Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ignorance is...Bliss?

I don't watch the news.  It started as a coping mechanism when I was suffering from post partum after Q was born - I was worried enough about horrible things happening, I didn't have to be reminded of them every day at six and eleven pm.  All the news I need I get from my US or People Magazine online.  You may scoff, but I am totally up on all the Hollywood gossip and when I close my eyes I see the gorgeous shoes Reese Witherspoon wore to her wedding and not images from a murder scene.  It works for me.  Oh, I also have google...what else do I need? 

I don't watch horror movies.  This seems to bother people.  Men mostly.  I'm really not sure why, but it does.  I have seen Scream (my brother bought it for me one year for my birthday after I explicitly told him I refused to watch it...) and I saw The Blair Witch Project (which was really more annoying than anything because the picture kept bouncing around when they ran from the "witch").  I am telling you, those 'Viewer Discretion Advised' warnings are for me.  I've been known to change the channel when a scary movie trailer comes on.  I recently went to the theater to watch an "adult" movie (no, no, no, not that kind...a non-cartoon, non-3D, non-talking animal movie-that kind...) "Limitless" a movie about a man who takes a pill and becomes enlightened.  Sounds safe enough, right?  No, it just about crossed the line for me.  Something about the guy threatening to skin him from the waist was so horrible, I can't even repeat it.    Suffice to say, I just don't want to.

There are just so many horrifying things in the world, I want to shield myself and my child from as much as possible. 

So.  It's quite ironic that Q and I have found ourselves in a pickle twice this week where safety was compromised...both times we were blissfully unaware until after the threat was gone, and both times we walked away without a scratch.  The angels were watching over us.

They were watching over us when we met up with some friends for a bike ride by the ocean.  Sounds marvelous, doesn't it?  It was.  It was a beautiful spring day.  We were at the beach (every day at the beach is a fabulous day!!) and were surrounded by white capped mountains.  The boys were getting along so well, as they always matter how much time has lapsed.  Us momma's got in some bonding time.  All was good.  The boys rode on ahead and we met a woman on the path who smiled and said,

Her:  "uh...are those your boys up ahead?"

Us:  "Yes.  Yes, they are."  Quite proud of them, really!!

Her:  "You might want to call them closer.  There was a shooting in the area and they're still looking for the shooter."

Us:  "Huh?"

Her:  "Do you see the police helicopter in the sky?  It's looking for the guy.  The shooting wasn't more than 100 feet from here."

Us:  "Huh?  But we're in White Rock.  People don't shoot people in White Rock"

We called the boys to us (which, I might add, they listened very, very well.  They came to us right away and didn't ask any questions when we told them we had to leave right away) and found out later that a young couple had been fighting when they man pulled out a gun and started threatening her.  When the police showed up, he refused to put the weapon down and they shot him dead.  There were like 20 cop cars outside the house, yellow tape everywhere, and a body under a white sheet.  

The angels were also watching us when I picked Q up from his dad's house the other day.  We were catching up as his dad has the week off, and I haven't seen him as much as I usually do.  We saw a huge crowd down the street and Q says, "I think there's another shooting down there, Mommy."  Silly me, (or naive me...) I think that they're breaking ground on a new living complex or apartment building and there's a crowd gathered for the ribbon ceremony.

A 31 year old man was chasing after a 20 year woman with a machete.  I don't even know how to spell that, by the way...I had to google it.  She gets away while he runs into a townhouse and hides out.  Q's best friend lives a few doors down.  The police actually used his house.  The sniper came in the front door, while J and his family (four small children between the ages of 9 months and 7) left out the back.  Thankfully, the sniper kept the house nice and clean.  And even more thankful that the incident was resolved peacefully when the machete guy surrendered to the police.  I am so, so glad the angels were watching over J's family.  We were a block away, and I had no idea.  I was looking for the balloons and ribbon. 

But seriously?  We live in Canada.  We're Canadians.  We're known for being polite and nice and holding doors open for people.  We are not known for carrying around weapons.  Although we're also known for living in I guess there are some misconceptions about us Canadians. 

It is really very frightening when things like this hit so close to home.  

Of course, Q has a flare for the dramatic and is prone to exaggerations (Why, I have no idea where he gets that from...she said in her best southern belle drawl.)  After the shot-gun trip to the beach, Q came home, burst through the front door and said,

"Uncle Steve, I almost got shot today!!!"

And yet, maybe it wasn't so much an exaggeration as it was a fear.  Maybe that's how a six year old sees a situation like that.  It breaks my heart that he thought his life was in danger.  Even more horrible is that he maybe thought I wouldn't be able to protect him

Does anyone have a bullet proof, anti-bacterial human sized bubble?  I'll take two.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Must Be Dreaming

In this very serious post, I referenced a lighter side of me and my sleep - namely my dreams.

