Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Part 3 - The Beginning of The End

Old Sister had taken over all the funeral arrangements. Just as she did when our dad died when I was 18. At that time, she arranged for a priest from the Greek Orthodox church to conduct his service. This was despite the fact my dad also wasn't particularly religious but did have leanings toward either A) the Mormon church or B) Garner Ted Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God. . The airport was snowed in, so no one from Alberta could make it to B.C. where the funeral was held. She had him buried, although he had hated the thought of rotting in a box and had always said he wanted to be cremated. The priest had no real clue who he was talking about as evidenced by his request we all "bow our heads in a moment of silent prayer for Mr. Mixed-Up-Name". Yes, he completely jumbled the 3 syllables of our surname.

It was an interesting service though. I'm torn between the eulogy for a man he was completely unfamiliar with or Old Sister's impromptu speech about Hallowe'en pranks Dad pulled as a kid for my favourite part. It was a nice service though. The casket was a bit elaborate in my humble opinion, but maybe I'm just bitter because the very first thing the Nameless Man and I did when we got married at age 19 was assume the debt to pay off the thousands still owed for dad's service. Yep. that's right. She staged an elaborate service and then stiffed the funeral home for the bill. It took us several years at $325 per month to pay it all off. Great way to start married life together doncha think?

.....Okay, here's the deal. I had this huge post drafted and then Wonderful Daughter, a.k.a. Jiminy Cricket pointed out it was very bitter. Caustically bitter.

However, that's not the post you are going to get. Suffice it to say, Old Sister opened the funeral with a joke. And it went rapidly downhill from there. Apparently her and her live-in have contests over My Mom is Crazier Than Your Mom. So, we got to hear all about the roving bands of lesbians that supposedly pursued my mom around in later years. Erm, ???... This is a funeral talk?

When we got back to "normal" later much, much later...My mom was lauded for her generosity and kindness.

Funny, when I got pregnant as an unwed teen (a situation both her and my Old Sister had found themselves in) she said, "Don't even think about coming home." Funnily enough, Old Sis got support and help. Mom drove an hour into town every week to provide her with anything she needed.

She only offered support to accompany me into the delivery room when I confessed how terrified I was of the birthing process. She was a nursing aide and I don't know nuthin' about birthing no babies.... The day I went into labour, I called to tell her it was Go Time. Alas, she couldn't drive in from the ranch that day. She had "floors to wash". So I, at age 17 gave birth completely alone with a little Vietnamese girl shrieking out her own terror in the very next bed. This was March 10th. My best girlfriend stood by my side as I signed the adoption papers a week later. My dad had died February 23rd, (3 weeks before I gave birth) and I was on. my. own.

Better, when we celebrated Christmas with them, one year there was gifts, mountains of gifts for my niece and not one thing for my two kids. They were 5 and 3 at the time. It was an awkward drive home to say the least. Oh, and our last Christmas with them.

My niece was always at my mom's. She would stay for days on end. Old Sis needed a break doncha know? When I had my youngest, he weighed 10lb 4 oz (ouch right?!) and I had over 100 stitches. She promised when I was released, Wonderful Daughter (who was 2 1/2 yrs old) and I could come and stay a few days with her until the Nameless Man finished the night shift rotation he was currently on. Guess what happened? She was "too tired" so I packed up my kids and went home to do it all on my own.

Lastly, when Old Sis had any kind of medical procedure or even just a serious test, my dear, kind and generous Mom would put everything else on hold and rush to sit by her side until the crisis had passed. I, on the other hand, had a total hysterectomy at age 28 and she couldn't even come visit me, let alone sit any kind of vigil at my side. Oh, and she lived in the same city as we did by this time... I guess it should have been no big surprise, she hadn't come to see me during any of the 4 or 5 surgeries that led up to the hysterectomy.

To sit there at her service while she was held up as some shining example of kindness and generosity*...puhleeze!

Proofreading this, it occurs to me, Wonderful Daughter seems to have been right, but also oh, so wrong.... Bitter? Bitter doesn't even scratch the surface.

* All of these events happened to me before she was considered mentally ill

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Part 2 - Where I am Contacted and Reach Out

So, my son and daughter in law have gone home now and I have time to post again. Today I slept nearly 14 hours and awoke with a migraine. Over the past week I haven't been averaging more than 5 hours of sleep a night. Possibly it's stress... I'm sure I'll survive.

Back to the saga... I was away from home all day Tuesday, getting Tikki groomed and working from WD's house. When I arrived at her home, she shamefacedly told me my Great Aunt had, in fact, left a voice mail for me on Sunday, but with all the drama the Soon to Be Ex caused on Friday it had slipped her mind. The way things were left on Friday, we thought we had to be in family court at 8:30 a.m. Monday to thwart his latest court move for no rules involved access to the grandboys. Since he didn't see them for 18 months after the judge decided he needed rules to prevent him from leaving the country with Dom, we need to make sure there is structure and it is followed.

Wonderful Daughter doesn't have free long distance in her new place so I wasn't able to call back my Great Aunt until that evening. She had been trying to reach me, as had Long Lost Little Sister who had come by my condo but couldn't get in. You can't leave a message if you ring the buzzer and she had mislaid my unlisted number. Great Aunt (did I mention I adore her?!) wouldn't give out my number to her just in case I didn't want her contacting me again. So, they did try to reach me and the "hurt on my behalf" tone my Heinous Mother In Law had adopted was unwarranted after all.

By the time I was able to talk to my family, they had cremated Mom that afternoon. Outside the funeral home, my oldest sister who is MEGA HEINOUS asked one of my single, Mormon cousins if she "was still Mormon?". When assured yes, Girl Cousin was still Mormon, Old Sister said, "Oh I just wondered since I see your picture on FaceBook in bars all over the world." Um, and this is your concern why? Older Sister is also a baptised Mormon but hasn't lived up to her dedication in any way, shape or form.

I guess Old Sister is under the impression one cannot obtain soda or virgin cocktails in bars. Girl Cousin has travelled all over and has quite enjoyed getting to meet and socialize with people in various settings, including bars. Whether she drinks demon rum or other spirits is of no interest to me. I have my own dedication to try and live up to.

