Tag Archives: ranty mcranterson

Love and Affection

Yesterday I was walking to the library after leaving Arlo at his soccer class and I passed two young teenagers, a boy and a girl, lanky and floppy, parting ways for the evening. It was possibly a first or second date, at that age and stage where “date” means “yanno, hanging out” and as the girl veered off towards her house (I presume), a goofy grin on her face, the boy said, “So thanks for, like, walking around with me or whatever…” and the girl said, “yeah, it was fun..” and they both trailed off like that, blushing, and it captured me entirely. Nostalgia and relief mingled in me; relief to not be *that* awkward, at least. But also a bit of sadness that there’s nowhere to go but down. I’ll never feel that first simple flush of boy/girl crush again. There will never be another first time.

Oh that reminds me.

And then this morning, there was a boy at the bus stop with me and when he got on the bus he found friends at the back, and when they got off, he and a girl were holding hands and that made me smile too because of course, teenagers meet up with each other on the bus before band practice. They can’t live with each other. It was comforting, that things are the same as they ever were, while still being very very different.

I have a new co-worker, who is twenty-two but delightfully old for his age; he sings Cher and Journey in the office with me, complains that his iPhone 4 is so old it doesn’t even have wifi. I love him, because he reminds me of me.

I love all the things that remind me of me. Don’t you? Love the things that remind you of you, I mean. Not me. I mean, you can love me if you want. But love yourself more.

I checked back in with the Internet this week and there was Outrage and Scandal and much disgusted staring at people who disgust us, their names start with D, all 19 of them, and I remembered reading once in one of my hippie books something like “Whatever you give your attention to will grow.” Do we want people who are famous for having children to be more famous? Do we want them to grow? No. Stop looking at them. What if we could all look away. Look at something else. Take the spotlight off the undeserving and look at the melting ice caps. And not the Tim Hortons kind, either.

Here are some rabbit-faced jalapenos as a palate-cleanser:


The other night I was on a coffee shop patio and a woman sat down with her small dog on her lap. She fed the dog some muffin, and tilted some water into its mouth and then she took a series of photos of herself and the dog with her cell phone. At first I was scornful but then thought better of it. Have a date with your dog. You love your dog, your dog loves you. If I had a dog I loved that fit on my lap, I would take selfies with that dog and probably post them on twitter. I take pictures on my cell phone with my children. I take pictures on my phone just of me. Just to see what I look like because sometimes mirrors can’t be trusted.


In the office we were talking about animals and a co-worker related a story about her neighbour who took home a baby raccoon whose mother was hit by a car. The neighbour’s cat adopted the baby raccoon and the raccoon grew up thinking the tabby was its mother. One day the raccoon moved out and the cat was deeply saddened, lying around mournfully for weeks.

I wonder what would happen if a cat and a raccoon stood next to each other in front of a mirror. To each, the other looks normal and relatable; small-ish and fuzzy. They have no idea they bear only a passing resemblence to each other. They have in common that they want to be friends and co-habitate and snuggle and eat cat food.


This week I’m practicing wilful acceptance of all the people I encounter. So, if you see someone aggressively accepting you on public transit, even while you quietly fart and scroll through news stories on your phone, it might be me.



I have ten minutes before it’s time for Saint Aardvark and I to continue watching LOST the series, for the second time. It is a semi-rare overlap of interests for us, LOST, and a welcome chance for us to watch the same television at the same time. Left to my own devices I’ll watch Friday Night Lights or The Killing or for a while there, Nashville, but he’s not into those shows, and I’m not into Noah or Ye Old Timey Black & White Picture Show* or SpaceJunk.*

*Not real titles.

It’s Sunday, March 1st. Can a month come in like a lion or lamb but not in a weather way, just in a what-kind-of-day-is-this-holy-hell way? Weather-wise it was bright and sunny and cold this morning, turning to colder and cloudy this afternoon, and now it’s drizzling in a very chilly fashion.

