Saturday, July 31, 2010

Other Childrens Parents

I took the kids to the paddling pool by our house today.
With chagrin, I noted that a member of the exclusive Kindergarten Club was there with her daughter.
Good for Payton, bad for me.
Payton happily reunited with her friend.
Bracing myself, I sat down next to Jane.
Small talk ensued. How 'bout this weather? How 'bout that rain we had? It was going good, so far as small talk goes. And then this:

"I haven't been making chocolates molds anymore, just as an FYI. People seem to expect them from me at Christmas time, so I'm letting people know ahead of time"

(First of all- I wasn't even kind of expecting a Christmas chocolate mold from you. Secondly, it's July. But thanks for the heads up on that one.)

I nodded sympathetically. "It must be a lot work."

She laughed as though that were an understatement. Maybe it was. What do I know about making Christmas chocolate molds when you can buy Pot of Gold pre made chocolates at Wal Mart for 5.99 any given day or time??

"I have ZERO time for it," she pronounced with an intensity that kind of scared me. "The only time I can get to it is when the kids are in bed. And by that point I'm already exhausted."
This I could related to.
"I know! The only thing I can do once the kids are in bed is have a bath and then read a book."
And then she laughed. Laughed! As though this were a joke on Evening at The Improv. "Oh God. I haven't READ in AGES!! Who has the time anymore?"
To which I sort of looked away and shrugged and changed the subject back to the weather, trying to kick my paperback ("Gone" by Lisa Gardiner, FYI) underneath the bench.
I have the time for it. Does that make me a bad person??

I have time for it in the bath and at bedtime and on my lunch break and sometimes in the car when I'm stopped for a red light.
From there on out, the conversation got pretty spotty. I was getting annoyed with the way she would pronounce her daughters name "BreanNA", with a heavy emphasis on the last syllable, as though trying to prove the point and then really drive it home, in case I had missed it the first time, that her daughters name was BreanNA and not merely Breanne. As though Breanna is so much more clever than just Breanne. Which personally, I don't think it is, but that's just me.

Anyways, I find these types of covert insults difficult.
It's not an overt insult, so I can't act overtly insulted. But, to me, the subtext is clear: I'm somehow an inferior parent by virtue of the fact that I have time to read.
Or am I reading too much into it?? (Pardon the pun)
And it seems to me that it's these types of people who protest to have "ZERO time for anything anymore" that seem to know anything you've ever wanted to know (and even things that you've never wanted to know)about every contestant on "The Bachelorette" for the last five seasons.
A show which, incidentally, I have never watched.
It's like this woman I work with who says things like this when I was eating a cupcake one day at work: "Oh, wow. A cupcake. I haven't had one of those since I was eight years old. I wish I could be like you and not even care about my weight at all!"
I'll tell you what I wanted to do with that cupcake.
Well no I won't. It wouldn't be proper.
Anyways. That's all for now.
Thanks for reading.
I shall be going now. To read.
And drink.
What say you to that, Jane??

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Life As A Shadowy Figure

Lately I have been spending a lot of time reading other peoples blogs.

But I'm starting to feel really self conscious about the fact that I have a big, ugly, gray head.

Whenever I pop up, that's what I look like. I look kind of menacing, don't you think? Like some kind of a shadowy/stalkery figure.
I tried, believe me you, I tried, to upload a nicer picture. But it won't accept the one and only picture of myself that I would post on the Internet. It just gives me an error message that says it's too big. I think they mean the file size and not the actual size of my head.
I hope.
So just find another picture, right?
Okay, here's the problem. This is what I have in the way of pictures of myself:
-about three hundred wedding photos
-about a dozen pictures of me in labor with Alex. Under any normal set of circumstances I shy away from the camera. But put me in an ugly blue hospital gown that makes me look, literally, like a whale and all of a sudden I'm like "take a picture of me next to my IV pole." Maybe it was just the drugs they were giving me. I don't know. The worst possible photo op in the world and I'm all over it like white on rice.
-about ten pictures of me in various post partum states: proudly holding my baby for the first time on the labor and delivery unit, being discharged from the hospital, nursing Alex. In all of these pictures I look like I've been on a four day drinking binge, and possibly like I might have just had an allergic reaction to swordfish which caused severe facial swelling. And I have to say that in all the pictures I have of me nursing Alex, I don't look at all like those glossy posters of breastfeeding moms you see in doctors offices, that are smiling blissfully at their pink swaddled bundles who have their lips curled around a just barely exposed nipple. I look like a stunt double in Fight Club.
-and lastly- a ten year old glamour shot of me in which I look a lot like Molly Ringwald's character in The Breakfast Club. (Note to my family: if I ever get abducted or anything untowards like that and they need a photo to release to the media, please DO NOT use this photo. I can imagine what would happen. Much to Molly Ringwalds chagrin, she would be abducted and delivered to my door. Meanwhile, I would still be out there getting beaten in a basement dugout whilst shackled to the wall.)
But that's the way it is when you have kids, isn't it? I have bazillions of pictures of my kids all over the place- on the fridge, filling up my hard drive, on CDs and discs and in albums.
But find a picture of me where I'm not wearing bridal gown or a hospital gown or look like Molly Ringwald??
No can doozle.
Anyways, I will work on the picture, I promise.
And for those of you whose blogs I follow- trust me that I am not menacing or stalkery (at least not generally speaking), and I look nicer in real life (marginally), and please forgive the impersonal nature of my picture.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Ahoy Me Mateys": A letter to the daycare.