Old Sister then moved on in her conversation and informed all those present she was now employed at an STD clinic and could give Girl Cousin a discount if she said the code word Zorro when calling in. WTH?! They cremated Mom not 20 minutes ago and she's shilling for business?

She also proudly related how she had cleverly entered into the computer the information of a new patient with the surname of Bates as "Master" _____ Bates.
How droll! I wonder just how long it took her to come up with that one? She also filled in the blank first name herself by wittily substituting my Long Lost Sister's husband's name into the blank. This was in front of my Little Sister. I'm glad I missed it since I would have been tempted to smack her. I see she hasn't improved with age.

Back at the teeny tiny condo, I decided I would let my son know about the passing of his grandmother and her funeral even though I was sure he wouldn't want to come down from St. Albert for it. He had a right to know, of course. There have been many, many deaths in my family where I didn't find out until well after the fact. My step father's mom, my mother's grandma (who raised her until age least I assume she is dead since she would now be over 100) and I'm pretty sure my great uncle Frank to name just a few. I didn't see great aunt Rita at Mom's funeral but didn't want to ask what could have been an awkward question.

Ah yes, you say, but you have been in quasi-hiding for all these years. How were they to contact you? carrier pigeon? Well, guess what? Several relatives died back when we were all still trying to have a relationship and they still didn't bother to let me know. It's fairly humiliating to ask, "How's Grandma?" only to be informed she died 8 months ago. I can only imagine what the rest of the family thought when I was a no-show at so many services. Also, everyone knows my in-laws, particularly since they have all been friends at least since the Nameless Man and I attended Grade One together and the in-laws have kept the same listed phone number for over 30 years. So, if they did wish to reach me, it wasn't really all that hard. I just maintained the illusion I was hidden away to disguise the pain of their rejection. My Heinous MIL has visited my mom many times over the past 5 years.

To my surprise, my son and his wife and baby decided to drive down and stay with us. I was so touched and pleased they came to support me. It was nice to have all my immediate family by my side as I renewed aquaintances with my extended family.
Their little girl is 14 months old and she's a cutie. I quite enjoyed getting a chance to bond with her. After a rocky beginning, her and Tikki became such good friends that when her own daddy tried to get after her, Tikki growled his displeasure his little buddy was being spoken to. At one point, Wonderful Daughter leaned over to stop her from doing something bad and Tikki leapt at her! I'm sure the baby loved me for me though, and not just because I have (the illusion) of control over the dog. Uh huh, sure...that's it.

Next (and final) installment: The Service

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Part 1: Where I Renounce My Luddite Faith

Many who know me in real life are aware of my hatred of the phone. I own a great cell phone, but it (hopefully) lies in a drawer somewhere in the teeny tiny condo, gathering dust. I never carry it. Mainly because I never charge it. Which is mainly because then I might lose my focus and accidentally answer it and I'm convinced if I did, it would inevitably be my Heinous MIL asking the same irritating question she always goes right up my nose with, "Where are you?"

Um, "Busy?"

I also have been in quasi-hiding (don't ya love the way I keep making up words?) from my own family for about 15 years or so. After the recent failed attempt to start a relationship with my Long Lost Little Sister, I felt that decision had been justified.

My home phone has always been unlisted. They had no idea where I worked or what I did for a living. Let's face it, they had no interest in finding me but anytime I had dealings with them, there was always so much DRAMA involved it just wasn't worth it. The roles were always cast the same way. I was the Villan and they must band together to thwart my evil machinations.

My mother (who will we discuss later) once decided I had stolen a horse head brooch she got as a gift from a dear friend. Despite my assertations I had no clue what she was talking about, she accused me for years of having stolen this brooch. Don't misunderstand, most of my family are such thieves they would make Ali Baba and his 40 cohorts look like rank amateurs but I am not a thief. When I asked about the brooch approximately 15 years later, she said she had found it in the pocket of a suitcase. No word of an apology to me mind you, but it had been found.

Back to the phones. Although we run our cleaning business out of the teeny tiny condo, I love to forward the phones on the weekend to Wonderful Daughter so she can deal with, well, everything. I also live in a security building, so unless I buzz you in, you can`t come knock on my door. This is not a great neighbourhood so you usually can`t even follow someone through the door without being asked to wait to be properly buzzed in.

Last weekend, I forwarded the phones to WD. Truth be told, I probably forwarded them on Thursday. So I was pretty much inaccessible. Which was the way I like it. Which is what came back to bite me in the butt... big time.

My mother died Sunday. And no one could reach me. Until Tuesday. Because of other weekend drama involving Wonderful Daughter, my GrandBoys and WD`s soon to be Ex.

Tuesday morning, my now unforwarded home phone rang first thing in the morning. I was sleeping. My Heinous MIL was at the other end. When I asked,`What`s up?`She said she had just called to tell me she was sorry to hear about my mom. She had just read her obituary in the paper.

I was a little hurt my Long Lost Little Sister hadn`t called to tell me but wasn`t too concerned. I mean, what could I do about it? No matter what the situation, I wasn`t going to be called on to help make arrangements so really, did it matter no one called? I assumed the one great aunt, (who I ADORE!!) I talk to was on holidays because I knew she would have called me.

I left a message for Wonderful Daughter to tell her and inexplicably, when I said `My mom is dead.`I began to cry on her voice mail.

Then, I left to drive Tikki across town to his new groomers. Of course I got hopelessly lost and was 1- 1/4 hours late getting him there. And, since I don`t carry a cell phone I couldn`t even call her to let her know I was lost (and possibly get some directions). BTW, Luddites believe Tom-Tom and GPS are the work of the Devil.

To Be Continued

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hi guys, I didn't forget about you. I have been busy and I have been bummed out.

After we didn't need her to help move, I never heard from my long-lost little sister again.

I left a message regarding the change in plan for the move and then in the following 10 days, left 2 or 3 more messages.

And I heard back... Nada. That was May 18th.

So, here I am again, heart hanging out, feelings royally hurt, crapped all over by my "family".

On the positive side, my new medication is working out quite well !! So, who knows, maybe I will become a mentally healthy, world-famous blogger who seeks out a new loving family. Nyah, Nyah! Don't worry, I'll never forget the little people...tee hee hee.

