Doing it all. Or not. Whatever floats your boat.

I read a post the other day about work-outside-the-home moms, and how friggin’ hard it can be (duh), and how asking someone how she “does it all” can be a really awkward question to field.

I don’t know why.  The answer is obviously “artificial nanite enhancement”.

While I can definitely sympathize with some of the woes (I get to be the primary earner AND do most of the housework?  Yay!), I haven’t actually worked outside of the home full time since my son was born.  I got my years’ maternity leave, because Canada rocks, and then I went back to work part-time.  I bumped it up to four full days a week a little while later.  But that 5th day, I just couldn’t do it.  I needed that day, to actually hang out together as a family, to maybe go to the gym and do some writing.  Though it was sometimes a financial struggle, it was my own way of keeping the mythical work-life Balance. 

Which, by the way, everybody claims to be an advocate for, and says they totally understand and respect that things get left undone for the sake of Balance.  But the reaction I invariably got when I told people I only worked Tuesday to Friday was this:

“Oh!” (haughty sniff) “THAT must be nice.”

The implication being that I am somehow failing to “do it all”.  Clearly I must be living a life of privilege. 

It was usually at that point that I elected not to inform them that we had house cleaners, too. 

With the new job, I’ll finally be back to working a full week.  My mother has even bequeathed me her collection of Working Woman silk scarves from her own corporate days. (I was disappointed – I thought they were a standard-issue perk from the Corporate World.  I didn’t know you had to provide your own.)

(It sounds like a momentous occasion, this passing of the accessories, but the job is not that corporate.  I think my Mom just likes to get rid of her stuff.)

I am totally fine with the return to the full-time hours, by the way.  It’s time.  My kid needs the routine of daycare, and I need something that I can immerse myself in and be passionate about.  I just hope I don’t become one of those people who rolls their eyes when they encounter someone lucky enough to be forging their own mythical Balance.

And I’m going to have to hire the cleaners back.

So let the sun shine in/face it with a grin/smilers never lose/and you get to freak out the neighbours

My mother asked me this past weekend if I’d like any houseplants.  I politely declined, because despite my ability to grow a mean garden, greenery does not fare well within my humble abode.  Apparently, my capacity for keeping things alive inside the house only has three available openings.  Pre-child, this was:

1) Alfred

2) Dog

3) Houseplants.

Now that my son is around, the plants have been bumped off the list:

1) Child

2) Alfred

3) Dog.

Incidentally, the dog is really glad that we’re apparently unable to have any more kids.

My mother’s response when I told her I had trouble keeping houseplants alive was, “Well, it is pretty dark in your house”.  Which made me stop and think, because actually, it isn’t all that dark in my house.  It’s KEPT quite dark, because due to Alfred’s shift work and my the kid’s nap schedule there seems to be someone trying to sleep at any given moment.  But the house itself can be airy and bright, given the opportunity.  I’m just too lazy to be opening and closing the blinds all the damn time.

So, as attractive as my chocolate brown brocade drapes are*, I came home and made an elaborate show of swooshing them back and letting the sun shine in.



I realized two things:

1) Holy shit, it’s spring.

2) My windows are probably half the reason it’s dark in here.  There is a blur of dog-snot trails across the bottom 2 feet of glass.

We enjoyed our 5 minutes in the sun.  Then it was grey and snowed for 3 days.

Fucking spring.




*Actually more attractive than that makes them sound, thankyouverymuch.

Every single day

5:37am  Wide awake, inexplicably.  Like, really awake.

5:38am Briefly consider getting up to do yoga or something.

5:39am No, I’ll just lie here until my alarm goes off.  In…40 minutes.  Whatever, it’s probably the only quiet time I’ll have to just think all day.

5:41am Get into in-depth conversation with 3rd grade crush, over breakfast table at childhood home.  He is there to perform IT support for my mother, who is involved in some crucial political thing having to do with the 102nd celebration of International Women’s Day.  I am considering the socio-political ramifications of taking a bartending shift that Saturday night.

