Monday, January 29, 2007

Speaking of Cultured...

...we're, like, so NOT...

Mr. IQ subjected High Intensity to several days of extensive deprogramming, and she now sings that she's a joker, a smoker and a midnight poker. He assures me that this is very welcome change. I'm not so sure.

We, too, have recently changed the way we speak around here, inspired by something that played on CBC radio the other day. I've forgotten exactly who was speaking, or what, for that matter, the subject was, but at one point a very distinguished voice said what sounded like, "I swear on the balls of my father..."

"WHAT???" I asked incredulously, "Did that guy really just swear on the balls of his father??"

"Bones," said Mr. IQ patiently, "He swore on the BONES of his father."

"Oh," I said, a little disappointed. All not in vain though, now every third sentence around here begins with, "Look, I swear on the balls of my father..." One time Mr. IQ mixed it up and swore on the balls of MY father. "You just stay away from my dad's balls," I said, darkly. We both agreed that would probably be for the best.

Another phrase that has entered our vernacular as of late came about after reading an article on Prince William's suspected bride-to-be. The writer of the piece speculated that her "v-plates" were probably still intact. V-PLATES???!! Although the condition of no-one's "v-plates" are in question in this family, (well, I thought I'd write it before you could) we still manage to squeeze the phrase into a ridiculous number of conversations we have. So what with all the ball/v-plate references, we really seem to have hit cultural rock-bottom at this place. Luckily, my parents are around to at least bring some substance into the kids' lives. They came back from Cuba today, and brought High Intensity a T-shirt, beret and necklace, all plastered with a picture of Che Guevara. She wore them stoically while over at their house, but once we got home, she denounced Che as "too hairy" and stripped herself clean of all three.

Vive la revolution!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Life Goes On, Strangely

I made a huge bowl of rice krispie squares last night to use up more of the excess cereal we have. After I had finished mixing everything, I realized that all the pans were in the basement, and, yes, I AM that lazy, I did NOT go down to fetch one, instead we all sat around the bowl like it was a Mongolian Hotpot, and ate it with spoons. I haven't had a lot of sweets since Christmas, so eating it I fell into a swoon, it was so delicious. It made me think of that poem by William Carlos Williams, you know, sort of a, "forgive me, wretched Earth for enjoying it, but it was so sweet and so crunchy." I am very sad right now, so it was strange to be sitting on the floor like a nomad having fun. Truthfully, it made me feel a little guilty, and more than a little weepy. But life plunges on, I guess.

Yesterday afternoon was interesting. Baby Fangs and I sat in a daze on the couch and watched in stunned, disbelieving silence as High Intensity, stripped down to nothing but a pink boa, played Verdi's The Anvil Chorus 14 times in a row and ran in circles around the house like a crazed banshee over and over and over again. I was going to write that she played it 3,987, 657 times, because that's what it felt like, but instead I wrote the actual number of times because I want you to pause and reflect how actually awful that must have been for me. I blame myself entirely, one, for showing her how to use the stereo, and two, for buying her that Kids' Classical Opera CD. The idea was to bring some culture into her life, but all it apparently is doing is preparing her for a future career as a nerd stripper. Hmmm, that actually could prove to be very lucrative now that I think about it. Well, whatever happens, "cultured" will not be the end result, not if she continues to be raised by us. In Superstore later that day, I lost her for a while. When I found her, she was in the snack aisle, staring mournfully at the potato chips and softly singing Steve Miller Band lyrics. People were staring at her slack-jawed as she crooned out, "I'm a joker, I'm a smoker, I'm a midnight toker." Then they looked at me. It was all very embarrassing.


I really hate technology. I was so proud of myself for figuring out how to post Youtube videos, and then it all got messed up. Don't tell me if you came to my site while the two postings of The Anvil Chorus was on there, because I DON"T WANT TO KNOW. If you play it, make sure you do so at high volume to get the full effect. And do play it fourteen times in a row too. Really, it will be fun.

