Better Days

I’m still waiting for the fateful call to have the ever-anticipated hip replacement, but until that blissful day arrives, I languish in renovations and baby-ness. Two totally opposite ends of the spectrum. Kitchen renos are in full swing and have been frustrating and exciting, baffling and exhausting. It’s a roller-coaster ride fit for the amusement park from hell, but we have endless amounts of hope and anticipation of a clean functional space. We also yearn for meals where we don’t have to worry about running the microwave and electric skillet at the same time without blowing a fuse. Which usually happens. It also conks out if the toaster and kettle are running.  Better days, people. Better. Days.

Our skittishness with becoming overly excited with an impending birth in the family is well-founded, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to stem. Everyday the news is better, we hope for a healthy and happy baby girl by Christmas. A little Christmas Elf. Aww. We continue to hope for the best and try not to default to the negative Nelly tugging on our elbows. It’s hard to remain nonchalant about a life-altering event, but here we are. Going about our day-to-day, trying not to buy every baby-gadget on the market or every little fluffy pink tutu out there. Yeah. Sure. I’m calm. Trying not to ask D1 every day how she’s feeling, did the baby kick today, are you eating enough…Nana needs answers! Negative Nelly whispers in my ear every now and then.

 Bitch, fly!

The ‘hood continues to regale us with unending episodes of wayward pirate cats shitting on patios and meowing until dawn. I fucking love it. The peeps are not impressed with the stray cat strut happening and decide to post every incident of feline rebellion they witness. It’s a little over-the-top but makes for great fodder. I choose not to comment, but it takes immense restraint not to. I’m still holding out for the nicky-nine door extravaganza, but the summer came and went with no such news of the heathens out to wake the ‘hood. At least the hoodlums managed to keep their pants on in front of grandma…which, could be me next year. Watch out, youngins’ I’ll walk very fast after you! Or I’ll whip out my phone and get a pic! Hubby says I’m not allowed to plaster that on FB, but I wonder if printing out the photo and pasting them around the ‘hood would be, ok? Hmmmm….

Nana is on it!

Fall is knocking louder at the door and I’m anxious to let her in with all the pumpkin spiciness I can muster. Get a sweater it’s chilly out there. Apple cider candles, the warmth of a fire, cozy blankets and oh, the fall Hallmark movies that will drip with cheesy romantic flannel shirts. Bring. It. On.

There is so much to look forward to! Survival is key here. I’ll need wine and chocolate…and a pirate cat to keep me entertained. Now if the power will just stay on so I can heat up my chicken fingers and toast some bread…

Mommy Is on Vacation

The summer is coming to an end. I felt the breeze it left in its wake as it flew out the door. This summer was like no other in this fair province. The blazing sun, the above-average warm temperatures and humidity. We had dry spells for weeks, and wind was surprisingly low. It was the summers of my youth in Southwestern Ontario spent outside in the heat and trudging over the dykes to the Jaycee pool. I practically died from heat exhaustion on those treks. But we were young and more resilient. An afternoon splashing in the cool waters of the pool made us forget about the long walk to get there, or the walk back home.  

The blazing sun back then seemed brighter. Hotter, somehow. The summers were longer, I swear. Days and days spent out in someone’s yard listening to the radio or throwing crab apples around. Climbing trees, double-dutch tournaments and road hockey I wasn’t allowed to play. Riding our bikes to the corner store to get a 25-cent coke. Days at the cottage in Rondeau, running from flies and swimming in Lake Erie.

My new favourite Barbie

Ahh. Do kids nowadays understand what summers before Instagram and TikTok were like? I’m not sure. I hope so.

We had freedom and responsibility at the same time. We had the freedom to go to the park, to trek to the pool, to play in backyards and playgrounds, with the expectation to be home before dark. The responsibility came with looking after yourself. You were responsible to make sure you went home for lunch, or you had a key for the house to get in. If you went to the pool, you had everything you needed with you because mom and dad weren’t going to drive over there to drop it off to you. We were made to be independent at a young age. Look after your own shit because no one else is doing that for you, kid. Do kids do that now? Do they look after their own shit? I wonder.

Maybe that’s the struggle new parents have. The ever-present guilt of having to put too much on the shoulders of their children, so instead, they end up doing everything. A bit of struggle is not a bad thing. A bit of responsibility is okay. No one ever said mom must do everything, drive everywhere and be everything to everyone forever. It’s impossible. Putting the onus back on the child to look after themselves is the only way to garner some independence, to ensure an inkling of understanding what it means to take care of yourself. If mom comes to the rescue every time, it negates their responsibility. Their sense of being their own savior. Mommy is on vacation, kid. Save your own damn self.

Remember in the 80’s we had latchkey kids? Kids were given a key to the house to let themselves in while mom and dad were at work. Kids were responsible for getting a snack, doing their homework, and taking care of shit before mom and dad could make it home. It was a big generational trend back then and maybe it left some trauma for those kids. Maybe they grew up and said they weren’t doing that to their kids, so things changed. Maybe?   

Somewhere along the line, things shifted, and kids are relieved of responsibility. But, there goes freedom, too. Freedom from social media knowing every step you take, every bit of food you eat and what underwear you’re wearing. Mom and dad have you tracked on your phone and can find out if you went to that field party or if you have a crush on the guy from math class. They see you and so does everyone else. Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok…the peering eyes of society want to know where you live and how you cope with life, because we need to see how others live to dictate how we should live.

Really?

I’m glad I had the chance to grow up unhindered by peering eyes.  And the chance to take care of my own shit.  

Now if summer could just stay around a little longer….

The Sound A Clock Makes

Like anything worth doing, it’s worth doing well.  And doing something ‘well’ is quite relative a term.  And I hate starting sentences with ‘and’.  Ugh.    

