Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crunch Time

Could somebody stop this month please? I'd like to get off.

I realized a number of years ago that June is a bit of a slog....it's hellishly busy and you hemmorhage money. May is fine, July is wonderful, but June has far too much going on, and it all costs a fortune. Believe me, it's not that I don't want to do any of the things I'm involved in, I could easily say "no", but I want to do everything, and it's all jammed into those 30 days.

One year the Loudshoes family had so much going on in June that I actually had to write things in the margins of the calendar, because all the little squares were all filled up. This year I've worked an extra couple of days, we had to go to a funeral and the garden needs a lot of attention.

Work has been fairly busy,which is good because I will need the money for our holidays. I gave up a LONG time ago trying to figure out when we'd be busy and not busy, it seems to careen from "boring" to "frantic" within hours. I've been trying to get myself ready for a weekend away, and Thing 2 is graduating elementary school, which means an entire new outfit for her, too.

Thing 2 went to Montreal with her Grade 8 class last week, for 4 days. I got her up at 4:30 in the freaking morning, to catch the bus out of town at 5:30. Naturally, she had to get up that early to straighten her hair and put on some makeup. What a difference 35 years makes! My priority at 4:30 in the morning is to get some coffee into me, preferably intravenously, and not frighten small children.

As was the case when Thing 1 went three years ago, they did not want any parent volunteers for this trip, which was fine by me...I'd have gone if they needed me, but experience has told me that you if you can avoid 8 hours of driving in a production of "Hormones on Wheels", you should do so.

She came home on Friday evening, malnourished from a 4-day, vegetable-and-fibre-free, junk-food binge, and exhausted from talking for 96 hours straight.

Then the Mister and I took off for Montreal the next day. He and I and the staff from the salon went to see a hair awards show.We took the train this time, which was fabulous....you can drink on a train, which they frown on when you are driving, plus there is the added bonus of being able to go the bathroon whenever you want and NOT when your husband decides you should need to go to the bathroom. We had a good time, but maybe the other people in the car did not.

The hair show itself is pretty boring, but the people watching is only spectacular.....I tell you, hair dressers are great value for money, they do NOT disappoint. Think of it, a room full of a thousand people desperate to be the center of attention, and all of them very good at it. You hardly know where to look. Everyone is dressed up and dying to be seen...the shoes alone are worth the price of admission. And that's just the gay guys! The picture above is the Mister and I all cleaned up and ready for public consumption.

The train ride home was fine, except I had to sit beside a 9-year old boy who either need to be medicated or is just incredibly obnoxious. He didn't sit still for the entire 6 hours to Toronto, he shouted at his mother incessently and he spilled a bottle of water on me. I think maybe karma was paying me back for the use of my "outside voice" on the train on Saturday evening.

Next week is Thing 2's graduation, a dinner out, and a memorial service to go to. At least they all involve food. And come July, it will be all over, and life will settle down again. Stop me if I complain about being bored, okay?

Friday, June 10, 2011


After lusting after one for lo these many months, I broke down and bought an iPhone 4 on the weekend. Judging from the way it has consumed my existence this week, I think I may be in need of some sort of 12-step programme to get on with my life.

It all started with my mp3 player. It's a crappy little iPod knock-off I got on eBay about 6 years ago. It worked okay for a while, but eventually, the jack for the earpieces got touchy, and I had to jam it in with my thumb to get sound in both ears. And it hated running almost as much as I did; the bouncing around made it so mad it skipped all over the place. It was like I was running with an actual record and turntable in my hand. The last straw was when it started declining to play certain pieces, and the words "BAD SONG!" came up on the little screen, like I need my electronic devices criticizing my taste in music.

Then I got a new phone last Christmas. It was an improvement over my last cell phone, which was 2 years old and was quite literally being held together with scotch tape. But the buttons were very small, and I was having trouble typing messages on it quickly. (God, listen to me! Talk about "First World Problems")

Eventually I decided my life was completely without meaning unless I could get onto the internet at any time I chose. We don't have internet at work, and the thought of not being able to obsessively check my Facebook at a moment's notice, or look at excerpts from "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" on YouTube was making my life a misery.
Also, we are going to Montreal in a few weeks time, and I knew an iPhone would enable me to locate each and every Tim Horton's within walking distance at any time.

So, I got the phone. I am completely enamored of it. I felt like this when my kids were growing up: "NOW look at what it can do!!"
Except, I have spent the past week on the Apple website figuring out how to use it, and loading it up with all sorts of apps and music and such. I'm wasting hours and hours with this, and neglecting the rest of my life shamefully. But it's so much fun!....I have games! And a camera! And playlists! I even found an app that when you hold the phone up to a speaker that's playing music, it will tell you what the song is and who's singing it! And another site that, if I lose my phone, will tell me where it is, anywhere in the world! (I wish there was one that would tell me where in the house I've left it, because I envision that scenario happening a LOT.)

The Mister sure likes it; he spends ages playing around with it and watching it do things. (Again, sort of like when we had kids.) Thing 1 and Thing 2 want one of their own, maybe not today, but sometime in the future. (Baby analogy still holds.)