Other-wise, it was a fine morning with a lot of lounging around, then some chores (laundry for me; taking down garbage and recycling and EWWWW COMPOST for the children) while SA got the grocery list fulfiled at Superstore. Then we all went to Costco because it has been months since we went to Costco. Months! I haven’t gone so long between Costco trips in I don’t know how long. This, of course, is because I am working at a full time job and even though I walk past a Costco every day on my way to and from work, I rarely stop to purchase items because how does one carry a flat of Nanaimo bars and toilet paper on one’s back on the skytrain at rush hour? When you figure it out, let me know.

I did go to the Costco near my work on my birthday, as it turned out, because I was at work and had no lunch and my co-worker reminded me I could get a hot dog at Costco, so that was my big 4-1 treat. Hot dog and iced tea.

No, it was fine. I had something delicious later, I think. I don’t remember.

Anyway, the last time before THAT was in November. I remember specifically because I decided it would be my last Costco trip until after Christmas. Who likes Costco at Christmas, raise your hand!

After Christmas we got by without Costco, until recently when the coffee stores in our basement started to look a little scarce, so today was the day. We had to go.

At the checkout, with our $250 worth of goods, SA’s debit card failed, and then so did mine because they draw from our joint bank account. The cards expired, as it turns out, on February 28th, and someone at the bank dropped the ball and forgot to mail out the new cards. Whoops!

“You can pay Mastercard,” said the helpful cashier with the diamond Chanel earrings — I couldn’t look away from those earrings.
“Nope. Visa?” I said.
“Nope. Personal cheque?” she countered.
“Nope,” I answered.

After some conferring, we decided I’d go home and get a cheque, then come back, which would be cutting time close; I had my writer’s group — via transit, downtown — to get to for 2:00 pm, and the kids had their weekly sketching class at 1:00 pm. It was noon. Then one of the customer service people came over and said, “You can sign up for a Mastercard right now, if you want,” which is usually the kind of thing I say no to at stores, but in this case, well, we needed all that coffee, so there we were, applying and being approved for Costco Mastercards WHILE WE WAITED.

“Thank you for being patient,” I said to the kids.
“That’s okay,” said Arlo. “I am hoping you’ll buy me an ice cream afterward.”

But I didn’t. Instead, I made him go to art class, despite his heartfelt protestations that he doesn’t have enough time to do anything. I agree.

I hitched a ride to Metrotown and then hopped on a train, which sat at the station for fifteen minutes due to a broken train at another station. The doors of the train stayed open, so people kept getting on, and getting on, and getting on. I told myself I was lucky I’d got on when I did; I got a seat, after all, and if you have to wait for fifteen minutes on an immobile train, at least be sitting.

The novelty of the skytrain has almost worn off for me now that I take it every day. But I never do get a seat, so the seat novelty was still, well, novel.

Eventually we left, probably due to the old guy sitting in front of me who kept horking up loogies and sniffing loudly and then muttering “what’s the problem.” After I got off I tossed my whole body into the vat of boiling water they keep at every skytrain station*, to get the people germs off, and then went to a very happy and productive writing group meeting.


Upon my return home, I found the family already watching Arlo’s choice for movie night, The Guardians of the Galaxy, a film which made no sense whatsoever. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. No sense. I had read reviews that said as much but you know, sometimes the Internet is uneccesarily cruel? Not in this case.

All the more reason to cleanse the cinematographical palate with the greatness that is LOST. And a toast to March second, may it be slightly more reasonable than the first.

My Cervix is On Time

I went to the doctor today. I have a doctor but I don’t go to him often. Oh, he’s nice enough. About my age. Very friendly, good manner, no weirdo bullshit like with the guy who would only take us on as patients if we had no chronic illnesses, or the Botox Doctor whose receptionist (and the good doc herself) couldn’t smile properly because of the Botox and whose solution to my whatever-the-problem-was (I don’t remember, this was in the early 00s) was surprisingly NOT Botox but birth control pills, or the most recent family doctor who told me an IUD wasn’t a very reliable form of birth control and also gave my baby a sticker to play with, which he almost swallowed, while she gave him a flu shot, or the one before that who was ancient and wonderful but mostly ancient and was forced to retire.

You can see, maybe, why I prefer walk-in clinics? On the other hand, a GP gives you a nice sense of continuity. You have a file, and a level of trust. I chose this one because a) he didn’t seem crazy b) he was taking new patients and c) he refers people wildly. As in, if you go to him, he doesn’t try to talk you out of or solve your problem. He refers you to someone else who can deal with it. I went to him a year ago for my nausea; he sent me for an abdominal ultrasound. I went today because I needed a pap and also I wanted a referral for some blood tests to see if I’m low on iron because my last several periods have been like a veritable Niagara Falls of blood.

