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Archive for June, 2008

I found it

The card reader, that is. When I downloaded the pictures, I discovered that Asher has been playing with my camera. Here are some of his photos.

Jasper, trying to decide whether to go downstairs –

Roxy watching the outside. My garden looks pretty good. I had no Roxy ever did this –

J making dinner. Or breakfast. Some meal, anyway. He’s a good man.

Me on the laptop in bed (where I am right now, as a matter of fact). From this view, it looks like I have a fair amount of gray hair around my ears, which I don’t think I actually do. I think it is just the flash. Yup, just checked in the mirror and found no gray. Okay, maybe one or two hairs, but nothing like appears here.

Stupid dog with his stupid dog collar. He ripped off my makeshift extension in about 5 minutes. I’ll spare you any photo proof of his gruesome tail ickiness.

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I need nap

School is almost finished, which delights me almost as much as the kids. I like the lack of routine and absence of homework.

Today was Boo’s end-of-year celebration for kindergarten. When Maya and Asher were there, they had big organized picnics where the kids sang songs and got little diplomas. This year, they just took the kids swimming, which I liked a whole lot better. All I did was sit with the other parents and chatted while the kids swam.

The outside pool for the community centre is right at the end of the school yard, so during recess, the kindergarteners swam while older kids plastered themselves up against the fence and stared in envy. Poor things.

Since Maya and one of her friends are the lunch monitors for the kindergartens, they got to go swimming too, and were mighty pleased with themselves as they waved at their classmates behind the fence.

Most of the moms (and the one dad) there were delighted with the enforced break in their day and chance to sit in the sun for a while. I enjoyed it too, only it wasn’t really a break in my day. I actually found it exhausting.

So now I’m lying on my bed with my dog, who things he’s my baby and must lie on me, trying to muster the energy to throw myself back into the fray and keep organizing to go. But a nap seems more likely.

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Sorry I’ve been ignoring y’all. Did you notice I was gone?

No comas this time, I just haven’t had much to say, really.

Also, I can’t find my card reader to download my pictures. I have a great one of my stupid dog in his stupid dog collar cone because he can’t leave well enough alone. He got a couple bug bites on his tail and chewed away at them until he had gross infected spots. I slathered on the Polysporin and a bandage, but it didn’t work. He got grosser. Turns out tensor bandages are bad for dogs. I put one on his tail to stop him from ripping off the gauze. Oops.

Now he’s on oral antibiotics and a topical and he is healing, but slowly, because he’s too smart for his on good and can wiggle the cone down to get at his tail. The cone does make it tougher though, so he doesn’t do it as often as he would otherwise.

Anyway, I have a photograph of his dejected, stupid self in the cone that I planned to post for everyone’s amusement, but I can’t now.

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The most exciting thing that has happened to me lately is that I had an ultrasound to make sure my hernia originates from my incision and not my groin. If it is an incisional one, it can be fixed at the same time as my colonostomy reversal (assuming it can be reversed, which we still don’t know). If it isn’t that means a separate surgery.

Of course, the ultrasound tech couldn’t tell me anything, but I watched the screen closely to see what I could figure out. The tech made it pretty easy by labelling the photos he was taking, so I am pretty sure that what I have is an 8 cm hernia in originating from my incision. Eight freaking centimeters! But at least it is in the right place.

Okay, my absence has partly been due to my attempts to be ready to go up to the cottage for three weeks. As usually, I am very much looking forward to it, but it is killing me just a tiny bit to leave my garden unattended.

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this and that

It’s 5 pm and I haven’t a clue what to feed the kids for dinner.

The incessantly stormy weather has given me an incessant headache. Worse, Asher is complaining of a headache centered behind his left eye, so it appears I’ve passed on my migraines to him (mine are on the right side, though). (The kid has inherited my restless legs and ADD too, poor bugger. The tied-tongue came from J’s side, at least.)

When I was Sleeping, some well-meaning person threw out the coupon for ants for the cool ant farm that I got Asher for Hanukkah.

