Sorry guys

In the elevator at work just now, a man held the doors for a few seconds to finish talking to a colleague. He apologised for holding the door but what he really should have said he was sorry about was his ridiculous tiny ponytail, the circumference of which is smaller than my pinky finger and sits behind his mullet. He is an older man with a good amount of gray hair and a charming English accent. He successfully sabotaged his attractiveness by choosing a very unfortunate hair style.

With some people it’s easy to discern when were their heydays.

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Thanks dear

Is it just me who gets offended when some men call me dear?

These men calling me dear are NOT:
Related to me through blood, marriage, or friendship.
Older than 70 years.

These men ARE:
Hired by me, paid by me & husband.

I talked to husband about this phenomenon last night. I surmised he must have been outright dismissed for being the wrong sex, among women. I myself have dismissed a man with the wave of my hand and a scoff, for having the gall to suppose he knows what it’s like to grow and birth a human, then feed said human from one’s body. So I’m guilty of being dismissive as well.

It’s among male trades people who I’m dismissed for being a woman, for lacking the customs with which men feel most comfortable (the handshakes, the stance, the jocularity that lacks any sort of sexual tension, the implied knowledge of tools, motors, finances, and hard physical work). Do some men really think that being a mother is physically easy?

(I’ll be the first to admit I’m not mechanically inclined. Hell, I’m DISinclined at the best of times. I’m sorry, what? You want me to assemble a piece of furniture? How about I drink a Strongbow instead?)

However! I know a lot about home renos, having lived through a 7-year reno of my own, during which I birthed 2 babies. At one point when my first baby was 8 months old, I was without a kitchen for about 3 weeks. The fridge was in the living room and we had no sink.

In short I have demolished a brick fireplace and various walls, patched, painted, lugged bags of cement powder, inhaled my share of drywall dust, dug post holes, dug footings, mixed cement, drilled holes, and I know way too much about wood finishes. When a tradesman tries to gloss over or mislead me about a job, I usually let him speak and then tell him I know he is bullshitting me. Nicely, of course.

The latest incident during which I was dismissed, the painter actually listened to my request for putting a semi-gloss on the window sills and doors (instead of a matte paint), and then purposely ignored my requests. I found out later when husband had the same conversation with him and the painter acted like this information was new. @#$% The work got done as we wished, and I’m going to stay focussed on that positive result.

Our employment, our nakedness

I have remarked before that I would feel naked without my job and I wouldn’t know what to do with my time. My dependency on my job to fill my weekdays is obvious and predictable. After all I’ve been working full time for many years, with a little time off to have babies in that time. I recall when I started my first maternity leave I was fearful of being bored. I thank all of my friends who were already parents for refraining from slapping me. The problem would not be boredom, it would be learning what activities with which to fill my weekdays while the rest of the world was occupied with their traditional employment. I gradually began to LOVE shopping on weekdays while the rest of the world toiled away in cube farms. No line ups, light traffic, peaceful trips around the shiny clean empty grocery store, taking my time choosing food items. I was also outdoors a lot, having 2 little kids and a dog that all needed airing out. Plus the crying, wailing and barking were much quieter when the noise was not bouncing off walls. I’m also a loner. Babies and dogs don’t make much conversation.

When it was time for me to go back to work after each maternity leave, I died a little inside. I had to get acclimated to being indoors all the time, in front of a screen, churning out work that seemed rather meaningless, and spending time away from my offspring, beloved home and neighbourhood. But I did in fact get used to the cube farm once again, and accepted my fate. Nowadays I don’t know who I am if I’m not employed.

I live in a community that, while expensive to live in (since it’s in a city and real estate is in high demand) still contains many retro nuclear families where the mother stays home and the daddy goes off to work. When I think about being in that position I wonder about what I would do to fill my time. I dislike cooking, sometimes enjoy baking, amazing at cleaning but hate doing it, and oh my god please do not sign me up to volunteer for a field trip or a school activity. My neighbour remarked recently that I seem to love kids. I corrected her; I love MY kids. I can be myself with my kids. I can be in a bad mood, I can be relaxed, I can have a good time with them because I know what to expect and there are only 4 of them that I see regularly. But being put in a situation with 10 or more kids and I’m in my own personal hell; being asked many questions and having my sleeve tugged on and being surrounded by a cacophony of extremely-boring-exciting-for-the-speaker-conversations. Kids are more likely to exhibit asshole behaviour when their own parents aren’t around. No thanks very much I’ll take a pass.

