Posted by: Hannah | 01/24/2013

surly Thursday

It’s Surly Thursday!**

I wrote a post over at The Ladies Who (Make) Lunch. It was about string cheese. Because I am a Media Savvy Individual who is Active on Social Networks, I linked it with  Facebook and Twitter.

On Facebook, one admittedly-assholish and off-topic comment (not by me!) suddenly turned into an explosive debate about school peanut bans… and it crossed over to Twitter… and in all the mishegosh ONE PERSON thought to compliment me on my actual post. And that’s after I asked rather pitifully for us to get back to the original point, which was my delightful and charming post.

Turns out I really need praise, or I get stabby. I knew that, but I’m surprisingly annoyed by the whole thing. People, I love snark as much as the next person, and lord knows I hold some strong & unpopular opinions about things, but motherfucker, that was not how I imagined the reaction to my first post on a collaborative blog that I was extremely flattered to be included in.

So I guess the lesson is I need to toughen up, or get off the internet.


Louis is completely trained for pee and completely not in any way trained for poops. He had an “accident” in his pants yesterday that required a handful of wipes, two handfuls of toilet paper, TWO FLUSHES, a large scented candle, and the stifling of my gag reflex to deal with. Were he my kid, I would calmly and with no fuss be putting him back in PullUps now. He can still practice peeing in the potty, but he won’t withhold his poo for days at a time until his back end explodes in a Chernobyl-level horror show of stench, and I’d so much rather that was contained in a diaper than in his underwear… and his pants… that I’m about ready to tell his parents that while he’s here, anyway, he must be in a PullUp for now.

I do not have the words to adequately express the sinking dread I felt of seeing a small boy stand up and walk waddle splay-legged toward me, his unholy fug preceding him, and realizing that I would somehow need to pull that mess down over his legs and clean him up while two one-year-olds stood outside the bathroom door and hollered because if they can’t see me, I must be dead.


Teenaged babysitters make $10 an hour these days. TEN DOLLARS. My first job in an actual store only paid $5.15. So a movie had better be The Most Exciting And Unmissable Thing Ever or I’m going to feel ripped off. Take note, Hollywood.


The whole country is in a cold snap – in some places it’s so cold the numbers lose all meaning. It’s -45C! It’s -50C! MY EYELASHES FROZE TOGETHER AT THE BUS STOP WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. Am I going to complain about the weather? Of course I am, because when parts of your body can freeze to other parts it is too cold, go home. But it’s not the weather that’s got me surly. It’s not even other people complaining about the weather.

It is the self-righteous dicks that are complaining about the rest of us complaining about the weather.

Look, I know I live in a northern country (although I’m south and east, and on the coast, so it doesn’t get half as cold here as it does in many other parts of Canada. Goooooo, Gulfstream!) and I also know that bitching about the weather doesn’t actually change the weather at all.

But trading war stories is what gets us through. I’m still shaking my head at Beck’s story of her hand freezing to the doorknob yesterday when she tried to go out to her own porch. Do you really think that soldiers in the trenches spent their non-combat time chatting cheerfully about what a delightful thing it was to be squatting in the mud? NO THEY DID NOT. They bonded over their shared misery because that’s what you do when conditions are holy-shit-this-sucks.

So, if you’re a Canadian and you’re trying to tell me that cross-country skiing to work every morning through the -50C windchills in Winnipeg makes you somehow morally superior to me because you’re “embracing winter”? Yeah. Enjoy that. I’ll be over here with a cup of tea and my fuzzy slippers.


George has decided to reward me for all the nice things I said about him in his birthday post by learning that if he takes a big drink from a sippy cup, and then blows everything back out of his mouth, that it makes a grand noise and an even grander mess. Right now, he’s sitting on the floor next to me, taking huge swigs of water and then spitting them all over himself and the carpet.


Final thought – I started taking birth control pills when I was 15. I didn’t stop until I was 26, when I had Harry; then back on them for two years; then after Ron was born I had a M*rena IUD put in, which I hated. Now, post-George, I have a regular old non-synthetic IUD – so I’m no longer on any hormones and oh dear lord, Ladies’ Holiday* time is THE WORST.

Migraine! Digestive complaint! Craving salt with a ferocity that stuns me! Weeping uncontrollably over news stories! I honestly think that for about two to three days a week once a month that I might be legally insane.

I realize that there was some study that came out a while back claiming that PMS is not real. And to that I say “oh, rilly? Listen, science-guy – let’s take a three-day road trip when I’m at my worst, OK? If you survive, we can have another discussion about whether or not PMS exists”.

*The phrase “Ladies’ Holiday” was brought to you by Nicole. It is now in standard usage in my head. So much more polite and well-mannered than “FUUUUUUUUUUCK HERE WE GO AGAIN”.

**As I’ve mentioned before, “Surly Thursday” was started by Bibliomama and I totally borrowed it forever, because I’m mean like that. Go read her post here.



