Thursday, February 21, 2008

I think I'll spin

See that new background, that is what I am dreaming about. I am dreaming about warm water, sand and sun. I just booked our hotel for Myrtle Beach this July and I am giddy. We will be heading to Long Island, NY for a wedding at the end of June and I somehow convinced Hubby with my stealth charm that going to the beach after was a great idea. He wanted to go to Boston, but in my current state all I can dream about is palm trees and sand.

We are definitely a road trip kind of family I guess although the thought usually makes me hyperventilate a bit before we actually start the trip. Just last night Papoosie Girl was telling Rosebud that traveling is exciting because you get to see new things, she already has the bug. All the girls care about so far is the Statue of Liberty (thanks Wonderpets and Little Einstein’s!), the big Toys R Us in Times Square and the playground at Central Park I showed them. After all that we head to the beach, I really can't wait.

In this never-ending grip of cold and sickness it is what I need right now, to think of better times. It is not just my house though that has been caught up with this plague. It has been one of the leading news stories in Canada and the USA not to mention American Idol last night (after 6 seasons I have finally decided to see what all the hype is about, to be honest Simon is my favourite part most of the time) mentioned that many of the contestants had the flu. So many of my favourite bloggers and their families have been sick too. Is it me - or this winter just worst somehow?

Of course this weekend I told everyone I saw that yes we were all finally better and yes it was amazing that Papoosie Girl never got it. Then of course I picked her up from school all glassy-eyed and hot and she was telling me her muscles were "quivery" all day. I am now paying for my rookie mistake and tempting fate and all that as she sits on the sofa watching the Family Channel at the moment.

There is some good news though; we have turned Papoosie Girl into a Wheel of Fortune addict. I have watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy off and on for years, it is what my Mom used to watch every night so I was stuck watching unless I wanted to head for the basement TV. It was Wheel in fact that gave me the inspiration for my honeymoon. They were doing a broadcast from a resort in Hawaii and I was mesmerized to see Vanna swimming with the dolphins, I had to go there - and I did. When we were newly married Hubby and I used our hand-held Jeopardy machines (basically a calculator) to keep track of our score, competition was fierce and not always friendly.

The other night we had the television on watching the red alert screens going by on the weather channel and for some reason Hubby flipped to Wheel. Papoosie Girl who had been doing a puzzle before bed was hooked immediately and wanted to know all about it. That first night she had pretty much figured out the premise and was eager to try to solve the puzzles. The money part of it confused her; she kept asking if it was money for them to go to university.

I now tape it everyday and we watch it a bit earlier than it airs so bedtime is not jeopardized. She has been able to solve many long I keep my mouth shut and don't shout them out before she gets a chance to solve them. I am so impressed at how easy it is coming to her and the other day she asked me if we could go to the video store and get the Wheel of Fortune movie - that made me laugh. To watch her mind expanding is just inspiring and while I wish I could take the credit it is just her, my stubborn and sweet little girl with more determination than I ever had. Daddy even bought the computer version and she loves playing except she misses Vanna and Pat who for some reason aren't on the computer version.

As a kid I loved game shows and watched Price is Right, Family Feud, Jokers Wild, Match Game, Press Your Luck, I could go on and on. I guess she comes by it naturally. We have been chided for keeping our girls away from family-type movies we still feel are inappropriate for our girls, now that they are hooked on Wheel I can only imagine what our friends will say. I am all for letting them fill their heads with fun kids shows, it is just that the ones they like are the ones where they learn something, that is what they ask for. I would never let them watch violent or sassy shows with nothing but fighting and back talking it is just not my way.

