dys·func·tion /dɪsˈfʌŋkʃən/ [dis-fuhngk-shuhn]–noun
1. Medicine/Medical . malfunctioning, as of an organ or structure of the body. 2. any malfunctioning part or element: the dysfunctions of the country's economy. 3. Sociology . a consequence of a social practice or behavior pattern that undermines the stability of a social system.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Side of the Bed

Boyfriend and I have respective 'sides' of the bed.

Mostly because I am a creature of habit, and I don't like to share my pillows (they're fluffier than his).



My side of the bed is beside my rocking chair, nearest the girls' bedroom (for easy nighttime feeding access), and fluffier than his side.



Every night we cuddle. Now after a certain amount of time in a relationship, there is a good chance that this will wear off, and realistically we almost never wake up cuddling, but every night when we wiggle under the sheets we mash ourselves together in one big warm ball of love.

At some point during the night my hips begin to ache, Boyfriend begins to snore, or my ribs are not up for the particular positions required to cuddle, and we move. Perhaps our backs face each other as we snooze towards our respective walls; maybe one of us has chosen the face down position, leaving the other one to flounder alone in their half; but the contact is still there.

I still can feel his warmth, hear his breathing, brush his arm with mine, or even just notice the slight slope towards his body. And it is comforting.



This is why sleeping alone now sucks.



This is also why it is so special that he tucks me in when he leaves in the morning. Most days he is up before everyone else and out the door for his commute to school. Before Splat was born I would wake up with him and we would have breakfast together, but this lack of sleep has turned me into a nasty zombie and I need my sleep. But every morning that he wakes up before the rest of us, and dresses in the light of his cellphone (so not to disturb me), he takes his warm patch of comforter and tucks it in around me - to imitate his body.

When he is dressed, fed, and otherwise prepared for the day, he comes back in to give me a kiss goodbye. I only wake as much as is necessary for a kiss and a "Have a good day," before he leaves and I can go back to sleep. As soon as I hear the door lock I roll onto his side of the bed and bury my face in his pillow. A few deep breaths into the pillow that smells like him, and I'm rocketed back to LaLaLand.

His pillow doesn't reek of cologne, and it doesn't smell like shampoo. It smells like him. Not body odour, no fake chemicals, but of the very intimate scent that lingers after many nights worth of sleep.

My side of the bed may be closer to the girls' bedroom, and the bathroom; it may be fluffier and near the heater; it may be farther from the dirty laundry and the wall; but Boyfriend's side smells like him...

So it's better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Maternal Pledge

I have written this in response to my last post. If there is anything my mother gave me, it is the desire to be the best parent I can possibly be for my children. If for nothing else, then so they do not feel the same pain that I have felt.



The 10 promises that I make as a mother.


1. Affection will not be hidden in my home. My children will know that they are loved because I will tell them that they are loved. I will hug and kiss my children at least once a day, most days more. My children will know that they are loved because I will show them that they are loved.

2. I will not say “Because!” as an answer. I will always answer my children’s questions because they deserve to know. Without answers they will not learn, without answers from me they will not learn to trust me.

3. I will not humiliate or belittle my children when they make mistakes. Accidents happen and mistakes are made to learn from. Gently.

4. I will read with my children and do everything possible to encourage their love of reading. Reading will open many doors for my children and spending the time to read to them will assure them of my love and presence.

5. I will do my best to instil good eating habits in my children. It is easier to be raised with good eating habits than to try and change poor ones later.

6. I will raise my children with tolerance and acceptance. They will not be blind to differences in people, as that is not a reasonable expectation, but the differences that they see will not influence their opinions of people. Someone may be different from me because they have black skin in the same way that someone would be different from me if they had blond hair. Or a penis. They are only differences in appearance and not worth.

7. I will try to do the ‘little extra’.

8. I will become involved in school and other activities because my children will excel if I am invested.

9. I will try my hardest to become a person that my children can talk to about anything, and come to anytime they need help.

10. Above all else, I will love my children with forgiveness and understanding for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Taste of Delusion


de·lu·sion
[dih-loo-zhuh-n]
-noun

1. a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc: he has delusions of grandeur
2. psychiatry: illusion {see also: hallucination} a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason
3. the act of deluding or state of being deluded 





-vb
13. to give birth to or produce
14. to nurture,  protect, etc.