  1. I just finally had a chance to read your post.
    (a) It was a very good post. I don’t get how peanut butter was related, but I enjoyed the post.
    (b) One of the many reasons I think you should be nominated for mom of the year is because you give your kids healthy/real foods, but still give them “treats” while recognizing that they are still technically fake food. It’s such a great balance and your kids, unlike so many others, will understand basic healthy eating by default. Which is so awesome for them, because being fat in this society really effing sucks (even for boys).
    (c) String cheese is the devil and not allowed in my house because I will eat it all. It’s like the chocolate of the dairy world.

    Re. weather: Actually, Edmonton is not suffering the same deep freeze as the East is. In fact, it’s quite nice today (-15C this morning, going up to -5C this afternoon; IT’S ALMOST LIKE SUMMER!). Usually, we’d expect weather in the -20’s, plus wind chill. I’m waiting for the usual week or two of temperatures so cold they make me want to cry and renew my vows to never live further north than this.

    Also, I agree. Complaining about the weather should be an officially sanctioned activity.

    Re. “Ladies’ Holiday”: This is possibly TMI, but I have screwy hormones thanks to having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I’ve never had normal cycles. Ever. (Unless I was on the pill, but even then my cycles were a bit off.) As I got older/fatter and my ovaries got more crochety, my cycles got even more screwy. I once went over 6 months with no period. It was WONDERFUL! I do get the moodiness, but I’ve only ever had cramps twice (and, oh my god, the were the most HORRENDOUS thing I’d ever experienced). Instead, I bleed like a open wound. People who bitch about how using more than tampons is bad for the environment or unnecessary for some other reason can effing kiss my ass. There have been days where I needed to change both tampon and pad every hour. The pill helped a bit when I was on it, but being on the pill involves a doctor, money (not an issue now, but it has been in the past), the desire to force my body to do what I want, and the willingness to put up with the months of things being even more screwy if I went off it. No thanks. Until I need birth control (single by choice, non-existent sex life), I am staying the eff off the pill. Ideally, I’d just like my uterus to shrivel up and die. These last few months of being more active and losing weight have helped a lot – things are still very inconsistent, but much more normal. But, yeah, I still want my uterus to go away.

    • I am normally a big giant snob about cheese, but if I taste even a bite of string cheese I will immediately gobble it down, so I have to tell myself that it is petroleum oil by-product just to keep myself out of them. (Although I read the ingredients today and the list is both short and contained of all pronounceable words, so maybe they aren’t that bad).

      Your Ladies’ Holiday sounds wretched. The unpredictability of it would kill me. Mine’s pretty reliable although it still comes as a shock to me every month. (Oh, and cramps? They suddenly started up today and I feel like my lady-parts are in a vice.)

    • Oh, and Mother of the Year? Hardly. You’re sweet, and I appreciate it, but I am a hopelessly flawed character.

      • So is everyone. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about finding the right balance without becoming a crazy person.

  2. Ladies’ Holiday is more refined than my preferred term, Shark Week. And far, far more refined than the way my friend described it earlier this week – “my uterus is leaking”. Ugh.

    I KNOW that for two or three days a week once a month I’d be legally insane without my synthetic hormones. I can’t face the idea of what I’ll be like when I stop taking them and try to grow my own people.

    • SHARK WEEK??? *dies laughing* Oh, that’s brilliant. Michael calls it “bleeding and not dying” in tones of over-exaggerated suspicion. He may now switch to Shark Week, though.

  3. Also, on the peanut butter thing, maybe I’m just getting old and things are different now, but when I was a kid peanut butter allergies were kind of rare and my school was really unusual for having a ban (it was strictly enforced though, you got into a lot of trouble for having any kind of nuts with lunch). Where has it come from?

    • PB allergies are becoming more common all the time, in North America anyway (I can’t speak to European countries). Once upon a time, the rare (very rare) case of a fatal, airborne peanut allergy would result in, well, death. Then it started being identified, and precautions were taken. Pregnant women are now told not to eat peanuts or peanut products; babies are not supposed to be tried on peanut butter for at least a year. There is a theory – just a theory, mind you – that this overly-cautious approach may actually be *causing* some peanut allergies – the theory being that in parts of the world where peanuts are a staple dietary item, that peanut allergies are statistically non-existent.

      I doubt that theory is provable, and correlation does not equal causation. However, I did not avoid peanuts while pregnant, and all my babies were exposed to peanuts and things by their first birthday. I have no scientific basis for this at all. I’m probably as bad in my own way as Jenny McCarthy and the anti-vax crowd. I’m strictly going by instinct here, and treating peanuts in my home as I would treat any other new food; small amounts at first, watch for reactions, then full steam ahead.

  4. I’m not kidding, Ladies’ Holidays is the actual term used in the yoga community. Because it’s a special time for us ladies, and we’re not supposed to do our practice, or at least not inversions and we’re supposed to rest and revel in this special time. I usually revel in my special time by chugging wine, crying, and falling asleep even earlier than normal.

