Thursday 10 October 2013

Facing Our Fears

So decision day has come and gone. And it appears I still have myself a daughter and not a new mini roommate.

I received emails and messages asking if the basement troll actually chooses roommate, if I could be their mom. Everyone that had a chance to speak to my wonderful daughter told her she was crazy to pick roommate. Crazy.

You all scared her off.

Life is all about choices. Good choosing my little love.

I love being right. I also love that perhaps I am not a terrible mother after all and that I have raised somewhat smartish children. Spell check is telling me smartish is not a word. Screw you spell check I am way more smartish than you.

So while I bask in the warmth and glory of my super-hero mom cape once again, I thought I would ground myself by sharing with you a not-so super hero mom moment. I can’t have you in awe of me ALL the time. That would be unrealistic.

I am afraid of bats. Like really afraid. I don’t trust anything with fluttery unpredictable movements and they can get all caught up in you hair and shit cuz they are blind and nasty that way and hair throws their sonar tracking off.  And I have long hair.  They have beady eyes and bloody fangs and spread diseases like typhoid. They are the vampires of the animal world. Vampires with wings. Mean wingy flappy blood sucking animal vampires.

Not much can make me run screaming for cover with a hood tied so tight around my head that all you can see are my eyes. Except bats.

One lovely spring afternoon, the snow had finally thawed after a long dark winter and I decided to set up the back patio and enjoy the sun and fresh air with the girls. I even cut up a fresh juicy watermelon for a refreshing and healthy snack.

See…good mom. Wait for it.

As I opened the large patio umbrella after its 10-month hibernation from the recent Calgary winter, Olivia pointed out a ‘bird’ that flew out from its resting place under the umbrella. Note: Not a big fan of birds either. Same idea…fluttery wings.

My anxiety kicked in a little but I continued setting up our little picnic whilst chatting with my children about facing their fears. Like mommy and birds. But the damn ‘bird’ kept coming back, trying to return to the dark safe protection of the umbrella. But it appeared confused. And fluttery. And vampiry.  And not like a bird at all but a freaking bat. And it obviously had typhoid and was flying directly for my un-protected hair.

And I did what any normal mother would do when faced with the threat of death via winged predator mammal. I dropped the f-bomb, threw the plate of watermelon in the air and ran inside shreaking like a wee schoolgirl and slammed the door.

And locked it.

With the children outside. Crying. Banging on the door.

My screams received the attention of my neighbor who ran over, as clearly the entire family was being hacked to death by an axe murderer. She saved the day while I quietly and calmly threw a c-note into the therapy jar and unlocked the door. Then I neatly folded my super-hero mom cape and hid it in the back of the closet.

Understandably I poured a glass of wine. After all it was the weekend and obviously the watermelon and the family moment was unsalvageable.

Perhaps some days I would make a better roommate than momJ

Xo J

You can practically see the Typhoid dripping from its fangs.

Thanks for my nightmares.

Saturday 28 September 2013

The Proposal

It has almost been a year since the start of the famous mom strike. Or infamous. Meh. You say potato. I say potato.

While the girls are definitely more aware of their jobs and responsibilities as part of our family team, I have come across a new parenting challenge as the ladies test their emerging independence.

We generally have no major issues as a family. They are well mannered, helpful and respectful kids, but as of late when I need to lay down the law I am met with resistance in the form of eye rolls, arguing and a plethora of “I’m not a baby” complaints.

One said basement troll is actually counting down the days until she can move out.

I too remember wishing for a fantasy world where there were no rules and no one dictating my life and telling me what to do. Freedom bitches! Now that I am actually living in the land of the long wished for grown ups, I realize that reality bites and instead wish for my mom to come and do my laundry and my dad to take care of the bills. For the fridge to be full and meals to magically appear on the table. To be footloose and fancy free where my biggest concern is what outfit I am wearing the next day.

The other day after yet another arguing session about bedtime and phones being handed over to me after 10pm, I was done. Like stick a fork in me done.
Sound familiar?

I had an idea.

You all know I much prefer giving my kids a creative and safe hands-on life lesson rather than a rambling lecture that we all know they just tune out after 30 seconds. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. I am a bit crazy, but I am not insane. Yet.

