Write What You Woe

So it’s Saturday again. The house is relatively clean. The yard is somewhat under control, and, given the huge dump of rain last night, inaccessible. And I am faced with an entire day to accomplish something.

I could write. That sounds wonderful. I did have a tooth pulled two days ago, and the thought of spending a day inside my head, instead of grinding my jaw in some physical effort, perhaps with a bottle of wine – or whatever else happens to need finishing in the fridge – is nothing short of titillating.

IMG_1760But alas, from where I sit with my laptop, I cannot seem to avoid the pile of crap that is my desk, peeking at me from over my screen. How can I possibly string two thoughts together with that screaming at me. Worse, at the bottom of the heap, is my budget and banking file, sobbing woefully from neglect. I should work on that today.

But to do that, I have to wade through the mess, tidy and file, sign and read, and make room for the process that keeps this whole place running.

When I designed the cabinet that houses my desk, it was with the intent to also build a rolling cart that fits perfectly under the counter, perfectly embracing everything from pens and markers, to printer and paper. The cart rolls out when I’m working, and back in when I’m not, without my having to put everything away each time.

Of course, I could build the cart today. If the garage was cleaned out. My little home away from home got away from me again this summer, what with the distraction of a cross-country trip and all. It needs a dump run. And a lumber cart.

I have designed a perfect lumber cart that will hold and keep sorted all of the scrap lumber, piping, and sheet panels I have collected over the years. In fact, I have enough scrap lumber, piping, and sheet panels to build said cart. I just can’t get at it because it’s buried throughout the garage, unorganized, and wishing it had a nice cart on which to wait for my next burst of inspiration.

Thankfully, though, the drawings and materials list to build the lumber cart are easily at hand, buried somewhere on my desk. I will find them, as soon as I move everything into my new desk cart. Which I can build as soon as I clean out the garage. Which I will do as soon as I build the lumber cart.

In the end, it’s probably just as well that I have the incredibly impressive ability to type with my eyes closed.

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I’ll go with white wine, though. Just in case I tip the glass while feeling around in the dark. I’m pretty sure the steam-cleaner’s in the garage, too.

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Happy (real) Mothers Day!

I’m sitting here listening to the quiet and sluggish sounds of the kids eating breakfast and getting ready for their day. Somehow, the excitement of the first day of school has changed drastically, yet imperceptibly, over the years. With two moved out, one away to university, and the last two starting high school today, everyone is one step closer to the front door. My latest mantra? “Everybody! Out of the house! (I love you, but you all have to go…)” They get it. They’re ready. I’ve made sure of that…

But there was that year that I had all five of them at the same school, in the same place, at the same time, all day, every day. Ohhh, that was a good year. They spanned the student body, from first to eighth grades. As Parent Council Chair, everyone else seemed to automatically defer to me as the expert. I got a lot done that year.

It was hard-earned. And I knew it would go quickly; I was only ever going to get that one and only year of ease, comfort, and routine. I saw it coming. Realized the gold value of it right about the second day of kindergarten, when I was bundling and trotting two kids to school every morning, taking one back home, taking that one back at lunch, bringing them both home, feeding them lunch, trotting them both back over to school, leaving the other one,…. well, you get the idea. Every day. In all weather. For a year.

I know. I chose to have kids. But in my defence, no one ever manages to think through all the little crappy details.

And so, on the third day, I downloaded a countdown app on my phone. And I set the thing for the first day of grade one.

362 days. And counting.

Every time I felt the pressure and despair of the daily grind, I’d check the screen.

361 days.

Halloween came and went. Threw an awesome party for the kids. Christmas. Valentine’s Day. The milestones were ticking off the calendar. March Break. 171 days.

Summer relief lasted 37 hours. With teacher dad and all five kids home in my hair for two months, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I am no entertainment director, though I did learn the secret to keeping kids busy 24/7 with ease and a big long chore list! 70 days.

30 days.

Back to school shopping. Good and early, smiling all the way through WalMart. Erasers for everyone!!!

5 days. The grumbling started. Rooms to clean. Laundry to be done. Clothes to try on/throw out/replace. Groceries to be replenished. So much work.

1 more day.

I couldn’t sleep. For the first time since motherhood set in, I was going to be by myself. Completely alone. For five and one half solid hours. I had a plan: celebratory breakfast with the moms, a long hot shower, crepes for lunch, maybe a little tv – something R-rated. Oh yes, this was going to be a good day.

As I happily escorted the children down the street, that fine September morning so many years ago, my feet barely touching the sidewalk, my good friend and neighbour waved from her porch.

“You’re looking mighty happy this morning,” she called.

“11 minutes ’til the first day of school!” I bubbled.

“YES!” she agreed. “I just saw your husband; he didn’t look quite so enthused.”

“I know! Did he even talk to you?”

“Oh yeah. And then mumbled something that sounded like, ‘302 days until summer…'”

Yeah, he used to be a morning person…

So as I watched the kids line up and disappear into the big double doors of scholarly bliss, I heard the choking sobs of some of the other moms waving goodbye to their offspring like they would never see them again. I had the dubious privilege of having five incredibly well adjusted, confident kids; never understood the separation anxiety. But I tried to respect theirs, as I went around the corner of the building to flip a few cartwheels. I skipped back home with the weight of the world sliding right off my back like water on a duck.

Putting the key in the front door, my phone beeped with a text from my husband.

