Friday, March 30, 2007

OK, This Post is Weird, Even for Me

...spring fever has obviously hit THIS blogger ...

For High Intensity to allow us to take a picture of her being spanked by an out-of-control Brian Mulroney, a rather large bribe had to be coughed up in the form of a... large spoonful of strawberry jam. I feel bad for her on so many levels, but mostly because she thinks jam is a special treat. Actually, I don't feel too bad. She's got my mom to load her up on junk.

She came by yesterday to take her out for some special bonding time. H.I. was particularly hyper while waiting to be picked up, running through the house and singing/screeching Raffi songs at the top of her lungs. ("WILLIBY WALLIBY WOM! AN ELEPHANT SAT ON MOM! WILLIBY WALLIBY WADDY! AN ELEPHANT SAT ON DADDY!") Naturally, I was pretty thrilled to get her off my hands for a few hours, and I don't have to feel guilty thinking that way because she had a blast. Together, they saw a play and then spent the rest of the time pigging out. "Granny let me have everything I wanted, EVERYTHING," she told me when she got home, and from the sounds of it, she was right. A huge plate of Chinese food. A gigantic dish of ice-cream. A toffee apple. A large piece of cheesecake and a 500 ml carton of chocolate milk. Then when they left and my mom was attempting to get the seat belt over H.I.'s grossly extended stomach, High Intensity let out a groan and moaned, "Williby walliby wuke, I think I'm going to puke." Giving a shriek of horror, my mom dove into the driver's seat, stepped on the gas and belted it to my place in record time. She didn't stick around to chat, just handed over my bloated, swollen-bellied child and left. High Intensity lay on the couch for a while groaning, and then mean old mom forced her up and outside for a binge-burning stroll to take in the scenic sights of urban decay.

Ah Spring! Le belle printemps! But really, is there a more beautiful time of year to take a walk? Living, as we do, in the second poorest federal constituency in Canada, an innocent, gentle stroll becomes a glorious feast for the senses when April beckons around the corner. The melty, sloppy soup of filthy snow and dog shit makes our nimble feet dance a pretty spring jig as we dart anxiously from safe spot to safe spot. Cigarette butts cleverly arrange themselves into pretty patterns in the dirt-oozing sludge, and the junky litter of so many discarded meals form a poetry of their own. And the condoms! So many used condoms! Happily, the trendy colour for prophylactics this spring is a cheery, sun-kissed yellow, which certainly helps perk up the mood and highlight the natural beauty of this little chunk of urban paradise I am lucky enough to call home. My piercing shriek served to really impress upon High Intensity the gravity of not disturbing these pretty little love-bundles from their natural habitat lest we, uh, destroy them. (Thank heavenly god, she doesn't try to pick them up anymore.)

I think what really warmed my heart the most during our little walk was realizing how so many residents in my area have really taken the classic Elvis song If Everyday was Like Christmas to heart. The soggy festive decorations that adorned almost every house we passed were really a delight to see. Reindeer pawed at (dripping wet) roofs while shyly sneaking looks our way and Santas winked at us from (no longer) frosty window panes. At one point the wheels of our crappy stroller (the "good" one was stolen a few weeks back) fell off and a group of life-sized wooden carolers cheered me on as I struggled to reassemble the thing. Perhaps most poignant of all was the scene at one particularly drab house, where the word JOY, in bold red colours, had been assembled in the front yard. Only the Y was still standing, which struck me as a particularly clever thing to do. Why indeed? I thought, staring at that most philosophical of letters. It seemed to want an answer. I didn't have one. Overcome with emotion, I fell on my knees (into a puddle) and, shaking my fist at that impenetrable sky, shouted, with anguish in my voice, "What's it all about then, eh?" and, when no-one answered, added hesitantly, "Alphie??" In the distance, through the foggy recesses of my (obviously chemically imbalanced) mind I thought I could hear Elvis. He was singing... to me.

Oh why can't everyday
be like Christmas?
Why can't that feeling go on
For if everyday
could be just like Christmas
what a wonderful world
this would be

"Oh Elvis, you're right!" I sobbed, and racing home, dug out the Santa Claus Trophy from the donation box and stuck him into the last remaining pile of snow in our yard. All neighbourhoods have a theme. Ours is obviously, "Keeping that festive feeling going all year 'round!"

You win, Mr. IQ! You win!

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Gods Must be Angry


...totally off topic, but I'll use this space today to apologize for not keeping up with YOUR blogs too well these days...I'm not getting a lot of computer time right now, and yes, I AM suffering, thanks for asking...

