Posted by: Hannah | 04/26/2015

stuff & nonsense

The sun came out yesterday morning, and this morning it’s here again. There is almost no snow left on my property (still plenty in the woods, I’m told) and the birds are singing like mad.

All of this has given the kids a burst of energy, and it is manifesting as non-stop chatterboxing. It’s intense even for them. Also Ron & George were sick for most of the week – they aren’t anymore, although George is on two puffers – and now that they are feeling better they are bouncing off the damn walls.

Today I’ll need to take them on a forced march through the wilderness, or something. My poor ears are ringing softly from the never-ending stream of consciousness pouring out of their mouths.

Speaking of never-ending streams of consciousness, my tenure as chair of the school advisory council is almost done. So close now… of course a Problem Requiring My Attention got dropped on me Thursday afternoon, and I’ve got some work to do for it today. This year will surely go down in the annals of history as one of the worst years any school council chair ever had to contend with. We’ve had the roof being replaced over the kids’ heads in a project that was supposed to take three months and actually took seven. We’ve had three “acting” principals. The PTA president was forced out in a hostile takeover. The police were called by a parent who felt that the drop-off / pick-up zone was too dangerous for kids (she’s not wrong, but still.)

I will be very glad to see the ass end of it, is what I’m saying.

My birthday is this Wednesday. I’ll be 37! And my 20th high school reunion is next summer so I’ve been humming “Sunrise, Sunset” a lot. I told Michael I only have a year to lose forty pounds and build my alcohol tolerance back up so I can have more than two drinks without praying for the sweet release of death the next morning. I plan to replace all of my food with booze as a way to kill two birds with one stone. (Kidding. Well, mostly. All the weight I so painstakingly lost last spring & summer has come back, and I’m just worn out at the thought of starting again. I know I have to, but fuck me, if I think how many years of my life I’ve spent thinking about my weight it gets really, really depressing.

Michael took me out shopping last night. I got a cute purse and some nice sandals, which was cheering. I haven’t actually had a proper purse in, well, years. (Diaper-bag chic is a thing, right?) And I’ve never, ever had a purse that wasn’t Black and Sensible. Go me!

Of course now the purse wants me to dress up and take it places, but today is laundry & chores. I don’t know how to carry a kicky purse while doing chores but there has to be a way, right?

Posted by: Hannah | 04/16/2015

oh Thursday, that has such people in it

I haven’t done a surly Thursday in a long time but here we are, it’s Thursday, and I’m surly, so I guess I’m allowed to rant and rave for a little while, right? Right.

Things that are bothering me to an unreasonable degree at the moment include:

The series finale of The Newsroom

Here’s the thing. I never watched The West Wing. My first exposure to Aaron Sorkin was via that Facebook movie. I know he’s incredibly polarizing, and I can see why, because The Newsroom can be summed up as “Aaron Sorkin has unflattering opinions about American cable news networks, and he would like to beat you over the head with them”. That said, I thought the first season had merit, and the second season was even better. I was looking forward to watching them hit their stride in season three.

Well, we watched it this week… the third and final season had only six episodes. Four were good. One was uncomfortable and made me really, really dislike a character I had previously loved, but hey, it was Sorkin making a point, so whatever.

The finale was so bad it stained backwards through the entire show like when you spill a cup of tea on your sister’s diary and somehow there is tea on every goddamn page. It had treacly sentiment. It had a surprise pregnancy. It had a Jeff Bridges musical number (yes, it fucking did, please don’t ask). It didn’t have Reese Lansing, a key character in the season three “we’re going to lose the network” subplot, which may have been because of Chris Messina’s busy schedule but it felt very obvious that he wasn’t there.

I will never again be able to think of this show without seeing Jeff Bridges standing up at Sam Waterston’s funeral, looking exactly like his character from Dumb & Dumber, because he’s poleaxed that he’s going to be a father. It wasn’t sweet. It was idiotic. SHAME ON ALL OF YOU, NEWSROOM CAST.

