Friday, March 16, 2007

Crappy hat an an apology

So I finished my hat. My lovely green stripey hat that matches my mittens (and technically my purse as well) and my cowl. Well. It seems I should have stuck with that size 10 circular needle after all, regardless of the lovely swatch that seemed fine using the size eights. I hate the hat. It isn't too short, but the crown is oddly tight on my head and the ends flare out so it looks horrible. This is like the fifth hat I have made from that pattern, and the first one I did not like. The cowl that I have been deluding myself about - "It is not too small. It just fits close. It is warmer that way" - well, I finally have to admit it is too small. After wearing it for ten minutes to drive DD to gymnastics camp and almost asphyxiating myself there is no reason to continue the ruse. The cheap side of me says to start a new hat and cowl, using the larger needles and knit right off the end of these items, unraveling them as I go. Or to unravel them first, balling the yarn as I go. The lazy side of me says to throw these away or donate them to charity (after all, there must be somebody out there with a nice dainty neck and a head that is less like a pumpkin and more like, say, a canteloupe) and just start with new yarn and a new attitude. I think the cheap side might have to win, in this case. Or maybe I will go with the cognitive dissonance side, and simply throw the leftover yarn bits AND the projects away and forget I ever knew they existed. Yeah. That sounds good. How long can this cold weather last anyway? Oh. Yeah. Right. I forgot where I live. It is cold until it is warm, and then it is warm until it is cold again. In between there is mud intersperced with snow showers and rain flurries. Or sleet. Then there is my favourit weather, cold enough to take your breath away but sun shining so bright that you roast through the windows when you are stuck in traffic. The next thing I have to do, is apologize. She won't read this, but I have to apologize to DD anyway. Maybe she will do a google search when she is in her thirties and find an archive of this blog, and get to read this apology. Maybe she won't, but either way it will make me feel better. So here goes. Dear DD. Yesterday when I came to get you at gymnastics and you were so excited to show me your tumble, and I clapped and cheered, please forgive me for being horrified inside that my daughter spent an entire week learning how to flop over with all the grace of an upturned frog. This is not to say that I was not proud as a peacock at your progress, that can be no further from the truth. Your frog flip was the best frog flip I have ever seen. But I am still a little sad, that of all the things you inherited from me, that you would get my lack of coordination and complete absence of grace. The other kids were cartwheeling and hopping around like dainty dandelion fluffs, and you were frog flipping and hitting the mat like a bag of rocks. Just remember that it is not your fault, and you are doing your best with the genetic mud puddle you were given, just as I am. At least with you I know what a mire of faulty DNA you are dealing with, and we can start working on it early. Kiss kiss. And today when you do the end of the week show, please remember that while you are not as graceful as that girl that can do aereal cartwheels and double saltos, you are also not as bad off as the boy whose showcase skill is walking back and forth with a beanbag on his head. Frog flip with abandon my child. We will be watching and cheering you on for sure.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

From that to this

We had a run of nice springy weather. The breeze was nice, everything was defrosting, and green things were starting to poke out here and there. The tulips and daffodils and crocus are starting to peep out, and the birds are already starting to scavenge for nest materials. I can see they have been stealing raffia from the welcome mat again. And dh wonders why I need a new one every spring! By may, there will be nothing left but a few strings. And I know this. And I buy a new raffia one again every year. And I leave it out all winter so it can weather, and is easier to pull apart. Me and the birds have a system ;).

I took a walk through the yard yesterday, to see what I could see. It was a perilous walk, considering a whole winter's worth of hidden dog poop has now defrosted and decorates the back lawn from side to side and end to end. Ew. Anyway. Imagine my surprise to find an alien in the garden. Or, maybe not an alien. Perhaps a deflated weather balloon? No. Not that. Perhaps the remnants of some stunt pulled by jokers? You have your crop circles, I have my alien corpses in the garden. Oh wait, maybe I sort of recognize this! I do believe it is the hollowed out hulk of a ZUCHINI! That is right! There were none out there when we got the first snow fall. I know because I cut those suckers off at the ground before they could lob yet another child-sized squash my way. Apparently the snow cover we had this year made a nice little habitat for the plant to re-root and produce, before finally succombing to the weather. That odd thing next to it is the head of a sunflower that fell from the weight of the snow. The birds have been eating from those sunflowers all winter long, which is the only reason I didn't cut them down and clean them up. I knew it was going to be a hard winter, and we were not disappointed.