On that note, Leah gave me a cool award that totally lifted my spirits. I need to update the blogs I follow since hers is a great one. If you like uplifting photography and intriguing fiction...this is a must see.

Thanks Leah! I needed that!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nervous, Pussycat? YEP!

That is a little inside joke in our family.
It's from the Tweety cartoons I think... the sweet little bird has pushed every last one of the evil puddy tat's buttons and then, when he is ready toliterally jump outof his skin, sweetly inquires, "Nervous Pussycat?" and he yelps, "YEP!"
Although... I can't be remembering this correctly or the question would be, "Nervous PuddyTat?"
Great, now this will drive me crazy...wonder if I can look up the answer on Wiki?

Anyhoo, the point of this post, yes, there is a point... is that I am on yet another antidepressant as part of my never-ending search for the right one.

This one doesn't sedate you though. And how sad is it I had no clue I was being sedated?
This one makes you more anxious (high-strung thankyouverymuch). More aniety I certainly don't need but it seems there is always a trade-off. The best drug I was ever on, the one that worked the best for me was pulled from the market due to liver toxicity.

So, this latest one, I began 2 weeks ago and just had a follow-up visit with the doctor on Friday.

I told him it seems a bit better but I am struggling a bit. I'm pretty snappy and quick on the lip. My poor family has been bearing the brunt. Them and other drivers on the road.

As an interesting side effect, I get the feeling I am being bitten by insects, like a spider bite, as I try to fall asleep.
He assured me this is because of prior liver damage from hepatitis and drug interaction and not because my home has been overun with bugs. He has ordered a bunch of tests.

Should be interesting. I sure hope he knows what he is doing since the last scrip gave me such bad chest pains I was scared out of my remaining wits. It would be nice to feel good for a change...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Thousand Apologies! A Moving Tale.

I didn't mean to duck out on you all.

Wonderful Daughter was scheduled to move house on the 22nd of May. However, she got really really sick in the weeks leading up to it so I ended up going to stay with her to help out with the boys and her overall life.

Her internet had been cut off too early so I had no way to post and no time or energy either, truth be told. I really don't know how she does it all. More on that later...

She is now staying with her grandparents for the short term while trying to get into more affordable housing. Yes, that's right...she is living in the home of the Heinous MIL. The good news is, MIL is still in Saskatchewan, or back in Saskatchewan, depending on how you look at it.

However, her Heinousness did phone home earlier this week and inform WD she must insist WD answer the house phone. Which she declined since A) she is not a secretary, B) is already usually busy answering our business line and C) reserves the right to screen calls, mainly from guess who?

Then, the Royal Heinosity informed WD she would like her to go choose some nice earth tones and paint all the interior walls in her home. Why not, right? I mean all Wonderful Daughter has to do with her life is raise two little boys, drive one child across the city each morning to be in school for 8 a.m., run our business, work at some cleaning jobs, plan and cook all the meals, clean the house for herself, her kids and her grandfather while also maintaining her attendance at 5 meetings for worship each week and having a semblance of a social life. Painting an entire house isn't really too much to ask now, is it? BTW, Wonderful Daughter also is paying rent and buying her own groceries while she is in residence so it's not a free loading type of arrangement.

Back to the Move:

The packing and moving went well and we accomplished a lot in between her bouts of nausea and other stuff I am probably not supposed to mention. She has never been so ill in all her life though. We had all our plans carefully laid and lots of people lined up to help out. Penelope was even going to bring some of her fabulous baking for a coffee break.

Then... Grandpa got involved in the move. First, he decided he and the Nameless Man should take all the stuff WD and the boys needed at his house over there on Thursday evening. No problem, makes sense.
Then, he decided the two of them should take all her boxes to the storage facility on Friday morning, instead of leaving them for the 4 strong young university students WD had hired for Saturday morning. So, they did.
However, once they got to the storage facility, they decided the unit WD had booked was too small so they upgraded to the largest unit (at twice the price).

Then Grandpa decided they really needed to put her furniture in first, so they must move everything on Friday, during the day without the huge moving truck and also, without any strong young helpers.
Did I mention he is well over 70 years old and although the Nameless Man works out and is pretty strong, there is NO WAY we wanted him to move all her stuff. Not to mention, those students had been booked weeks in advance and given up Long Weekend plans to make some extra money. WD and I LOATHE it when people cancel on us at the last minute and now, we were about to do it to them.

We quickly made some calls, looking for last minute help to come and load the pickup truck and van we had but funnily enough, everyone we know was working on a Friday. Desperately, we tried to come up with an alternate plan since Grandpa would not take "No" for an answer.
Wonderful Daughter and her friend quickly threw the last items into any available box while I quickly went down to our local Cash Corner where all the city's great unwashed and unemployed hang out hoping to pick up a day's labour.
It was nearly 1 pm by this time but I was "lucky" enough to get two smelly, toothless, practically homeless men to jump into WD's car with me and come back to move furniture. While I was gone getting help, Grandpa managed to fall backwards off the front porch while carrying furniture.

It was the most interesting move we have ever been involved in.

Now that the dust has settled we keep telling ourselves the important thing to bear in mind is, "we are done".
I woke up Saturday morning with a strain of WD's illness that kept me in bed for the rest of the long weekend. However, today we finished the move out cleaning and on a brighter note, the weather has been nice enough for WD to keep the car windows unrolled so, 5 days later, the smell of the Cash Corner Gentlemen is nearly gone.

Final Tally:

We lost out on Penelope's baking, having my little sister come to help and WD's boys getting to play with her youngest son who we had asked to come and babysit while we worked.
The student movers got stiffed since there was nothing left for them to move. The Cash Corner guys got a slap-dash lunch and one kept his second sandwich for dinner that night. (We offered to make him more, he declined) Grandpa got a bruised hip but also the pleasure of knowing he saved WD nearly $50 by not having to hire movers. Too bad the larger storage unit will cost an extra $100 each month.

But, "we are done" and from all accounts, WD and her little boys are settled in and Grandpa loves having them there. We'll see what happens when the Heinous MIL comes back to town in mid June.