To be fair, I do sleep a lot.  Like more than the average single mom who works full time.  My free time is not spent baking or cleaning, it's spent sleeping.  I'm not afraid to admit it, it's what makes me sane.  And beautiful.  At least, that 's what people say...  If I don't get on average 9-10 hours, I'm grumpy as all get out...and the frown lines do nothing for a pretty face, neither do the bags under my eyes.

Dreams.  What do they mean?  How does your sub-conscious come up with that shit?  Seriously? 

I once had a dream that I was at a wedding where the groomsmen were albino matadors wearing fluorescent green and blue sombreros and I was the one who was overdressed.  I'm not even joking.  My conscious can't even come up with something that elaborate.  And no I did not watch 'Say Yes to the Dress' and 'The Three Amigos' back to back.  That might explain things a little better.  But no...

I have a re-occurring dream that I'm going on a trip with my best friend (to Glasgow, Vegas...) and we've booked the trip, I really don't want to go, and I don't have a passport.  We get to the airport, we're checking in, I'm sweating like crazy...they ask for my passport, and I have to tell them I don't have one.  Everyone looks at me in shock, my best friend glaring...and I have to feign stupidity - "I had no idea I needed one"  I say quietly.  We all know it's lie.  Sometimes I actually even get to the boarding lounge before I get caught, but I always, always get caught.

I go to work in my pajamas because I cannot find my work clothes.  Last night, I returned to work after a weeks holiday (totally true) and I didn't recognize any of my employees.  And instead of 16, I had 101.  I couldn't recognize one.  It didn't help that 5 of them were wearing Burqas.  And they had renovated the whole building to make it look like an underground tunnel, so I couldn't find my office, let alone my clipboard.  There were parcels and mail everywhere - on the floor, under tables, piled high on top of tables, in the crevices of the cave.  No one seemed to notice, or even care.  And there was a leak in the ceiling.

While looking for a new home, I had a dream we were out and about looking at houses when a spaceship appeared in the sky.  It was actually shaped like a ship - a cruise ship.  It was totally normal that an alien spaceship landed in front of us.  We just kept looking at this yellow house with a little picket fence and a park by a lake.  Until my limbs froze and I couldn't walk a single step.  Looking back on it now, it was probably the aliens who had paralyzed me. 

There was the dream that I had lost both my hands.  I woke up in a sweat, and realized that I was sleeping in the fetal position with my hands tucked between my knees and I was cutting off the circulation to them. 

I have dreams all the time that my teeth are falling out.  Like the front one that everyone can see, and I have no idea how I'm going to cover it up.  How am I going to fix it?  How much is it going to cost?  Even in my dreams I am so totally practical.  And afraid of the dentist.  Even in my dreams, the dentist haunts me. 

I had a terrifying dream that I was kidnapped by the Israeli government and trained as a soldier and had to escape by hiding in a tree for 10 days in the snow. 

Yes, someone who sleeps as much as I should have as many dreams as I do...but what are they all about?  They're ridiculously outrageous.  They're incredibly vivid.  Full of colour and emotion and crazy.  People from my past that I haven't even thought of in years suddenly pop up in a dream.  There are dreams filled with crazy romance and love.  The likes of which I've not experienced before.  But I can never see his face.  I wonder who he is and whether I'll ever meet him.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Get Outta Debt (aka...stop having fun?)

Isn't it so pretty and colourful - Canadian Money!!
For me, money has always been a means to an ends.  Unfortunately, that motto has created nothing but debt.  I have had the same $10,000 in debt for the past ten years, at least.  It's not a lot, I get that.  Of course, there have been many set backs - becoming a single mom, getting laid off from one job or another - but there comes a time when all those things just become excuses.  My debt is pocket change for others.  But it just sort of lingers.  Every time I pay some down, I spend it on something else and bingo bango...I'm back up to the same ten grand.  My credit cards are at their limit, I'm always in overdraft, and I impulse buy All. The. Time.

They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. 

I'm going to pause a second while that sinks in. 

Think about many times do we do the same thing over and over and over and expect the outcome to be different than it was before?  I've been doing it for 10 years with my finances alone.  Not to mention my weight issues (yet another story for another day).

I decided that I was done with being insane.  I admitted to myself that I could not manage my finances on my own.  I needed help.  I admitted defeat.  I had no idea how to get out of debt on my own.  I didn't even know where to start.  I guess it all sounds simple.  Stop buying the Coach purse, the jewelry, the make-up.  But what do you do when you just can't stop?

You declare bankruptcy so you can start all over again without any consequences.

Just kidding.  Seriously.  But that is funny, right?  Am I right?  Some people just don't get my humour.

