Monday, December 22, 2008

What the hell is this white stuff?

8 years ago when I decided I was desperately unhappy in New Zealand and was going to run away to somewhere Utopian, I chose to return to Canada. This decision was made because I had family here, not to mention the requisite passport and citizenship (which I did not possess for a return to the UK).

Having made the decision to return to the mother ship, all I needed to do was pick a location. I have family spread all over Canada so I could have picked just about anywhere. I considered the Maritimes, where I could live in small town bliss with my Nova Scotian rellies. I pondered a return to the province housing my closest relatives on my mother's side, where I could live in Metropolitan HELL in Ontario. Both of these options were swiftly rejected because, well, they get snow. Lots of it. For long periods of time. And I am morally opposed to shovelling.

So, I moved to Victoria. My father lives here, and it's a rather mild climate. IF a snowfall happens, we get a maximum of 2 inches which melts within a week. (Whatever you do, don't ask any of the locals about the "Blizzard of 1996"...you'll never get away).

Because of this fact, when it began snowing the night of Saturday, December 13th, I didn't think much of it. I went to bed around 7pm for a few hours sleep before work. When I got up, there was a good 6 inches of snow on the ground, my road (which is on a steep incline) had turned into a solid sheet of ice, and my car was going nowhere. I called in and made the poor sucker already at the front desk pull a double. I had the next three days off so I wasn't concerned, and figured that true to Victorian history it would all be gone shortly.


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Imagine then, my friends, when a week later the snow was not only still there, but more was falling. I spent the day this past Friday (the 19th) listening to warnings that there was a "significant snowfall warning issued for Greater Victoria" and that we would be well advised to stock up on groceries, candles, flashlights etc. Yet again, I didn't take it too seriously. I mean, I've lived here 8 years and have never had a problem. We went grocery shopping because we needed to anyway, and we got a new propane tank for our BBQ "just in case", but mostly because we needed one. And then we went to bed Saturday night watching the snow fall lightly.

HA!

HA HA!

HA HA HA HA!

Clearly I should have listened to the weather folks more closely. I had to get up at 6am to get to work. My car? Not going anywhere. I trudged my unfit, lazy ass out to a main road and stood there trying to call a cab for a half hour before I finally managed to flag one. I regretted that decision once I'd gotten to work and realised I had to shovel. Did I mention I'm morally opposed to that activity?

Folks, let me tell you. In years past, when we got our pre-determined 2 inches of snow, the city all but shuts down. There are maybe 3 snow plows and 2 salt trucks in all of Victoria. People end up trapped. Stranded. HELPLESS. It's ridiculous. So to have this much snow fall, is a tragedy. Some people are truly stranded this time.

My back yard currently has over a foot and a half of snow in it. The rest of the country is cheering that us Victorians are having to endure this. I can hear them gloating from here.

On the upside, we got to go sledding today. And Hotty Hubby and I have gotten a workout from all the shovelling we've done. I hadn't realised how hard it was to walk through so much snow.

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On the upside? It all looks so beautiful out there! And the kids, they're loving it.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ch-ch-ch-changes......

You may (or may not, if you are not as observant as I might like you to be) notice a change around here. Yes that's right.....we have colour! And a new header!

Not so long ago I won a contest over at the home of Badass Geek. As my prize, I was awarded a new blog design.....and this is it folks! Ain't it awesome??

That's really all I have to say today other than please go check out his blog and then go check out his other site "Shift Design Services".

Thanks Mike/Michael/Geek/Badass. I love it :)

And now.....I'm off to play in the snow with the kids. Dramatic and exciting posts to follow. Maybe. Well, maybe not. But pictures??

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Who needs a compass? I have a 6 year old!

Driving home from school this afternoon, I found my sense of direction being tested and decided to return the favour. The end result was not what I expected!

Girl Spawn: "Are we going North now Mama?"

Me: "Ummm."

GS: "Yup, I think we're going North."

Me: "I think you're probably right. Hey Ash, do you know what the opposite of North is?"

*Girl Spawn looks at me like "this incompetent boob can't be my mother"*

GS: "Uh yeah. South."

Me: "Great! So what are the other directions?"

GS: "Mama...they're left and right of course!"

Well of course. How silly of me.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Merry Mischievous Mayhem

Last week, I read something over at Football, Ballet, and Beer! that reminded me of some of the Christmas Traditions (and yes it should be capitalized - it's very very important dontcha know) that we've had over the years. More than anything, I was glad to see I wasn't the only one who experiences the effects of idiocy at Christmas time, not the only one who gets sucked into the imustkeepthekidshappyandentertainedsotheydontriot nightmare that so many of us experience at this time of the year.

We have the standard traditions that many folks share - stockings that are opened first thing in the morning, one or two gifts ripped apart on Christmas Eve, and the family get togethers.

Here in the MadWoman household we subscribe to a few other ideas. On Christmas Eve, if we're not with family, we chow down on Chinese food. We sprinkle reindeer food out on the lawn to guide the sleigh in and keep the deer happy while the fat man delivers the goods. We also - and this is what we have in common with Dto3 - invite evil Elves into the house. Yeah, you heard me. We write a letter to Santa asking him if he can send some of his elves to visit. And they came! What we didn't bargain was the mischief they would cause.

Enter....the world of Elves -

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Through the mail box they came, with a letter introducing them. Twin elves by the names of Penelope M. Sassafras and Marvin H. Feldspar. They claimed to be there to keep an eye on the spawn and that they wouldn't be able to do much fun stuff because they had to be on their best behaviour.