1. a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc

We would arrange “Girls’ Days” when we could go out shopping, have lunch, and just talk. She would tell me about work and her marital problems, I would tell her about school and various gossip. We were friends. Friends. Looking back now I realize that she was living teenage years that were ‘stripped’ from her, or whichever way she chose to look at her poor decisions. We would go to movies together, shop for clothes, drink (underage for me) together, even curse at one another. She used to tell me that she would ‘never in a million years curse in front of her mother’, but she encouraged the behaviour from me. She started borrowing my clothes without asking (much too small for her anyways), and buying me revealing outfits that I wasn’t comfortable wearing. One Christmas she got us matching hot pink Playboy Bunny pants. I wore them as pyjama bottoms. I have a memory of being invited to a friend’s birthday party in high school. It fell on the same Saturday that we had our ‘Girls’ Day’ planned. I told her about it and asked her to reschedule. She pouted for weeks on end about how my ‘friends’ were more important than her. She would ask me advice about her marriage...or parenting her son...as if I were a close friend or coworker of hers. In her mind we were friends...I had enough friends...


-n
1. a female who has given birth to offspring
6. a female or thing that creates, nurtures, protects, etc, something

2. psychiatry: illusion {see also: hallucination} a belief held in the face of evidence to the contrary, that is resistant to all reason

I had decided to become pregnant. It was my only chance at having children. She decided that this made her old. She looked desperately for ‘cool’ names that seemed younger. She would text message me suggestions from cultures all over the globe. None of them seemed appropriate. Why Yaya if we weren’t Greek? Why Momi if we weren’t Inuit? Despite her only seeing me twice during my pregnancy (once was when we helped Dad move out of their house, once was when she brought her new boyfriend and my replacement – his granddaughter – to meet me) I asked her about her plans for my labour. She wanted me to text her after it was all over. Let me know how it went. I was disappointed, but I honoured her request. She called me after she got the message, asked the required questions, and then expressed her disappointment that I had an epidural when she had done it au naturelle both times. She came down to my house two days later to see my daughter. She stayed about an hour and then left. It would be the only time she has seen either of my children. In emails later, I would be blamed for the relationship dissolving. “Too preoccupied” with my new life to make time for her, it became more and more obvious that after the spotlight was no longer on her, she no longer wanted to be in the play.




moth·er 
mə{thuline}-ər

3. the act of deluding or state of being deluded 

She dramaticized our relationship’s death by playing the victim to her friends. She would make special efforts to hurt me, texting to ask if I was married because she ‘didn’t know’, spreading lies and rumours about Brother and I, plotting with her friends to put us on the spot, and then she would send polite emails – inquiring about the state of my life. Awkwardly she would continue to send Christmas gifts, mostly for the children. Labelled with nicknames she had never called them, signed by a person they’ve never known. She would have to pass them through a string of people, as if we were all children and this was a game of broken telephone, because she has no idea where I live... as I have no idea where she lives. Cutting herself off from us all, she began a new life. Nothing to tie her down or hold her back from her wildest dreams, she is finally free from the all the burdens having a family gave her, the age group it placed her in, and the adulthood she never wanted.



Now, she paints her nails pink.

Monday, February 14, 2011

So Little To Lose

And so much to Gain!



A couple of weeks back, Gain Laundry Detergent went on sale at the local FreshCo at the same time that I ran out of laundry detergent and had to buy more.


What a coincidence!!


Having never used Gain before, I would like to say that I was skeptical... or at least moderately concerned about the outcome of my clothes... but that would be a dirty lie.


Five dollars for laundry detergent!?!?!


Ahahahahaha! I wanted to buy them all!


Luckily, Boyfriend is more levelheaded than I, so we only bought one to give it a try. We laundered that very afternoon and I have a serious review for you.





OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD GAIN LAUNDRY DETERGENT!





I have finally found a brand of laundry detergent for me.

NOT ONLY were my clothes laundered effectively, Gain removed old stains that my previous stuff had left in, AND!!! my clothes smell like happiness!

Long lasting, super awesome happiness!

Bedding, sweaters, BOYFRIEND'S NASTY SOCKS all smell like happiness.


O_O


I am in love.


And so the message of this post (other than for you to immediately drive to the store and buy Gain) is to talk about marketing. If you have a product, that is the bomb, then you NEED to put it on sale somewhere.

NOT ONLY will you reward people who are already loyal customers of your product, but you will also encourage NEW people to try it. And fall madly in love with it. And purchase only your brand of laundry detergent for the rest of their lives*!



*provided it doesn't suddenly start sucking, or Gain decides to charge a ridiculous amount for their laundry detergent. Yes, it is that awesome, but I am even cheaper.






