" is the working title.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Time (is on his side)

"Time's on my side, Lor."

Thus spake my six year old just now, quite calmly, as we were engaging in a rare bedtime battle. I was trying to impress upon him the idea that my will is adamant, that there was no way he could wear me down. There was no way in the world I would be bringing him a chewy multivitamin, another strawberry, a tall glass of milk, one of his 17 thousand puffles, a new/cooler pillow, a flashlight, his water pistol, a skipping rope, the "J" volume of Encyclopedia Britannica.

I finished my rant and there was silence on the other side of the door. There still is, as I write this. I'm sitting here in silence thinking about the undeniable fact that time is, in fact, on his side and not mine.

And that one day all I will wish for is to be able to bring him a tall glass of milk and his water pistol.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Speedy Gonzalez

Tonight, right here at the Voodoo Bungalow, we are holding a Seveno de Mayo celebration. As a family of Central European/British/French/German/American immigrants all living in Canada, it's refreshingly quirky of us, don't you think? We couldn't hold it on Cinco de Mayo because of soccer. Which is what I think actually happened at the Battle of Pueblo. The French were playing soccer and weren't paying the slightest bit of attention to General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín and his unlikely band of Mexicans who weren't even a little bit interested in being occupied by the French and their mustachioed Maximilian. Can't say as I blame them. The real reason for us celebrating is that Speedy Gonzalez is a special favorite of mine and my sisters.

Speedy Gonzalez eez a friend of evereebodeez seestor.

As a sidenote, I think I may just have scored straight 10s on the "British/Ukrainian making of Oaxacan mole" portion of the program.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Really good story

To switch things up this evening, Kid told me a bedtime story. I was falling asleep and was snuggling Ruffy, the well-loved stuffed terrier. If this were a story by The Bloggess, the terrier would be a real terrier, probably armed with a dictaphone or a tennis racket, but our love of taxidermy as interior decoration has dwindled recently. We're probably not getting enough Vitamin D. That seems to be behind almost every ailment you can think of these days, and I can think of a lot. For instance, the toe I broke a few months ago started inexplicably throbbing this afternoon, and I instantly realized that it was because cancer had gotten into the crack in the toe bone and that if I had only put my foot out the car window when we were driving to the mountains every weekend it would have gotten the right amount of sun and its Vitamin D level would be just fine and now I wouldn't be dying of toe bone crack cancer. And I couldn't even go out to charge it back up again because it has been snowing sideways here for two days.

So the story I was being told--and I was told in "story voice," with that look of measured authority, that this was a true story--was about the Prince of the Golden Entrance. His boat was solid gold, with silver masts and sails made of flower petals. He was not just a prince, but also a magician, the most powerful in his land, and also the man with the best heart. He was the goodest person anyone had ever known. But there was a song that pulled at his heart and he thought that the singer must be one of the mermaids he'd heard so much about, who lived on a misty pillar of granite that emerged from the sea at the edge of the world.

My son is so sensitive and poetic, I smiled happily to myself.

I must have drifted off there for a moment on that blissful thought.

I awoke because my little poet was up on his knees in his bed yelling BLAM BLAM BLAM BLAM! and CHOP CHOP CHOP CHOP!

What on earth?!?!?

It turns out that an attack helicopter carrying a thermal detonator was overhead. The mermaids had on their gas masks and were lobbing grenades. The prince sustained a major head wound and drownded.

The end.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Questions and answers

Question: WHere is the conference that I am writing about?

Answer: Germany

Question: Do I wish to struggle with German this morning before coffee, or do I wish to use the Google translate button?

Answer: Duh.

Question: So how would one get to this conference?


Arriving by car:

Type in your navigation system following address:

Oil resistant lock on the white way

A manor

D-38 271 Baddeckenstedt

Thank you, that clears it up nicely.

(Anyone going to the 2b Ahead Conference in Baddeckenstedt, head here: Schloss Oelber am weißen Wege

Rittergut 1)

The journey time is 30 minutes from Hanover, of Brunswick, 20 minutes.