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Monday, November 09, 2015

The Daily Chai Goes to the Movies

Today's chai was delicious and hit the spot. Yes, that spot.

I got the kids back after school today after a busy weekend without them. It's always so sweet to see Anna's face light up when I pick her up at school as she runs towards me. Sometimes she's a little shy, like she's just a tiny bit overwhelmed that I'm actually there in the flesh, but I get some pretty decent hugs and kisses from her regardless. Kate was also happy to see me and seems to have matured by three years since I saw her last Wednesday morning. We rushed out of the house to catch an early showing of the Peanuts Movie. The BF and I planned to take the kids together and had decided on today only to find out that the movie started at 4:30 so it was a bit mad to get there on time, but we did indeed make it and got to watch all the previews too.

Of course, as I'm sorting out my Scene points and the snacks and coupons, Anna comes running up to me, "MOM! I have to pee!"

"Okay, no problem, let me just finish up here and I'll take you to the washroom."

"Okay. But I have to pee now! Pay later, take me to the washroom."

"Anna, just wait, I'll be two seconds."

"Yeah okay, but I have to pee. Right now. Let's go. Take me now or I'm gonna pee my pants," as she starts the dance. Sigh. Better now than during I suppose!

We all enjoyed the movie and I really liked the animation. It was different, more modern of course than the hand-drawn/painted animation of the earlier Peanut movies, but still held true to the classic comic strip. For example, there were lines indicating hand motions and little hearts popping over Charlie Brown's head when he talked about his feelings for the little Red Headed Girl. Snoopy is still the best and had his own plot line as he so often did in the movies and books. Kate is not exactly critical and basically says, "I LOVED IT!" after each movie we go to see, but who cares? We all had a good time together which was exactly what I was hoping for tonight.

After the movie, we just did boring stuff like get groceries for lunches tomorrow and Anna cried the entire time. That little morsel of humanity walked dejectedly behind me, red-eyed and teary as I tortured her by browsing through the fruit section, glaring at me reproachfully whenever I looked back at her. The sight of her tear-stained face over something as small as picking up some bread and fruit is both annoying and hilarious. I shouldn't laugh because it makes her madder, but hey, we can't both be in tears now can we? Then they both got free cookies and Anna was miraculously happy again. Amazing. I should really start carrying cookies in all my pockets, just in case I ever have to make an unscheduled, unannounced and unwelcome grocery run while I have the kids. To add insult to injury regarding the getting of groceries,  Anna is intensely jealous that Kate sometimes gets to stay home from the shopping while I unyieldingly drag Anna along with me, EVERY SINGLE TIME. I am a terrible mother, I'm aware.

Halfway through my shopping, I realized that I had the package of M&Ms from the movies jammed in my coat pocket and hoped desperately that no one would notice them and think I stole them. I told Kate about them in a stage whisper and she said, "Why don't you use them to bribe Anna into not crying?"

"Because she would be happy for forty seconds and then she'd be running down aisle nine screaming like a crazy person from the sugar high. The cookie is bad enough and we better leave the store pronto before all hell breaks loose."

"Good point. Hurry up and pay so we can get out of here!"

We got home, all in one piece, with bread to make sandwiches for tomorrow and some fruit and I proudly showed the girls my new backpack rack that I mounted on wall going downstairs. It's just a wire metal rack that fits wicker baskets I already had for mitts and hats and has hooks for bags. I've done this in the hope that backpacks will be hung on it instead of thrown casually in my living room. I have this hope, although, funnily enough, the hangers in the closets don't seem to encourage the hanging of coats, but I can still dream.

Kate looked suitably impressed and nodded and was very agreeable to hanging her backpack there after school tomorrow, but we shall see. She asked me who installed it and I said, "Me, of course!"

"Oh dear..."

"Thanks Kate. Thanks a bunch."

"I'm kidding! Just kidding. I'm sure it'll be...fine." And she backed slowly away. Oh ye of little faith. Of course, now that she's said that and we have fully loaded that sucker down with all our hats, mitts, shoes, backpacks, flutes, music books, umbrellas and water bottles, I'm pretty sure I will find it on the floor tomorrow, with those heavy-duty, 75 pound-bearing anchors ripped right out of my wall. I'm just hoping I will sleep through that ruckus because I'm exhausted.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Daily Chai Buys Something Huge

Today's chai was a bit too spicy, but as in life, sometimes you just have to take the heat and move on. I heard a rumour that they are moving my favourite server up to the caf which totally sucks...that girl has the ability to brighten my day just by laughing. The daily chai quest just won't be the same without her.

So I recently made a really huge purchase and I'm partially thrilled about it and partially terrified. Those of you who have followed along until now probably already know that I moved into my mom's last year and after she got married and moved to her husband's I started renting her house. We talked over the summer about the benefits of me buying the house instead of renting and we eventually decided it made more sense for me to buy the house and start building equity. That was another reason I haven't been writing because I was so busy figuring that stuff out that I didn't really have time to even think about my next entry, let alone actually write it. Just so you know, mortgages are not fun to apply for and buying a house is a long, arduous process. I would like to not do that again in a hurry.

And let's be honest, I got a little hooked on Suits and spent a lot of time binge watching that instead of writing. Sorry about that.

Getting back to the house purchase. I'm pretty pumped about it. I've invested in real estate like a grownup. Look at me Ma, I'm adulting! (My mother, by the way, would hate that saying because  "adult" is not a verb, but I digress). One of the things that I was so scared about when I left my ex was how would I survive on my own? I've lived by myself for a total of six whole months once when I was 19, but other than that, I've either had roommates, a boyfriend, or a husband to share the household expenses with and I've never been the only breadwinner. I crunched some numbers before deciding to buy the house of course, but things always end up being more expensive than you think and suddenly you are in the hole every month with no hope of getting out, or worse still, losing the assets you worked so hard to gain in the first place. It's only been a few weeks since the sale went through, so I'm still waiting to see how the month's debits and credits add up, but I'm hopeful I can pull this off. I am definitely feeling lionessy about this purchase and the life I'm building for me and the girls. Roar!

Although, to be honest, I try not to think about it too much because I start getting really anxious about making it all work. So I just sort of pretend like everything is going to be okay because it needs to be and I hope for the best. I'm like a ostrich. Not only can I not fly, I like to put my head in the sand.

I'm not going to lie, this has taken way longer than normal because my computer is being a little stubborn and I'm getting frustrated. I think I better post this and try again tomorrow!


Tuesday, November 03, 2015

The Daily Chai Is Moving On

Today's Chai...well, I'm not going to lie, it was the best chai latte I've had in a week. Wait. It was the first one I've had in a week. However, my chai quest today happened with two of my favourite people in the entire world, one of whom I have not seen since July. It was a good reunion!

The last couple posts have been reminiscing about some painful experiences I've had in the last year and it's time to turn to something a little happier. Thank you for reading the last two posts and reaching out to me, your words are always appreciated!

One of the biggest reasons I haven't written these past few months is because I've met someone who has become increasingly important to me and I've been musing how I share this news, or if I even do share it on a forum like this blog. After all, I have maintained a few rules about this blog: no writing about the boys I date, no writing about my ex's personal stuff, no writing about where I work or co-workers. I've written about my pet peeves and my passions and I hope I've made you think and made you laugh. I've shared with you my funny stories about my girls and my heartache over their sadness as well as the evidence that they are healing and moving on. I know sometimes I've struck a chord with many of you, who are also going through something similar and sometimes I just write ridiculous crap that means nothing. What I've tried to accomplish with my honesty is to reach you, my readers, so you know others understand your sadness, your pain, your elation, your failures and your triumphs. We all struggle and we often feel alone when we struggle, and I'd hoped by being honest and sometimes very raw, that I've helped you see that you are not alone, even at your worst moments. Maybe it's naive, but I think we can all find solace knowing other people think, feel and act the same way we do sometimes.

So with that being said, I decided I would like to share parts of my relationship. Not the gory details mind you, no one wants to read about that (or maybe you do, shame on you!), but how this relationship will affect my kids as I move from a single parent to a person with a significant other who is not related to those kids. While I am happy and silly and sometimes plain ridiculous about this person being in my life, I realized my kids might not feel the same way. We've both considered with much caution and thought how we would like to involve them in our relationship, because at this stage in my life, I do not have the luxury of just going off and living happily ever after with the partner of my choosing. My kids' feelings have to be carefully considered and weighed. I have to be an adult and not let my own happiness cloud my good judgement when it comes to them. How do I introduce him to them? How does he fit into their lives? What will his role be when it comes to parenting them? As I've listened and learned over the last year, we all handle a new relationship when we have kids in a different way, with different timelines and different goals. I'm not going to lie when I say that some people handle this change extremely poorly and I want to avoid damaging my kids, who have already been through so much, by carelessly involving them in my relationship. And let's be honest, I have a selfish goal here; I don't want them to hate a person that I care so much for just because I was clumsy about introducing him. So how much and how soon do you involve them in an adult relationship that would normally just be between two people? Uncharted waters here folks...tread carefully!

