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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Welcome to the Ghetto!

To help you enjoy your visit with us, we have a quick information package for you to look at. Just some simple tips and rules that will help you enjoy your visit in a safe and convenient manner.

First of all, don't get mugged.

There are only two parking spots for visitors, and unfortunately one of them is full of the car that holds down the driveway. If you are first to arrive, please park immediately beside this blue car, on the same angle. You may nose in or back in, it is up to you. If you are second, third, etc. to arrive; then you must park on the street somewhere. We, at the Ghetto, are aware that the street signs say 'No Parking', but there are no alternatives I can offer you. Luckily, the neighbours seem pretty understanding about the whole situation. If possible, travel in pairs or groups.

If you make it through step one safely: then Welcome! You are now safe inside the walls. You may sit anywhere that you'd like to. Keep in mind, seating is limited. We use to have two couches here in the Ghetto, technically we still do, but unless you'd like to sit in the sweltering fog that is the loft-in-summer, there is only one couch. We can also provide five dining room chairs (from two different sets) and the cushioned top of the toybox (space may be shared with a buttload of stuffed animals).

You are now on child entertainment duties. Sure, they're not your kids, but you're a novelty to them. We can provide a translator for "Toddler-Gibberish", but the translator is not responsible for any actions caused by or to the children.


Please help yourself to a beverage. We offer: water, coffee, water, tea, milk, and water! Hot drinks will be served in one of our variety of mugs...let's call them 'an exotic collection' from 'various locations'.

Once you have succeeded in filling your bladder, make your way to our washroom. The facility is located just past the mountain of outdoor equiptment, shoe pile, and toys. There are two light switches but only one operates the light. Don't be concerned though, the other one doesn't do anything at all so there is no penalty for choosing wrong! In fact, many of our guests choose to flip both switches at the same time to ensure lighting for their waste management.

Should the toilet paper roll empty, please help yourself to one of the other rolls located in a pillar directly beside the toilet. In the event that all six of the provided toilet paper rolls should be used, the remainder of the residence's supply can be found in the cupboard - still within reach of a seated person.

Once you have finished managing your waste, please press and hold the lever to ensure maximum flushage. Be warned, this still may produce a slow pitiful fill that will end too soon and leave you staring at a larger bowl of your waste. Attempt to flush again. If, after two flushes your waste still has not vacated the bowl, it is now socially acceptable to leave it. Most times the toilet will fix itself.

Please be aware that there is no longer a mat surrounding the toilet. Due to a new 'addition' to our washroom facility, the toilet leaks water from the base upon flushing. The problem is most prominent along the sink side of the toilet, but please be aware of your foot placement upon flushing the toilet. The staff at the Ghetto will clean up the water at the end of every day - like normal - so please, don't worry about cleaning it.

That awful kybo smell is from the diapers in the garbage.

Lastly, The Ghetto is now a temporary residence to a billion or so ants. We vacuum the facility 4-7 times a day, and still they return to scamper the floors. To date, there have been no reports of bites, although The Ghetto can make no guarantees. Feel free to mash, squish, or otherwise cause demise to any ants that you see. Vacuuming may occur during your stay.

We appreciate your patronage, enjoy your visit in The Ghetto.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Morning Rage

I have written in the past about my burning rage for mornings.

Of the bear that awakens within me when I am torn from my warm sheets, soft pillows, and drool spot on my bed.

How then, an epic battle must ensue as the real me must fight the bear to win back control of my body.

Usually coffee helps.

I think the bear had a head start this morning.

Picture from here.

Isn't this picture epic?! I Googled 'woman wrestling bear' and got this picture, which is much more appropriate. Now my morning is getting better.

I was woken up this morning over an hour early by Shake'n'Bake beginning to cry in her bed. Since our rooms are seperated only by a curtain, I called out: "What's wrong?" from the warmth of my bed.

"I want you to tuck my feet in and give me a kiss!" she cried.

"No," I replied, "I only tuck you in at bed time."

Then she lost it. Screaming Crying and kicking the bed, I tried to use my calm voice and tell her to take a breath or say the alphabet. No use. She screamed louder and kicked harder and then the bear sat on the happy mom I want to be.

When her fit was... 'resolved'... we couldn't go back to bed because her screaming had woken Splat up, and she wanted to be fed. I tried to lie in bed and feed her, in hopes that she would remain drowsy and we could all go back to sleep after.


She was wide awake then too, babbling about the various parts of the room and laughing at the desperation on my face. "Happy Mom" then tried to get the day going in an attempt to forget the heinous crimes of the morning, so I announced that it was wake up time and that we were all supposed to get dressed.

I found a dead housefly in my jeans.

Splat is almost out of pants, and we have company today.

Shake'n'Bake has decided that she wants to be a baby again (or something, this is just an assumption) and has decided that she can no longer get dressed on her own. She cried when I said I wouldn't help her put her socks on.

Splat kicked me in the vagina when I was putting her shirt on.

Then she cried because I said 'ow' and told her 'gentle'.

Shake'n'Bake exploded into tears because she has forgotten how to operate shirts over the past two weeks, and can no longer get them over her head.

Then they touched my excema medicine (after I had an itch attack last night that was so bad I was crying).

Splat cried for no reason. A lot.

Shake'n'Bake was impatient and whiny for her breakfast.

Splat cried when I did her hair. And then again when I finished doing her hair.

And again when I was getting her water.

Oh, and I have a buttload of ants that have decided to make my house their house.

And then my internet didn't want to work again this morning...because it does that sometimes.


Yeah, so that's my morning thus far.

F. 'Happy Mom', I'm going to go have a coffee now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Toddler Chores

Shake'n'Bake loves to help.

Some days, (more often than not,) this requires a bit of coercing.