Walk-in clinic doctors are always trying to talk you out of what you want; the referral, the antibiotics. They have to, because they see so many patients. They don’t trust people. I get it. But I know when I’m really sick and when I need something. This is how I manage my own health care. My doctor listened carefully to my complaints, told me I am probably NOT in perimenopause (however, I do believe him to be incorrect and I did shut him down by telling him how early my mother menopaused hi doctor I have the Internet as well!) and then wrote me a requisition for blood tests. Thanks and goodbye.

But before I could get that piece of paper:

First I had to make an appointment, a week ago. Today at noon was the first appointment I could get, so I took it. Now, this doctor is late. He is troublingly, chronically late. He’s not late because he Takes His Time, the way the ancient, now retired doctor was. He is just late. Maybe he is a superhero and is always in phone booths, putting his khakis back on?

The first time I went to see him, my appointment was for 10 am and I waited an hour. The second time, I made a very early appointment on purpose. I had the second appointment of the day, at 9:15. I still waited until nearly 10:30. Why? Because he didn’t show up to the office until 10 am. (stuck in a phone booth? Khakis needed cleaning? Sore spot on his pinky toe?)

So with today’s 12:00 appointment, I was genuinely worried I would not be back in my neighbourhood to pick my kids up from school at 2:55. Being canny, I called the office at 11:45 and asked what time I should show up for my noon appointment. The receptionist said, hmm, hmmm, come in at 12:40?

I showed up at 12:45. I sat in the reception area listening to I’ll be Home For Christmas Do They Know it’s Christmastime Santa Claus is Coming to Town until 1:25. I also got to overhear a great conversation between some random woman and the bank of receptionists re: the random woman’s attempt to visit Las Vegas over the weekend and how Customs held her for four hours because she’d had a DUI THIRTY YEARS AGO AND SHE PAID THE FINE. Also they wanted to know about her association with some disease clinic which was PRIVATE INFORMATION THAT WAS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS

…apparently our business though? Now, anyway.

I went in the exam room and took off my pants and sat on the edge of the exam table for a while longer, simply having a WONDERFUL Christmastime, before Dr. Superhero came in. Not sure what time that was, but when I got back to my car it was 1:53. Home by 2:15, eating lunch by 2:20, out the door at 2:45 to pick kids up from school, my pesto breath crystalizing in the cold air.

But before I left his office, I noticed he’d left my file open on his computer so I sneaked a look. Our visit was accurately documented (“left-shifted uterus”?) but for one thing: UNREMARKABLE CERVIX he’d typed. Well I never! I think he’d feel differently if he’d ever seen my older son’s head. Sir! My cervix understands the meaning of a clock, at least. When it’s go-time, my cervix SHOWS UP and DILATES.


Shut the Door, November, it’s COLD Outside

The trees look very male-pattern-balding with their crowns just twigs and still all bushy with leaves around the bottom. Bald men with hairy bottoms! It was a very mild week and then a snowstorm came.

SNOW!!! The children exclaimed Saturday morning and quickly put on their snow pants and boots and hats and mitts and then froze their tushes off because it’s unseasonably cold. Usually we get snow as a precursor to rain, so it’s wet and mucky and goes away (unless it doesn’t, hey climate change). This time it basically froze right when it hit the ground so there is powdery snow that doesn’t form a snowball but instead goes poof like an icy dandelion.

All the sidewalks are ice, which is annoying. I can’t run (very long) on ice so my run today was canceled. I’ve been running less since the half marathon anyway but I still need it for my mental health so I’m desperately trying to keep up three runs a week.

Plus I woke up feeling still tired. And I’m freezing. So I’m grumpy.

The sun is out. The sky is blue and the snow sits on the trees like frosting and we’re all healthy. My grumpiness stems entirely from there being an obstacle between me and what I want.

