Monday, April 18, 2011

Puking On The Side of The Road: The Downside of Lady's Night

This weekend was Lady's night at Candle Lake.
I was the girl with the sensible shoes. I felt at a distinct shoe disadvantage when we were preparing to leave. The other girls slipped into their stilettos, zipped up their knee length boots. I slipped my feet into my dingy flats. "I have to wear these shoes," I said in my defense. "I have corns on my feet."
Okay. That did not actually make me sound, look or feel any cooler. If anything, it made me feel less cool.
"You're wearing medicated shoes?"
"No. They're not medicated! I just have to wear flat shoes," I said, feeling defensive about it. Why did I have to wear these shoes? I asked myself? Or a pair of gray slacks?
Do I always have to be so practical?
Apparently, yes.

And yet, I was the one who ended up squatting in a ditch the next day, retching and heaving. The practical, sensible one. How did that happen? I don't really know.
But, apparently, an eighties cover band and cheap drinks will do that to me.
Now I know for next time.
Still, I couldn't believe it was happening to me.
Driving home, I began to feel queasy. The road seemed bumpier. It seemed curvier. Almost  roller coaster like. My stomach lurched. I put my head back, closed my eyes. That did not really help.
Nothing seemed to help.
Finally, I had to admit out loud what I did not want to admit to myself.
I was about to be sick.
"I think I'm going to be sick," I said.
"Should I stop?" My sister in law asked me, a note of panic in her voice.
I hesitated. "I think, maybe," I said.
That hesitation would cost me. I made it out of the car just in time. Even as I opened the door, a stream of pink vomit spewed forth. Then I stood at the side of the highway, which felt awkward. But I wasn't practiced at this roadside vomiting thing.
I need to lower my center of gravity, I thought, adopting a squatting position, which felt better.
Cars zoomed past, and I felt like--
well- like the kind of person who pukes on the side of the road.
Assholes, I told myself, as I wiped my mouth on my sleeve.
They don't know. I could be undergoing cancer treatment for all they knew. Gawk at people who are on cancer treatment much?? I asked them in my mind.
Of course, I wasn't on cancer treatment. But still.
That's not the point.
The point is not to judge people, or whatever.

Anyways, there was nothing sweeter than getting home and feeling the comfort of my bed. Or the comfort of having a toilet to hang my head on when I puked, for that matter.
I overheard my daughter on the phone. "My mom can't come to the phone right now," she said. "No. She's in bed because she had too much to drink at Lady's night and now she's been really throwing up a lot, and it's pretty bad. She can only eat crackers but then she puked those out."
I groaned and put a pillow over my head, only hoping that it was my mother and not someone ringing me up for a job interview or something.
She was pretty sweet about the whole thing, though. She patted me on the back when I was in bed. "Well," she said. "You're a nurse. You can look after yourself," she said as she left the room.

Anyways, to the makers of Gravol: you are rock stars with Tiger blood and Adonis DNA. Thanks to some heavy doses of Gravol I began to feel a lot better as the day went on. I even felt skinnier, too, which was nice. Even though, I noted, as I looked at my cracked, bloody lips in the mirror, dehydration isn't that sexy of a look.
So lessons learned from ladies night:
Next year- hotter shoes, less shooters.
Actually no shooters.
Just to be safe.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Principles of Operant Conditioning Gone Terribly Awry

It sounds complicated but its a simple thing, really, operant conditioning.
You reward (or reinforce) good behaviour with positive reinforcement.
You use punishment for bad behavior.
Using this simple technique, you could, if you were so inclined, train a mouse to run a maze.

But could you get a two year old to go to bed at a predetermined bedtime.
Hell no.
Not even close. You could get him to bed, perhaps, within a ninety minute time frame surrounding said predetermined time. But, then again, you could also do that using no intervention at all, which I found out one time when I fell asleep at 9pm and woke up at eleven, half expecting the house to be on fire or the windows to be smashed out. But instead, I found my little buddy asleep in a playpen. He had moved his pillow and blanky in there, climbed in and curled himself to sleep.

I know exactly what I'm doing wrong. Inadvertently, I reward bad behavior. He comes out, asks for a drink of water, I get it for him and send him back to bed. He comes out a minute later, asks for a hug, I hug him and carry him back to bed, tuck him in, perhaps even massage his back a little, cuz I know he likes that.
But what am I to do?
Deprive him of water?
Deprive him of hugs?
That's harsh. He's a toddler, not a lab rat.

Anyways, the other day, this had gone on for quite some time. I was feeling exhausted. Geoff was working late. Both Alex and Payton had been coming in and out of bed for over the two hour mark, and my patience was worn very thin. As thin as my husbands hairline, and that's thin indeed.

And then came Gage, my thirteen year old. "Watch and learn," he told me as he went into the room. He was in there for less than a minute. "They won't be back out," he said as he pulled the door shut behind him.
Sure enough half an hour went by and there was no sign of Alex or Payton.
"What did you do, put a sleeper hold on them?" I asked. Because if so, awesome, I need to learn the sleeper hold.
"No," he said. "I told them that whoever fell asleep first would get a prize in the morning."
"Actually," I said. "That's pretty brilliant."
Principles of operant conditioning, applied correctly.
Thirteen year olds will rule this world one day, I thought to myself. For once that thought actually seemed optimisitic rather than terrifying.

Nevermind the fact that I now have to give my kids chocolate bars for breakfast. That's another issue entirely. I'm planning on phasing that out by switching the chocolate bars to bubble gum flavored multivitamins. Then they'll be getting thier rest, and a vitamin as well.
Superkids, they'll be!!

Anyways, I really must apologize for not being around more- on here or on any of your blogs. Life is complicated for me right now, and I must admit that I am seriously contemplating the future of this blog. Too many things, too little time. But we'll wait and see on that.
One day at a time I guess.
Hope you have a good weekend.