Le Fosche (Anvil Chorus, from Opera 'Il Trovatore' Act Ⅱ)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This is going to be short. We were sitting around here yesterday not doing much, when suddenly the doorbell rang. At the door was this kid High Intensity went to daycare with last year and her mother. Surprised, I invited them in, and, once in the hallway, the mother told me that their baby, one month old, died two weeks ago, suddenly, without any prior warning that something was wrong. While she was telling me this, Mr IQ, who had not been listening to our conversation, came over and dumped Baby Fangs into my arms, because he had just changed her diaper and needed to go wash his hands. ("I didn't know! Oh, God, I didn't know.") I stood there, dumbly, with my very much alive and healthy baby in my arms, thinking, "Oh, this is so terrible, so terrible..."

She came in and stayed for a while, had tea and cried on my sofa. Mr IQ took her daughter, H.I. and the baby upstairs and redeemed himself by keeping them up there all afternoon, feeding them pizza and painting their fingernails. What a nice guy. But at one point I had to feed the baby, and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life, knowing, because she had told me, that her breasts were leaking, and that she was currently pumping them twice a day to keep them producing milk. She said she was doing this to keep her baby somehow close to her, still a part of her life.

They buried her on one of those frigid -45 C days we were having a while back. She was in her snuggly, to keep her warm. Oh GOD, why does life have to be so damn bloody awful and hard sometimes?

Last month, I stumbled upon this blog site set up by a couple who are currently in the process of adopting a little boy from Russia. I followed it pretty closely last December, and, while sitting around here today feeling gloomy and depressed by how horrible everything can be, and so terribly, terribly sorry for that mother, I thought of them, and checked back in. (Let's face it, blogging is.... well, it's weird.) Anyway, it looks like they are gearing up for their final trip, the one that will have them flying back with their new kid, and I'm going to follow them all the way and cheer them on. It's a happy story, and I need to be reminded that life can be okay sometimes.

Monday, January 22, 2007

...hey, what the hell, I'm being locked out of the Title section, was it something I said????...

OK, so on the profile page, when I wrote that I "sometimes" like cooking, I think I need to clarify that a bit. I do "sometimes" like cooking, but only when the following very strict conditions are met:

1. I can't ever have cooked what I'm making before. Ever. If I have, it's boring

2. The kitchen has to be clean and everything in its place before I get started. Hahaha, well, you can certainly see where this is going, can't you?

3. New Rule: The recipe can't call for carrots.

4. Thoroughly saturating my body cells in a good red wine before I get started certainly helps make the whole wretched ordeal a little more tolerable, I must say.

5. Okay, okay, okay. I hate cooking.

What really limits my personal happiness when I cook is just the whole dumb set-up of our stupid kitchen. It's another (another!) thing I'm bitter about. When a young(ish) couple buy their first house and the female is swollen and heavy with child, someone should really sit down with her and tell her a few things. She needs to have an arm gently put around her and be led somewhere for a serious heart-to-heart. "Honey," they should say, "I know you've spent many years now living the good life, free from domestic responsibilities. I know your idea of ambitious cooking to date has been to sit on an unopened Boil in a Bag to warm it up while watching the news. But everything is about to change. You're gonna have kids! You will have to feed them, and Guilt will keep you from resorting to just opening cans all the time. Well," (here they might pause to look at her suspiciously), "at least some of the time...."

But no-one had The Chat with me, and so we foolishly chose this house because it had hardwood floors and a cute ornamental fireplace, ignoring the fact that the kitchen was small and crappy, with old, falling apart cupboards and not enough of them at that. Perhaps if I didn't live with a pack rat it wouldn't matter, but I do, and so those damn cupboards are so filled with crap that whenever I cautiously open one, invariably something falls on my head. Tonight, it was a package of vegetarian soup base, and, oh jeez did it hurt. I screamed, and then ran in here to sulk about it all to you. Stupid kitchen. Stupid cooking duties. Stupid lack of cupboard space. Stupid pack rat lifestyle. There. Got THAT off my chest.


Well, I can't leave without making yet another note about la wonderful world of fromage. In a desperate, last-minute attempt to keep myself from devouring the six packages of discounted cheese I have in my freezer, I googled the words "unhealthy" and "Brie" into our poor disfigured laptop and found this lovely site. And NOW I REALLY feel ill. When he says that cheese is "fermenting", he doesn't mean like a warm, Bordeaux grape in a sunny French vineyard. He means fermenting into a toxic, fetid stew in the depths of my bowels. Yucky! Yucky!

