Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Asshole

Dear Asshole,

I haven't seen you in over ten years now.  And I don't think about you very often at all, anymore.  But when we first broke up, I used to see you everywhere.  All black cars were yours, following me. 

It was completely in my mind, of course. 

At least I think so...

See, you have this incredible talent: the ability to distort the truth, to rewrite history.  You're so good at this, that you had me fooled time after time after time.  I grew to doubt my own perceptions. 

That time that I went to work wearing a turtle neck to hide the fingerprint-bruises on my neck?  That never happened.  Why?  Because you said so. 

The times you cheated on me, or lied to me, or just made me doubt my self-worth were gifts from you to me, the anguished poetry I produced could never have seen the light of day without a little drama for inspiration. 

Without you, I was nothing.  You made me everything that I had become.  Because of you, I got rid of my nerdy glasses.  You encouraged a different hair style, and picked out more attractive clothes.  You challenged my mind and made me stretch myself.  You made me better, you made me whole.

Without you, I was nothing. 

At least, that's what you said.  And you were so convincing, so bloody good at what you do, that I believed it.

I never knew this until after the fact, but through all the years that we were together, my parents referred to you as The Asshole, behind my back.  How was it that they, who saw you infrequently, found it so easy to see through your glamour, while I - who lived with you day in and day out - was ensnared by it for so long?

Well, you were right about one thing.  You did help shape the person that I became.  Like it or not, each step we take on the path to here is a part of the work-in-progress that we are.  So, thanks - I guess.

No, I don't think about you very often at all, anymore.  But I do always remember you on your birthday. 

So - Happy 39th birthday, Asshole.

Love,
Me

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meet the New Boss

The company that I work for was sold a few weeks ago.

We were a publicly traded, Canadian company.  The founders still showed up to the office every day.  All that changed at the end of August - we were bought by an American investment firm and we've been privatized.

We now have a new CEO.  And things are slowly starting to change.

There have been some layoffs.  None in my department.  Yet.  My boss has kind of hinted that our group might be seen as a little heavy, and that we'll likely have to cut at least one position. 

As long as my boss has a job with the company, I know I will too (at the risk of sounding like I'm bragging, I do have to say that he thinks I'm pretty awesome!), but what if the day comes when he is out the door?  I don't know if anyone is golden, when it comes to the new regime.

There was a meeting with the two head HR people and the new CEO today.  I wish I was a fly on the wall in that room.  All this uncertainty is quite stressful.  I wonder when it will all be over and we can get back to business as usual?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sleepless

After a good night's sleep (assisted by some good cold meds), I woke up yesterday feeling not-so-bad.  J and I decided not to cancel the plans we had made, and took the boys out of town.  We drove over three hours to spend the night at my best friend's dad's place in Powassan, because he has an annual "September Party" and I love that man, he is such a sweetie. 

All was well, I got Will down around 8pm, Nathan volunteered to go to bed before 9pm (the fresh air up north usually does the trick!), and after chasing a toddler away from the bonfire and ensuring he didn't wander off into the bush, and tracking down food, drinks, snacks, etc. for Nathan, I was finally free to enjoy myself. 

Or so I thought.

Around 10:30, I heard a wailing from our room.  As the four of us were all sharing one room and I didn't want to disturb Nathan, I picked up the baby and brought him out to the rest of the party - something that goes WAY against my usual parenting philosophy.  About half an hour later, I tried to put him back down: no dice.  I decided to go to bed myself and bring him in with me.  Strike two, mommy.  Except for the odd time when he was really sick (and, oh yeah, the first two months of his life...but let's not go there), I don't do that.  But, my only other option was to let him cry and disturb everyone else - and that didn't seem cool.  I should state that he wasn't sick, wasn't teething, and wasn't even grumpy.  He just wanted to hang out with me.  I suppose I should have felt honoured, but ummmm.....no, not so much.

