Thursday, October 28, 2010

What you don't know

For months I've been skirting the law. Each time I climb into the driver's seat I've been flirting with a possible  date with the criminal justice system. Never let it be said that this mother doesn't live on the edge. It would of course had been a lot more thrilling had I known. Had I been aware. If I knew by choice that I was roaming all over the province without a driver's licence! There would have been that adrenaline rush every time I saw a police car, that fear that rides right on the edge of rebellion. The clutch in your chest that says "go ahead pull me over!... or not ...please, no really, please don't pick me, don't pick me."

I know the feeling well. In our very very broke days Michael and I would play 'Let's see how long we can drive with an expired sticker'. One year we made it 7 months and only had to pay for the remaining 5. That was a golden year. Speed traps, ride programs, officers in traffic all provided a crazy cat and mouse adrenaline and some fabulous tales of evasion for diner.

I wasn't even aware that I missed those days of corruption. Not until this week, not until Ashley at the cell phone store refused my ID because it was expired. Not just a little expired...5 months expired! I traced my steps. It's been a busy summer. We spent 2 weeks cruising southern and northern Ontario, there have been appointments, outings, kids taxied, work. I've clocked a good 3,000 km on that expired licence. Had the MTO alerted me that it was up for renewal I would have taken care of it right away. Now I'm disappointed; not only am I without the legal right to drive until sometime at which I can fit government hours into my schedule, I also missed some fabulous adrenaline moments! There were a lot of cops in that 3,000 km. For a brief pause after Ashley pointed out my driving status I was sentimental, reflective of those days when we drove on the edge; tempting MTO fate with our rebellious ways.

We've grown up since then and like partying until dawn and eating pizza for breakfast there are somethings we just don't do anymore. So I write this waiting patiently for Michael to arrive and drive me to renew my licence. Sad that my social conscience has matured past my sense of rebellion but very grateful to Ashley for alerting me to my dilemma, so that I don't have to explain to my kids why Mommy has to go to court.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What Sets us Apart from the "Apps" that Make our World Go Round

Monday morning presented itself this week with the usual hectic pace; everyone running behind, dashing out the door and hoping to make their destination on time. Lula, our 15 year old is particularly concerned with being on time. She's incredibly busy and her schedule demands that she not miss a beat. As a result; glitches put her into a tailspin. When her school bus didn't show up Monday morning it was out of the ordinary, an inconvenience, frustrating. Kids waited for a while then eventually disbursed to city transit, or parent taxi's. I'm quite certain that more than a few opted for a return to bed, no bus is a pretty plausible excuse for ditching. Lula herself arrived to school late via city transit and of course it set the tone for her day. By the time I arrived home there was very little to salvage. Her rant began with the absentee bus driver and ended with same. I myself was more than a little perturbed. School transit should be reliable and dependable. Already this month in our city there have been reports of school bus drivers operating under the influence, uttering threats and facing charges of assault. I'm starting to get a little uptight about the whole adventure, preferring the years leading up to high school where my child walked. Lula's rant became mine momentarily as I shared her frustration.

Tuesday we had put the matter behind us. A bus arrived on time to transport her to school. The driver was new. The usual driver absence perhaps disciplinary from the previous day. Wednesday the same. Whatever, they were getting my daughter to school on time and in one piece that's the extent of my concern. Thursday we learned that the usual driver had in fact suffered a heart attack and passed away! On hearing that news I gulped, feeling an immediate sense of guilt. Surely Karma is hunting me down at this very minute to dispense some much justified retribution.

Why is there gratitude in this moment? Where can it be? We jumped to conclusions and rants; there is no dignity in that. A man died; that is nothing to celebrate or give thanks for. Karma is hot on our heels, I'm certainly not looking forward to that.

The gratitude moment is found in my daughter's facebook status from last night "RIP Chris :) you were a nice bus driver <3".  I am grateful that she knew his name. That the person who drives her bus or serves her fries or handles her returns are more than cogs to her. That, as Chris's passing so clearly demonstrates; the people who facilitate our day to day life are people, with lives and families and love and sorrows and names.

Tomorrow, when a young lady or man serves me coffee of rings through my groceries, I am going to remember to take note of their name tag and thank her or him by name.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sibling Rivalry Expressed Over Lunch

Mom: "why didn't you eat the sandwich I packed you?"

KJ:  "It looked like it was cat food"

Mom: " do you really think that I would have made you a cat food sandwich?"

KJ: "No, but sometimes you mix my lunch up with Lula's or E-man's."

Mom: "Do you think I'd make one of them a cat food sandwich?"

You have to be grateful for rare moments that prove teenagers are not necessarily smarter than their parents!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm Not the Only One

Veruca Salt was the fabulous name of the pain in the arse brat in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've always been thrilled with the name, it sounded foreign and clever. for some strange reason it fit her personality perfectly, although I've never understood why. It has been said of my husband and myself that we know a whole lot of useless information. Perhaps it's Michael's passion for crosswords or my love of reading but it's true. I am continually amazed and intrigued with useless facts and some days in the middle of an ordinary normal conversation about pickles and kitchen cupboards you learn the darnedest things.  'Veruca' by definition is a wart. A fact that I would not have otherwise know had it not been for Michael's pedorthic pursuits. Now, how clever of  Roald Dahl to put two and Veruca together! He must have been a purveyor of useless facts too.

