Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I stopped to breathe for a moment today and realized how long it's been since I posted. I can blame lots of things, but it all boils down to the fact that summer messes up our routines. So all week long, I juggle, juggle, juggle our activities but surprisingly nothing seems to get done.

I am working, of course, 2-1/2 days per week - so that puts a damper on beach days. But I am lucky that it's usually only one full day in the office and the occasional meeting on-site; the rest I do early mornings or after the kids are in bed. But right now, it is so hot that I am having trouble focusing on work so I think I will consider tonight a write-off and watch our new DVD purchase of True Blood. Goody goody; can't wait!

Last week both kids were in camps - Ethan in French camp and Jack in bike camp. Camps seem like a really good idea, and they do enjoy them, but oy vey - the driving back and forth! The coordinating of lunches and snacks! Remembering which kid needs a swimsuit on which day! And the spanners in the works, like being told it's Christmas in July day on Friday, so please decorate your bikes accordingly. Excuse me, but Christmas decorations are in the bottom of a POD somewhere I have no idea where. So thankfully I was able to borrow a few items from Susanna and Jim. Jack did great at bike camp, and really enjoyed himself. He SO needs a bigger bike, though! And Camp Bons Jeux was lots of fun for Ethan, too. Until the last day where we got the phone call that Ethan choked on a grape at lunch.

Um, what? Yikes!

I jetted out there as soon as I could, after dropping Jack at home. So we got the call about 12:10, I left here as soon as I got the message at 12:25, and got there at 12:55. He had spit up the grape so they weren't sure why he was still carrying on like a banshee. He could breathe fine, and he was talking normally, but he was SO upset, and spitting drool everywhere. They had tried popsicles and ice cream to calm him down and soothe his throat, but nothing was working. He calmed down somewhat for the drive home. We were just going to drop his buddy Victor at his house before going straight to the clinic. We were almost home when I asked Ethan to take a small sip of water. He did, and started choking and spitting into the bowl I had put on his lap. Next thing you know - GIANT puke - and he said, "Oh that feels better". I screeched to the side of the road, got him out onto someone's lawn, and what was glistening in the midst of the enormous barf pile? A grape, that's what. So by this time he'd had the grape lodged in there for 1 hour and 40 minutes. I bet THAT was comfortable! No wonder the poor kid was upset. I felt bad because we thought he was doing his usual drama thing. Anyway all's well that ends well. He's good and the car needed cleaning anyway. Silver lining.

It's 9 o'clock, the kids are still awake, and Mommy needs (another) beer. So I am signing off for now but promise to catch up again soon. Until then!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Amazing Shows

This weekend I have been so fancy and cultured. All of that is about to change since I have just sat down with popcorn and a drink to watch episode 2 of season 11 of Big Brother. Oh yeah.

On Friday night I went to the movies with the girlfriends. SOMEONE decided it would be a good idea to see My Sister's Keeper. Oh sister mercy me it was brutally heart-wrenching. In preparation for the show I had a purseful of Kleenex, popcorn, candy and a drink. In retrospect: one purseful = not enough Kleenex.

It only took approximately seven seconds for me to start crying. And that's how I spent the next eternity. My shirt got soaked to my belly button so I decided to craft a tear-catcher. I molded a wet Kleenex to the bridge of my nose and layered a dry one over top so it stayed nicely plastered there, catching all the tears before they could saturate my shirt further. All I could taste was salt and it wasn't from the popcorn because I discovered I couldn't actually eat while sobbing. Jen caught me with my tear-catcher mask on though, so that was a little embarassing. More embarassing, however, was when I leaned over to Jen to whisper "My head is going to explode" (because I was holding back all the sobs) and instead of whispering, as soon as I opened my mouth, my sobs DID explode and I showered us both in slobber and snot. And then we both started laughing, which was completely inappropriate at that moment and oh my GOD I was laughing, sobbing, just an overall disastrous mess. It was exhausting.

We took the boys down to - surprise! - the beach on Saturday afternoon. It was a blast! The water was so warm, and the shallows went on forever. We were wave-jumping and the boys were screaming with excitement. It was pretty perfect. The boys weren't wearing their swim clothes but were full-on swimming and the sand that came out of their underwear later could have filled a small sand box. Mar and Aaron came by after, and they had a bag of goodies for the boys that they'd picked up at the Tour de France. Just to fill you in, all four of us get up every morning to watch the Tour stage of the day. We have contests throughout the day and award each other the yellow jersey, green jersey, polkadot etc. Jack always gets the white jersey since he's always the youngest rider. So we are a little Tour-obsessed as a group, and more than a little jealous that Aaron and Marzia just happened to be at the right time and place to see a stage in the south of France! They brought the kids back all this swag, free stuff that was chucked at them from the Caravane before the riders came through in the peloton. It was like Christmas!