You can’t order ants in the middle of winter, so we were waiting until spring. Spring came and no coupon, so I paid $20 for replacement ants. (You can’t just use regular old ants from the ground, of course.) Asher and I, little science geeks that we are, eagerly waited for them. He ran off to check the mail each day. Finally today, the ants arrived, so utterly dead that when I shook the little tube they came in to just see if they were maybe just having a little nap and would wake up, they disintegrated into bits, so now we have a tube of ant heads and legs. Blech. I called the company, who offered to send me more ants, but in the same wee container and using the same postal service, so I see no reason why the next batch will arrive any more alive. I don’t think we are going to have much luck with this ant farm, unless we can find an alternate source of havester ants. I did a little research on those and it turns out we are actually pretty lucky they aren’t native to Canada, because those suckers bite and their bite is supposed to be worse than a wasp sting.

Speaking of bites, something bit Jasper on the tail a while ago. I don’t know what, but he started grabbing his tail and chewing on it, so I took a look and found a couple of bloody little bites. After that, we would stop him from grabbing his tail if we saw him do it, but figured things would heal up quickly enough. Nope. I noticed yesterday that the spot, which of course is covered with fur, was looking kind of odd, so I cut away the fur to discover several scabs. Soaking those off, I found that the two little red spots have now turned into about 6 bigger infected blotches on his tail. It was pretty gross, I have to say.

I slathered on the serious prescription antibacterial creme we got for the impetigo the kids got last summer, then covered the area in gauze, taped it on, and then wrapped the whole thing in a tensor bandage. It looks pretty silly. The dopey dog lay there and let me do all that, but when he got up and his tail didn’t curl as he is used to, he was not impressed. He made a couple attempts to get his teeth on the whole thing, but surprisingly gave up after I ordered him to leave it a couple of times.

Okay, now it is 6 pm and no dinner has magically appeared. The kids have been grazing (on blueberries and watermelon at least, assuaging my guilt marginally), so they haven’t yet come whining, but I supposed I should go down and find something.

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In my family, we pretty much ignore Father’s and Mother’s Day. My parents view it as a Hallmark holiday and don’t take it seriously, so I don’t either. My kids make cards or cute little presents in school but that’s it. So I’d forgotten it is Father’s Day until I read Postsecrets. For those who aren’t in the know, Postscrets is a website where a guy posts anonymous secrets people send to him on postcards. The postcards are fascinating – some very funny, some sad, some titillating.

This week’s postings were all about fathers. Many of them were heartbreaking – people writing about fathers who never loved them, who weren’t there, who were frightening. It made me realize how lucky I am.

My own dad had a pretty crappy father – distant and alcoholic. But unlike so many people who use something like that to excuse their own failings, my father obviously chose to be something different. We’ve never discussed it, so I don’t know if it was an intentional decision on his part, but he was not the father his father was.

My dad took me fishing. He built these boats that were a cross between a kayak and a canoe, basically making a stable, two-person kayak, and he’d take each kid out a different day when we were on vacation. Actually, to tell you the truth, I don’t know if my brothers went. If they’d wanted to, he’d have taken them. I only remember that I got to go. I loved fishing. I loved hanging out with my dad.

He’d take us for walks in the woods and explain stuff to us, pointing out insect nests or other interesting sights. I do the same thing with my kids, and I have to confess, they frequently tune out or otherwise make it clear that I’m providing way too much detail. I can’t help myself. I don’t know if I did the same thing to my dad, because I found out that kid memories and parent memories can be quite different.

For example, I remember my dad singing. I remember loving my dad singing. When I mentioned that to him not that long ago, he laughed and told me he stopped because I once told him as a little kid to shut up already. But he never stopped going on those walks with me and I remember a lot of those interesting facts, so even if it didn’t appear that I was listening, I was.

Once, we went for a walk in the fall and there were tons of garter snakes in the woods. We caught one and my father brought it home in his pocket for me. I wasn’t a little kid at this point. I was a teenager, who thought snakes were really cool (that was back in the stone age, when you couldn’t just go buy a corn snake at the local pet store). We got out the old fish tank and turned it into a home for the snake, setting it up in my room. Since the snake was inside and wouldn’t hibernate for the winter, my father and I went out to the garden and dug up a ton of worms, putting them in a bucket full of earth, which I then stuck in my closet, the coldest part of my room. When I needed to feed the snake, I hauled out the bucket and dug up a worm.

I didn’t realize until adulthood just what cool parents I had, to let me keep a bucket of worms in my closet.

