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Archive for February, 2008

You win. The old-fashioned letter is clearly dead. This was brought home a couple of days ago while driving the kids home from school. Boo announced she had learned a new song, and sang it for us: “I wrote a letter to my love and on the way I dropped it. A little doggy picked it up and put it in his pocket.” I remember learning this one in nursery school. She sang it about 74 times in a row, then paused and announced, “They didn’t make that song quite right, did they? It should be: ‘I wrote a number two my love ….’ because ‘two’ isn’t a letter, it’s a number.”

Maya and I laughed for quite some time, but she wasn’t offended, as we convinced her we were laughing at the absurdity of two being called a letter instead of a number. Then I tried to explain what a letter was. You write something on paper, put it in a envelop and mail it to someone. Really? Why? Isn’t emailing faster? What a bizarre concept – putting a letter in the mail. How quaint.

It got me on a roll, and I told the kids about what it was like back in the stone age, when the phone was attached to the wall and if someone phoned you, you didn’t know who it was until you answered it. And if you didn’t answer it, it just rang and rang until the other person hung up. And that was it. I told them about computers pre-Windows and how you had to remember the name of the program you wanted to run so you could write, “Run …” Better yet, there was the first home computer I ever saw, at a friend’s house, where you loaded a program using an actual tape cassette, so each game took about 20 minutes to load onto the computer. Then there was the typewriter, where if you made a mistake you had to backspace, blot out the wrong letter with white-out, wait until it dried, and then type over it. And to go to the next line, you pushed down the carriage return, physically slammed it back to the start of the line and kept writing. I remember when the electric typewriter was impressive.

The children had a good laugh and I felt old. I can’t figure out when my age is going to catch up to me – when I am going to feel my age. It feels surreal to be telling my children stuff like this, the way my parents told me about their long and serious discussion over buying a caculator, which they eventually decided was worth the investment. Do old people ever really feel old, or do they just feel like the time has suddenly shifted on them when they didn’t quite realize it? Because that is how I feel. I didn’t have this problem when I was in my 20s. That felt like where I was supposed to be.

I asked Maya how old a new teacher of hers was, and she said, “I don’t really know – kinda old, like you.” I felt a wee bit grumpy about this until I took a good look in the mirror. I see lines around my mouth and drooping eyelids. I’m getting what could only be described as small liver spots on my cheekbones. I do look kinda old, which does not match my inner view of myself. Maybe that is why some people go nuts on cosmetic surgery, hair dye, make-up. Maybe they are just trying to get their outside image to match their inside image?

It is amazing where stream-of-consciousness ramblings will take you at 1:30 am …

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When J set up our wireless router, enabling me to get web service anywhere in the house, including lying in bed (which, of course, I am not doing at this minute, no sir), I was delighted. Now, I thought, I can continue to mindlessly surf work even once the kids are at home and Maya tosses me off the computer to do her school work, or when I’m minding Boo in the bath or – the possibilities were endless.

The kids had different ideas. The moment they realized the laptop was now accessing the internet, they decided its primary purpose must be to play game with each other on Club Penguin. No, no and a thousand times no, I told them. I believe it took me a whole 4 hours to cave. It did seem kind of appealing.

The first time we tried it, Maya was out. Asher logged Boo on downstairs and himself on in my room. It isn’t that simple, though, because there are a number of different servers and you have to log onto the same one. Plus, even though chatting is allowed, Boo can’t read that well and Asher didn’t have the patience to type. He preferred to run upstairs to tell me something, then run back down to help Boo. (He tried to convince me to bring the laptop downstairs, but I insisted that would make it no fun. I have a very comfortable bed.) So up and down the boy ran, getting more exercise than he’s had in weeks.

We finally settled on playing hide and seek. Even though there is a whole town to hide in, it is actually very easy to find someone who is your buddy, because all you have to do is pull up your list of buddies and click on one. It then says, “Theo2467 is in the pizza parlour.” Asher’s solution was to move around so fast I couldn’t keep up. Not so exciting. But later that evening, Maya and I played and we’d actually find a place to hide, like behind a snowbank.

