Thursday, March 28, 2013

Retail Therapy

I've said it once, I'll say it again, I have a slight shopping addiction. When I find items I want to buy (or didn't know I wanted to buy) and then I buy them, I feel a small high. I'm excited and I can't wait to get it home. I could spend all day shopping if I had the money.

My favourite store these days is Value Village. Daycare is my life now and sifting through the junk to find that one great toy that costs 70% - 90% less than it would brand new is the best! And how can I not buy new toys for the kids? The 3 year told me she loved me today and gave me a hug and the 4 year old told me he was going to miss me over the weekend. Such sweet kids!

I don't just buy stuff for the sake of buying stuff. Children's books at Value Village are $0.99 and if you buy 4 you get the 5th free. I look through each and every one trying to find the best books. It's crazy how many I find that I used to own or remember checking out at the library. In the cart they go!

Puzzles, preschool games, dress-up items and complete toy sets are usually the things I'm on the look out for as I slowly check out every single box, bag, and toy on the shelves. Sometimes I even cruise twice to make sure I didn't miss anything. I often do find stuff I missed the first time around.

It's totally worth it though. In two hours I'll fill my cart to the brim and only spend $40. On top of all the money I'm saving from not buying new, I'm apparently helping out the environment and Canadian Diabetes by buying used. (Hooray for reducing waste by reusing unloved toys!)

Shopping is a great excuse to leave the house too. It's hard being inside all day. Walking around, pushing the weight of the cart feels nice. No babies... no talking... no interruptions. Shopping is sort of me time. It's my time to be alone and do something fun. Anytime we need something from the grocery store, I jump at the chance to go! I used to hate Superstore and now I love it. It's where I get breathing space and get to spend money.

Plus, sometimes you overhear funny stuff in the checkout line. Like tonight for example. Some 14 year old was with his friend buying swim trunks and recounting the tale of how a girl he met online on Facebook drove 3 hours to get to his house and when she did his parents were already at work, so he skipped school and did her in his room. Her head kept hitting the headboard and she was saying, "uh, uh, uh,"and it was cool.

It was very hard to keep my composure and not burst out laughing. The cashier and I had a laugh at his expense when they went away because I told her everything I heard.

These are all the reasons I love shopping and how retail therapy makes my life complete.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Husband, Lightening

The new boy started daycare with me yesterday. He's 4 going on 14 and very fun to play with. He has a lot to say and has no filter. For instance, when I told him Bob was my boyfriend he scoffed and said that Bob is a boring name and he is changing it to Lightening and I can only call him Lightening from now on.

Then, by freak chance, Bob  I mean, Lightening stayed home from work today so he could take Tesla to her 6 month doctor appointment. This kid would not leave him alone. He followed Lightening all over the house, asking him to help him with stuff, play with him, he made crafts for him. I suggested Lightening take him out to play in the snow and this little boy died and went to heaven, he was so happy. I stood on the balcony and they threw snowballs at me. Later, they watched TV together and he was all curled up beside him, snuggling nice and close.

Of course Lightening played along all day. It was so cute! He's like the son we never had.

When Lightening had to leave to take Tesla to the doctor, the little boy was very upset and asked if I could take Tesla instead so they could play more. He told me Lightening was more fun to play with than me and kept asking when my husband would be back. Aw.

Finally I got his mind off of it and got some good play time in. We went outside to meet his mom at the bus stop and I threw snowballs at my balcony. The boy said I was better at throwing snowballs than Lightening was. Ha! Redemption. It felt good to hear that after listening about how Lightening trumps me in every possible way all freaking day.

Unless Lightening changes jobs, today will probably be the one and only day that boy will every spend with him. It's too bad, too. Lightening would be a really great male role-model in his life. Now, for the rest of the week and probably well into next month, all I'm going to hear about is my husband, Lightening.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Gender Inequality

There's this site I like that I've mentioned before, Embrace The Chaos on MSN. She did a blurb about the never-ending "mommy wars" and gender inequality, gender egalitarianism, and feminism. I posted a comment about my current situation and got a response I didn't like.
Chelsea said...
My boyfriend has more education than me (though we both attended post secondary) and when I became pregnant unexpectedly, neither of us had jobs at the time and my boyfriend was returning to school. He was just about to graduate when I gave birth. It made sense for us that I stay home and he go out and try to find a job. It could have gone either way, but he has more earning potential than I do due to his education.
After 6 months, I started a home daycare so I could make money and stay home with my baby. I don't even net a thousand dollars a month, but we don't have to pay for childcare, we don't need a second car, and a lot of stuff that I bought for the daycare, my daughter will be able to use one day and I get to write it off.
I'm not sure if I "have it all" because my wardrobe consists of over-sized shirts and sweat pants, and I never get to leave the house anymore, but this is our life now and we're just trying to make ends meet. I do all the cooking and cleaning and my boyfriend pays all the bills. It's just how we decided to do things and it has nothing to do with gender egalitarianism or feminism or anything like that. People read too much into that stuff.
Sara said in reply to Chelsea...
I think you are kidding yourself if you think your situation is not due to gender differences. You describe perfectly the gender gap of the 'slight advantage' males have to their wives in career which is multiplied by maternity leave.