One would think that their husband might be a little bit supportive of a person in the throes of a major crisis.
But no.

Last night, because it was weighing heavily on my mind and also because I drank a half a bottle of Chardonnay, I voiced my concern to Geoff about the daycare wrongfully persecuting my Payton for being a Booty shaker.
"Mmm." he said, nodding non committally.
"Well, don't you think she should be able to at least say 'booty' if she wants to?" I asked, pressing him.
Finally he perked up a bit. "Wait a minute. Why would she be saying 'booty' at daycare again?"
"Well, naturally, because of the song."
"Wait. There's a song?"
"Yes, and a dance. But you're not getting the point here. I think that a person should be able to say booty whenever the need arises."
"And in what context, exactly, would you need to use the word 'booty'? When you're five years old?"
"Well, for one, if we were pirates."
"But we're not."
"That's not the point. It's the principle of thing. And I'm going to have to invoke my fifth amendment right here and say that that's actually a form of harassment."
"You're invoking your right to a fair and speedy trial?"
"First of all. You watch WAY too many Law and Order marathons. And secondly. You know exactly which amendment I'm talking about. The one that says I can say whichever shit I want to say."
"I don't think the constitution's worded quite that way."
"Well, whatever. Can I at least bounce off my idea for the letter I'm thinking of writing to the Board. Now keep in mind that I'm trying to come off sounding like a pirate."
At this point, I'm pretty sure that he rolled his eyes.
And I'm pretty sure that, no, it was not my imagination, which is exactly what he insinuated when I called him on it.

"Ahoy me Mateys,

A fortnight ago, I shivered me timbers when me scurvey mate Payton be tellin me that she aren't allowed to be sayin' 'booty' at your doth daycare vessel. I doth protest to this. "

Personally, I thought it was a great start.
But Geoff, of course, has to burst my bubble. Always him with the bursting of the bubbles.

"First of all, I think you way overshot the pirate in that. Secondly, I'm pretty sure they know that we're not pirates. They've never seen you go to daycare with a patch on your eye or a hook on your arm or a parrot on your shoulder. Actually, I dont' think there even are any pirates any more. Thirdly, you're on the daycare board, need I remind you. Fourthly, pirates don't say 'doth protest'. That's Shakespeare. And lastly, no more Chardonnay for you tonight."

"But wasn't Shakespeare a pirate?"

And then with the sigh.
This is how virtually every conversation with Geoff ends. A deep sigh of mock exasperation.
Or maybe it's actual exasperation.
But he can't always be so exasperated with me?
Can he?
I don't get him.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Booty is a Swear

First of all, in reference to my last post, no I am not seriously suicidal.
So it was really not necessary for some people (AKA my mother) to ring me up in the middle of the night to make sure I hadn't "done anything stupid."
I haven't done anything stupid ever in my life.
Well, okay. Locking my kid in a car in parking lot wasn't that smart, but that was an accident. Anyways, no I am not suicidal. I was just being all moody and melodramatic about things.
And I'm not giving up, it's not like that.
Abandoning hope is a good thing for me right now. It's liberating. Like "whatever happens happens" I'm not sweating over my inbox anymore. I mean, I have other projects to work on so I'm moving on.
The title was a little dark, I guess, but I named it that to juxtapose with 'Having Grace'. And also I was going to include a sentence like "abandoned like a baby in a restroom on prom night" but then I thought better of it but now I've gone and used it anyways.
But anyways. Thank you everyone for your well wishes.

So this morning when I was drinking my scotch getting my kids ready for daycare I was singing this little song that I made up. It goes like this "and shake your little booty, shake it shake it shake it. Don't be afraid to break it, if you break it we'll fix it later." It kind of sucks and it doesn't have many words, but it's cute because the kids and I shake our booties when we sing it.
Trust me, it's fun, although maybe more in a you-have-to-be-there kind of a way.
And then Payton informs me that she's not allowed to sing nor say nor shake her booty at daycare.
Because, apparently, upon further questioning, "booty" is a swear.
Am I sending her to a Mormon daycare or something? Or is it just me??
I would like to know what, precisely, they would do if her name was Booty? Booty Rose Makepeace. Because I considered it. I considered it long and hard. It has a nice ring to it, no?
And yes, I do want her to be a stripper when she's older. At least one of us should be able to afford a vehicle that wasn't manufactured in the 90's.
Would she not be allowed to say her own name at daycare? Would they give her a new name, a new identity?
And what if we were pirates and booty was our livelihood? What then, Spadina Early Learning and Childcare Cooperative?
In fact, to that end I am going to draft a letter to the board of directors to said daycare that raises that issue. To be anti booty is to be anti pirate, and I won't stand for it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Abandoning Hope

I am officially abandoning hope for Having Grace.
When I first started querying for it, I began with high hopes. "How to negotiate an offer of representation" I googled, once upon a time. It seems an utterly pretentious thing to google, doesn't it?? But honestly, I have a tendency to screw the pooch in situations which require intelligent conversation. It comes to mind the time when I got on an elevator with an extremely hot guy. I was carrying up a case of beer. "Big party tonight?" the guy asked me.
A fricking yes or no question.

But all I could think of was the fact that the beer was for my mom, but I didn't want to say "No I'm just carrying this for my mom" cuz that would make me sound like an even bigger loser, so I kind of hesitated, but then it sort of got to the point where it was too late for my to say anything at all.
And then we had to ride seven floors up in silence.
Hence I had visions of myself on the phone with an agent, silence permeating my end of the conversation interrupted briefly by utterances of "Me... Randine"
"Sorry wrong number," they would say.
And click.
I'm sure I could hold my own much better than that. I'm not, after all, a total idiot.
Only a partial one.