Back in the day when we were sacrificing human beings on the alter to ensure a good crop of millet, people did not go around tempting fate by showing off about their kids. Gods were vengeful beings and jealous too: you didn't want to piss them off. If a child was particularly smart you would shout to the skies, "Holy crap, I've got rutabagas in the pantry with more brains than that chowder head son of mine." If a daughter was comely, parents would shake their heads in the marketplace and say loudly, "Our baby Bloodwyn is so ugly a small fry-up may be in order." Them heathen folk were pretty serious about their superstitions.

Baby Fangs WAS an unbelievably good baby. She never cried. She slept through the night. She rarely pooped, and when she did, her movements were compact, and thoughtfully timed. Then dumb old momburger had to go and say she was "perfect" on her blog. Almost immediately, Baby Fangs turned cranky on me, in a sort of fingers-down-a-chalkboard kind of way. It's not like she shrieks or howls a lot. She just whines all the time. All the time. ALL THE TIME. And when she's not whining, she filling her diaper. Obviously Zeus or somebody big and powerful reads my blog, and while part of me, I'll admit, is sort of flattered, mostly I'm just kind of bummed off at myself. Teach me to be so damn show-offy. Tomorrow, I'll offer up a sacrifice in the form of a guy whose talents include assembling a mean-looking Santa Claus trophy (for yes, can you believe it, he actually MADE that thing) so I can get my good-tempered baby back. I would lie and explain I'm sacrificing my first born child to help sweeten the pot a little, but I am so young-looking that I know the gods would get a little suspicious when they saw the advanced age of my offering. Ha ha ha ha ha. Ha.

Actually, now that I think about it, I may well have carved out a terrible fate for poor Mr. Stupid Computer Hog Autocratjerkassgrrrrrr!! Calling him "Mr. IQ" for all those months may well have been no more wiser than calling my baby "perfect", and punishment may be doled out in the form of a large frying pan crashing down from the heavens onto his million dollar cranium. Then I'll be stuck with a vacant, smiling fool who spends most of his days in a corner, contentedly petting his sole possession, a small rubber mouse named "George." Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mr. IQ 20,000,000 needs the computer back. Much as I hate to leave, I must.


The "stupid" in Mr. Stupid Computer Hog Autocratjerkassgrrrr looks so harsh and is kind of haunting me this morning. Naturally I don't mean stupid as in he's stupid. I mean stupid in the sense that it's stupid he's hogging the computer all the time. You know that, don't you? Arrgghh, I think I need to quit blogging, if you don't actually know me personally you probably think I'm just a horrible person.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Fight Over the Santa Claus Trophy

...this is going to be short, because a certain someone has papers due and has totally taken over the computer. I've been calling him Mr. SCHA which he thinks stands for "Super Cool Hunk Animal", but in fact it stands for "Stupid Computer Hog Autocratjerkassgrrrrrrr"...

...(Men are so naive)...

Happy happy Spring! In giddy celebration of this blessed, long-awaited event, I spent most of yesterday shaving the shag carpet off my left leg, and today instructed my personal secretary to hold all calls while I worked on the right one. Yes, it HAS been six months. Yes, it IS a two-day job. Yes, Mr. IQ WAS standing by the whole time with a worried expression on his face and a bottle of Draino in his hand. And YES, YES, YES, I am SOOOOOO happy spring is finally here!! Was it just me, or was that the absolutely LONGEST WINTER EVER??

In addition to spring finally arriving, a little jaunt to Superstore (it's the Sargeant Avenue location that has all the good sales, incidentally) provided another unexpected source of happiness in the form of a lovely discount Danish blue cheese with cranberries. I know you are probably sick of my cheese exploits, but this time it wasn't just me indulging my lust for savory dairy products, oh no, it was also for medical reasons that I purchased la fromage avec les berries de cran. The cranberries will (supposedly) help with my little infection problem, and the cheese's bacterial ingredients will help repopulate the empty nooks and crannies of my microorganism-less bowels. While medicating myself with my health-promoting snack and washing it down with a large glass of cheap Canadian plonk, I suddenly had a flash of brilliance and, in my excitement, sputtered large chunks of aromatic cheese on Mr. IQ's school papers. A book! A health book! An international best seller! I'm pretty excited. There cannot be any doubt that my book, Cheeses that Heal, will make my fortune.

The clean-out process has come to a bit of a standstill as of late, first because Mr. IQ is getting into crunch time at school and also because of the animosity that broke out between us over Mr. IQ's super ugly and ridiculous Santa Claus trophy. Actually, there have been other things that have caused major ripples of discontent but I want to tell you about this one particular disagreement we're having because, well, LOOK at the thing. I KNOW you're going to side with me on this one:

The key to any good relationship is the ability to empathize, compromise, and find some middle ground on issues that are tearing you apart. Consequently, because I am just a super nice person, I have tried to find a place for the Santa Claus Trophy in our lives and in my heart. Armed with my copy of Martha Stewart's Guide to Beautiful Living, I have searched for a special spot to display it attractively or, alternately, find a practical use for it.

