Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Take it...or leave it?

We're leaving tomorrow for a trip to California, the whole darn family.  Packing does not seem to be a problem for the teenage boys and my husband but for me...well...decisions, decisions.  We have two flights on Friday, Moncton-Montreal then Montreal-Las Vegas.  We overnight in Las Vegas (ugh...I don't think I will be a fan but am trying to remain open-minded) the next day we pick up our rental car and go to Death Valley National Park for an overnight then on to the coast of California a bit north of LA.  From there we have about 5 days unplanned but we're thinking of driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, spending the last three days in San Francisco( maybe a wine tour?) before flying back San Francisco-Toronto, Toronto-Moncton.  I have to be prepared for hot weather, cool weather, hiking, and maybe dressing up a bit if we decide to go out to dinner in the city.  The top of my bed looks like this:

kind of a disorganized mess.....

I think 6 pairs of shoes seems a tad excessive....maybe I'll sneak a couple pairs into my husband's suitcase.

Calvin is pretty excited to go spend a couple weeks with his grandmother
We're waiting for our older son to get home from university tomorrow and I have warned him to have all his clothes clean and packed....we'll see how that goes.  I suggested to the boys that they leave their laptops and even their Ipods at home and step away from technology for the trip....they were not amused.  Maybe after spending every day in a rental car with their parents they'll need an escape.

Any suggestions on things we should see or do in California?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


How much is too much?  What is the difference between caring for your kids, and giving them a few perks...and turning them into spoiled brats with a sense a entitlement?  And why is it so hard to see them struggle....with anything?  Don't you just want to swoop in and "fix" everything?

I can remember as a teenager having lots of things that I wished were different.  Wishing you had the same freedoms and even material things as your friends....wishing that you were a better athlete....wishing that person you had a crush on would notice you...but you worked through it and in the end were stronger for it...and you survived just fine, thank you.  Why as a Mom is it so difficult to watch you own kids have even one moment of unhappiness or discomfort?

This week our neighbours are on a trip so they hired Isaac to care for their barn animals while they are away. they pay him really well and he will need the money as we are going on a trip next week and he will want some spending money so the timing was good.   It is a pretty big job as they have 19 sheep (and counting as they are all pregnant and due next week) and 3 horses.  It probably takes around 45 minutes in the morning and again in the evening to feed and water all the animals.  The bus picks Isaac up at 7:30 so he has to get up at 6:00 am, walk to the neighbours, do the barn work, walk home, shower and catch the bus.  The evening chores aren't so bad as he isn't on a strict time schedule after supper.

This morning when I heard his alarm go off at 6 am, it was still dark....and I was still in bed.  I thought of him walking down the road....and I started to worry about it still being dark and him walking along the road and the cars not being able to see him.  I considered getting up and driving him there.....then I considered telling him I would do the barn work this morning so he wouldn't be rushed and he could do it this evening....then my husband said "he's fine, he's 16 years old....I'm pretty sure he is capable of walking along the road" (don't you hate it when husbands are all reasonable like that?)  In the end I stayed in bed....(but I did tell him to take a flashlight...and to be careful (3x).  He came back about 6:45, showered, had a scrambled egg and went on his way to school. Now we just have to repeat this for the next 7 days.....and I'm really going to try to not step in and save the day....but it will be hard....

Do you like to "fix" everything in your kid's life?

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Peace, Love and Marital Discord

Last summer this innocent looking vw camper van....the symbol a peace and love....was the cause of a huge rift between my husband and I.  Every time we see a camper van Scott says "someday I'm going to own one of those".  I thought he meant "someday" like my "someday"...."someday I'm going to lose 10 pounds", "someday I'm going to organize all our closets", but he didn't....he meant "someday" REALLY someday.  It started innocently enough, we attended a Canada Day parade in a nearby town and there were several antique cars there on display so we walked around and looked at them all, and their was a vw camper van very similar to the one pictured...and it was FOR SALE.  Scott took down the phone number...and called the person selling it, and told me he thought we should buy it.  

Now when Scott pictured this camper van in our possession, he dreamed of hitting the open road, carefree, stopping at little private beaches, having lunch at scenic picnic sites and spending the quaint campsites, cozy in our little self-contained bus.  I on the other hand....pictured us broken down on the side of a highway at the mercy of whatever psychopath stopped by to "help us" or stranded in some "Deliverance"-like town waiting for an obscenely-priced foreign part to repair our "antique".  Ok, maybe my pessimistic Scottish heritage is showing, or maybe I'm a realist...either way I was not about to win " supportive wife of the year".  