Now, three months after sending out my first query and thirty four rejection letters later I google this: "How to get discount Zoloft delivered to my door." Cuz I ain't getting out my pyjamas to go out and buy no Zoloft properly. (Thanks for the heads up on the Zoloft, Nikki)
So at this point I have to consider the fact that either a)it's my query letter or b)it's the genre or c) it's my writing itself.
I don't think it's 'a', because I have had a partial request and a full, and a personalized rejection letter that explicitly states that it isn't my query letter. So that leaves either 'b' or 'c'.

Either prospect is not good.

"Maybe you should write something else. Write about alien abduction, for example," my husband said.
"Alien abduction? Oh, ya, and why don't I just write about lassoing a horse out on the range? Maybe throw a meth lab in there for good measure. An explosion or two and bingo, bango, bestseller."
Although how I could possibly string together a meth lab, an alien abduction and a horse lasso into a plausible story line I have no idea. Again, I was just making a point. The point, in case you're confused, is that I don't and/or can't really choose what I write about.
It chooses me.
And what chooses me tends to be more women's related issues.
Anyways. I'm fine with that. I'll finish Having Faith and then start querying again.
I might also, at some point, try something different, more literary fictiony.
But with a meth lab.
Just kidding.
I don't know.
In the mean time, there's always my day job.
Such as it is.
Anyways- the good news: He changed the light bulb, which is to say- he bought the light bulb!!
So YAY. Now I can laundry well into the evening hours.

Yes, y'all. That's the good news.
F the Zoloft.
Now I'm going to Google"How to get discount razor blades delivered to my door."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Parking Lot Drama

Our salvation depends on him.
The him being a diaper clad toddler who looked, if anything, satisfied to be in the car all alone, waving at us through the window with a grin on his face and the keys in his hands.
We're not totally screwed here, I tried to reassure myself.
He's two years old and very verbal for his age.
I looked at him, hopefully. "Alex, can you open the door?"
He tried putting the keys in the CD drive.
Oh no. We are so totally screwed here.

How it happened: the long and the short of it: my bad. Of course, my bad.
Keys are not my friend.
In fact, if I had a dime for every time I've said the sentence "I'm locked out" I would have at least a dollar. Maybe two.
Every time we go to that McDonalds on our way home from the lake, I end up being the one who goes in, gets the food and takes the kids to the washroom. My husband, by virtue of having a bladder of steel, by virtue of being some kind of a camel hybrid, always manages to skirt this duty. "I don't have to go, I'll just wait in here," he says with an "And I'll get the Quarter Pounder meal" trailing later. So this time I beat him to the punch. I said I didn't have to go the bathroom.

Of course, I did.
But I wanted to be the one to wait leisurely in the car.
Except that it wasn't that leisurely being trapped in the car with a toddler who was beginning to smell vaguely like swamp water, a dog who alternated between panting and lunging at me, and the Retro hour playing on the radio (Up next: Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo). And I really did have to go the bathroom.
Time stretched interminably on.

Finally, I plucked the keys from the ignition and went inside. I spotted my crew waiting in an impossibly long line and ducked to the bathroom. The line didn't look that appealing, either. So then I walked back to the car, unlocked it, heard the happy 'chirp chirp' of the locks disengaging and then decided that I needed to give Alex a diaper change. I laid him down on the backseat, which he resisted. I gave him the set of keys, which he happily took. I got the grim task of changing his diaper out of the way. Then closed the door behind me to toss the diaper in the garbage and climb into the front seat.
Except that when I got to the front door, it was firmly locked. And there sat Alex with the keys beside him.
It was impossible.
"Alex! Push the Button!" I kept on insisting, but the more I said it the less interest he had in the keys. I looked furtively at the small crowd of onlookers, who looked furtively back at me.

I was relieved to see the rest of my family come skipping along, displaying happily their crinkly and grease splotched bags of food.
Until my husband registered the situation.
By this point, I was laughing at the situation. One of those "if I didn't laugh I would cry" things. My husband was not laughing.
"You locked our baby in the car? What the hell, Randine?"
"It was an accident! And can't you unlock the doors without a coat hanger or something."
"Yes. Cuz you can totally do that with electronic locks. And cuz you can totally get a coat hanger at McDonalds!"

We managed to talk him through the process of unlocking the doors. When we pulled him out it was like we had rescued him from a well or something. We were hugging him and kissing him and saying "You did it, baby. You got out," we said as we smoothed his downy white-blond hair. The onlookers were laughing and smiling and clapping.
He was more humble about it.
"I have my fries now?"
"Yes, you have your fries now," we told him.
But even all the way my husband was all pissy about it.
Like, who hasn't locked their baby in a car in a McDonalds parking lot.
Excuse me, Mr. High and Mighty.
"Next time we'll go through the drive through," he said.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Out of the Office

Today we are leaving for Candle Lake for a few days, so expect spotty posts. And when I say spotty I mean non existent.
"What can I help you with?" my husband asked me this morning.
So many things. And yet.
I have quite a few things to do when I get home today- pack the kids, clean the house, and pick up some supplies at Superstore.
"You want me to pack the kids?"
I hem and haw.
"Er. Well... I don't know."
It's not that I don't trust him to pack the kids.
Okay. I don't trust him to pack the kids.
I can imagine what I'll unpack when I get to the lake: a change of clothes, a few diapers and a pack of salami.
"Do you want me to run to Superstore?"
"Er. Well... I don't know."
I can picture what he'll buy at Superstore. Packs of Salami. Maybe a few steaks and a pound of bacon.