The smell of preschoolers

Charlie has a mild intolerance to kiwi fruit, in that every time he eats it he has explosive toxic acidic poo for about 24 hours. His mom keeps forgetting this and so about every three weeks, I suddenly have on my hands an adorable little shit-grenade who will go off at the drop of a hat, and I have to remind her – again – that he can’t digest kiwi fruit. We are currently at the tail end of another kiwi-poop cycle, so he smells just delightful. The other preschoolers aren’t much better. I don’t know if it’s an expensive time of year, or if the parents have just given up, but the lunches they are bringing lately are frankly depressing. Today Daisy had a peanut butter sandwich, a yogurt tube, a Fruit Roll-Up, and a chocolate-dipped granola bar. Her nap area had a green fug around it by the time I woke her up. They are all getting lots of sugar and no fresh produce, except for what I give them at snack time, and it’s horrifying. Yuck. When Ron and Arthur came home today they both commented on the smell in the house, because it’s not warm enough to open the windows today. Do you know how embarrassing it is to realize that your house smells like literal shit, all day long, because you have three little garbage-guts in your house farting and pooping up a storm for nine hours?

Potholes

Spring has arrived in Halifax, albeit a late, cold spring, and so it’s pothole season! This year the potholes are worse than ever before. Michael has now hit potholes hard enough to damage rims twice. I slalom carefully in and out around every shadow and irregular spot on the road, trying damn hard not to hit any myself. You can put in a claim to the city for damage caused by potholes, so the first time I did. I went through all the hoops. I got a call at home on a Saturday afternoon, and I don’t know who makes these calls, because I swear this is what he said: “you’ll be sitting on your deck with your feet up drinking a beer before you hear a decision on your claim. Seriously it’s going to take at least twelve weeks and the answer will almost certainly be no.

Thanks for that, apparently-disgruntled city employee.

Blissdom Canada

Regular readers will know that I have gone to Blissdom Canada for the past two years. I enjoy it so much that I spend hundreds of dollars I don’t have, take a day off work for which I don’t get paid (thus also inconveniencing three other families who need to find backup childcare), cough up $100+ for cab fare to & from Pearson to the hotel in Mississauga because the free courtesy shuttles only run on the day before the conference proper begins, and conquer my fears of flying, meeting new people, group work, and dancing in public so that I can go.

I met two of my very best friends at Blissdom, and it’s because of the many conversations we had at the conference that we recently started collaborating on a new blog, Throwing It BackI was kind of hoping to go back this fall; even though I don’t really have the money this year, I thought just maybe I could make it work.

But then! The Blissdom folks announced they’ve changed the venue, moving the whole thing to a resort two hours north of Toronto. If you are coming from out of town and can’t get flights that mesh with their courtesy shuttle schedule, this leaves you completely up the creek when it comes to getting from the airport to the hotel. I can’t imagine any taxi that would take you. You can rent a car, but you need to rent it for the whole weekend only to drive it for four hours. (Do that math, friends! It’s not good math.) It’s goddamned inconvenient, is what it is, and when a few of us (politely, respectfully) explained that this new venue would make it impossible for us to attend, did we get sympathy? An acknowledgement that this change presents a problem for anyone outside of Toronto? A commitment to perhaps investigate running additional shuttles on the opening day of the conference? Anything that would have reassured us that our concerns were heard?

NOPE.

Instead we got bland PR reassurances from the Blissdom Twitterbot, and outright bullshit platitudes from other Blissdom attendees. I think my least favourite was “if you really want to be there, you’ll make it happen! Don’t start complaining, start making arrangements!” as if I just need to read The Secret, do what it says, and magically all of the logistical problems will repair themselves. Oh, and a leprechaun will show up with a big bag of money.

Honestly it feels like they are trying to exclude anyone who doesn’t blog for a living (although they always said that was not a prerequisite for attending or indeed for being a part of the community).

There is a real trend in parts of the wider internet world to call any & all dissension “bullying” or “hating”. People, we are not Taylor Swift. Yes, haters gonna hate, but in a supportive community there should be room for criticism and disagreement. The fact that there isn’t makes me sad.

Running

And finally, Harry is doing his best to train for next month’s track & field meet, as well as a youth 4K run. The snow only just melted enough that we can safely be on the road, so last night I gave in to his pleading and went for a short run with him.

Well, really, he went for a run, and I went for a wheeze and stagger, dragging my lazy 85lb dog behind me as a hostage to fortune. I sort of waddle-jogged, and then ran a little, and then walked, and then stopped to pick up dog poo, and heaved and gasped and choked my way along as Harry sprinted on ahead like a damn gazelle or something.

