Tag Archives: ask the audience

Seventy-One — Shoes

Look at this shoe. Is it not the most adorable, bright, fun-looking shoe you have ever seen?

Bloo shoo.

Bloo shoo.

No, it’s not mine. It’s Arlo’s. THIS is my shoe:

"Does this shoe come in 'cute'?"

“Does this shoe come in ‘cute’?”

Maybe I like the blue ones so much because they are the size of my big toe? Anyway!

Traditionally I buy cheap runners for my kids. I don’t want to spend adult shoe prices for kids’ shoes, so I don’t. But they are getting bigger and more active and harder on their shoes. Now that I’m pondering spending cheap shoes x 3 per year maybe the good quality shoes are a better idea? Hm.

So today I bought the awesome running shoes for Arlo.

“I love them, but,” he said, “I don’t know how to tie laces.”

“That’s OK,” I said, “we have those curly no-tie lace thingees. And anyway, maybe it’s time you learned to tie laces?”

He looked skeptical.

When we got home I found the curly no-tie lace thingees and at great expense to my knuckles and fingertips, threaded one through the eyelets of the shoe. It looks awful; the laces are black and the shoes are neon. Just dumb. This is dumb, I thought. Everyone learns to tie a shoe some time. The entire world is not made of VELCRO. Why, back in my day you had to tie a shoe before you could start kindergarten! Dude is going into grade two!

Being a modern parent, I googled “teach kid tie shoe” and that’s how I came to “The Magic Fingers Technique.” Apparently it’s a way to learn to tie your shoes in FIVE MINUTES! Well! I thought. Here we go. Saaaaved by the Internet. I watched the video, a little six year old girl tying a shoe. I watched it all slowed down. I tried it. I totally failed to tie the shoelace.

What? The heck?

I watched the video again, paused it, went slow. Great news! I have a missing part of my brain. It’s the part that lets me interpret “put your thumb and first finger in front of lace.”

I tried it five times and it didn’t work. So I tried tying a shoelace very slowly, the regular loop, thread, pull way, just to make sure I can still do it, and I can. Whew. The plan now is to a) try it my way first and then b) show him the video and see if he perhaps has the part of my brain I am missing. It would explain a lot.

Do you have thoughts or tips on shoe tying? Are your kids eighteen years old and still have no idea how to tie? Or did you teach them at age 3? Let me know!

Fifty-Four — Habits

Bring Back the Words: Do you have a habit that wouldn’t make sense to most people?”

Do I have a habit that wouldn’t make sense to most people? I flatter myself that I am fairly average, while still being completely exceptional, so I suspect not. Let’s go through the habits I can think of and you tell me if they make sense or not.

— I eat chips while I read, in bed, before going to sleep. Some people I’ve met think this habit is horrible and disgusting and it is if you think about all those chip crumbs in your bed and the greasy fingers turning pages. Awful! But to me it is nearly always* necessary.
* unless I am already so full I can’t move or I have no chips.

— It’s a rare evening when I manage to drag my tired and chip-encrusted ass out of bed after I’m done snacking but before I turn out the light so I can brush my teeth before I go to sleep, and that’s another disgusting (non?) habit. It also makes my morning breath The Worst Ever Except for Your Dog’s and yet.

Aside: Maybe this should instead be a study of ‘Do I have a habit that is so disgusting it will make people run screaming from my internet website?’ Maybe.

— Nine squares of toilet paper. No more, no less.

— I need a NEW KNIFE to spread my peanut butter. Not the other knife that probably has peanut butter on it but might have mustard on it. Can you imagine something worse than peanut butter mixed with mustard?

— I have a habit of having brilliant ideas about my future and not following through.

— I have a habit of making too many plans for one day and nothing for the rest of the week/month.

— I have a habit of buying pens and notebooks like the revolution is coming and there will be no pens or notebooks and people who can write things in notebooks with pens will get extra cheese and hugs.

— I have a habit of furrowing my brow.

— I don’t ever want to eat the last of anything in the fridge or freezer. Is this a self-preservation method, or politeness? I don’t know but that quarter cup of ice cream is going to stay there until it either turns to solid freezer burn or SA eats it.

— I write every morning in what used to be a spiral bound notebook but is now a binder because that’s just more practical/cost-efficient. Three pages, longhand, journal-ish stuff (sample: I am so sleepy I wish I had coffee oh I do have coffee I love coffee) to start my day. My right wrist is suffering from limited mobility due to all the longhand writing but if I skip so much as a day I start to lose my little mind. At 18 months straight, I guess this is a habit.

Hey it all makes sense to me, probably because if I don’t make sense to me where does that leave me? SENSELESS. Except the tooth-brushing-before-bed thing. I really should make that a habit.

Also the more I type “habit” the more I think of rabbits. Rabbits are so great.

Forty-Four — EveryMom

We spent the weekend camping with a bunch of people, some of whom I knew and some of whom I didn’t, all of whom were totally awesome. Little kids frolicking on a mossy forest carpet, adults drinking their weight in assorted alcoholic beverages, walks and brisk air and sunshine and tent sleeping and campfire smell. O! Campfire smell, I have missed you. Perhaps I will have an opinion to share about camping with the kids, something we only did once before, three years ago, and which obviously scarred us. But at the moment I am too tired and can only relate two anecdotes.