Some attempts:

... placed on the mantel of our cute ornamental fireplace...

... a charming conversation piece in the boudoir... for High Intensity when banished to the funky, but incredibly uncomfortable time-out chair...

... a jolly companion for my cheap, dying carnations...

...helping with the paperwork until next Christmas...

... a little bed companion for those cold, lonely nights when Mr. IQ is passed out drunk in the bathtub staying up late writing a paper due the next day.

... and finally, as a "Special Santa Spanking Stick" for those serious crimes when daddy's metal spiked belt "just won't do." (Involving Santa will hopefully help take the edge off our nightly "family discipline hour" and lighten the atmosphere a little. I don't know if this is true of every home, but around here, the beating hour is always so damn tense...)

"This hurts Santa more than it hurts you..."

*sigh* As you can see, I've tried to find a place/use for it, and to no avail. You would agree with me that it has to go, right? Right? RIGHT?????

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Late Winter Sunburn

...oooh, I'm so ill... send flowers via the thrift store down the lane, they owe us a favour or two since half of what they're currently selling comes from our basement...

Well, so, it's bladder infection time again. Yay. Ever since I can remember I've been plagued with the damn things, and, in addition to all the pain and discomfort they cause, they've given me a whole lot of embarrassing memories I'd rather not be saddled with. Such moments would include a stirrup-footed visit ten years ago to a funny-looking urologist who dove down, fiddled about and then popped up above the blanket-line to say "No kids I see!" in a very friendly, conversational manner before diving down again to continue his enthusiastic exploration. He didn't seem too interested in any response I might have had (which was, for the record, a very faint "Um, no...")

At this point, I have been on antibiotics so many times a concerned World Wildlife Federation conducted a (mercifully brief) inspection and placed my intestinal fauna on the endangered species list. Consequently, I have lately been trying to treat myself homeopathically instead with the help of various Dr. Quack Home Remedy Pages I found on the Internet. I'm pretty desperate for a cure, so I've basically been trying out every single thing someone's granny says works: A glass of diluted apple cider vinegar for breakfast; raw garlic for snack; canned asparagus for lunch. And of course, always, the ubiquitous cranberry juice: lots and lots and lots of cranberry juice.

All this would be fine, I mean, I could survive the horrors of drinking apple cider vinegar and the social ostracism that results from the killer garlic breath if any of these remedies actually worked. But no, they all suck, and basically I've been in pain on and off for the last month or so. (I KNOW I should have just gone to get the damn pills, but for once in my life I was trying to see something through to its conclusion.) Three nights ago, though, I woke up in such incredible pain that I knew I was going to have to try something else. Wearily, I hit the Internet again and found a dandy site. Some woman had suffered just like me for years. She cared. She'd been there. She knew what I was going through. She wanted my suffering to end. She'd spent years and years researching the problem and had found the solution! That's right, she had the secret! She was going to ease my pain once and for all, and I'd never be miserable again! The symptoms would be gone in HALF AN HOUR! FOREVER!! All I had to do was... give her $37. $37 American.

Screw that! I thought, because I'm just not the sort of person who feels comfortable giving out personal banking information over the computer. But the next night I felt even worse, and, throwing aside all my pesky little security concerns, made a furious run for the computer. When asked for my credit card number, I didn't hesitate to recklessly type it in. But my card was REJECTED. The site took debit cards too, so I typed in the numbers of both our cards but they, also, were REJECTED. Truthfully, I was about as close to a breakdown as I've ever been in my life. I'd been in pain for so long. I just wanted it all to end; I was crazy with disappointment. I typed in JUST GIVE ME THE SECRET, BITCH! but that didn't work either. (I didn't think it would.)

So there was no other choice. I was going to have to seek the help of medical professionals.

The last time I went to the emergency room, I got the hunkiest doctor that has ever walked a hospital floor. If he had a blog, he would have to call himself DoctorStud. I think he was South African so I guess he had all those tall, hunky Dutch genes.

Now, doctors hate treating bladder infections. They're always soooooo booooooord talking to me about them, basically, if I went in to complain about a cut thumb (which I also have, actually) they would probably be more interested. I read somewhere that a bladder infection is like a sunburn of the urinary tract, so naturally a sunburn doesn't exactly get the E.R. personnel hopping with concern. That's why, if I go to the hospital, I ALWAYS go in the middle of the night to one particular emergency room. The place is always empty when I walk in, so, if nothing else, the staff are grateful to me for helping to kill the shift.

But despite being 3:00 am, DoctorStud still wasn't too interested. He barely sat down as he whipped off the prescription. I was pretty excited though, because I knew there was going to be some skin on skin action coming up: Consultations always include a half-hearted back pounding to ensure the infection hasn't spread to my kidneys. DoctorStud was going to be touching me! Exciting! But alas, no sooner had he handed me the prescription, he headed for the door. Disappointment flooded my bacteria-ridden body.