Maya was more fun, since she could chat. I’d hide behind the snow fort and when she’d show up, I’d jump out and cyberyell, “BOO!” We also played a couple games of connect 4. I won. It was hard for my old mind to take in, that I was playing a really basic game with my kid, only she was downstairs and I was upstairs. The hide and seek was the best, though, because the real version bores me silly. Does it count as quality time with your kid, if you both have useless wings and one is purple and the other pink?

The funniest part was when I decided it was bedtime. The chat (for all online and in the same room to see) went like this:

Me: Okay, time for bed. Log off.

Her: No.

Me:  Yes.

Her:  No!

Me: Yes!

Her: Nooooooo!

Me: YES!!!

Her: I don’t want to.

Me: That’s one …

And off she logged. Counting to three even works in cyberspace.

Unfortunately, having had a taste of the good life, the kids sometimes nag endlessly. The other day, Boo was playing on the main computer and Asher, bored, wanted the laptop. I told him I had work to do, which was actually true. “Can I play when you are done?” He asked. Yes, I told him, now go away and I’ll call you. But no, that would be no fun. Instead, he plunked himself down next to me and subjected me to this:

“How long do you think you’ll be before you are finished? How can you not know? Five minutes? Ten minutes? What are you doing, exactly? If you are writing, why do you have a web page up? That doesn’t look like work! You are just looking at web pages for fun! No fair! Well it doesn’t look like a web page for work. I thought you were a fast reader. How come you are reading that page so slowly? Another one! Why do you have to look at this one too? When are you going to start actually writing whatever it is you have to write? How long is this going to take? It’s taking forever! No, I don’t want to go help Boo. That’s the whole point, I want to log on and play with her on Club Penguin. At this point, she’ll quit before I even get a chance. Are you almost finished? Arggh, I’m going to die before you get done with this!”

I finally cracked and snapped, “If you’d just be quiet and leave me alone for a few minutes, I’d be finished a lot faster!” Which hurt his sensitive feelings and, valiantly holding back tears, he trudged out of my room. I felt so guilty I quit writing and game him the damn laptop. Victory was his.

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So, the first week of Weight Watchers, I lost 4 lbs. Yay me. The second week, nothing. I asked the leader what was up, as I had kept carefully to the program and had walked at least an hour a day. She told me to crank up the water and protein. I obliged this week, but this morning I stood on the scale (weigh-in was yesterday) and it is clear that once again, I have lost absolutely nothing.

It’s enought to make a girl buy 3 large hand-made truffles and eat them one after the other. Not that I did that, of course. I’m just speaking hypothetically, you understand.

At my doctor’s today, getting all kinds of fun prescriptions renewed, I told her of my dilemma and asked her what was up. I knew my thyroid tested find at the last blood test, but maybe something else was off, because this is a little weird. Sadly. she expressed surprise that I’d even managed to lose those initial four pounds. Apparently, one of my meds not only causes weight gain, it strongly resists any weight loss. Strongly.

The good news is that I am in the process of weaning myself off that one as well. The bad news is that the doctor thinks that our timeline should have me actually losing weight around mid-May. Until then, she said, I should consider just not gaining to be success. And I’m paying for this at Weight Watchers. Paying to just not get fatter. Those truffles are looking pretty good now, eh?

Next Monday, Maya gets her braces on. Next Tuesday, Asher will be seen by the tummy guy and likely be scheduled for a stomach biopsy. The fun never ends.

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Jasper recently graduated from Intermediate dog training and they like to make a big fuss of it, kind of like kids graduating from kindergarten. They hand out graduation hats and line us up for photographs. Fortunately, Maya came with me and could help with photos, because who can resist this silliness? (Well, Jasper, for one, definately resisted.)

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Success!

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