As I’m feverishly writing my next entry into the anthology of ‘Books People Will Read After I’m Dead’ I’ve been missing events and goings on to which I really should have been paying more attention.   As I was downing my glass of wine the other night, someone mentioned something about Tik Tok.  I’m thinking Nanny’s noisy clock that is currently hanging in her kitchen and dings every BLESSED HOUR ON THE HOUR, but no.  Tik Tok is an app for lip-syncing and karaoke-gone-awry.   It’s a social media app that lets a person download a video of someone singing badly to N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys or maybe amore current musician like the Biebs.  I’m thinking of doing ‘Bye-Bye’ ala JT with the curls and the baggy jeans and the fancy-dancy moves. 

 

I could join Tik Tok and connect with the peeps who are jammin’ to NKOTB and IT’S BRITTANY, BITCH.  Maybe somebody singin’ some Alanis…Yeah.  “Isn’t it Ironic?  Don’t ya think?”  I could so NOT do that.  Well.  Not well.  At all.  

 Maybe I’ll do a video of Mags when she borks at the ‘hood dogs.  She could be the next big thing!  Add some music and BAM she’s the four-legged Madonna of the doggo-world.  Maybe she could do a whole rap-thing. Instead of ‘Lose Yourself’ she could do ‘Poo Yo’self’.    EPIC.  

I’ll keep brain-storming some ideas whilst desperately trying to stay on-trend.  Do we still say ‘whilst’?   Ugh.  

 

Writing a Sequel

The undertaking of writing the second instalment of False Hope is beginning to make me nervous.  I remember how time consuming and all-encompassing it was writing the first book and I’m beginning to feel bogged down.   I have one chapter completed with work starting on the second.  The struggle of carving out time to write characters and scenes and implement accents and plot points is difficult when summer weather decides to make an appearance.  The sun shines and I want to be outside, not locked in a room in the basement writing the next big adventure.  The rarity of sunshine makes it all the more important for me to head outside while it lasts.  Autumn is packing its bags getting ready to move in and wave summer off into the grand abyss where the seasons-that-barely-happened go to die.   Before I know it, I’ll be welcoming students back for another year, scheduling tests and skipping lunches in favour of one more hour for testing.   I’m fearful my penchant to procrastinate will overtake me and I’ll finish Book Two around the same time any grandchildren I’ve been promised have graduated high school.  

I’m ever-aware of my tendency to simply give-up or to throw my hands up in the air and proclaim it all a bit too much before I’ve even given it my best shot. I managed to stay focused and finish the first round and I’m hoping my determination will see me through to the next.  I have big plans for Claire and Jimmy in Book Two and I’m hoping it will all come to fruition.  They may even run into some old friends from False Hope.  (That was a hint, by the way in case you missed it.)  

My notes are gathering in the purple notebook I used for the False Hope.  I’ll simply keep it moving with more notes chapter-by-chapter and flesh out some new characters I have in mind.  I always change around chapters and events according to how things logistically work out.  For example, in False Hope Julien was supposed to be accused of nefarious activities with the women he was photographing.  If you notice in the book, there are references to a rapist running around loose in town and even a dark hooded stranger bumping into Julien when he was standing outside the office building where Ashley worked.  That incident was initially a set-up to a much larger sub-plot.  I backed down at the last minute not wanting Julien to undergo any further scrutiny and bias from his colleagues.  He had enough on his plate.  

My work continues on Book Two and I hope my characters move forward with their lives, but not everything can go easily for them in their new circumstances.  I’ll try to keep the momentum going through bouts of soaking up the intermittent sunshine and my tendency to walk away.

 I’ll keep you posted on the progress and maybe drop a few more hints along the way, like Jimmy Feherty.  He’s an Irishman straight from Belfast with eyes only for Claire.  Or so he says….

 

The Hibernation of Summer

It’s mid-August and I can feel the imminence of Fall.  It’s in the back-to-school supplies that are crowding every shelf at Walmart.  It’s in the woods jackets and plaid flannel shirts that are hanging on racks.  It’s in the now-dark 5 am mornings that greet me and the cooler evenings that now descend before 9pm.  Summer hasn’t yet arrived and here we are readying for another season.  I’m lamenting a summer I never had.  I’m still waiting for that everlasting full day of sunshine and sultry heat that stretches into a dusky evening.  I’m waiting for days full of water-balloon tossing and garden hose spraying and evenings of open-windows and flies eating me alive.  Where was all of that?

Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland

We missed an entire season.  It was a summer of spring-like days at best.  Cool winds, rain and almost hot-enough-but-not-quite temperatures.  We will be back to wearing coats and boots before I even broke out my shorts.  I don’t mean to complain, but this is why most people in St. John’s need a break and head to the liquor store.  Or try to find solace and heat either more west on the island or head south to anywhere else.  We know that soon enough, it will be a full-frontal assault into cold and ice.  We desperately cling to those final few evenings of near-warm-enough temperatures to steal away on the back patio for a fire and a glass of wine before the gale-force wind of 100kms/hrbegin to blow through.   It’s hard to go to work on a nice day knowing that when we are on a treasured day off, the wind will howl and the rain will pelt our faces so hard we feel the sting for a week.  We flee the office building in the midst of theevaporating sunshine holding our faces skyward in hopes to feel the last of the rays beat upon our skin and feel some semblance of warmth.  We shed the office pallor for some fresh air and bright light, not the fluorescent kind.  

Sometimes, we get lucky.

Today, the wind is high but the air is warm.  I’m hoping to retreat to my back patio for a little sun before the clouds elbow their way through the sky, squeezing it behind their billowing puffs of air.  If the sun can manage to appear in our sky a few more times, I will be grateful for that.  

Right now, I’m grateful for the liquor store’s cache of wine…