Despite there being no fresh snow today, the early-rising, highly excitable Eli still wanted to go outside and play in yesterday’s snow at 7 am so I had to say, it is -8C and there is nothing to play with. It’s like playing in a gravel pit. It’s like playing in the middle of a skating rink with no skates on. It’s like playing in a walk-in freezer with hunks of last year’s snowballs that you insisted on freezing in ziploc bags.

(Truth: just as I typed this, Eli came in from playing outside, carrying a small snowball. “This is for the freezer,” he said. “I’m going to label it so we don’t think it’s pie crust.” After trying to write on a snowball with a felt pen [hello metaphor] he found a small plastic bag to put the snowball in and now we have 2014 snow in our freezer hooray)

Well, can you make waffles for breakfast, said Eli.
No, I said.
Why not?
I don’t want to.

Arlo came downstairs.

Eli said, I asked if she’d make waffles but she said no. She’s too… [he almost said lazy and then called back a conversation we had a couple weeks ago where I explained that actually that’s an insult] she doesn’t want to.

Nope, I agreed. Don’t feel like it.

Oh, said Arlo.

I ended up making pancakes, later, after I’d had some coffee. Because kids gotta eat. While I was making the pancakes the internet radio station, called Back to the 80s, played a Front 242 song called Welcome to Paradise. It goes like this: HEY POOR. HEY POOR. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE POOR ANYMORE. JESUS IS HERE. It’s about televangelists. I have never heard a Front 242 song on any radio, let alone an 80s throwback station that usually plays Belinda Carlisle and Falco and the Bangles.

So delighted was I that I left the radio station on for the rest of the day. A few minutes ago, it played Don’t Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin, a song I have managed to tune out for most of my life. It was on the Cocktail soundtrack and I loved Cocktail and its soundtrack but that track was not my favourite. Today I actually paid attention to it.

“Put a smile on that face!” he says. “It will soon pass, whatever it is!” he says.

Wow did I ever want to go to Bobby McFerrin’s house and punch him in the nose. But I don’t really want to go out. Instead I am feeling retroactively very sorry for the people who had personal crises the year that song came out. (I? Was fourteen, and while that was sort of a personal crisis, I’m talking more about the real kind where if you endured it while also having to hear Don’t Worry Be Happy on the radio four thousand times a day it’d make you want to hide your head in a walk in freezer full of snowballs.)

I was going to say it’s awful and annoying like Happy by Pharrell, but then I realized that at least Pharrell is giving us the OPTION to clap along if we want to. We don’t have to. He’s talking about how HE’S happy. He totally has the right to his own happiness just like we have the right to our own sadness.

Here we find two different approaches to cheering up the world at large. Diminishing their feelings by telling them to buck up l’il camper vs. giving them a happy model to follow/clap along with or not.

Maybe I’ll clap along tomorrow. When it’s December.

One Hundred – Ways to Be Better

The past several days have been challenging. Eli was sick so he stayed home from school on Friday, which meant I stayed home from work with him. He rested and played video games and watched TV and I read the Internet, which made me angry and grumpy.

It’s actually good for me to work because at work there is no internet, only live people and live people as represented by their files, so I am not tempted to judge (mostly). It is so much easier to judge on the Internet. Sometimes it feels like that’s what it’s for. Pictures! LIKE OR NOT LIKE. Music! LIKE OR NOT LIKE. Blog posts, articles, opinions, dinosaur dioramas set up after dark while children are sleeping to make the children think the dinosaurs have come to life in the night. LIKE? NOT LIKE? Santa. Thanksgiving. American politics. Canadian politics. Feminism. Assholes. People being mean to assholes, making them also assholes. LIKE. NOT LIKE.

Picture the beginning of time. (Note: this is not the Genesis version of the beginning of time. This is the Time Before Assholes.) There is only one asshole in this world. People just move around him/her. One day another person treats the original asshole (OA) how he thinks OA should be treated, making him also an asshole (AAA). Now there are two assholes, which is not triple A at ALL. If you scale this and everyone tells two friends like the shampoo commercial, we are in a world overrun with assholes who just wanted to tell THAT asshole what an asshole he was being.

But if that guys had just walked around that first, original asshole, we’d all be fine right now. As it is, we’re all in danger of becoming the asshole. Not to say you can’t go back. We all do assholish things, but wouldn’t it be better just to avoid the whole thing.