(Of course, this damn page basically condemns my entire diet. Jeez, I thought fish was supposed to be GOOD for you. Arghghghhhhhh, you can't do anything right.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oh No, Not More Cheese

...OK, that's it, no more Superstore. I can't handle it...

Did you know that a computer keyboard has a shift button on both sides? Well, of course you did. I didn't though, at least not until yesterday. As I told you previously, Baby Fangs destroyed the one button, which we sort of fixed, but then it fell apart completely and became completely unusable. Life as we knew it stopped for a minute or two, and then, miraculously, we discovered that there was another one on the other side! Surely Columbus could not have been as excited as we were by our discovery. If you had seen us, you would have thought we were drunk. Wait a minute, we WERE drunk.

Actually, it's just as well that she did rip off that button. For some time now I've been thinking that the laptop did not fit into the theme of our place, that being faded, toy-strewn disarray. Before sporting its current gap-toothed look, snooty laptop seemed out of place around here, too modern, too smugly aloof, too damn sharp looking. We tried to keep it in its place and not let its ego get out of hand by keeping it located on a white plastic footstool surrounded by chaos and disorder, but, like a queen, it seemed to transcend its surroundings. So Baby Fangs disfigured her properly, and now she seems much more at home. Take this as a warning: Should you ever come over here and I find you're a little too elegant looking, I will promptly place old Fangsie in your lap so that she can perform a similar operation on you. Heh heh heh.

No, of course I won't.

Superstore continues with its sadistic cheese giveaway. Today, it was wheels of Brie, $1.80 each. I was standing there to the side, wistfully staring at them and trying to sum up my will power to not buy any when I noticed the Deli Lady scooping them up to remove them. Spurred into frantic action, I lurched towards her before she could take them all away, sweat dripping down my pumpkin coloured face. As it turned out, all she was doing was reducing the price even further. She noticed my trembling hands shaking with conflicted joy and, with an evil glimmer in her eye, did the cruelest, meanest, most heartless thing anyone has ever done to me. She said, "Hey, did you know this cheese freezes really well?..."

Eight wheels of Brie later (in my grocery cart, not, um, digesting uncomfortably in my stomach) we walked past the candy aisle, and High Intensity gave the de rigueur whine for a treat. I gave her a brief lecture on healthy food, whisked her by, and bought her a package of dry Ryvita whole grain crackers. She wasn't very grateful. But I must say, they went VERY nicely with the cheese.

Mmmmmm, very nicely.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

...and the fearless blogger risks it all to take yet another dip in the SHALLOW end....

The problem with January is that you take the vow to live a life of virtue, and then these post-Christmas sales come along and sabotage everything. It's not the sweets that get me, I can resist buying those, it's all those damn swanky discount cheeses.

Case in point, yesterday's menu:

Breakfast: Slow cooked oatmeal with skim milk, apples and raisins. High Intensity surprised me by saying that instead of sugar, she wanted her bowl sprinkled with flax seeds. Wow, despite everything (and I do mean everything), I am at least doing something right.

Lunch: Assorted raw veggies and zero-fat dip. Salmon sandwich on whole-wheat bread. Green tea.

Afternoon snack: Large wheel of Camembert cheese.

See what I mean? And as I write this, there's another one sitting in fridge, calling my name. Superstore was practically GIVING them away, what was I going to do??

In other devastating news, I have another issue to turn my shallow and vain attention towards: Yesterday in the thrift store, the woman ringing up my purchases took a look at my hands and said, "Ya like carrots, huh?"

"What???" I asked, not really registering what she was saying.

"Carrots," the woman said, "you eat a lot of them."

"Oh, uh, yeah, I, uh, guess I do...." I didn't ask, but my expression said, "HUH????"

"Your skin is orange," the lady said, taking my money.

I'm.....I'm ORANGE???????????

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Day in the Life

...if ya think it's tedious reading about it, try living it, baby....