"Hey!" I cried out to his retreating frame, "aren't you going to pound my back?"

It was SUPPOSED to come out sounding funny. Instead, it came out sounding like the hungry, love-starved plea of a sad, lonely loser. Arrrgh. Talk about humiliating. DoctorStud turned around and (I swear he did this) raised one eyebrow. He said, "I think you'll survive," in that snooty South African accent, turned and left me alone in the room to contemplate how pathetic I was. It was difficult mustering up the dignity and courage to leave the consulting room, but I somehow managed to limp out, making eye contact with no-one. I vowed never to return.

But last night, I just couldn't take it any more. If I drank one more glass of cider vinegar I was going to permanently shrivel up into an old sour apple. If I ate another can of asparagus or swallowed any more cranberry juice my skin would be permanently stained with unbecoming red and green shades and I would spend the rest of my days looking like an oversized, gawky Christmas tree ornament. So I set my alarm, and left for the hospital at my customary hour of 2:30 am. I didn't get DoctorStud. I got DoctorI'mTiredAndYourStupidUrinary TractInfectionIsNot WhatISpentAThousandYearsIn SchoolFor. It was interesting, because all I had told the front desk was that I had a bladder infection, but when he came in, he said, "From the symptoms you've described, it looks like you have a UTI." Symptoms I described?? I had described no symptoms. Oh well. I got the drugs I needed, and that's all I really wanted.

Unfortunately, so far they haven't been working very well. The bacteria have put on their steel armour and seem to be giving both the drug and me the little phagocytosis finger. So now what? For the time being, I'm keeping myself busy going to all the home remedy pages I consulted and writing, "Your grandma sucks, and so do you, you lying, sadistic bastard" in the comment sections. But this is, at best, a temporary panacea, and I must confess I'm starting to panic a little: When the pleasure I get from doing this starts to wear thin, well, then what am I going to do?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Oh Heck, I Won't Spare You the Details: You Have the Right to Run Away Now...

...let the purge begin!!...

Discount Cheese Buy of the Week: Danish Cream Cheese Spread w/ Hazelnuts and RUM!!

Last night at Superstore, I bought myself some flowers. I don't usually do this, and when I do I usually get coloured ones, but I'm into the bare, pristine look these days, so I went for the white ones with very green stems. They looked a little taken aback, no, I'd go so far as to say they looked downright pissed off when I took them out of their paper wrappings and introduced them to their new surroundings.

"What do you think we are, miracle workers or something?" they screamed when I told them their job was to make the place look elegant and clean.

"Just do what you can, OK?" I implored them.

"But we're just a lousy $6.99 bunch of cheap carnations!!!" they howled. Frankly speaking, I had a situation on my hands. Some looked suicidal; others were sarcastic. One particularly obnoxious flower snickered and said mockingly under his breath, "Elegant! She wants 'elegant'!" Well, I just wasn't in the mood. Lucky for me, I'm a teacher; I know how to deal with attitude. Casually but swiftly, I moved in and snapped off his anthers.

"Just DO IT," I growled, waving his flower balls over my head menacingly, "OR I'LL LINE YOU UP ONE BY ONE AND DESTROY YOU!!" Then, in the manner of an insincere bully-turned -sudden-best-friend, I pointed to the vase of water and shook the packet of nutritive powder in their stupid flower faces. "I've got treats for you!" I chanted enticingly. That shut 'em up, let me tell you. So now they sit on my coffee and dining room tables, blinking back carnation tears, and bravely doing what they can to bring some sense of, I don't know, purity to my life. That they are giving their lives for this thankless task is indeed noble: All those promises I made them of that big Garden in the Sky better be true, that's all I can say.

But I'm pleased to report the clear-out has begun. An old student of mine is living with a friend who has a toddler, and I asked her if they wanted some children's books.

"How many?" she inquired, and I was honest: "Five boxes full." But I guess hearing the words "five boxes" and actually seeing five boxes are two quite different things, because the friend looked TOTALLY taken aback when she saw them all.

"Whoa," she said, "THAT MANY??" She stared at them with a "what the hell am I going to do with all those??" expression. Luckily, I had a solution for her.

"Would you like a bookcase for them?" I asked, panting with eagerness, "We have several in the basement!" Before she could give me an answer, I raced downstairs and hauled one up. "Here, take it, take it!!" I said, thrusting it towards her. Stunned, she silently took it, looking uncomfortable, like if she didn't accept the thing Crazy Lady would snap and crush her to death with books.

"Are you moving or something?" she asked, staring uneasily at the mountains of boxes we have stacked in our hallway.