Kids learn by doing…so here we go again.
Oh stop squealing with glee.

It appears to me my teenagers are looking for a roommate rather than a mother.

You see, when things are hunky dory and life is going peachy, they love having me as a mom. Like I am the best mom EVER!!

When its time for me to challenge them, guide them, teach them or impose the rules of life and living in my house, they kinda go all schizo. And I’m tired of the schizo. Truth be told, I couldn’t give a rats ass if they get mad at me. As far as I’m concerned, if they are not mad at me at least once a day, then frankly I am not doing my job properly. I am not afraid of them being mad at me. I am not afraid to parent them. I just need them to understand real life and to go the *#$^ to sleep.

So just like last year, I am sick of the nagging and arguing. Instead, I offered a proposal.
You and I can call it an experiment.

The Proposal

If you really want to be treated like an adult in this home, it looks like you have a choice to make.

You can choose for me to be your mom, and accept all that comes with that.
The good, the bad and the ugly.

Or you can choose to be my roommate. You cannot have the best of both worlds.

The roommate rules are the following:

You are entitled by law to food, shelter and medical care.
By law you are expected to go to school.

If you choose to be my roommate, you will need to buy your own groceries. I will give you $50 a week to feed yourself. This includes, breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks and dinner. You can be damn well sure I am grilling juicy steaks for a family of four the first night! Oops, outside voice.

I grocery shop on Sundays. Please feel free to join me this week. Hope you have a loonie for the grocery cart. I will clear off a shelf in the pantry and fridge for you to keep your wares. Please remember to label your items with a Sharpie.

(I do hope they remember to budget for their own Sharpie)

Same applies for laundry. You will be assigned a laundry day. Please be aware that the laundry soap I buy can be a bit pricey. But I am sure you will allot monies for this during your first grocery trip. After all, you are a grown up and you know everything. You may have to buy a cheaper brand. Ditto for the fabric softener. Hope your ass doesn’t get itchy. Oops sorry, I really need to stop treating you like a baby.

If you have any clean, dirty or wet clothes in the washer or dryer at the end of your laundry day, you will conveniently find your clothing in a garbage bag in your bedroom. May I suggest air-drying it as soon as possible; a week between washing days could prove to be very moldy. Oops, sorry! This mom thing is hard to give up.

Roommates are not personal chauffer’s. If I am going somewhere you need to go, please feel free to ask me politely for a ride. That’s what roommates do. If the Spirit so moves me, I may let you tag along for free. If I’m in a pissy mood or if you need a ride somewhere that is not my own destination, (such as basketball practice, orthodontist appointments, the grocery store when you run out of milk) the government pays me .43 cents a kilometer. I will charge you the same. No deals here "roomy", my ride takes premium gasoline. Please ensure you provide me with your transportation requests in advance. I will do my best to accommodate you but in the off chance I can’t, the drug store down the road sells bus tickets. It’s not that long of a walk. Or about $1.22 in gas money.

Cleary, your food budget will not cover extras like, oh lets see. Your phone.  I imagine you will need to earn some extra money to cover your “essential” luxuries. I do appreciate the world may end without your cell phone.

Please accept this as an offer of employment. Minimum wage is currently $9.95 per hour in Alberta. I will pay you $10 per hour. Just think of the extra .5 cents as a retention bonus. After all good help is hard to find. You can let me know what your availability is per day after school and between sport commitments to do extra jobs around the house at my discretion. It may not be glamorous work, but as we are building a new house this one has a shit load to be done before we put it on the market. I really am looking forward to having a slave  an extra set of hands to do the dirty work. Think of it as an entry level position. Hey, we all gotta start somewhere right?

Please be aware you are on a three-month probation period and your employment can be terminated at anytime if I do not find your work satisfactory. AKA….do the job right or I will fire your ass and then you are shit out of luck. Don't worry, you still have options. I hear that delivering flyers at 5:00am can be somewhat lucrative. Cold, but lucrative. You may need to buy extra mittens. And perhaps go to bed before 10:00pm. But hey, I'm not one to tell my my roommate what is best for them.

Bills are to be paid up front. I am not a bank. If you need to work more hours, the availability for extra shifts is endless. But please be aware school is the law and sports may need to be sacrificed. The beauty is you get to choose. That’s what being a grown up is all about. And as you remind me daily, you are almost an adult.