I think perhaps it's been the -45 C temperatures with windchill that have frozen my creative juices and left me unable to write. Basically, I've spent the last few days stomping around the house and brooding about my quality of life, or lack thereof. I read somewhere that procrastinating slobs are really misunderstood perfectionists, who have realized life cannot be made perfect, and have stopped trying. Wow. Harsh. Bad enough being a procrastinating slob, do I really need the adjective "quitter" thrown in there as well to totally crush my spirit ??

Anyway, because I have nothing else to write about, I'll tell you about my day yesterday. And because I seem to be having a hard time writing, I'll give it to you in point form. Ugh. I hate to say it, but I think I should be going back to work.....

Friday, January 12th, 2007

1. Woke up to a small child screaming in my face. She's not really a morning person, old High Intensity, and when she wakes up before me, boy, does she resent it. Frankly, I resent her resentment. It's a situation that doesn't exactly serve to cement the mother-daughter relationship, if you know what I mean.
2. Stumbled out of bed feeling like a big bag of hell.
3. Realized it was 8:32 am, and we had only seven minutes to get the screaming child fed, dressed and out the door for school.
4. Freaked out. Exposed the child to more adult words than even I would consider proper.
5. Realized I had dressed her like a freak, and she would surely face much taunting from her peers for the pants that were three inches too short, and the green, pink and orange colour scheme of her ensemble.
6. Decided I didn't care. Sent her to school with her stunned-looking papa who had also just awoken.
7. Fed baby, and silently appraised house situation. House situation: chaos, as per usual.
8. Made beds. According to some liar I once read, if your beds are made, your house automatically looks 75% cleaner.
9. House looked maybe .2004% cleaner. Felt despair creep up on me.
10. Decided to drink coffee.
11. Coffee tasted like stale brown dish washer. Found Mr. IQ to find out what happened. After much hemming and hawing he admitted to not having emptied yesterday's coffee grounds first before making that morning's pot. Also, he put in 12 cups of water and added only 6 tbsps of ground beans.
13. Briefly, only briefly, contemplated divorce, even though I am not actually married.
14. Made a new pot of coffee. Worried about money, as I was using Fair Trade coffee from MCC and it is not cheap.
15. Drank coffee.
16. Reassessed the house situation. The TV room was beyond disaster. In addition to the 73, seventy-three, SEVENTY-THREE boxes of crap from the "office", the entire contents of old High Intensity's room had somehow migrated in there, as well as the computer and all of its high tech gadgety friends. Someone was writing a paper, and the draft copies lay scattered all over the floor, spilling out into the hallway. Where to begin?
17. Decided to abandon house cleaning, a thankless task at the best of times, and useless during this time of office reorganization.
18. (Why are we cleaning out the office in the middle of a school semester???)
19. (Oh yeah. We are total idiots.)
20. Decided to eat something. Opened fridge.

Okay, before I go on I need to explain something. As I told you in last day's post, I live with a pack rat, a fact that, despite my feigned good humour about it all, picks holes in my mental health. The man likes to collect things, he likes to hoard. And yay, this trait extends to the lovely world of grocery shopping, too! At Christmas, in preparation for the modest amount of baking we were going to do (one pan rice krispie squares, one pan brownies, one pan carrot cake) he came home with three GIGANTIC boxes of rice krispies, four packages of cream cheese, two bags of brown sugar and six boxes of baker's chocolate. Another time he bought whipping cream, and although I know it's my fault for not being more specific with regards to quantity, I still think coming home with TWO LITRES of the stuff was just ridiculous. You think I'm kidding, don't you? I wish. Anyway. Back to my day.

21. Realized the expiry date on the whipping cream was fast approaching. Also, I was getting sick of the GIGANTIC boxes of rice krispies filling up my kitchen counter. (We have no cupboard space in this place.) Sat down to a truly sickening breakfast of festive green and red rice krispies with unwhipped whipping cream and brown sugar. It was... embarrassingly delicious. Had another bowl.
22. Felt really gross. Briefly, only briefly, considered purging. Abandoned idea and instead cursed Mr. IQ and his binge-like shopping behavior.
23. Said good-bye to Mr. IQ and our car. (Was more sad about the car leaving, of course, but tactfully didn't tell him that.)
24. Heard the radio say that with wind chill it was -48 C outside. Realized this totally eliminated the possibility of taking the kids out for a walk in the afternoon. This meant I would be stuck indoors alone with them for nine hours in a messy house, with a stomach full of veeeeeeery sloooooowly digesting fat and sugar.
25. Panicked.
26. Fell into a brief, but deep, psychotic depression.
27. With a heavy heart, went and picked up High Intensity from school.
28. Spent the next nine hours alone with two small children in a messy house with a stomach full of veeeeeery sloooooooowly digesting fat and sugar.
29. And the less said about THAT the better. Will not be winning any parenting awards any time soon, THAT'S for certain.