I called a credit counselor.  I started at, a non-profit business that helps people get out of debt.  Initially I thought they would just be able to help me get the credit card companies to lower/eliminate the interest rates so I could start paying off the actual debt and not just waste my time paying interest.  The wake up call was when I got my one bill that said, "if you keep paying off *** each month you will pay this credit card off in **31 years**.  The unfortunate part of this avenue, however, is that they cut up your credit cards and you cannot get another one until your debt has been paid off in full.

Yikers.  I'd be done paying off my credit cards when I was 65 years old.  Would my Coach purse still be fashionable in 31 years?  Would pink still be my favourite colour when I was 65?  Did I even consider asking myself that question when I impulsively bought the purse on e-bay?  Absolutely not.  Didn't even cross my mind, to be honest with you. 

I swallowed the lump in my throat and made the call.  We went over my budget -

NMD:  "Do you need to spend $100 a month on make up?  Could we lower that?  What about tanning?  Is that an essential part of your life?  Could we eliminate that?" 

Me:  "I guess so..."

NMD:  "Do you have any assets?"

Me:  "Does a Coach purse count?"

NMD:  ""

Me:  "Then no..."

She was actually very, very helpful and very, very non-judgemental.  She laughed at my silly, self-deprecating jokes, and actually understood my spending habits...

NMD:  "Did you find that when you quit smoking you started spending more money?  Because I totally did.  I would justify it as a reward for quitting...I deserve this."

Me:  "Yaaaaaa, totally."  In awe.  Even credit counselors have to fight against the desire to spend, spend, spend.

In the end, we did not consolidate or request that the interest stop on the credit cards (although that is still an option if, in 6 months, I find I'm nowhere near my goal.)  What we did instead, is set up a budget.  We set up goals and I was given helpful tools as how to achieve them. 

Here, are some very simple ideas that I had no clue even existed.  With these elementary tools (and a little bit of self control) I will see my debt vanish within the next two years. 

1.  Set up more than one account - You need a saving account that your paycheck is deposited into.  This was completely news to me.  Why would you put your cheque into a savings account and not a chequing account?  When you get paid, you automatically take out enough money to cover half of your bills and put it in your chequing account.  This way, every time you have a bill to pay, you have the money in your chequing account and you will not default on those payments (ie:  rent, car payments, insurance).  Another account is set up as a true savings account, like a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account - I don't know what you Americans have as an equivalent) that you have no access to.  As can put money in, but it is very difficult or a hassle to get money out.  Your original savings account is where your groceries come from, your gas, your essentials...head appointments are not essential...

2.  Make even, consistent payments - If I get a little bit more money (from overtime, etc) I tend to put a huge lump sum payment on my credit card.  The only problem is that I misjudge how much I will need for the essentials and then have to go back into my credit cards to pay for necessary items like a manicure, ahem...groceries.  Instead, budget (there's that word again!!) for consistent payments that equal more than your minimum payment.  For example...budget to pay $100 per month, every month on credit card A.  If you get a large lump sum of money (a tax refund, for are great for tax refunds, btw...the little dependents that they are), you have the choice to put some of it on your card, but whether you do or're still making the consistent payments and you have a timeline.

3.  Still do *fun* things - You're in debt, you're not dead.  If you stop spending money completely on fun little things, first of all - your miserable, and what's the fun in that?  Budget for a manicure once every 3 months or a movie night once every so often.  What you're avoiding by doing this is a binge buy, where you just can't stand the monotony and the hangnails anymore and all that hard work is gone and your credit cards are maxed out once again.  That bonus from work?  Use some to pay off the card, use the rest for a trip to Disneyland (why thank you, I think I will!!)

4.  Put your credit cards on ice - Literally.  Put them in a block of ice.  It's impossible to use it if it's sitting frozen in your freezer.  The principle behind this is that you either have to chip the ice away or wait for it to melt to use it, and hopefully by then you've talked yourself out of the purchase.  Or give it to a family, I gave it to my hold onto it so you do not spend it.  Of course, this means you have to close your paypal account and remove all on-line accounts that you could spend on impulse. 

5.  Learn to say "No" - Willpower.  Rationalize the purchase.  Do I really need this?  $250.00 can feed a healthy adult for a month, $100.00 for a child.  If you're spending much more than that, evaluate what you're buying.  Healthy food or junk?  How much food are you wasting or throwing away?  Do you need the two tubs of ice cream?  Will one suffice?

I'll continue to blog about my debt management.  Will I need to go back in six months and consolidate the credit cards and lose them all together?  Will I gain the will power to do it on my own?  Oh, the suspense is KILLING me...

Hopefully, I'm not just getting myself out of debt.  Hopefully, I'm also giving my son a healthy respect for money, and teaching him how to respect money and finances.  Fingers crossed. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Do You Know?

This morning at precisely 8:34 am, I was woken from my slumber (and an oddly familiar dream where I have to go to work, but cannot find my uniform in the piles and piles of suitcases that surround me...but more on my dreams at a later date....believe me, you'll want to tune in to that post) by screaming.  Blood curdling screaming.  It took me a minute to figure out where I was, and why I could hear the sound of a child being beaten, when I remembered...

