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.