Monday, July 30, 2012

I Can't Go On I'll Go On

T minus 48 hours before I leave for BlogHer and I've never felt more conflicted about blogging. Is that ironic? Or just pathetic?

I've said many times that I've gotten everything I wanted out of blogging: an outlet for writing; a great community; a bunch of wonderful, creative, hilarious new friends; and a few free books. 

I am opposed to the concept of unrestrained growth. I hated when I worked at Chapters and they were always on us to push the stupid rewards card on everyone - look, some people just want to come in and buy their frigging book of crossword puzzles and pay and leave, okay? People who regularly come in and buy a buttload of books probably already have the card, and people who don't want it just get pissed off when you ask them AGAIN if they want it. (Mysteriously, I've never taken an aptitude test that suggested I would be good in sales). 

I don't like the idea of constantly having to grow my blog, expand my readership, create a brand, find new markets etc. etc. either. Some people start out blogging as a business and make it work really well, which is great for them. Some people fall into a good way to monetize what they're already doing - this makes me both admiring and jealous. I can't do it. It has nothing to do with integrity - I'm just too self-conscious, or lazy, or inconsistent in my interests, to make this work.

That said, I am feeling a slight sense of blog malaise at the moment. Maybe it's just the summer, or the beginning-of-summer craziness with driving/houseguests/baseball/baseball/baseball. But I'm considering the fact that I might need to put a bit more thought into what I want this blog to be (and by 'a bit more' I mean 'any'), although I swear on the lives of my children that you will never ever find the words 'mission statement' used here, and if you do you have my permission to heap digital spit-covered scorn on me. 

So. I will try to be less lazy about taking and posting crappy pictures with my sub-standard cameras. I will try to be less chickenshit about wading into discussions about controversial current events. I will try to screw up more recipes and go on more painful and humiliating field trips for your mocking pleasure. And if all else fails, Eve's still nine - surely I can wring a few more cute misstatements or hilarious amusing anecdotes out of her before I shut this baby down forever. Oh! Oh! Here: a picture of her play at the end of drama camp here in Ottawa. The five girls wrote the play together with their counsellor: Eve plays a mean orphanage director named Mrs. Doublebutt (pronounced Doob-lay-boo) who takes in two orphan girls and mistreats them, but then Santa comes and they wake up so he offers to grant them two wishes if they'll pretend they never saw him, and then there's a dance-off - what? Shut up, they had three days, it was awesome.

Friday, July 27, 2012

If only bedbugs were the major problem

So I'm feeling heavy and sad at the moment, so naturally I'm making a huge negative out of something that promises to be largely positive, by which I mean a tentative-yet-almost-certainly-correct diagnosis of severe sleep apnea.

I waited months for an appointment at the sleep clinic at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. And of course I almost didn't go because why NOT get incredibly pessimistic and assume that it won't help at the last minute? The psychiatrist/sleep specialist guy was AWESOME. Not dismissive, not supercilious, not humourless (all things I've come to expect from medical specialists). There was a long set of forms to fill out and an exhaustive interview about family medical history, my history of depression and anxiety, the fact that I display allergy symptoms but the allergist says I'm not allergic to anything (this doctor said: "just because you're not allergic to anything in his little needles doesn't mean you're not allergic to anything" - HA!). Then at the end of this he spent thirty seconds looking in my mouth and said, "Huh. Your palate is the size of the average eight-year-old's. And your tongue is actually fairly small, but enormous in comparison. I'll eat my stethoscope if you don't have severe sleep-breathing issues."

So there. Years and years and years of never waking up feeling rested, of not being able to drag myself out of bed unless I absolutely have to, and feeling like a zombie when I did. I have my overnight assessment at the end of September and then likely will be provided with a CPAP machine. And it could all get better. The doctor said this probably developed when I hit puberty. I said "cripes, I could have been a brain surgeon". I was joking.

But today my thinking is a jumble of stuff like this: how stupid am I that I didn't do this years earlier; what if it doesn't work and things stay the same; I've always suspected that the sleep stuff is all tied up with my depression and weight stuff, but what if it's not; how much of my life have I wasted sleeping. I could have been a better mother, a better student, a better worker, a better person.

In other words, it's an ugly knotted tangle of being afraid that the treatment won't work and being afraid that it will work.

Let me approach these concerns rationally. None of my doctors suspected this condition or suggested the sleep clinic despite years of hearing about how I never felt rested when I woke up - they just gave me sleeping pills. Sleep clinics weren't even on my radar until recent years, and if they were then they were for people who had REAL problems (whatever those were). There is every chance that things could improve, but it won't be a magic bullet, so I shouldn't expect to suddenly be Suzie Sunshine or lose thirty pounds, and THAT'S OKAY.