Quality life, shmality life. It's all about survival, baby!

I'm thinking I really need to be getting back to work. Unfortunately, that's not gonna happen until next September, because, although the mat. leave runs out in May, stupid idiot Whippersnap asked for a leave of absence until the beginning of the '07-'08 school year. My logic was, what's the point of going back to work in the middle of a school semester?? Hmmm, there might be some point....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Stuff, Stuff Everywhere, and Not a Drop of Space that we've gotten rid of the rodents, we have to deal with the vermin....

The problem with living with a pack rat is that after a while all the stuff that is everywhere starts to weigh rather heavily on your soul. Owning too many things, especially when the things are mostly junk, creates an imbalance in your psyche, I really believe it. I've tried surreptitiously leaving out articles on voluntary simplicity and the like, but they have no effect, they just get lost in the quagmire.

Or, if he actually sees them and reads them, he saves them. Great. More stuff.

But I'm really trying to see the good in everything these days, so in the spirit of my new positive attitude, here are some swell things about living with a pack rat:

1. I don't know if you guys are old/young enough to have watched that Harlem Globetrotters cartoon that played in the '70s, but there was this one character whose superpower was the ability to magically produce things: Whenever someone needed something, he would rummage through his wicked 'fro and triumphantly pull it out. (What genius thought of that??!!) Well, Mr. IQ is kinda like that; if you need something, he's got it somewhere. Unfortunately, it's not all tidily contained within a jaunty black power hairdo. But take what you can get, right?

2. When we do pause to tidy and organize an area, you always find something neat. Or something to amuse you. Or at least something that, even if it angers you at the time, eventually makes a great story. Not that I can think of such a story right now.

3. Betcha none of YOU have a button announcing that you're "A Quarter Pounder Person" in YOUR collection of treasured goodies.

We are currently cleaning out our office, which has been a no-tread, door-always-closed area since 2002. Task #1: Box up all the books. I know you won't believe me, but I'll tell you anyway, he has filled 42, forty-two, FORTY-TWO liquor boxes and it hasn't even made a dent in all the crap that he's got crammed in there. I would take a snapshot and show you, but I don't know how. (Anyone have some easy directions on how post pictures? Blogger Help is all Greek to me.)

Signing off from organizational hell zone,

I am, as always,


P.S: The new light fixture looks amazing!! Well worth the four days of misery. A month from now, I hope I'll be able to say the same thing about the office.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

So Here's What's Goin' On!

...Baby Fangs temporarily destroyed the shift button on our computer and I couldn't post anything until we got it fixed, because everything I wrote looked like something by ee cummings on crack... Baby Fangs, Baby Fangs, how could you do that to me???

First off, the mouse situation, which reached a crisis last week when I found a dead one in my sink. No, you didn't really read that. The Chinese traps I bought last month were a complete failure. We went out and did a five-store hunt for the American ones, and, holy crap, my mom wasn't kidding, fifteen dead in two days. Mr IQ has renamed our home "Mouschwitz", aharharharhar.....har? All this would be good news, except that... well, you know... FIFTEEN??? God, we're pigs.

Second, the new lighting situation: Disaster! Having made the bold decision over the holidays to finally say good-bye to the tacky, ultra-seventies style chandelier that has graced our dining room since we moved into this pit four years ago, we picked out a tacky new-millennium style chandelier, and have now spent not one, not two, but three nights trying to put the damn thing up.