So after half an hour of tossing, turning, blanky-rearranging and muttering, the two of us finally dozed off.  That, of course, is when J decided to come to bed...not realizing that we had company (I should interrupt this story to note that at home, the two of us sleep in a queen sized bed, and this frequently doesn't seem big enough.  Last night, all three of us squashed in to a double...yikes!).  So J's arrival instigated a fresh round of shifting, sighing, and finding the comfy spot.  A little more dozing may have ensued.  I had bad dreams any time I did manage to pop off (in one, I was being swarmed by wasps.  I hate wasps.  In another dream, Nathan was puking all over the bed.  I hate puke).  Around 2am, Will woke up - right up - and informed me he was "Done bed, Mama!".  I rummaged around, found a glow-stick that had been discarded earlier and stroked his head and snuggled him while he examined it, sang to it, and waved it around.  He finally fell back to sleep, after about thirty minutes of this.  I must have snoozed a bit myself, because the next thing that I knew, Will was wide awake again, climbing out of bed and demanding "Up, Mama!!" and "Bubba, Mama!!" at the top of his little-boy-voice.  It was 5:36am.  I gave up, and got him out of there, letting J and Nathan grab a few more hours of shut eye.

I am really tired this evening.  Really, really tired.

But, I did make good use of the hours of sleeplessness: a rough idea for my NaNoWriMo story has taken shape.  It's no Pulitzer prize winner, but it's a story that I think I might be able to tell. 

Cool.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gimme Sympathy

I'm sick.

I have this nasty cold.  I've been fighting it for a few days now, but it seems to have descended upon me with all of its wrath and now my head feels like it is stuffed with marbles and wrapped in cotton.  My nose is stuffy, runny and sneezy (sounds like three of the seven dwarves), my throat is scratchy and I'm generally feeling irritable and crappy.

So much for writing tonight.  In fact, I have so much going on this weekend and less than zero energy to accomplish it, so I am hereby declaring tomorrow an official No Post day.  I can do that, you know.  Here in Promise or Threat Land, I am Queen, President, and Chief Rule Maker.  Ha.

Being the mom of the house, there is no time to slow down and recuperate.  The trains still have to run on time, and I'm the conductor.  Something's got to give somewhere, and since my brain is working on less than full strength and writing something even slightly coherent is a stretch, that is the logical item to cut from my day.

Feel sorry for me, just a little, ok?  No one else will...well, except maybe for me!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The New Maybe

It's been a while since I wrote anything about J and I.  So maybe it's time for an update.

About a week and a half ago, I had my epiphany.  So...how are things going, you ask? (Yes, I know...no one has asked.  Humour me, okay?)

Well, I'm cautiously optimistic.  And that's pretty good, considering where  I was.

No arguments this whole time.  None.  That in itself is noteworthy, however not exactly something to pin an entire relationship on.

We've hung out and I have enjoyed his company.  That is key.  For the longest time, all I've wanted was to be where ever he wasn't.  So spending time together is definitely a step in the right direction, and enjoying spending time together is a huge leap.

Have all our problems gone away?  Of course not.  He still drinks a little too much.  He still has a ways to go when it comes to showing our kids consistency (it is so hard for them, because they don't understand why a certain behaviour is okay one day, but cause for major grief the next). 

So I'm not going to write us off just yet.  We've moved up from "no way" to "maybe".  Baby steps, right?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eating and Sleeping and Turning Pages*

I have a sort of addiction:  Books.  I really, really love books.

I am a big reader, always have been.  I taught myself to read before I started school, and I've never looked back.  But my book addiction goes a little further than just enjoying a good read. 

I love the way a brand new book feels in my hands.  I like the way they smell.  I enjoy cover art, if it's done well (one of my favourite authors, Charles de Lint, frequently uses the same artist - John Jude Palencar - and he is brilliant). 

I love owning books.  I dig my overstuffed, loaded up book shelves.  I stand back sometimes, and just admire my horde.  Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to share, but I do feel kind of possessive when it comes to my beloved book collection so you had better return that book, if you know what's good for you!

If I have a (rare) free afternoon, there is nothing that I enjoy more than browsing through a bookstore.  There is a fabulous used bookstore not too far from where I live called Starlight Books, a great source if you want to try and spend a few dollars less, plus they have a HUGE selection.  And sometimes, something out-of-print that I've been looking for shows up...score!  It's so exciting when that happens, almost like a treasure hunt.

The main problem with this addiction is that my "to read" pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  There are so many books that I want to read, the pile grows faster than I can keep up with it.  So when do I plan on rereading all of these books that I have spent years collecting, when I can't even find time to read new ones?