...the evil woman downstairs.

I should state clearly that I've never actually heard or seen her beat her little girl.  She prefers the more subtle forms of abuse - verbal, emotional, mental.  She pokes and prods her daughter until she is so overwhelmed by frustration that she screams this high pitched squeal and then it turns into this low guttural moan that sounds like she's possessed. 

Example 1:

Little Girl (LG):  Mommy, I fell  *whimper*

Evil Lady (EL):  Well, why'd you do that?

LG:  I tripped and hurt my knee

EL:  You should watch where you're going.  You are such a klutz.  I tell you all the time to be more careful, but you don't listen.  If you don't want to listen, fine.  Next time, don't trip.

LG:  But Mommy, it really hurts *starts to cry*

EL:  You scraped your knee.  Don't start to cry.  What are you, a baby?  Only babies cry.


**** EL yells back:  "STOP CRYING" for 20 minutes ****

Okay so not really very nice, right?  But is it abuse?  I don't know.  She doesn't give her daughter any other option when met with an adverse situation than to yell and scream and blow up.  LG isn't learning how to deal with her emotions - like anger - in a healthy way.  I've not ever heard Q cry that way. 

Example #2:

LG:  Mommy, you know what I'm going to do when I turn six?

EL:  Don't you be talking like you're turning six tomorrow, because you're not.  You're five.  You won't be six for a few months.

LG:  Ya, I know.  But ya wanna know what I'm gonna do when I'm six?

EL:  Stop jumping.

LG:  Mommy, you know what I'm gonna do when I turn six?

EL:  Stop jumping.  You know what I'm going to do when you turn six?  I'm going to throw you off the roof.  That's what I'm going to do. 

LG:  But, you know what....

EL:  Shut your f***ing mouth, LG.  I don't want to friggen hear it.  Got it?

I was doing laundry when I heard that one.  Poor little girl.  How excited are children for their birthdays?  I know Q does a count down from the day he turns another year older.  Q's birthday is 5 months away and he already has the whole thing planned.  It's exciting for him.

My mom has spoken to EL and she just says, "Ya well it's hard being a single mom."  Obviously, I think this is a total cop out because, hello, I'm a single mom and I wouldn' dream of speaking to my child in that manner.  I don't speak to other adults that way, although I have been known to drop an F-bomb every once in a while.  It makes me angry that that is her excuse for poor parenting.  How about you're just an angry woman who doesn't know how to love a child...maybe that's it.

Example #3 (a.k.a this morning's wake up call)


EL:  I'm calling your dad right now to get you.  He's going to come and take you and you're never coming back, got that?


EL:  LG stop crying now. If you don't stop, I'm calling the police and they're going to come and take you away forever.  STOP CRYING


EL:  Fine.  Good.  I'm done LG.  I'm done.  All you ever do is scream, and I've had enough.  This is NOT your home anymore.  Got it.  Not your home.  The police are coming and they are taking you away for GOOD.

This went on for about 25-30 minutes. 

I know that most of the people who read my blog are women, mothers, sisters, aunts, single mothers, mothers of mothers, etc...what do you do?  There's this side of me that thinks this is absolutely none of my business.  And really, it's not.  She's not my child.  And is she in physical harm?  No, I don't think her mother has ever hit her.  Is she clean?  Yes, her mother has OCD...she's probably scrubbed down with bleach every night.  Is she fed?  Yes, although it smells horrid...fried foods...not really abuse. 

But by saying that, do we negate the fact that this little girl is being bullied by her mother?  That she is being mentally abused, emotionally and verbally.  The little girl has no sense of stability because when the going gets tough, her mother threatens to abandon her.  The mother is creating a monster. 

What would you do?  Would you call Child Services?  Would you leave it alone?  Would you try to intervene the next time you hear it happen?  There are so many instances where parents aren't allowed to parent anymore, the way they *used to*.  Do you know it's considered abuse to wash your child's mouth out with soap?  Not that I could or would ever, but I totally remember my brother's friends mouths being washed out - more than once.  A swat on the bum can be considered abuse.  I don't want to be a nosy neighbour, but I don't want this little girl to be treated horribly any longer.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bedroom

I am obsessed with decorating.  I figure if we're going to be living somewhere for at least two years (fingers crossed...but I do have the signed lease to prove it) we should really make it ours.  No flesh pink in the family room, no yield sign yellow in the kitchen. 

Right now, I am obsessing over my bedroom.  I want pale and pastel, pinks and browns.  I want a dressing table.

Like this...

I love the vintage look of this one.  I'm having so much fun visiting second hand stores for furniture I can restore.  Unfortunately, Q is not having as much fun.  I think he probably had different plans for his spring break...