This is what happens. I have this kind of personality where on the one hand I want him to help, but on the other hand when he does help I kind of resent it because I think that I have to handle everything, but then when he lets me handle everything I kind of resent that, too.
Analyze that.

Incidentally, he asked me the other day what I write about on my blog. Why this suddenly occured to him after three years of blogging, I don't know.
"Oh, you know. It's just one of those "slice of life" things."
This seemed to placate him.
Anyways. Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Morning Grind

The secret to a happy marriage, if you want my opinion, is to put your husband on Prozac. I have this vision of myself crushing it up (the Prozac- not my husband) and hiding it in a hot dog- the same way I used to feed the dog her medication when she had a bladder infection. And like the dog, he would happily lap up the hot dog without bothering to wonder, if even for a second, why I have this sudden urge to feed him hot dogs three times a day.
Whether it would help or not I don't know.

It's just the little things, but a lot of little things can a big thing make.
For example, the coffee.
He claims that he doesn't drink coffee. Could never drink it. And neither could I. But somewhere between baby number two and baby number three I started drinking it periodically. Somewhere after baby number three I started drinking it fairly regularly.
So every morning I put on a half a pot of coffee, because he quote unquote doesn't drink it.

Except then, of course, he does. I pour a cup for myself and then he comes along and kills the rest of the pot.
And he won't ever initiate the coffee making. If I make it for myself, he'll drink it and drink it in fairly large quantities for someone who quote unquote doesn't drink it. If I'm running behind, the coffee pot sits there unused and vaguely murky looking, even as he takes a long, leisurely shower. The kind of shower I haven't had myself since twelfth grade--long enough for the water to run cold.
And so then I think, well screw that. I just won't make it and eventually he'll start making it.
I just end up going without coffee, which makes me miserable and unfailingly leaves me with a pounding headache at around one pm.
It never pays to be passive aggressive.

And then the light bulbs.
He tells me a few weeks ago that we're out. Really, I thought nothing of it. Until last week when he got rather snippy with me about it. "I told you a week ago that we were out of light bulbs, and you still haven't gotten any. I'm doing laundry in the dark."
First of all: You're doing laundry?? Is this the Apocalypse?? Although why he would be doing laundry in a doomsday scenario is not really clear. I was just trying to make a point. He doesn't oft do laundry, or as we call it in our house "the laundration (Yikes. Spell check really hates this word. It's really giving me a hard time about it) situation."
Secondly: Am I the only person in the world who has access to the exclusive light bulbing selling stores??
I mean, do I approach him when we're out of tooth paste and then wait on him to run to the store to buy it. No I go to the freaking store on my to or fro work and buy some. But no. Going to Wal Mart is like a weekend road trip for him. He cannot consider just zinging there on his way home to pick up light bulbs. I mean, how did I become the buyer of the light bulbs??
When he goes to Wal Mart, it's a production and you're gonna hear about it. It's like a weekend project. It's going to consume an entire Sunday afternoon, whereby he can be expected to nothing else, because he has to go to Wal Mart.
Anyways, I've resisted buying the light bulbs.
And now we're both doing laundry in the dark.
But mainly me, because that time he was doing the laundry was more or less a one off.
As I say, being passive aggressive simply doesn't pay.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

At the Book Store, Part 2

Another trip to the bookstore brings more thoughts.

The first book I pick up bears this description on the back jacket "While trying to train his horse in rural..."

I put it back down.

As a general rule, I do not read books about horses.

I might, might, consider it if it has a horse in it, as a bit character, but if the horse figures at all prominently in the book, I'm out.

I realize I'm actually quite picky when it comes to books.

Here is a list of things I will not read about:

-books that are set in another time (although I did read "Water For Elephants", and it was a good book. I was absolutely loathe to read it "I do not read books about circuses, nor books that are set in a different time or place." I told my mom when she insisted that I read it. But with a sigh of resignation I took the book. And read it in a day. Although, in my defense, it does alternate between the thirties and present day.)
-books that are set in another place
-ninjas and their ilk.
-witches, wizards, sorcerers, etc
-books that involve Christmas Tree selling as the main story line (yes, I know these books are few and far between, but I did see one this weekend past- Silver Bells. I passed on it, mentally adding a new (but small- so far) category to my list.
-books that involve international conspiracies and/or drug lords

In the end, I ended up choosing a book called "Secrets to Happiness" by Sarah Dunn. It has a puppy on the front cover, so I was drawn to it. I couldn't make a decision by reading the back cover, so then I went to the next phase, which is reading the first page. I was sold after reading the first sentence

"Do you want to know the secret to a happy marriage? Put your wife on Prozac."

That sounds about right, I thought, throwing the book into my cart.

Not that I'm on Prozac or anything

Not that that doesn't mean I shouldn't be. I flashed to Alex's second birthday part, me sitting in the front seat of our SUV and crying while the children were at the petting zoo.Do I really want to spend Alex's second birthday bawling in the car?

Yes, apparently I do, I answered myself.

I don't know how or why I got so emotional. Anyways, I had my meltdown and felt better. Nothing that a little bit of Birthday cake and some Chardonnay couldn't fix.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Never Say Never

During my last post, I advised against nudging a literary agent.

But upon further review of last post and the subsequent comment, I thought I should follow it up with this: never say never. There are times when it may be appropriate.

During my post, I was referring mainly to unsolicited material (ie: queries.)