Then Saturday night I had a great dinner at Brix in Yaletown to celebrate Kim's birthday. It was a very nice evening out, lots of fun, and fantastic food. Mike did not have such a great night. He took the boys to an outdoor movie night on the beach. It was Monsters vs. Aliens so it sounded like a good idea. Nope. They got there at 8 pm with their chairs, and set up near some school friends, but the movie didn't start until after 10. The boys lasted a few seconds and both started to scream to go home. Jack got scared by "lightning" and Ethan by who knows what, and they both cried the whole way home. Mike said it was a LONG walk.

Today the boys got to see Grandma again after her three weeks in Florida. This week she is packing up and moving out, so they were busy helping her with that. I, on the other hand, had a matinee ticket to Les Miserables at the Stanley in Vancouver. I went with the theatre crew and the show was absolutely incredible. It was way better than a previous production I had seen, and even sounded better than some recordings I've heard from Broadway and London. Wow. My friends Chad and Erin have two talented children, Jack and Emily. Emily was one of the stars of the show - she played young Cosette and she just flat-out rocked. I also may have fallen in love with Enjolras. He was dreamy (in a Victor Hugo revolutionary way). And the men in the show could SING. What a great show. It's held over until August 2nd and I highly recommend it if there is any way to find tickets.

Big Brother is over, now I'm watching Dog the Bounty Hunter. I have fallen so far, so fast.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Lazy Days

Ah, summer. Please stay with us!
Those days that last forever... where you go out for the whole day in a sleeveless shirt and don't even take a cardigan... where the day is not complete if you don't find sand between your toes... where it always ends in ice cream... where your sunglasses live on your face...

Where the kids stay up until 11 o'clock because it's still light out and then wake up at 6 because, guess what? it's light out again... where you march around with your spray sunscreen holstered at the hip ready to blast the kids at regular intervals... where you have to help the boys remove sand from delicate areas that as a female, you wish you didn't have to see any more... where you realize the whole "kids on sugar" thing is NOT a myth... where you realize you have racoon eyes from your sunglasses and trying to even up that tan results in nothing more than burnt eyelids surrounded by a ring of white and now you actually look more like a lemur than anything.

Hang on... Maybe I'm done with summer.


Living at the beach is 100% awesome. We are seriously at the beach every day. Who wouldn't, when it is mere steps away? We ARE eating too much ice cream, though, and are already well-equipped with our frequent-cone-eating rewards cards. Tonight was a fish and chips at the beach night again. I haven't eaten fish for 21 years (with a Belizean exception in 2008) but I had a craving tonight. I don't actually remember that much grease being involved in my past fish and chip-eating life but MAN fried batter of any kind is just 50 different kinds of fantastic. Have you ever noticed that just about every international cuisine has some form of fried treat? Think about it. I have eaten (inhaled) the following finger-licking deep-fried delights: Mexican churros, Indian pakoras, French beignets, English fried Mars bars, oh my GOD Japanese tempura, Greek Loukousomethingys, South African fatcakes, McDonald's hashbrowns, and I've probably forgotten a bunch because I just had to pause and mop up a giant puddle of drool. And then I ate a Mars bar.

Where was I?

At the beginning of every summer, I sit down with the calendar, a Vancouver visitor's guide, and all the coupons from the kids' report cards. We figure out everything we want to do in our two short but glorious months of summer. Ethan wants to do every single thing we have a coupon for, and worries if we do something that doesn't involve a discount. Um, I don't know WHERE he got that from. Ahem. I heard him saying to Jack the other day: "We can't buy that balloon because our new house costs MILLIONS of dollars and that's way more than your piggy bank. and anyway, Mummy packed your piggy bank." No cash, kids, sorry!

And as for Jack, he would be happy playing Wii all day long, but once he gets outside you can't drag the kid in. I started his Kindergarten readiness booklet with him earlier this week, and we've checked off a bunch from the checklist. There was one left: practice walking your route to school. So we left from the street outside what will be our new house, and walked uphill to the school. It's less than 5 blocks. I divided it into "hard steep" - first half a block, "medium steep" - next two, and "easy level" - the rest of the way. It didn't take TOO much coaxing, whining, or moaning, and we were there in 15 minutes. Jack did "run out of power" once and I had to tow him to the stop sign, but the way back only took 12 minutes and overall I was pleased.

Right. The calendar. So far we have gone berry picking, celebrated Canada Day and my birthday, met Jack's school friends at the beach, mini-golfed, bowled and joined the summer reading club.

Berry picking - we missed the strawberries this year because of moving at an inconvenient time berry-wise, but we went to do u-pick anyway. It was raining and all that was left in the fields cost us 38 cents when they weighed our bucket. So we bought a pile of cherries and five pounds of the most amazing English peas. Yumm-o.