We had a few tense days....then he reconsidered and decided maybe we should compromise and buy a more modern, reliable truck that we could eventually get a small camper for...and in the meantime we could use the truck as second vehicle.  I felt relieved....but that was quickly replaced by guilt.  You know when you things go your way...and you're happy...but then you feel a bit guilty?  I imagined us being a little old couple, sitting on porch and him telling me his only regret was not buying the camper van....and that each day we would be eating breakfast and I would think everything was great....but he would be feeling resentful...and maybe spitting in my coffee when I left the room (ok, I've also been accused of thinking too much...along with being pessimistic).

Anyway shortly after this was his I was inspired to make him a beer mug...

I put a camper van on it....and made a few extra to sell.  They are quite popular and have sold really well...maybe there are a few other people out there with "camper van dreams".  

Friday, 8 April 2011

The Curse of the Lounging Teenagers

There is no school Isaac is home.  Cameron has no classes at university on he is home....and he brought his she is here.  I, on the other hand, do not have a day off, herein lies the problem.

They have been laying on the couches, watching movies...ALL DAY....or should I say most of the day since they didn't get out of bed UNTIL NOON!  Now I know that "you are only young once"and they are just "doing what teenagers do"...and at least I "know where they are"....yeah, they are in my house, messing it up and eating everything!  So far today from the evidence I see in the kitchen they made; instant oatmeal, tomato soup, ate the left-over fajitas...and mango salsa from last night's supper, and finished off all the milk and juice.  

It's a beautiful sunny day (though they would never know it) and the dog would really like someone to take him for a walk.  I keep walking through the tv room suggesting that they maybe should go out in the sun....but so far the third viewing of "Get Him to the Greek" has them riveted.  Why do I feel like they should "go outside"?  Like somehow I am a bad mother if I let them lay around all day?  Won't it be liberating when you only have to worry about your own: exercise, diet, health, amount of hours spent outside?  Have you ever seen the list "Stuff White People Like"?  If you haven't, google it and read it.  It is hilarious, number 9 on the list is "being outside".  

When the boys were younger of course it was so much easier to make sure they were eating healthy foods, watching age-appropriate movies, getting enough exercise, but now they are 16 and 19, I think it's time to take a break.  And frankly, I need it.  Is this a mother thing?  I don't think my husband loses any sleep worrying about the lack of leafy greens we've eaten this week.  In fact when I was freaking out about our oldest not having a job yet for the summer the conversation went something like this;

Me:  If Cameron doesn't get a job soon all the other university students will have all the jobs and he won't have any money to put gas in his car and pay part of his tuition for the fall and then he will have to get a really big student loan and then after he graduates from university he will be saddled with huge payments and he will have a depressing life where he never gets ahead and it will be terrible......

Husband:  Well I have a job, and I don't have a student loan so I'm not going to worry about it...he'll be fine he's just doing what teenagers do...

And that my friends is why I have an ulcer....and my husband does not.  

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Obsess much?

My family is ready to disown me.  There has been a nasty flu bug going around our community and I am so neurotic about vomiting that I have been obsessively cleaning....and using huge amounts of hand sanitizer...and doing crazy things like wiping everything but the dog down with Chlorox wipes.  When I am watching the news and they mention an outbreak of the Norwalk virus....I have to turn the tv off.   I could never go on a cruise which seems to be a perfect breeding ground for nasty viruses....I'd be the crazy lady rowing to shore in the lifeboat to escape the germs.

I know that no one really enjoys vomiting.....but my aversion to it...well it hovers very close to crazy lady proportions.  Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry confessed that he knew the last time he vomited and he was determined to not break his "non-vomitation streak"?  Or, have you read the life story of Howie Mandel where he discloses that he was so afraid of germs that he built himself a separate, tiny little room in his backyard and when one of his kids got sick he moved out to his little "safe house"?  I would be tempted.....if only I had enough money to build myself a little house out back.

I'm fine with coughs, colds, sore throats.....I'm a regular Florence Nightingale with my family when they are sick like that, I will rub their backs, bring them drinks etc.  But if you vomit....well let's just say I will keep my distance and you better stock up on Javex.  I somehow think if I wash every pillow, blanket, light switch, doorknob, the dog, the cat (kidding) then the rest of the household will be spared.

As a teenager my parents never had to worry that I would drink alcohol....I was too afraid I would get drunk and vomit.  Now as an adult, I did get over that silly part but I do limit myself to 2 or 3 drinks at the most (you can never be too safe).  I also check all the best before dates on all the food in the fridge before I will eat  any of it (my mother thinks I'm very wasteful...among other things).

Luckily when I was pregnant with both of our sons I didn't get morning sickness once.  That was a special kind of blessing for me (and my husband too, ha ha)

Anyway....I'm trying not to be a total freak about it ( if you are reading this and thinking...too are a freak) I won't be surprised......