Requested materials, however, are another story.

But don't take it from me. Because if there is one thing that you can really say never about, its this: never follow any advice that flows from this website. Never. And this isn't one of those 'but- then-again-never-say-never' things. This is one of those. "No-dude-seriously-never' things.

Take it from a credible source or, better yet, an an actual agent, Janet Reid
And this one is basically irrelevant to the topic, but it's a lot of fun, and it helps me relieve my own query anxiety: Slush Pile Hell.

Anyways. Changing the subject a little, but don't you think that all women with hair less than one inch short (or long? it sounds right either way) are bitchy and evil?

Not to stereotype anyone or anything, because that isn't nice. But seriously, I think every woman I've ever met with a close cropped crew cut were straight up biotches- and yes I mean you, Dog Natzi from the birthday party. I mean, I'm not talking about short hair, short hair can be kind of nice. I'm talking about hair slightly reminiscent of Tom Bradys. It totally works on Tom, though. Actually, I just Googled it to get a better mental picture of it, and now I've kind of lost my focus.

But frankly, they scare me. The short haireds.

I realized this for the first time during a visit to an OBGYN. I was nervous about the appointment. This was a doctor I had never met, and she was going to be all up in my bizness. A young woman walked by with long, flowy hair. "I hope that's my doctor," I told Geoff.

"Oh, ya, cuz you can really judge a doctors competence by looking at the back of her head."

"Well, I really like her hair. She would be a nice doctor."

"Are you really that shallow?" Geoff asked. "I mean, don't you consider yourself to be a feminist- women are more than their hair color and their breasts and all that?"

"Well yeah, that goes with out saying, but what's the point of seeing a female doctor if she doesn't even look like a female? I might as well just see a man, then."
And even though I knew then as I know now that it wrong, I held firmly to the assumption that long haired doctors where somehow softer than their short haired counterparts.

And yes that lady was my doctor.

And yes, she was awesome. Very gentle and soft spoken and polite and caring.


I don't hardly think so.

And since I'm on the topic of stereotyping: I also feel a deep mistrust of anyone who wears Crocs/Dawgz/whatever you call them-those ugly rubber shoes with holes in them. Frankly, if you wear those shoes, I consider you to be sloppy and lazy and perhaps even slightly below average intelligence, although how I can discern all of this based on shoe choice I don't know.
Isn't it funny the power of that first impression??

And if you're a literary agent and reading this and have a crew cut or wear Dawgz or (God forbid) a combination of both, I recant. I think short hair is the new long hair and Dawgz are the new Manalos.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Never Nudge

When querying agents, nudging is a somewhat common practice for us writers who wait on the other side of the slush pile.
A week goes by.
Two weeks.
Six weeks.
The temptation is there to send an email in follow up. Did they lose my query? Are they considering it? Is their server on the fritz?
I, too, get tempted.
But I resist, and here's why.

I'm not an agent but I do get nudged in my line of work as a nurse.
This only annoys me.
It happened just now.
"How much longer until the doctor sees me?"
Before you asked me: ten minutes.
Since you asked me: half an hour.
Because I can.

I don't know why I get annoyed with this. I think it's just the sheer number of times this happens. I mean, what do people expect? That you can just waltz into a clinic with no appointment and just get ushered in right away? This is a doctors office. Not the Olive Garden.

Anyways. My advice: never nudge. Not a nurse, not a literary agent.
I guess I shouldn't speak for literary agents- there aren't many parallels between nursing and agenting. But personally- I think that a lack of response can only mean one of two things: at best- they haven't had time to look at it yet, or at worst- they aren't wildly enthusiastic about it. I mean- what kind of a response does one expect: "Yes, we received your query and were so interested in it that we decided to hold off on getting back to you. Cool our jets a little."
Either way, nudging won't help the matter. And it might just make it worse.
But that's just me.
Nudge away if you want to.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Adsense Nonsense

Google Ad sense is way cool. Maybe not for you, I don't know. I hope those pesky ads aren't annoying you. But for me they're pretty awesome. So far I've earned myself a net profit of four cents.

But that's not what impresses me about Google Ad Sense.

What impresses me is that it's like a little tiny robot that gets inside my head and just like knows what I'm writing about.

I think it understands me better than my husband.
I could tell my husband a story about my day and his only response will be to ask if we have any more corn dogs, which is nine times out of ten completely irrelevant to anything I've said.
But Google Ad sense is attentive. It listens. And it responds with flashy adds and links.

Like the other day when I was writing about getting my tires changed, I looked at my blog and there it stood, next to my post: a picture of a nice, shiny new tire! I loved it.

And when I was writing about getting the kids off the juice (actual juice, not meth), and an ad magically appeared for Tropicana pure apple juice.

I was like WOW- Google Ad sense is all seeing and all knowing. I think baby Jesus just reinvented himself into a Google marketing tool. Why he would do that, I don't know. I would think that the turning water into wine gig was pretty good, but I don't know. That's just me.

But then it turned on me. One day I was writing about something that Alex said and the ad that popped up said: "Teach your Autistic child how to speak."

And I was like WHAT THE FUCK?!

Alex isn't autistic (not that there's anything wrong with that- I mean, look at Rain Man. He was a movie star.) And then I thought, what if it knows something I don't?? It's mother F'ing Baby Jesus in there.

So now I'm going to start tweaking my posts to make Alex less autistic sounding.

Except now I have to research intelligent sounding conversations, but nothing useful comes up when I enter that into Google, because I think it knows I'm trying to outsmart it.