Now I should preface this by telling you that one of the books I picked up for old IQ at Christmas basically outlined weird ways in which people have died, and skimming it briefly before wrapping it has made me very, very paranoid. VERY paranoid. Why are you looking at me like that, are you going to kill me? During the big chandelier operation of 2007, what with all those electrical wires and things hanging out all over the place, I naturally never stopped being terrified, so when he barked out an order (our roles were curiously reversed for this operation, hmmm, interesting) I would... hesitate. Which would PISS HIM OFF. Words would be exchanged, Princess (that's me) would get insulted, and the project would have to be abandoned for another half an hour or so.

We decided, later than we should have, that the only way we were going to get through this without one of us packing our bags was for him to only say what was necessary and for me not to say anything at all. So with him on top of his newly purchased step-ladder and me precariously perched on a rickety, wooden kitchen chair, he shouted and nagged and ordered me about, a lot of direction when you consider my only job was to hold the damn light up. And the thing is, my arms are weak and flabby, and it really hurt holding that heavy chandelier up for so long. Also, I never really enjoy being bossed around by a bad-tempered crank. So I was really, really miserable. I tried to tune out of my surroundings by listening to the radio, but being shouted at and suffering pain simultaneously made CBC's documentary, a frank and explicit look at French sado-masochistic literature, perhaps a little less interesting than I would have found under different circumstances.

Anyway, after three days of swearing, slavery and pain, the light is STILL not up. My dad (a retired engineer) is coming by tomorrow at 9:00 am to help us out, and I predict he'll have it up and swinging within fifteen minutes. Frankly, I'll be up and swinging if he can't do it either. I can't stand much more of this.

And last, the 'stache: Say, that almost rhymed!! Well, I'm happy to say that I finally got down to business and bleached the sucker. OK, I should break down and admit that of course I have not been sporting a full blown moustache. I studied myself very carefully in the mirror after High Intensity's casual comment, and at most I saw two hairs that were perhaps a little longer and a little darker than fashion would dictate appropriate. (I asked Mr. IQ if he noticed them, and he said no, but that really doesn't mean anything, I mean, he's a little oblivious, sometimes I think I could walk by him stark naked with maraschino cherries dangling from my tits and he wouldn't notice. Sorry, but, you know.) Anyway, in the spirit of the charming Constant Whiner giving her post-holiday blemishes affectionate monikers, I decided that I, too would give names to my two unwelcome hair friends, and I did: Phil and Cheeky Monkey. We hung out for a while together, the three of us, but it just wasn't working for me. They made me feel ugly, and friends like that just aren't worth having. So I whitened them to oblivion yesterday morning.

Au revoir, suckers!

(Um, I was saying that to the, uh, hairs, not... not you.)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year, My Ass....

...I suppose YOU all had a GREAT time on New Year's Eve, huh??!!...

Nothing portends doom and gloom for the future like barfing your guts out on New Year's Eve. No, I wasn't bombed on champagne, (stop looking so surprised, Heather), my surprise, late Christmas present this year was a beautifully wrapped case of the stomach flu, courtesy of my mother-in-law. (Gee, thanks, "mom".) It was horrible: hours of barfing, shivering, and aching, interspersed by long, nightmare-filled sleeps. The puking part was the worst: I cried for a bucket, and was promptly presented with our mixing bowl, which I dutifully threw up into, one, two, three times. Totally gross, I know, but believe me, I was in no condition to suggest an alternate choice for barf bucket. The stomach ache was terrible, so bad in fact that at one point I actually cried out for my mother. Now, that's... just weird. I didn't even do that during childbirth.

I finally started to feel a little better this afternoon, and came downstairs to discover Kim Jong IQ and juvenile accomplices had managed to detonate a nuclear warhead on the place. I mean, I'm a slob, but even I have some standards. So did I get to spend a nice afternoon cuddled up on the couch recuperating with one of my Christmas books? Oh no, I had to clean the @#$%!! house. Not that I didn't have help. That Guy will clean if I'm around to bark out orders. But take the initiative on his own? Ha ha ha, that's a good one.

Not that I'm bitter.

Speaking of bitter and Christmas books, my one present from Mr. IQ this year that wasn't a CD was a book called Bitter Chocolate: Investigating the Dark Side of the World's Most Seductive Sweet and, so help me, I am never, ever, ever buying chocolate that isn't Fair Trade ever, ever again. Two words, people: Child Slaves. Child Slaves. Child Slaves.

That's my real New Year's Resolution.