Canada Day was an awesome pool day at Gene and Kim's. There were 21 kids in and out of the pool throughout the day, lots of food and drink, and a beautiful sunny day. Ahhhhh. My birthday was also great as we BBQ'd and ate up on the roof top patio with the Buckdills, the Cowdens, Eliot and Megan. The kids played with Hannah downstairs until 11 pm while we ate cake and slowly realized that it had gotten pitch black somewhere in the middle of our conversation. Also, my birthday wish came mostly true. I had asked the boys to keep their hands off their crotches for the day as that would be the best birthday present EVER. They mostly obliged.

Bowling I would rather not talk about as Ethan kind of kicked my ass. I'm not going again until I practice more on the Wii. I can still beat my five year old though. Yee hah.

Anyway there is more to come. Our calendar awaits.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Would YOU?

I ask you this, would YOU buy real estate from this guy?

Where to begin...

Well, I think it's pretty evident that he is alienating a bunch of different sports fanatics by the simple fact that he is wearing what appears to be an Eskimos jersey. Green and yellow, right? I think it's Edmonton's colours. Either way, totally not appropriate for a publicity shot.

Also, he scares the living bejeesus out of me. You know, creep in a dark alley kind of stuff. I think this guy looks so mean that he would somehow extort money from the buyer AND the seller, and then threaten all our families.

Plus his name sounds silly.

I intentionally left his phone number visible because if you are looking for a realtor, I think I have found one here who is probably not selling himself super well. So I am helping him out a little 'cause his photo sure isn't. You're welcome Pappa. And by the way, Pap - if I can call you that because girls love us some Paps - your friends aren't your friends if they:

a. dressed you for this photo shoot
b. took this picture and said, yeah that one's a keeper
c. printed the sign for you
d. helped you put up the sign and publicize your booming real estate career

As an addendum, the property is still for sale. Surprise!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Miracle of the Fish and Dispose

Moving week was so, so hard, but there were definitely some memorable moments buried within. On the last day we had possession of the townhouse, I was cleaning like a mad thing all day. At 4 pm, there were several things left to do: make a run to the dump, drop plant pots in Kim & Gene's barn, dispose of the dead fish, clean the fridge and stove. I decided to head to the dump first.

When you google "Dump", you don't get the right answer. Here in Surrey, you would need to search for "transfer station" because that terminology is just SO evident. So that wasted a bunch of time. Get it? WASTED??? Haha. Anyway. So I found out where I had to go, loaded up the BMW to the roof, got out some cash, and headed off. I drove in, and after a short wait in line with all the dumptrucks and pickups, drove onto the scale. After the car got weighed, I drove around and into this giant warehouse where the stench was nicely concentrated to the point where I could taste it for hours afterwards. The nice man inside directed me where to park, and I got out to start unloading.

Right into a gigantic swamp of oozing sludge. I couldn't even see the floor. The waste transfer guy came over, and looking at my feet, said "First time?" I was wearing flip flops. And the ooze was gently lapping at my bare toes while I quietly vomited inside my mouth. He was very sweet and carried my cardboard over to the pile for me, because as he said, "the less you flip around inside here, the better". I started chucking everything else onto the giant pile of refuse. It was so liberating! After the week I'd had, to physically heave everything and watch it explode into a million bits on a pile of ten million other bits was very therapeutic.

As I drove out, I got all my cash ready and drove onto the scales with a fistful of bills in my hand. I had withdrawn $100, because I had really no idea. She leaned close to the car window and said, "That will be six dollars, please". Um, ok, you'll maybe just need ONE of these twenties, then.

So once I left there I still had to flush the fish. This was Jack's birthday present from a few months back, and I hadn't told him yet that "Fighter" had given up the good fight right about the time we moved out. Jack hadn't noticed that Fighter hadn't been swimming at all lately, just sort of floating sideways and only moving with the water currents if you shook the bowl. Not good. I was completely dreading the fish flush, because I felt that my gentle disposition was not cut out for this, and that Mike should be doing at least this one chore. However, Mike was at the new place with the boys, and I was exhausted and just wanted to get to bed, so I figured better get it over with. I very briefly considered the garbage disposal (EW) and went upstairs to the toilet. I scooped him up with my pink rubber glove, screaming quietly to myself, and the darn thing wriggled out and started swimming madly around. OMG! Now my scream was not so quiet, and I felt so sick to my stomach that I almost killed a LIVING THING. I wrapped his bowl in a plastic bag, and carefully placed him on top of the last load leaving the townhouse.

And ever since, he has been the perfect picture of fishy health. Figure that one out. Did he KNOW I was flushing him? Freaky.

I'd also just like to pay tribute to Grandfather Hardy, who we lost on Monday the 22nd after a stroke the week before. I'm thankful that everyone had a chance to say goodbye, and I hope he is at peace. We unfortunately could not make it down to Florida for the service on the 25th, but we hope to fly there at some point to pay our respects. We will miss you, grandfather, and will cherish many fond memories.