Tuesday, December 17, 2013

You Don't Work!

For years I have had to justify the importance of my life, mostly to myself, because the majority of society seems to think that because I do not hold a paying job outside of the home it means that I do not work.

I have internally struggled with this since my daughter has gone back to school.  It does not help that other people on numerous occasions have thought it alright to tell me as such.  Well this is where I justifty my time and then you can make the decision as to whether or not I "work".

Since the day my daughter was born I have been a single parent half of the year.  My husband flies away for work.  For her entire 15 years of life (minus 3 months) I have lived in a town without ANY family to support me or even watch her for an hour so I could just go grocery shopping in peace.  I have been jealous of so many of you over the years.

When my daughter was 4 years old,  we moved out of the area I grew up in to an entirely different province and while my hubby still continued to go to work out of town, I was left to be a single parent alone there without knowing ANYONE.

My daughter started school that fall, and I was the parent volunteering regularly in the classroom helping the kids learn their ABC's, I chaperoned during their field trips so that they didn't wander off, and I drove children home from school so they didn't have to walk in the cold.   I volunteer regularly at the school library, I prepared food at the annual track meets, and I have been the parent driver for the kids when we had to go out of town after school for their sports.  I have fed the kids at those sporting events when they didn't have enough food or money and their parents weren't around, never once asking for reimbursement and I have done all this for 11 years.  We now constantly have kids showing up at our door and helping themselves to food and drinks; knowing it is a safe place to be.

I started driving my daughter out of town twice a week for a couple of years just so she could play volleyball at a higher level. Unfortunately for the past two years my daughter has struggled with a medical condition that no doctor can seem to figure out what is going on and the doctors visits are non-stop and ongoing. Hence, she is no longer able to play competitively.

 I have started volunteering every winter for a local Christmas charity that delivers toys and food to families in need.   This year there are over 70 families. I am the Toy coordinator and have to make sure that each family gets presents, games, winter wear, toiletries, books, etc.  While this doesn't sound like much, it is now December 17th and I have not yet been able to start my Christmas shopping because of the time I have put in because of it. 

I have given my time to numerous town events like working long late night hours making volunteer
lanyards when Sport Center (TSN) and Kraft Canada shot live in our little town and then helped organize the volunteers and  set up the following day for the shoot.

I helped to set up and organize a fundraising
Gala for our local fire department,  and also photographed (alongside my husband) a fundraiser trail ride for Breast Cancer.  My daughter and I have also taken the time to run the cookie station at Christmas in the Park for the kids.

Oh....did I mention?  I have Multiple Sclerosis.   I've had it since my daughter was 11 months old.  By taking a little time for myself to workout I have managed to keep it under control.  However, I never know one day to the next what challenge I may have.  Like today for instance my right hand is numb which makes just regular jobs a little more difficult.  So while I do all of these things, I also don't have a housekeeper, a nanny or a gardener..... Wait...I have Green Drop. Ok cancel that  But.....

 I shovel the driveway, mow the lawn, scrub the toilets, clean the fridge, do the shopping, wash the windows, wash the floors, do the laundry, etc etc etc.  Mostly done while my hubby is away so we can spend quality time together when he is home.

Now while I may not be making a great wage or making any big business deals, please don't forget it is because of people like me that allow schools to run smoother in times of less funding. It is people like me that help feed those that have been forgotten.  It is people like me that are helping to protect and take care of your children.  And the next time you think to yourself, "She can do that.  She has all the time in the world.  She doesn't work"... Just remember, you don't actually have a clue what it is I do.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...

Growing up I was engulfed in a family of many opinions and not a one had trouble sharing them. A family full of loud-mouthed men and some women, I fit in quite nicely.  However, I was also raised to respect your elders and this proved a bit of a conflict when it came to matters regarding ignorant adults outside of my family.  Sadly as I get older it has become apparent that I have an even harder time keeping my opinion to myself. 

I have unintentionally insulted friends and gave them the impression that I don't like their spouses or the decisions they had made.  I've made people in my family feel like I thought I was better than them.  (Not even close and definitely not meant the way they took it)  Sometimes my mouth and brain don't exactly understand one another.  