Now last night, we had rain. And it got colder and colder and colder. When I let Ruby out for her romp just before bed, we were met with a wall of blowing snow and rain. Instantly I was soaked and frozen down the front. Ruby gave me that "if you think I am going out there, you are crazy" look and did an immediate turn about. I put out a puppy pad for her, and she immediately squatted and put it to good use LOL. She knows what those are from my parent's dog. They used to live in a high rise condo, with nowhere to walk dogs. She was trained to a puppy pad in a shallow tray (like a boot mat), because she made too much mess with kitty litter. When we would go to visit, Ruby just knew what that pad was for and never had an accident while we were there.

This morning we awoke to a blanket of white, and it is back to winter coat weather. And it is ALL MY FAULT. You see, I happened to mutter out loud, upon seeing the bulbs start to peep through the mulch, that "Spring must really be here". I am an idiot. When will I learn that the forces around us hang on to every word I say, and delight in kicking me in the butt whenever possible? I mention spring, and take a deep breath, and smile at the birds, and this is what happens. Diabolical.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Come do laundry for me

I hate laundry. I don't know why. It's not that big a deal. And yet, I hate it. I hate gathering it and sorting it. I hate lugging it downstairs. I don't mind getting it into the washer, now that I have a table down there, so there is that bright spot. I despise transferring the cold, wet clothes to the dryer. And emptying the lint trap my DH invariably leaves packed so full you can hardly pull it out of the housing. The worst worst worst part, is turning those cold and wet and soggy pant legs inside out. See, I like to wash pants right side out (to get the dirt off the surface) but dry them inside out (so that the pocket linings and waist band etc. fully dry). Putting them right side out after they are dry is fine, but I really hate having to stick my arm in that damp pant leg. Perhaps if I was less cheap and washed in warmer water it would be better, but I am cheaper than I am annoyed at having to turn them inside out when they are wet - so cheapness wins. T-shirts with nice decals get the same treatment. Wash right side out to get the dirt off the fronts, then dry inside out the save the decals. Some people say this makes no difference. DH and I have a few duplicate t-shirts bought at the same time. Mine still look brand new, his look like they have gone through the ringer. I believe it is due to turning them inside out to dry, but really, he wears t-shirts with decals so much more often than I do, it may just be he gets a million more wearings and washings out of them. But we won't tell him that, 'kay? It's because of the turning. Got it? It is physically exhausting getting the laundry out of the dryer and into the basket. If I crouch, the muscles of my left leg and guts twist like snakes under a blanket. If I bend, I cannot move my arms (gawd, that is embarassing. I keep forgetting. So I bend to grab something, and my arms dangle lifelessly like kermit the frog's. Except I have no wire attached to mine for a puppeteer to maneuver). So crouch it is, with a lot of swearing and sweating and breaks to stretch my leg out. Once that is done, there is the little task of lifting that there basket and getting it upstairs. Now there is another feat. But see, I have a system for getting laundry up and down stairs. I am NOT supposed to carry laundry. Ever. Big bad things, people. So I gather it up and tell DH it needs to go down. And I wait days, then finally manage to drag it into the upstairs hallway. And wait again. Then I get desparate and angry and kick that basket down the steps. The first set is about 6 steps high. Then I gather the spilled laundry and right the basket. It sits in the kitchen for a day or so while DH exclaims "I said I would do it!" yet there it still sits. By the next day I am sick of tripping on it so I kick it down the next, and much longer, flight of steps. Again, gather the laundry and my hackles, right the basket and sit on the floor for a good cry. For I still have one more flight of steps to go. This is the shortest flight, and the most difficult. The hallway is narrow, and the floor is a dirty concrete so I don't want to kick the basket down there and spill it. *Interjection - yes, I know I can clean that floor. And I do. But for some reason that spot at the bottom of the stairs collects.....stuff. Cat and dog hair tumbleweeds. Cobwebs. Dead potato bugs. Dead and live spiders. Bits and bobs of paper and lint and paper dots and the edges of stamps, and so on. Why is that? - end of interjection*. Sometimes I bribe DD to bring it down the last leg of the trip. But really, she is just little and I don't feel right asking her to lug a big basket of laundry down perilous steps. Mostly it sits next to DH's chair where he insists nightly "I said I would bring it down!". And yet there it sits. Now this is the trickiest part, because the method varies depending on my mood, DH's shift, and how desparate I am for the undies in that basket to be clean. Method One: Huge Colossal Fight. This is where I