But if you're reading this, you've probably read my other entries and you know I'm about as transparent as a sandwich bag. I could no more lie to Kate about dating a boy than I could remove one of my arms and use it for croquet. It's just not in me to hide things. Besides which, Kate is not stupid and she's perceptive as hell. So I'm going to tell you about how she found out I was dating someone and how she reacted to that news. I will say first that she had a clue because I often talk about my life to her and she will ask me how my week has gone and what I've been doing and I share all my news about my friends and work with her. So I had been talking about this person more often because I'd been spending, of course, more time with him.

The setting: MacDonald's at Walmart. The dirtiest, crappiest MacDonald's in town. Every time I go there and my feet stick to the floor and I have to clear the condiment counter of garbage, I swear I will never go back, as convenient as the location is. Then I promptly forget and return within weeks to once again stick to the floors.

Kate asks me if I'm ever going to get married again. I choke on my Big Mac a little and ask why she'd ask me that.

"Well, I don't want another daddy and I don't want another mommy."

"Ok, well, even if I ever get married again, that person will not be your daddy. Daddy is your daddy. My husband would just be another adult in your life that loves you and he would be your friend."

Kate sighs and says okay and is quiet for a little bit.

Just then, I get a text from my boyfriend and I smile as I read it. Kate looks at me and says, "Is that from ----?"

"Yes, actually it was."

"Is he your BOYFRIEND?" she says the last word in a sing-song voice, clearly teasing me as I have teased her about boys she talks about.

"Um...well...yes, he is actually."

"Really!?" she practically squeals in delight, "Ohhhh you have a  boyfriend!! Do you kiss him?"

Oh god. This is surprisingly embarrassing. Like, yes, I've kissed him, of course I kiss him, but do we need to talk about this right now? You're nine, stop talking about kissing! How do you even KNOW about kissing? Don't your parents monitor what you watch on YouTube?

Anna pipes up and wants to know if I kiss him on the lips or on the forehead. She's so darn cute, my god! I smile at her and tell her both and she laughs.

Then Kate says, "I want to meet him again. Didn't I meet him that one time? Was he your boyfriend then?"

"No Kate, he was my friend then. You know we've been hanging out for awhile now because I've talked about him to you and yes, you met him that one time, but it was before we started dating."

"Okay, well, I want to meet him. Let's go to a movie together! Oh! We could have him over for dinner! Can he come tonight? Please?"

"Kate, pump the brakes. We haven't been dating all that long. Can I just see where this is going before you invite him for Thanksgiving and Christmas?"

"He's coming for Thanksgiving? That's awesome!"

I shake my head, "What? No...I just meant...okay never mind. When the time is right, you will get to meet him."

"Awww, no fair!" and she goes into full pout mode.

So it just goes to show you, kids surprise you. You think you are being all cautious and smart because you don't want to hurt them and meanwhile, it turns out they are ready to meet the significant other before you are ready to introduce them. However, with that being said, Kate's dad has been in a relationship for a while now and it's caused a certain amount of confusion and stress to her as she's adjusted to the new normal, so even if she seems fine with me dating someone, I'm still taking things slowly when it comes to involving my kids in my relationship. I want them to be happy and comfortable and I want them to know they can trust me to make good decisions when it comes to this. Which means I continue adulting and leave them out of my relationship equation for a little while longer, until we are all comfortable with the new status quo.

I also still want some of the time I have with them to be about the three of us spending time together and not about creating an instant new family. I love hanging out with just us, even if Anna did eat so much Hallowe'en candy last night that she barfed when Kate decided it would be a great idea to bounce her up and down for ten minutes after her mass sugar consumption. Yeah, it happened. There was screaming and barf on both children and tears and chaos. It was awesome. Not sure I want to dump that crazy on my boyfriend just yet, you know?

We did, however, end up having Thanksgiving together and the kids were fine and have been asking me since when they would see him again. Baby steps ladies, but I'm glad they like him!

Monday, November 02, 2015

The Daily Chai Celebrates a Special Woman

Today's Chai was one slippery little bastard and managed to get away from me. Damn those drinks.

Kidding, I didn't buy one because I was still suffering from the sugar induced coma from eating Hallowe'en candy for dinner last night.

Yesterday I wrote about the end of my marriage because it was the anniversary of that day and I think I left some of you feeling like I was in a bad place. I want to reassure you that I am fine and that I was merely observing that it's been a year since I left. Having taken two and half months off from writing, I feel the need to set the scene for some reflection about what the last year has meant to me. It's been a hell of a year in more ways than one and the journey continues.

Margriet is the mother of my niece and has been my friend since I was 18. We have not always been close as time and space both separated us, but she has, for Zoe's whole life, ensured my niece would know me and my family, even living on the other side of the country. She would call regularly and when Zoe was old enough to talk, she'd put that little tike on the phone to chat with us. Eventually Zoe was old enough to call herself and I know her mom encouraged her to do so and told her stories about us to make sure Zoe knew we were real people, not just strangers in Ontario. She wanted Zoe to know she had family who loved her even if we couldn't afford to make the trip to see her often. When Zoe was nine, Margriet agreed to put Zoe on a plane by herself (under the watchful eye of the airplane crew of course) so she could make the country-wide journey to visit with us for two weeks. My own Kate is nine and I'm barely comfortable letting her walk around the block by herself. But Margriet thought it would be amazing for Zoe to have that experience, not only to travel, but to spend time with us. That is just the type of person Margriet was. Adventurous, open-minded, bold, sassy, smart.

Around the same time as my marriage ended, Margriet's tumour began growing again and she suffered some seizures just before she was supposed to return to work. She'd been fighting this cancer for ten years and with the dissolution of my marriage and her sudden seizures, I was beginning to realize just how short life really is and I flew out to see her. Even with my marriage up in the air (we hadn't decided at that point whether the break was permanent) and my heart heavy with decisions to be made, it was the best thing I ever did. I spent a week running errands with Margriet, talking with Zoe, eating junk food, smoking, doing dishes, going to improv shows and trying to help out in small ways while Margriet recovered from her bout of seizures. The best part about my trip out west was finally getting to know the rest of Margriet and Zoe's family. Zoe's brother is pretty quiet and involved in his own teenage stuff, so I didn't see much of him, but I quickly grew to love Geoff, crazy, fast-talking, caring Geoff who calls everyone "my dear" without reservation. I didn't know how he would feel about me, being from Zoe's other family, but he immediately and wholeheartedly welcomed me into his home and into his family. Geoff will always hold a special place in my heart.

When I left in November, my last memory of Marg was when she dropped me off at the airport, she was still well enough to do that, but unwell enough that I was worried about her getting home. She hugged me for a long time and told me I was her sister and always would be and she was little bit mad at me for coming because now she would miss me when I was gone. I went down the ramp to the plane, but I did look back once to see her standing there, watching me go. I thought I would never see her again.

As fate would have it, I had planned to take the girls south in the spring and I thought, why on earth would I do that when I can take them to Vancouver to see Zoe's family? It just shows you that you never know what life will bring you. I thought I would never see Marg again, but I did. We had an amazing, if emotional trip. I wrote about it extensively and will post the links below. Margriet was not doing very well at that point and the tumour was causing so much damage to her brain that she was paralyzed on one side and tired easily, but she was still her sassy self, making jokes about her pervy hand that somehow always ended up in her lap, no matter where someone placed it for her. It was a hard trip and a sad trip, but I'm glad I was with the family for even a little while during that time. I'm glad my girls got to meet Margriet and I'm glad Margriet finally got to meet them.

On Wednesday last week, I got a text from Zoe asking that I call her when I got a chance and I knew she would tell me the news I was dreading to hear; Margriet had passed away an hour before. How does one describe the feeling of sadness, the relief, the ache, the hollowness, the peace that one experiences when a friend, suffering from a long illness, is gone? Truly, utterly gone from this world? I will never hear her voice again, although I can still imagine the tone and timber of her voice, can almost hear her laugh as she says, "I know, hey?" I will never see her face again, although I can easily call up an image of her standing on my porch so long ago. I will never get another text, another call. My last text to her was in April and I haven't been able to bring myself to delete the thread. But Margriet was in pain and had been paralyzed since March. She wasn't going to get better, she wasn't going to "beat" the tumour. She was not living the life she deserved, so how can I be sad that she is finally at peace? The day after I found out she was gone, I had a stormy, emotional breakdown that only one person whom I trust and love witnessed. Then I put my game face on and got on with what had to be done that day. Because the truth is, while the sadness I feel for Margriet's passing will never wholly leave me, I am glad her fight is over, that her family can move forward to live their lives. They have all dedicated the last six months to caring and loving Margriet. You will never meet a better bunch of people for giving everything they had to their friend, sister, wife, mother, but they also deserve to move on and find happiness in life again. I know they would give everything they have to spend one more day with Margriet, but since that is not possible, I am grateful that they now have a chance to begin healing.

Once again, I have something to ask of you. Live your life. Be happy. Enjoy a chai latte. Go on vacation. Read a book. Enjoy a bath. Look at the sky. Stand in the rain. Write a story. Whatever you wish you could do, just do it. Life is short and often unfair as hell, so take what you can from it and love every good moment you are lucky enough to receive.