1. Yesterday I was walking, alone, up the very steep hill from the beach to the campsite. A man and his teenage daughter and their big shaggy dog were walking ahead of me. The dog kept turning around to look at me and smile and pant at me. The man was getting annoyed because it is a steep hill and come on dog, just walk. They were walking so slowly that I passed them, and then the dog sniffed me and smiled and the man said, “There, you saw her, are you happy?” to the dog and I smiled at them and thought, “gosh I am such a special person that even DOGS have to smile at me,” and then I heard the man tell his daughter that he thought the dog thought I was her MOM. Not the dog’s mom. The girl’s mom. In other words, the dog thought I looked like its owner, who is the mother of a teenager.

2. Today I was at Safeway, alone, replenishing our food supply because we ate all our food when we went camping. Weird, huh? Anyway, this dude was pushing a toddler in a stroller and as I passed him the toddler got all excited and said something toddlery. I ignored him because I don’t talk to strange toddlers and then I heard the man say, “Yes, she DOES look like Mommy but she’s not really Mommy.”

First of all, suddenly my “you look familiar” face has gone from “that girl from the cheese shop? Maybe?” to “Mom” and how do I feel about that, I wonder? And second, he made it sound like I was purposely impersonating the kid’s mother. “She’s not REALLY MOMMY. Don’t be fooled.” Hey, I’m just buying bread and apples, man! I don’t want to be anyone else’s mommy! I sure as hell don’t want to look like EveryMom, unless I can make money from it. Can I?

Is it too late to do commercials for laundry soap or yogurt? I guess then I’d have to eat yogurt. DEALBREAKER.


I ran into a high school friend today. I recognized her because she and I are facebook friends, and because when you look at someone for five years, you get pretty familiar with her face. She had her three year old with her, I had my two with me. We chatted very briefly about things — I know most of what’s going on with her because, again, we are facebook friends — and then moved on.

Later I got a message from her, telling me it was great to see me!!!!! and she hoped I would have a great summer!!!! and I scanned the message and then debated replying and then replied, to be polite, and then I looked at it again and realized that the first sentence ended in five exclamation marks and the second ended with four.

I want to know, now, how people go from one exclamation mark to five. If one exclamation mark is intended to indicate a level of excitement slightly greater than you would get from simply ending the sentence, then surely two would be enough to indicate that you are excited beyond that first flush of excitement. And if two says you are beyond excited, does three say you are over the moon with delight? And then, four. Four exclamation marks, to me, says you are making a joke about how many exclamation marks you are using.

But five. You went all the way to five exclamation marks. Just because we ran into each other at the mall.

I’m not being as snarky as you might think, here. I honestly want to know a) how she decided to go to five exclamation marks and b) why she stopped there. Once you’re at five, why not six? Eight? Nine? Nine is my favourite number, I would pick nine.

This is what a sentence looks like with nine exclamation marks at the end!!!!!!!!!

There is no way to ask the question that doesn’t result in a de-friending, and I don’t want to de-friend, so I won’t ask, but I will continue to wonder.

Fifteen — Pants, the Conclusion

When we left our hero, ie: me, she had one pair of plaid clown pants she needed to return to the store, one pair of perfect pants that were stained with an oil or grease-like substance, and was enduring very hot weather that necessitated her wearing something other than jeans.

Luckily, the weather soon changed and jeans were perfectly serviceable once again. On mentioning her dilemma to first a friend and then her own mother-in-law, she was instructed to remove the grease stain with eucalyptus oil or Pine Sol, respectively. Loyal blog readers suggested other things: Ricki’s Miracle Pants (an ’80s cover band name if I ever heard one) and Old Navy’s jersey knit fold-over skirt, as well as maxi dresses and a store called Mark’s.

She tried the Pine Sol. It sort of worked, but would need repeat application to really be effective.

She thought about Ricki’s and Mark’s. She thought about Ricki and Mark eloping, a la Brenda and Eddie. She got distracted by nostalgia and piano solos in her head.

On Monday morning the weather turned warm again so she took her plaid clown pants and went to Metrotown, the Mall with the Most, to return the pants and look for the jersey skirt at Old Navy. Having looked at the jersey skirt at Old Navy’s website and having only found one size left for sale, she knew it might be difficult. She felt rested and up to the challenge.

First, returning the clown pants. The blonde lady in the store frowned and asked if she needed a different size. Our hero refrained from explaining that the sizing in the store was so messed up, so CHRONICALLY BUGGERED, that there was no way she would ever even try pants in that establishment again, let alone that day.

Second, a trip to the Gap to laugh at the horizontally striped maxi dresses that cost $60.

