Monthly Archives: May 2013

4 — Explorers

Two weeks ago, the Queen’s Park neighbourhood Garage Sale happened. It’s an annual event where several city blocks take part in a garage sale and people wander through a very nice, old neighbourhood. It’s a lovely walk. We always go. Usually we toss the kids a dollar each and they come home with plenty of deals. This year they got two dollars each and came home with hockey cards (which, when asked, Eli admitted he doesn’t collect, but that he might start..NOW) and some other stuff that I’ve already forgotten because it’s been absorbed into our house full of stuff where more stuff is definitely not needed.

Contents of Closet

(this is what was in our hall closet, besides all the coats. Don’t worry, I cleaned it up.)

Arlo and his friend from school set up a cookie-selling table at a house near his friend’s house and made $34 which they split down the middle. Despite making 1/4 of the cookies, I did not see a red cent! But was informed that a lot of people chose my cookies. I will accept this as payment, THIS YEAR.

Eli said, make your funniest face! So. Yeah.

Eli said, make your funniest face! So. Yeah.

When we were nearly home, a kind (?) woman who was walking past us said, “Oh! Boys! There’s a FREE BASEBALL BAT across the street!” and Arlo got there first so now he owns a baseball bat.

Real Wood!

A couple days later the kids decided they would go out in the morning before school and explore our local environs, knowing always to not go through any gates or on to anyone’s private property. Arlo needed to dress the part, so he came downstairs in his shorts and fleece jacket, with binoculars and a backpack. Eli followed suit. At the last minute, Arlo decided he also needed his baseball bat.


There are a couple of new hoodlums in town.

3 — Internet Cleanse 2013

A few weeks ago we tried to switch internet service providers. The reasons are not important. It was meant to be a routine prisoner transfer and we ended up without an internet connection for almost two weeks. Ten years ago, that would have been ‘enh,’ kind of like if now you had no home phone service or no chequebook for two weeks — most people know how to find you without using the phone or writing a cheque.

Well I have carefully crafted a life where people other than family should *not* phone me or ask me for cheques because I won’t answer/write one. They are trained to e-mail. I love e-mail. Except when I don’t have access to mine.

Without an internet connection, our house has no e-mail, no world wide web, no tv (we are Netflix only) and no music other than the dusty CDs we dig out of the milk crate and play through the DVD player and TV because there’s no such thing as a CD player any more. We listen to internet radio, or we listen to our own music, copies of those CDs ripped and streamed over our server. None of which works without the Internet.

(This is my panic face.)

For the first day without internet access I was OK. Well, first I sulked a lot, and then I was OK. I have books, after all, and amusing children! and a radio. And a car. I took the car to the library and took out five more books and the maximum amount of DVDs, which is ten (10).

The next day I realized I was reading four books at the same time, trying to replicate the internet experience of multi-tasking, like when I go to Twitter and five people have posted interesting links so I open all the links in new tabs and then read the first three sentences of each tab and move on — oh, but don’t close the tab, don’t be silly, I’ll probably go back and read the rest SOMEDAY.

I was doing that with books. Two fiction and two non fiction. Just like the Internet!

I also took my laptop to the library and to Starbucks because there is wi-fi there, so I could log in, collect my e-mail and open up a bunch of tabs with articles to read later when I absolutely needed something to look at while I ate my lunch or after breakfast.

Why is reading a book so much harder? I love books. But sometimes (more often in the past few years) I want something quick. I don’t want to get all involved in some IDEA. I just want a hit, man.

It’s kind of sad and scary, actually. I have methodically destroyed my attention span over the years. I used to have a very good attention span.

But it is possible to recover. It is possible to wean yourself from the constant news / not-news / opinions / etc. cycle and then, when you go back to the playground that is the Internet, just limit yourself to climbing a structure OR sliding down a slide OR doing some monkey bars; not all of them halfway, over and over, like some demented five year old who spent the whole day inside.