I bet there isn't anyone out the who can't relate to the following. 

Recently I have been challenged to keep my mouth shut while someone quite close to us has repeatedly made decisions completely out of their character. While those decisions have affected their own life, the waves have also trickled into the rest of their family as well. This person will repeatedly complain about their spouse, express concern for their future, their safety and yet has asked us to pretend to not know anything about it.   This person will show up at our house, complain and say that's it, I'm done and yet by the time they return to their house, they have obviously talked themselves out of it.  And while this irritates me to no end, I have come to terms with the fact that there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.  Everyone has expressed their concerns with little to no avail.  Our only hope is that one day they will see the light. 

 In the meantime, I will make decisions that will protect my family and be at peace with the fact that I have done everything I can do.  I will no longer dwell on the situation and take solace in the fact that decisions I have made in my life have allowed for a much different lifestyle; one that I wouldn't trade for anything else in the world.  And while I know this sounds harsh, I have realized that not everyone wants help nor do they want advice.  But for my own sanity, I no longer can be repeatedly exposed to the negativity. I have made the decision to do as they have asked and ignore the issue.   However, when the day comes that they decide to make a change, I will be right there to help them with whatever they need.  Until then, I will be doing daily affirmations.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sh*t Sorry, Force of Habit!

Well Mother Nature has officially showed us who is boss in these last few days.....or was it Jack Frost?  Either way, we have a heck of alot of snow!  No, I am not going to talk about the weather but I though I would set the scene.

Yesterday I shovelled twice and this morning I had to shovel again.  The first time yesterday took almost an hour and half, most of which I questioned why I didn't have another child at home so that they could help me when Ally was at work.  FYI: There was alot of swearing going on in my head.

This is where I begin my story: 

Ally's boyfriend was visiting today and although I don't like to give Ally jobs while he is here, I was contemplating asking them both for help.  However, instead of outright asking her I decided today to give her the opportunity to be observant and considerate.  Let's just say she didn't exactly pass the test.   =(

While getting ready to head outside to shovel for the third time, I slowly got ready just to make sure that she was completely aware of what I was planning to do.  Instead Ally decides to make lunch for them so I quickly realize I was fine with that; OK I'll shovel.

So I head out but very shortly determine I need the keys to the car.  (meanwhile still hoping they catch the hint).   I enter the house and Ally proceeds to say,"Hey Mom, I'm going to get dressed and....(Here it is!, She's figured it out!)....Tyler and I are.....(OMG I'm right!).....going to walk to Tim Hortons.  (SERIOUSLY?!)

I hold back my feelings, smile and even offer them a ride if they need it!  Then proceed for the second day in a row to swear while shoveling.  After about 20 min I finish the driveway and head back in and proceed towards the back deck. The deck has ALL the snow from the start because I didn't shovel ANY of it yet!  Once outside I realize that I need to clean off the turrets on the back of the house.   So I grab the big reaching rake and proceed to shovel even MORE snow onto the deck from the roof!  While I am doing that Ally comes to the window and motions to me that they are leaving but I could tell that she wanted to talk so I stop and she opens the door.  "Tyler wants to know if you want anything."  (what a sweet boy)  I tell her no thanks and inside myself do a little princess stomp (hmmmph).  Yes I know, I'm childish.

So while at this point I am only slightly irritated, it gets better!! 

Ally and Tyler leave the house but about 15 minutes later Macie (my dog) wants to join me outside.....I go to open the door and it's LOCKED!  Ally locked me outside on the deck!! YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!!

The following is the string of messages while I am trapped on the deck.

Me:  Maybe walk home and unlock the door!
        Oh wait, let me try to get around the house (insert sarcasm)
        Not impressed!

Ally:    Sh*t Sorry!  Force of habit.

 There are another two steps below the snow!  Literally had to dig my way down off the deck!