scream and yell and rant and rave, and DH claims he has no idea what is wrong with me, and that all I have to do is ask and he will bring the laundry down, and yet sits there while the laundry is staring him in the face. So I take his hand and place it on the basket, and say can you not see this basket here? And because I have asked once again, DH cannot possibly bring it down. Because I asked again, you see. It is like a punishment or some alternative universe when it is opposite day every day. He won't bring the laundry down unless I ask. And if I ask, he has to make me wait because I ASKED. Asking is nagging, and if he gives in he has taught me that nagging works and it will only get worse. *Now, here is where I could punch the therapist that told him that. We only lasted two sessions there. On the second session he suggested that if Dh was in the mood and I was not, that he force me and show me who was the boss. I am not kidding. And we weren't even talking about that when he brought that up.* This method never ends well emotionally, but the laundry does eventually make it down the stairs. Because at some point I usually scream BRING THE EFFING LAUNDRY DOWN BEFORE I KICK YOUR ARSE BACK HOME TO YOUR MOMMA. Then there is another humdinger bang-up argument to get the laundry back upstairs, but it involves much more swearing and yelling and sometimes crying. Once I even went and asked a stranger on the street to come inside and bring it up for $5.00. And DH sat on the couch looking like an idiot and didn't get the message. Method Two: Silent cues. This is where I put the laundry basket on his pillow. Night after night he will move it, until finally he figures out "Hey, maybe she keeps putting it here because she wants me to bring it down". And he will ask, and I will say "Seeing as I have asked you four times per day, then yes, that is probably what I want". There is some eye-rolling. Sometimes it makes it directly to the basement, others it spends time visiting the living room or kitchen, depending on where DH is when he becomes distracted. If that happens, I usually resort to parts of method one to get it the rest of the way downstairs. As for getting it back UPSTAIRS, well, there is the rub again. Method Three: Strike action. This is more of a "work to rule" than a real strike. After all, there is a child involved so I can't let everything go completely. We usually make it to about 7:00pm before DH realizes that dinner is not just late, it is non-existant. You want me to make dinner? Bring the laundry down. You want me to make lunch/dinner/grocery shop/nookie? Bring the laundry back up. Once I took the batteries from the remotes and said they would not come back until the laundry went down, then back up again. That was a rough two hours, I can tell you. There was a lot of huffy breaths and hostile foot taps while he waited for the laundry to be done. But we also must note, that there is a package of like a hundred AAA batteries inches from his chair, and at no time did he attempt to put them in the remotes. Sometimes we have to save ourselves, and if we can't, then we get what we deserve. *The first person that says I get what I deserve with DH too, has to eat one of those AAA batteries.* Method Four: Sit and cry. This is, by far, the easiest method. It is also the one I like the least, although it kind of works the best. It is what happens when the laundry is that last straw and I am the dromedary. Believe it or not, I do not cry often. Well, at least not in front of others. And somehow quiet, calm sobbing panics DH more than hysteria. I cry and I snot and I blubber about unmopped floors and laundry that sits in baskets upstairs and downstairs and towels that taunt me from the floor. That I only exist when somebody needs or wants something but other than that I am invisible. The cats get very nervous and pace, and Ruby usually looks miserable and will sit next to me with her head on my knee. Most times DH will run and bring the laundry up or down. It's like when a person tries to keep a baby from crying "See? I am bringing it up now. See? Stop crying like that". And knowing that it is the only reason usually makes me cry harder. Why? I will ask. Why does everything have to be so hard? Why can't you just bring the basket down or up when I ask. Why does it always have to come to this? DH usually transfers the baskets a little quicker and with less prompting the next week. But it has never lasted beyond that. Now, lest you think I am a manipulative witch (oh, I am. But I don't like you thinking it), this is not a conscious effort. I don't sit and think, gee, which method should I use this week? No. That is not how it works. But I could definitely see the pattern, looking back over months and years. I need to start a journal of these things, so I can develop a method book. You know, to increase chances of success. Or at least to show me that I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I have said it before, the definition of insane is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Once I have the laundry thing figured out, then on to getting the garbage out and mowing the lawn before we could lose machinery in the thicket.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Did I just see that?