A good question, isn't it?  So maybe the answer is that it's time to say goodbye? 

What do you think?

*This is probably the most obscure song lyric I've referenced yet...bonus points if anyone can identify it...!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Sleep Tonight

I wasn't going to write tonight.

I was out this evening, and by the time I got home and talked to J and Nathan for a bit, I only had about an hour to myself, and two brand-spanking-new books to dive into.  I had been planning on trying out the new show The Good Wife, but with time already short, that was an easy one to give up.  No TV for me.

The first of the books I picked up tonight is Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon.  It's book 7 of a series, it just came out today and I've been waiting for it for a long time now.  The second book is The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel by Tom Monteleone.  This is in support of my pledge to do NaNoWriMo this year.  I figure signing up to write a novel in a month certainly makes me some kind of idiot, so the book should be right up my alley!

Time was at a premium and there were several things I wanted to do.  So I did a quick email check, speedy Facebook skim, blew through the blogs I subscribe to and resolutely shut down my computer.

I wasn't going to write tonight.

With two very different books, both of which I was eager to get into, I gave up trying to choose between them and started both - almost simultaneously.  I skimmed the table of contents and read the first few pages of each, I actually had both of them open in front of me at the same time, this was how torn I was between the two... so many words, so little time!!

My eyes grew heavy, so I put my books away, turned off the light and closed my eyes.  Because, guess what?  I wasn't going to write tonight.

Pssst! My brain whispered.  You haven't written a post today.

I rolled over and tried to ignore the voice.

PSSST!!!  You know that you should really be working on a post right now, right?  You told yourself that writing daily blog posts would be good practice for NaNoWriMo...and that you'd write a post every night, even if you didn't feel like it.  You promised! (Yes, apparently my inner voice is in kindergarten.  Shut up.)

I turned the light back on.  Turned the computer back on.  And started typing.

Maybe now that I've eased my guilty conscience, I can get some sleep...

Monday, September 21, 2009

I Go Crazy...

I'm excited, yet apprehensive.  I kicked around the idea last year, but ultimately talked myself out of it.  That's pretty typical for me - convince myself I'll fail, then don't bother trying to prove myself wrong (wow, I may have invented a new tense there - that was one messed up sentence!).

This year, I did it.  I signed up

I have a little over a month to think up a starting point...and somehow fit writing 1666.6 words a day into my schedule.

No problem...right?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I'm An Adult Now

A teenager's Sunday is not so much "spent" as "wasted".  Tonight, as I lay my head down and tried to go to sleep, my still-racing brain would not shut off (surprise!), and I got to thinking about how different life is now, as compared to when I was younger.

A typical Sunday in 19-year-old-Me-Ville would entail waking up around noon, likely hung-over.  A greasy breakfast would be follwed by a few hours of mindless TV watching followed by a nap.  A fast-food dinner would be eaten, plate in lap, with eyes glued to the boob-toob.  Maybe I'd read a little before bed.  Maybe not.  There would probably be canoodling of some sort.  And it would be ok to sleep naked because the chances of anyone requiring something of me in the middle of the night would be completely nil.

Fast forward to Sunday 2009 style:

I received a 7am wakeup call from a soggy, hungry two year old (and let me just point out one thing here...7am?  That is totally sleeping in around this place).  After changing and feeding the beast baby, I put the coffee on and willed it to brew faster because pretty much the only kind of drinking I do these days is of the caffeinated variety.  I shoveled down some Mini Wheats while simultaneously ensuring that Will didn't eat anything out of the trash or climb into the fridge.  Multi-tasking, practically before the sun has risen...!  Laundry was washed, dried, folded, and put away (yes, that is a big deal around here!), a bazillion toys were put away over and over while I tried to sweep and mop.  I did a little furniture rearranging, packed Will's bag for swimming lessons and sent him on his way with J.  Jumped into the shower, got dressed, convinced Nathan to put on some clean clothes and brush his teeth, and drove him to his guitar lesson.  After guitar, picked up Nathan's friend Dylan, took them to Pizza Pizza for lunch (yes, people...it was only lunch time at this point!), and totally made their day by sitting at another table.  You know you're getting old when your kid doesn't want you to sit with them in public!  Took the boys back to our place where they messed up Nathan's room and basically got up to I-don't-want-to-know-what.  Will woke up from his nap, I continued trying to clean around him and his moving pile of crap.  My bestie came over for coffee with her four year old.  Dinner was made, eaten and cleaned up from.  Will was bathed, sung to and put to bed.  Nathan had to be talked down off the ledge (figuratively speaking of course.  He has a French presentation tomorrow and he's kind of FREAKING OUT about it).  Watched "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" with Nathan before herding him off to bed.  Told J to take a hike because I wanted to be alone for ten fricking minutes.  Put on my jammies (yes, gotta wear those now), and finally remembered to breathe.  Tried to go to sleep, couldn't turn off the brain that was simultaneously planning what to make for Nathan's lunch tomorrow and making a grocery list.  Turned the light back on...and here we are.