Ok....now at this point I'm laughing/angry.  I mean it was pretty funny but I'm supposed to be disappointed in her dammit! So I trudge around the side of the house in the deep snow, make sure to  knock the ice out of the down spouts and proceed to the front door.....only to discover it was UNLOCKED!

Next string of texts:

Me:      How come the front door wasn't locked then?

Ally:    Forgot!

Funny how quickly a force of habit gets forgotten!  She successfully kept her mother locked in the backyard while any stranger could have walked in and robbed us blind.  Now while I am very aware that it is impossible to punish a child for not reading my mind, this is how the conversation is going to go.

Me:  If your boss was shoveling or carrying boxes, or moping a floor would you just stand 
        there and watch them?

Hopefully she would say, "NO!

Me:  You will have that boss for only a brief part of your life and you will have your 
         mom FOREVER!  Next time pick up the damn shovel!

Moral of the story....No one can ever read your mind.  Speak it! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Forbidden Fruit

While this is not going to be an easy post to write, and I may receive some hateful criticism from it, I feel I need to share this and allow others to take what they can from it.  Hopefully it will help others to really get to know who their kids are and how to relate to teenagers in this day in age.

I am NO professional.  I am NOT a perfect parent.  My child HAS lied to me and while I say all these things I honestly believe that I am succeeding overall as a parent.

Raising a daughter is not easy.  I fear lots of things every time she walks out the door and yet I honestly think I have eased her and guided her into becoming a balanced and contributing member of society.

My policy with her has always been... "Never make ANYTHING the forbidden fruit.  Never give anything that much power."  It originally started with boys.  At a young age I allowed her to spend time with boys.  Never were they kept at a distance.  I had very strict rules though.  It had to be in public, she was never allowed to go to the boys house without a parent being there (and never for long periods) She wasn't allowed to be there as the only girl. Girls always needed to outnumber the boys.  I needed updates everytime she left where I last knew her to be.  Then I proceeded to watch as all the other girls (who weren't allowed to date) chased the boys, dated and lied to their parents.  Did I know everything when it came to my daughter?  OF COURSE NOT.  I'm not an idiot.  But what she came back with ALL the time was "Mom, I'm not interested in anyone, they're like my brothers."  I was good with that!  I also had the other girls telling me about their boys and how they're parents didn't let them date.  Had I thought it was getting out of hand I would have let the parents know but that's a difficult line to cross either way.  Some parents aren't accepting of another parent telling them stuff about their kids and I didn't want the kids to not have someone to talk to if they needed an adult.  Now my daughter is dating a great guy who has his head on straight, good in school, doesn't approve of drugs, works hard, comes from a good family and is from out of town.  =)  Because all the guys she grew up with are more like brothers.....lol  I might add, it's easier to keep tabs on them when his mom and I have to do all the driving back and forth and can't just wander to each other's houses when the parents aren't home! ;)

We are now cresting the age where the kids are starting to party.  Am I excited about that?  Hell No! Do I just want to bubble wrap her and put her in a safe, Damn right!  But what would that do?  That would make the "party" the forbidden fruit.  It would be more powerful than I.  So over the last year I have listened to the stories, I have asked who is partying. Which kids are doing what?  I waited until more than half of the kids were going out  and then in short doses I have allowed her to join them.

There was a brief period of about a month where I was having a hard time with some of the friends she was with.  Not because of the kids but because of the choices they were making.  I struggled with letting her out with them but I knew as soon as I said "NO!" that it would become something that she would desire more than anything.  I knew this because my parents kept me very sheltered and as soon as I got a taste of freedom I went wild!  I honestly can say my parents not once discussed boys, sex, drugs or alcohol until after it was too late.  I was not about to make that mistake.  So while she went out with these kids I cringed and hoped that we had talked enough to help her through this part of her life.  It didn't come without some repercussions but we have come out the other side in a very short period and she made the decision it was not the right path for her.  I didn't make that decision for her. 