Well, DD made it into Gymnastics camp! It seems they had some cancellations so they had room after all. Today is her first day. She was excited, wearing a new outfit and all (no jeans, had to get her some workout pants). They made her take her shoes AND socks off, which did not go over well. She does not like to have bare feet as a rule. I told her if she really hated it, she could ask to put her socks back on later. Which will never happen because putting her own socks on is one of the things she absolutely refuses to do. There are three things she refused to do on her own: cover herself up, wipe her bottom, and put on her own socks.

On the weekends from time to time, we "allow" her to go to bed early, and watch a movie on her personal DVD player. Of course, it is a trick. She goes to bed early and rarely makes it more than 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. But she thinks she is getting a special treat LOL. See, it is a win-win situation ;). This is the only time where she will get up (say, to go to the bathroom) and cover herself back up. Every other time, she calls down so one of us can go and "fix her blankets". Not a big deal, you say? What is so hard about covering her up? Well let us see. Two flights of stairs, and on average four re-covers a night. Don't give me that crap about good exercise. By evening I am lucky to make it up ONE flight of stairs without dragging a leg. All that up and down kills me. We are working on this, however. It will take time.

I have put my foot down on the patootie wiping - after all, it is not like I am going to follow her to high school and wipe her butt for her, and all of her friends can do it themselves. It is time she did it too! She is not happy with this decision, but she has no other choice. DH complains because he feels it contributes to laundry (ew) which is unfounded anyway. And since he was not the one soley responsible for her heiney hygeine for almost eight years, he is not allowed to have an opinion on the matter. I will agree that now we go through twice the TP, but all gains have their costs.

As for the socks, well. I know I should put my foot down as it were, but frankly, if we ever want to leave the house on any schedule I just cannot have her laying on the ground crying over socks for 45 minutes. She CAN and WILL put on her own knee socks. I am slowly growing her collection of knee socks and culling her regular socks. My goal? Have nothing but knee socks so she can put them on herself. There is no reason she can't wear them all the time anyway. This weekend she picked out an outfit for herself. A pleated plaid skirt, knee socks, and a small t-shirt with a tattoo-inspired logo on the front, with a hoodie on top. I swear to gawd she looked fourteen. I nearly fainted LOLOL. Dh took one look at her and said "There is nothing wrong with that outfit. The skirt is long enough, the t-shirt isn't tight or short. But still. Make her change" roflmao!

She is only 7. And while she is not the tallest or biggest in her class (she is right smack dab in the middle) when we go anywhere else there are children her age and a little older, she is like the friendly giant. She is taller. She is bigger. Not fatter, but bigger. Not as delicate. It makes me want to cry, because I was the same way. I always stood out. My shoulders were twice as broad, my hands and wrists were bigger around. She doesn't have my table-leg ankles, but she is far from the birdlike creatures surrounding her. And I don't understand, because she has such fine features, like a little china doll. Is it something we are feeding her? Do I have a faulty gene and did I pass it on to her? We all know I had the giant ogre gene. Please don't make her an ogre like I was. She is completely in proportion, and according to our doctor she is right on average for height and weight for her age - but there it is.

When I dropped her off today, the other girls were lined up. DD looked at me, and her face said it all. "They are just babies". They all looked so small and young. Imagine our surprise to find out all but one or two were the same age or older! I told her she was going to have a FABULOUS time, and to have some fun for me too. Please let her enjoy herself today and want to go back LOL.

Anyway, when I pulled into the driveway I had to stop short, as a starling went bustling across. Why do I find it so funny when birds choose to run rather than fly? Even funnier when they are carrying something. What is that, a french fry? Yes. A french fry! It would put it down and peck it, and other starlings would come near so it would hoist it up and run away a bit, and the other birds would come, and so on. It was actually kind of funny to watch. It was a pretty big french fry and it's not like we are near any restaurants. Then I noticed that somebody tossed a big takout container in the road across the street, hence the supply of fried food. Seagulls, robins, starlings, sparrows, they were all having a heyday. And I have to add Ruby too, because the birds had dropped a few fries in the yard apparently, which she happily munched up. She could not believe her luck, food falling from the SKY! Now she keeps wanting to go out and scout for pommes frites that may have appeared in her territory. Normally she is leary of seagulls. She looks at them sideways, and does her "stranger with candy" walk back to the house, along with a very concerned snort - oooooooooooog. I do believe she thinks they might carry her away. Apparently when there are french fries on the line, she can deal with the fear.

I noticed something else. Could it possibly be? Dare I say it?
I think Spring just may be coming after all.