Monday, April 25, 2011

What we cannot do

Easter brought many delicious things, including the sweet sweet knowledge of what we cannot do here in the voodoo bungalow:
1. I cannot resist candy-coated chocolate eggs, even if it is 7 in the morning and I have a hangover.
2. I cannot get the image of the time the pig's head snouted me in the knee in Paris out of my head when contemplating a bagful of brisket. Lots of prepositions there, yes: but I believe my meaning is clear. 8 pounds of raw brisket = metaphysical barf.
3. Kid cannot stay out of puddles, even if he is (temporarily) in the last pair of dry footwear he owns and even if that means he is in the park in wet bunny slippers.
4. DH cannot keep from putting ancho in everything.
5. Kid cannot keep from whacking elderly people in the knees with plastic ninja swords. Nor can he stop saying "damn" if they should for once actually have their hearing aides turned on.
6. DH cannot see that the green napkins do not in fact go with the orange and blue tablecloth.
7. None of us is capable of watching the Canucks win, but that is the fault of some Nordic twins and not our own, except in sort of an ancilliary way.
8. Gramma cannot keep from asking if we have things like paper towels, water, salt. Relieved to confirm that we could identify and produce all items.
9. We cannot be trusted to drink Orangina in the basement unsupervised.
10. Most of us cannot leave the bungalow without commenting that the last step there is pretty wobbly and is perhaps right on the verge that very moment of collapsing, as it has been threatening to do for six years now.
11. And finally, many of us cannot give a damn about the dishes until the morning, at which point we all feverishly hope to outwait the others by faking illnesses of wildly various provenance. This year, I had dengue fever for three hours.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


--Bye, sweetheart. Have a good morning at school--learn everything!
--You mean like ALL the secrets of the universe?
--You have to start somewhere, kid.
--Yeah, but ALL THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE? That would take me at least. . . . 7 days. Maybe even a whole month.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just in case

Spring cleaning at the voodoo bungalow is no small thing. We are all messy people with squirrel-like proclivities--there are, in fact, peanuts stuffed down the sides of the couch, just in case. Luke never met a photocopied conference programme from 1987 or a grade sheet from three years back in a different country that he didn't want to keep, just in case. Elvis hides socks all over the place, just in case. I cannot throw out anything that has the handwriting of a loved one, just in case. (Just in case it turns out to be the last thing they wrote or just in case my action starts the wheel turning and something bad happens next. I am clearly the craziest one. Yay me!)

But this year I'm getting serious about this whole down-sizing thing. That means it is time to say goodbye to some of the mommy hoard.
--plastic bag full of baby spoons, one with a tiny toothmark. I don't know if this is Lief's toothmark or one that was there when the spoon was passed down. I might have been hoarding a spoon with my 15yo niece's toothmark on it, which would cause her to roll her eyes and say "Eww, gross."
--two pieces of gravel that might have been given to me/thrown at me by my baby at the swings park. Or might have simply fallen out of one of his socks.
--one "Tiny Swimmer" disposable bathing suit in size 9mo. I kept it because "tiny swimmer" reminded me bitterly of how I got to be in the predicament of being in my bathing suit, lumpy and old and disheveled and now also wet, in public, with strangers, at 8.30 on a Wednesday morning, in the FIRST PLACE. One of the things I'd like to have less of is bitterness.
--that's not true. I love bitterness. It smells like victory. I want more.
--the earring that Lief found underneath our table at Brava, the first time he went anywhere with us. That was also the last time he went anywhere with us, for a very long time. That was the night he also found and ate someone's lipstick under the table at Brava. Well, he actually found it in someone else's purse under someone else's table at Brava. . . . It was actually a really nice shade and I kept it to try and match it against different brands at the cosmetics counter at the downtown Bay one afternoon. This is an episode in my life that I should probably try to forget. Farewell, baggie containing someone else's half-eaten lipstick from 6.5 years ago!
Scared yet?
I originally wrote "sacred yet?" And now I'm worried that there are no mistakes, Freud is 100% spot on and if I throw these things out I will be losing some holy part of my life. Something sacred and memorable, deep, religious, chthonic, powerful. I could be losing something important forever.
Good enough.
Out. The. Door.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hello again

Been a little quiet here because I've been making Life Decisions, which seem to involve taking a lot of long silent walks, listening to mopey alt rock and buying expensive tiles for the kitchen reno. 
I've been weighing this choice: take a full-time job with a nice big soul-less company and rake in the cash that everyone keeps telling me I could be making and deserve, or settle down more deeply into the life I'm already living, a life that revolves around this house and the people in it--people who are perhaps often cash-strapped but otherwise pretty happy. And maybe about to be a little more cash-strapped than before. 
Because I think I'm done now. I do not much care about career trajectories and SEO, blog traffic, my personal brand, what I could be doing today if I'd made different choices a decade ago. I think I have enough. I think it's all going to be okay. I'm going to work, sure, but I'm also going to write, I'm going to read, I'm going to be there at the school when volunteers are needed to make papier mache and go on field trips. I will be there for my elderly parents. I think that's what I'm supposed to be doing right now. It's all become a huge competition: who writes the most words? who gets paid the most? whose car is nicer and who lives in a bigger house? Are those Pradas? I think if I spend any more time with problems like that, I will make myself permanently damaged. Like, eyes hanging out of my green skull damaged. In the end it comes down to this: what behavior do I want to model for my child? I want him to see a happy grownup who helps out in the community, has a good circle of friends, honours her intellectual pursuits and doesn't let money run her life. Or ruin it. . . . she says, quickly, lest anyone get the idea that the whole freelancer thing is off. It isn't. It's just slipped down a gear or two.
And now, a walk in the spring sunshine. Hope you all get to do the same, whether or not your kids are watching.