----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------





I have been beaten to a pulp by a cold lately, hence the 'longer than usual' time between posts.

I am also extraordinarily nervous about my next post (Number 100!) since it is so personal that I may have rambled/moved outside of my normal posting format type stuff.

Be gentle.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Attack of the Nachos

When Brother and I were little little little we would share the double bed in the basement at the cottage.

The basement was just one room at the bottom of the stairs. It included the second fridge, 'pop-fridge', the access door for under the cottage (see: scary as hell), and a door to the back/bottom porch thing outside.

When my parents would decide it was bedtime for us, they would usher Brother and I down to the basement to go to sleep. I would check the locks on both the doors (creepy creepy creepy doors) before crawling under the 'McDonald's characters comforter' that my grandmother had acquired God-knows-how-long-ago from God-knows-where.

We would then explode into fits of laughter over the stupidest things our small minds could create.

One night Ronald McDonald and Grimace sparked a conversation about food that isn't really food, and Brother and I ended up talking about the toxicity of Lunchables.


Image from here
I don't remember the exact thought process that led up to the Nachos being able to fly, but they could, and they were vicious. They would aim for your face and eyes, smashing their fake-corn-chip-y goodness off your precious skin, drawing blood and bruising.


It was a brutal event.


One that stayed with Brother and I long after the black mould grew on the ceiling in the basement and we moved upstairs to the shaky bunk bed.


Long after we stopped going to the cottage every other weekend.


I was at the cottage last year and I walked down into the basement.

Our old bed is covered in garbage: pieces of the ceiling, black mould, mouse nesting; the pop-fridge barely runs anymore; and the access door is locked by a giant nail.

I stood in the wreckage wondering how we were ever allowed to sleep down here, when I heard them.




tick        ticktick          tick            tick          tickticktick                  tick




I looked at the windows, and sure enough: a pack of Nachos, flying up against the window, looking for the way in.



They remembered me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Inappropriate Soliciting

so·lic·it

[suh-lis-it]
–verb (used with object)

1. to seek for (something) by entreaty, earnest or respectful request, formal application, etc.: He solicited aid from the minister.

2. to entreat or petition (someone or some agency): to solicit the committee for funds.

3. to seek to influence or incite to action, especially unlawful or wrong action.

4. to offer to have sex with in exchange for money.

–verb (used without object)

5. to make a petition or request, as for something desired.

6. to solicit orders or trade, as for a business: No soliciting allowed in this building.

7. to offer to have sex with someone in exchange for money.


I live in the Ghetto.

G.H.E.T.T.O.

The implication being that my neighbours and I have little to no money.

The Jehovah's Witnesses made sense.

They've come by twice now, asking about my religious groundings; faith in God; reliance upon money for happiness - and each time I have been polite, taken their pamphlets, and gone back inside as quickly as humanly possible.



Yesterday a young man knocked on my door. When I opened the door he tried to come in.

O_o


I blocked the entrance with my body and the door, and tried to make it as obvious as possible that he was not allowed to enter.

Then he began soliciting.

This young man has had a very unfortunate (and very famous) childhood, and he is trying to raise money for an organization that he believes helped him through it.


Fine.


I don't mind that so much, but when he tries repeatedly to come in to my house uninvited, summarizes his entire life story, makes reference to 'falling off the wagon' recently, and then explains how his brother has been stabbed recently which is leading him to wanting to have the perpetrator 'taken care of' but unfortunately he has to leave this up to the law...

Well it's frightening.

He was pretty insistent about a donation too, so I gave him one.

Oh, I can imagine the uproar now. Why? Why would I give him the donation? Then he gets what he wanted and he may come back.

Why? Because it made him leave.

He was truly planning on not leaving without it.

And if I didn't donate, well, my paranoia says he knows where I live.... and maybe I would get 'taken care of'.

Ten dollars seemed a lot safer of an option.

My plan is to not open the door anymore.




Ever.




-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



I have been spending a lot of time thinking about my upcoming 100th post. The voices in my head have made this into a big deal, and I have been working on a post 'A Taste of Delusion' that I was planning on using for the big one-double-zero that talks about my mother.
Now, I'm not so sure. Am I making too big of a deal about this? Should I post a small "Congratulations To Me" post instead? Or something humorous instead of the current darker one? Argh!

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Fourth Car

More than a year after the accident.

I was living with my Dad again (to get back on my feet after leaving Scout) and was attending a local College to get a Biology prerequisite course.

By local I mean a twenty-five or thirty minute drive by car.