ELVES LIE!!!

That first night, as we slept curled up and dreaming, they got into my stash of cotton balls. Apparently they missed the snow, and these were a good substitute for their nightly snowball fight.

Forts were made and balls were thrown.

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At least they were quiet, and it was easy to clean up. I can't complain too much. The kids thought it was fantastic, and were looking forward to seeing what else the elves would get up to at night - as long as they stayed out of their rooms. I figured it was a pretty safe bet. There should be no reason for the elves to enter the treacherous grounds that masquerade as children's rooms right? After all, it's hard to even see floor in there and half the toys are bigger than the elves.

HA! Cue the underwear thieves. Not only did they brave the battleground of Lego and Barbies, but they stole all the kids' underwear. As if this weren't bad enough, it appeared they weren't satisfied with the way Hotty Hubby and I had decorated the tree.

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If you look close, you can see they also tried to hide in the tree and then couldn't figure out how to get down again. Sad really...aren't they supposed to be magic?

For the next week or so they were relatively well behaved, and would just take to hiding in random places. It became a daily challenge for the kids to try and find them.

On our mini ceramic Christmas tree (having removed some of the decorations) and on a shelf after knocking off cards....

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The final straw came on Christmas Eve. Spawnlets in bed, gifts under the tree, and us curled up in bed. The little buggers got into the FLOUR!! Oh yeah. Apparently "snow angels" are a Christmas Eve tradition for them. They were disappointed that they'd been dispatched to somewhere without snow, so they improvised.

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The kids have convinced me to invite the elves back again this year. I'm hoping we get some better behaved ones this year, but Hotty Hubby tells me not to hold my breath.

So what are your Christmas traditions? Do you delve into the "I'manidiotwhohasnothingbettertodo" world of the moronic to keep the kids happy or do you do something normal?

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Here's to cheesy clichés

It's something that I aspire to, something that warms my insides and something that not enough people value anymore.

They walked along the sidewalk in front of me, hand in hand, heads close and whispering to each other. Occasionally she would giggle and gaze up at him with her beautiful smiling eyes. He clearly adored her and anyone who wasn't completely blind would have been able to see this. As I trudged along behind them feeling sorry for myself and wondering what the hell was the matter with the world, and particularly my life (it had been a hard day), I began to eavesdrop just a little bit.

He made funny little jabs at her about how it was her birthday next week and "boy are you ever getting old...I might just have to find me a young thing to take up with". She took it all in stride, something that many women would have trouble with. I know that depending on the day, I certainly get my back up if Hotty Hubby makes a comment about my age. This woman just laughed and squeezed his hand. For all I know she was squeezing it hard enough to hurt him, as a promise of the payback pain yet to come, but to me it looked like a loving thing.

They chatted back and forth about the upcoming week and how she might like to celebrate her birthday. A big party? A night of drinking with her girlfriends? She giggled at each suggestion as he made them, telling him not to be silly....she just wanted to have a quiet night at home with "the love of my life". This pair seemed so at ease, so in sync with each other. Every cheesy cliché that has ever been uttered appeared to fit their relationship.

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As we continued our walk and I listened more, I wondered if this was how all married couples are. Do you become more of a unit the longer you're married? Do you get more laid back and get better at letting the small stuff just roll off your back? Does it take a special kind of person?

I have no idea how long this couple has been married, it could just be a couple of years, but I got the impression it has been many years since they first said "I do." I suppose when he made the joke about her age, he could be considered correct. To a random stranger like myself, she would look older. If I had to guess, I would say she was at least 70. Her companion at least the same age. But as they gazed at each other and strolled along through town, they looked like the young newlyweds I'm sure they once were.

Hotty Hubby and I have been married for 6 1/2 years now. It's been hard work, incredibly hard. But worth it, so very very worth it. We've had some great ups and some horrible downs, but we've always come out the other side. Watching this couple in action made me optimistic all over again. If they can make it, surely we can too right? But what makes their relationship so special, so apparently easy? It has taken me three days of thinking about that to come up with anything.

I saw a clip of Will Smith's interview with Barbara Walters today (it should be airing soon) and in it he said that part of the secret to his successful marriage to Jada Pinkett-Smith is that "Divorce is not an option". BINGO!!

Let's assume that this couple has been married since they were in their early 20s. They're a bit younger than my grandparents. Back then the same philosophy applied to most people, it just wasn't an option. So you entered marriage knowing that until one of you died, this was the person you would be with forever. Nowadays? Well, hell....you're 2 months into your marriage and decide you don't like the way he leaves his socks everywhere? DIVORCE!! Hollywood stars do this regularly. Elizabeth Taylor has been married how many times?

Obviously there are times when divorce is the best thing for all concerned, but I think people take it too lightly a lot of the time now. Personally, I'd like to subscribe to the Will Smith school of thought (I never thought I'd hear myself say that) and say right here and now that for me, divorce is NOT an option. I happen to be married to one of the most loving and wonderful men that this world has seen. Sure he can't find a laundry basket with a bloodhound helping him, and if the dishes are piling up and he needs a plate, he'll just wash the one he needs...but he loves me and our children and that's good enough for me.

That couple on the street? It's something that I aspire to, something that warms my insides and something that not enough people value anymore. I want to be them. I want to be 70 years old, walking down the street hand in hand with my husband, giggling because he just told me I'm getting old.

How about you?

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Good use of star power

I'm running short on time today so I'll leave you with this.

John C Reilly, Jack Black, and a whole slew of other stars in "Prop 8: The Musical"

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

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