Loving the punch of colour on the left, by the dressing table, not to mention the frames above the bed.

I heart wallpaper.  I just wish it wasn't so tedious to put up.  Doesn't this look fabulous?

I can't wait to get started.  This is going to be the longest month ever.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Most Valuable Player

Soccer is over for the season.  We finished up a tournament on the weekend, which reminded me how glad I am not to be a hockey mom.  One tournament a year is good for me.  I tried my best to tone down the "Psycho Soccer Mom" and am proud to report there was at least one mom who was way more *crazy* than I.  And of course, I am super proud of my little soccer player, who just happens to also be the MVP for the U7 Super Racing Cobra Hawks.  Yes, they got to pick their own name and parents got confused all the time, so just sort of mumbled, "Go Super Racing....cahummmsdl hsdkssssssss!"  But I ask you this....Have you ever seen a Cobra Hawk?  I bet not.  But it would be pretty cool.  And really very scary.  Especially if it were racing. 

Q said that as they were handing out the award for MVP, his teammates were whispering, "Q, it's totally going to be you.  I just know, it's gotta be you!"  But you know, he did score 6 goals in the tournament.  The only six goals for his whole team for the whole tournament.  Plus, he was a goalie for one game and he had a shut out.  His dad is super lucky he didn't score 8 goals because then he would have had to buy Q hockey seasons tickets.

But most of all, he "had fun" and that's what counts.  Although, when asked, Q said the most important rule in soccer is to, "keep your head up."  We really can't argue with now, can we? 

Here is my little MVP in action, and *spoiler alert* he doesn't score any goals in the clip...he's the one in the red hood and the sweat pants. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Here We Go. Again.

So, we're moving.


I could make a career out of moving.  I move on average once a year. 

Not entirely by choice, mind you. 

Our landlords have decided to sell the house.  When we moved in, this obviously was not the plan.  We  said we were not moving, ever.  We were so super excited to move into a house, with a garage and a backyard and a dishwasher.  And the house has been good to us.  Our landlords had just married (each other) when we moved in, and I think this was a little bit of a *plan B* in case one of them needed/wanted an out.  With that in mind, the fact that they're selling their plan B is testament to the strength of their relationship and we absolutely cannot fault them for that. 

Truth be told, we had started looking before we knew they were going to sell.  There is a tenant downstairs who is less than like-able.  I think she is evil personified.  In early November, just after she had moved in she invited some guy over who he had just met and he slipped her some drug/she willingly took it and then freaked out/passed out with her five year old daughter sleeping in the next room.  Long story short, we had cops banging on our door at two in the morning asking us to look after her daughter so that child services didn't have to remove her from the home.  So, you think she'd be a little grateful, but no.  She calls our landlord every other day to complain about our noise, the soot in her fireplace ("It's so dirty"), her light bulbs ("They shouldn't be burning out after three months of living here").  There are men dropping by at all hours of the day/night, with her daughter sleeping soundly in the next room.  She and her daughter have screaming matches that last an hour.  She swears at her daughter, like...she drops the f-bomb all the time, when she's talking to her sweet, innocent little girl.  I could go on forever, but I've wasted enough time on her already.  But she makes it near unbearable to live here.

We've been looking.  We decided on a townhouse because the utilities will be less and we won't have to shovel the snow or mow the lawn.  I've decided those are man jobs.  Naturally, without a man...we need to live somewhere where they have *people* who do that kind of stuff.  Some place with a living room and a family room so that we (mom and me) can have our own space, if we need it.  Some place with more than one bathroom, because we can live together just fine, but we do not share our bathrooms - nah, I'm just kidding, it makes things easier when we don't have to share a sink.  A garage, storage. 

We found it!!

We move May 1, 2011.  We've found an awesome townhouse with everything we want, including an extra bathroom (3!!!!), a fenced in backyard, 10 minutes from Q's school (and his dad...meh.), and a garage with a sign...

No nosy neighbours, no annoying tenants, no shared laundry and a princess parking only pink.  Well, I think it's just meant to be.

I cannot decide what I'm more excited about..the cleaning, the packing, the moving or the painting. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Results Are In

This is what your Monocytes look like when they're high

So, I'm a negative on the whole mononucleosis front, which I guess is a good know.  I mean it would have made a way better story if I did have mono, but it's just such a complicated disease that never really goes away.  I would never be able to donate blood ever again, which I have only ever done once, but I still don't really want the option taken away because of some stupid thing like Mono.  This does remind me though, I really should donate blood more often.  I'm O- you know...the universal're not surprised, are you?  "Of course she is, she would be."  You're all thinking it. 

Anyways, no Mono...but I don't know this from the doctor.  I hate it when the results are negative and they just don't tell you.  What if the results get lost?  What if you misread them or missed something really super important?  Life threatening, even.  What if you mistook them for someone else's?  All of these are valid concerns for a hypochondriac like me (and maybe you!)

