Monthly Archives: January 2014

House Pants, Revisited

Several years ago, for my birthday, my mother wanted to buy me some nice yoga pants. We went to the Lululemon factory outlet store (don’t google, it no longer exist) and I tried on a lot of different pants and observed that their pants give everyone The Toe (you know the kind I mean. The camel kind). I chose a pair of non-stretchy, more-like-harem pants in the biggest size they had, which was 12, and we moved on with our lives. That was FOUR YEARS AGO! also an Olympic year.

Oh how I grew to love those pants. They were comfortable, non-binding, airy and light. I did not wear them to exercise, but around the house. I called them My House Pants and when I came home from anywhere, even the park, I put on my House Pants and I was home. Even when — especially when? — stay at home parenting is your full time job, it’s important to divide the day into work and not work. Or some other fuzzy line that everyone can place for him or herself.

In the Fall of 2013, I washed my house pants and the elastic waistband didn’t dry properly or in enough time or something and it took on a funk. The smell of mildew, or clothes-that-sit-around-too-long-in-the-washer. I washed them several times, used vinegar, pine-sol, stain remover, magic voodoo sauce, to no avail. The waistband of my favourite pants smelled bad. And no, the waistband is not near my face, but it is the only part of the house pants that touched my body, so my body’s heat would sometimes activate the smell and then I would get a whiff that was bad and you know, house pants are for RELAXING, not making you feel bad about your smell.

I kept them in the drawer for a while and then, recently, I gave them away, rationalizing that maybe some other genius person in the world would be able to get the smell out, or maybe a person who has no sense of smell could buy them and enjoy them, since they were otherwise in fantastic shape, having only really been worn around the, you know, HOUSE for four years.

This left me with a lack of house pants and this was sad, especially as it is winter, the season when we most need house pants.

I purchased some tights on a whim and they have worked out great as running tights but they are not so comfortable for lounging around the house.

I purchased some cheap flowy-style yoga-ish pants but they are shiny fabric’d and remind me of Elvis and have no pockets.

I have been wearing flannel polka-dot pyjama pants but the waist is held by a ribbon and it’s always coming undone and also they have no pockets.


Yesterday my mother called me.

“I was given some yoga pants,” she said. “They are too long for me. Would you like them?”

Leaving aside the question of who gives another person yoga pants (except I know you’re curious, so the answer is: the friend of my mother’s who is a relative of someone who works in or near a yoga pant factory) I had the feeling these pants would work for me. She described them as harem-style, with an elastic waist, and pockets, and drawstring around the ankles. It was too much to hope that they would be the same style as my dearly beloved and recently so stinky house pants but hope I did because what is a life without hope.

Today, my mother met me at the mall and we had coffee and shopped for things and she gave me the house pants and THEY ARE NEARLY* EXACTLY THE SAME.

*they are pleated and I think they might be a size 10 (there is no label) and the inseam is shorter than the old house pants but other than that, they are the same. Same! Same! Pants!

It was an average, ordinary day, and then my new house pants came home.

Here is a picture of my trying to show you my pants. In the House kind of yoga this pose is called “teenage flamingo.”


Happy New Year My Pretties

I’m not sure if you noticed but it’s 2014 now. We’re three days in. The other day Arlo told me his favourite numbers are seventeen and twenty-two. Eli likes twenty-three and …I forget the other. I like nines and seventeens myself. Not fond of the number 4. That this year ends with a four and that it is also my fourtiesthhh birthday in a month makes me kind of cringe but then I was born in a year that ends with four so what the hell is my problem. At some point you have to make peace with the number you hate. #sobernod

There are a lot of lessons all around me, all the time. For seven years I was a mother (um, I still am) and that was full of lessons. Now I am a part-time worker in an environment that is challenging and if I tell you that it’s full of lessons imagine a small car crammed so full of balloons you can’t even drive and you just sit and laugh and laugh until the force of your laughter causes some of the balloons to pop and then you pull out of your parking spot and drive away. Every time I go to work I am challenged in some other part of my brain and personality. Mostly it is not challenging in an intellectual way any more; I have started to grasp the wheres and hows of the work.

Well kind of. It is the government, which means nothing is what it seems and information is either from 2001 or hidden down rabbit holes that you can’t access from your computer because that website is forbidden.

But now I am dealing with the emotional or interpersonal challenges, such as the person I work with who is just really the opposite of me entirely, for which I can neither fault her nor embrace her. The lessons I’m learning are of this nature: you can’t change peoples’ minds about you, when you smile larger you look friendlier, be yourself no matter what they say, let it go, let it go, let it go. I have always had trouble letting things go, not all things but the things that bother me. Of course. Holding on to things is how we remember them and how we remember is how we know who we are. I guess. But holding on to things that are hurtful or mystifying or debilitating causes me stress. Going over and over and over things in my head only makes me feel more hamster-like, and that makes me not sleep, not want to go to work, not want to do anything but tear tissues to shreds and panic. And it makes me grumpy. And when I’m grumpy and stressed I can’t learn because my brain shuts off the part of it that learns, and then I make more mistakes which incurs the correction of the person I work with which makes me feel worse and then I keep replaying how I could have done it differently and look how long this sentence is YOU GUYS I am the poster-girl for letting go.

You know how people choose words for the year and then try to – I don’t know – focus? on the words or make themselves work around the words, well I’ve never really been able to do that (don’t fact-check me, I didn’t go looking and it wouldn’t entirely surprise me if I did in fact try to choose a word one year and then abandon it) because one word for a whole year feels kind of impossible. Yes, the newness of January makes it easy to focus on the word but what about when the norovirus hits and your family is out for three weeks and you don’t even remember what it is to have clean armpits, what of your word then? FORGOTTEN. Unless your word is forget.

Over the Christmas holidays I found myself tied up in knots about things and it occurred to me that my word, or guiding principle if you prefer, might need to be RELEASE. In part because LET GO is two words unless you write it LETGO which is good but kind of urgent and reminiscent of LEGO, whereas RELEASE has two meanings; verb and noun, and it just sounds nice. RELEASE. When I say it to myself I unclench my fists, I stretch out my jaw, I smile widely no matter how silly I look, I cast my mind to other places. I send the hamster wheel of ridiculous analysis off spinning into space where it can wheel and spin forever for all I care, and I think about something else instead. Like how much I like the sound of RELEASE. A new lease. Freedom from the perception that anything I do can make a difference to how another individual perceives me. I AM ME. And that is all.