We are now at the point where the majority of the kids are involved in partying in some form or another.   Some kids are now at the point where drugs and alcohol are a daily occurrence and my daughter and her friends still keeps me informed. But those actually aren't the kids that scare me the most.  The ones that do are the kids who are kept from it entirely.  Those are the kids that are going to do it behind their parents back, binge when the parents aren't around or they are at a sleepover and the parents will be none the wiser.  I spoke with a mom this week who allowed her daughter to go out but kept telling her no alcohol.  What she didn't know is that her daughter apparently was drinking and keeping it from her.  Then one evening the daughter had a very short period of time to be out so she chose to drink very quickly.  Within a couple of hours she had consumed enough alcohol to render herself unconscious.  Her mother was terrified.  But what that mom said to me only secured my beliefs more that I was doing the right thing.  She said, "I did it wrong, I shouldn't have said No. Never. I should have given limits. Made her understand that anymore than a few could seriously harm her.  Talked to her about it."

While our children are young and underage, the reality is kids have been drinking before the legal age since way before my time.  In fact, the police or RCMP who now uphold law are a bunch of adults who once drank illegally as a minor.  Does this make it right? No! Would I rather have a child who hates alcohol? You bet!  But since I don't I have instead slowly introduced it to her.  She knows that at anytime of the night I will be there to pick her up.  Never get in a car with someone drinking...I will pick you up. Don't drink out of a glass no matter who gives it to you and watch your drinks.  Always choose a  buddy and never leave them behind or wander off alone.  Always know the address you are at in case you ever need to call the ambulance.  Mom WILL be calling you at intervals and assessing the situation. Etc. Etc.

And so begin the sleepless nights but I have done all I can.  At some point you just have to let them do things on their own....its just not as easy as letting go of the bike, or letting her walk to the bus alone.  I can't imagine how hard it will be when she moves out!

Happy Birthday to Me!!! Wait...I'm how old?

(Should have been posted November 4th)

Today I am 38 years young....and I'm ok with it!  Mostly for the fact that for the last year I have been telling everyone I am 38 honestly thinking I was.  So I basically missed my 37th year of life but on the bright side I don't really get older this year in my eyes!  I actually did the same thing when I turned 31.  I guess after 30 it no longer matters what your exact age is. Ha!

Other than that, the day was uneventful.  Unable to spend time with anyone else because of possibly being contagious because of my daughter having the flu, I cleaned my bathrooms and did laundry. Oh the life of a stay at home mom.

Like most other social media addicts I watched everyone's birthday greetings add up on Facebook  during the day; helping to feed a narcissistic need of being accepted I have had since elementary school.  But this year I realized that quickly that the numbers were not what was important to me.  I was looking forward to the phone calls I usually get every year.

The day typically starts off with Happy Birthday being sang to me by my mommy.  She is always the first and then typically my husband and daughter.  Trickling in over the course of the day I would hear from 2 of my 3 brothers, 2 aunts and a few friends.  What I got this year was quite different.

Of course my mom did exactly as expected. She never lets me down =)  My daughter also was quick to extend birthday wishes before she headed out to school.  I noticed one aunt posted to my facebook but I figured I would still receive a phone call later.  Around 11 my older brother texted me and I quote, "happy birthday nice weather".  (We had just received a big dump of snow)  Although I replied, that was the extent of what I heard from him.  I did receive alot of texts from friends over the course of the day, however, only one took the time to actually phone me.  My father in law texted me in the afternoon.   My little brother called me around supper and we had a nice little visit.  My husband however, while working up in Fort McMurray didn't get a chance to call me until after supper. (Yeah that didn't go over well....I will say he has made up for it since though).

So what is the point to my story?    What am I trying to say?
As a society we have become complacent with the importance of hearing a person's voice.  We have become lazy.  It is easier to send a text, an email, snapchat, etc.  We are becoming a generation who will no longer be able to talk to each other.  Next time you are in a doctor's office, elevator, or any other place where people used to actually talk to strangers, watch what happens in those moments of silence.....Out pops the cell phones.  What a great way to avoid people. 
But what are we really learning from this age of technology?  We are learning to avoid confrontation.  We are learning to read intonation into a message, make assumptions and in turn freak out, jump to conclusions......But hey, we can just send a nasty text because who needs to deal with things face to face.  My daughter has even admitted to not answering phone calls because she doesn't know what to say and then turn around and text them.  Sadly,  I am just as guilty as everyone else out there.  I have done all of the above ........And so have YOU!