After watching Shake'n'Bake's eagerness to help clean the house (which is in a constant state of dissarray) I decided to cash in on this and designate specific jobs just for her.


Enter: The Job Charts

What started out as one chart for the bathroom, quickly spread to her bedroom, and then the living room. (That is all of the rooms in my house. But dysfunction, what about the kitchen? Or your bedroom? All the same rooms. My bedroom and the girls' bedroom... divided by a curtain. Kitchen, dining room, living room, front hall? One room. And the bathroom.)

This is the bathroom job chart:

We each drew one picture representation of the job that needed to be done. That way, Shake'n'Bake felt included in making the charts, and she was more likely to do the jobs shown.

Put laundry in the laundry basket.

Put recycling in the recycling box.

Put diapers in the diaper bag.

This job chart was the first one that we created. It gave me the freedom to say: "Have you done your bathroom jobs?" and expect that she would then go and do them.

Then I let it get to my head.

Bedroom Jobs:

Created in the hopes that she would be equally as inspired to clean her bedroom... not really.

Make bed.

Put toys in baskets.

Put letter mats away.

Put stuffed animals in wagon.

The jobs from the bedroom were either too difficult or too time consuming, because she was not interested in doing any of them.

I still pushed through, and attempted to make  job chart for the living room.

 Tah dah!

Put colouring supplies back in desk.

Put shoes into shoe stand.

Put toys into basket.

Put books in bookshelf.

The jobs have now been removed from the 'job charts' and are now clothespinned to a line on the wall. That way, I can display the jobs that need to be done, and not all of them.

She's still not overly interested in them anymore, but she will clean (with grumbling) when I ask her to, and she's always excited to clean up everything for some allowance.

Nothing quite like the temptation of a quarter, dime, or nickle for her homemade piggy bank.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Knees

Yeah, that's the whole title. I'm tired. Bear with me.

I have a disease in my knees. A disease in which my knees destroy the cartilidge within them, and then, without the protective cushioning that said cartilidge provides, grind (bone on bone) inappropriate grooves into themselves that can cause mislocation (like dislocation), pain, and popping.

Image from here.

I'd put a check mark beside ALL of those pain spots and more.

When I was 9 years old, I went to the doctor's office to get the results and find out why my knees had been hurting so much when I ran. I used to be on the Track and Field team for running, long jump, and high jump; and they began to throb and burn all the time. I sat in the room all by myself, as my mother was in a different room with Brother. Plus, I was a big girl, I could be alone with no problem.

My little 9 year old self was in for quite the shock when a strange doctor entered the room. He read from the chart and told me that I had a disease in my knees.

"There's no cure, it will only get worse. You'll be in a wheel chair by the time you're thirty."

Then he turned and left the room.

I said nothing to my parents. In my shock, I internalized every piece of this horror, it would be another nine years before I told them. I cried myself to sleep that night, and decided that he was wrong. There was clearly nothing wrong with me, I would just need to let up on running.

The following year I tried to run the 100metre dash instead of the 400metre, and I ended up twisting my knee (in its weakened condition) and sitting out the rest of the events.

The next year, long jump was cut from the list because landing in the sand pit jarred my knees too much, and it hurt to stand after.

I managed to high jump for a few more years, and after acquiring knees braces I even attempted the hurdling team. As long as I was careful, I had convinced myself that I would be able to manage it.

When highschool began, I started biking to school. It would cause me a great deal of pain, but I tried to ignore it. It was only a fifteen or twenty minute bike ride, after all.

In Grade 10 I joined the wrestling team. I loved it, but I noticed how weak my knees were getting. I couldn't participate in warm-up with the rest of the team. I stretched, but that was all. Walking up and down stairs became challenging. I would tell friends to go on ahead without me, I was late for classes.

I kneeled down in a store to look at an item on the bottom shelf and I couldn't get back up.

The next year, I could no longer bike to school. I resigned myself to the fourty-five minute walk instead. I got a medical exemption from the stairs at school and recieved a key to operate the elevator. If I had to kneel down anywhere, I needed someone to pull me back to standing - and then hold me up while the circulation returned to my knees.

In a wheelchair by the time you're thirty.

It haunted me. I was only 17 and I couldn't walk up stairs or kneel down.

The following year my Scouting group went on a canoe trip. One of my greatest passions.

My knees were so bad that I couldn't sit in the canoe. Angered, stupid, and rash; I left the camp.

The following year Shake'n'Bake was born, and I went to see another knee specialist. This one scheduled me for surgery for the following January.

Waiting for the OR to take me, I lay on a stretcher in my nuddy pants being told by nurses and other doctors how brave I was to have surgery on both knees at once. Brave? Why? Is it a bad idea? Someone? Anyone?!

It was June before I had good use of my legs again.

That was 2009.

It's been two years now, and do you know what I did yesterday? Yesterday we piled Shake'n'Bake and Splat into the new bike trailer that Splat recieved from my parents for her birthday, and Boyfriend and I biked all the way to the pool for our swim. Then we biked home after.

With Boyfriend starting shift work again, I asked to have the trailer hooked up to my bike. That way I can take the girls out when he's at work.


No dice. A few hills and a gentle incline, and my knees SCREAMED bloody murder. I pushed through it and I nearly made it all the way there and back. I gave the last hill to Boyfriend, we switched bikes.

We're going to move the trailer to his bike for future trips, but I'm rather proud of myself for accomplishing what I did.

I'm also worried that, in time, I may have biking stripped from me again. This time... well, this time I know enough to enjoy what I have. I know enough to push myself while it's still possible, and what to fight for while it's still available to me.

More surgery? Almost definitely.

A wheelchair by the time I'm thirty? Not if I can help it.
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