I'm certain I will have much more material for some great rants, erm, posts.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Promise

She was so beautiful. 17 years old with clear skin, white blonde hair,bluer than blue eyes and an infectious giggle. She had many friends at school but none too close. They couldn't get too close.

She was the first of the family to graduate high school. The first of the three girls to do right and fly straight. No silliness from her. She knew who she was and where she was going.

As I watched her stand before the mirror in her bedroom and apply a last coat of mascara I was flushed with pride. I can still see her in my mind's eye. She was small and blonde and beautiful.

She wasn't pregnant before Grade 12. She didn't drop out to raise a kid. She didn't mess up, drop out, run away. She didn't always manage to draw rage and or indifference alternated with disdain down on her head. She was the one who beat the odds.

She worked hard to get along, go along, hang on.

And she had a wish.

She wished for a trinket to commemorate her graduation. She wanted a ring. A high school ring. Hesitantly she waited for her moment and broached her request. Of course there was no money for a small gold ring. In that household, there was never any money for extras. No money for swimming lessons. Skating lessons. Girl Guides. Camp. Band. Gymnastics. Ringette. Movies? Vacations? No money for any of that!

Money for booze could always be found. Money for cigarettes, of course. Money to travel back to the hometown and visit with their friends. That was another matter entirely. A trip to Australia for the father? Sure! A trip to Mexico for the mother? No problemo! But, no money for a beautiful 17 year old who only wished for a small gold ring.

She was disappointed but tried again. Perhaps a small silver ring? Oh, well, that was different! Of course. Of course. They would make sure she got it. She wasn't to worry. And definitely not to feel she had to ask again. It was hers, they would make sure of it!

Except they didn't. Like so many other broken promises all throughout her childhood, the last one, made as she began her transistion to adulthood was also broken.

I can't make up for leaving her. I honestly didn't even know she needed me, she seemed to have it all together. I didn't see the need in her. I would have stayed and endured if I had know. For this, she has forgiven me.

The first week of July 2010 will mark her 25th high school reunion. How I wish I could get her that ring.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Camera is Mightier Than the Sword

Every spring it's the same old problem here in the teeny tiny condo. There is a junior high on the next block and we have a courtyard between the two buildings of our complex.

The teens love to walk down to the Red Mile grab a slice or a burger and then meander back to our courtyard to enjoy it. Problem is, I don't enjoy them.
They are loud, profane and usually feel free to leave their garbage behind. I watched, astonished, as a young man opened his foil wrapped burger, lifted the top bun and threw the tomato and lettuce on our lawn. Then he proceeded to eat his burger, wad up the wrapper and throw it on the lawn as well.

Excuse me? This is my home.

They smoke, (leave their butts), skateboard on our cobblestones, (breaking them down), scream with laughter (disrupting the Nameless Man on his conference calls), swear like sailors (sorry to offend any sailors) and throw their garbage around.

Yesterday I watched from my balcony as two young girls in short dressy cocktail type dresses walked up the alley, munching on a slice of pizza. One looked stealthily around, and then assuming she was free from prying eyes, threw her pizza crust into the flower beds that border the back of the condo property. So, I said, "Hey. Do I come to your house and throw stuff all over your yard?" She was shocked when she looked up to see me standing there but I`ll give her credit. She reluctantly teetered back over to pick up the crust and drop it into one of the 6 garbage cans directly across the alley.
Earlier, three teens with skateboards were skating around and swearing. I went out and said, `Guys, this is private property so I`ll have to ask you to leave.`Immediately, their self appointed buttonhead acted all, `Wha?" and "Us?" and "There's a sign? Where? What sign?" and giving me all kinds of attitude. I asked flat out, "Do you live here?" and of course the answer was negative. They eventually swggered off, their progress somewhat impeded by the waist of their pants holding their knees together. Is that still in style?!

Since I work from home, I see and hear a lot of what goes on around here during the day. Far more than I want to, let me tell you!
In years past, WD and I have backed each other up as we have confronted and chased these kids away. Two of them covered our entire intercom system at the parkade entrance with Pepto Bismol pink spray paint. Nearly the entire unit, they missed the pinhole camera that lets us see who is calling for entry. Heh heh. They sure were surprised when the police showed up at their school with their pictures. Unfortunately, there was no recourse for the little monor darlings. They never even had to apologize, let alone pay to have the paint cleaned out of the intercom buttons.

I have called their school after one young lad mistook our courtyard for a urinal. Although the administrator I spoke to was apologetic, they never sent the kid back to scrub off the pee which is what would have happened back in my day. If you got in trouble, you got it at school and then again when you got home. Am I dating myself here?
Every spring is another session of futility but I think I have finally hit on the ultimate weapon.
They aren't ascared of me, all 5'2" of middle-aged me with my head barely clearing the balcony rail asking or TELLING them to get off this property. When I was on the board of directors here, we hung signs and put up gates blocking access to the courtyard. It didn`t do any good at all.

So now, I have escalated the fight and brought in a weapon. I now walk softly and carry a Canon.

Today when Tikki alerted me (by incessantly barking as is his wont) we had uninvited guests, I took my camera and headed out to the balcony. I pointed it at them and then advised them I have taken all their pictures and if I see them here again, any damage or vandalism found AT ALL will be blamed on them.

I'm sure taking their picture would violate their rights somehow. Privacy law maybe? So, I didn't actually take the pictures. I just pointed the Canon and let them run.

After I soothed my sore muscles in my arms from all the back patting, I was thinking about how much was written and talked about the situation in China but, until we saw the photos from Tiannamen Square it never grazed many of our conciousness.
My situation is of course not approaching any dramatic level but it's pretty interesting to see how even tough, mouthy teens are terrified of a camera. Somehow, you are much more accountable when you have been filmed. Unless you are a Hollywood starlet in a hotel room. Then you have a fledgling career.

I'll let you know if I have to get a tank.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Attitude Extraordinaire

Wow! You are not going to believe this... I went clothes shopping and got such fantastic service at one store, I happily paid 20% MORE than the ticketed price on the clothing I walked out with.

The sales staff at the next store weren't as good, and I wasn't as happy with them so I only paid 10% more at that particular store.