Pushing against being a cube farmer is tiring. I’m paddling against a very hard tide when I try to think of other ways to provide for my family and fill my time. Part of the process for me to be more creative earning income is to sell our home at a profit and move. We have re-started the process of ‘fluffing’ our house. We thought we were done, but because of a lack of offers from buyers, we are having the interior of our house painted to bump it up a notch and perhaps spur some new interest. So far this entire house process (including looking for months, finding the new place, and now selling the old place) has taken a very long time. During this very long time I have been alternately not telling the offspring about some events (which is very hard for me) and then telling them about others and getting their buy-in for our big move. I have been somewhat successful in explaining and convincing everyone around me (including friends, parents, kids of all ages) that husband and I are conducting this transformation to benefit our family. But not everyone remains convinced nor understands the humongous undertaking, nor is happy about the upcoming move. And if we don’t sell our house for the price we want/need to make the move worthwhile, we are not going to move at all. So all of my effort will have been for naught. I think that’s what offends me the most.

But I am tired of fighting. If our house doesn’t sell, we won’t move, and I will slide back into cube farm life pretty easily. Currently I’m bristling against my collar but soon enough that feeling will go away if my life gets easier because we are not moving. I actually don’t care anymore about changing my world and that of my immediate circle. I will fluff the house one last time and then I throw in the towel. Fuck it.

Another day of fooling my midgets into thinking I’m cool

…or at least current. I still don’t understand why my kids think I’m so great. They listen to me, they take my advice, they like spending time with me. I don’t remember feeling that way about my own mother. Her experiences seemed irrelevant to me; outdated at least and stupid at most.

Boy midget often comes home to eat lunch and then rides his scooter back to school for his afternoon classes. He is so freaking happy when he arrives at our house to see me working from home. He hugs me, looks at me with love in his eyes, and is sad to leave for school. Boy midget is 12 years old. Girl midget, nearly 10 years old now, is much more standoffish and yet still more affectionate than one would expect, given her Machiavellian personality. I used to say she was sent to me to teach me patience. I remembered this last week when she confounded me yet again with an emotional outburst. At any rate, Mommy rules supreme in girl midget’s world for the time being. I won’t fool myself into thinking she will remain this way through the teen years.

A couple of weeks ago I was walking with girl midget outside during a cloudy, humid day. It had just rained outside so the sidewalk was wet, but the temperature was increasing. She remarked how much the weather reminded her of Peru. This reminded me of how much travel I have done with my children. Some people spend on their homes, some on cars. We spend on travel, that’s obvious even to people who don’t have access to my visa bills. You know what’s funny though? We hardly ever leave our city to do shorter trips, such as visiting my parents or other relatives. By the time I get to the weekend after working all week, I do not want to plan, drive, or accept anything less than the comfort of my own home. This bothers my parents because they want to see me. I do want to see them. I’m just not physically capable of accommodating these requests.

Every morning is a struggle for me to get out of bed, get everyone else out of bed, and push everyone (including myself) out the door into the world. The people around me forget I have an inner war going on every day because I am terribly amazing at faking normalcy. Push push push. Every day I’m Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill. Add any stress or upset to my schedule of wake, let dogs out, take meds, get kids up, and I practically fall apart. Even when the upset to my schedule is for a good reason, a happy reason, in my head I am coping, not enjoying. I think that’s the most important point for my loved ones to remember: disruption to my morning routine and weekend relaxation routine causes me more stress than it intends to alleviate. My kids all know I take meds to stabilize my daily moods and prevent me from getting overwhelmed by the slightest blip. But of course they can’t understand the depth of my chronic illness. I doubt anyone can, even other depressed people. I’m pretty great at pasting a smile on my face and getting on with my life, thank goodness.

Family Time

I’ve written this before here that my Mom considers my current situation to be my golden/good years. Because later on all of my chicks will have flown the nest and I’ll be, what exactly?

Is life really that boring without your kids around constantly? Yesterday was a holiday here and I spent a good deal of time with 2 of the offspring. It was pleasant for sure. Fine weather, no puberty, beach, ice cream and wonderful happy husband.

But would my days be less fun without the midgets around? I have doubts. I have always been a working mother and so am used to not spending all day with my midgets. Add to that their dad and I share custody so I see them only half of every week. They are certainly independent little stinkers. As am I.

For some reason I always need a project. A goal to focus on to make my life better, more grand, more perfect. Staying the same = being stagnant.