In 4 years, 3 months and 28 days.

Please remember to wash and dry your own dishes and clean up after yourself. Which reminds me, you will need some dish soap. If you want to use the dishwasher, we can work out percentage of the water and electricity bills. Oh yeah….give me a few days to do the math for internet and cable.  How much electricity do you think it takes to charge your phone? Oh, let’s not stress…Instagram is totally is worth it.

In return you may choose your bedtime, make all your own decisions and have your phone all damn nightlong. However, as a renter of a room in my home, please be advised that after 10:00pm, the great room and TV are mine. Please retreat to your own space you have paid for. As a tenant. And grown up.

FYI…as a roommate please don’t touch my things. Like make-up, clothing, shampoo, computer, Netflix, PVR, ketchup, toothpaste. Oh, you get the idea. Being a grown up rocks. You’re gonna love it!

I have one little love thinking about this proposal.
I have one telling me how stupid it is. She is a no-go folks. She chooses ‘mommy’. Smart little thing.

You guess who is who.

I also have her permission to blog about it if she chooses to be my roommate.
I know each and everyone of you (except my mom) are totally hoping she will take the bait and bite.


Princess has until Wednesday to decide. I’ll keep you posted.

Quinn just wants to know if her older sister chooses the roommate option if she has to call me mommy or Jessica. Cuz that seems important right now.

Xo J

Thursday 12 September 2013

I Want To Give You A Prize

Hey…. remember me?
Zip it.

I know it’s been a while, but this bloggy mom has been a bit a bit overwhelmed with real life since the blur of ‘The Strike’ last year. I decided to take a much-needed break from feeling the pressure to write and enjoy my summer with my family.

I’m sorry I didn’t announce it…kinda like I didn’t announce the Strike to the children. You all handled my silence way better than the basement trolls.
Bravo you!

Lets clarify ‘enjoy summer with family’.

I worked.

After all, one does not have many holidays left when one took said vacation days to drive kids to sports tournaments in the spring. Just for you to send me some pity or some wine, I calculated the kilometers I traveled in 12 weeks for tournaments only (not including in-town games or practices) from the end of April to the end of middle of July.

6,055kms. That’s right…I could have traveled across Canada and back again. I didn’t see my fabulous Country from one coast to the other…. instead I sat in hot gyms and slept in some sketchy hotels in God knows were. And I loved it.

So although my summer was relaxing without the rush of sports, it was spent balancing work with bored kids tattletale texting from home. I had by definition real teenagers this summer and true to theory those little loves slept till almost noon everyday if I didn’t threaten iPhone confiscation.

I’m not gonna lie, the quiet mornings were lovely but it did come down to a ‘pay now or pay later’ scenario. I didn’t like the pay later when I had two thirteen year olds interrupting my wine and Jax Teller time at 11:00pm. And I love me some wine and Jax Teller. It wasn’t pretty.

I did come across a bit of a quandary this summer. Whenever my girls babysit or spend time at friends or relatives, I am guaranteed at some point to receive a message or call to let me know how wonderful and helpful my young ladies are. Hell, even the Camp Counselors sent me letters about what helpful leaders the girls were during their week away. Amazing descriptions are relayed to me of children cleaning and tidying without being asked, always being mindful and respectful while being an overall  joy to spend time with.  

As I beam with pride after these conversations, you can imagine my confusion when I walk into my own home after a days work and see two teenagers in there jammies leaving ass-prints on the couch while licking Nutella out of the bowl in their laps. And then rolling their eyes at me when I question what they did all day.

What the deuce???? Sigh…at least I can tell the media I have proof they do know how to cook and clean and perhaps they will indeed be successful well-rounded and responsible adults.  Parenting gold star for me. I’m just gonna stop holding my breath that it will happen in this house. Ever.

But can you hear that? Shhhh, listen closer. It’s the sound of angels singing and school bells ringing. As it all begins again, I hope to get back into the blogging groove. I’ve got a lot of crazy in my head...I just need to get it to the screen.

So what better way to welcome the fall than a give away?  That’s right, yours truly would like to host my very first reader give away. I have no idea how...but here goes.