Tonight I'm grateful that we didn't name our first born daughter "Veruca"

It Can't be That Simple...or...You Can't be That Dense (depends whose shoes you're in)

Few things are as simple or rewarding as a cardboard box. Our kids, on more than one special occasion have opted for the box over it it contents. E-man selects boxes for packing groceries with future intentions in mind; a box much too large for a bag of apples is a perfect size for constructing a r/c car jump. KJ collects shoe boxes and stuffs them with odds and sods. Boxes are fabulous! and like many fabulous mundane items they are often tossed about and overlooked, under appreciated

Our family gratitude, especially that of our cat, goes to a simple nondiscript cardboard box today. Zipper our cat is old. 18 actually which in human years is like 79. He's feeling his age and our home has turned into a feline nursing facility. We've moved his litter to the main floor (stairs are rough) we fill his water dish 12 times a day (he's fussy for fresh) We comfort him in the middle of the night when he is confused. Continually we frighten the Beejeebers out of him because he doesn't hear us coming. He dines on the finest feline foods and pumpkin to help his digestion. There is little we don't do for him in his ailing age. So much so that we opt to sit on the floor in the living room if it means displacing him from his favorite chair. What can I say, he's been through a lot. He listens to our tears, guards the kids, comforts us when we are ill. We love him.

The last few months have been very disconcerning. Michael and I have stopped counting his lives. We've placed rotating bets on his expiry date and survey for chest movement before approaching. More than once we have braced each other and the children to loose him. Recently he stopped eating, he was more lathargic than normal and was loosing weight at a rate I only dream about.  Our thoughts again turned towards the "big" cardboard box. (gulp)

Today I put his food to the floor for him and gazed gravely as he sniffed it and made an attempt to eat. I watched for a moment. He was clearly in agony, suffering. Not from some ailment or disease but from the stupidity of his caretakers. He's 79 years old! I'm half his age and I have a hard time bending down to tie my shoes some days! Clearly he would eat if he could eat. I did reach for a cardboard box. I turned it upside down and put his food and water dish on top. He looked at me... in disgust that it took so long for me to figure out and gratitude that I did before he starved to death!

Our Zipper

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pick Your Battles

Ignorant people, being cold and shopping are on my list. E-man has migraines, pink and cleaning his room on his list. KJ tops hers with homework, housework and orthodontists. Lula's list; interruptions, tuna and boyfriends who don't call when they say they're going to. All things that aren't going away no matter how tight we squeeze our eyes or how far we stick our fingers in our ears.

I really should add spontaneous thinking to my list, it sets me up every time. This time it set in motion a culminating event of the top three triggers from my "things I'd rather not deal with" list. A perfect storm of mother stress overload.  I really only wanted to leave Mike some quiet space to cram in some last minute studying. It began with "I'll take the kids out for the evening." I could have suggested a movie but the money for that would have come from the kids need winter coats fund. So we went shopping for winter coats. Set Scene: one mother, shopping, for a seasonally detestable condition, in a mall. (malls are magnets for ignorance).

Thank Karma, the Lord or the Money Fairies, you are all my grateful today! I scored the best of the worst days to brave my storm. 30 minutes in I landed the sweetest of deals. So sweet in fact that for a brief second I felt that rush chronic shopaholics rave about. The dopamine connection. E-Man's coat called to me. A 4 in 1 high quality number with an original price tag of over $100.00 on clearance for an unbelievable 20 bucks!!! I scooped it up, responsively scanning the racks for more ways to depart from my money (and fortunately immediately tasted bile) Cha-ching! my bargain set me in fantastic humor for the next insurmountable challenge; a coat for KJ, the pickiest of the pickies, our family fashionista. Who, to my delight found, fell in love with and decided on a wool number in a matter of minutes. On sale I might add!

My elation at having conquered the evening lasted through our celebratory ice cream, our stop to fill the gas tank, our quick nip into the liqueur store. I held it all the way to the grocery store parking lot. Where E-man snatched the clearance tag KJ was using as a big pair of red lips. She snatched it back, smacking him in the process to which he replied with a quick foot intended for her seat back that missed it's mark entirely landing squarely on her back.

I didn't say a word. I pulled into a parking spot, got out of the vehicle and locked the doors. I walked calmly into the store for my milk, bread and bagels, returned to find both still breathing and continued home.

Come to think of it, I'm not the only one who owes some gratitude to those Money Fairies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Okay I Get the Point!

So two weeks ago I decided that a blog would be a wonderful way to chronicle our "Gratitude Rule" I created the blog-spot, description etc. yup I got that far! A major milestone for someone of my character and by that I precisely mean a person who has never been one to commit to routine. Case in point; we are in week 6 of school and my vow to prepare lunches in the evening has already been smashed to bits. I am tossing leftovers and unwashed fruit haphazardly in to lunch bags between brushing my teeth and drinking my morning coffee, just like before. Suffice it to say I am a woman of great ambition...for about 15 seconds. This blog then should be an interesting challenge. Should I manage to nurture it daily it will be a pleasant read. Should it actually develop a following those people many wonder in time where I've disappeared to.

So why begin today? Basically I was told to. My horoscope, (and I quote directly) said "you have so much to be grateful for why aren't you acknowledging it?" You should know that I'm generally not a 'universe told me to do it' kind of girl. However this advise? I've put gratitude into strict practice in our home. we have a rule about it even! what more can I do? I didn't need to be yelled at. I get the point. Write about it.

I'm grateful today for my too short coffee break that sent me to read my horoscope which told me to get off my butt and get started. Day one...see you tomorrow (perhaps)