Anyway, that was my plan by the end of the day Friday.

Yesterday was a comedy of errors sort of day, the summary of which is: I spent almost all day inside with two children who were bored of me, each other, and the inside of the house. It culminated in me sending them to separate rooms at 5 pm and instructing them not to come out until they heard their father come home from his many comedy-of-error-like errands.

This morning I woke up with the best of intentions but something about the way Arlo accompanied me at the grocery store talking incessantly about iPhones and caramel popcorn and can we get Frutopia WHY NOT WHY DON”T YOU EVER BUY ME ANYTHING I WANT while I was trying to find vanilla yogurt that was in between 0-10% fat and didn’t have 30g of sugar per half cup and I don’t even LIKE yogurt but it’s the only thing Eli eats some days, something about that just made me get crankier and be the asshole in the room again. Yes, I was the jerk in the yogurt aisle tearing a strip off her kid because this basket is full of things you like and I don’t so don’t say I never buy you anything and also when’s the last time you ate a vegetable, that’s right, never, so just shut up about caramel popcorn. Eat a head of broccoli and I will buy caramel popcorn. I’M WAITING RIGHT HERE FOR YOU TO EAT BROCCOLI.


However, there was a truck parking over two spaces in the parking lot of the grocery store and I did not slash his tires or leave a passive-aggressive note on the windshield. I made attempts to give him/her the benefit of the doubt, plus there are lots of parking spots at Superstore, and walked away.

Sunday count:
Asshole brain: 4. Non-asshole brain: 1.

It’s hard not being an asshole. I am going to keep trying. Also I will never type the word asshole on this blog again, I promise.

Seventy-Three — Two Very Bad Songs of Summer (And One Good)

This summer has had a third theme: pop music.

The children have become addicted to the local hit station, Sonic Hits. All today’s hits, all the time. You know this station, even if not biblically. It plays the same fourteen songs all day every day and there is a morning show with features like “I read it on the Internet!” and “celebrity babies are so cute!”

I like pop music. I have liked it since I was a kid and listened to LG73 (Morning show: The LG Morning Zoo!). I won’t get into a dissertation on Today’s Pop Hits and How Shitty They Are because do you remember the Payolas? Falco? but there are some recent Pop Hits that when they come on the radio in the car I stab at the preset buttons so fast my finger goes right through the dashboard and I burn myself on the engine and it’s WORTH IT because I just can’t hear [that piece of poo] one more time.

They’re not the songs you think, though! I mean, yes I am not a fan of Blurred Lines though I acknowledge how catchy the tune, and yes, the Miley Cyrus song was very puzzling because I had no idea who it was singing it and was sure I had to be wrong when I heard the DJ say Miley Cyrus and then I looked up the video for the song, like an idiot, and now I’m blind (touch typing for the winnnnnz!).

But! My least favourite pop song of the summer is actually The Other Side by Jason Derulo.

The Other Side is a really embarrassing song about a guy and a girl who are friends and he wants something more and so does she. The song takes place on their SEX DATE WHEN THE SEX IS GOING TO HAPPEN. Right there. We’re right there with Jason and his date, as he gives her the step by step:

1. We’ll just get drunk. Disturb the peace (for the longest, I thought that line was “disrupt the bass”)
2. You’ll run your hands all over me
3. And then you’ll bite your lip, whisper and say, “we’re going all the way.”
4. Tonight! Kiss me like it’s do or die! Sparks fly like the fourth of July! I see that sexy look in your eye! Take me to the OTHER SIDE!

Fine. It’s a fine sentiment, I guess. But he’s got this crazy falsetto and he’s just so damned excited about this date and the sex he’s going to be having REAL SOON NOW and listening to him trill up the scale and down again makes me just want to take him aside (not to “the other side,” but aside) and say, “Jason. Be cool. You’re going to scare her.” Like, how long has it BEEN, Jason? I’m thinking years.

Also, the following line: “I know you’re nervous / so just sit back and let me drive”? Ick, and reminds me of my least favourite song of the spring, which I thought was also by Jason Derulo but is in fact by Hedley. “Kiss You Inside Out.”