Comment here on my blog or on my Facebook page (duh…ya gotta like it first: click the button on the top right) and tell me a creative parenting moment. It can be a lovely fluffy Pinterest worthy tale or how you failed miserably. I prefer the failure. And I won’t judge. Ever.

Or you can just tell me how much you love me.
Or what your favourite colour is.
Or guess what number I am thinking of.

I will pick two winners (four tickets each) based on….umm I dunno? If I like you I guess (my contest, my rules) and send you tickets for your family to attend to the 30th annual Calgary Home and Design Show on Friday September 20th, 2013.

I know…impressive eh? That’s how I roll. The passes do come with some swag and there are really great activities for your whole family. Plus when you see all the designer ideas and this years latest trends, it will make you feel really shitty about the state of your own house and lack of Martha-esqueness. Wait…just me? Never mind.

FYI, the Property Brothers are going to be there. I LOVE those guys. If that is not enough to entice you to enter my fabulous give away, then it is highly possible you may be dead from the toenails up. Seriously, they are super yummy.

Ok, so I do see some fault in this. If you don’t live in Calgary it may be a “longish” commute. But Calgary is a really lovely city and we came through that flood and all and you should visit. We could drink wine together. But if you don’t live here, send me a story anyway. I like funny. Of course I will still enjoy a glass without you sitting with me, but I will totally give you an air toast. So it will almost be like we are BFF’s laughing together over a bottle of red.

So if no one participates in this contest, it turns out I have some free VIP tickets to the Calgary Home and Design Show…any takers? I’ll be there too. You can find me camped out next to Drew and Jonathon.

Xo J
PS. If ya want the tickets you gotta leave your name and emailJ

Wednesday 19 June 2013

First World Problems Via Range Rover

It’s not Monday, but it sure feels like it. It’s been a comedy of errors.

All. Day. Long.

Dylan asked me whom I pissed off today. I don’t know, but I’m ready to buy whoever it is a glass of wine and call it a night.

Two of the girls had orthodontics appointments this morning. I adjusted my schedule and made my way to the office on a tight time frame. The doctor was running late, hence I was now running late for appointments I had already pushed back. Breathe in. Breathe out. Our Ortho guy is awesome and he is also a friend, so I didn’t lose my shit. Well done me.

Working for a non-profit agency has its quirks. I thought it was my lucky day when I found a coveted parking spot right in front of the building and didn’t have to walk the usual mile in the rain.
Woot! Woot! My day was turning around.

No it wasn’t. That parking spot would actually ruin my day, but I don’t want to get to ahead of myself.

My computer froze four times while writing a report that needed to be submitted to the government before 3:30pm. Yes, I lost what I had written four times. Shush you asking, “Did you save it?” Cleary I did not. But I learned my lesson on the fourth try and was able to save the document before a forced quit. Look at me learning new things today.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

As I was preparing to leave for my next appointment that I was running late for, a colleague called to inform me that “Holy Shit! Did you know your back tire is completely flat?” The same tire I had patch-repaired just last Monday.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

In hindsight, I should have paid more attention when I wondered why the car next to me was making a hissing sound as I locked my car upon exit one hour earlier.

I drive a Range Rover.
Zip it with your ‘Awe poor muffin’s Range Rover has a flatty tire’.
I get it…First World Problem.

But I paid my dues with years in a minivan.  So as one would expect with the purchase of a luxury vehicle, one phone call and Roadside Assistance was en-route and arrived within minutes. I also expect them to wipe my ass for me, but apparently that detail is not in the fine print. 

I prayed all the way to the dealership that it would be a quick repair and I would be on my way. I knew that Dylan probably wouldn’t appreciate the gift of our first-born child in exchange for a new tire. No such luck. A big twisty piece of metal had corkscrewed its way into the tire and apparently no amount of crazy glue and duct tape would fix that shit.

I calmly told them to get’er done and put a new tire on that bad boy while I figured out the quickest way to make the money needed. Drug Lord and Lady of the Night seemed like feasible options at that point. 

Only to be informed that the tire required was out of stock. 

And would take 7-10 business days to arrive.

Breath in. Breath out.