So as a special treat I am going to let my adorable little letter turner watch last nights Wheel since she is all feverish right now. I hope that if we keep spinning our wheel will land on something other than being a nice jackpot of health for our family.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I have a good husband

I have been sick again this week. Bah! I am so sick of being sick and this was the real deal - the flu. Shivers, shakes, high fever, chattering teeth (for real) and sweating so much I have had to change my pajamas up to three times a day. I feel cold, so cold like I can never get warm. I was so achy yesterday I sat in the tub and let the shower spray me with hot water for nearly twenty-five minutes. Even though I was sick off and on for all of December it was never enough to really warrant me a sick day. My Mom came her usual one day a week and I got the odd afternoon off while my in-laws picked up Rosebud from Kindergarten giving me freedom until 3pm when I would have to pick up Papoosie Girl.

I know, I know, my life is soooo tough. I will say this in my sad defense, I never ask for help - I actually suck at it. My Mother-in-Law calls every morning at the same time and if there is anything wrong with me she usually has to pry it out of me. I hate asking for help for me, how stupid is that. If it is for the girls I am much more likely to ask, for me, I play the martyr. So while I was sick in December I was able to get some rest in here and there, but for the most part it was sick me taking care of things.

So while that is all nice it is a bit boring. What is not boring is how wonderful my Mom, Mother-in-Law and Husband have been the last few days. Thursday my Mom can out in the afternoon and stayed late evening, making dinner, doing the laundry and taking care of the girls while I shivered on the couch. Friday, Hubby took the girls to school and my in-laws picked up both girls at their dismissal times and then kept them until Hubby picked them up. I was able to rest all day. It was such a treat, it is too bad I was too sick to enjoy it.

Today had already been planned for awhile for Daddy to take the girls shopping to buy Mommy's birthday and Valentine's Day gifts. Last year he let them choose whatever they wanted - in that store that starts with a "Z". I got a green velvet and lace tank top in size medium (I am a Large and not so velvety) and a dolphin charm and chain, a C&rious G&orge t-shirt size small - among many other interesting gifts.

I got up and went to the doctors this morning because frankly I was getting a little scared. How long can a fever hang around anyway? I am now back on antibiotics for some kind of infection and still fighting the flu, oh joy. Anyway, on to the My Husband is Great part. He left just after me around 9am and it is 4pm and he is still not home. He has been sending me photos and funny stuff from his iphone so I keep getting emails from him. Here is where they have gone so far (that I know of anyway):

McD's for breakfast
The video store
The doughnut factory (Cr&spy Cr@me)
Home Improvement store

He called a while ago asking if he could keep them out sure! I do miss them, I really do, but I am sure loving the quiet. Hubby has always been taking the girls out with him to run errands, even when they were little and in diapers. I am always a bit sad when I think of some friends we know, that Dad has never taken his son out alone anywhere. My Hubby is always offering me a day off when he can and loves having his girls all to himself, and since I get them to myself so much during the week I am happy to oblige. For the most part we actually like doing things together, even if Hubby has work errands we all pile in together and make something fun out of it. I mean that is what life is all about, taking the crappy, the mediocre and turning it into something fun.

Everyday cannot be beaches and theme parks, real life can be fun too. You just have to try. I can't wait to feel better so I can play too. Thanks Hubby for being a great Dad.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I have a sister

I think everyone knows this, at least my handful of loyal readers do. I have blogged about Amy and my brother before. I have made references to my sister in Korea teaching Kindergarten and left it at that. I have not delved too deep mind you, it feels like it is too complicated to blog about, your heart of hearts wants to say one thing and your head stops you, fingers poised and frozen above the keyboard.

It is an intricate arrangement when viewed by outsiders I am sure, but to us it really is as cliche as, "it is all we know" this entanglement of being family who have never lived together. The short version of the back-story is my parents divorced when I was quite small, my Dad remarried when I was ten and had two more children a boy and a girl. It was a bittersweet dream come true for this only child. I wanted a brother or sister all my life and here they were, but they were not really mine.