6:30am Wtf, alarm?  Why are you going off so early?

6:31am  Oh.

6:32am Hit Snooze.

6:38am Hit Snooze.

6:43am Hit Snooze.

6:48am Hit Dismiss.

7:06am Wtf!  Stupid alarm.  Now I’ve slept in, THANKS A LOT.

7:07am Consider not having shower.

7:08am Remember I’ve been faking it without one for 2 days already.

7:09am Get into shower.

7:11am Wonder why on earth hubby has purchased AXE products.  AXE products, really?

7:20am I should probably get out of the shower now.

7:25am Get out of shower. 

7:26am Attempt to wake up 3-year-old.  Stroke his hair, whisper gently.

7:28am Put on makeup.

7:33am Attempt to wake up 3-year-old.  Shake gently, poke him in armpit.

7:35am Stumble around in dark bedroom looking for clothes.

7:40am Shake 3-year-old firmly.  Bribe him out of bed with toast and honey.

7:42am Burn toast.

7:44am Get into argument about why 3-year-old cannot wear same Lightning McQueen shirt for 4th day in a row.

7:48am Get into argument about pants.  Or lack thereof.

7:50am Get into argument about no, you can’t have more toast and honey, where do you get this dawdling habit from, will you please hurry up you are making us LAAAAAAAAAAAATTEEEEE.

7:52am Get into argument about no, you cannot take the time to walk backwards to the car.

7:58am Actually get into car.

8:04am Actually arrive at daycare.

8:24am Leave daycare, after spending 20 minutes consoling mercurial child who has declared daycare “scary” and having deflected demands to “make it rain”.

8:33am Arrive at work with carefully-crafted, heavily-child-blaming excuse as to why I am half an hour late.

8:34am Realize nobody cares.

8:35am Have coffee.

8:45am Write blog post.

NyQuil NyQuil NyQuil, we love you, you giant fucking Q*

I still feel like a buzzards butt that fell off and got sprayed on by a bunch of skunks**, so I went to the walk-in clinic this morning to procure my get-out-of-jail-free card.

"I pretty much just need a note that says I can go home and suffer in peace instead of dragging my diseased carcass into work," I told the doctor.

"Doctors don't just write notes," she admonished me. "We can help, too, you know!"

"Um...I'm pretty sure it's just a head cold. Last time I checked, you actually couldn't," I mumbled, but she just tut-tutted and wrote me a prescription for penicillin and a corticosteroid nasal spray. One of which is totally useless for a head cold and the other was forty-three dollars and also, totally useless.

"Great, thanks!" I said brightly, pocketing it. "Can I have my note now?"

So now I'm at home suffering in peace, like I asked in the first place. Anybody need a prescription for penicillin?

*Name that tune.

**Clearly I have not an original thought in my head today, mostly because it's filled with phlegm. Name that tune 2.

Wait, there's something happening tonight?

I've never been a big New Years partyer (over priced drinks for lackluster entertainment and the complete inability to find a cab! Whee!), or big on resolutions, either. So somehow it managed to escape me that today is not just the last day of the year, it's the last day of the decade.

I was going to post a summary of what I did this year, but in light of this sudden revelation, maybe I'll cover more ground.

So. What have I done in the last decade?

Travelled. Got a university degree, and a couple of tattoos. Snagged my soul mate, adopted an insane dog, bought a house and birthed probably the cutest kid ever (I'm still waiting for my award).

What have I done this past year?

*checks post history*

Uh...not a fuck of a lot, actually. Close to nothing, in fact. But hey - I blogged about it.

(I hereby resolve to do better next year.)

(I mean that in a "non-resolutiony" kind of way.)

My job is eating my soul, but I promised not to blog about work, so you get this

On Tuesday Cristin at Tiptoeing Through the Tulips did this thingie with her blog and I demanded to know how she'd done it. Of course she didn't answer me within 30 seconds so I got impatient and googled it and it's possible I've broken my blog template, but anything I can break that easily is not worth having.