As for me, I'm enjoying the honeymoon phase of my new aquisition....everything is rosy and shiny and new, and we're perfect together. Eventually I will probably not think about it so much and just use it when I need it. I may even make a phone call on it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feel It Hot, Hot, Hot.

It's pretty hot here....I'm not complaining, I'm just stating a fact. After the nastiest, unending winter we just had, followed by the grimmest spring on record, I swore I would never complain about the heat again. And I'm not....I'm just enjoying the fact that my feet are warm for the first time in 8 months. And they are VERY warm.

It got up to 33°C today, and as humid as you could imagine. It was like living in dishwasher.

We haven't put on the air conditioner yet; as hot as it is, the temperatures are supposed to moderate tomorrow, and honestly, we have the windows all shut up for most of the year, I hate to close them when it finally gets warm. We only put on the air conditioner when it's going to be this hot for a few days, and we are in danger of actually puddling on the floor.

Toby has morphed into a state of "cat butter", as he has smeared himself all over any and all available cool surfaces around the house.

When I came home from work and started getting dinner ready, I put on a fan in the kitchen, to make it a bit more comfortable. When I came in from lighting the BBQ, this is what I found:
I should have put an apple in his mouth.
I don't know why he doesn't go down into the basement, it's much cooler down there. I suppose he wants to stay up where the humans are; you never know when someone might be doling out tuna.

I'm determined to enjoy the heat, and try to remember what it was like to be cold. Maybe I should stretch out on the kitchen table.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Uniformly Awful.

The weather has turned hot and humid here, and that means it's time to put all the sweaters and socks away and bring out the summer wardrobe.
Now, summer clothing around here tends to run the gamut from "slightly less fabric than in January" to "please enjoy my butt-crack!". LOTS of people have not realized that just because it's comfortable, that doesn't mean it's right. Hairy armpits and sweaty flesh should be covered at all times, I don't care how hot it is.

Thing 2's school has a dress code, which I totally understand: 14 year olds shouldn't be in charge of anything, let alone how they dress themselves. (Although, I do think it is the prerogative, nay, the duty, of every generation to look ridiculous to the one before them.) Their shorts have to be "mid-thigh" length, and halter tops and spaghetti straps are not allowed. Fair enough, as long as the rules apply to everyone, and they are clear from the outset.
Thing 2, as you can imagine, is not so acquiescent. She was sent to the office yesterday because her shorts are 2" shorter than they should be, and she would like to fire-bomb the school at her earliest convenience.

I told her that she should thank her lucky stars she even gets to wear shorts.....when I went to high school, in the olden days, we had to wear a uniform. Imagine the horror! For the first couple of years, we had to wear a blue and black plaid, acrylic kilt. We could wear black or navy blue knee socks or tights, a white blouse or turtle neck sweater and a navy or black sweater or jacket. Black shoes were the only option allowed. Later on, we could wear navy pants (YAY! No more blue knees in January! Although they did fit in with the uniform.) or skirts.

Thing 2 looked at me with incredulity and dismay. She asked me, in a whispery voice full of sympathy and admiration, how my classmates and I ever lived through such a thing, much like I imagine people asked Nelson Mandela how he survived 27 years in prison.

We did what I think most teenage girls would do: we wore our skirts alarmingly short and played fast and loose with the interpretation of the word "navy blue".

We also used to wear jeans or pants to school in the winter, because it we do live in Canada and there' no way I'm wearing an 8" long kilt outside in -20° weather. The problem was, we had only one girls bathroom per floor in which to change....let's see: 150 girls changing per floor + one bathroom the size of a fridge = everyone's late for class. So we changed in the hallways....you put your skirt on over your pants, then drop the pants and Bob's your uncle. Repeat the process in reverse when going home. The administration did not like this manoeuvre, they thought it was unseemly to have 1000 teenage girls changing their clothes out in public every morning, but since they didn't want to build 100 more bathrooms, they had to put up with it.

The kilts were made from an indestructible acrylic fabric that I think NASA should look into covering the Space Shuttle with. It was kind of itchy, but not terribly so, and it held a pleat for freaking years. It didn't stain, didn't wrinkle and didn't catch on fire. (And believe me, we tried. When my friend Kelly's older sister finally graduated from our high school, she had a commemorative "kilt burning" ceremony on the beach up at the lake. We built up a good bonfire and tossed the kilt onto it. That thing would NOT catch fire, in fact, it lay there for a disturbingly long time, completely unscathed, and then it melted. The next morning, all we found was a black lump of disintegrated plastic.) They were hot, though, and about as unflattering as a skirt could be. They gave everyone false hips and had a nasty habit of getting caught in your underwear without being noticed when you went to the bathroom.

I still like a nice, white blouse, but I'm pretty sure I've never owned another item of navy blue clothing since.

Thing 2 looked at me like I had just told her I had spent time in a Victorian orphanage, and never owned shoes.

She doesn't complain about her dress code so much now, and she's dialed way back on her plans for retaliation. I just hope she keeps her butt-crack to herself.