How do I know?  Well, because of this fabulous website.  Now, it's specific to British Columbia, but google your province or state, because I'm sure that we're not so advanced here in B.C. that we have this technology that no one else has.

I just register my information and then it allows me to pull up my own results.  All of them...which means that I then need this website... order to find out what Monocytes are.  Because my tests results show that they were high.  It's brilliant!!!  Not only do I have an active role in my health, but I'm getting educated too.  One of my best girlfriends in High School had diabetes for months before she actually found out she had it.  The doctor conveniently "forgot" to tell her until they had to hospitalize her.  That will never, ever happen to me. I will know before the doctor knows, because we all know I will be on that website every hour on the hour until they post the results.  I will not miss a decimal point.

So I had boring old strep throat (which can turn into horribly dangerous things like meningitis, did ya know?) I got the test results to prove it.  For all my worrying about horrible things happening to me, nothing (knock on wood) ever, ever has.  The worst thing I've ever had is pregnancy, and I totally know how to avoid that ;)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm a Co-Parenter

Way back when, I was sitting in a room with a whole bunch of fabulous ladies.  We were all new momma's, we were all depressed and we all hated our husbands (or in my case - fiance).  Maybe that's what bonded us more than anything else, the fact that we could (and did) talk for hours about how angry we were at the men in our lives.  They didn't get it, they didn't do it right, and their breathing was just so damn loud.  They got to sleep through the night, they got to drink the beer, their nipples weren't being accosted every two hours by a new born, they were footloose and fancy free. 

At one point, it looked like we were all heading for divorce court, arm in arm together. 

In the end, I was the only one who ended up a single mom.  After the depression subsided, and the anger dissipated, and the children grew, my friends found that they actually really did love their husbands.  They found that they had weathered the storm and were stronger for it.  They found that marriage is hard work, and they were willing to do the grunt work with their partners in order to remain an intact family.  Luckily for them, their husbands kept on loving them while they were hurling diapers (dirty?  of course not!) and baby food during heated arguments.

Fundamentally, my relationship was not strong enough to survive the storm.  Fundamentally, we were two completely different people who had two completely different ideas about what life and relationships were all about and what was involved in making a relationship strong and cohesive.  I've been very angry about that for a very long time.  Angry at Mr. Ex for not seeing things from my perspective and not being there for me when I really, really needed him, but angry at myself for choosing someone when it was so completely obvious that his ideas were so absolutely different from mine.  I was angry for thinking I was fabulous enough to change everything about him, and for thinking he could love me for it.

I think part of being so content lately is realizing that I'm not angry anymore.  I'm not angry at him.  I'm not angry at myself.  I dont' want to punch him in the face anymore when I see him.  I felt like punching him in the face for a very, very long time.  Don't get me wrong, it has taken me over four years to get here, but I'm here.  It was horrible.  It was hard work.  There was a lot of yelling and many, many tears.  But I am here.  I'm not angry.  I have healed.  I'm not the victim.  I didn't do anything that I now regret (ie: moving to Switzerland in the middle of the night...).  I'm standing on my own two feet.  I didn't replace him (or the need for a *him*) with rebound man after rebound man.  I allowed myself to become whole and healed and here I am.

What does this mean?

Well, I can tell you it certainly does not mean that I will be running into Mr. Ex's arms and living happily ever after.  That ship has sailed (and I think it sunk somewhere around the Bermuda Triangle...Thank God!) 

It means that I'm not really a single mom.  I'm a co-parenter.  Whether I like it or not, my son has a father that is in it for the long haul.  He didn't desert.  He didn't bail.  He's taking an active role in raising Q.  This is the only thing that me and Mr. Ex have in common - raising a healthy, happy, well rounded child who is polite and works hard and understands the value of a dollar. 

In the end, all the other stuff is just that...stuff.  Stuff that doesn't matter.  We share Q fifty / fifty.  Not one week here, one week there, but one day here, one day there.  We live relatively close to eachother so that it's not difficult or inconvenient to do so.  We communicate.  We discuss.  If I'm angry about something, I wait a day or two to discuss it.  If I'm PMS-ing, I try to avoid Mr. Ex at all costs. 

And what do we have?

We have a well rounded child who doesn't feel awkward when his mother and father are in the same room.  A child who can talk to either one of us about anything that is troubling him.  And he can pick his audience.  If he thinks that Mommy will be more receptive to a certain topic - he knows he's free to do so.  He knows he doesn't have to pick favourites, and he knows there is enough love to go around. 

I think most people think that because I'm a single mom, I'm an advocate for being one.  Not entirely so.  I was in a room with four other women who all chose their hubbies.  I'm an advocate for finding what makes you happy and working really hard to make it so.  Me being happy didn't happen over night.  Me being happy didn't start with being a single mom or walking out on my ex. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


The other night a male colleague/friend (totally, totally platonic) called me.  I was putting Q to bed, but I was eager to get the phone so I could possibly get a little more sympathy from someone who may or may not have heard that I was sick.  Well, that...and I had meant to stop by the other day and in the end never showed up, and needed to explain myself.