At least that's what I always told myself about men.

Anyway. Right-clicky, please. I'll wait.

So there you have it. Now go read Cristin's blog, she's brutally honest and touching and wicked funny and she swears a lot. She may present me with some competition for Jason Mraz, but I think I can take her because she has that big heart.

A pox! A pestilence! A lack of Raaaaiiiiid!

Last year, we suffered a scourge of wasps. This year, the infestation appears to be flies.

Not the big, fat black flies that herald the presence of Beelzebub, but the smaller, more obnoxious kind. And they brought their underage cousins, the fruit flies, to the party. It's like Satan Lite around here.

I've no idea where they're coming from, if it's just a seasonal thing or what. Having a toddler who likes to hide his snacks probably doesn't help, but the dog is pretty on top of that situation, so I'm sure it's not just us. But you can't exactly ask around about these things, because inquiring as to whether your neighbours are also suffering from these tiny winged demons is tantamount to admitting that you're the worlds worst housekeeper. Which I am. But I have a cleaning service for that.

(I apparently don't feel the same kind of shame about admitting these things to you guys, though. You all seem incapable of judging me. Some days, I thoroughly expect to be judged, and then you're all supportive and "Oh, NO, honey, EVERYBODY has gross kitchen sinks and mice and drinks too much wine. You're fine." I kind of wonder if you're just speaking gently to me like you would someone who was a little simple, or standing on a window ledge or holding a knife to a kittens throat.)

Anyway. We have those really classy sticky strips hanging everywhere, but mostly I'm just waiting it out. Because in a few weeks, the temperature will plummet and nothing but the crazy and the well-insulated will survive.

It's pretty much the only good thing about living here in the winter.

I think I'm actually nervous about it

For Christmas, my parents gave me this cute little handmade gift certificate that entitled the bearer (me, duh) to one day's babysitting each month, provided I used that day to do something creative. In other words, I can't use it to nap or clean the house or watch the second season of Battlestar Galactica. I have to Be An Artist.

It's August, and I've only managed to claim 2 of those days so far (Apparently they don't stack. I should have read the fine print, I was totally psyched for dropping my kid off for a week). So, riding the wave of creative mental energy from my holiday, I corralled my father into supervising my spawn tomorrow while I Draw Some Comics. I'm just going to sit, and draw.

Now...if only I had any idea what to draw.

HASAY update: I've been rock rolled, which is not as cool as rick rolled

Ah, yes, HASAY. I was doing so well. Then, I hit an invisible wall of some sort, and now I'm a pathetic mime trying to find my way out. Or I'm whats-his-name, pushing the boulder up the hill in Hades, only now I've decided to just get it over with and let the damn rock squash me, because it's not THAT bad here in Hell, I can probably tune out the thirst and the country music, and at least I'll get to lay down for a little while.

I haven't started the cleanse yet, because the lady at the health food store said it was best to spend a week taking acidophilus (which I've totally been pronouncing wrong the whole time, THANKS FOR TELLING ME, guys) first. I'm doing that, and hubby volunteered himself to do the cleanse at the same time. We'll start Wednesday. It's nice that I'll have emotional backup, but you just know he's going to lose like, 20 lbs and look and feel great and I'll be lucky if I don't murder someone for their Skittles.

I need new running shoes in the worst way and I've been getting really painful shin splints any time I try to run or jump, so I haven't exactly been working out to the max, pushing the envelope, feeling the burn or any of those other good cliches. I'm hoping to remedy that this week too so I can get back on the gym track.