I took public transit.



Every morning I would wake up at 5am, shower and dress, and wake up Shake'n'Bake at 5:30. I would dress her and then we would have breakfast together, before bundling up and making the twenty minute walk to the GO Bus stop.


Bus #1 would take us through three cities into the one where my College was. We would get off at the bus terminal and transfer onto Bus #2.


Bus #2 would take us on the highway, out of the city that my College was in, to a train terminal where we would transfer to Bus #3.


Bus #3 would take us to a different city farther North, we'd get off and walk the ten minutes to daycare.


I would say my goodbyes to Shake'n'Bake, abandon my stroller on the front porch of daycare (don't get stolen, oh please don't get stolen), and run the fifteen minute-walk to catch Bus #4.


Bus #4 took me to the College.


Approximate arrival time? 8:10am.


O_o


And then, at the end of every day, I would make the same trip in reverse.

I was spending between five and six hours on the bus every day. At least four of those hours included my one year old.


o_o


It was time to get another car.



My Uncle (Uncle #3) was in the used car business, so Dad talked to him about finding me a suitable car.

He asked me what I was looking for.


"Well,  this is my budget: $XXXX. Other than that...tires...a steering wheel...ooh! A four-door would be nice, but that's not a requirement."



My Fourth Car was a blue 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier.

I didn't even look at a picture to draw this one.


Beautiful! This car was a God-send.

Suddenly three hours became one. Rain became a non-issue. Strollers became irrelevant.

I was soaring.


* * *


When I moved out of Dad's house, Brother and I got a place that was a ten minute walk from the College. When the weather was nice I could drive Shake'n'Bake to daycare, then come home and not pay for parking and walk to class.

Oh it was awesome.

One day it was very difficult to steer my car. So difficult in fact, that I didn't go to class that day. Instead I dropped Shake'n'Bake off at daycare and drove my car to my Uncle's shop.

He hoisted it up and determined that the Power Steering Line had a small leak in it.

Car-mechanic-mumbo-jumbo and presto! My car was fixed!

Yay!


* * *


I finished my Biology Prerequisite course and began working fast food to pay the bills before my online College course started.

My little pregnant belly starting to blossom, Brother would babysit Shake'n'Bake while I went to serve pizzas to angry people.

One night as I came home, my headlights shone through the front window to indicate my arrival.

Or so I had thought.

HeadLIGHT would be more accurate. One of them had stopped working.

Brother tried to fix it (I was really hoping it was just a fuse) but to no avail. There was a wiring problem that was just not in the budget.


"dys·func·tion, isn't it illegal to drive without two working headlights?"


Yes! Why yes it is! You are so astute and observant!

Continuing on...


* * *


I backed out of the driveway on my way to work.


"Odd...it's very hard to turn...must be...cold..."


Straightening out I realized that it wasn't the cold, it was my power steering again.


o_o


I bought more power steering fluid, asked Brother to put it in for me, and then stood there in disgust as it poured out onto the ground.


* * *


The steering stayed broken, giving me many problems in the future.

Especially when I had Death and was too weak to force the steering wheel.

"dys·func·tion, isn't it illegal to drive without functioning power steering?"

Most likely!


* * *


Money was getting tighter.

My belly was getting bigger.

My landlord had to sell his house and we had to move.



In a last-ditch-budgeting effort I called my car insurance company to see if they could help me out.

After they told me 'politely' where I could shove my problems, I asked a broker from a different company.

She shopped around and found an insurance company that would take me for less than half the price of my current one.


Deal. Sold.


So I cancelled my old policy (lost a little money there...) and gave my 'first-and-last' payment to the new one.


Excellent, right?


Not so much. New insurance company changed their mind. They couldn't insure me any more.

And for whatever reason, they couldn't give me back all of my money.


So I lost a little more money.


I took the one week of insurance that I had left, moved my tired and broken car to my new apartment, and parked it.

On the way over I managed to puncture a tire and get a flat.


O_O


* * *


She still sits there today, making sure the driveway doesn't blow away in the wind.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Third Car

You may recall that at the end of the post about My Second Car that my credit card limit was increased again.

Unfortunately, when one has very little income, credit card companies are a little less willing to give you more money to spend.

This resulted in us borrowing money from my parents and his mom AND increasing the limit as much as possible.



I just wanted another car. Something with wheels and doors, but noooooooooo. He wanted a van.

My Third Car First Van wasn't even technically mine. Even though Scout was unable to legally drive (no license) he was quite insistent that the van went under his name for "tax purposes".