Links to my blog while I was in Vancouver in April:

Pre-vacation Evening

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Love ya,

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The Daily Chai Returns

Today's chai was non-existent, but I felt the need to write after a chat with an acquaintance. You will have to wait until tomorrow to hear the truth about how good my chai was this morning. For now, I bring you lies, it was fantastic, foamy, delicious and sweet.

I haven't written since my car accident in August, but I have good reasons, I swear. Life moves pretty fast and if you don't stop to look around, suddenly two and half months have passed and you've lost your entire readership. Shit. Sorry about that.

Moving on.

The car is all better. $8000 worth of damage and 10 days in the shop kind of fine, but you'd never know until you try to sell her and the Car Facts pulls it up and they bump $4000 off the offering price. Shit happens.

Moving on.

I have so much to tell you that I will likely need to split this up into a couple posts. I'll start at the beginning, or the end, such as it was. Today it has been a year since I looked at my ex and, with a heavy heart, told him that I needed a break from us, from our life and from him. He agreed to stay at a hotel that night and the next day I left and stayed at my mom's for a week. It was what I wanted and what I needed, but it didn't make it any easier to actually say, to actually DO. But you know, for the first time in a very long time, I was putting myself first. Maybe that is selfish, maybe that was a crap decision, but it was an amazing feeling to think about ME for a change and not about my kids or my husband and their needs and wants while I grudgingly ignored my own, becoming more dissatisfied and bitter with each passing day. I'm not sure what happens to women when they get married and when they have kids, but most of us seem to lose ourselves and that person our spouse fell in love with ceases to even exist. Mixing my tenses and grammar beautifully, but I think you get my meaning. We strive so hard to be the perfect partner and parent that our essential self is lost in the journey. I needed to find myself, as hippy-dippy and flower child as that sounds.

We really fucked up telling the kids because we were both so distraught after we decided to take a break that we couldn't even comprehend their feelings. This wasn't happening to THEM, it was happening to US. We (at least I was, and I think my ex would probably agree) were absolutely immersed in our own heartache.  In retrospect, I cringe that I didn't consider their feelings more carefully. I've thought about that night a million times if I thought about it once, how I SHOULD have told my daughters that mommy and daddy were taking a break and how I ACTUALLY told my daughters.

Imagined scenario: My ex quietly packs a bag and surreptitiously leaves, telling the kids he is going out for the evening to have a beer with a friend and he'll see them in the morning. The three girls go to bed, with me pretending everything is normal. The family sits down after a night of rest and sleep and calmly talks about what is happening. The kids are, of course, upset, but they accept that we are trying to figure our stuff out and we all cry and tell each other we will always love each other no matter what.

What actually happened: The kids were having a snack in the kitchen while my ex and I decided on the most monumental thing that will ever happen during their childhoods. He packs a bag and we go downstairs, both of us crying and we call the kids away from their snack to talk to them. I blurt out that Daddy is leaving for the night and Kate, sensitive little soul that she is, immediately knows that he is not just going out for a beer with his buddies. She cries out, "What? Why? What's happening? Why are you leaving?" And this is where my philosophy of being as honest with Kate as possible for her entire childhood comes crashing to the ground in failure. I tell her that mummy and daddy are having some problems and need a little break and Daddy will be back in the morning and I'm going to stay with my mom for the next week. I will never forget the look on her face as it crumpled into sobs and she cried, "NO! Don't go daddy, please don't go, please!" Oh my God, even writing about it a year later, I can hear the wounded animal in her voice and I can feel my heart tearing in two.

Let's be honest though, telling your kids that you're splitting up is never going to go smoothly or be welcomed news, unless your ex is some sort of psycho that the kids are terrified of, which mine most assuredly was not. So my anguish over my failure to tell the kids in a better way is probably useless, but it's still there. I wish I'd handled it with more tack, thought more about them and less about me. But I was selfishly thinking only of myself at that point, as I've already stated and I was on a roll I guess. We are none of us perfect and I have to accept that and move on. My only advice to you, if you find yourself in a similar situation, is to lie through your teeth to the kids until you know what the fuck you are actually doing. Kidding. Every situation is different, you need to do what is right for your family. Just keep in mind that this is happening to them as much as it's happening to you. It's no longer a relationship just between you and your spouse, it's their family and their life too.

Dates and anniversaries hold a special, sometimes sad, sometimes wonderful, place in my heart. I studied history after all and have a head for dates. As a pseudo historian, it's my passion not only to remember the past, but learn from it, to understand the significance of things that have happened in the past in order to move forward with the future. Don't get me wrong, I try not to dwell on sad things, but certain dates will always have meaning for me. November 1 will always be the day that my marriage ended officially. It is also the date that I began building a new life for myself and my girls, much of which I have shared with you here. I have accomplished so many things that I am proud of, I've had some set backs, I've acted out and done stupid things too. But mainly, I feel that I have moved on, like I'm always saying we should. I'm in a good place now and certain things have happened in the past couple months that I would also like to share with you, but they will have to wait for another post. For now, I leave you with this:

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Daily Chai Fucks Up Veronica

Today's chai was great. My girl asked me why I was such a cute little monkey today and looked at me like she couldn't quite pin point what was wrong with me. I replied that I wasn't wearing heels and was therefore three inches shorter than normal which obviously takes me from statuesque goddess to adorable monkey in one quick shoe change.

So on the way to get Anna for daycare, I reared-ended a pickup truck. Good times. I'm okay, not injured in anyway except a headache and sore neck. Veroncia, on the other hand, is fucked up. My poor baby, my new car, my dream car is all smashed up. The HILARIOUS thing about this lovely incident is I knew if I got a new car, I would get into an accident within a month. I told people I was actually worried about getting a new car because I would probably smash it up the first chance I got just because it's new and beautiful and shiny and I love it. It's just, like, fate. Not that I believe in that happy horseshit.  But how many people do you know have ended up in the same predicament after buying a new car? Why couldn't this have happened when I was driving my crappy 2003 Golf that I didn't give a crap about?

I will tell you why. God is jealous when you love immaterial things. Thou shalt not worship any idol before me. Or something like that. And worship her I do. Oops.

I'm kidding. This was just a crappy, crappy accident that happened and I now have to deal with the consequences. A tiny little part of me kind of feels like it serves me right for loving my car so much because it's just a thing. It means nothing what kind of car you drive. Except...we all love our cars and so many people identify their personalities with the type of car they drive. Shallow people, granted, but it's still true. And I'm pretty shallow. So you know, balls. I was so excited that I was able to buy this car and that I found the exact one that I've dreamed of having for years. Did I ever tell you I bought a model replica kit of a red Beetle when I was a teenager? I still have it somewhere. I have bored people to death for the last six weeks about how much I love my car. I am, quite frankly, completely and totally bummed about this turn of events.

But I keep coming back to this: It's just a thing. It's not my heart or my soul, it's not my child, it's not one of my people. It's a car. It can be fixed. In a few weeks, you will never even know this happened. I'm sure I will have some fun times sorting this shit out, but it'll get done. I'll take care of business because it's what I do. It's what we all have to do when these things happen. Time to put my big girl panties on and do some adulting.

A special thank you to you-know-who-you-are for dropping everything and coming to wait with me while I talked to the cops. You have my undying gratitude for being there for me in my hour of FML, what have I done? And to everyone who wrote back, "First, are you ok? And second, WTF, omg your poor baby," I know you get me and I love you too.

And yes, one of the things I thought as I waited for the cops to show was, at least I have something to write about tonight.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Daily Chai Had a Couplea Drinks

Today's chai was delicious. Hot and spicy. It's like crack to me and I may need an intervention at some point, but for now, I continue my addiction and really, would you want me to stop? After all (and I'm aware I've said this before) what would I write about? My daily Diet Dr. Pepper? Doesn't have the same ring, does it?

Went out with a couple friends tonight to a local pub and had the saltiest, pepperiest poutine of my life. I ate it with great gusto, but I wasn't very happy about it. And the bacon I added...pfft. Fuck you limp, undercooked bacon that I barely knew was there. I am bitter about the bacon. It should have overthrown and conquered the poutine, but it did not. Pet peeve number 486.

I have a confession to make. Actually, I probably have several confessions to make but I'll keep those to myself. My confession that I want to confess at this moment in time is that I'm stuck. I can't move forward and can't go back and I don't know what to do about it. I am a woman of action though and I can't just wait around for life to happen to me, I want to make things happen, I want to be the doer of things, the seeker of adventure and the catastrophe of life. Even if it's a bad idea, it's bound to be a good time, so who fucking cares, right? Except one day you find yourself in a situation that you don't know how to solve because your brain is telling you one thing and your heart is screaming in another direction as fast as it can go. People keep telling me to protect my heart, but apparently that is something I am just not capable of doing. I don't understand being reserved, I don't know how to play it cool, I don't understand the games, I just am what you see, what I present to you is the sum of everything I am. I am many, many things, but the one thing I am not, is a mystery. I do not know how to build my wall. I've tried, you see, and it just isn't me, so screw it.