FoN said yesterday that her Trainer Lady is putting together a relay team for the city marathon, which is in September, and she needs one more person. Running a marathon is not something I expect or aim to achieve in my lifetime. Even a half marathon seems presumptuous on my part. But a piece of a marathon? That seems like an attainable goal, and Trainer Lady reassured FoN that we're not going to be the weak links on a team of lithe supermodels, it's just for the challenge and fun* of it. So, hopefully, once I get my shit back together, I can spend the summer working towards that. I think part of my problem was that once I 'gave up' on my weight goal, I kind of lost my motivation, so even if this particular relay team falls through I might seek out another or put one together myself.

I never used to trust people who ran; what the hell happened to me?

So the mind is willing, but the flesh is still weak. We'll see how it feels after two weeks of pooping out toxins.

*Isn't the English language fascinating? I mean, how one person can put the words 'marathon' and 'fun' together in a sentence without batting an eye and how another person would rather have their eyelids removed than equate the two? Yeah, enthralling.

My Secret Garden is not very secret

You know that saying, "Good fences make good neighbours"? I'd like to add a clause. Chain-link fences, despite their appeal for people like me (no maintenance! Can potentially be electrified in the event of the zombie apocalypse!), do not have the same effect.

Don't get me wrong. I really like our neighbours and their massive selection of tools that they lend freely chattiness. I really don't mind shooting the breeze when they're outside, except that they're the sort of leathery specimens who are outside all. the. fucking. time. Seriously. Unless there's hail or it's 40 below, they are outside from the asscrack of dawn until wee hours of the morning. And that chain link fence leaves me nowhere to hide.

"Oh, hey, how are ya? I mean, any different than when I saw you 20 minutes ago? No? Um, I'm just going to weed my garden here then and try not to provide you with any cleavage shots or blatant plumber butt, okay?"

"Oh, yeah, well, all those leaves...from last fall...I feel awkwardly obliged to comment on those, and how I swear I will be removing them soon, because normally you wouldn't see them at all but because of this fucking see-through fence they're providing a stark contrast to your immaculately manicured lawn. It must be nice to be retired, huh?"

Having said that, I'm really going to miss those people and their encyclopaedic knowledge of gardening friendly ways. Because as of next week, we get NEW neighbours. And I know practically nothing about them, except that they're a man and a woman who are just friends (this was relayed with a meaningful cough) and have some form of progeny (Age? Gender? Quantity? Potential to be hanging around the back alley with their thug friends? No idea). I hope they're not whackjobs.

I especially hope they're dog people, because my a dog. She doesn't "think she's people". She's well aware that she's a DOG, and that by definition she is obliged to bark at strangers, other dogs, the garbage truck, and stray scraps of paper. She enjoys her job. She also shits in the backyard, because I can't seem to get her to flush the toilet, and I get around to picking that up like, twice a year. Whether it needs it or not.

The existing neighbours are dog people, and have two dogs of their own. Theirs are better behaved (a rabid wolverine would be better behaved), but they're a lot more tolerant of her canine shenanigans than NON dog people would be. With the leaves and the dog poop and the generally dishevelled state of my yard, we're already perilously close to being those neighbours.

Think I can put up a new fence in a week?

Brush your teeth and stay in school, kids

Some of you may have noticed that we dismantled the Connoisseur du Jour site. It was just too much for someone who already has 3 blogs, a woman in her first trimester and someone whose gall bladder recently attacked her. A good idea, but bad timing.

While I was posting over there I accepted the "4 Week Crest/Oral-B Challenge" to use Crest and Oral-B products in an attempt to reduce my plaque levels. I posted my final tally about 4 days before CduJ got taken down, so they asked me if I would re-post it over here. And I said of course I would, because I totally don't have a post for tomorrow I'm accommodating like that.

In my initial checkup with the dentist he determined that my overall oral health is good, but that I had moderate plaque on my upper back molars. Also, that I had a fucking CAVITY. OF COURSE.

Here are the two posts detailing my experience with the Crest & Oral-B stuff, and of course the Final Result (dun dun DUN!):

Brusha Brusha Brusha! Crest and Oral-B clean up my potty mouth!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about starting the Crest/Oral-B Challenge. It's only really started now, well, yesterday, when I got my nifty care package dropped at my doorstep.

