Thursday, December 31, 2015

One year

1) What did you do in 2015 that you have never done before?

- Broke my ankle while out on a walk with the kids. Spent the next little while cursing my crutches and cast.

- Became a landlord. Hated it. Had the rent-dodging family evicted, complete with the use of a bailiff. Will now have the pleasure of dealing with a collections agency in the new year.

- Was published in a couple of magazines put out by the Edmonton Journal.

- Participated in a Fear Factor food competition at the annual Halloween potluck at work. The smoked-duck's neck is what did me in.

2) Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make any more next year?

No, and no.

3) Where did you travel?

Flew to Kelowna and then visited the Kootenays of British Columbia for a family wedding in May.

4) What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Went back to work full-time and didn't end up losing my mind. Although the latter remains debatable.

5) What was your biggest failure?

The debacle surrounding the rental of my mom's house via the use of a management company that required me to micro-manage them every step of the way. The entire process cost us thousands of dollars and has exponentially increased my homicidal tendencies.

Oh, and I also failed at this:

6) Did you suffer illness or injury?

As mentioned, I broke my ankle in late spring. The bigger you are, the harder you fall... and the further the resulting setback becomes.

7) What things / people disappointed you the most?

Just people, in general.

I'm disappointed that my work doesn't allow for enough flexibility when it comes to dealing with personal, life-altering issues.

I'm disappointed that the management company I dealt with screwed us over in every way imaginable.

I'm disappointed that people will lie and fake illness in order to get out of contracts.

I'm disappointed that there are only 24 hours in a day, which is certainly not enough time for me to achieve such basic tasks as preparing dinner, getting enough rest, or spending quality time with family.

8) Where did most of your money go?

- Mortgage
- Renovations
- Daycare / School
- Lawyer Fees

9) What did you really get excited about?

Having a clean house. The feeling lasted all of 10 minutes before the place was destroyed again.

10) What song will always remind you of 2015?

Thinking Out Loud, by Ed Sheeran
Hello, by Adele

11) Compared to this time last year, are you:

- Happier or hardened? Hardened.
- Thinner or fatter? Fatter.
- Richer or poorer? Poorer.

12) What do you wish you'd done more of?

Been more physically active.

13) What do you wish you'd done less of?

Screen time, even though much of it was work-related.

14) Favourite film this year? Least favourite?

Really enjoyed That Sugar Film (for being such an eye-opener) and Identity Thief (for my love of Melissa McCarthy, Jason Bateman, and Robert Patrick).

Didn't really care for August: Osage County. The acting was well done, but the movie itself was meh.

15) What was the one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Good health for me and the people I care about. Plus having good renters would have done wonders in terms of keeping my cortisol levels in check.

16) What kept you sane?

As much as it gets in the way of just living life, my work has kept me sane in that it's been an escape from the life that has been challenging me the most.

17) Which celebrity / public figure did you fancy the most? Fancy the least?

Same as last year: Andrew Ference, the (former) Edmonton Oilers captain, has such a great perspective on life, and he makes me want to go out for a jog or something.

On the other hand, it's mind-boggling to me that someone like Donald Trump can have so much power and influence. 'Murica.

18) What news story fascinated you the most?

The day that Spider Mable united a city was truly remarkable.

19) What sports moment did you like the most? Hate the most?

Jose Bautista's bat flip is something we'll remember for a long time.

That the Mets lost to the Kansas City Royals is something we'd like to forget.

20) Who do you miss?

My mom, still, and always.

21) What do you look forward to in 2016?

More sleep, less stress, and a happier household.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


So my son was back in hospital earlier this week. Luckily his bloodwork was normal, and he didn't have to stay long and was just treated with some IV fluids, but it was still stressful on all of us.

This incident took place a year to the day when he first became sick last December, and we had even joked about it before this latest ER run. It seems that we jinxed ourselves, though, because there he was, back under the care of Nurse Emma, who's come to know my boy by name.

Yeah, we're that family that's spent a little too much time in the ER.

I can joke about this now, only because my son recovered and is back to his usual bouncy, wiggly self again. But that moment always exists when I think to myself, "What if he doesn't recover?"