I've been joking since my appointment that when anyone bugs me about sleeping late I can just say "I have a medical condition" now, but the truth is no one really does. My husband is sweet and understanding about it and my kids have never known me to be any other way - they just know that I'm going to be not much use to them in the early morning, and we figure out how to mange that. I did realize shortly after describing the condition to Angus as a breathing obstruction and then said I wasn't going for the overnight assessment for a couple of months that I had just intimated to my anxious child that I don't get oxygen at night, so I assured him that I wouldn't die before then, which was good because I'm pretty sure he would have been parked beside my bed to make sure I was breathing otherwise.

So I need to settle the fuck down. My life hasn't been a waste because of this, and treatment is just a good thing.

Besides, I'm pretty great even at half-speed. Maybe I would have been just Too Much Awesome for the world without this.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What Day Is It - Extreme Edition

So here I am, in mild panic-mode, because Zarah and the kids left on Saturday and I only have three days to do all the laundry, finish my 40% assignment for my course and pack before leaving for New York on Wednesday - in addition to provisioning my baseball-preoccupied menfolk and making sure Eve has rides to and from drama camp and my Mom will help her with a costume for Friday if necessary. And my father-in-law showed up tonight for a spur-of-the-moment visit from Thunder Bay to see Angus's team play in Provincials.

So I'm making curried chicken, way too late because I decided to work out as well as getting groceries and by the time I put away the groceries and unloaded the dishwasher it was too late for regular supper. The chicken smells a bit weird. I can't decide if it's off or just needs a rinse and will be fine with lime juice and curry powder in the mix. I look at the date on the package. It seems like we're a couple of days before the best before date, but then I start to get confused, because how can I be leaving on July 25th and coming back on August 5th and only be there for four nights? So now I'm thinking the chicken is WAY past its best-by date, and I'm also feeling deeply disoriented about where in July we actually are. So I ask my father-in-law and the kids what date it is and get three different answers. I look at the calendar, but that doesn't help because I know what DAY it is, just not what WEEK. I look at the phone.

I realize I'm not actually leaving for New York until a week from Wednesday.

I feel like a total and complete jackass.

I'm also giddy with the unlooked-for joys of SEVEN WHOLE EXTRA DAYS.

Then I go back to feeling like a jackass.

I call my Mom to confess my jackassery. She says "so it's after the long weekend?". I say "no, it's ON the long week-end". She says "Well that's this week-end!". I start to see where I might get this from.

My husband was also totally on board with me leaving this Wednesday, even though he booked my flights for me.

It's not really working. Still feeling really dumb.

Oh well. My assignment's done early, and I didn't actually iron anything. So it's all good.

Wait - BlogHer isn't actually until next week-end, right?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What day is it Part Two

So I had lunch with Kim and Patti on Wednesday, then drove to Oakville last Wednesday to visit my friend Elaine and eat taro fries. Then I drove to London on Thursday for an emotional reunion with my daughter, who I hadn't seen for EIGHT WHOLE DAYS (okay, I was emotional. She said "oh, hi.") On Friday we watched all the plays from the Camp of Awesome. On Saturday we drove back to Ottawa and found out the air conditioning was dead again. On Sunday Zarah and the kids got here.

On Monday we went on an ice cream mission to the Marble Slab Creamery because I read about it in The Citizen and it was 31 degrees in the house - seemed like a good day to support a local business. Big, big hit - huge. Eve said "it's awesome - they're not toppings, because they put them right IN. They're INnings!"

On Tuesday we got pedicures, because we've done it two years in a row and Sophie now considers it a tradition. We also went to watch Angus's baseball team play in the final for districts. We were prepared for them not to win, since he's moved up a level and they're a young team this year, and they'd lost to this team every time they'd played them so far. But go figure, they won.

On Wednesday we went to the Museum of Science and Technology. We went on the steam locomotive, where there was a small incident with a big wasp on the window that I tried to smack. Let's just say we made a donation on the way out and the kids all looked really surprised that we made a clean getaway (how do they not use safety glass - seriously!). We also went on the Space Simulator, which necessitated an emergency visit to my chiropractor later in the evening, but the kids enjoyed it. Then we went on a gelato mission, even though the air was back on, because hey - gelato.

On Thursday we went to Athens to visit Matt's uncle and aunt and their seven-year-old son at the cottage they were renting. Their son is obsessed with fishing, which has translated over the years to my kids being obsessed with fishing when they're with him. They stand on the dock all day catching the same six or seven fish over and over again. I think it's safe to assume that, in the aquatic world, fish are not the rocket scientists.  Eve always catches furiously early on and then her luck completely dries up. Alex caught a fish every time he lowered his hook into the water, which had Eve apoplectic by the end of the day. Then Katherine picked up Eve's rod, plunked it in the water and immediately caught a fish, which didn't help greatly. We took a long, meandering route on the way out, but on the way home the GPS found a way that was much faster. We were just commenting on how much earlier we would be home when, a full half hour after we'd left the cottage, Alex realized he had left his glasses. On the up side, we were home less late than we WOULD have been.