I became aware of this song when my kids were walking around on the playground saying “shut your mouth and close your eyes” and I thought, what a rude thing to say! and then I heard the song where the line came from. This one is less embarrassing and more about questionable seduction techniques. Observe:

I don’t know if you´re ready to go
Where I’m willing to take you girl
I will feel every inch of your skin
And you know I can rock your world
Imma be the calm in the storm you´re looking for
I’ll be the shipwreck that takes you down
I don´t mind if you lie in my bed
We can stay here forever now.

Ouuu oohhh
Turn off the lights
Take off your clothes
Turn on the stereo
Ouuu oohhh
Give up the fight
I´m in control
Why don´t you let it go.

Maybe I don’t WANT TO let it go, Mr. Hedley, Sirs. Maybe you referring to yourself as a shipwreck is all the information I need to make my decision re: doing you, which is NO, which means NO by the way.

On the bright side, listening to bad pop music in the car means lots of great conversations with the kids about sex, partying, and consent. Talk early, talk frankly, talk often, right? And as a bonus, because so much of today’s pop music is total shite, when you hear a good song it’s REALLY GOOD.

Twenty-Six — Keeping Track

Once upon a time, I gave each of my children a container of fish crackers and each was happy. I blogged about this in passing and a commenter said, “JUST YOU WAIT someday they will count the crackers to make sure they each have the same amount.” In general, harbingers of doom don’t do it for me, as I am not one to acknowledge someone’s rightness until well past the date the rightness occurred, so you telling me “JUST YOU WAIT” about anything basically makes me want to ignore you. Since becoming a parent, however, I have noticed that it’s sensible to file the warnings away. Odds are, someday I will need them, like the safety pins I keep in my wallet.

Lo, behold, I am remembering the warning now.

The past few weeks have been exciting because we had Grandma and Grandad staying with us. This was good on many levels; extra hands around the house so I could have a shower and grocery shop and not have to take a surly five year old with me, extra feet to walk the kid to school and back again. People to talk to and drink coffee with and drink beer with. People I like in my house! So good, on so many levels.

For Eli, it was good on an extra level: Treats. We went out for lunch. We went out for ice cream. We went to Costco and got fries after shopping. Two extra levels, I should say; the level where you get extra treats and then THEN! the level where you tell your older brother, who is at school all day, all about the extra treats you got.

This has awakened quite a rivalry between the children. Not something I think wouldn’t/doesn’t otherwise exist, but something that was dormant, like mould. Slugs? Shingles? Shingles. Now, even though Grandma and Grandad have gone home, Arlo still greets his brother after school with WHAT DID YOU DO TODAY? WHAT DID YOU GET? WHAT DID YOU GET ME?

Today was Fun Day (formerly known as Sports Day? No longer.) at Arlo’s school. He got to go to twelve different stations in the school, make a bead bracelet, eat a Freezie, hang out with his friends, and then had hot lunch which was pizza, lemonade and ice cream for dessert.

Today was Eli’s last day of preschool. I was volunteering at Arlo’s school so I couldn’t be at preschool for the final moments, when the door opens and the children sing “Goodbye my friends goodbye” with their mothers and fathers present and everyone sniffles. I couldn’t be there because I was helping make bead bracelets, a task which gets harder the closer you get to the hot lunch because no one can focus to save their goddamn life. ANYWAY I decided that for a treat I would take Eli to McDonald’s for a Happy Meal.

So: Arlo got a Freezie, pizza, lemonade, ice cream, a morning spent running around with his friends and an afternoon watching Ice Age. Eli got cheese pizza at school and a Happy Meal after.

As an aside, what did I get during this same time period? I got to stand for two hours without so much as a bathroom break or drink of water, helping small children thread beads onto yarn that frayed and refused to be threaded upon, and do you see me complaining?

Oh, you do? OK.

Anyway, I would call it even between the kids, but that didn’t stop Arlo from “It’s not fair”ing all over the place after school.

To help even the score, he went to his friend’s house after school and this friend has a rather enormous supply of junk food, so when we came to pick him up he was surrounded by empty cookie bags, chocolate smeared all over his face.

Eli says no fair because he got no cookies. Arlo says no fair, because he still has no toy and Eli got a toy with the Happy Meal.

It is a good thing they’re cute.

