Wow – A Fully Functioning Adult!

This latest rant refers back to a long-past blog post during which I gave vent to my feelings towards unsolicited parental advice.

It pains me to admit that I might not be the perfect parent.  Sadly, the shelves of Chapters and WH Smith (that is a nod to my trans-Atlantic inclinations) are devoid of literature espousing my pearls of parental wisdom.

In fact it’s a bit of a touchy subject, so just don’t start!  One nerve that sits exposed and particularly vulnerable is connected to the fact that I do everything for my spoiled rotten offspring and generally serve as the family dogsbody.  I’ve tried to rectify the situation but my horror of conflict forces me every time to just go ahead and do anything for some peace and quiet.

So, my bonnet starts positively buzzing when I hear someone say “if you don’t get them to do things for themselves they’ll never learn to live on their own”.

Oh BALDERDASH!  I have long maintained that my pampered progeny are quite capable of cooking a meal and doing their own laundry, and when I’m not there to do it for them, they’ll just have to get on with it.

Well … yay me!  I’m delighted to report that Roxy, out on her own in Vancouver, is managing to eat cooked (semi-) balanced meals and wash her undies.  I gather she has even worked out how to make a sandwich for her lunch.

Yes, it seems that, resist as they might the responsibilities of adulthood, they have the wherewithals for a full, productive life away from the nest.

Keeping out the Riff Raff

Do fences always make good neighbours?

Not always … in fact when the guy next door to our previous house was arrested for trafficking in stolen goods we were frankly rather pleased to see him go.  He wasn’t a good neighbour.

But I digress.

We seemed to be getting along quite well with our current neighbour until he arbitrarily decided to put up a fence (of the structural variety) between our tiny front yards.

I mean I get it … he’s all immaculate beds and tightly clipped junipers while we’re all rambling roses and moss-covered crazy paving.  And my boys will run across his lawn, wantonly bending blades of grass and leaving a trail of teenager cooties in their wake.  I’d probably want to keep us out too if I was a passive aggressive neat freak.

So, his solution was to put up this little beauty.

Now truthfully, I’ve been pretty chill about the whole thing.  It didn’t bother me particularly that he put up a structure that affects us as much as him without so much as even a heads up.

I was not overly concerned about the fact that he has left us with a  triangle of grass between our tree and the front sidewalk which will be impossible to maintain.

Does anyone have a teeny tiny triangular lawnmower I can buy?

No, I’ve stood up for him amid a sea of ridicule and bemusement.

Until he botched it by filling the post holes with cement to a level slightly above ground level; on his side and ours.

Now is it only obvious to me, with my incredible landscaping expertise gained via osmosis from being married to a landscaper, that the cement in the post holes should end a few inches beneath ground level so that they can be topped up with soil, hiding the unsightly shorings?

Or is it possible that such an insight might be considered common sense accessible to anyone willing to think about it for 3 seconds?

Not to worry, though as he has disguised his blunder with a skiff of dirt on our side of the fence.  It’s a wonder we ever even spotted it.

Realistically our only option now is to take out that little triangle of grass and either pave it or put in a bed.

My vote goes for a bed, and I’m thinking that either Bishop’s Goutweed or Lily of the Valley would be a wonderful addition to that little spot.

Just Living My Passion

Yay!  Choir has started again.  Thursday’s once again have meaning and my voice is raised happily in song.

Now it so happens that I just read The Passion Test, and it turns out that we owe it to ourselves to make our living from the things that make us happy.  If I understand it right, the things that excite us are usually the things that we’re good at.

Awesome!  I mean singing in the shower is one of my favourite pastimes, and singing with my choir has been one of the most exciting additions to my schedule in years.

Who knew it could be that easy?  I am clearly destined for a fulfilling and lucrative future in music.

Now, if I have any slight misgivings they’re centred around the disconcerting notion that people might actually have to enjoy listening to my singing.  Is it a problem that my children run screaming from the room when I sing, or that I sound best when the people around me are singing loudest?

On reflection, maybe I should just content myself with my safe little spot in the middle of the soprano II section.  It’s a good place for me because when the part gets too complicated, or the soprano I’s are singing so loud that all I can hear in my head is the melody, I can just mouth the words and no-one is any the wiser.

Oh well, back to The Passion Test.

New Boots and Blisters

Last week I joined a local hiking group with the vague notion that tromping through the mountains looking tough and adventurous sounded like a good idea.

I’m a little intimidated by the 6 and 7 hour hikes posted on the website – my idea of a hike is a couple of kilometres up a nice windy track to a pretty waterfall.  But not to be daunted I’ve been keeping an eye out for something where I won’t need to take my own oxygen supply.

So I was quite pleased when someone posted a last minute invitation to join them on a little 90 minute hike around a local park.  More of a walk than a hike really.

Off I went to buy hiking boots and some of those pants that don’t leave you drowning in sweat after 10 minutes.  It’s still warm here, but when you put hiking boots on my big feet, the last thing I want is my skinny little legs sticking out of shorts.  I look like Pinocchio, and that’s not the image I’m trying to portray here.

I served supper early and told Hoss that I would be out for the evening, full of anticipation for his awed amazement at my latest endeavour.  Nothing.  He didn’t even ask where I was going.  Not even after I rephrased the statement about six times, giving him ample opportunity to clue in that there was something up.  Not even after I donned the new boots and swishy pants, did it occur to him to even wonder where I might be off to.