So - y'know, so far, so good.

My cool little box came with two Crest Pro-Health toothpastes, one for night and one for day, Crest Glide "Deep Clean" floss, and Crest Pro-Health alcohol-free mouthwash.

(Apparently my Oral-B Vitality Precision Clean toothbrush is arriving later, in its own limo. With its own posse of peeps. It's THAT COOL).

So the toothpastes, well, nothing revolutionary there. I mean, it's toothpaste. They do seem a bit gritty. The Pro-Health Night apparently does a better job than regular toothpaste of protecting your mouth at night from decay-causing bacteria. Both toothpastes have whitening benefits, too. Which is good, because apparently all this coffee and red wine I drink is starting to make me look like Snaggletooth.

(I wonder what happens if you mix the two toothpastes together? Do you think it's dangerous? I'm going to try it. Maybe it's like C-4).

The Glide floss is awesome, and I swear by it normally, though I've never used the "Deep Clean" variety. (How much deeper can you get without blood loss?). I still have all my wisdom teeth, which makes for a crowded mouth, but the Glide floss gets in there without shredding or getting stuck.

And, the Crest Pro-Health mouthwash. I am not a mouthwash person. I was pretty glad this stuff was alcohol-free, because the alcohol stuff? EEEEE!! THE BURNING! THE BUUUUURRRNINGG!! And the Pro-Health tastes pretty good - the gentle, sweeter mint of the light blue Trident rather than the holy-crap-smack-you-in-the-face mint of the recent 'extreme gum' trend. My issue with mouthwash normally - AND THIS IS JUST ME - is that about an hour after I use it, it tastes like something died in my mouth. Especially if I go to bed right afterwards. Then it's like something died, but threw up first.

But because I'm a dedicated little reviewer, I made the decision to use the mouthwash. I read the back of the bottle while I was swishing, and oh! hey! You're supposed to rinse with water afterwards. Which actually makes it tolerable. Less like something died in my mouth, and more like something furry just passed out there temporarily. Which is acceptable.

You learn something new every day.

(For more info, visit the Oral-B or Crest Pro-Health websites).

Crest and Oral-B: The Final Tally

If you've been with us for a little while, you know that I accepted a "Crest/Oral-B 4 Week Challenge" to use their products and attempt to improve my overall oral health and reduce my plaque.

This week was my final checkup. It was also my appointment to fix the cavity they found the first time. So I braved the dentist chair for you folks. (My dedication to you is unwavering, I know. You can show your appreciation with PayPal or chocolate).

The dentist's chair has a TV now - they even let you have the remote, albeit wrapped in plastic, but they don't get the Space channel and I don't know what else to watch during the day. I put it on some kind of talk show about a makeover subject who, 5 minutes into the show, needed major dental surgery. NOT HELPING. Switch to Oprah.

Enh...that doesn't help either, unless your goal is MORE pain.

Anyway. I put up with the needles and the stench of burning tooth enamel and the distinctly uncomfortable sensation of being able to bite as hard as you can on your own face and not feel it, because I wanted the verdict. Did Crest and Oral-B help me out?

And the answer is yes. Yes they did.

My oral hygiene was pretty good to start out with, but I had some plaque on my upper molars. And I'm pleased to report that in just 3 short weeks (what? I started late) the Oral B Precision Clean toothbrush and it's Crest compadres reduced that plaque to almost nothing. The brush head on the Oral B is small enough to get back far enough to even clean my wisdoms properly.

I was hoping for a whiter smile, but I do tend to sabotage any effort in that area with the amount of coffee and red wine I drink. And it was only three weeks. But I think Crest made a little difference.

So, what are you waiting for? It's still Oral Health Month for over a week* - get brushing!

*This is a complete and utter lie, but remember I originally posted that a while ago. Anyway, Dental Hygiene Month is OCTOBER in the US and September in the UK. So you have tons of time to think about your chompers.