    I guess I missed the peanut butter thing. I made my own peanut sauce out of actual peanuts and goddamn was it ever good. Our school is a nut aware school, which means that tecnically you can bring nut products, although it is very frowned upon. Also we are notified if there is a child with specific allergies in each class, and so obviously no one would bring something that would interfere with allergies in the classroom.

    Louis should be in a pullup, gah, that’s so gross. Did you hand the soiled pants and underwear to the parents and say “HE HAS FAILED ME.”? In a Darth Vader voice? Because you should.

    • re: the Darth Vader voice: I DID NOT BUT I WILL FROM NOW ON.

      I like the idea of mandated rest during my period, but not reveling. No, not that. Not unless sobbing quietly and eating my weight in cheese counts as reveling.

    • The whole celebrating thing just sounds like people trying to make something that’s annoying at best and sometimes really bad sound not so bad. Why can’t people just accept that, yes, it means your lady bits are working to some degree, but also it’s annoying, uncomfortable, and sometimes really gross. Life does not need to be all peaches and cream. Sometimes there are bad things and we’d all be better off we we learned to accept and deal with them.

      I revel by eating lots of crap and more annoyed than usual.

  5. Seriously science guy can go screw himself (says the woman mere seconds from experiencing her Ladies’ Holidays – AGAIN). Was just lamenting to a friend the other day how very very tired I am of those holidays. I’ve had all the kids I want. I don’t need them anymore. Why don’t they just stop happening? Of course because I’m tacky as hell, when I email or talk to this particular friend about this particular issue one or the other of us is mandated by the rules of our friendship to refer to it as “Charlie’s in the bush and I need reinforcements.” Crass humor is all I have these days…

    I don’t understand parent’s refusal to accept their kid might not be ready to potty train. What’s so damned great about potty training that they can’t wait to get to it? My youngest is 3.5 and is potty trained during the day but good lord, she takes FOREVER in the bathroom. I kind of miss the days of just changing the diaper and getting the heck out of the house.

    I’m not even going to go near the PB debate. Oldest thinks PB is a instrument of Satan and youngest is fed by daycare so I don’t have to cross this bridge yet and, therefore, will ignore it as long as I can.

    • “Charlie’s in the bush”??? BWAH HA HA HA HA HA. I am loving all the new horrible nicknames I now have for this most miserable time of the month.

  6. First of all, I just finished reading your string cheese article and wanted to let you know that it is indeed charming and delightful, and very well written (as always). So don’t stab anyone, OK? Secondly, that this:

    “I do not have the words to adequately express the sinking dread I felt of seeing a small boy stand up and waddle splay-legged toward me, his unholy fug preceding him…”

    made me laugh/snort out loud at work, a place where I am supposed to be, uh, working? This is the second time you’ve done this to me. Guess I’m going to have to leave the Hodgepodge & Strawberries at home from now on 🙂

    • Ah, string cheese. More controversial than abortion, gun control, or how I feel about teachers’ unions. (It’s true. I have blogged or tweeted about all of those topics in the past and had less trouble from all three topics combined than I’ve had about the goddamn string cheese.)

      As for the laughing… well. Serves you right for browsing the internet at work, you Canadian slacker. 😉

  7. You should absolutely make Louis wearing a pull-up a condition of remaining. There is not enough money in the world that would make it okay for you to have to deal with that shit (see what I did there?)

    • Yeah, well, and he peed on a chair today because he was mad at me for putting him in said chair for not sharing toys. FACK.

  8. It was +3ºC here yesterday. I am laughing at the rest of Canada because most of you are further south than me and I have totally earned the right to wear sneakers outside in January.

    • It was 10C here a week ago. Now it’s the total opposite of that. Although it’s supposed to hit 8C and pour rain by mid-week. I can’t retire any of the seasonal garb! My front hallway looks like a second-hand clothing shop.

  9. Ha! Totally voting for Shark Week. It’s already cemented in my vernacular. And agreed on the off-the-pill PMS – I can’t believe I lived for so many years (counting on fingers…almost 14 years!) thinking that PMS was no big thing! totally breezy! And then I went off the pill, and yeah…the world died a little that day. Pringles are my salvation!

    • Right? And I had PMS even when I was on the pill, but it wasn’t that bad, plus I always knew exactly which day I shouldn’t make any major life decisions because my cycle was so regular.

  10. Ha, out here, teenage baby sitters make 15-20 bucks an hour. TWENTY. That’s why we constantly beg our friends to sit for us.

    I totally missed the whole peanut debate. I linked to the article, commented, moved on. I’m sorry I missed the drama. But hey, when you’re feeling bad, scroll over to my Amanda Todd post and look at the crazy evil trolls I get there. One of them is, apparently, a FAMOUS youtube troll. I feel so honored.

    By which I mean, tired and hurt and disgusted.


      I can’t even. I’d never go anywhere.

      I didn’t post anything about Amanda Todd for just that reason.

      • Yah, our friends backed out of sitting Owl on the night of my work Christmas party, so we panicked and sent out an APB begging anyone and everyone for help. Our neighbours gave us the name of their nanny’s teenage sister, but it would have cost us eighty bucks. So we brought him to the fancy dinner.

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