So I'm screwed here.

Shadow Fallout

I might have traumatized my children.
This morning, Lex woke up and peered out the window- futively, tentatively-and asked "Shadows out there?"
No, I told him. No Shadow.
"I cared Shadow," he replied, his voice a mere whisper.
(which means he's scared of Shadow. Not that he cares for Shadow. Just for clarification.)
I reassured him and thought that the incident was over.
But then when I got home from work, Geoff asked me who Shadow is.
"Oh. Just a dog," I replied.
"Well, all the way to daycare Alex kept asking if Shadow went bye-bye."
"Hmm. How very odd," I replied, not really wanting to get into it with Geoff.

But honestly, it seemed innocent at the time.
And, I'll tell you something else. Shadow isn't even a Rottweiler.
He's a Golden Retriever.
Sometimes on this blog I lie. Well not lie. Just stretch the truth a little. I play up certain elements of the story and down play other elements. Just to make it more interesting.
I mean, can I say that I was threatening him with a Golden Retriever?
It just doesn't sound that threatening.
Also to say that my kids were terrified of a Golden Retriever kind of makes them sound like pansies.
So the Golden Retriever became a Rottweiler.
But so far as I'm concerned, all big dogs are Rottweilers.
If it can take off my left arm- it's a Rottweiler.
If it can take off my right arm, for that matter. Either arm. Any limb. It's a Rottweiler.
Anyways. I think they might be traumatized.
Who knew that telling them that they might be attacked by animals if they don't go to sleep could backfire on a person like that.
Something else to add to my list of lessons learned.

Monday, July 12, 2010

At the Book Store

I think I might kind of know what it feels like to be a literary agent.
I spent about an hour in a book store reading the first line on the jacket of about forty books to arrive at one that I would spend my precious, hard earned cash on. I didn't even bother to look at the jacket of Sylvia Brown's latest hardcover.
Fuck you, Sylvia Brown. Tormenting me with your "New York Times Bestseller!" sticker. I just don't see how...
Well, nevermind. I'm getting bitter.
But honestly, all these books these days. Do they all have to be YA paranormal?? I am a woman, and I want to read about women. Not about girls who may be vampires or have fallen in love with a vampire (although- OK, Twilight was a good book- but enough already.) They just don't make them like they used to. That lovely book about that young girl who goes to the prom.
Carrie, I think it was.
Those were the good old days. Before teenagers had crazy supernatural powers.

The book I chose: Life Without Summer, a debut novel by Lynne Griffin. I was hooked after reading the first sentence on the back jacket of the book: "Tessa Gray's life changes forever when she loses her four-year-old daughter, Abby, in a hit and run car accident outside her preschool."
Inexplicably, I am drawn towards this premise.
You would think that I might be less inclined towards it, given that I have a five year old daughter myself. But I think that this is actually what makes it compelling.
It almost happened to me once.
A simple thing. A simple chore. A routine day. And yet.
I drove Payty to dance on a Saturday, parked in the busy parking lot. I got to work unfastening baby Lex from his car seat. Payton, tutu clad, ran out from between the parked cars to rush to the studio, it being freezing cold outside.
At exactly that same moment, a car came barreling around the corner.
I heard the screeching of the brakes, saw Payton standing there, helpless. It was in slow motion but at the same time, it seemed to happen to fast for me to respond. I stood there, heart hammering. The car stopped more centimeters shy of my Paytons chest.
In that moment, I wondered "what if..."
I pictured a scene: Payton on the ground, her pink tutu splayed around her. My cries of hysteria, cradling her head on my lap, even as the blood pooled beneath it. Hearing the approach of sirens.

I wonder, sometimes what my life would be now if, say, the driver of that car happened to be changing a CD when he turned that corner? Would I be married still? Could Geoff forgive me? Could I really ask him that?
Could I forgive myself?
It haunted me so. I thought about writing about it. But in the end I just couldn't go there.
Too dark.

There's a place underneath my deck that's dark. There are boards that cover it, but in places, the boards are coming loose. Sometimes, inadvertently, I catch a glimpse of what's underneath there. A tangle of weeds and cobwebs. Earth. I don't know what else. I can only speculate about it, but I try not to- are there things that scratch and scurry?
I think of it sometimes as a metaphor for the dark underbelly of all things.
We catch a glimpse of it sometimes.
I guess some people get more than a glimpse.

Anyways. I will read the book and let you know.
Sorry if this post is gruesome or disturbing. I don't really choose what I write about. It's more like it chooses me.

Tales from the Trailer

The trailer looked nice.
That was the problem.
It would have better if it had looked spooky, or ugly or dirty. Because then I would have known better. I'm not like those people you see in the movies who happen upon a creepy looking, dilapated building on some isolated stretch of rural farm land and sweep away cobwebs with a smile and a nod and say "I'll take it!"
Nosiree. That's not me.
So when an abandoned trailer on the property was offered to me as a place to stay this past weekend at our family reunion, my first thought was 'there's no way in hell.'
Actually, those were my first words as well. I mean, not to be rude, but really.