"No," I said, and, leaning towards her, whispered confidentially, "I live with a pack rat."

"Oh, I see" she said politely, trying to look like she understood. But she didn't; no-one does. It was very sweet and nice that she pretended to get it, though. She kept thanking me for everything, which was totally embarrassing, because, let's face it, she was doing me the favour.

So yes, the clear-out has begun. Most of the work has been tedious, some of it downright discouraging. There was a moment of total exasperation (read: total meltdown) when boxes of Christmas decorations Mr. IQ said he took to the thrift store three months ago were found hidden in a corner. And the plastic blow-up cow I found beside several empty liquor bottles was definitely an unhappy moment I wouldn't wish to relive. (What's been going on down there, anyway?) Perhaps because she's been gated out of approximately 70% of the house for her own safety, Baby Fangs has gotten uncharacteristically cranky this week, going around shaking her fists and looking like an angry Clarence Darrow. THIS certainly hasn't served to help clear any of the tension. In moments of utter panic and misery I escape to the living room (spotless), adjacent to the dining room (immaculate), stare at my flowers and dream of bright, sunny, empty rooms with clean white curtains blowing gently in the breeze. One positive thing I will take with me from all this: Any lust I may have had for material things has definitely been curbed. Honestly, were I to spend the rest of my days in a room with just a bed, a CD player/radio and a small table for my library book, I would be content. Really, that's true. Well, it would be true if I didn't have kids.

But for now I have booze-soaked cheese to get drunk on. What else could a girl wish for? By the way, be sure and tune in tomorrow for The Fight Over the Santa Claus Trophy!

P.S.: Mr. IQ read this over, and wishes to underline the fact that he "DID NOT have sexual relations with that bovine, Ms. Sukeybelle." Sure, buddy. Whatever you say.

P.P.S: Of COURSE he didn't have sexual relations with the blow-up cow. That's just me trying to bring some levity to this whole absurd situation. If I can poke a little fun at him, then I won't kill him. He understands that, and I hope you do too.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


...I really hope you've read the Little House series, this might not make much sense otherwise...

It is sort of ridiculous how often I think of Ma from the Little House on the Prairie books. Crows may have devoured the family's crops; her oldest daughter may have gone blind; her well-intentioned, but somewhat failure of a husband may have dragged her around hell's half acre on the futile quest for the American dream; but never, never did she crack. No matter what happened, there she'd be, smiling her gentle smile, and turning those crows into delicious pies so the family could enjoy the silver linings in life. That was her role, really, silver lining creator. Things were always going wrong for that family. Her life must have been hell. Just getting through the prairie summers without air-conditioning or deodorant would have been quite the trial. And in the winter she always seemed to be preparing bean dinners. In a two-room log cabin, that could NOT have been pretty. But never, never was there a scene like:

Laura woke up. There was a commotion from Ma and Pa's bedroom. "You're such a pig, Charles," Ma shouted, "can't you go outside and do that?"

I think about Pa too, but not as much. Mostly, I think about him in the scenes from The Long Winter, where the family was stuck inside one room twisting hay to stay warm and surviving off a bag of wheat because the snow had cut them off from the supply train. Pa got them through it all with his plucky blend of good humour and tenacity, things none of us is blessed with in this house. How would we survive a winter huddled in front of a hay fire and eating nothing but wheat? Honestly, I don't think we would. The whole-wheat farts would break our spirit by mid-December; by January one of us would be dead. High Intensity, if writing a memoir of the ordeal, would not mince words in describing how insufferable me and Mr. IQ had been through it all. Mom was particularly miserable, she would write, always whining about how much she missed coffee. As for dad, well, when mom started complaining about how twisting hay was making her hands cold and threatening to burn his books to stay warm, he got out the butcher knife. That was the end of her...

I am NOT someone who idealizes the past. I think, at least for us lucky westerners, the world IS getting better. Uncle Tom isn't out slaving in my cotton fields making me rich. I'm not tying my corsets so tight my intestines are popping out to say hi. Every third child of mine will not die of small pox. Etc., etc., blah blah. When students in my classes say "Oh, the world is getting so much worse," I always pounce on them. Their argument usually ends (lamely) with, "Well, people swear a lot more now." Well. So they do. Big F**n deal.

Having said all that, something has obviously gone a little wrong. We're pretty spoiled. Today's Globe and Mail said that 11 million Americans have rented storage spaces to hold their excess stuff. What? What? WHAT? That is so gross. Ma and Pa would be appalled. It MUST be the source of at least some of the discontent in this part of the world, all this owing stuff. I mean, nothing is more miserable than a kid who has been given everything, as a teacher I can confirm that in spades. Why would it be different for big people?