Phew.

I am sure that I must have been bored a lot when I was nineteen.  I can't for the life of me think of what I might have done with all of that free time.  I sure as hell didn't appreciate it, I know that much.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now

I've started three different posts tonight, but just couldn't figure out where I was going with any of them.  Forget the backspace key...I pulled out the big guns: DELETE.

I'm just in a rotten mood at the moment, and I can't really pin it on any one particular thing. 

Three things that would make me feel better:

1. A twelve-hour uninterruped sleep.
2. A deep-cleaned, spic and span, so clean you could eat off of the floor house (the key to this point though is that I do not want to do the cleaning).
3. A pie.

(I don't know where the pie came from.  I couldn't think of a third thing.  And I always enjoy a good pie.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

These Are My Twisted Words

I started this blog on a whim.  How little I knew about what I was getting in to at the time!

I've always kept a journal, so I figured that blogging was just a natural progression: pen and paper replaced by keyboard and blinking cursor. 

But it's not that simple, at least not for me.  There's something about the medium that changes the message.

For starters, when I'm writing on my computer, it's incredibly easy to use the backspace key.  I think I go backward more than I go forward, some days!  I started this blog imagining how free I would be to express every thought that popped into my head.  Turns out that I can't turn off my inner editor, and the freedom I was expecting is not quite as I envisioned.

I have also realized that I don't want my blog to turn into an online extension of my journal.  I've used that "next blog" button just as much as anyone, and what I have discovered is that I enjoy reading blog postings with a point much more than just a simple laundry list of what the author did that day.  Not that there isn't a place for that type of blog in the world, because there certainly is!  It's just not the blog that I want to write (of course, whether or not I actually do make any sort of point in my blogging is certainly up for debate!).

But the biggest surprise has been how much of an obsession that blogging has become for me.  As I go about my day, I find that there's almost always a few brain cells occupied with "What am I going to blog about today?", often inspired by whatever song I happen to be listening to at any given moment. 

When I was younger, I had the idea that when I grew up, I'd be "a writer".  As the years passed by, the dream died.  After all, what did I know about writing?  What did I have to say?  And who the heck would want to read it, anyway?

Turns out that you don't really need to know anything about writing, except that if you want to do it, you've just got to start.  I seem to have plenty to say, and even though no one (well, almost no one - hi, Katherine!), is reading, that's okay.

Because, guess what?  Whether anyone is reading my blog or not is irrelevant.  If someone does read it, and they think it's crap, well...that's okay, too. 

I'm all grown up now, and my dream has come true.  I'm "a writer".  All I need is my own little corner of the internet and the words to fill it with.  The rest doesn't matter at all.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Music At Work

I love music.  This might not come as much of a surprise, seeing as I use a song name or lyric as the title of each blog post.

My two favourite "toys" are my laptop and my iPod Touch.  Together, they are the source of all that is goodness and light in my world.  Okay, so that's obviously a slight exaggeration.  But I do love them so very much.

My iPod goes with me everywhere.  I have cords to hook it up to my living room stereo, I have one of those adapter thingies so that I can play it in the car, and I have mini speakers so that I can listen at the office.

My favourite function is the Play-Everything-in-No-Particular-Order button.  You never know what might play next.  For example, I am going to hit the random button, and list off the first ten songs that come up...no cheating.  Ready?