It was frankly mortifying what terrible shape I’m in, but we went a kilometer, and I’m going again tonight… that being said, running sucks, my lungs felt like they were straight-up on fire, and I will never understand runners if I live to be a hundred (which I won’t, because I’m out of shape, see “I hate running”, above).

There. Whew. Next time, a return to happy thoughts. Promise.

Posted by: Hannah | 04/09/2015

Ron, at seven

Dear Ron,

Tomorrow you are seven, and I’ve spent the week composing and re-composing your birthday post inside my head. Then today I got an email from another mom about you, and this is what she said:

Ron stood up for my son last week over some easter bunny kerfuffle, and I was super-impressed. He told me that Ron made his top five favourite people (the rest being held by family members.)

This would have been enough for me, because to be self-possessed enough at six to stick up for a friend? I wasn’t that confident at six. I’m barely that confident at thirty-six! So I was already feeling pretty proud of you just from reading that one note.

When you got home from school, I asked you about it. This is what you told me:

Oh, that. Yeah, well, this other kid was teasing my friend, because since he’s Jewish he doesn’t believe in the easter bunny. And the kid said “you HAVE to believe in the easter bunny, just like you HAVE to believe in god!” And I told him that you didn’t, that nobody has to believe in anything particular, and that you can’t make fun of people who believe different things than you. So the teacher heard us, and he asked if I wanted to talk to the class about it, so I did! I told them about the big bang and how old the universe is, and how I love science. And I said that I don’t believe in god, but that it doesn’t make me any less of a person, and that we can all believe different things and that’s OK.

That story, right there, perfectly captures YOU, my awesome little dude. You are smart, and you love science and learning. You are compassionate, and brave, and loving. You see all sides of an argument with an ease that I have yet to master. You are fiercely loyal to your friends (you call them “my buds” and it’s a small circle but very close-knit). You have a self-possession that amazes me.

This year was also the year that you really came into your own, as separate from your big brother. You love him so much, and you guys still spend lots of time together, but this year you finally became comfortable with focusing on different passions. So you aren’t playing baseball this summer, but you are taking weekly art classes at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design. You discovered Minecraft, and plunged in with both feet, deciding to try recreating Middle-Earth as your project. You have a big bag of art supplies and you take very good care of them, painstakingly capping every marker and replacing every pastel stick when you’re finished with them.

You love goofy humour. Dav Pilkey is your favourite author ever, and the grosser the joke, the better. You think puns are the highest form of comedy and you will always, always pull someone’s finger if they ask.

You still love Lego more than any other toy ever invented. The more you have, the more you want. You have started designing your own elaborate creations and they are oddly specific (“this is Erebor after Thorin Oakenshield went cuckoo for cocoa puffs and bricked up the door”) but always charming.

You still hate mushrooms and probably always will, but you are very adventurous about other foods. For your birthday dinner you requested chicken fajitas with guacamole, and a carrot cake. You keep trying to learn to like tea because you told me once that you like the idea of it, but the taste is always disappointing. You love Indian food, and we took you for a po-po platter at a Chinese restaurant and flambé at your table enchanted you completely. You hate pop but will never refuse ice cream. You will only eat soup if it is homemade, and you have refused to take school pizza anymore because “the sauce is bland and the dough is soggy”. You’re in danger of becoming a food snob but it’s so darn cute that I don’t even mind.

You are very excited about our vacation this summer because we’re going to see some museums AND the National Art Gallery. You’re throwing yourself into birthday party planning with creativity and enthusiasm (and I hope your dramatic plans for the cupcakes turn out!)

You are bright, and inquisitive, and sweet. You like to cuddle with me and rub my belly (“it’s squishy and makes me feel soothed”). Sometimes you Cop An Attitude, but it never lasts long and your apologies are always sincerely tendered and freely offered. You are not fond of chores and will duck them whenever possible, but you will also dig patiently through a bin of Lego to find the missing pieces for the dragon to keep George happy, and that’s a good thing.

We can’t imagine our lives without you. You’re a special kid, and we’re privileged to watch you grow up.

Love always,

Mom

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