Mr. IQ's dad is NOT coming into town this weekend after all. He has a hernia, and cannot lift things, so the big purge is not going to happen. It's a two-man job, and we have no friends I felt comfortable enough to ask help sift through everything we have in the basement, even if very little of it is mine. It's too embarrassing. I was so upset that the clean-up wasn't going to happen, oh, was I upset, but then comfort has come to me in the form of that article I read this morning. Yay! Another epiphany! (Any more and I'll probably keel over from all these lightening bolt flashes.) It's pretty obvious the hernia has saved us from doing something that I KNEW was ridiculous, but now realize is also, well, sick. Phew. I am 99% relieved. 95% relieved. OK, if I can't be honest with you I am living a life of deception, so I'll tell you the truth, and say I'm at least 80% thankful. No storage spaces. It's just got to go. Period.

I have a plan, and it's going to work. I'll spare you the details. I'm about as sick of all this as you are.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A Plan

...oh, you must be so sick of hearing about this crap... but I have nothing else to write about, nor have I anything else on my mind....

Last year, in the weeks prior to Baby Fangs' birth, I cleared out the big walk-in storage closet that we have upstairs, with the idea of turning it into a play area for High Intensity. It took forever, as you can imagine, and I ended up with about 16 garbage bags full of crap to give away. 95% of it was kids' stuff, 4.999999% of it was mine, and the rest was you-know-who's. "The rest" consisted of three items:

1. A Hawaiian shirt (ugly)
2. An African recipe cookbook (useless, old, ugly)
3. An empty "Pope Cake" box with pictures of John Paul II on the sides (oh for fuck sakes)

Naturally, each one of these three items was shoved deep down inside a different bag in the hopes that he would not notice, but, ha ha, well, I don't call him Mr. IQ for nothing you know, he's no dummy, before the bags went out he did a careful inspection of everything and dug out his three precious items. He then proceeded to fight like the devil to keep each one.

"Look, this has recipes for groundnut stew... and soup... and relish!" he said, skimming through the pages of the cookbook, "what if we want to make them one day?"


"Calm down," he said, instinctively drawing his bunched-up Hawaiian shirt towards his loins, "no need to get so crazy about it."

Well, to make a long story short, I cajoled, coaxed, pleaded, implored, wept, threatened suicide, threw plates, tore out my hair, tore out his hair, ran around the block in a naked, blind rage screaming hysterically, but no, nothing would move him, he would not part with them.

So they went into the basement.

Reminiscing about this has left me rather worried about this weekend, I must say. That was three items. THREE. And each one was a battle (that I lost.) He's got a basement of crap to cull through this weekend with his dad, and while the books are probably going into temporary storage, he has promised to get rid of as much of the stuff as possible. A conservative estimate would show that we have approximately 8,987,534 items of stuff down there, and if he couldn't give up THOSE three stupid, useless items, oh my goodness, what kind of scene are we in for this weekend?

Luckily, I have a plan.

Probably only Nitroglycol will truly appreciate the genius of my plan, because he is the only one of you twelve or so regular readers who actually knows Mr. IQ personally, but anyway, the plan is this:

I will stand at the top of the basement stairs with a timer. High Intensity will stand by the stereo. When I give the signal, she will press the play button, and a very loud, obnoxious snappy tune will fill the air, some crazy German techno perhaps, or maybe something from Bolero. Pepped on by the crazy, intense beat of the music, Mr. IQ will hurtle himself down the stairs and frantically fill a box as quickly as he can. He will get exactly 35 seconds to do this. He will then run back up, thrust the box into his dad's hands and turn to me for his reward (a shot of booze, a peek at a girly magazine, whatever it takes, man, whatever it takes.) Meanwhile his dad will run out to the truck, and, making screechy noises for effect, vroom away to the thrift store around the corner, who will have been warned of our operation in advance. He'll slow down the truck, toss them the box, and vroom back. We will repeat this ad nauseum all day until the basement is empty, or Mr. IQ drops down dead, whichever comes first.

Ooooh, I'm very much looking forward to this weekend now.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bad Mom

...I may have to turn off the comment section for this post, already I can feel the waves of disapproval wafting off my computer screen...

My dad finally had his hip replacement surgery. When we went to the hospital to visit he was all morphed up on pain killers and white as a ghost. He was also wearing a pair of white tights. "You look like a medieval prince, dad," I said fondly, but I guess experiencing pain and being forced to wear pantyhose just wasn't a good combination for him, and he growled at me. My dad has never growled at me in my life, and I must confess, it made me feel terrible. Note to self: No more references to dad's faggy post-surgery attire until he gets his sense of humour back.