What made the first store so exceptional Sparrow?, you might be asking. Well, Reader, it was that she greeted me enthusiastically when I walked in, she said "good choice" when I selected a couple of items to try on and then she brought me additional items when the first selections didn't fit. She kept checking back on me to see if I needed more clothing to try on and she drew a smiley face on my receipt! I was tickled pink!! 20% on top of the bill for you my dear!

At the second store, the sales associate showed me to a dressing room, brought me clothes and helped me, but I didn't think her heart was in it and I wasn't very happy she was standing in another part of the store, texting or visiting with her co-workers. So, I only paid her 10% above the ticketed price. I wasn't going to pay anything extra, but she probably works for minimum wage so I felt bad for her.

Does any of this make sense to you? Me neither!!

Yet, as I travel around the blogsphere, I read waiter blogs. And, without exception, they are all whiney diatribes against us, the customer. They poke fun in a superior manner at us, the customer or `cover`if you will, for not ordering appetizers, for ordering a kids meal for our kids. For not ordering inflated priced wines to go with our meals, for not wanting a dessert after a gargantuan portioned entree and for asking for a to-go container when we can`t finish our food. God help us if we over stay our welcome and linger over coffee when they are hopping from one foot to the other wanting to turn the table over to the next cover.

The most scorn on these blogs and in the comments is saved for the tip. If we tip less than 20% we are dirt in these waiters eyes. If we expect change from a large bill or gift card, we are cheap. If we ask for anything extra (like steak sauce for chicken)or any reasonable substitutions, we are demanding and ignorant. And they detail how they cash out at the end of the night with good tips or lousy tips to supplement their minimum wages. It is rarely less than $60 per night more than their wages.

Amongst the other blogs, I have been reading while Attitude Extraordinaire, erm I mean Waiter Extraordinaire gives a running commentray on his covers, their unrealistic demands (lemon for your water? You witch!!) and their paltry tips. A 37% tip made him happy...$5 on the table did not. He works in a corporate steakhouse, just below fine dining so I am guessing the Keg or its ilk. Not cheap by any means and not likely to attract the Great Unwashed. Yet his attitude clearly shows he feels we owe him. He gives advice to his fellow waitstaff on how to manipulate customers. The post that really sent me over the edge was the one that detailed all the things he and his waitress wife had purchased for their home and the lessons, activities and vacations his 2 kids had had in the past 12 months. Sure looks like a whole lot of disposable (cash) income in that household.

In contrast, the staff in the dress shop happily greets me when I come in, I am usually approached by a sales woman who cheerfully asks if she can help me once I have browsed a little. Then, she willingly brings me different clothing items to try onto my overweight and misshappen body. She doesn't look at me like I have committed the unforgiveable faux paus if I want to try on a flimy little number that is clearly too young for me. She gently steers me away from that selection. Sometimes, she will bring me accessories like a scarf or necklace to accentuate my apparel I have on. I know this is an upsell but I don't mind because she clearly wants to make sure I look good and am happy. She stays nearby, wanting to be helpful, not gossiping in the back room and she usually escorts me to the till. All for minimum wage. No tip, no attitude, no sense of entitlement that I owe her more than the listed price.

So, Mr Waiter Extraordinaire, I would like to come and have a meal out while respecting my budget and honoring my convictions not to drink and drive, even after just one. I would like to repeat the specials you just rattled off to my husband who is a little hard of hearing, especially in noisy restaurants and speak to you on our behalf since he is also shy as well as going deaf. Or does that make me a manhating old bag who is dominating my downtrodden husband? I would like to take some of the food I paid for home with me to enjoy the next day if I cannot finish it. And I would like to pay the price stated in the menu for my choice.

I would like you to do your job and bring me what I have ordered, refill my beverage and be somewhere in the vicinity when I try to catch your eye so we may have our bill. Is that too much to ask? Why do I need to pay you 20% extra to do your freaking job???? Waiting on us is what you signed on for, isn't it?

That rant now out of my system, the Nameless Man and I never tip less than 15%, usually 20% and only once in my life have I not left a tip. I get the custom and the culture. I embrace it.

I just don't get why every single waiter blog has to run down the people who ensure he has a job.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I iz blue

Having a bad day/week.

I wonder what the postal code would be to get your mail forwarded when you live inside your head as much as I do.

Doctor's appointment on Friday. I can't do this unmedicated.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weigh In...Way Out

200 again, ouch!
Not that I don't deserve it what with the Peter's run and all.

I have already walked Tikki for 20 min, mostly uphill. So, I'm on the right track.

Todays goals:

Walk at least another 20, in fact, I am working on designing a flyer WD and I would have to walk house to house to deliver here in my neighbourhood. I live in a very hilly area so, done right, this should be a great workout for me.

Water: 8 - 8oz glasses
Green Tea supplements and Matcha.
Sleep at least 7 hours
Food: No sugar and ONE diet Coke.
Plan stick to South Beach Phase One for the weekend.

We're having a new couple over tomorrow night for Greek food but I think when I make it, I can adapt a lot of it to South Beach for me. It will spill over into Phase Two but at least it will be "on plan".

I got a great deal of encouragement out of Dawn's post over at Fixing Myself Thinner. Her Wake Up Call was so good for me, especially the last paragraph. It was like she was speaking directly to me. I have the power within me to do anything I want and I am worth it!


Lunch was great and my little sister looks fantastic! She has a couple of wrinkles but since she hit the big Four Oh over 2 years ago, that is to be expected. She is a natural blonde with gorgeous blue eyes and a great smile. I have missed her so bad. When we met just outside the condo building, we hugged and I never wanted to let go.

I have been kidding myself thinking I didn't need any of my own family. Thinking I was just fine on my own with no family. It was a way to cope with the hurt and rejection I think.

She knows the stories and the jokes. There is the shared history. It was just soooo good to sit and visit with her. She brought pictures of her kids and I must say, without bias, they are great looking kids. Now I can't wait to meet them too. I have only met her husband once, at their wedding, so pretty soon I'll have a whole pile of folks to claim as kin.

We have tentative plans to go swimming next Friday and then get together as families on June 12th.

Once my sister left, WD and I picked up Dom from school and then headed to Ikea where we did a bjorken (which is Swedish for endless walking throughout the store in search of one small shelf and the checkout).The Nameless Man joined us there when he finished work and after he also bjorkened, we had supper in the cafe. It was surprisingly good. It turns out WD treated so I was especially grateful. As a single parent, she is strapped for cash so it was especially sweet of her.