1. Can't Get There From Here by R.E.M.
2. Nobody's Fault But Mine by Led Zeppelin
3. Grapevine Fires by Deathcab for Cutie
4. The Long and Winding Road by The Beatles
5. Hey Me, Hey Mama by Ray LaMontagne
6. Dissident by Pearl Jam
7. Hey by The Red Hot Chili Peppers
8. Sometimes (I Wish) by City and Colour
9. Laid by James
10. I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash

Nothing wrong there, nothing to be ashamed of, right?

So I have only one question: With a couple thousand songs at my fingertips, why is it that something embarassing always comes on when someone is in my office?  Like my boss really needs to know that I like My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas???

Yikes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Putting On the Ritz

It used to be that Nathan cared not one whit as to what clothes or shoes were purchased for him.  It fit?  Great, he'd wear it.  No problem.

Now that he's in grade four, all of a sudden he's developed an awareness of what is going on around him.  And he wants to fit in. 

In his defense, he's not a complete sheep.  Just before grade three began, he got his ear pierced, even though we didn't know anyone else with an earring.  And he needs to wear glasses, but the kid picked out some killer frames - they actually make him look cooler, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom (Seriously, I'm not!).  And his shaggy blonde head...well, I'm not sure who he's trying to look like with that mop.  It is definitely a look all his own.

But.

That comfy hoody with GAP plastered across the front?  I thought that was acceptable, but no.  Kids have decided that GAP stands for Gay And Proud (let's not bog ourselves down here with the lecture I gave about gay rights when Nathan shared that little tidbit...just know that his head was spinning when I was done).

And gone are the days where I could pick up his running shoes at Payless.  Did I want everyone to think he was a - gasp! - nerd?!?  Besides, he needed proper skateboard shoes, of course.  Duh.  So way too much money later, and he's got some DC skate shoes.  I think I almost cried a little while I paid for them.

Now, one could argue that I could buy his darn shoes at Payless anyway, and tell the kid to suck it up.  That's what my mom did.  But I know from personal experience that it sucks to be on the outside looking in all the time.  So if a pair of DC running shoes make my kid feel a little better about himself, well...it's a small price to pay, and it's not that big of a stretch to find the money to buy more expensive footwear - I just bought all his back-to-school clothes at Value Village.

Shhh...don't tell him!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

(Just Like) Starting Over

I've been doing some soul searching.

I've come to the conclusion that sitting around on my arse and holding my own personal pity-party is getting me nowhere.  I have not been super happy as of late, and it's been so easy to look around me for somewhere to pin the blame, rather than looking within which is really where the blame should lie.

Staying in a marriage that I'm not committed to is not fair to anyone.  So my choices are two: get the hell out, or stay and try.  Try to make this family work the way it should.  Try not to find fault in every step.  Try and bite my tongue rather than engaging in a pointless debate.  Try to remember why we got married in the first place.  Try.

Because, I bet if I try, he'll try too.

There will still be problems, some of them serious ones.  But maybe if we mend a few fences, they won't seem so insurmountable? 

I just don't know...maybe it's too late.  Maybe there's too much crap to sift through to find our way back to some sort of normalcy.  But I think I owe it to my husband, my kids, and myself to give this one last shot.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Scared

I have some weird fears.

I am completely unable to drive on a highway.  I have tried, but every time I do, I end up having a panic attack.  I kid you not.  The inability to breathe and the feeling that your heart might explode at any moment? Not a good thing while you're moving at a high rate of speed.  Trust me on this.

Wasps completely freak me out.  I have been stung only once in my life (thirty years ago!), but it must have made quite an impression because I am almost unable to help myself whenever a wasp comes near - I squeal and run away like a little girl.  If my kids are around, I do make the effort to hold it together (gotta set a good example, right?), but you would not believe what that costs me.

And of course, there is my germ phobia. I don't know exactly when it happened, but somewhere along the way since my kid started school, I live in fear of one particular type of germ: the barf bug. As soon as I hear about some kid puking, I just know it's a matter of time before Nathan will be puking too. He's reached the age where he can (mostly) get himself to the bathroom on time, but until fairly recently, it seemed like every time he got a stomach flu, it was in the middle of the night and in the middle of his bed. What's up with that? And not only do I hate cleaning puke, but I REALLY hate puking myself. When one of my kids is sick, I become completely unable to eat, because as soon as I try, I imagine what it will be like in reverse...and competely lose my appetite. Yuck.