Math is not my forte, but I quickly counted the days of the week on my fingers and came to the conclusion that ten days does not get me a tire before, oh wait, TODAY!!! Or for the out of town basketball tournament this weekend. And next weekend. Or for work tomorrow. Or to pick up the kids from school. Or to drive to the liquor store tonight.

Alas, the man helping me saw the rage in my eyes. I may have felt a wee bit sorry for him dealing with  bat-shit crazy me, but I can say he was amazing. He called around the entire city to see if anyone had one of these ever so special tires. He calmly told me I was shit out of luck. Only he was more professional.  I was offered four brand new different tires. But I only wanted one? Why do I need four? 

Apparently ‘balancing the load’ is important.
That’s what she said.

I began to panic as my options were pulling a Houdini before my eyes. I tranquilly asked him to explain why in city of over a million people with a plethora of Oil and Gas money for spendy cars…there were no freaking tires available. He explained the Theory of Supply and Demand. He looked confused as I explained my own theory that I demand a tire so he needs to supply it. Now. Please.

I looked around the show room and parking lot. Viola!!!!! Six, count them six, of my exact make and models sat sparkling in the sunlight right in front of me. It was as if God himself had sent me a sign. There were 24 of the exact tires I needed sitting there taunting me.
Problem solved.
They said no.
I still don’t know why as it seemed like a very reasonable solution to me. Apparently the other cars who NO ONE OWNS AND NO ONE DRIVES need there precious tires to SIT IN A PARKING LOT AND NOT DRIVE for necessity.

I asked for a courtesy car. Its Range Rover after all and it wasn’t like I had asked for them to wipe my ass. Yet.  Service dude had to ask a manager. The manager conveyed this message through his go-between:

“Although it was a road hazard and therefore not under warranty, because the part is back ordered we can usually provide a courtesy car”

That’s better. I peed a little.

“However, because “technically” the tires are not a Range Rover product, we cannot help you.

Translate: Ooooh, sorry about your luck but thanks ever so much for all your money.

Umm. Range Rover built the vehicle right? Range Rover chose and put these special-gold-filled-pope-worthy-freaking-rubber-round-things around the Range Rover embossed rim right? I feel confused. You are not going to help me based on a ‘technicality’? Are you effing kidding me? 

My guess is your not gonna wipe my ass either?

I calmly walked into the parking lot and the kind service man helping me followed behind carrying the rubber-less million-dollar rim to put in the back of my car. I politely told him that this customer service experience had left me feeling less than pleased and truly doubting my choice in dealership and brand. That it simply wasn’t worth the hassle (kidding, I fricken’ love my ride) and if I still owned a GMC I would be driving safely away toward home in a dealership courtesy car. He asked if I wanted to speak to the Assistant Service Peon Manager to which I kindly declined, as I needed to calm down first.
Plus, I don’t think a grown woman snot-hanging crying in the lobby makes anyone feel warm and fuzzy.

Piss poor Range Rover. Piss poor. Customer service is really important. Especially when said customer writes a blog that thousands of people from all over the world read each day.
Just saying.

I drove my sorry ass home on the spare tire going 80km/hour in the slow lane down the freeway (that’s like 50/miles per hour for my American friends…sweet balls my math is on fire today) whilst people were speeding past me flipping me the bird and rolling their eyes. Like I don’t get enough eye-rolls from the basement trolls I live with.

Cleary no one could see my tears or the pony tire. I wanted to shout out that I CAN handle the freeway at fast speeds!  I promise. Trust me, I have the bill from the lawyer I had to hire to keep my drivers license from my last ticket to prove it.
FYI…cops are not all that lenient when you are going 52km/hour over the limit.
But that’s a story for another day.

And then I stubbed my baby toe.
And Dylan has a man-cold.
Send wine.

Xo J

PS. The thoughts expressed in this blog regarding Range Rover Customer Service are my own and do not represent…blah blah blah. Up until now it has been a great experience owning this make of vehicle. (Well anything’s an upgrade after the Loser Cruiser right?)
I have left a message for the Dealership Manager and was assured he would call me back tonight. After all, it’s not fair to bitch unless you give them a chance to fix it. 

Its 11:00pm…I’m not holding my breath, but I will keep you postedJ

Addendum June 20, 2013: After a lovely call with the dealership manager, a courtesy car is being located for me as I type this.
Good Job Range Rover:)