But then I saw the trailer.
It looked nice. Really nice. It didn't look abandoned at all. It was clean, and bright and modern and very spacious, with three bedroom and two bathrooms.
I can stay here, I thought. No problem, I thought.
But then. Oh, but then.
I set up the air mattress in the master bedroom, which my kids mistakenly took for a blow up jumping attraction at a carnival.
I tried to lay down myself (lead by example, the parenting books say), only to have my head jumped on after being declared a horsey, which led to more jumping.
Alex was off the bed, on the bed, off again and now jumping on his grandmothers head who was sleeping a few feet away.
I tried to ignore him, to which he responded with an increasingly urgent shout "I need you. I NEED YOU."
I tried to threaten him with everything I could think of, but I had limited options. Time out. But then he called my bluff.
"Do you want a time out?"
"OK," he replied.
Shit. Outsmarted by a two year old.
Where would I put him for time out? What could I do?
Back to square one.
Finally, desperately, I threatened him with 'Shadow', the Rottweiler he had been afraid of earlier.
"Shhh. Quiet. Shadows out there. Don't let him hear us or he'll come in here and get us."
"Shadow?" he asked in a soft voice.
"Shadow. He's really bad and mean. Just go to sleep so he won't get us."
It was a really low point, parenting wise, to be threatening my kids with Rottweiler attacks, but it did work. Finally, the kids were silent.
I tried to fall asleep, but couldn't. The air mattress was losing air fast. The kids were crowding me out. The room was hot. There were dogs baying in the background (Shadow??)
I crept out into the living room, realizing too late that there was no for me to run, to turn.
The other two bedrooms were occupied.
The living room was barren of furniture, offering up only an unyielding floor. I had invested all of my blankets and pillows in the air mattress, which was a sinking ship by now.
Reluctantly, I laid on the floor, propping my head on a sweater. I imagined all kinds of scurrying sounds.
At least, I think it was my imagination.

Anyways, I was happy to see daybreak.
"Never Again," my sister in law and I vowed to each other when we met up in the kitchen, both of us with bloodshot eyes and frazzled hair.
Anyways. At least our husbands got a good rest.
That's the main thing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Coming Home

Geoff and I returned home quite late on Friday night from an obligatory highly anticipated family reunion, which is another story in itself, but I am court ordered not to discuss any of the incidents, at least until the investigation is concluded, and possibly til they go to trial.
OK so it wasn't that bad.

But anyways.
We got home at ten, our children sleepy and smelling like Off!. I carried Alex in the back door with his head resting on my shoulder. The low lighting of the kitchen greeted me. I felt immediately a sense of relief and something else- comfort, security. I surveyed my kitchen- tidy but not clean (never clean), but still appealing-- much more appealing, in fact, than when I had left it mere hours before. Maybe it was just the wine talking. But still- there seemed something so charming about the buttery yellow on the walls. The cappuccino dining table, adorned with the bright blue ceramic bowl we bought in Mexico which currently contained three overripe bananas and some stray Monopoly money. Our black cat perched on top of the fridge, eyes half opened and half closed, green crescents reflecting back at us. Our little dog at our heels, the weight of our baby our baby on my hip, my husband at my side. There seemed something perfect about that moment in time. There are lots of things and lots of times that aren't perfect, but in that moment, there was something that was.

Tomorrow is back to work for me. Holidays over. But considering that I've spent much of my time thus far uttering sentences like:
"No shut up words"
"No hate words"
"No hitting to mom. Mommy ouchy now."
"No throwing at mom."
"No climbing on the table"
"Did you wipe your bum?"
I think I'm ready to go back.

Have a good night.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Right/Left Confused.

They asked for water today! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read my last post- and if you don't want to read the whole thing, just skip to the last paragraph.) A victory! I took them to the park and they played outside until they were really thirsty. When they came home, they asked for water! And they drank it without throwing it at my head even one time (which by the way, they have terrible aim, so it never actually hit my head)! So that was a good day.

I wasn't supposed to be at the park at all. I was supposed to be getting new tires on my van. That's what I was supposed to do on my holidays. Not relax on the beach. Not go to the spa. Not get a manicure. Get new tires. Don't get me wrong, I want the tires, I need the tires--the way things are going right now I'm virtually driving on the ground. I just didn't exactly want to spend the day at Can Am Rubber. But still, this morning found me asking Geoff how to get to the tire store.
"Just take Circle, turn on Faithful."
I won't bother to say which one is me, which one is Geoff. I think you'll figure it out soon enough.
"Right or left?"
"You can only turn left. So left."
"Is that left from the passenger seat, or left from the driver seat?"
"It's left either way."
Now he's getting annoyed.
For no reason.
I just want to know where the fuck I'm going.
"And when you say left- am I facing frontwards or backwards?"
"I really don't see why you would be driving backwards."
"I probably won't, but I want to clarify anyways. You just never know."
"If you're facing backwards, then it would be right, although I really don't see..."
"Is that my right or your right? Because you know how there's that thing that if you're facing someone your right is actually their left and their left is actually your right."
He just looks at me, contemplating something.
But honestly. The whole right/left thing still confuses me.
The only thing I remember from nursing school is "Tri to be right" because the tricuspid valve is on the right chamber of the heart. But how that's going to help me get to the tire store, I don't know.
Geoff sighs. He sighs a lot. Sometimes it seems like he finds me exasperating to live with.
I don't get it.
Finally, he says "You know what. I should probably just take your van in myself."
BOOYA. I win! Again.
Except, kind of I lose, cuz he's at the tire store drinking coffee and reading Golf Digest while they change the tires and I'm at the park with the kids, trying to dehydrate them into drinking water, during which time I picked up an extra kid, had a diaper emergency, had to go home and back carrying Alex, who for some reason is refusing to walk (maybe it's the dehydration, or more probably, the very heavily soiled diaper he's sporting), while pushing a bike, which he refused to abandon or ride.
But still. I got the tires, and the kids drank the water. So win win.
Good night.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Happy Holidays.