It's horrifying to think about, and I know I wouldn't be able to carry on if something serious happened to either of my kids.

The only thing that terrifies me more these days is the thought of something happening to either myself or my husband, thus leaving the kids to grow up without us.

While on a play-date yesterday with one of my daughter's former daycare friends, I learned from his mom that another of the moms in our circle has been going through chemo treatments this year.

And now I just can't stop thinking about her and how she must be handling each day. Like me, she has two young kids, a boy and a girl. And they are her world.

I messaged this other mom today to see how she's doing and to offer some assistance, and also to set up a play-date in the new year for our kids to run around and tire each other out while we adults get caught up. She sounded upbeat in her message back to me, but I just can't shake this feeling of dread.

This news is just so devastating and, unfortunately, a sober reminder that life can change in an instant.

Hug often. Live life. And, if blessed with longevity, make your moments count.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Barely above water

Valentine’s Day 2011. My husband took the day off work, not so we could spend some romantic time together, but rather to help me dismantle the Christmas tree and decorations. I was eight months into my maternity leave at the time, and the thought of doing this task by myself was so daunting and so overwhelming that I was immobilized, and I consequently left our Christmas relics set up for several months.

This is when I realized something was seriously wrong with me, and I needed to get help.

The real me has been described as a borderline Type A personality – I maintain a daily To Do list, and I get anxious and impatient if I’m not able to achieve my tasks in the time frame I’ve set out for myself. So, leaving the Christmas tree set up until Valentine’s Day? That’s not the real me. The real me would have had everything disassembled with military precision and placed into storage no later than the first week of January.  

But it wasn’t just the Christmas decorations that overwhelmed me. It was everything. I was barely able to shovel snow, I almost never had dinner ready, and our living room was turned into an obstacle course of laundry baskets and baby toys.

At the time I thought I just hated being a mom. Yes, I loved my daughter, but I certainly didn’t feel cut out for being a parent. There was no going back to the way things were before she was born, though, so I figured I just had to tough it out and adjust to this new routine. Things would sort themselves out and get better once I eventually got the hang of motherhood, right?

Sadly, no. This was made very clear when my husband – who is usually mild mannered and not at all bothered by clutter – became so fed up by the Christmas tree that he took it upon himself to finish the job I couldn’t even start.

Later that week, when I was finally able to muster up the courage, I booked an appointment with my doctor to discuss the possibility that I might be dealing with postpartum depression.


The above is an excerpt from a piece of writing I submitted years ago for a book celebrating motherhood. 

My submission was declined, which I think is a real shame given that so many parents seem to be facing their own challenges, just struggling to make it through the day, much like myself. 

The current issue of Today's Parent magazine also touches on this subject, as they often do, which is a credit to them since they obviously realize how prevalent this issue has become.

But as for me, things have mercifully improved, at least in terms of this year's Christmas tree. I normally like to leave it set up until Epiphany, but we somehow managed to place it back into storage just yesterday. 

Which, for me, can be considered nothing short of a Christmas miracle.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Reluctant mommy

My 20-year-old self would be horrified by this post.

Once upon a time, when I was young and fearful of what I anticipated to be my lack-of-a-successful-future, all I truly wanted in life was a family that loved me.

Mercifully, I've been blessed with just that -- a husband who loves me unconditionally, and two kids that are still young enough to think I'm pretty cool.

So then why am I so miserable? And why do I not-so-secretly hate being a parent some days and instead dream of a land where I can live alone and only have to take care of myself?

At the risk of sounding whiny, I'm tired.....  every day is like groundhog day. And it's sad that my goal most days is to just be able to use the potty in private, without my daughter using her barrette to pick the lock and walk in. (True story. She does that regularly now.)

I look upon single parents with sheer bewilderment. How do they do it?

But I also keep reminding myself that it won't be like this for long, and one day I'll yearn for these simpler times when my kids are small and sweet and want nothing more than to spend time with their parents.

They're only this size today, I keep telling myself.

And one day I'll miss all of this.

It Won't Be Like This For Long - Darius Rucker

You're Gonna Miss This - Trace Adkins