No matter how happy or well adjusted an only child is there is a deep down yearning for a sibling. This was the case for me at least and the funny thing is I am sure had that ever happened, my Mother ever had another baby, I would have not been happy. I craved quiet and order, lost in my world of books. Nothing made me happier than to be holed up in my room with my "brother" Smokey (our dog) a pile of books and a snack. I could (and still can) amuse myself for hours with imaginative play, books, puzzles and games. No one to play with? No problem, I would roll for Smokey or hold his cards. I am sure this sounds like a tragic mess and Hubby would argue that I am always a bit to eager to play a board game, but my childhood was hardly unfortunate. It may not have been conventional, but I was well taken care of ensconced in a comfortable middle class life and loved by four parents.

At the ripe old age of eleven when my brother came along I was quite content in my own room and having my own bathroom. Spoiled? For sure. It was however, the only life I knew, I visited my Dad, Step Mom and brother and sister regularly, then returned to my real life. There were hardships too, but on the grand scale of things my life was charmed.

I wonder now as an adult what I really thought of this arrangement. Did it really all seem so normal to me? When my parents first divorced it was not at all amicable, they did not speak. As time wore on though and they both remarried (the same year) they came to develop a workable friendship, all of them in fact. My Mom and Step Father and Dad and Step Mother would play euchre together, spent many New Years Eve's together and we celebrated my birthday together often. My Mom attended my brother's wedding this summer.

This is most certainly not the norm for divorced families and there were definitely issues, but they got resolved over time. I am sure my Step Mom was not exactly thrilled that my Dad and Mom occasionally met for dinner to talk about me, but she certainly never made me feel bad about it. She came to understand that my Mom and Dad while could not seem to live together, had a bond that went back to childhood. He loved both these woman that much was clear. My Dad once told me I was his first true love, I know he loved me even if I didn't have the benefit of having him around much in my early years. I really believe he got a second chance at fatherhood when my brother and Amy were born.

Then unexpectedly at age 48 my father passed away from essentially a massive heart attack. It was six weeks after I got engaged, August 10, 1996. At the time Amy was two weeks shy of her thirteenth birthday and I was twenty-five. We were at two very different places in our lives, it was not the time for us to share this experience. It was just too impossible then.

When my sister was in Korea for nine months last year I convinced her start a blog, I knew she would never be able to capture those moments again once she was home. She did and it was a fun way to us to keep in touch, something beyond email and phone calls which were orchestrated with military precision. The fourteen and sometimes thirteen hour time difference was a real challenge it seemed, as my girls were on their way to bed, she was getting up to start her day.

What I didn't expect over the course of her stay in Korea was to get to know my sister. It took for us to be halfway around the world from each other to open up, to bear our souls and share our grief. Prior to her going away we were both impervious to what the other was going through. We shared our lives on the surface, but never reached down. We come from English stock, it would have been scandalous to show weakness such as it were. When we had the safety cushion of a few thousand miles were able to peel back our layers and really talk to each other as adults. I felt like I have waited for her to catch up for years, now we were in the same place and shared the same language. What had been bottled up for years on my part, I was able to share with her, this other person who lost a Father.

When Amy returned we all overjoyed, especially Rosebud and Papoosie Girl, Auntie Amy was home. We had the whirlwind of the wedding and next thing you know it was September. By October Amy was living in Ottawa. This has been hard and while she is not as far as Korea, we can't exactly pop by for a visit. Close but not really is the new situation.

Amy is a wonderfully funny, witty, caring and smart woman. She is at a place in her life - she would say "life" where you are supposed to make decisions, tackle those crossroads that lie ahead of you taunting. She has resurrected her blog and I hope she doesn't get mad, but she could probably use some kind words of encouragement. I don't remember being as aware as she is during my post university days...then again I was already on my course having met Hubby at university. I finished school with a pretty clear plan of where I was heading. I wish now sometimes I had floundered around a bit, chased some of those dreams. At the time though I was chasing my dreams...

Amy is a wonderful sister. Our relationship is different perhaps from others, but at the heart of it is a strength of family that no amount of convention could define.