O_o


That fell through.



It was a light blue 1997 Dodge Caravan.

No matter how hard I tried, my scanner would not pick up any more of this image.
O_o
What do you know? I can't draw vans either.

It turns out, ALL of my cars have been blue.

Neat.


This newest purchase cost six times more than the previous vehicle, and yet, it was still a piece of garbage.


o_o


Imagine that.


* * *

Within the first month of owning it, the brakes stopped working.

Being as poor as I was, the repair job was...less than ideal.


* * *

February 29, 2008.


We were driving to my Dad's house to pick up Brother. He was supposed to come and spend the weekend with us.

A massive snow storm hit. The worst one that winter.


I was driving.


My cell phone was on my lap in case Dad called, I could hand it to Scout to answer without having to dig it out of my pocket.



The front left tire hit a block of ice.

It felt like I had run over a basketball.

The van went up and down and then turned towards the concrete median.

All I did was correct. Such a gentle movement of the wheel.

I guess the van was on ice...



It spun 180 degrees (completely around backwards) to face oncoming traffic.

The force behind the spin, and the fact that it was so slippery out sent us careening towards the ditch - driver's side first.

We hit the pile of snow on the side of the road with such force that the tires peeled off and we began to roll.
I thought we were going to die.

In that moment I knew that I had killed every person inside my van.


I shut my eyes.



The van rolled onto the driver's side, breaking out all of the windows. My head hit my window before it exploded into shards.

It then rolled onto the roof, caving it in. Another collision - head to roof...or should I say roof to head.

It teetered in contemplation before deciding to roll back on to the driver's side, filling the van with snow, burying me in my seat.

These pictures were taken at the tow shop days later.


The tires peeled off from sliding on the driver's side.


The roof caved in.


Driver's door wouldn't open any more. It was crushed.


The part of the roof that hit my head.





I could hear Scout calling my name and I realized we hadn't died.

I tensed the muscles in my back, feeling for a break or bleed.


Nothing.


Next my thighs, then shoulders, ankles, arms - nothing seemed broken.


I used my free right arm to dig my face out of the snow. It was so cold.

I spit snow and glass from my mouth and brushed it gently from my eyes.

Scout climbed out of his window (the new 'roof' of the van) and began trying to flag down help.


I realized that my head was throbbing in pain.


I reached up and touched it, then looked at my hand to see blood.


My first aid training kicked in and I remembered that your head bleeds a lot for small injuries due to an increase of surface blood vessels.

I shrugged off my small injury and continued digging myself out.

I was digging snow out from in front of my chest when I found the rearview mirror.

Being in shock, I laughed hysterically.

Then I sighed and used it as a shovel.



When I finally dug myself out, I unbuckled and climbed on the steering column.

Standing on the wheel, I was still too short to climb out the passenger window unassisted.

Finally free, I stood in the snow... in the ditch... and shivered.

My phone was long gone, it had flown out a window.


A passerby had stopped and called 911... then left.


Another couple stopped with their van. They offered us a warm place to sit while we waited.

They were on their way to the airport, but they stopped. And they stayed with us. I don't even know their names. I am so grateful to them.

I asked for a tissue or napkin since my head was bleeding.


"I don't want to bleed on your seat." I had said so eloquently.


The tissue led to the discovery that it wasn't my head that was bleeding - it was my hand. In my state of shock I forgot to check my hand before I touched my head. A few small scrapes from the glass on my palm had caused a little bleed. It was really nothing.


The tow truck showed up within the first five minutes.

It was 30 minutes before any emergency vehicle arrived.


Fire was there first.


They kicked Scout out of the warm van and made him stand outside while they talked to me.


When the paramedics arrived they seemed perturbed to be there.

I explained the situation, saying specifically that I had hit my head twice and was PREGNANT.

They told me that 'babies are hearty at that age' and said that we didn't need to go to the hospital.


O_o


They wanted us to call someone for a ride and wait in the snow for them to arrive.


O_O


I requested to go to the hospital.

The said I didn't need to go, so they weren't going to take me.


o_o


Then I got angry.


"I am pregnant! I will start making up symptoms. You are taking me to the hospital now."


They took us to the hospital that was farther away from where we lived, although we were closer to the one in our hometown.


Everyone was fine, luckily.


The van was totalled.


By the time we could get back to the tow shop, the fees cost more than the van was worth. So Scout signed the ownership over to them.


Hence, My Winter Anxiety.




It would be more than a year before I drove again.
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