Tooth finally dropped out this morning.

Tooth finally dropped out this morning.

Twenty-Four — The Petting Farm


The Queen’s Park Petting Farm, near noon on a weekday. It is quiet and damp after a rainfall. Children frolic in the nearby waterpark, the ice cream stand is open, parents stand nearby with towels over their arms.

A lop-eared rabbit hears a noise. “Oh shit. Here they come. HIIIIDDDDDDE.”
The black rabbit, brown rabbit, and grey rabbit obediently cover themselves with hay.


Fifty screaming six year olds enter the petting farm. The gate slams behind them. Three sheep run as best they can for the “Animal Rest Area.”

“GOATS GOATS GOATS!” screams a boy with a bowl haircut.
“GOATS! I LOVE GOATS!” screams another boy.

They run at a goat, who bleats at them and runs to the Animal Rest Area.

“IT WENT IN THERE!” screams the boy.
“LET’S CHASE IT!” screams the other.

They are stymied by the fence. The goat looks on from the far side of the enclosure.


Five other girls run to the screaming girl, who has her face pressed up against the rabbit cage.


They turn and see the juvenile ducks being taken out of their enclosure by a park worker.
One girl pounds on the window. “Don’t do that!” says the park worker.
The girl stops but the shrieking–OH GOD THE SHRIEKING–continues and the last duckling refuses to go to the exit, instead walking back and forth close to the window, quacking constantly and adding to the cacophony.

The baby chickens in the adjacent enclosure look on nervously.

A group of boys sees the peacock enclosure and moves, like a large, cellular mass, towards it. The boys are making a low roaring noise. The peacock sits up straight.

“SQUAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWK!” says the peacock. The boys stop short. One of them turns to me, fear-stuttering, “Excuse me exx-exx-exxcuse me, WHAT IS THAT?”
“It’s a peacock,” I say. “I guess it wants you to go away.”
They do.

Arlo’s grade one class did a field trip to the petting farm a few weeks ago. He told me they participated in the young farmers program and saw a lot of goats. I had assumed this means you get a briefing on how to interact with animals? Like, for example, don’t yell at them? God, I hope so. I hope my son’s class was not running around yelling at goats. Next year, I promise I will volunteer for all the field trips so at least I will have some authority to yell at idiots not to yell at goats.


Look, I know–trust me on this, I know–you can’t stop six year olds talking about poop but could someone at least stop them from piling on the pooping goat and screaming at it? Can you imagine if someone did that to you, you little jerk? Yelled, “YOU’RE POOING IT’S GROSSSSSS!” every time you went to the bathroom?

The kids today were not toddlers, who at least usually have minders nearby to say “don’t chase the chickens” or “don’t eat that, it’s not a Glossette,” but kids older than my own five year old companion, kids who should either know better or if they don’t, have a teacher? or someone? to shut them the hell up? There’s a playground and a giant park where you can yell your brains out and be a jackass. This place is where a bunch of sad animals spend their last summer before they get slaughtered.

Probably. I don’t know. It can’t possibly be the place you take the animals you *like,* so what am I to think.


Heads ringing, Eli and I left the petting farm. Stuck a donation in the donation box, the screams of children and peacocks echoing behind us.


Today Arlo had a friend come over after school, a nice kid that comes over a lot. First they all played outside because it was sunny, then they were inside, then outside again. And through it all: BICKERING. YELLING. CRYING. Someone’s feelings were hurt and then it was PAYBACK TIME and then the PAYBACK made the other kid’s feelings hurt and it was not at all manageable by them (sometimes it is!) so I had to keep stepping in. At first I was good.

“Sounds like you’re having some trouble,” I said calmly. I like to channel Clippy in these situations. How would CLIPPY phrase this, if god forbid he could talk. “Is there something I can help with?”
“Maybe it would help if you sat over there for a few minutes until you feel better.”

After continuous repetitions of this, there was a turning point. I went around the corner from good to slightly bad.

“You guys are too loud. TOO LOUD. Too loud. Stop it or you have to come inside.”
“I don’t care. I already warned you. I can hear you from inside the house and that’s too loud.”

After a while, the friend went home and it was just me and my kids again and we came inside to find it was 5:22 — the time of day when I make dinner and they watch some TV or have computer time.