And then there is my biggest fear of all - that something might happen to one of my kids.  I can't think of anything that scares me more.  The list of potential threats to my children's health and happiness is endless: illness, car accidents, kidnappers, choking hazards, mental health issues, fricking peanuts, bullies,  growing into a stupid teenager that does stupid teenager things, pedophiles, drowning...oh my GOSH, but I could go on and on.

With all of this fear in my life, sometimes it is a wonder that there is room for anything else.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Friends They Are Jewels

The theme of this weekend for me: Friends, both old and new. 

I spent some time reconnecting with an old friend from high school, someone I had not seen in ages but was once very close to.  I also had the chance to celebrate a milestone birthday with a new friend, someone I've only known for a year or so.

It was certainly a whirlwind weekend, with emotions all over the map.  These two friends - two very different women who have never met one another - both offer me inspiration and strength, whether they mean to or not, just by being who they are.  I am blessed to know some fine people, these two among them.  Sometimes it is so easy to dwell on what I am lacking, that I forget to appreciate what I have.  In very different ways, these two helped remind me of this fact, and for that I am truly grateful.

Many (many, many) years back, when I was a Girl Guide, we sang a song about friends.  Make new friends, but keep the old.  One is silver and the other, gold.

So true. 

Hokey and cliched...but true, nonetheless.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ten Years Gone

Tomorrow is the big day: my anniversary.  Ten years of marriage.

It's always hard to celebrate our anniversary.  Even in better times, it's been hard.  Our second anniversary was spent in front of the television, watching hour after hour of CNN along with everyone else on the planet.  And every year since, we remember those images and mourn with the world once more.

So rather than getting caught up in my own little drama and my own petty problems, I'm just gonna shut up for a change.  I'll offer up a little moment of silence...and one small prayer for those who were lost, and for those who were left behind.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ask Me, Ask Me, Ask Me...

I have always done my very best to answer any question my son Nathan might ask me.  Obviously, answers need to be age appropriate (my answer to "Where do babies come from?" has gotten a little more detailed with age, for example), but I have never, ever lied.  Because kids can tell when you're feeding them a load of crap, don't ever think you're pulling the wool over their eyes.  They might not call you on it, but they can tell, and the next time they have a question, you won't be the person they go to for answers.

Nathan knows I don't B.S. him.  I'm his go-to for anything and everything.  But the questions are getting tough. 

Last year, it was Santa.  "Mommy, tell me the truth.  I can handle it.  Is Santa really just you and Daddy?" he asked me.  I looked into those big blue eyes, right down into his eight-year-old heart.  I knew that he probably already knew the answer, and I also knew that he probably didn't like it.  But he asked for the truth, so I gave it to him.  He went away and thought about it for a bit, came back to me and said that he was glad I told him the truth, even if it did make him a little sad (he even shed a few tears, my poor boy). 

So that's a pretty tough question, right?  Ha!  I thought so.  Little did I know what was to come...

About six months ago, I was doing the grocery shopping with the kids in tow.  We were in the "feminine hygiene" aisle, where I nonchalantly tossed a box of tampons in the buggy.  Nathan stopped to study the shelves, head cocked to the side.  "Mommy," he began, reaching out and grabbing a package of Always, "I've been meaning to ask you...what are these things for?" (Yikes!)  "That's a good question," I responded, "But we can talk about that easier at home, once we're done shopping."  And we did.

Talking about menstruation with your nine-year-old son...couldn't get much harder than that, could it?

Uh...yes.  Yes, it could.

Tonight, Nathan couldn't settle down for bed.  He is an anxious kid, sometimes he has trouble turning off his brain (can't imagine where he gets that from!), and I figured tonight was no exception.  Finally, he came out with it: "Mommy, I think there's something wrong with my penis.  It kind of aches".  (Oh, dear God, no!)  "What kind of ache?" I asked, trying for clinical detachment.  "Did you fall, or bonk it?"  Nathan shook his head, no.  Nor did it hurt when he peed, and no, his underwear was not too tight.  "Ummm..." I began, delicately, "Have you been having erections?"  His puzzled look confirmed that he didn't know the term.  "Has it been standing up?" I continued.  "Yes!" he responded, looking very worried.  "A lot!"  (Oh.  My.  God.).  Luckily, I was (sort of) prepared for this day, and had a book about "Your Changing Body", so we had a look at the appropriate chapter together and he took the book for future reference. 