I can't remember the last time I was in a hospital. My dad was lucky, he was bunking with another hip replacement guy and he got the bed beside the window. This was good news for me, too, because I went with my mom to visit, and had he been in the other bed there would have been no place for me to sit. As it was, I got the window ledge, not the most comfortable spot in the world, and knowing my ass was getting little radiator line indentations sitting there was not that pleasant. Mmmm, it sure was nice and warm though. And I especially enjoyed stuffing my face with my dad's Get Better Soon chocolates. I had downed approximately half the box and was sitting there enjoying the sugar rush when a nurse came running into the room with a look of absolute horror on her face. I figured the guy in the next bed was dying or something, but no, she headed straight

"Look, it is totally your decision, you're the mom," she said breathlessly, "but that floor is absolutely filthy, you might want to reconsider letting your baby crawl around on it."

I looked down at Baby Fangs playing contentedly on the floor. Visions of sick old men lying in pools of vomit, feces and HIV-infected blood came rushing into my head. Yuck! But...then again... hmmm... you know.... she sure looked happy crawling down there... and those little snacks she kept finding and shoving into her mouth meant that I wouldn't have to feed her lunch... Damn that Nurse Busybody all to hell, I thought, because, really, did I have any other choice but to pick her up and do the Good Mom act? That sucked. Baby Fangs is perfect, but she's still a baby with the attention span of a 37-year-old pack rat trying to clear out a basement. Entertaining her is not that fun when you are sitting uncomfortably on a radiator with metal ridges pressing into your bum. Also, she's getting pretty heavy and holding 23 pounds of squirming flesh isn't easy. So when the coast was clear and Nurse Ratchet was out of sight, I put her down again. Unfortunately, she came back. And this time, she didn't hide her disgust.

"She has something in her mouth, you know," she said severely.

"Oh, yah, right, I..."

"It's a USED THERMOMETER LID," she said, raising her voice a little. When I didn't react immediately, she repeated impatiently, "It's USED. You don't know where it's been."

"Ooops, I thought it was a, uh, juice box straw," I said, totally lying, and yanked it out of her mouth. I'm still uncertain as to what the big deal was, I mean, it was the LID, not an actual thermometer that had been in someone's mouth. "Look lady, this baby is a survivor," I wanted to say, but I knew this would not rid me of the nurse's disapproving stare, so for the remainder of the visit I kept old Fangsie in my arms. What a waste of energy! Our house is at least fifty thousand times filthier, not to mention more dangerous than any dirty hospital floor: Her chance of nosocomial infection is really pretty small compared to the risks she takes living with us in this styhole.

I know I often make references to this place being a bomb site, but now that the big clean-out has begun in earnest, it's absolutely insane. I did the smartest thing I've ever done in my life, and told Mr. IQ's parents that their granddaughter was almost killed last week, and they have rallied to my support. His dad is driving into town this week with his truck, and he's gonna help move all the excess crap into a rented storage space for us. This was his excellent idea. I love him. I know it's a temporary, not to mention ridiculous, solution, but until Monsieur IQ figures out a thing or two, it's the best thing we can do. Perhaps by next week I'll be able to post pictures of two lovely, empty rooms.

PS: It's been five days since we made the trip to the hospital. Baby Fangs has never been healthier.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Collapse, we start a new trend here at WSS, a fairytale approach to the beginning of each post in the form of a very large first letter. Why? So my life can have a fairytale ending, duh!.......

Eureka moments don't usually come after seeing one's baby almost killed right before one's eyes.


Historically, much more mundane events have led to a Big Flash. An apple falling on a head, for example, or a rotund body lowering itself into a bath and causing water to rise. Such humdrum events led to great leaps in scientific thought, but this week's terrifying little experience will not, I'm afraid, affect anyone other than my own little family unit here. So maybe it wasn't a eureka moment after all, maybe it was just an epiphany. Or maybe it wasn't an epiphany, maybe it was just a little reality jolt. Hmmm, maybe I should just shut up and tell you what happened.

I guess I need to backtrack a bit.

Two weeks ago, I went to see my principal about the possibility of working part-time next year. I was very up front and professional with him. I told him I was unorganized. I told him I had two kids now. I told him I couldn't handle 18 hour days filled with nothing but work work work work work. I told him I would go insane. I said I'd rather be poor than a tired, ragged hag. Then I cried.

My principal was very kind. "Why Whippersnapper," he said, "You don't have to be unorganized. Your life can run smoothly, even if you're working full-time. Don't you know that all you need is a bulletin board?"


He explained. Seems that him and the Mrs. ( a pair of freakishly organized robots whose personalities are so tightly and precisely wound up you could bounce quarters off them) were also feeling things were a little chaotic, and so they bought a bulletin board. Apparently, it totally helped straighten out their lives and now everything runs with military precision. Everything, everything, everything they do is organized on it. Kids! Work! Cleaning schedule! Bowel movements! Fellatio! Everything! Scheduled! On! That! Mother! Stuffing! Board!!!