While I was internet free, I missed: the BC election, various natural disasters, political scandals breaking, and countless instances of hilarity and poignancy. And, of course, all the bullshit that accompanies politics, natural disasters, political scandals, etc. namely: everyone in the world’s ability to instantly pronounce opinions on same.

But I didn’t really miss it. At first I felt like I was missing something; possibly everything. A limb! Then I realized I was carrying on with my life just fine, that the radio is very informative, that everything else is just noise and without noise, I don’t have to try so hard to filter out the important bits. Result: I was more relaxed. I only had to focus on real noise: the kids, the leaf blower, the telephone, my own inner voice. Other peoples’ issues were no longer relevant or pressing.

Which is how it should be, most of the time.

(And which doesn’t mean I wasn’t glad to see the connection come back.)
(This is my gorging-on-netflix face)

Two *

* The second reason I am using numbers for titles is because I am going to try posting every day for one hundred days! Maybe this is a subliminal result of me watching the first five? seven? episodes of House of Cards, which everyone did months ago but I am a non-joiner when it comes to TV and movies, I will hold out until everyone has forgotten about a thing and then pretend I discovered it.

I liked House of Cards after it had been discovered, revered, dismantled, and then discarded, like a box of forgotten tissues in the middle of allergy season. That sort of thing.

And in the first or second episode of House of Cards, the president, sorry, President, has to deliver something within his first hundred days of office and I was thinking, “A hundred days is not so long.” Then I added up the days and one hundred days from yesterday is September 3rd. 1. That is quite long, actually, as time goes. But 2. it had a nice symmetry to it, in that this is the last month of school and when I finish one hundred days of posting it will be the first month of school.

Really what this tells us is summer vacation is just short of one hundred days long.

I suppose I could claim to want to preserve this last summer before Eli starts Kindergarten SHUT UP! I KNOW! IT’S HAPPENING! NO WAY! but really I just want to write here every day because it’s good practise.*

I can’t stand the smirk of Kevin Spacey’s mouth / I love the smirk of Kevin Spacey’s mouth.

That sort of thing.

* 100 words minimum. Because I am a freak about numbers.

One *

When I first had two children, I used to go to big box stores like Costco and Superstore as a form of meditation. Oh sure, I did the shopping while I was there. It was a pleasure to do so, I volunteered for it, because my daily life was executed in a cloud of constant noise and need. At the big box stores, no one needed me. I wandered, silent, picking things up and putting them down, following the list, crossing things off. It was as good as a nap.

Actually, it was BETTER than a nap because at the end, there was food to eat. I could never nap when the children napped because it was a waste of time. At the end of a nap all you are is rested, maybe. Maybe not! Maybe you’re just mad that you couldn’t sleep longer. Naps are a wild card. And then, you haven’t done anything. You’re right back at square one, but with worse hair.

I will never tell anyone to sleep while the baby sleeps, I swear it.

Anyway, that was five years ago. (almost to the day!) Today I went to Costco while Eli was at preschool. I didn’t especially want to go. I would rather have gone for a run, which is what I’ve been doing every preschool class for weeks, or to the library, or stayed home to work on the slowest short story revision ever. But, we were out of peanut butter and multivitamins and nearly out of coffee. It would need to be done this week sometime and would I rather go with Eli? No I would not. Would I rather go on the weekend, with TWO children? NO I WOULD NOT NO NO NO.

Very little makes me feel more like an adult than having two hours free and choosing to go to Costco for the simple reason that it needs doing.

I don’t miss being the All Important Sun-Like Mother of Two Needful Beings. I really like that my kids are now mostly reasonable small people who can butter their own bread. But I do sort of miss that I used to think shopping was a magical, spa-like experience. Now it’s just a chore — albeit one that nets me coffee and really tasty pesto.

* so titled because one of my biggest stumbling blocks in posting to this blog has been choosing titles. Seriously, I have ten drafts that I could publish right now except then I’d have to think of titles. I’m not saying I’m rational! I’m just saying the titles will be numbers unless I can think of something better.