I don't know if this is a bad thing or not. It seems to charm the pants off some people and scare the shit out of others. Perhaps what I need to do is charm the pants of someone and not worry about the rest because hey, pants off and we're all having a good time. Might still be a bad idea, but again, who fucking cares? We have one life to live guys, are you going sit here wishing you'd done something or are you going to at least try? I'd rather try and fail, experience the good and bad, than not try at all and always, always wonder what might have happened if only I'd just been brave enough to take a chance. We're all going to fall at some point, but it's how we go down that's the funniest part, we all know that. We grew up with America's Funniest Home Videos after all. So we try and we fall and we bounce back up and try again with the faith that at some point, it's just going to work out in our favour. At some point, it just has to, the odds tell us that, right? And, besides, what a great fucking story it all is to tell one day!

You can take that anyway you please. I'm applying it to many situations, my own and others to which I am only an outside observer. What the fuck do I know anyway?

Love ya!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Daily Chai Solves the Mystery of the Tall Boy

Today's chai was tasty. That's about all I can say about it.

My ex took the dog while I was away this weekend and he (the dog, not the ex) behaved quite poorly so unfortunately, he will not be spending anymore time there, which sucks for Kate. When I went to pick him up Sunday, Anna  came out and wanted to come home with me. She started to cry and it was really quite gut-wrenching to be honest. She misses Kate, who is at a friend's cottage this week (having the time of her life, I might add) and she misses me. I cuddled her on the front porch while the ex went to get the dog and told her that she must be having a good time with daddy and that it was his time with her, but weren't we lucky to have a little surprise visit and how was her weekend. My lame attempts to distract her only went so far and we had a tearful (on her part) farewell. Surprisingly, I held up okay considering that three months ago that encounter would have sent me into a tail-spin of guilt and tears and probably heavy drinking.

Ah, but you see, I had a plan. The brilliant strategist strikes again as I texted her dad to suggest she spend a night with me this week like they did with him last week. He agreed and dropped her off today. We had a fabulous night of mall sushi, a visit with a friend, a bath (in which she invited me, but I politely declined) and some rocking Full House. She is currently sleeping like a champ in the middle of my bed and the AC is on full blasty blast so I don't sweat to death in the night when I go upstairs to join her. She feels special because I'm letting her sleep there because it's just us.

That all being said, she is exhausting to be around. She talks more than her mother. To all my friends, I apologize for how exhausting I am to be around. Profusely.

From the time we got in the car until we went to bed, this is just a small example of the things she said to me as I drove:

Mummy, turn up the music. I like this song [after I turn it up, she invariably has something to say, so I then have to turn it down]:

Mummy, are you still friends with M?

Yes, I am, but I haven't talked to him for awhile. Why?

He's tall right? I want to see him again.

Why? He scared you and made you cry because he was so big. Then you made friends, but you have literally not mentioned him since then without telling me he scared you and that you don't like him.

Oh. Yeah. I'm not talking about M. I mean the other tall one. You know, he had a white car. He was nice. You know? What's his name?

[My mind is literally blank. Which one of my guy friends has Anna ever seen in a car? I only know of one that drives a white vehicle and I'm positive she's ever seen him in it.]

I'm really not sure honey. I have lots of boys in my life that are friends. Are you talking about J? [which is silly to suggest because she has never met that person, I've just talked about him, but like I said, my mind was blank].

Yes! Mummy, that's him. He was nice, I liked him. Are you still friends? I want to see him again.

Uh, I just realized that I don't think you met him before. So it can't be him. Sorry.

Mummy. Just start naming people. I will remember if you say his name.

[All I can think is she's talking about our recent visit to my office to see a few work friends and have lunch with the bestie, so I start naming people from work.]

Um. D? A? uhhhh M?

NO. Mummy NOOOOOO. [aaaaaand the misunderstood, frustrated four year old emerges] Mum. He had a white car. He was tall. He lifted me up in the air and bumped my head on the ceiling because he was so tall. [She is close to tears now with having to deal with her mind-numbingly stupid mother.]

Ohhhhhhhh, you're talking about P! Yes, what about him?

Are you still friends?

Yes, very much so.

Can we see him again? I miss him.

I miss him too. But, he lives almost as far away as Zoe, so we won't see him for a while, but I promise when he comes for his next visit, we will see him, how's that?

Why does he live far away? And there is no way he lives as far as Zoe. We had to take a plane to see her. He had a white car, not a plane.

That was a rental. He was just here to visit. He really does live far away. We would have to take a plane to visit him too.

No way! Really? Awwww, that sucks. What's a rental?

Yes, it does. A rental is when someone is visiting and they rent a car to drive around because their own car is far away.

Oh. Mummy, turn up the music please. I quite like this song. It's my jam. [And yes, she used the words 'quite' and 'jam'.]

I would tell you more about these and other enlightening conversations, but I'm exhausted just typing out that small part. Good night!


Friday, August 14, 2015

The Daily Chai's Got Nothing

Today's chai...I'm not going to lie. It was fucking fabulous. 'Nuff said.

I have nothing tonight folks. No words of wisdom, no funny kid stories. I have literally been sitting here staring at my screen for an hour. Instead, I've been madly texting a pal about her boy problems and mine. Seriously, boys are trouble!

I ate a lot of cheese tonight and I have some regrets. How's that for literary gems?

I'm going away this weekend to my bestie's cottage and I'm so happy. It's been too long and we have some good reasons to celebrate! I might just be buying this little, old house in which I currently sit, but I don't have much more detail than that to give right now. I will tell you that as excited as I am, I'm also terrified. I've never done this on my own and I feel kind of lioness, roary about it. But so scary. What if I screw it all up? Anyway, more about it later, when I know more and the plan is set in motion.

Anyway, I'm sorry, but I was serious when I said I had nothing to say. I'll take some drunk notes this weekend and let y'all know how my weekend was instead!

Enjoy life. Live. Breathe. Eat cheese. Maybe get a tattoo. It's all good


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Daily Chai Talks Kindness

Today's chai was boring. Sorry.

I was talking to a buddy tonight and I'm not going to get into his story here because it isn't my story to tell, but let's just say he is going through divorce and his ex is putting him through hell and using the kids to get at him. All I have to say is WHAT. THE. FUCK??

Now, I get that often, divorce is ugly and divorce is mean, but I don't understand why it has to be. I don't want to be buddies with my ex, I don't want to hang out with him on Taco Tuesday, but I don't want to ruin his life. I just don't want to be married to him anymore. Let him go on his way and we will co-parent our kids as best we can, but basically, have a nice life and be happy. I'm certainly trying to be!

Which brings me to my point. I'm a true believer in being kind. Not just to small animals in traps either, I mean to everyone. Yes, I'm judgy and bitchy and I say nasty things. I'm not a saint. But I generally try live my life by being kind to others. There are a thousand ways you can make someone else's day that cost you nothing and might actually brighten your day, too. What does being nasty do? Does it make these people feel good inside knowing they just decimated someone's world? I don't get it. Human beings are so incredibly hard on each other and so often very cruel. But a smile for a stranger, holding a door, offering to help carry something, sending a text to say you're thinking of someone, these little things cost us nothing, not even a lot of time.

So once again, the Daily Chai brings you a challenge. Be kind. Consciously think of ways you can make someone else's day better. Reach out to that friend who is going through a hard time. Give a stranger a genuine compliment. Buy a coffee for the next person. And don't give me this happy horsehshit about Random Act of Kindness Day. It's not enough to think about this on one day of the year. You need to do this as a life commitment. Stop being a bitch and making other people miserable, and just be nice for crying out loud!

Love ya!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Daily Chai is a Brilliant Strategist

Random funny moose picture
Today's chai was lovely. I love the sweet ladies that serve me each morning, they truly brighten my day. I'm not sure if I even like chai lattes anymore or if I go just to see them. OMG I did not just type that. Of course I still like chai lattes!

I had a cold shower this morning. It was not awesome, but the water heater guy's been here and fixed some sensor and I have glorious hot water again. I'm very excited about the morning.

And yes, that is pretty much how exciting my life is at the moment. 

Kate was missing her dad a lot today. She Facetimed him and came down all teary-eyed and red-faced and asked if he could come over for a visit. Fuck no. I mean, uh, I don't think that would be such a great idea. 

"Why not? Because you don't like him?"

Oh Jesus. Do I have to keep telling my kids that I love their dad and I will always love their dad, but I just don't want to be buddies with him and hang out on Tuesday night when, by rights, Tuesday belongs to tacos and TV? I don't want to be mean to my kid and I want what's best for both of them, but I seriously doubt watching their parents awkwardly hang out together on a Tuesday night is going to make either of them feel any better about life. And honestly, it's not that he is not welcome in my home, but I'm not exactly welcome in his, so why should I capitulate and invite him here? 

However, and this is where I've become a brilliant strategist, I suggested to my ex that he take the girls overnight tomorrow night and I will take them the next Wednesday he has them, to break up this long, long week that we don't get to see the kids. He agreed. Ta-da! Megan saves the day and decides she could possibly win wars with her tactics. Kate was thrilled and excited with this solution and no longer sad and crying about missing daddy. Wins all around. 

Later, I was watching TV with Kate before bed (The Full House marathon continues) and when it was over I said, "Give me a hug and no, you may not sleep in my bed."

"I wasn't going to ask....okay yeah, can I sleep here? Please?" but she was laughing, the little minx. 

"No, you may not, but I love you. Go to bed."