So my plan, and I challenge you to as well, is to at birthdays, holidays, time's of loss or heartache, achievement or illness, pick up the phone.   Honestly evaluate who are those that are really important to you,  and let them know they are important enough to hit "CALL" instead of "SEND MESSAGE".


Sunday, November 03, 2013

You call this food?

With the recent relocation of my favorite restaurant  in the entire world (to an entirely different province), the quality of my meals has downgraded substantially and by that I mean....I bought a ready made freezer meal.  I'm so ashamed.  :(  I haven't actually done that in years but it was quick and for some reason I used to enjoy this particular "meal"   (And I use the term meal VERY loosely).  Apparently I didn't develop taste buds until later in life because what entered my mouth was nothing short of cardboard and glue!  On top of that, I question the health factor given the fact it came with only two pieces of broccoli!

 I took pictures to send to the company to show my disgust.   I usually add more broccoli anyways so I went about adding it,
and to my dismay it was the only good part about it.  I blame it all on Misty and Andrew.  How dare they leave us with no options for supper when you don't feel like cooking!  

So if you are ever in Salman Arm, British Columbia and you are looking for a high quality, from scratch, delicious meal go to Bradburys Restaraunt and tell them Nicole sent you.  Then proceed to kick them in the a$$ from me. 

Mom!!! My tummy hurts!

Sleep seems to becoming a rare commodity lately.  One of which is broken and at weird hours.  But nothing wakes you up faster than the words, "Mom, I think I'm going to puke."   Your child needs you and immediately you go into protection mode and I my case I quickly start thinking "What did we eat that was different?  Where was she that she could have gotten a flu?  Did I poison my child?"

They complain of the pain and are crying and wonder if it's something really wrong.  No....it's just how we feel every time.  The body has a great way of forgetting how it really feels but we do remember that we don't like it and for that reason we try not to let it happen.  Maybe if I go back to sleep, maybe it's just gas but in the back of our minds we know what's really going to happen.  

When Ally was little I could hear her do this little cough.  She could be in her room and I would go racing across the house knowing that I had about 15 seconds to get her to the bathroom.  Even I amazed myself at how I could recognize that in just one little cough.

But as she gets older while she doesn't really need me, it's nice to know she still wants her mommy.  So says I lay here with her quietly sleeping  beside me, waiting for her to be sick again, a piece of me is happy that some things will ever change.  I'm just hoping the gurgling now developing in my stomach doesn't signify that MY turn is coming soon.

Happy Anniversary to ME! Oh ya....Us. lol

Before I talk about my anniversary I'd like to point out that in the last two days my views on my page have gone from 699 over a couple of years (which I was absolutely amazed about) to now 2 days later  at 894!!  Where the hell did all you people come from??!!  But more importantly, I'd like to remind everyone that they can follow this blog by clicking on the join button on the right hand side of my page.  (I think)...I honestly don't know much about blogging.

16 years!!!!  Proof that not all internet relationships are catfish situations!  Yep that's right Russ and I were basically the pioneers of internet dating. We met online on Feb 11, 1997, met in person Feb 20, 1997, he immediately moved in with me, we were engaged by May, 1997 and married on November 1st, 1997.   Did I mention our daughter was born Feb of 1999.   Yeah we don't waste time thinking about things. Ha!

I was thinking of posting a wedding picture however, I couldn't quickly find one and honestly, they're kinda scary.  I look like I'm 40 and Russ looks like he was 18.  Not pretty.  However, here is a more recent picture!

Sadly my husband is away at work up north and my daughter was gone all day with friends and her boyfriend so my anniversary was quite a lonely day.  I filled it with steam cleaning the carpets and tidying the house......yay.  Then I finished it off by watching P.S I love you.  Seriously!  What the hell was I thinking?  A movie about losing the love of your life and then reliving the loss through a series of letters and quests.  Meanwhile I am feeling lonely to start with.  Won't make that mistake again!  Next time I'm at least going to numb it with a bottle of wine first like most wives! 