"Be sure and talk to me about anything in the book that you find interesting or weird.  I know some of the stuff in here might seem a little awkward or embarassing to talk about, but you can always come and talk to me about it.  Or, if you'd rather talk to another guy, you could always talk to Daddy".

"I think I'd rather talk to you about this stuff," he told me.  And while half of me is bursting with happiness about the fact that Nathan trusts me enough to talk about anything, the other half is getting a teensy bit overwhelmed by how quickly he is growing up and how much harder his questions are getting.  And I'd be lying if I said I'm not just a little bit sorry that I can't count on J for the questions about boy bits.

I dread the day he asks me about my experiences with drinking, drugs and/or casual sex.  There may come a point where I have to get a little creative with the "truth".  As much as it pains me to say it, I think there just might be a place for revisionist history when you're raising a teenager.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We Don't Need No Education

This was supposed to be a post about the first day of school.

I was planning on writing about how glad I was that, for his grade 4 year, Nathan is in a 4/5 split. And how happy Nathan is to have so many of his friends in his class this year (especially since he started last year without a single friend in his class!).

I would have loved to be writing about those things. Instead, I can't get past the fact that, when telling me about his day, the thing that Nathan was most excited about was that J was going to take him out after dinner so that he could buy a new Nintendo DS game that he had been saving up for. "But it probably won't happen," he concluded. "Daddy never keeps his promises".

Crap.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Wake Me Up When September Ends

This time of year always tends to get me down.  I'm sure it's not just me.  Have you ever noticed how it's the only season we announce by stating what is done?

When the first frost hits, and the first flake falls, we say to each other "Winter's on its way". 

The sight of a robin, or a crocus pushing through the snow, and we smile because Spring is just around the corner.

The days get longer and hotter, and we celebrate the arrival of Summer.

But when the morning air holds a chill, the leaves begin to change, and we put away our flip flops, what do we say? 

Summer's over.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Sound of Settling

Maybe I was kind of out of line by suggesting that he change Will's diaper.  J was busy after all, while I was not (even if it was more than his turn by this point.  Just saying.), but I certainly didn't deserve to be told to f--- off, especially in front of the kids. 

Drunk and passed out on the sofa by 7:30pm, too.  Now that is not cool, either.  Have I mentioned that I told him I'd end it if he didn't stop drinking?

Sometimes I think we're playing a game of Chicken: we're on a constant collision course and both of us are too stubborn to turn away and move on alone. 

It's sort of like he'll win if I give up on us first.

How dumb is that?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Is There Anybody Out There?

One of my "Facebook friends" (actually an old high school friend...I sense a theme this week!) posted a link to her blog. She bared her soul in this blog, and I was completely blown away by her willingness to put herself out there, for everyone to see. Letting everyone in to the deepest, darkest corners of yourself is scary, at least to me. And here was someone who not only put her name on her writing, but invited us all to look. What an inspiration!

So what did I do? I commented that I blog as well. Right out there in the open. Holy smokes, right?

But not only that, I also signed on to follow her. And if she did a little detective work, she'd end up here: in my little corner of the world. Actually, anyone who followed the discussion could make the same leap, if they were interested. The question is: was anyone interested? A little part of me hopes that they were. Funny, because I didn't realize that I was looking to talk to anyone but myself. Even though, from the very start, I've always assumed that I'm writing to no one but me, I've always left this as a public blog in case someone should stumble across it and decide they wanted to hear what I had to say. I have no followers (except myself...lame, huh?!?), and I've received no comments.

Does that mean that there's no one there? I don't know.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Always Something There to Remind Me

I don't get many personal letters in the mail. These days, who does?!? But today, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an envelope addressed to me, and I immediately recognized the handwriting as belonging to my old friend Jodie, who lives out in BC.

(Coincidentally, she's one of those high school friends I was talking about yesterday, but she moved away before I had the chance to pull my big fade. She even came out to my wedding ten years ago!)