My dad also taught me, in one incident I still clearly remember, the power of the parental apology. He had borrowed a neighbour’s step-ladder for some reason and told us children not to touch it. When it came time to return the ladder, he discovered it broken. He sat us all down and demanded to know which of us had broken it, but none of us fessed up, so he took the money out of all our piggy banks to buy the neighbour a new ladder.

You can probably all see what is coming. He returned the ladder with an offer to buy a new one, only to discover that it had already been damaged before the neighbour had lent it to my father. None of us were at fault. So he sat us all back down again and apologized sincerely, and returned all our money.

It was the apology I remember. Parents don’t have to apologize to their kids. For that matter, he could have just let us continue to think that one of us had broken it, as we knew he was completely right to do what he did if that were the case. But he didn’t. He came back to his kids and he told us he’d been wrong and that he was sorry for not believing us.

That one really stuck, and I am always conscious of apologizing to my kids when I screw up, which usually comes in the form of being crabby and impatient with them and snapping at them when the don’t deserve it.

My dad wasn’t perfect, of course. What parent is? But since I managed to emerge from my childhood with mostly good memories. It’s taken me a long time to realize it, but I’m actually really lucky to be able to say that.

Thanks, Dad. Happy Father’s Day.

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About a month ago, I joined what has clearly become a North American world-wide stampede towards metal water bottles. Unable to find anywhere in Ottawa that sold them, I went online. Being in Canada made it more of a challenge, but I managed to find a place to order the bottles. That place was Online Fitness. I am not linking to them, because it turns out they suck. Never buy anything there. Their customer service is non-existent.

I ordered a bunch of SIGG bottles with pretty pictures for the kids, then some solid-colored, non-SIGG bottles that were on sale for J and me, and as back-up for when the kids inevitably lost their good bottles.

Two things then happened. The company promptly sent the non-SIGG bottles, but not the SIGG ones, which their web site promised were available. And I went into a store and found a whole pile of SIGG bottles. Figures. They had all the designs we wanted, but I didn’t get them because I’d already ordered them online.

Half the order showed up and the kids now use them and haven’t even lost one. The SIGG ones did not. I emailed. I phoned. The phone message said to email, so I emailed again. No one responded.

I’m not a rampant online shopper, but I’ve bought a fair number of things over the past couple of years – books, DVDs, various things on ebay, even colostomy supplies. And I’ve never had a problem. This is the first time, and I have to say, it is a Bad Thing. If they won’t answer their phone and won’t respond to email, you are just stuck with no recourse. At least when you walk into a store in real life, there’s a clerk who can’t ignore you forever.

I finally got so pissed off that I cancelled the rest of the non-appearing order and went off to buy the ones here. All the patterns the kids had chosen were gone. Of course. I bought different patterns. They will probably whine.

 

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So, how’s it going with you?

Now much going on around here. The weather is nice, the hubby is working a lot, the kids are excited about the end of school fast approaching and I’m a blob. Same old, same old. I managed this:

 I used to bring up the wet laundry up in bags, making several trips until it was all upstairs, but now that I have the hernia, I don’t even do that. I make J do all the heavy lifting before he leaves and when he returns. It’s slow going.

Oh, I did get my hair cut and highlighted today. For a while, I’ve been trying to decide whether to keep it short or grow it back out. Then it got hot and humid and I had a few flashbacks to last year, when there was nowhere I could put my hair that was far enough away from my neck, and I developed a new appreciation for the shortness of it all. So I made the appointment.

People have been saying all sorts of nice things about my short hair, but I didn’t trust a single one of them. I mean, really, what else are they going to say? “I’m so glad you made it through your illness alive. Too bad about the hair, though.”

Maya was the only one who clearly expressed an opinion that I should grow out my hair, complaining when she heard about my hair appointment. I think that has more to do with wanted me to return to my former self rather than any real preference for any hair style.

I’m not the only one who got a hair cut this week. Check out this:

It is what it seems: Jasper’s hair. It was getting awfully long and shaggy and, while it was completely adorable, he clearly had the same feeling about long hair and hot weather as I had and I felt sorry for him. So I’ve been following him around for the past few days, hacking at him when he lies down long enough to allow it. I still have a few bits to get at – the back of his right leg, example, and his chest, but he’s still cute.

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