I strongly recommend the following sweeter white wine!  It's not too dry and it's damn cheap!  To top it off it can be purchased at Costco for $8.79!  Enjoy!

Friday, November 01, 2013

That Nasty Space Between Halloween and My Anniversary.

I refuse to say it is November 1st because that would mean it's my 16th wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately I also don't want to ruin my Halloween either so I am trapped in the void between the two.   I don't want to end Halloween nor start my anniversary by being woke up to the sound of my dog panting, then once being let out vomiting repeatedly all over my room.

Did I mention it is 2:50 am and I am supposed to start a 30 day fitness challenge this morning with a yoga class at 5:45.  Yeah........not going to happen.    Sorry Joyce.  So now my room smells like pukey dog food, I spent the last 20 min steam cleaning the carpet, my stomach is queasy, I'm going to be tired and bitchy on my anniversary and I have to miss yoga.

On the lighter side, who can stay mad at this face:
I hope she remembers this the next time she gets mad at me for leaving her at home and thinks it's a good idea to rip my bathroom garbage apart.  Oh who am I kidding....damn dog is 7 years old and can barely remember her own name!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!

Given my recent state of mind lately I have decided that going as an inmate in the psych ward was the most fitting costume. I had it all figured out....but then it morphed into a Mom who had been admitted to the psych ward with a calendar and to do list.  In the end thought I decided to go as ME 14 years ago!  Hair in a ponytail, lipstick smeared across my face, baby puke on my shoulder and a Cabbage patch doll posing as Ally I suddenly was transformed to my former self.  Of course I still wore the orange jumpsuit because quite frankly back then I should have been committed on most days.
Yeah....I'm sexy.

After a few hours unfortunately the sour cream I used for baby puke turned clear and ended up looking more like Monica Lewinsky's dress.  (my daughter Ally was so nice to point that out to me. ) My daughter of course looked gorgeous as always.  She could wear a paper bag and it would look like high fashion couture.

While everyone else chose the typical tv reality stars and zombies, I chose a much scarier concept.....facing the fact that becoming a new mom nearly drove me insane!   Don't get me wrong, my daughter is the best thing I have ever accomplished......that being said, I don't know who possibly thought that it was ok to send her home with me after giving childbirth.  I was 23.   I could barely take care of myself or our newly acquired puppy.  Children should have owner's manuals.  Upon leaving the hospital you have make sure your child has a name, the bills need to be paid and the hospital should be required to give u an owners manual and access to a 24 hour emergency hotline.  We can't drive cars without a license, we can't get married without a license, we can't open a business or build a house without a license yet, for some reason any person is allowed to have a child without any guidance.  No wonder each passing generation is more screwed up than the last!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Freaks? Oh ya.... you know it!

So after numerous attempts at blogging, I have decided to stop forcing a subject or topic and just let my life dictate what it is I say next.  My feeble attempts at weight loss are boring even to me and although I may share an interesting recipe once in a while, I am no chef or weight loss guru.

I have spent the last 14 years being a mom; a damn good one I might add.  My daughter is top of her grade, athletic, and for the most part polite (but let's be realistic, she's 14).  My husband and I were even told by her teacher last week that we should write a book about how we raised her.  Honestly, I think that was the biggest compliment I have ever received.  However, this blog will not be about that either.....well not always.  Let's face it, teenager's mistakes make some of the best stories, so one or two might come into play now and then.

It has come to my attention lately that my daughter is growing up and in a few years I will be left to rediscover who I am.  I know that I am not alone in this journey so any help I can get would be greatly appreciated.  My husband works away at a fly in camp and so he is gone half of the year.  I live in a town with no family and while I have a good "friend" base, it's just not the same. 

I will do my best to keep from revealing my family's secrets but for the most part none of them will even read this so who cares if some strangers know that we're a bunch of  freaks.  Hear that?  I think it's circus music.