‘Happy Mothers Day ;)’

‘I love you too X)’

My last two highschoolers are now watching me type; they’re ready a half hour early, and I know that’ll pass. But the celebratory breakfast is a mere hour away. The house will be empty, even if just for a few hours. And I do know, that when everyone has gone and moved on, and there will be times that I’ll miss them, I also know that I will have earned the right to sleep in a little, eat the good jam, and shower with the door open.

Happy (real) Mother’s Day everyone!!

7 New Old Wives Tales I Swear By

Or,

Things I’m Pretty Sure I’ve Learned As A Mom

There are the old worn bits of wisdom, passed down through the ages that we all know and love. You know, masturbation will cause hairy palms, going outside with wet hair will cause one to catch a cold, your face will stick like that…. We’ve all heard them. And most of us still take heed, even though we know there’s no scientific proof to back them up.

But if you think about it, there is. Old wives tales are years of advice from ancient moms. Of course it’s bad luck to open an umbrella in the house. It flips open and you’re sure to break something, bringing down the wrath of mom, and that is always bad luck. You can’t catch a virus from having cold wet hair, but you can get hypothermia, frostbite, and headaches if it’s cold and wet enough. Mom never had time to explain all that as you escaped every morning. Easier to scream, “Ye’ll catchyer death o’ cold, ye wee heathen!!” dr mom

So, all in all, believe them or not, most old wives’ tales are not just silly old stories passed down from generation to generation. In fact, I firmly believe that we are still discovering these little gems of advantage, but are so trained to reject them because of our 21st Century enlightenment that we could well be missing the obvious amongst our modern infinite wisdom. I would like to share a few of my own lessons learned from a collective 65 years of motherhood. Not that I am in any position to be giving any kind of health advice to anyone – these are conclusions based on my own limited experience. And for the record, my doctor thinks I’m a quack.But let me know what you think.

You Can Smell When Your Child Is Sick

This is huge. Mother’s Intuition is a Super Power. You have it – use it!!! If you think your child is up to no good, ask them if they’re not sure they’d like to confess something. You’ll be in for a surprise. Just like you can sniff out infection. You know what your child smells like. And he smells like no other. Hold someone else’s newborn and you know immediately that it’s not quite the same as holding your own. Diapers are a nasty business at times. But you know what your little man’s smell like. If it smells off – sweeter, bitter, anything – pay attention. There could be a fever right around the corner.

Hugging Is Good For The Heart – For Real

snoopyHave you ever noticed how calming it is to just sit and hug someone? To curl up on the couch with a loved one? To hold a frightened or sick child close? Listen closely next time. Hearts beat with their own electric pulse. When two hearts are close to each other, the electric fields connect, and the hearts fall into beat with each other, synchronized and rhythmic, determined and stronger. We all have and need built-in recharging stations!

Red Wine Cures Headaches

At least if it’s cold. Red wine, usually served at room temperature, can leave those susceptible with nasty hangovers. But cold red wine, with its more potent kick, loosens the muscles and quickens the blood flow, creating a relaxing effect that eases most aches. Sure most alcohol will have the same effect to one extent or another, but a chilled merlot seriously kicks a headache in the ass.

You Can Cure Your Wart With Your Mind

When I was a kid, I had a wart on the middle knuckle of my right index finger. This was an issue because it seriously hampered my ability to throw a frisbee. My dad sat me down one day and told me to wish it away. Three times a day for seven days, wish the wart would go away. And it did. It was the only wart I ever had. So as a mom, I passed along this technique along to my kids. And save for the odd seriously grotesque plantar wart on a growing foot sole, this has worked every time. Perhaps simply because they trust and believe. Worth a try if there’s no emergency.

You Can Be Addicted To Sugar

Among the many listed symptoms of addiction listed, for example, in this article, fudgeI would point out that pretty much all of us are addicted to one extent or another. Not to make light of anyone’s addiction problems – and I’m serious in calling sugar my vice – there are a few signs I’d like to highlight to make my point. “The person takes the substance and cannot stop.” When was the last time you ate ONE jelly bean? “Denial.” Mmm hmm. “Obsession.” I know you hoard recipes on your Pinterest boards. And what about “Keeping stashes?” There’s the family cookie jar; and then there’s Mom’s Secret Stash. You don’t have to say anything. We know.

Water Cures Pretty Much Everything

My kids think this is hilarious. Virtually every ailment they present to me, is met with, ‘drink more water and see how it is in three days.’ Headache, joint pain, skin rash, stomach troubles, menstrual cramps, dry eyes, you name it. Unless they’re injured and/or bleeding, this is my go-to. And if they’re still complaining about it a day later, I’ll take it a little more seriously. This is the plan about 90% of the time.

Hiccups Mean You’re Growing

hiccup cureWhat? you ask. Yes. Think about it. Children get hiccups all the time. Adults, not so much. I’m not talking about the ones resulting from chugging an ice cold beer. I mean the ones that have you trying all sorts of ineffective remedies because the spasms are either painfully wracking the child or annoyingly interrupting your movie. They go on for up to ten minutes or more. And they leave the poor kid feeling exhausted. Pay attention. You’ll notice over the next few days that something doesn’t fit. Especially with babies – it’s more noticeable because they’re smaller.

And what about you, the adult hicupper? Check the scale. I’ll bet a day’s gardening that you’ve gained or lost a few, maybe 5-10, pounds. Tell me I’m wrong.

I personally consider all of these ideas to be truth, based on my personal experience. You are perfectly welcome to call me nuts. But I’ll bet you’ve got a few of your own. Share them in the comments. Don’t let me walk this quack path alone!