On Friday Zarah took her kids downtown to visit some relatives and I got my hair cut. Then we watched Grease with the kids. It was Zarah's idea. I hadn't seen Grease for.... oh..... almost thirty years? (jesus). That whole scene with John Travolta trying all the different sports? No memory of that at ALL. It was hilarious. I have to say, I was suddenly a little ambivalent about the whole 'if things aren't working out with your boyfriend, forget that whole being yourself bullshit - wear skintight leather and start smoking' message. All the high-waisted pants on the guys also made me reconsider my contempt for the pants-around-your-knees crowd too.

They left today. It's pretty much what I expected - quiet and solitude, which I've sort of been longing for, but I feel completely bereft at the same time. And tired. Really, really tired.

Some photographic evidence:

photo credit for play pics: my sister, who doesn't like her name revealed on social media


photo credit for baseball pics: Rhonda Legault (mother of the kid my giant son is squishing)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Fun thing: I'm having lunch with Patti and Kim tomorrow, before heading to Oakville to have dinner with my friend Elaine before heading back to London to collect my daughter, who has only called me ONCE, and only because my sister MADE her. Can I just say that this 'having confident, independent children' thing is ASS? Also, I was trying to remember the name of Kim's blog today so I could email her to confirm for lunch, and I knew it was a cool play on a word that started with Im but for the blog it started with Kim, and all I could think of was this.

(It's Kimperative. I love that. Don't you love that? I should change my name).

Not-so-fun thing: The unholy godforsaken demon-gassing stench emanating from my son's baseball socks. Good Christ, will no one save us from this appalling reek? The minute he gets home he has to take them off and put them in the laundry room and rinse his feet off if he's not showering immediately. The other day someone on Twitter wrote "when people write 'words cannot describe it' they just mean that THEY'RE not capable of using words to describe it". Fuck you, whoever wrote that - I defy you to come up with words bad enough to describe this smell.

Seriously. It's not even that they just smell like something has died - it's that when you smell them, YOU WANT TO.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Allow me to clarify

To everyone who has responded with kind concern to yesterday's blog post - in the comments and otherwise - I apologize for not being clearer. For this I blame the very brain fog (see? I just typed 'brain god') I was complaining about. I AM following my sister's advice about the gradual weaning process for my anti-depressant, I'm just being grumpy and ungracious about it. This is far from the first time I've had to stop an anti-depressant, and I have no desire to endanger other people on the roads, or my children, or dinner for the next six weeks, by being incautious (now I see I've sort of mixed up a driving reference with a cooking reference, so clearly blogging is also in danger. Awesome. Stupid drugs).  That whole 'relationship with an abusive lover' thing was just an attempt to inject something slightly poetic into what was feeling like a really flat blog post. It really works, though - I'm totally feeling the whole 'if I can't be with you, you'll be miserable' vibe, and it's upsetting. Every time I open the bottle I feel incredibly resentful. But I'll do it.

On the up side, I had lunch with Julie today. And then we went to the Lindt outlet store. I have chocolates with flowery green wrappers!

My husband just brought me a beer. Already feel slightly drunk. At least if I drink it, I'll have a better reason for that. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

What day is it?

Driving back from a tournament baseball game in Perth on Friday night, Angus made some comment about not being able to figure something out because he was too dumb from being out of school for so long. Then we realized we had no idea how long he had been out of school. Then we figured it out and were both stunned to realize it had only been EIGHT DAYS, when it's felt like a month already.

Last day of school was Thursday. Saturday, Eve and I drove to my sister's in southern Ontario. Sunday, we went out to my brother-in-law's sister's farm for swimming, barbecue and fireworks. Monday, Eve started theatre camp with her cousins, pronouncing it seven kinds of awesome (which, from what we could see when we got there to pick them up, it really is). Monday night we took the kids swimming to the equally awesome community pool. Tuesday I drove back to Ottawa and our central air kicked the bucket. Wednesday I slept and sweated. Thursday I spent the afternoon at the sleep clinic at the Royal Ottawa Hospital and met with a psychiatrist/sleep specialist who was really nice. Friday our air conditioning got fixed and we went to Perth for baseball. Angus's team is doing double practices every non-game day and single practices on game day, which means five hours of baseball per day at least. And it's hot.

Then there's this goddamned anti-depressant that is so desperate to stay in my system that the withdrawal systems are vicious and unrelenting. I keep trying to give it a couple of days, but that's not enough, and then I have to take it because I can't drive with my head spinning and the odd lightning-bolt pain crashing into my skull and random stomach upsets. My sister, the pharmacist, said just go ahead and take it every other day, or every three days, for a while, which is sensible advice, but I don't want to. It feels like continuing a relationship with an abusive lover, and I hate not knowing when I can be rid of it forever. I want it out. I want it gone.

I kissed Eve good-bye on Tuesday morning and she didn't call until Friday night. I can only conclude that she is managing this brief separation quite a bit better than I am. Of course, she adores my sister, and her older girl cousin, and the swimming pool, and she's basically immersed in drama all day long, so DUH.

Also, I have two giant zits that seem to have settled in for the duration. Awesome. Did I mention I'm forty-two fucking years old? I mean, come ON.

I think, on the whole, that Jennifer Lawrence looks better as a blonde.