"Ahhhh okay," with sigh of contentment as she snuggled closer, "But this hug is going to last until morning."


Monday, August 10, 2015

The Daily Chai is Back in the Thick of Things

Today's chai was actually perfect. Serious bliss.

This week is going to be insane. Anna is still in daycare in my old town, about 20 minutes away, then I have to take Kate to her day camp, which is 30 minutes from there and then I need to get my ass to work, which is about 15 minutes from day camp. It's a long morning before the work day even begins. I dread the school year because it's so busy, but I'm actually looking forward to the kids being at the same school and getting on the same bus!

I never told you about our reunion on Friday. The girls and I were so happy to see each other, we just sat on the floor talking. Anna was in my lap, absent-minded stroking my arms and Kate was feeling my legs and commenting on how smooth they were. Good thing I shaved that morning. There is something about cuddling and touch among children and mother that never really goes away after babyhood and I love that my girls are so affectionate. Sometimes is seems a little weird to be touched so frankly and without reservation, hesitation or question. Sometimes I feel like a piece of furniture that they give no thought to, but on Friday, I knew they were touching me almost out of reverence to be with their mother again and I gotta say, it felt damn good to be loved like that.

We talked about their new house with their dad and about what they did last week and they asked me what I'd been doing and it was just nice to talk, like we were friends. As much as I am a full-out mother, all teaching manners and discipline and making sure they are clean and fed and safe, Kate is turning into a little friend that I confide in and I know she feels the same about me. I hope this lasts!

I took them to their new school so they could check out the playground and they were thrilled. It's just far enough away that we had to drive because lord knows Anna would never manage to walk there and back without whinging to be carried. After we played on the play set for a bit, we wandered down the pathway to see what we could see. We found a grasshopper and held his wriggling body for a minute before he jumped away and then Anna decided to tell me how much she loved me.

"I love you all the way to Heaven and the all the way to the sky. And I love you this much," as she spread her arms wide.

"I love you to the moon and back," I said and the look of astonishment on her face made me laugh out loud.

"I love you...all the way to Waterloo. And Disneyland," she said after some thought. I wonder how many conversations like these happen because of that book?

Later, back at the play set, we were all horsing around and just to be an ass, I whacked Kate's butt, because she hates it. She gets absolutely outraged and yells, "Mooooo-ooooom!" And then she starts whacking me back. This time I just laughed at her and told her to try harder because she wasn't hurting me a bit so it became a game of how hard they could whack my butt and each other's butts. Good times. Of course, it ended in tragedy when Anna wound up to give Kate a really good one and she missed, spun around and ended up in the gravel. This tumble resulted in a big, but superficial scrape on her thigh and a deeper scrape on her elbow, which promptly began to bleed. Which, of course, promptly produced angry tears of pain from Anna. She was bleeding enough that we needed to go home to wash it out and put a bandage on it and she wailed, "But I can't go in the car, I'll get blood everywhere!" I'm glad that kid has her priorities straight about her mom's new car!  I assured it was not bleeding that much and we could certainly risk the five minute drive home as long as she held her arm up, which she dutifully did.

As I buckled her in, I said, "Well, that will teach you to whack my butt, kiddo." She looked at me with great, tragic tears in her eyes and wailed, "I wasn't trying to whack you, I was trying to whack Kate." Well, okay then. Keep doing that because it turned out well. And Kate was trying not to snicker in the back seat beside her crying sister.

When we got home, Anna was still crying and she got out of the car and said, "I hate being outside. I wish there was carpet out here so I wouldn't hurt myself when I fall," and then, as she stomped up the stairs of the porch, she turned around and yelled with great defiance to the world at large, "AND I'D RATHER NOT GET A SLIVER!"

Okay.... since there were no slivers involved in this incident, I can only assume the sliver she got five weeks ago at daycare has, indeed, traumatized her for life.


Sunday, August 09, 2015

The Daily Chai Misses You!

Today's chai was non-existent, but Friday's, when I finally got it, was fabulous. It was so good I almost didn't even need to drink it, I just held it and smelled its lovely, spicy scent. Oh, how I miss my chai when I don't get that daily infusion!

I've spent a lot of time missing things lately. People, places, objects. I dream of Germany and her mountains, her rolling hills, her lush, flowered-filled gardens. The orchards blooming in the spring, the fruit growing in the fields in the summer and the people, those friends I made and whom I still love deeply. I miss my dad and talking with him over a burger and coke on a patio in the sun. Even in our complicated and often strained relationship, we talked about so many things together. I miss my brother, even though we can barely stand each other, I miss his face. I try to picture him in his foreign, tropical paradise that also sounds like the craziest place on Earth and wonder if I will get a chance to visit him there. I miss my niece and her family that has become my family, that welcomed me with open arms and made me part of their clan. I miss friends that I don't see enough. I miss their laughter and their stories, I miss holding them and telling them to their faces that I love them. I miss my dear girls when they are away on their weekly sojourn with their dad and I miss every experience they have that I am not having with them. I miss human contact and love and affection from a partner that loves me back.

Sometimes I miss all those things so much, I feel as though my heart will burst with longing and sadness. It's crushing to think I may never see those places again or hold those people again. In some cases, I know my last moment with them has passed and they are only a memory to me now. Some I fear I will never see again and some I know I will be lucky enough to be in their presence once more. But life is so unpredictable, you never know when these things will happen. So you miss them and you wait. And you hope and you dream and you plan.

And then, and I realize fully just how cheesy this is going to sound, I realize that I am truly a lucky person to have such strong feelings about anything that I miss it that much. To even miss one thing with such passion that you lie awake at night wishing you could experience it just one more time, all that means is that I have been given a gift. I have felt passion and I have lost passion, I have seen it slip away from me, I have let it trail through my fingertips and wash away. I have tried to hold on and force it to stay and I have been disappointed when it left anyway. And yet, it comes back to me in another form, reminding me that no matter what I have lost, no matter the heartache or disappointment, it is always inside me to feel that way again. My internal, eternal optimist serves me well in that regard, because even in the darkest hour, I know there is always beauty to be found. As much as it hurts sometimes to miss something, imagine never feeling passionately about anything? Never feeling that euphoric high in a great accomplishment, never experiencing love in all its glory, never experiencing true contentment just from spying the morning dew on a freshly blossoming flower...what would be the point of it all if we did not have those glorious moments of clarity?


Thursday, August 06, 2015

The Daily Chai reaches 200

Today's chai was spicy, very spicy. I was sulking a little bit today, but I made myself cheer up dramatically this afternoon and I'm back to my old self.

This is my 200th post and I'm pretty proud of hitting that milestone. Do you remember all the hoopla about Cheers reaching 200 episodes? If you don't, you're too young to be my friend. It is the equivalent to my parents' generation's question of where were you when JFK was shot. Which, when you think about, also serves to illustrate the differences between their generation and ours. 

I want to write something really profound today because I hit that milestone, but that being said, I got nothin' except this conversation with my mother which I thought was hilarious:

Now I want to know what the fuckity fuck is up with boys? Seriously. Why can't they just be straight-forward in what they want? They either leave you hanging or, if by some fucking miracle, they actually tell you what they are looking for and you say, "Hey, I AM that!" they run screaming in the fucking opposite direction? This has happened on a few occasions, so I'm not talking about one guy in particular, nor am I speaking from only my own personal experience. Basically I'm pretty sure the entire gender acts like this. I have words for you. Fucking stop it. It's annoying. And you bitch about what women want. They want to be wanted. It's pretty fucking simple.

Jebus, I wanted profound and went with profane instead. Oops. Sorry.


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The Daily Chai Talks to the Minions

Today's chai was delicious. Had a heart to heart with a friend of mine, much needed, but I'm not sure if it really resolved anything. What can you do? Life is messy.

I talked to Kate and Anna over FaceTime today. They showed me their new rooms in the house their dad just moved to this week. They seem very happy with everything and Anna's room has castle wallpaper, so she is basically in heaven. I asked Anna if she was having fun with daddy on her week off from daycare and she said, "No, I'm having a bad day." Oh dear, why are you having a bad day little chicken? "I don't know, I cry every day about something, so that is a bad day."

No judgements on my ex. This is just four year old behaviour and Kate was exactly the same way at that age. I remember complaining to a co-worker that Kate cried about everything and anything between the ages of three and five. It was infuriating, frustrating and my patience wore thin every day. I remember being so angry with her crying as we were getting ready to leave for some party or something and I turned around and yelled at her to stop, please just stop, for the love of all things holy, STOP CRYING! ENOUGH. Of course, me losing my shit didn't help matters in any way whatsoever. My husband was looking at me like I was crazy and I could see the disappointment and anger in his eyes, I could feel my own disappointed tears pricking at my eyelids and Kate, well, she just looked at me in astonishment for a moment before renewing her sobs so hard that she threw up. Not even kidding. Tempers all around, it was a great night. 

So little kids cry. Some more than others. But why does it have to be so much? So often? And about the most ridiculous things?

It comes down to some pretty simple points.