Still, my enthusiasm wasn’t dampened … even after sitting in rush-hour traffic for an hour and a half, completing a drive that should have taken 20 minutes.   And pulling on my backpack and setting off kitted out for a trip up Everest, I only felt slightly foolish amid the others all dressed in their shorts and sandals or runners.  Clearly I was the one here who knew what they were doing.

Except that the first hill nearly killed me – we quickly divided into two groups and there was obviously some space-time anomaly at work, because while my group seemed to be tearing along at a breakneck speed, the group in front of us looked like they were out for a leisurely afternoon stroll.  How could we not be catching them up?

Once we got up the hill it actually got easier and I survived the walk with something of a smile on my face.  “How were the new boots?”, someone asked, and I replied honestly that they felt great.  Or at least they did until I sat in the car for a few minutes.  As soon as I got off them my feet rebelled and when I tried to stand back onto them they screamed in outrage and forced me to hobble ungracefully into the house.   How could boots that seemed so comfortable in the shop do such terrible things to my feet in such a short time?

Perhaps a 20 minute hike up to the mailboxes and back is more my pace.

Keeping The Mean Streets Safe

It’s lucky the good folk of this city have by-laws to protect them from the atrocities that happen every day on our streets.

Just yesterday my own neighbourhood was saved from a despicable parking horror.

We live in a long cul-de-sac with an island down the middle, effectively creating a loop.  It’s a quiet street, with no through traffic, so people who drive or park in the road are always residents, or visitors to one of the houses here.  Up our end of the cul-de-sac, where the pie-shaped lots don’t have a front yard, any cars that can’t get onto a drive park along the side of the island.

That might seem like an innocuous enough system, except that in the land of the free you’re only allowed to park on the right side of the road.  Anyone found parking on the left side of the road is served a ticket for parking too far from the curb (as opposed to parking on the wrong side of the road).

Parking too far from the curb?  Even the name of the offense is absurd!

Now I can appreciate that on a busy highway you don’t want people randomly zipping across oncoming traffic to snag a parking space on the other side.  Makes sense.  But in our sleepy little cul-de-sac?

In any case, an irate and rather rude by-law officer arrived threatening tickets to anyone parked against the island facing the wrong way.

The upshot was, of course, that all the cars were turned around; same number of cars parked in the same spots against the island, but now the noses face the other way.

And so another insidious act of criminality is prevented, and another by-law officer can go home content in the knowledge that he made a difference.

Be Awesome, My Darling

Well, the first fledgeling has flown, and it turns out that even a year and a half of preparation didn’t really make it any easier.

Here she is frolicking off to her new life in the beautiful city of Vancouver.

After driving for 12 hours, we spent two days sightseeing and shopping – which consisted of buying her anything that might alleviate the pain of leaving.  We ate hot dogs piled with toppings like seaweed; we bought seafood and wandered around harbourside markets, and we generally pretended that at the end of two days we were all going to pile into the car and go home together.

She has a room in the basement suite of a house nestled in the most beautiful wooded community, just a short walk from her university.  She shares with two other girls in the same program, and although we only met one, they clicked instantly and could have been friends forever.

Despite the tears, I know she will be happy, and it will be good for her to be back in her world of theatre kids and performing.

It was lovely to get back home to the boys, and they noticeably spoiled their pathetic, tear-stained Mum.

So, now what?  It feels like I didn’t make any progress in my empty nesting project – mostly because, with Roxy taking a year off between high school and university we spent a huge amount of time together.

But, truly, the groundwork is done.  And before I forge into the week ahead I want to make myself some promises:

  • Work!  Yes, I am the queen of the great excuse.  My big plans for my business are eternally foiled by irresistible attractions like laundry, dishes and the teapot.   In an effort to minimize my susceptibility to distractions, I am going to be working at an office out of the house.  No more pottering off to put on another load, or fuss the dog … just a long to-do list and the time and space to focus on making some money.
    So, I promise to go into the office four days a week, while the boys are in school.
  • Decorate!  There’s nothing like painting to fill the days, and rather than sitting around on my own while hubby’s off for weekends at his tree farm, and the boys are out chilling with their peeps, I am going to redecorate the entire house.
    So, I promise to spend my evenings prepping and my weekends painting.
  • Sing!  Choir is about to start up again – yay!  And I’m even considering voice lessons … not for any reasons of ambition, just because.
    So, I promise not to let anyone make demands of me on a Thursday evening, because I am unavailable.
  • Read!  Okay, I do a lot of that already, but now I have joined a book discussion group and have a wonderful vision of comfortable afternoons spent discussing literature over a latte.
    So, one Sunday a month, they can all do without me.
  • Write!  It has been so much fun meeting other writers online, through this blog, and now a friend and I are going to get together for regular writing and critiquing sessions.
    So, I promise to cultivate the company of other people who like to write.
  • Socialize!  No more sitting around alone desperately hoping someone else will come home.  Yes, I can be a little needy, but the sad truth is that the boys have better things to do than hang with their old Mum (probably a good thing!).
    So, it’s time to get back to the promise I made at the beginning of this project and actually get out more with my girlfriends.

Oh, and finally, I’m going to stop comfort eating any day now.  Any day!