Third, Old Navy, where our hero scoured the store for forty-five minutes, a full thirty-five longer than she usually spent at Old Navy. She found small jersey dresses, large floral dresses, a pair of linen pants, t-shirts priced at $8 apiece. She tried them all. They all sucked. She dug through the clearance racks and started to go mildly insane listening to the vaguely dance-like pop music, but she did not find the jersey skirt. Resigned to failure, she was making small talk with the fitting room attendant when she spied it, in the attendant’s hand. A black, a-line, jersey skirt.

“That..skirt,” our hero blustered, pointing like a fool at the piece of fabric on the hanger.
“Oh?” said the attendant, who was short of stature but wise of nature. “This? It’s a maternity skirt.”
“That’s exactly what I want,” said our hero, nodding, flushing with excitement. “That’s THE SKIRT I want.”
“Well come with me and I will show you where I got it,” said the attendant. “It comes in two colours. It’s very comfortable..”

Lo. Behold. In the maternity section, the only section where our hero hadn’t looked, was a rack of perfect skirts, in sizes small to XXL, in grey and black. She bought two, in size medium because she is not pregnant, merely a fan of comfortable, fold-over waistbands and the quiet swish of a skirt in warm weather.

Have the mighty fallen, or have we won? I think you know the answer.

Ten — You Have to Cover Your Butt with Something

Summer has sort of arrived and I have Pants Issues.

In warm weather, I like short pants. Not shorts, never shorts unless I am running recreationally. And not SKORTS because I just have a thing against skorts. I trace it back to my adolescence when I was shopping for a cute skirt and all the skirts I thought were cute actually had shorts attached. It was the betrayal that stayed with me, not any actual objection to skorts, per se.

Well except for the word SKORT, which I hate.

Skirts are OK, but I don’t feel I have the right blend of semi-dressy-casual shirts to go with skirts. A skirt feels dressier than pants, it just does. It feels like it would necessitate a lifestyle change. I would love the perfect casual skirt that I could wear with my assortment of knit, various coloured, v-neck t-shirts. Anyone have one?

Which leads us to pants, my summer bottom covering of choice. I used to have linen capri pants and I loved them and they’re gone. LETTING IT GO. Recent years have found me in an assortment of light cotton beige pants and last year I decided I will no longer be buying beige pants because they match my skin and that freaks me out when I look at myself in a full length mirror.

After some browsing, last year I bought a pair of grey, cotton capris at MEC and they were awesome — an investment at $40 but I do tend to keep pants for years and years if I love them — and I was happy to find them in the summer box this year and happy to wear them, exactly twice, before they got washed with lip balm or something oily and now they have a giant oily patch on the left front pocket. It looks like I peed on myself, basically. So even though I Shopped for Pants just last summer, now I have to do it again (although a friend tells me I can get an oil stain out of cotton by rubbing eucalyptus into it? I will try this) and lo, I am cranky.

The other day I stopped at Reitmans (apostrophe? No apostrophe? Don’t care enough to google) and tried on what I thought were going to be the perfect blue plaid pants — oh, I am such a sucker for plaid. I tried one size and it felt too big but the smaller size felt too small so I went with the bigger.

I bought them, yes I did, and when I got them home, realized that they are just too big. I look like a clown in them. Reitmans just always seems like a good idea and then it isn’t; the pants I like have no pockets and the sizing is messed up. I should just not go in there. But now I have to go back and return the pants.

Meanwhile it’s HOT out and #whine.

Pants, man. Pants.

Five Things* I Would Do With Unlimited Money (*That I can Think of Right Now)

1. Pay my taxes so other people could have roads and whatnot. And give freely to good causes. But not the ones that sell my information to other charities, resulting in my receiving tonnes of crappy admail that I then return to sender or recycle or shred in a fit of pique. Those good causes I would purchase with my unlimited money and then hire someone with a brain to run properly.

2. I like our house a lot and I like its relatively small footprint but I would love an adventure yard full of mysterious trees and dark corners and friendly squirrels and a fence so I could open the door, say ‘go play’ and then shut the door after the children left. And they wouldn’t complain because: adventure yard!

3. Every year in October we would re-locate to a sunny, warm climate and we would stay there until cold/flu/strep throat/bronchitis/vomiting/Hand Foot Mouth/general malaise/sinusitis season is goddamn over. It would be like those books when rich people in England got consumption and went to Spain to recover. I want to lie on the beach in Spain right now. I want to eat olives and drink thick red wine and not feel like crap.

Yes, this whole “five things” is just an excuse for me to complain about how I feel like crap. I have been sick forEVER and no amount of vitamins, soup, garlic, sleep, hot water and lemon, decongestant, nasal irrigation, steaming, fruit eating or ibuprofen has yet cured me and I am MAD about it also. Very mad. Today we found out that Trombone has strep throat. My throat also hurts. I keep waking up and expecting to feel better and feeling worse in new and different ways. On Thursday morning I woke up and my scar was inflamed. I have a scar where I had a cyst removed in August and the scar wasn’t pretty to start with and now it’s glowing red for some reason. Is it a sign? A glowing red sign that is saying “figure out a way to have unlimited money so you can have all your blood replaced”? Maybe.

4. I would have all my blood replaced. Maybe annually.

5. I would buy a chip factory.

What would you do with unlimited money?