Then tonight the Nameless Man and I walked Tikki for 30 minutes. We even walked up hills. I feel motivated today. It was a very good day. Actually, it was great.

Weigh in again tomorrow.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cursing Peter's Drive In

And not my lack of will power, oh no, the fault couldn't lie with me!

WD and I stopped for a burger yesterday after a long mornings work...and went a little crazy. Despite the fact I am lactose intolerant, I ordered and devoured a chocolate-mint milkshake. Then ate more than a few onion rings. But the scales were kind and I was still in One derland at 198 when I weighed in.

Today, we are having a very special lunch date. A very special lunch.... WD and I will be having my long little sister come over to the teeny tiny condo at 1 pm. I am kinda nervous. I last saw her when her son was less than a year old. He is now 16 and has a 12 year old younger brother who I have obviously never laid eyes on.

We have been catching up by phone for the past couple weeks but this will be our first face to face after all these years.

Someday I will chronicle for you some of the dysfunction in my family. If I was to document all of the instances of Crazy I recall from my childhood without a single embellishment and make it into a book, no publisher would touch it. They would be certain it couldn't possibly be true.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Better Days

Weigh in today: 198!! Now I know it's water weight, but hey, I'll take it. It makes me feel like I have done something at least.

Today looks like a snow day. Weather warnings and wind advisories abound.

JC's face rash thingy has subsided a bit and he seems to be feeling better. I spent an enjoyable 10 minutes nattering away on the phone to him while his mommy drove Dom the 1/2 block to school. Apparently as he exitied the car, the wind caught his glove so Wonderful Daughter had to quickly get out and chase the glove down. Too bad for her she was parked right in front of the school... and was wearing a leather coat, ballet flats and a nightgown. Tee hee hee.

Todays goals: Drink 8 cups of water.
Walk 20 minutes in parkade. (I'll be dizzy)
No sugar!
One diet Coke. Only 1!
Green tea supplements.
Matcha tea.

Gotta go make an omelete for the Nameless Man. I love these cozy days...

Oh, and did I tell you? My long lost little sister has resurfaced. (More on that later.) It has been very interesting to catch up with her on events of the past 15 years. Very interesting...and strange.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Rut Row....

Well, my backsliding ways haven't done me any favours it seems.

I weighed in at 200. Yikes...

Out of One-derland and back up there in 200 Ville. At least I know it's easily resolved.

Matcha tea was made and enjoyed. I think I need to whisk it up to properly blend it.

I never met any of my walking goals today, other than a leisurely stroll around Wal Mart and then Superstore for groceries. There is a storm warning out from the weather advisory so I didn't make the effort. JC is really ill with some sort of allergic reaction to an unknown substance. It was an unsettled day all around, really.

However, I made a good dinner and skipped the crescent rolls I baked the Nameless Man. I put one on my plate when they came fresh from the oven but then slipped it onto his plate after he asked the blessing. I felt virtuous!

Now, it's off to bed with a headache. I hate the weather changes, bring on Spring!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, I Love Ya Tomorrow!

Tomorrow I will:

Walk Tikki at least 20 minutes, twice!
Walk with WD around her circuit. Twice!

Stay off sugar.
Take my green tea supplements.
Incorporate matcha tea into something.

Drink 8 glasses of water. And only one diet coke. One!

This past weekend I was good, well, pretty good. We has dinner Saturday night at the Keg with the Evil MIL and, other than the stuffed potato, I ordered well and stayed on plan. Earlier in the day, I had vegetable soup and a half vegetarian sandwich. So, that was great.
Conversation at dinner was strained but that is the subject of another post.

Wonderful Daughter and I cleaned for a new commercial client on Saturday afternoon. Our first commercial gig. It should have taken 4 hours but took 6 (ugh)... lots of exercise at least.

Tonight, we had curry with Gordon and Penelope. Other than the white rice, I was good. Oh, and I had a slice of caramel tiramisu cake, loaded with sugar. Not so good...but I tried.

So, tomorrow is a new day. And I will begin again.

I'll be 49 in August and would like to weigh 15 ellbees less. Let's see how it goes. I have a new plan.

It includes South Beach, water, green tea, matcha tea and exercise with my poodle and having WD kick my ample behind.

Weigh in tomorrow. Last numbers were 195... but I think I have strayed a bit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Apologies all around

Well, I never!

I had a great post for you dealing with my heinous MIL who took it upon herself to place a picture of the step-great grandchildren into the lovely personalised frame that Wonderful Daughter and I bought for my long suffering father in law. The frame says "I heart Grandpa".

But, I cannot retreive the post and have moved on.

First, news... she leaves again May 18th. I am counting the days.

In her latest heinery... yes, I am making up words, she has decided the other son's family needs her constant care and attention. Which, you would think, I would welcome. The only fly in the ointment is that she is now waiting, pacing, for an invitation to a birthday party they are due to hold. It has been delayed because our niece was moving over the past weekend.

Three weeks ago, I asked FIL if he would like it if Wonderful Daughter and I cooked a turkey dinner this coming weekend. He was delighted and accepted. I made sure I told the MIL from hell when she returned. Sometimes he forgets to catch her up on what is going on.

This past Sunday, she informed me she sure hopes the birthday party isn't planned for this weekend, because she would "hate to have to reschedule Saturday's dinner".

Huh?! Did I miss something? Is it somehow acceptable to cancel your original plans when something better comes along? It's not like we'll be throwing a pizza pop or two in the oven and calling it dinner. This is turkey with all the trimmings. Kind of a bit of an undertaking, at least for me.

Conversely, it's a party for a two year old. My in-laws are his great grandparents. During the last month when my MIL was away, my FIL was invited over exactly once, when he went for Easter dinner. They never found the time to drive the 30 minutes it would take to come and see him at any time during the month. WD and I counted and we had a meal with him 7 times, not including just stopping by for a visit.

I propose the odd notion the show can go on without them in attendance. There is plenty of other family to be in attendance. Or, perhaps they could hold the party on Sunday if she explained the conflict in her hectic social life. Besides which, it hasn't even been confirmed the party is this weekend anyways! She'd better let me know her plans by tomorrow.