The conversation ended with this:

Co-worker:  Okay Sunshine!  Talk to you soon.

Me: Bye bye


Q:  Is he your WIFE?

Me:  Huh?

Q:  He is.  He is.  He's your wife!!!! 

Me:  What are you talking about?

Q:  He called you sunshine.  He's your wife.

Me:  Okay, number's husband.  A woman is a wife, and man is a husband.  So, if Mommy got married, she would have a husband and be a wife.  Secondly, dude, if Mommy was married and had a husband, I think you would have heard about it before now.

Q:  Oh.  Why did he call you sunshine then?

Me:  Because I'm just like the sun.  I make people happy where ever I go.

Q:  Oh.  Night night, Mommy.

Me:  Night night, Q.  Sweet dreams.

Q:  Sweet dreams to you, too.

Me:  I love you, Q.

Q:  I do, too.

What a strange, strange world this world must seem to a 6 year old.  Wives and husbands, sunshines and sweet dreams. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How Fragile We Are

This whole "getting sick" thing has made me realize a few things.  First of all, I'm a horrible sick person.  Some people are saints when they suffer.  I am not.  I think that the world should stop and just let me be until I feel well again.  Unfortunately, being a momma does not allow for *stopping* so hats off to momma's every where who momma even when they're sick.  And a shout out to momma's who do it on their own, with no daddies in the picture.  And a holla' to those who have more than one bundle of joy running around when all you'd like to do is pop a few t3's and wake up when it's over.

I've noticed that there are generally two camps when it comes to illnesses and medication.  There are those of the mind that medication is a necessary evil when you're ill.  They try to avoid antibiotics but understand the need.  Then there are the ones that avoid medication at all costs.  Immunize the kids?  Hell no.  Let them build up a natural immunity to Polio.  Instead of tylenol, they use natural remedies like green tea and ginger.  Me?  Well, I belong to a third camp that I like to call, "Fry, SUCKERS, Fry."  Basically, I think everyone should be given a 7 day dose of antibiotics twice a year to fight what ever *might* be lurking below the surface.  There are germs and bugs and diseases absolutely everywhere.  It's amazing to me that we make it through the day, month, year without dying of Meningitis or a staph infection or something of the sort.  My son says that he wishes the world was made of penicillin - which would be lethal for me, but how great for him if every thing tasted like Banana and he never got sick.  Oh, I know, I know...we have a natural immune system that works very hard to fight these things every single day...but I'd sure worry a whole lot less if I had an IV drip 24/7.

Third:  I think I may be a freak of nature.  Right, okay...get all the jokes out of the way, but once you hear the evidence you might agree.  When I was 3 I had my adenoids out, when I was 5 I was scheduled in to have my tonsils out and they noticed my adenoids had grown back, so they took both out.  Before I was even 6 years old, I had removed twice what most adults don't even know exist.  Anyways, when I was a the doctors the other night, she said I had *pustules* on my *tonsils*.  My tonsils have grown back.  I'm tempted to cut a finger off, just to see what happens.  Maybe I have a super human power to regenerate missing limbs, they could isolate the mutated gene, I could make millions, and war amps would have to file Chapter 11 (unless, of course, they start a secondary business just returning keys to people who've lost them...because I'm pretty sure the world would shut down otherwise.  Little known fact, though...the Post Office does that too...)

And my final realization from this illness is that my father should be paying my therapy bills.  Growing up, if I ever had a headache a series of questions would follow...was my neck sore?  Was it stiff?  Did I have a fever?  Could I see any spots on my body?  Because it might be Meningitis.  After I passed all the check points I would be given a Tylenol 3 and sent on my way.  I was 12.  Every single illness was met with a tra-billion questions veering towards one deadly disease or bacteria or virus.  Nothing was safe.  My father was/is probably the only person who has ever gone into a McDonalds and asked for his hamburger to be "extra well-done".  E-coli, of course, but come on.  It's to the point where I can no longer google my symptoms because I suffer from self induced panic attacks when I discover my hang nail can house a staph infection and I can die.  DIE.  I know, I's gonna be a hefty bill.

I'm happy to report that I can now eat things like rice and super soggy cereal, but get severely tired after a game of Yahtzee and have to rest for an hour or so.  But I have to go, because my fingers are getting tired from typing and my neck is sore. 

Does someone have a cool, damp cloth for my brow?