Anadam said in reply to Sara...
Your comment would make more sense if they both had equal levels of education. By her own admission, her boyfriend is more educated than she is. That in itself can explain a disparity in earning potential. I'm not suggesting that there isn't a gender gap, there definitely is, but there is more at play here than just that.
I still don't think there's a gender gap. My education, Media Production, is extremely specific, and with my 3 years experience working in television news broadcast, there's not much else I can do besides freelance. If I were to go out and try to get a job, it would be a minimum wage job because that's pretty much all I'm qualified to do at this point in my life.

Bob, who is 7 years older than I am and has a decade more work experience than I do has a B.A. English and an Administrative Professional diploma. His education is much more broad and those skills are all easily transferable. His earning potential is greater than mine, not because he has a penis, but because he is better educated.

Bob pays all the bills because Bob makes all he money. If I was still working at CBC making $25 an hour, Bob would be the stay at home Dad, cleaning the house, and I would pay all the bills.

When it comes to our child though, as soon as Bob walks in the door, he's got his Dad hat on and he's ready to take care of her. At the end of the day, that's what matters most to me. We're both raising our baby the best we can and it doesn't matter who works and who cleans, it just needs to get done and we've split it up in a way we both agree on. That's equality.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Public Shamings

It's really popular these days for parents to punish their children via public shamings. I've read tons of articles about parents who "didn't know what else to do," and thought making their child hold a sign on the side of the road intended to humiliate them straight would be the best plan of action. Or even hacking their Facebook account and posting a shaming status update.

I want to know who the first parent to do this was. Way to be a trendsetter for something really stupid! When I drive by your kid holding a sign saying that he steals or the she broke curfew, how am I supposed to react? Am I supposed to play along with your punishment and heckle your child or something? Do you want complete strangers yelling out to your kids, calling them good for nothing losers and laughing from the comfort of their cars?

Could our society be any more crude? Why don't we lock up our children in the stocks in front of he mayor's office and throw rotting tomatoes at them? Is that public shaming enough for you, or is that going to far? To be honest, I don't give a damn what the hell your kid did to warrant a public shaming because I have my own family to deal with.

It's true that young people can be very defiant and rebellious, breaking all the rules, and sticking it to the man, but there is always a better punishment you can give that is not corporal and is not self-depreciating.  I used to watch this show called World's Strictest Parents where a family would foster 2 out of control teens for 2 weeks and try to get them to change their ways.

The one I liked the best was stripping the bedroom to one mattress and one sheet. Literally, everything else was removed. The parents picked out a change of clothes in the morning to give the teen and as the day progressed, if the teen was listening and obeying, slowly but surely he started earning the contents of his room back, one item at a time. Sometimes it took the full 2 weeks to get the whole room back.

Another good punishment was manual labor. Yard work, farm work, house work, and volunteering were all ways the teens got punished. The faster you got your work done, the sooner you could come inside and eat dinner.

These punishments teach responsibility, accountability, and are very humbling. It teaches a child that if you do something wrong, you can make it up and earn back trust and respect. Public shaming teaches a child that it's okay to humiliate someone if you think they deserve it and to feel about yourself versus feel bad about what you did.

Personally, I'd rather teach my daughter more positive lessons than negative ones as she grows up.

And if I ever get to witness first hand a parent publicly shaming his or her kid on the street corner, I'm going to heckle the parent, not the kid.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stupid Saturn

If bad things happen in threes, I guess having our one and only car break down yesterday means the curse is broken for a few months?

Bob tried to start his car after work and quickly realized he could not. I won't get into the specifics of what's wrong because I honestly have no idea. I just know that the hunk of junk is going cost us about $1000 in repairs.

It only makes sense that it's going to cost us so much. The car had to be kept overnight and I asked Bob was his cut off was going to be. You know, how much are you willing to spend on this car before selling it to the scrapyard? Bob said, a thousand.

We need a car. It's hard getting by with just one car, but no car would be a nightmare. We can't afford to buy a new car. We can't afford to buy a used car. One of the reasons why I chose to open a home daycare was because we couldn't afford to get a second car and I needed to earn a living some how.

The car is more than 10 years old. It's a p.o.s. car. Driver's side door has no door handle. The knob to roll down the window always falls off. Cigarette lighter doesn't work. Heat doesn't work properly. The windows aren't sealed properly anymore and it is really loud when you drive. Only one speaker works. Car mats have holes worn right through them. Windshield wiper blades need replacing. Tires always need air in them.