We have Penelope and Gordon coming on Sunday for curry and next weekend is booked for a small dinner party here.

And, if she does pull this. she'd better not ever expect another invitation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mother In Law Chicanery

blogger ate my witty (whiney) this is a work in progress

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Mother in Law comes back from her month in Saskatchewan tonight. Her broom lands just after 10 pm.

And that, is all I have to say about that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Such a Good Girl!

Well, I am back walking again. I joined a walking challenge Dawn at Fixing Myself Thinner has devised. Too bad I totally have misplaced my pedometer here in the teeny tiny condo. Tikki is refusing to leap into action as a search and rescue dog. Danggit.

It feels good to be actively walking again and I must say, reading over my old posts here, I can easily see what some of my weight problems are. Last night, as the Nameless Man and I went for a stroll, I tried talking to him about why I sabotage myself. He didn't have much insight to offer, but knowing he supports me wholeheartedly helps more than any words could say.

Now I just need to faithfully work on the issues I noticed. Number 1 I think, no more crap food in the house. Despite my highly developed "Mom Hearing", even I can't hear cookies and crap food call to me from the grocery store. My downfall this past week was the chocolate mini eggs and Cadbury eggs I bought on sale "for the grandkids". No more of that nonsense!

Sure wish I could recall the password for the weight loss ticker. I might be permanently stuck on 11 pounds lost.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Oh My! Oh My Gravy (as they exclaim on this season's Amazing Race)!
Wonderful Daughter called a few minutes ago with Amazing News...

The soon-to-be-ex husband left her a voice mail message today. How he got her unlisted highly protected phone number remains a mystery and is beside the point right now.

He called to say... wait for it... he will not oppose the divorce any longer. She has been set free!

So, closure on this chapter of her life is imminent. Hopefully now, he will stop stalking her and threatening her with violence. I don't know if I already mentioned this, but the last time (and there have been several times) he violated what you would know as a restraining order and was arrested for it, he was sitting in her driveway, late at night, with a hunting knife in his pocket.

There have been other instances since then but that was the last time he actually got arrested for it. She has been through hell.

Hopefully his latest move is the beginning of an amicable end.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Heat is On!

I just did the math yesterday (and then called my long-suffering father in law to double check since referring to my mathimatical calculations as "skills' would be a big fat lie) and realized my in-laws Golden wedding anniversary isn't in the autumn of's next October!

Yes, the Nameless Man's parents are still together after all these years. Although, we're fairly certain they don't love each other. (ba dum bum)
My parents realized long ago they might love each other but they sure as heck couldn`t live together so they divorced within 2 years after I was born. Then, my dad died when I was 18 but that`s another (long winded) story.

For their 40th anniversary, my heinous MIL advised me they would like a party and handed me a guest list. So, like the chumpy doormat I am, the Nameless Man and I rented the upper room of our favourite restaurant, hired a D.J. and had a nice sit down meal for about 30 or so... final bill was about $800 each for the Nameless Man and his brother. Nameless Man and I took care of the venue and DJ, the brother only had to pay for half of the dinner. Somehow, their half sister didn't attend or contribute...maybe because she didn't attend? Wish I'd thought of that!

Anyway, back to yesterday. Once the heart palpitations stopped, I realized I don't want to put on another fancy party. I really don't. For several reasons:

1) I don't enjoy my MIL. Not one bit. Her passive aggressive nonsense has gone on for almost 30 years (more on the 30 years later) and I am heartily sick of her. She actually got worse about 15 years ago when she fell backwards while ice-skating on the lagoon with Wonderful Daughter (who swears she never pushed her... I taught her well, she was going to wait until later in the year, once the ice melted before she did any pushing..."let's go feed the ducks grandma..., oops!") and sustained an undiagnosed closed head injury. I have diagnosed her based on observing her horrible behaviour! She was a pain before that, but became intolerable afterwards. And, unlike fine wine, she does not get better with age!

2) They have no friends. Nope, no friends. Due to her stellar personality, they have absolutely no one to hang out with, go to dinner with, go to a show with, have over to play cards...nuthin! She used to have a lovely friend who would go shopping with her and bike riding and tennis but, unfortunately, she drove her off. The final straw for her friend, after years of snide remarks and hurtful comments, was when she showed up to go shopping in a (gasp!) clean, unstained T-shirt she had just pulled from the dryer and pulled on. The friend said she thought the T-shirt would be okay to go shopping in, since she saw plenty of other women her age wearing them in the mall. MIL conceded, yes other women DID wear T-shirts in public, but unlike her friend, they "weren't too lazy to iron theirs first"! This poor gal suffered from low self esteem in the first place...anyways, that was the end.

3) Their family doesn't enjoy them either. The last time I saw Nameless Man's very sweet aunt, who was staying with the in-laws for the weekend along with her adorable new Chihuahua puppy, in a space of less than 15 minutes, my MIL had advised Auntie her beloved puppy looked like a rat, was fat and was spoiled. Right about then I would be training my Chihuahua to go fetch a ladder and lunge for her throat. Nah, I would have just entertained visions of punching her in the throat myself. (I never take Tikki over there for this very reason. He'd do it too! And, I would allow it.) So...who would we invite?! It was tough to get enough numbers to come to their 40th. How pathetic would it be to arrange a big 50th and have less than 30 people show up? BTW, we, the brother and his family along with Nameless Man and our progeny, number 16 of those possible 30 attendees. Where I could round up another 14 is beyond me. And FIL has 4 other siblings! With big Mormon families. No, we are not members.

4) MIL's only sibling is in the process of dying from cancer. Now that MIL is spending every other month in Saskatchewan caring for her, all 4 of her nieces and their families have gotten to know MIL a lot better. So they wouldn't come.

5) Our 30th anniversary is in 2011 and I would love to go on a cruise. We haven't had a vacation since W.D.'s Troubles with the soon-to-be-ex began so a cruise would be great! Hopefully she will have seen the last of that gentleman and can meet a hunky cruise boat captain who would like nothing more than to provide his new, fabulous in-laws with semi annual cruises to exotic locales where they would bask in the sun on white sandy beaches, while sipping tall cold alcoholic...erm, sorry...where was I? Oh yes, a vacation would be nice for our 30th. So if we shell out all our disposable income (bwah ha ha, "Disposable Income", oh, my sides! I am wiping the tears of mirth away so I can finish this post) there would be nothing left in the kitty by August of 2011.