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'll Just Blow you a Kiss From Here

Last week Q was sick.  Like super sick.  Like most times when Q is sick, the only thing different is the constant flow of snot (which, by the does such a little person produce so much snot??), but this time, Q sat on the couch for four days straight, ate nothing, and willingly took medicine to help him sleep (this is usually a huge fight).  On day four I took Q to the doctor and within 12 hours of antibiotics I had my bouncing little boy back.  The kid was actually begging me to go back to school.  He asked if he could get the spelling words so we could do the spelling test at home! 

I thought that I had dodged the bullet.  After a whole week of wiping snot (I can handle puke, poo and blood...snot makes me want to barf.  I cannot handle snot), seeing snot bubbles, having Q cough, sneeze and wipe his nose on me, I thought I must have super human immunity.  It's only fair, really, seeing as how I was really sick over Christmas.  I was counting my lucky stars and my blessings.


Four days ago, I woke up with a sore throat like I've not ever, ever experienced.  I've had to will myself to swallow.  I talk myself into swallowing.  I give myself a count down to swallowing.  I haven't eaten in four days because it's simply too painful (hello great weight loss plan!!)  I can tolerate hot, hot tea and nothing else. 

I'm starving.  What I wouldn't do for a steak or a hamburger right now....mmmmmmmm.....

So last night I broke down and went to the doctor.  I tend to be a hypochondriac (maybe it's cancer...) and so if I went to the doctor every time I thought I should, I'd be there every other day.  As a result, I talk myself out of going to the doctor even when it is necessary.  Out of sheer desperation, I went last night.  I knew she was going to say, "Oh, it's a virus.  There is nothing we can do."  I waited for an hour and 45 minutes to hear, "There's nothing we can do" on the off chance that there was something they could do.

Sure enough, the doctor tells me that all my symptoms sound exactly like the virus that's going around and there is nothing she can do until it runs it's course.  "Have you started throwing up yet?"  Uhhhh, no.  "Well, that's coming."  Thanks, Dr. Doom.  She says that in 100 patients that she sees, maybe one actually has strep throat.  She checks out my throat, and says "Well,'ve proven me wrong.  You must be my one in a hundred."  Then she checks my glands, and says..."Oh.  I think you have mono!"

As in the kissing disease.  As in what all the teenage kids get in high school from drinking from the water fountain (although they want everyone to think it's from kissing the cute guy in math class).  I'm 33.  I haven't drank from a water fountain in years.  I've not kissed the cute boy in math class well....ever.  It is absolutely ironic that I get the one fun sickness and haven't done anything fun to get it.  I've been living the life of a nun, and I have mono. 


Well, we're still waiting for the results from the blood tests. 

I'm such a wimp when I'm sick, too.  I groan.  I moan.  I put my head in my hands and groan and moan some more.  I relay my every symptom to anyone within hearing distance every 20 minutes just so they don't forget how much I'm suffering.  I ask anyone near to put their hand on my forehead just to make sure it's not my imagination that I have a fever.  I confirm that it's not hot, "Is it hot in here?  Or is it just me?"  just to remind them that I have a fever.  If I have to suffer, then so does everyone else.

Anyways, it's been just over 12 hours on antibiotics and I am happy to say that I can swallow without my eyes watering.  Don't get me still hurts.  And I still can't eat anything.  But I can swallow without giving myself a countdown to do so.  I'm allergic to Penicillin, which is the number one drug in fighting bugs like this, so the doctor gives me a drug in the Penicillin family but tells me that there's only a 5% chance of me reacting to it.  What's the worst that can happen?  Well, death...but really, it's more likely that I'll just get hives all over my body.  Seriously, I'm desperate enough to try anything at this point.  Anything.

I'm house ridden for the next 4-6 days too.  Which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it.  I have to cancel my plans for drinks on Saturday night with a girlfriend I haven't seen in ages, but I also have a doctors note (that she gave me without even me asking for one) that says I cannot work for the next 6 days.  And because she's fairly convinced I caught whatever I have from my little cesspool of germs...a.k.a. the kid...I can still spend some quality time with him without worrying about him getting sick!

Look at me, finding the silver lining of this cloud. 

And now I'm going to take a nap as I've decided to milk this Mono thing for all it's worth.  Because when the results of the blood test come in and it's not Mono...I won't have an excuse to nap in the middle of the afternoon ;)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


What Memories are Made of.

Q and his Daddy have been going to junior hockey games in the area lately.  It's an inexpensive evening, a bonding experience for the two of them, and they get to watch something they enjoy together.  The other night we were lying in bed, talking about our day and I said to Q...

Me:  You know, this is what memories are made of.  When you're an adult, you will have memories of you and Daddy going to hockey games, cheering together.  You'll tell your children about the times you spent with Daddy.

Q:  Ya, but you and me...we don't go to hockey games.

Me:  No that's true, we don't.  That's more of a Daddy/Q thing to do.  But we have other things that we do together that make memories.

Q:  Oh.



Q:  Like what?

After I reminded him of all the different things that we do together, at least I felt a little better...