“Are you going to be using your computer?” Arlo asked very politely. Sometimes if I am cooking something complicated (at the moment I am sauteeing onions, so can use my computer at the same time) (and drink a beer), I let them have computer time on my laptop.

“Yes,”I said. “I am.”

He sighed. He huffed.

“Why do you ALWAYS use your computer,” he said.

“Because it’s mine,” I answered. I looked down at the sidewalk and saw that the berries and leaves they had picked and scattered, which I had asked them first not to do and then to clean up, were still scattered all over the sidewalk.

“But why can’t you use it other times?” he said, “Like when Eli is at school?”

Oh! You mean the 2.5 hours, three times a week that I spend either cleaning, shopping or occasionally running? Sometimes all THREE? F WORD YOU, KID.

I did not say that. I took a deep breath and had a 50s housewife moment.

“I make your food,” I said, “I wash your clothes. I BUY your clothes. I clean up after you, I harass you to clean up after yourself, I read you stories, I take you places, I entertain and discipline your friends, I explain things to you all day long, I buy groceries, I plan meals, I wash dishes, I take down garbage, I remember the crackers your friend likes and buy them if I know he is coming over, I give you treats, I let you watch TV even when you’re nasty to me and it’s MY COMPUTER SO I GET TO USE IT WHENEVER I WANT.”

I could have gone all the way back to pushing him out of my vaginal canal but I might save that one for a rainy day. There’s bound to be a rainy day.


Until I became a parent I do not remember thinking about poop at all, ever. I pooped, and I didn’t mention it, UNTIL NOW, and life went on.

Oh god, now you all know.

Anyway! People joke about poop taking over your life when you become a parent. It’s always been framed like “you are now obsessed with tiny person A and tiny person A makes poop and the home care nurses tell you to monitor the poop and also you need to feel some control over your life so you monitor a daily life function, good for you!” but really it’s just that you have to put your face very close to excrement on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis when you have a baby. Repetition leads to normalcy. Then there’s teaching the small person to use a toilet–don’t get me started or I’ll weep–and wipe properly. Years go by and you start to see poop EVERYWHERE.

Not a day goes by when I don’t consider poop in some way. The other day @jenarbo posted a picture to twitter and it was of cigarette butts and I saw poop in the picture. She was all, “um it’s a leaf” and I was all, “whatever, I’m a hammer and the world looks like a nail, I mean poop.” And then she was all, “#unfollow.” Not really. I hope.

It’s not just the kids. There are many days when I don’t think about *their* poop, but then the cat poops on the carpet, with his accompanying POOP ALERT YOWL. There are also days when I don’t think about the kids’ poop and the cat poops in his box but when I go outside there is dog poop on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk!

(There are also days when all of that happens. We call those “Mommy’s Special Gin Days.” No, we don’t. OK, maybe.)

This is what prompts my post today. The last straw of poop, as it were. Dog poop on the sidewalk. It seems like an especial travesty, like an insult duct-taped to injury. How does a dog poop on a sidewalk and get away with it? (Answer: SMARTPHONES) On our walk to school we often have to step around three or four piles. My internal dialogue goes: “It’s bad enough that I have to think about the poop of two children and a cat but to have to step around your dog’s giant poop ON THE SIDEWALK because he couldn’t he even go on the grass, how does that even HAPPEN? makes me absolutely ready to declare a war on poop. An entire war.”

No idea what a war on poop would look like. After all, it’s a natural function of healthy animals. We poop. There are books about it. Oh so many books. We adults and semi-adults put our poop in the poop recepticle and we move on. You can’t battle or war against it. But I can rage, I guess. I can rage against the improper placement of poop.

I need it to be spring. And I need the dogs–dogs, I love you! Don’t ever change, except please don’t poop on the sidewalk! Wouldn’t the grass be nicer, softer?–to poop in the GRASS and then I need their minders to pick it up with their baggies and dispose of it appropriately. I need this.

I have just discovered that poop is NOT one of those words where the more you type it the weirder it looks. The more you type “poop” the more you end up thinking about poop.* Poop.


* I blogged about my children for 6 years and didn’t write about poop once. Now it’s all out of my system, I won’t do it again.