The first is that four year olds do not have the necessary words to express how they are feeling or what they want so they get frustrated all the time. Anna (and Kate at that age) is very articulate, but her vocabulary is, of course, still building. She wants to express a thought or tell me about something that happened and she simply does not have the words to explain it and I end up not understanding and she gets frustrated. I'm probably correct in assuming that men don't cry when they are frustrated, but I know plenty of women that do or want to. That's not sexist by the way, it's just the truth. So you have to think about the daily struggle a pre-schooler has to make herself understood and the final frustrating time when it's just too much, that's when the tears come. 

The second is that four year olds do not have control of their feelings the same way that many adults have learned to harness theirs. It takes years of wasted energy to control our feelings so that we can lie behind a mask of calm that we are just fine. Absolutely and totally fine. Cheerily so, in fact! All lies. And four year olds just don't have the same amount of practice we've had, the guile to lie as effectively as we do to keep things comfortable for people who don't really want to know that we are currently losing our fucking minds. It's actually refreshing when you think about it, that honesty in emotion.

The third is that, to them, the most ridiculous things are of paramount importance. I remember absolutely losing my entire shit because the neighbourhood kid had chewed the head off my yellow unicorn eraser. Like, I lost it. I shrieked at her, snatched it away and starting wailing like my arm had been severed at the elbow. My mother came running and when I, hiccoughing and wheezing, told her that my unicorn's head had been destroyed by that cretin, she was so angry at me for scaring her, so angry that I was not crying about a REAL PROBLEM, she yelled at me and sent me to my room. But the thing was, I loved that eraser. My dad had bought it for me on one of the many bookstore expeditions that he had taken me on. He usually bought me a book, but this time, that beautiful, yellow unicorn eraser caught my eye and he bought it instead. You might be laughing right now, but I loved it. And that little bitch ATE IT. WHAT. THE. FUCK? Who eats an eraser? I still remember her stunned countenance when I screamed in her face after realizing what she'd done and the injustice of being sent to my room when I had been absolutely wronged and I still hate her. Seems silly, doesn't it? But that is just one thing that I remember, as a child, that seemed to be the end of the world. I spent the rest of the afternoon in my bed room, sulking. Seriously. As an adult I snicker about it and it's silliness, but as a child, I was devastated. Imagine all the little injustices that seem insignificant to us but end the world for our little loves? Is it any wonder they cry?

Patience does not always come easy. But try to remember being a child and how frustrating it was instead of how easy it seems after you become an adult. Remember how badly you wanted to grow up so you could be in charge of your life? You didn't feel that way because childhood was a cake walk.


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

The Chai Latte Gives You a Driving Lesson

Today's chai...oh how do I describe the bliss of today's chai after 10 days of denial? Sadly, it was, if you can believe this, too spicy and I didn't finish it! You all know I like it hot and spicy, but today's was over the top. Oh well, you can't win them all.

As I was driving in the left lane on the 401 highway behind some slow-moving douchebag, I thought, my rage right now would make a good blog entry. Let me explain something to you douchebag: the left lane is for passing, get the fuck out of my way.

That's about it. I guess that wasn't a very long entry.

I miss driving on the highway in Germany because people get out of your way when you come up behind them in the left lane. Like, without fail. You don't need to tailgate them dangerously, if that's your thing, you don't need to honk or flash your lights. People watch their rearview mirror and get out of the way when they see you coming. The answer for this is pretty simple. When you see a ferrari coming up behind you at 180 kilometres an hour, you know for a fact that he ain't stopping and you going 100 kilometres an hour in front of him means certain death for both of you. It's simply a fact of death and you get the fuck out the way.

People in Canada seem to have this moral longing to police the roads so they stay in the left lane, hmmming away at 100 and flipping you the bird when you come flying up behind them. I will say this once and once only, if I want to drive 150 in the left lane, that is my right to 6 demerit points, 30 day licence suspension and a hefty fine, not your right to impede my way. And no, I do not drive 150 kilometres per hour. I'm just saying, leave your moral judgement about other people's driving at home and simply follow the rules yourself if it makes you feel better.

And don't even get me started about roundabouts. I have already written a perfectly good explanation here: Megan's Pet Peeves Part Deux The added bonus is rereading my ridiculous pet peeves.

In case you are wondering, here is the first instalment of my pet peeves.*


*Having just re-read my first list of pet peeves, I realize I have brought up the passing lane already. Sorry about the redundancy, but obviously it's really irritating and I have to get the word out there

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Daily Chai Went to the...BEACH!

Today's chai... *sigh*

I went to Grand Bend with my mum today and had a fab day, hungover and all. Thank god that woman dislikes early starts about as much as I do! Mum and I used to go to Grand Bend at least once a year, just me and her but of course, once I had my babies, it wasn't really possible to make that yearly trek without them. Don't get me wrong, love going to the beach with the kids, but it's awfully nice to be with just my mom and not have to worry about anything but what we feel like doing. Lying on the sand, feeling the sun warm on my skin and hearing the waves beat down on the shore made me blissfully happy and restored my believe that life is good. The beach is definitely my happy place. I haven't been to Grand Bend in a couple years now, as Turkey Point is usually my chosen destination, but it was great to be back, the busy throng of so many people, the shops and the wonderful Lake Huron, actual good places to eat (the one restaurant in Turkey Point being pretty crap). Maybe I will go back Monday!

I dropped my kids off at their grandparents last night and I tell you, it doesn't get any easier to leave them each week. It's tiring and challenging to be an only parent, especially with Anna only being four and needing a lot more assistance with life in general, but not seeing them for a week at a time is really starting to get to me. I think it was worse dropping them off this week because we really had an excellent time together, lots of bonding and adventures and cuddles at night before bed and now they are gone and the house seems very empty.

The other part of that is I'm missing HALF their lives and the idea is absolutely bizarre to me. Come fall, we're changing up the schedule and I will have them Mondays and Tuesdays and every other weekend so at least I get to see them each week. As tough as it is not to see them for a whole week, it's also tough to be a single parent for an entire week. I'm hoping this new schedule will help break that up and make it not so hard to say goodbye, but also help to be a better parent because I won't be as overwhelmed.  It makes me nervous though as well, like what happens if there is some sort of misunderstanding and the kids get left at school/daycare with no one to pick them up? I'm sure this won't happen, but again, it's so bizarre not to be in charge of them 24/7 and being absolutely sure that they are safe.

I am still so sad at what has happened to my marriage and my life. I deal with this sadness every day. I'm not saying that I regret my decision, I know I made the right one, but it's still difficult to realize that my life is so different than how I pictured it. My future feels so uncertain and sometimes that is exciting and interesting, but a lot of times it's just scary. I have so many doubts about myself and whether I can really do life on my own and I'm sad about not seeing my kids every day and I worry about how this will affect them, now and in the future. I think about Kate and I bear her sadness too because while I know she's resilient and tough, I also know she is carrying a hurt inside that has changed her childhood and will likely shape the rest of her life. I worry less about Anna because she's so young and won't even remember a time when mummy and daddy were together. As she blithely told a friend the other night, "Mummy and Daddy had a big fight and they don't like each other anymore and now they don't live together." She wasn't upset about it or sad, she was just stating a fact. It's already normal for her that we live separate lives.

Anyway, as always, the eternal optimist inside my head is tra-la-la-laing that everything is gonna be all right and telling me I think way too damn much.


Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Daily Chai Plans an Ice Cream Heist

Today's chai was...*hangs head* I'm sorry. I really am. I feel like I'm failing you all when I don't report on a real latte. I try to make it interesting, but sometimes it's just so hard. Never fear though! Tuesday should prove chai-ful and happy, I promise.

The kids and I have been on the go all week, so today we took it easy. Woke up late, lay around, sat in the lovely sun and read, while the girls played games together etc. I told Kate I was sorry that I didn't spend the day entertaining her, but sometimes it's good to have a quiet day. She agreed. It can't all be African Lion Safaris and beaches, you know! I dropped her off at a friend's for the evening and Anna and I went to McDonald's for dinner since Kate now steadfastly refuses to eat there. Good girl, I can't really blame her. It makes me laugh because she said it's so unhealthy, she just can't eat it anymore, but the kid would live on toast, freezies, chocolate, popcorn and milk if I let her.  But McDonald's? Forget it. Too unhealthy.

As we ordered Anna's McNugget Meal, she looked at me with those pretty blue eyes and said, "Nuggets are tasty, right Mum?" "Yes, Anna." "But they aren't healthy, are they?" "No, Anna, it's a treat." Our server snickered behind her cash register.

On the way home from getting Kate at her friend's house, I saw a Chapman's truck and told the kids we should hijack it.

"Why, mum?"

"Um, because it's full of ice cream, duh."

"Ohhhhh, okay, let's do it!"

"All right. We'll just tie the driver up and open the back and sit there and eat all the ice cream. And when the cops find us, we'll just be like, 'Ahhhhhh ice cream, so full, can't run away.'"

Giggles from the back seat, "OR, we could quick get in, steal like, three tubs of ice cream, and then run out and back to our car before they even know what's happening. Hurry, Mum, catch up to the truck!"