I was pretty suprised to see an actual letter in the mail; we communicate via Facebook or email (like so many people I know), and probably haven't exchanged actual snail mail in 7 or 8 years now!!

I quickly tore open the envelope. Inside was a single piece of paper, with a yellow sticky-note attached that read: "I found this while going through some stuff and thought it would be fun to send! Cheers & lots of love, Jodie". The paper was a print out of an email that I had sent to her on October 10, 1997, subject line: hello! It read:
The person that I was back then was kind of embarassing, huh? It's so weird to read something that logically I know that I wrote, but feels so completely foreign, like I've never seen it before in my life.



Hi Jodie!
Well, things are moving on, as they have a way of doing around here. My dad is assessing his skills, getting his resume in order, all that stuff. I appreciate your advice, but when I showed my dad the info you sent me, he really wasn't too into it. See, like me, he is kind of a
shy person, and not one who would do very well in a sales position. I can see how it would be well suited to you...you were always very outgoing!
As for the rest of my life, I seem to have met a guy. And surprise, surprise, not a blind date either. His name is J, he's blonde with blue eyes. Hair is kind of on the long side and sort of curly/wavy. He's about 6', very very nice bod! He is also very nice, shy, sweet and um, pure. He's not a virgin, but very close to it! We have not slept together yet, but I really like this guy and want him to like me, so I don't want to attack him or anything. Of course, I had to make the first move regarding kissing, so I'll probably have to initiate the sex thing too, eventually. I guess I'll just have to see what happens. I really really like this guy! He is so great in every respect. Of course he has faults, who doesn't right? But overall, I don't think I've ever met a more perfect
guy. Okay, I'm gushing now, right? Totally gross, but I can't help it. It's been so long since I've felt like this, it's like being sixteen all over again! I love it!
Well, I should get going. He will probably be here to get me in about an hour, and I'm not remotely ready!
Hope everything is going good for you! Write soon!
xo
Me




The strange thing about getting this blast from the past sent to me is that the timing could not have been more perfect: I'm at the height of doubt regarding my marriage, and she pulls out an email that I sent her at the height of infatuation.
Sometimes it's very difficult to remember that J and I were ever crazy in love with each other. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

High School Confidential

I was an awkward teenager. Ok, I was a really awkward teenager.

Not pretty, not trendy, not athletic, not...anything, really.

I may not have been in the "cool crowd", but I never cared. Because I had some truly excellent friends. Friends that I laughed with, cried with, drank with, studied with, got in and out of trouble with...absolutely fabulous girls.

I always thought those friendships would last forever. I never dreamed that a day would come when they wouldn't be just a phone call away.

When I was eighteen, I met a guy. At first glance, the story would appear to be predictable from this point. Girl ditches friends to spend time with guy. The End. Right?

Pretty close.

I didn't have a lot of self-confidence in those days. Not pretty, not trendy, etc., remember? So when my fairly good-looking, 21-year-old, sports-car-driving, boyfriend pressured me to spend more and more time with him, I was afraid to say no. What if he decided being with me was a mistake after all? And when that boyfriend started telling me what to do, well...he was older and his demands didn't seem all that unreasonable. And when he did "let" me go out with my friends, his jealousy and irrational ideas that I was cheating on him resulted in crazy, teary, all-night conversations where I had to rehash every step I took, every word I said...over and over (just in case he caught me in a lie), which kind of put a damper on the evening. And when he moved beyond talking and started forcing me to submit to a physical inspection to ensure that I hadn't cheated while I was out of his sight...well, getting together with the girls just wasn't worth the degredation and humiliation I had to endure at that point. I stopped coming out, and gradually, the invites stopped coming too.

Five and a half years later, when I finally broke free of this boyfriend, I looked around and found myself very much alone. And who could blame those wonderful girls for not calling anymore? Certainly not me. Did I ever confide in them, tell them what I was going through? Of course not, because a part of me knew it was crazy and that they would tell me so. Did I write them off, flake out on them for a guy? I'm sure that's what they thought...I know I would have.

I missed those girls. A lot. Slowly, I made some new friends. And I'm happy to say that some of them are even great ones, and I know that I'll hold on to them for the rest of my life (I may make a lot of mistakes in my life, but I do try and learn from them).

But I sure do miss those high school girls sometimes.