Ah, but engine is good. All those other complaints are just cosmetic stuff that doesn't really matter. The thing still drives. (Well, up until yesterday it still drove.) I still hate it. Plus it's a Saturn and I hate those cars. They're too low to the ground. I don't like sitting with my knees higher than my belly button.

We have this baby, and this baby has gear. We need a larger, more comfortable vehicle that suits our lifestyle. I sort of wish the repairs to the car would astronomical, like three thousand dollars or something stupid, that way we would be forced to get something else, and that something else could be more like a crossover or a hatchback.

Seriously, we never lock the doors because we both secretly hope someone will steal the damn thing and set it on fire.

Ultimately, it's Bob's decision. It's the only car he's ever owned, so he's pretty attached, and he's taken pretty good care of it. They weren't made to last forever, but he was hoping to get at least 2 more years out of it. If I had to choose to between the Saturn and the bus, sigh, I guess I choose the stupid Saturn.

Monday, March 18, 2013


The trip to Grand Forks was the most fun I've had in a while and before it was over I was already counting down the days to next year's trip. We brought back about $500 worth of stuff, (groceries, clothes, baby, alcohol...) and you have no idea how amazing it felt to blow through that money so fast. Bob and I have been living paycheck to paycheck for a long time and I saved up for this trip for 3 months.

I've known for a while that I have a bit of a shopping addiction, but I only brought cash down with me so there was no way I could get myself into any trouble. Once the money was gone, that was it for me. In three hours I had blown through 3/4 of my allowance. Bob paid for our meals, so at least I didn't starve.

Due to the poor timing of the hockey games, (they played 3 games in a day,) we didn't get to have a big party where everyone got drunk together because everyone was so tired, but Bob and I did have a hilarious night of drinking with 3 other members of the team in their hotel room. Last year Bob and I put together a video of the weekend with a highlights reel of footage I shot at the games and also a montage of party footage. I only shot 2 games, and didn't get any drunk-cam type stuff, so I don't know if there will be a video. It's nice using my skills to shoot and edit once in a while. I wish I could do it more often.

Anyway, I missed my baby just 5 minutes after leaving the house. I had pictures of her on my camera and I flipped through them and watched the videos of her eating avocado. The second day of the trip I enjoyed myself and stopped worrying about her. The final day though, my sister texted and told me that Tesla's 2 bottom teeth were coming in!

That's it! Back to Canada!!!

The whole way home I just wanted to hold my baby and see her two little teeth. We were practically driving in a whiteout, so it took forever. We even played car-ride games to help stay awake. We finally get home and I'm so happy, I rush inside to say hi to my baby... I pick her up... She looks at me... And starts crying! I guess I'll be keeping these cute hair barrettes all to myself if that's how you want to play it.

She warmed up pretty quick. And her two little teeth are adorable. It's hard getting a picture because her tongue is always in the way and the teeth haven't fully come in, otherwise I would have posted that by now.

Next year at this time she'll be 18 months old and I don't know if we'll be bringing her with us to the next Grand Forks hockey tournament, or if we can find someone to house-sit again for us, but I'll post the advertisement now: Attractive Couple Seeks Mature, Responsible Person to Take Care of 1 Baby and 3 Cats in Their Home For a Weekend in March, 2014. Serious Inquiries Only.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Weekend Without the Wee One

Tomorrow Bob and I leave for our trip to Grand Forks. His hockey team plays a fun tournament there every year against some teams from their league, but also against some American teams too. I'm not really sure how this tradition came about, or whose idea it was, but what I do know is that it is a boys weekend and the boys like to get drunk.

Women and children are allowed to tag along. This woman will not be bringing any children along with her though. Last year at the tournament I was in my first trimester, super sick, and a huge sober bitch. I need alcohol and I need a vacation. I might even smoke a flavoured cigarello just to really live it up!

My sister will be staying at my apartment, tending to the cats and baby. She is inexperienced to the point that my mother will be visiting frequently. (Mom's idea, not mine.) However, I have every confidence that she will get along fine. She had better. I'm not driving back to Canada if something goes wrong. Someone will have to die before I cut this vacation short. I am operating under the assumption that this is the only vacation I will have for the rest of the year.

Here's what I'm most looking forward to about our trip:
  • Sleeping in.
  • Not cooking.
  • Not cleaning.
  • Swimming.
  • Drinking.
  • Shopping.
  • Peace and quiet.
  • Making fun of Bob when he throws up.
Sure in my drunken stupor I'll probably start to cry about how much I miss my little baby, but in the morning when I'm all hungover, I'll be damn glad we didn't take her with us. Bob will probably feel the same. It's not very often you get to dump your kid(s) on someone for the weekend and just leave town. We're really lucky we're able to do this and I don't feel guilty at all.