We distract ourselves with Halo, Lainey Gossip, Etsy and tv. I feel time ticking. I have a fire in my belly to blaze new trails for me and mine. I have always had this passion and I finally have a partner who is entrepreneurial as well. He and I often think of business ideas and solutions, mostly hypothetical but interesting nonetheless.

Have I really gone to uni for 5 years and busted my ass to pay for it just to get a regular job? It would appear to be a yes there. No shame in that at all. Many of my forefathers and mothers didn’t have this opportunity and in fact I am the first person in my family to finish a post secondary degree. This is my secret shame then- that I’m an ingrate.

I have everything I once imagined for myself. But dreams and goals evolve over time. It’s the classic human problem: give someone a bed and then they want a blanket. Give them a blanket and they want a pillow.

Wet hair = catching a cold?

Emphatically NO. We have all of these people on Twitter debating the existence of God, and no one is addressing the myth that having wet hair on a cold day causes a cold. Check this out, I’ll wait: http://answers.webmd.com/answers/5006426/does-going-outside-in-40-degrees-after-working-out-you-are-still-sweating-no-jacket-contribute-to-catching-a-cold?guid=3

So before we debate over-arching themes of theism vs atheism, let’s resolve some smaller myths. For those of you unfamiliar with http://www.snopes.com, you have some reading to do. After that you can jump onto Twitter and debate with any number of religious and atheist tweeters.

Remain calm, cool, and lively

Mostly I want to sleep. It’s an avoidance strategy many depressed people employ, so it’s not surprising I want to go to sleep for the next week or so. ‘Wake me up when it’s over’ never sounded so good as when I’m selling my house.

I’m of course still taking my meds (and I will do so until the end of my days, I’m sure – or until a medical alternative is found), and I hate to think of what I would be acting like without those in my system.

Every morning after getting ready like we always do, we then commence making our house look like no one lives there. Nothing on the kitchen countertops, nothing on the bathroom sink except liquid soap that I don’t even like the smell of but the colour is the right one so I bought it. If a house appointment is happening, I receive an email from the realtor’s admin. Today we had nothing. Yesterday we had 1. Tomorrow we have 2. So I will pack up the dogs, their bowls and their big bed and head over to husband’s store to hang out for the day. Pickle, our wiener dog, is a great ‘store dog’. She is little and cute and therefore not intimidating to anyone. She didn’t even bark when people came in, which, let me tell you, is unbelievable. I was there and I still don’t believe it.

Ellie, our coonhound/golden cross, is a major pussy. She is afraid of everyone and everything, especially if it moves quickly. Oh except for squirrels and other wild life. Those she actively hunts. She once had a mouthful of feathers from a lucky bird that escaped from within her massive jowls. But people, cars, car doors, house doors, distant footsteps, horn honks, and ANY OTHER loud noise causes her to cower. Predictably, she is a wreck during thunderstorms and fireworks. She pants so hard I am shocked she has never passed out. Having never had her at the store for longer than 15 minutes, I don’t know what she will be like tomorrow all day. Because she is large and has big scars on her face (from trying to get under a barbed wire fence when she was younger because she is also not smart), she looks mean. People have asked me if she is an ex-fighter dog. Um no. She is incredibly loyal to me and acts lovingly toward me at all times, but if I stamp my foot on the floor she will limp away in a hurry. This is the dog that spent days and days with me when my ankle was in a cast, and we formed a bond. But none of that matters to her when I stamp my foot because obviously I have turned into an evil monster that plans to eat her alive. AAAAHHHH!!!! Run for your lives!!!!

Vitamins T, E, O, K and P

These are my glory years. My mother has told me that many times, and sometimes I believe it. There is so much activity in my house and in my daily life.

I think we adults are so used to being in a box that we forget we have the power to get outside it when we want to. This afternoon, accompanied by my daughter and stepdaughter, we picked up a giant jaw-breaker, an iced coffee, and an ice cream cone, then went to the beach with the 2 dogs. Once there we lounged on the sand and soaked up the rays, view of the water, and feel of the sand. My little girl climbed a nearby lifeguard tower while the dogs ran around on the sand and in the shallow coastline of lake Ontario. At one point we were all congregated in one place on the sand, and while I used my purse as a pillow my little girl used me as pillow and the dogs came and went, their legs covered in wet sand. Stepdaughter lounged nearby. Such a wonderful interlude on an ordinary Wednesday afternoon. My mood is relaxed and serene regardless of all the motherhood machinations I must get through tonight – dinner, Scouts drop-off, laundry, bedtime.

It’s so easy to make life more pleasant; all we have to do is remember we have the power to do so.