"And the best part is," he said, "We always leave Saturday afternoons free. It's very important to leave some room for spontaneity, you know."

Riiiight. Save some room for spontaneity.

To make a long story short he told me he would not consider giving me part-time, and that I should go get a bulletin board. Driving home, I considered this. We certainly have bulletin boards; why, Mr. IQ has at least three that I know of rotting down in that basement of ours. I imagined digging one out and propping it up on his mountains of crap with a strict but perky note tacked to it: TIDY UP NOW, IQ! Would it really work?

Ha ha ha.

Segue into this week.

Mr. IQ and I, as you all know, are both slobs, and the consequences of this have proven frankly frightening from an aesthetic point of view. Being a girl slob, though, I have some standards, and my standards are, keep the living room, bedrooms and bathroom superficially clean at all costs. So when Mr. IQ's stack of important papers had sat on the living room chair for too long, I did what any good little non-perfectionist housekeeper would do. I shimmied the seat cushion out from under them, and gently placed it on top. DaDa, all tidy! DaDa, out of sight! DaDa, totally, totally, TOTALLY out of mind. I immediately forgot they were there. So when he spent the weekend looking for his stuff, I couldn't help him. That's why he was grumpy on Sunday morning, incidentally. He had a paper due the next day, and couldn't find his notes for it. Because I had covered them with a seat cushion. Arghh. I'll spare you the details, but when we found them, the scene wasn't pretty. It had me thinking about my principal and his family a lot. Maybe they really do have it all figured out after all. Perhaps, thanks to the bulletin board, their lives are just a clear, smooth sailing ride with days filled with sunshine and lollipops and smiling faces. If so, I was jealous of them.

Thus began a week where everything just fell apart.

First: A water pipe (or something) burst in the basement, flooding the thing. Because I am an optimist who is not terribly rooted in reality, I decided this could be a good thing. Even if it cost us thousands of dollars, all the crap Mr. IQ has down there would obviously have to go, and as far as I'm concerned, it would be worth any price just to get that space cleared up.

Then: All our east-facing windows started to leak water. Drip drip drip drip drip noises filled the house 24/7. Of course, these windows are in the two disaster rooms, the office and the box-filled TV room. Drip drip drip drip. Oh, I sure can understand why Chinese Water Torture works, the sound alone would drive you nuts. Drip drip drip drip drip drip. Again, I hoped all the books were being destroyed, even if replacing the drywall ended up costing us thousands. Really, that's what I thought.

So: There I was, a slob, true, but a girl slob, sitting in a house with a basement filled with rotting wet things, and two rooms where the drywall was slowly being destroyed by dripping water. I felt miserable. I went into the box-filled TV room and was standing there thinking, "Just rent a U-Haul while he's out and GET RID OF IT ALL. IT HAS TO GO!!" when suddenly a big pile of heavy, book-filled boxes collapsed and landed within two feet of Baby Fangs. Really. If it had landed on her, she would be dead right now. Really. Really. Now, I'm not the kind of person who shows off about her kids, but Baby Fangs really is a perfect baby. She never cries. Never. But when the avalanche of book boxes landed at her feet, she screamed like someone had stuck a knife in her eye. And I cried too. Because I just can't stand this anymore. All this stuff everywhere, little bits of paper I'm not allowed to throw out, little "treasures" that are really nothing but junk, and books: Books, books, books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books book boobs books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books books everywhere I go. The areas containing his stuff are, frankly, dirty. And now they are wet too. The combination has sent me over the edge.

Obviously something has to happen. The near-death of Baby Fangs has brought this home to me LOUD AND CLEAR. As far as I can see, there are three things I can do:

1. Leave him. But I can't. I finally have him bringing me coffee in bed every morning, and I just can't start all over again and train another one. It takes too long. I'm too old.

2. Lie and say I'm not coming back until he clears everything out and move into my parents' for a few weeks. But I can't do this either. It would mean living with my parents for a few weeks. I love my parents, but honestly, I think I'd rather move into a tent under an inner-city bridge than stay at their place for an extended period. NOT AN OPTION.

3. Get him to change. Obviously, we can't live the bulletin board life, but surely there is a happy medium we can find and be happy about? His daughter was almost killed this week, for crying out loud. And I'm unhappy. Surely he can see there are more important things in the world than owning stuff. Surely now he can see we've reached the tipping point, both literally and figuratively.


And then, in the middle of a terrible week, I find that Pamela has nominated me for a February Perfect Post award. Wow. Talk about the gray clouds parting! Thank-you! That, and the following song helped get me through this week. Thank God for perky music and swell blog friends. I tell you. Without them, honestly, I'd be locked up in the crazy house right now. I really think I would be.

Later: Oh, just the luck I'm having, the video I'm trying to post isn't appearing. I'll try to get it on later, I guess. Grrrrrr.