With our plans for the great ice cream heist solidified, Anna said we could eat all the ice cream because she's allergic. She isn't, she just doesn't really like ice cream. I told her that I'm not sure she belongs to me. Kate added that she really only likes the waffle cones and not the ice cream. I told her that I'm not sure she belongs to me. I told them I always have room for ice cream, even after eating everything available at a buffet, there is always room. I figure it just kind of runs into the cracks of food in my stomach. Then I told them how I ate that vanilla peanut butter cup ice cream for dinner one night when I didn't have them.

"Mom! You are in so much trouble! I liked THAT ice cream. I can't believe you ate it without me,  you need to be punished."

"Meh. You weren't around. It needed to be eaten."

"Mum, can I have your phone for a sec? Thanks. HA! That's your punishment, I took your phone away! Sucker!"

Lovely girl.

Also, the other day at the movies, I decided to save some money and buy snacks at the grocery store to smuggle into the theatre in my backpack. As I was paying for the tickets, Anna looked up at the cashier with the biggest, shit-eatingist grin on her face I ever seen on anyone, anywhere and said, "We don't need to buy candy!" "Kate! Take your sister over to the arcade while I finish getting our tickets, please." That little punk almost ratted me out. Never trust a four year-old to be subtle.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Daily Chai Doesn't Remember Where She Works

Today's philosophical in nature. While I would really like to have a chai latte, I feel that it is morally irresponsible to buy one. If the latte loves me, I shouldn't have to buy it, it should come willingly and gladly to me of its own free will. So I'm trying to be a grown up and live with the loss of this delicious, delectable drink. Dealing with disappointment is part of growing up. Of course, I struggle with this decision daily and will probably change my mind tomorrow, but that's all part of my questionable charm. And if you think I'm talking about something else, you're probably right.

I've now been on vacation long enough that work seems like a dream and that I have always been off, living a fresh adventure with my children each day. I'm reminded of the two delightful summers I had with my children when Anna was a baby. I was so lucky to have that time, even if it meant we were a little broke for six months or so. It's almost worth having another baby to have another year off again.


No, it's not. I hated being pregnant and the two children I have, lovely and spunky as they are, are quite enough for me. I should have stopped at one, but what can you do. Seriously, can they not hear the other kid talking? Why do they both come up to me at the same time, asking me separate questions and then demanding loudly that I answer them this very minute. What? One person at a time, please!

I made a funny observation when I was married. My ex is an only child and I noticed that when he and I had dinner with his parents, one person talked at a time. He would be telling his dad a story and I, not really interested in talking about cars (for example), would start a conversation with his mom about something else. Invariably, my ex would stop talking, look at me with some irritation because of my interruption and wait for me to finish before resuming his story to his dad. I didn't know where I had made the mistake. He was talking to his dad, clearly talking to him about something that was of no interest to his mother, so I struck up a conversation with her about, I don't know, horses or something. But he acted as though I was rude and interrupting him. It took me years to figure out that as an only child, there were only ever three people at his dinner table. So when one person talked, the other two listened. There were no side conversations going on, no chaotic confabulation amongst them, no loud debates about the word ubiquitous, no simultaneous conversations. It was one person talking and two people listening. Period. If one of the listeners spoke, they were interrupting the original speaker and it was rude.

I, on the other hand, have a brother, which meant that two conversations could and did happen at my dinner table every night. Sure, there were many times when one person talked and the three of us listened, but as the meal progressed and we had each told our stories of the day, there would often be a conversation between my mom and brother and a different one between my dad and I and all the variations in between (mostly my dad talking over to my mum while my brother and I squabbled). Very rarely was one person the centre of all the attention. This is how I grew up, this was normal.

The only reason I'm telling you this is because I don't have anything else to write about and I find it interesting how the number of children in a family can dictate that what is socially acceptable and normal in one family is considered rude in another family. Only the secret here is that it's not rude, it's just different. However, my ex never really gave up being irritated when I started side-conversations with whichever parent he was not directly engaged with so I gave up and sat mute at the table, waiting for my turn to speak. Just kidding. I could never be mute.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Daily Chai Goes to the Fricking Lion Safari

Today's chai....who am I kidding? Y'all know I haven't been getting a chai since I've been on vacation. Unless a Starbucks springs into being in my basement, I'm just not going to go get one. Or...maybe I will. Wild and crazy gal that I am, I like to keep you on your toes. WHAT WILL I DO NEXT??? I know this is a question you are all asking.

Well, what I did next was take the kids to the African Lion Safari. When Kate was younger, she called it the Fricking Lion Safari, as do countless other children, I'm sure. Regardless of its unoriginality, she thought that was hysterical. The kids were so excited to go to the zoo and even more excited about the splash pad on the grounds. Sigh. I wish they understood that there is a free splash pad in Waterloo and that today was about animals. However, since it was blazingly hot today and we were all sweating and red-faced after the elephant show, even I was grateful to cool down in the water. Even in pee-filled, over-chlorinated water with a thousand screaming children running around parentless.

We loved the elephant ride the best and Kate said she wants to live in India and have an elephant instead of a car. She was so enthusiastic about this dream that even the handler looked up and smiled at her excitement. Kate wanted to know if people in India have cars or if they just ride elephants everywhere. Yes Kate, they have cars. Yes Kate, they still use elephants the way we still use horses, but they have cars. Millions of them. She was slightly disappointed about that.

As always, I was struck by the conservationist attitude of the staff. It shouldn't surprise me, these people work with animals because they love them, but today I appreciated anew the efforts to educate the public about endangered species and raise awareness about the plight of so many amazing animals. While we watched the parrot demonstration, the speaker was talking about the rare Blue-throated macaw, of which only about 130 mating pairs survive in the wild. To put it in perspective, she said, "There are probably more of you in the audience than there are Blue-throated macaws in the wild." And I honestly think she was near tears when she said it, her voice shook with that "trying not to cry" tremor and she had to swallow and pause before continuing.  It occurred to me that she makes this speech five times a day and still gets emotional about it, which speaks volumes about how much these people care about their work. Zoos have been a hot topic for debate over the years as animal activists rail against keeping wild animals in captivity and I agree when the animals are mistreated or abused. And the cynic in me thinks places like the African Lion Safari are, when it all comes down to it, just another business to make money, but the optimist in me wants to believe that they really care about the conservation of endangered species.

And no, I did not take Veronica on safari, I was not putting her beautiful shiny redness to baboon risk. When I saw one of those pink bummed apes sitting on the driver's mirror of someone else's vehicle, I knew I'd made the right decision to take the tour bus.


Monday, July 27, 2015

The Daily Chai is Going Through Chai Withdrawal

Just for shits and giggles,
here is a picture of me when I was three(ish).
Today's chai was but a dream. I have very little faith in that drink right now and it's killing me.

My iPhone has been telling me every morning that I'm a shit person because my iCloud backup has not been performed due to lack of storage. It tells me EVERY MORNING and I can almost hear it screaming, "YOUR PHONE HAS NOT BEEN BACKED UP IN TWELVE WEEKS YOU STUPID SHIT, ARE YOU TRYING TO TEMPT FATE HERE?? JUST DELETE SOME PHOTOS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, I'M DYING HERE!" Since I have had one phone stolen and bought countless others in endless upgrading, I've had to rely on my backups to restore my new phones, sometimes unexpectedly, so I'm not even kidding about tempting fate. To appease Bridget (bless her microchip little heart, I know she just wants what's best for me) I just spent an hour uploading all my photos to my computer and deleting everything on my phone that I don't need. I'm squirming in my seat because I can see all my photos on my computer, but I know ONE WRONG MOVE and suddenly everything is going to disappear. I just know it. Also, what happens when I really want to send a photo from a couple months ago to someone because it's vitally important to share it and I go to look and IT ISN'T ON MY BLOODY PHONE ANYMORE?

#Firstworldproblems. GFY, I know it. Also, I know I really shouldn't be living in the past and holding onto all those photos on my mobile device is probably bad for my mental health, but I can't help it. I hate deleting things. I feel like I'm deleting some secret truth when I remove photos from my phone. I probably should get some help, but hey, then I wouldn't be all dark and twisty inside and then what would I write about?

Kate had minor surgery today to remove two baby molars to help with the crowding in her mouth from her adult teeth coming in. That kid handled it like a champ, like a complete fucking BOSS. Kids at school had scared her by saying having teeth pulled hurt a ton.  I asked her as we were pulling into the driveway at home if they were right and she replied, "No. It didn't hurt, it still doesn't hurt. The needle thingy in my hand hurt and the thing they put around my arm [blood pressure cuff] hurt the most. My mouth doesn't hurt at all." I know I shouldn't laugh, but she had two teeth pulled out by their roots and she said the blood pressure cuff hurt the most. Awesome.

The rest of the day was quiet, just watching tv (kids) and reading (me). Kate was bored to tears by four o'clock but she was supposed to take it easy all day, so rest she did. Tomorrow we will take it easy too and go see Ant-man which I'm hoping is at least amusing as it will be the last movie in our going-to-see-every-movie-we-wanted marathon this week. Thankfully, I like comic book movies, so it might not be so torturous (on a side note, I literally just spelled that torgerous and then wondered why it looked so wrong).

I just ate two cold hotdogs. Midnight snack. Bring on the nightmares!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Daily Chai Spends Another Day at the Beach

Today's chai...pfft. I told you, don't believe a word those lattes say, liars, all of them. Just when you're expecting a chai latte to show up at your door, there is always some excuse not to be there.