Cheers, to no responsibilities.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


My apartment has mold. Here's the long version of the story:

I have this robotic litter box that removes the waste from the litter box every time a cat uses it. The censor broke almost 2 months ago and while I waited for more than a week for the replacement to come in the mail, I had to use the old style of litter box.

The replacement part came in, I put everything back together, but someone soon started shitting beside the litter box. With 3 cats, it's hard to know who's doing what. And it smelled like cat pee everywhere. I thought it was because of the old litter box we still had out, but weren't cleaning, to encourage the cats to use the robotic one again.

We cleaned up the old litter box and moved it to the balcony to get it out of the way. Nope, the smell was still there. What he hell is going on? Then I find cat pee, and lots of it, in my closet. I cleaned it up, but the smell lingered.

Next thing, someone peed in my basket of clean towels I had sitting at the foot of the bed. Shitting beside the litter box is one thing, but pissing on my clean towels got me really fired up. It had been like a month since putting the robotic litter box back together, so something wasn't right.

Then, early in the morning just last week, I was groggy, still half asleep and I heard that distinct pissing sound. I shot up, wide awake, and there was Emilio pissing in another laundry basket. That fucker!

Now that I knew who it was, I could figure out what the problem was. I wanted to make sure it wasn't medical, since it had been a solid month of problems. Turns out the only medial reason for him to not use the litter robot was because he was too fat to fit inside of it. Why didn't I think of that? My poor kitty's gained almost 4 pounds in 2 years. For a cat, that is outrageous apparently. If he were a human, he'd be a contender for gastric bypass surgery.

I don't overfeed my cats. They eat grain free, portion controlled meals twice a day and they play and get lots of exercise. The vet said there's nothing more I could be doing, cats are just too hard to put on a proper diet. However, a brand new, sort of experimental cat diet emerged this month and it doesn't limit calories for weight loss. Instead, it jump starts the cat's metabolism and helps it run at a higher rate. He'll be starting that soon.

So, now I have to set up the old style litter box again. I do that. That damn cat pee smell is so strong, I'm sure there's more spots that I missed. Yesterday I started the arduous process of removing everything from the bedroom to clean it thoroughly. Our bedroom is not simply a bed and a dresser, oh no, that would be too easy. Our bedroom is packed full of boxes of junk that we didn't know what to do with when we moved in, so it sat in the bedroom. It's also full of laundry.

I washed 8 loads of laundry yesterday. It cost $30 or so. Some of it had cat pee, some of it didn't. Either way it all got bleached. We had a basket of random cords and electrical type things that I dumped on the floor many moons ago and half of it was sitting in cat pee. There were 5 boxes of stuff sitting on the floor. Surprisingly, none of it had cat pee on it. But my purses had to be thrown out because they were soaked. A few other items we were able to save with a good Lysol wipe, like my belt and craft box.

So much fucking pee omg I wanted to die.

After getting everything out of the room, I vacuumed and I mopped the floor with my Swiffer and then again with vinegar water so there would be no ammonia.

It was while vacuuming that I found the mold. We have one of those clear plastic bin things on wheels in the corner of our room. I pulled it out so I could vacuum behind it and there was like, 2 feet of black mold growing right in the corner. I was so disgusted, but I couldn't call the landlord until I had all the cat urine cleaned up.

We have mold growing all around all of our windows and in the bathroom around the tub. Those are moist places, and it shouldn't happen, but it makes sense. I don't know what's going on with the mold on the wall though. It's a cold corner, because they're outside walls, something to do with lack of air flow or something.

Someone is coming tomorrow to tell me what the plan is. They have to section off our bedroom to clean it up and not get us sick. If my litter robot had never malfunctioned, Emilio would never have pissed everywhere and I never would have cleaned my bedroom and I never would have found the mold. What a life.

The Inaugural Blog Post

I can't not blog. It's one of the few things I did in 'the old life' that I can still do now. Blogging is fun and doesn't cost any money. It's a perfect hobby, if you think about it.

Not belonging to Facebook and Twitter really hurts my traffic. That's how I got my blog out there. Whenever I'd post a link to my blog I would get up to 50 hits on a new post. Without it... maybe 3 if I'm lucky. You all received this special inaugural post in your inboxes because you are people that I know read my blog from time to time and I had your email addresses on hand. You can be taken off the mailing list at any time. However, don't be afraid to pass on the good word about me being back in business with my blog.

I'm always surprised when people tell me that they read my blog. People I never expected read it. They tell me they like it and to keep it up and I'm like, okay! Thumbs up! That's a good enough reason for me to start writing again.

So, it's the same shit, just in a different blog.