5) Last time, Wonderful Daughter and I did all the work. We printed matching invitations and envelopes along with reply cards. We made all the arrangements. We did all the shopping and decorating. We handled it all. Because SHE wanted a party. Ugh. Wonderful daughter has enough on her plate without worrying about a party. Although she does enjoy organizing (bossing) and does a stellar job of it. If the Thrid Reich had had her in charge, things would have gone quite a bit differently. I envision us all greeting one another with `Heil` while wearing really nice shoes!

6) We are not "fancy party" people. We are "BBQ with a beer and frisbees" people. My MIL watched too much Dynasty and Falcon Crest in the 80's and it addled her brain. Move over Angela Channing... we have a new family matriarch.

7) We are all busy trying to survive the economic downturn and help out our own kids and grandkids. No one is into spending a bundle on another party. At least I know I don`t. And, since brother and his family rarely see the in-laws, even though we all live in the same city, I can hazard a guess they wouldn`t be into it either.

So, I am waiting for the Nameless Man to phone his younger brother to run it past him, but we think a nice family dinner for the 18 of us at a nice restaurant at a golf resort in the Rocky Mountains would suffice. Just picture it, great views, like the picture at the top, and fabulous food, along with a tastefully framed family portrait of us "kids" and our families. Wouldn't that be nice? Even though the food wouldn't be harmonious with her many (imaginary) allergies, and the picture frame would clash with her garage sale decorating treasures.

The Rustica Steakhouse at the Silvertip resort has a fixed price menu with several choices for an appy, main and dessert along with one bottle of wine for $90 to $110 per couple. The projected cost for dinner for 7 couples and some kids, around $800 - $900 and then $200 - $300 for framed pictures if we get them shot outdoors. Hopefully brother's budget would allow for 50/50 this time around, but even if not, we would split it 2 ways. I like the sound of this. Your opinion please?

And, let me assure you, before you even mention it, the fact the family portrait would be shot weeks in advance and NOT include her never even crossed my mind...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Alzheimer's Cleared up!

WOW!!! I can't believe it took me this long to recall my password for my blog... okay, I'm totally lying! It took me THIS LONG to figure out how to reset the dang thing!

I have SO much to catch you up on...and apparently I SHOUT ALL THE TIME NOW!! Perhaps I've gone deaf, you know how they overcompensate...

Bad memory and deaf...sounds like your great aunt with the hairs growing out of her chin and the lingering Noxema scent.

So...catching you up since December...

Where to begin...? I basically got an awesome Aero Garden from my MIL as a gift for doing one million things for her. Yep, I sold my soul to the evil MIL so I can grow crap indoors. So far, I've grown a whack of Basil, Chives and killed off 2 batches of thyme. Hmmm...Forgetful, Deaf, Herb Killer... how is that gonna look on a resume? Good thing I already have a job.
Until Wonderful Daughter comes to her senses, that is.

Tikki is no longer pink and has been Extreme Groomed which is code for shaved to within an inch of his life by a great gal named Jess. She came to the house and got him all cleaned up for me. It cost me $80 big ones. Why did I pay $80 for a service I could get for under $50 everywhere else? Just doing my bit to stimulate the Because she comes to the house and because my spoiled little man turned out to be a viscious biter. So much so that we had to wrap him in towel to restain him from hurting himself (or puncturing Jess). Then, he got so freaked out, he messed the towel. So make that the price for grooming $60 plus $20tip, plus new bath sheet. But he sure looks purty!

Wonderful Daughter and I have been able to hire a new girl. She is awesome! We love her and we hope to keep her schedule so full that in turn she loves us and we love her and she loves that we love her.

I started a Facebook account that turned out to be a bit more than I could handle... I met and made a great couple of friends there. Unfortunately, I developed a Yoville addiction and had to completely give it all up. I tried limiting myself to an hour a day, no dice. Then, I tried just logging on to play Friday evenings but I wanted to be on more to see what was new, who was on, what was going get the picture. So, I gave up my cool Yoville apartment, my great Victorian style house, my extensive virtual wardrobe including a top hat W.D. paid $40,000 yocoins for, my virtual poodle and all my cool, great, fantastic virtual stuff in my fake Yoville life.

I really miss visiting with my Facebook buddies but it's nice to have more time for my real life friends and family. As soon as the weather clears up, I'm going to start walking Tikki regularly again.

Which will tie in well with my last bit of news...I regained the eleven pounds I had lost by December and then gained some more to max out at 207. Then, I found the magic secret and lost TWELVE WHOLE POUNDS!!! Yes, I know, enough with the shouting already. I finally found a way of life. Not a diet. I can't stay on a diet. That's how I got up to 207. Yes, that's a weight, not a year.
I finally smartened up, stopped taking diet pills and looking for a quick fix and found a way of life that ultimately, long term, will result in me reaching my target weight.
Which is in the 130 neighbourhood.

I am now following the South Beach Diet which, at this phase (2) means loads of fresh vegetables, fruit, low fat dairy, cheese and lean meats. I don't get much sugar, potatoes or white rice. The weight is coming off, very slowly. I strive to lose a maximum of 2 pounds a week. Once the snow is finally gone here in my neck of the woods, I will begin interval walking with Tikki. Then I can lose a bit more each week, but from diet alone, 2 pounds per week is the most i can take off without hurting myself long term.

So, expect more boring weight loss effort blog posts. And other miscellaneous brain dribble. Hey, it could have been worse...I could have filled you in on all the goings on in Yoville. Luckily for you, we all agreed what happens in Yoville, stays in Yoville.

Oh, one last thing. Dawn, over at Fixing Myself Thinner ( I have forgotten how to do a link...) HIT HER GOAL WEIGHT!!!!! And then she PASSED it!!! Now, that's truly something to shout about! Yay Dawn! Congratulations on being crowned a Queen at TOPS. Your pictures looked great and you inspire me!