Just kidding, I'm on vacation and I'm too lazy to make a special trip to Starbucks for some silly, foamy drink. Fuck it.

Had a quiet morning with the girls and then headed to Trout Lake in Innerkip with the girls and spent the rest of the day there. Sadly, the water was a bit too chilly for me, but the kids happily spent the day in the water anyway and Kate even braved the diving board several times. And just to top it all off, we watched as a completely delectable youth did a handstand on the highest diving board and then executed a perfect dive from that heady position. My god, if only I were 15 years younger. What is it with me and my taste in much younger men? Trying to reclaim my youth, I suppose!

That same boy and his friends called over to me as I was packing up my car and asked me how old did they look. My gaze swept over the lot of them and I smiled sardonically, "Not old enough to drink, boys!" Groans of despair all around. They were probably 20, but who knows, when you get to my age, anyone under 25 looks like a child.

As we were leaving, Kate said this was the best day so far. I love that kid. Every day is the best day so far to her and I hope she lives the rest of her life like that.

After dinner, we went to see Pixels and lord help me if I have to watch one more ridiculous movie for the sake of my kids. Does anyone want to go to a grown up movie with me? I remember thinking with great glee after Kate was born that I would now have an excuse to go to all the great kids' movies. Approximately 86 terrible movies later, with maybe seven really solidly good films mixed in and I've realized that reality is always crap compared to fantasy, which I have learned to my detriment many times in the last few months. If you have a choice, stick to the fantasy folks.

In case you are curious, the seven movies that I liked were: Frozen (ruined now), Big Hero Six, Despicable Me, Brave, Wall-E, How to Train Your Dragon and Up. This list does not include any of the Harry Potter movies because, of course, I did not go to them for my children's sake, but purely for my own enjoyment, so they don't count as movies I was forced to see to ensure my children's life-long happiness or to try to get them to promise never to ask for anything again for as long as they lived if I would just take them to see some dumb movie. So far, that promise has been for shit. I just flap my hand and say, "Yeah, yeah, yeah." when I hear it now.

The kids are in bed now, sleeping together as is their preference and one in which I gladly indulge if they promise to actually sleep after ten minutes of chatter. I hope they have many fond memories of sleepovers with each other and that they tell all their secrets to each other and love each other until the end of time. Anna was sad because no one sleeps with her and Kate gets the dog and Kate was sad because she has dental surgery tomorrow to remove two baby teeth that are causing crowding with her adult teeth. I'm glad they have each other for comfort and that they like each other enough to give it.

Today was a good parenting day!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Daily Chai Explains the Meaning of Sexual Assault

Today's chai was just a fantasy that went up in smoke and ashes when I woke up this morning. Those chai lattes can be fickle creatures. Don't believe a word they say.

I love that Kate knows how to read. She is not a voracious reader like I am (Can you believe that I read the novel "It" when I was 10? One year older than she is now. I remember reading it just to spite this kid in my class who had bragged about reading this 1000 page book and damned if I was going to let that fucker beat me at anything. I learned my lesson, that book scarred me for life.), but she reads everything, signs on the street, papers left out on the table, magazines in their racks. Not so much for picking up a book and just sitting for hours to read, but she has a curious mind and likes to gather as much information about her surroundings as possible. Yesterday, a headline caught her eye and she said, "Crosby goes to jail? What? Isn't he the hockey player? Why is he going to jail? My friends really like him a lot."

"I don't know Kate, I didn't hear about him being in trouble. Wait, was there a picture? Was the man black?"


"Oh, not Crosby babe, Cosby, he's in a lot of trouble and has been charged with several crimes."

We were at Walmart and she'd seen the Enquirer's headline about Bill Cosby going to jail. Glad she picks up on the quality mags. Anyway, she asked me what had he done wrong and I hesitated because she is at a delicate age where she's growing boobs and shaving her legs, but is still afraid of the dark and wants her mummy. How honest are you with your kid when he or she asks you a loaded question in such innocence?

"He's been (or being) charged with drugging and then sexually assaulting several women."

"What's sexual assault?"

"It's when someone touches you in a sexual way when you don't want them to, it's against the law."

"So what do you mean he drugged them?"

"He allegedly gave them a drug that made them sleepy or something and then did sexual things to them without asking permission."

"But how did they know he did that if they were sleeping when it happened?"

"Sometimes when something like that happens to you, when you wake up, you feel different and you feel like something is wrong. You can go to the doctor and they examine you and they can sometimes tell if someone has done something like that to you. Or maybe the drug he gave them made them sleepy, but they still knew what was happening. I don't really know all the details Kate."

"Oh. Wow, that's interesting. Okay, so what do you mean when you say sexual?"

Jesus Christ.

"You know what sex is Kate, right? We've talked about that?"

"Ew, yes, we have, please do not explain it to me again."

"Okay, well, that's what I mean about sexual. He touched them, well he alleged touched them, he is being charged, but it will have to go to trial and he will have a chance to defend himself and they will have to prove that he did it before we can say that he did. That's how the system works. But anyway, he allegedly touched their bodies in private places that he shouldn't have touched without their consent. I'll give you an example. I know it seems strange, but one day you will want a boy to kiss you and if you want him to and he does, that is okay. If you don't want him to kiss you and he kisses you anyway, even after you told him no, that is sexual assault. The reason this is making headlines is because Bill Cosby is a comedian who starred in a TV show for eight years when I was a kid. It was the most popular show on TV at the time and he was the dad on the show. He played a doctor with five kids and wife who was a lawyer. Everyone loved Bill Cosby, so people are even more upset that he supposedly did this to women. The other problem with it is that most of these women trusted him or worked for him or hoped to work for him and he took advantage of them. There are a lot of aspects of this case that have people pretty upset. Sexual assault is one of the worst things you can do to another person, but for someone like him to have done such a terrible thing is shocking to everyone."

At this point I paused and figured, I might as well have that conversation with her. You know, the "No one should ever touch you without your consent" conversation. It's such an ugly thing to say to a child, to make them aware that someone might touch her inappropriately, someone might shame her, end her childhood, destroy her life, but if I never warn her and something happens, will she know how to handle the situation? Will she know it's okay for her to say no? Will she come to me and tell me what happened, or will she be scared that it was her fault?

"Kate, I have something important to say to you. You know it's not okay for anyone, ever, to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, right?"

"Yeah, I guess. Like, what do you mean?"

"I mean in a sexual way, on the private parts of your body. Again, it might seem crazy, but one day you are going to want someone to touch you that way, but right now, you are too young and no one should be touching you like that. And when you're older and you are curious and you want to kiss boys, it's still not okay for anyone to touch you if you don't want them to. It's especially not okay for a grown-up to touch you. It is against the law for a grown-up to touch a child in a sexual way and it is never, ever your fault if that happens. I don't really want to say this to you, because I don't want to scare you, but a lot of times it's someone you know and someone you trust and that's what makes it so much worse because sometimes that makes you feel like you did something wrong instead of them. But you are a little kid and if something like that did happen, there is no way it's your fault. Even if you were walking around naked, that is not an invitation to touch you. It's never okay without you saying it's okay. Also, trust your instincts, if you meet someone and your immediate impression is that he is a douchebag, he probably is, no matter how much he sweet talks you later. If your first impression is that he's a good person, you're probably right about that too."

"Alright, I get it. And if that ever does happens I will tell you."

"That's good Kate. I'm glad you would trust me with that. I would never be mad at you or blame you for anything that happened, I would help you figure out what we do next. But I want to warn you that you may not want to come to me because you might feel embarrassed or ashamed and sad or scared and you might not want to talk about it. Please come to me anyway."

"Why wouldn't I want to talk about it? And how do you know how you would feel after? How do you know I might be too embarrassed or scared or sad?"

Damn, that kid is astute.

"Uh, well, I read a lot. I know how different people react to different traumas. Those are just a few of the complicated emotions you might have about something like this."

"Okay, got it. Can we get popcorn?"

And with that casual question, the conversation was over. I've always tried to be honest with Kate, but sometimes it's hard to know when it's time (if ever) to have certain conversations with our kids. However, given the statistics below, I think this is an important conversation to have with them at some point. We need to give them support and information before anything happens so that maybe they can avoid being put into that position. Kate may be a little less innocent today than she was yesterday with that conversation, but honestly, if it means that she can protect herself, it's worth that lost innocence.

Sexual Assault Statistics in Canada*

    Of every 100 incidents of sexual assault, only 6 are reported to the police
    1 - 2% of "date rape" sexual assaults are reported to the police
    1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime
    11% of women have physical injury resulting for sexual assault
    Only 2 - 4% of all sexual assaults reported are false reports
    60% of sexual abuse/assault victims are under the age of 17
    over 80% of sex crime victims are women
    80% of sexual assault incidents occur in the home
    17% of girls under 16 have experienced some form of incest
    83% of disabled women will be sexual assaulted during their lifetime
    15% of sexual assault victims are boys under 16
    half of all sexual offenders are married or in long term relationships
    57% of aboriginal women have been sexually abused
    1/5th of all sexual assaults involve a weapon of some sort
    80% of assailants are friends and family of the victim