I am on holidays from work, which I was totally looking forward to. And yet, here I am, the midway point of my week off and feeling something less than wild enthusiasm. Why this should be the case, I have no idea. But then I thought about it. And maybe I do have an idea.

The first thing is that my day starts like this:
"Mom, Alex is awake and he pooped," Payton announces as she trudges into my room at 7:00 with said poopy baby trailing behind her, diaper sodden and clamoring to get into bed with me.
"What's for breakfast?" she asks while I'm in the middle of changing said diaper. I reply, distracted, "I don't know yet sweetie." "Can you make pancakes?"
"I think Alex puked in the night," she informs me, all in the same transaction. We've gone from poop to pancakes to puke in less than two minutes.
Am I still sleeping??
"What?" I grumble, stalking off to the bedroom to check out the puke situation.
Well now I'm awake.
No puke, but still I had to dig through all of the bedding to check it out.
"What are we going to do today?" Payton asks, following me as I traipse into the kitchen, baby on hip, to make coffee. "Can we go to the Fun Factoy? Or the water park? Or mini golfing?"
"We'll see," I reply.

And honestly, you would think that I had never NEVER spent a moment of time with those kids in their lives. They clamor for my attention, all of it. I try to sit on the couch to drink my coffee. Immediately, Payton is on my lap. Her brother is right behind her, trying with some frustration to push Payton off of me "MY MOMMY" Then I have both of them on me. They're both trying to push the other off, both insisting that I'm their mommy and their mommy only. During the struggle, the coffee spills.
I get up to try to clean it up. Of course, the kids are right behind me.
Alex falls, starts crying. I pick him up, soothe him with a half hearted tousle to the head, while trying to clean up the coffee, which the dog has started to lap up. I try to hold her at bay with my right leg, while standing on my left leg, balancing the baby (still crying) and trying to mop.
It's 7:20 am.
And I'm already exhausted.
And my third child hasn't even woken up yet.
Fuck me.

Anyways. It's still good to get the time off. But it's hardly a day at the beach. In point of fact, even a day at the beach is no day at the beach. You have to get the kids sunscreened and bugsprayed and get Alex's Swimmers on him and go into the water with them and blow up their floaties and then they're crying because someone got sand in their eyes. And then one kid pees on the other kids towel and there's hysteria and then your beach neighbors pack up and move away with disgusted looks on thier faces.
True story.
Oh well.
It can only get better, I guess.

Unrelated matter. This week I stopped buying juice. Between the three kids they drink about two litres of juice a day, which has been costing me about twenty dollars a week. Not to mention that my kids have been getting their cavities filled at the same rate as...
there is no good simile for that. For some reason I want to say something about Keanu Reeves but I just can't make it work, as in "at the rate as Keanu Reeves making bad movies" but then, he hasn't made that many movies lately, has he??
Sorry. I'm all over the place.
But the point is I've stopped buying juice. We have water and we have milk, and the way I see it, that's a lot more than what three quarters of the worlds population has, so that should be good enough. The kids seem less enthusiastic about it. And also, possibly, slightly dehydrated. Between the three of them they've probably drank about eight ounces of water in the last two days.
Is that really bad??
OK. I just looked on Wikepedia and it is.
But hopefully they'll get used to it?? Alex seems to be taking it better. He brings me his juice cup, I fill it with water, he takes a sip, then chucks it at my head.
So that's progress.
I mean. At least he got that sip, right??

Monday, July 5, 2010

Sorry for the lack of blogging of late, but I was away at the lake to celebrate Canada Day, which involved booze and fireworks. How that pays homage to our dear, dear country I am not entirely clear, but it was fun nonetheless. The highlight of the weekend was when I saw Jon Gosselin on the beach. At least I'm pretty sure that it was him. It was an Asian guy with a diamond earring, so I think it's pretty clear cut. And I just have to say: that guy is a straight up A-hole. Talk about conceited. He refused to even acknowledge me when I called his name. Finally I approached him and asked for his autograph, but he outright refused, saying that he didn't know what the f**k I was talking about. And he didn't even have his kids with him! Well he did have two kids with him but they weren't the ones that I saw on the show, so I don't really know where they came from. Maybe he has other kids out there somewhere. I don't know. Anyways. The whole experience was very insulting.

Anyways. In lieu of a post I am going to post song lyrics from my favorite song by MC (which is Miley Cyrus in case you don't know, although how you could not know that is beyond me.) Anyways, this song always picks me up when the chips are down, writing wise, which is pretty much always in my case. I see it, in my minds eye, as that song that plays in the background if my life were to be made into a TV movie (which it probably wouldn't, cuz it would probably suck, but) when it shows various sequences of me, tired and forlorn and sitting in front of the computer at night writing doggedly, sometimes furiously and sometimes slowly, towards an end that I am completely unsure about.

I can almost see it, that dream I'm dreaming
But there's a voice inside my head, saying "you'll never reach it"
Every step I'm taking, every move I make, feels lost with no direction
My faith is shaking
But I gotta keep trying, gotta keep my head held high.
There's always gonna be another mountain.
I'm always gonna wanna make it move.
Always gonna be an uphill battle.
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose.
Ain't about how fast I get there. Ain't about what's on the other side.
It's the climb.
The struggles I'm facing. The chances I'm taking.

Sometimes might knock me down. But no I'm not breaking.
I may not know it, but these are the moments I'm gonna remember most, yeah.
Just gotta keep going.
And I, I got to be strong. Just keep pushing on.

Anyways, that is all for now.
Good night.