Archive for May, 2010

Dear Readers, we can’t keep meeting this way.

I see the blog and it’s all, “HI so nice of you to make some time for me,” and I’m all, “umm, yeah, I’ve just been kind of busy but let’s make plans and I’ll send you an email,” and then the blog is all huffy, and you know, I feel bad.


There are boxes all over my apartment.

There are people coming to see the apartment tomorrow.

I wish them much luck in not tripping over my crap.

I plan not to be here. I plan to be at a farm with PP, looking at baby goats and enjoying the weather. I also plan not to be keeping the apartment clean, because seriously, three years here and do you suppose they’ve ever fixed the parquet tiles or the cabinets or the leaking kitchen faucet? Oddly, no. So what’s my incentive in helping them rent it out again quickly? My thoughts exactly.

I read over my lease in great detail again, just to be sure that there’s nothing in there stipulating I must not be bitchy when they bring people over, or pointedly complain about the noisy neighbours or the missing repairs. Nothing about that. There was a clause saying I can’t keep my bike in the apartment and must keep it in the designated spot. There is no designated spot. One bike was stolen from my yard. Guess what? Our bikes are in the apartment, and they’re staying there.

I don’t think that’s even a legal rule. YOU CANNOT KEEP YOUR THINGS IN THE SPACE YOU ARE PAYING RENT FOR. Umm, really? How’s that? I can see if it were, say, a tractor. But it’s a bike. How is that different from a stroller?

The Trader and I are both behaving ourselves. That is good.

Still loving the new job. The Boss has calmed down about the teleworking considerably, which is also good.

Got an absolutely jaw-droppingly lovely quilt from MNWH in the mail. I will post a picture on FB sometime this week. Thank you so much, hon.

I am getting the keys for the new place on June 18. The landlady is leaving me her bbq while she is away. Hurray!

I am planning a housewarming.

PP has given out the invitations for her moving-away party. I am counting down to the panic attacks I will have over why none of her friends have rsvp’d for fuck’s sake. June 7, people. June 7 the panic attacks begin.

I saw an old friend for dinner Friday night. She is very, very pregnant. She lost her first baby a few years ago in tragic circumstances (what circumstances would not be tragic?) and I’m so happy for her now, to see that this pregnancy is going so well.

I got my time off in July when PP is with me. We will have our vacation. It will be fun.

Unless our client reschedules their public meetings again, in which case, it will be stressful because I will have to figure out a way to do both.

PP got her costume for her dance recital in June. There has never been anything cuter. This is cute times a thousand, cute to power of cute. I will be the mama clapping and laughing and crying all at once when her little girl is on stage. If she were any older, she’d be mortified. Thank god for childhood.


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There are dishes in the kitchen that I should be washing, that I am not washing because I am too exhausted to stand up.

I may be motivated enough to stand up in a moment or two to mix up some kahlua and milk and bring it back to the couch. While I am there, guilt may motivate me to wash the dishes. Then the kitchen will be moderately less disastrous. Moderately.

So let me tell you about my absolutely fabulous weekend.

No, hang on. Let me back up and finish telling you about my week.

A) I’m glad, first off, that I waited until the Trader got home, because it was then possible to wrap up the whole Stress thing with a bit of kitchen twine in a couple of minutes, and no scars done.

Trader: You were angry about the complaining, weren’t you?

Me: No, not angry. Annoyed maybe.

Trader: on a scale of 1-10?

Me: Zero. Really. Just annoyed. No big deal except that I was already dealing with so much … and you didn’t have ONE positive thing to say the whole week.

Trader: I’m sorry.

Ta-da! And it was no issue while we were together because there was more than enough positive stuff to keep the ratio of good:bad to a good level.

Meanwhile …

B) Work. Still great. Have to keep reminding myself that my job is not to DO the work necessarily but to make sure the work gets DONE. I am supposed to organize and motivate. I stare at the list of tasks to be done on each project and the notion of motivating others gives me a bit of a stomach-ache, but I’m sure I’ll get over it because it’s a good challenge and a learning opportunity, and the people do seem really great.

But, anyway, it was part of my week and so I thought I should put it in.

And then …

C) It was PP’s turn to stay at her Dad’s until Sunday, so the Trader and I had extra time together. He’d mentioned wanting to take me away somewhere but I told him I’d feel more stressed not getting stuff done for the move, so we spent the time … packing! Yes, indeed. Romantic. But fun. He brought over a bunch of boxes from his last big move and I have now packed up almost all of the books and cds and dvds. And I sorted PP’s clothes and my own for the last time, and pulled out all the books I mean to donate, and gave away some of the toys she said I could (heart beating wildly still from my last experiences trying to give away her toys, but so far so good). And, get this. I had to get a new scrapbook, see.

Because the ones my mom gave me with the scrapbooking stuff she bought for my birthday off the Home Shopping Network turned out to be not much good, surprisingly, what with the typos and mispellings and the scrapbooks you could not open in order to add more pages. Shocking, no? Anyway, PP and I are making a scrapbook of the time we have spent here, and the ten pages that came in the one my mom gave me got filled up and then I couldn’t add more and I’d already made those pages and promised PP we were making this book so I had to get a new scrapbook. Right?

So the Trader dropped me off at the craft store to buy one while he drove my donations to the Goodwill. After spending the morning helping me pack while he has a cold. I tend to do all my processing here, in writing, which means I tend to bitch a lot here, while means I think you all get an unfairly critical view at times.

Sunday he helped me get groceries and buy flowers and soil for the container garden (obviously not planting anything in actual ground, but we can move a few pots and PP does love having a flower garden–which when she got home today she LOVED planting). I planted most of the plants while he relaxed, on orders because of the cold, and then when he was feeling a bit better we went for a run together down in the park I love so much.

It was the first time in my life I’d gone for a run with anyone outside of gym class. It was nice.

And the weather was so beautiful. And the spring/summer flowers are starting to bloom. And all the trees are green and the butterflies are out.

He wanted to help, and I let him. And it was good. Strange, seeing as no one before has ever expressed a desire to help and even if they had I wouldn’t have let them. The weekend felt a bit like playing dress-up, wandering around in my mother’s too-large heels and an old worn sundress: “so this is what it is like when other people help me out even though I know I technically could do the whole thing myself.” It only took me 35 years to try. I have to say, I kind of liked it.

But overall it was just a completely boring, mundane, domestic, absolutely fabulous weekend.

Scene from out to dinner:

Trader: Why couldn’t we have met ten years ago?

Me, shaking my head: Oh no, I wouldn’t want that. Then I wouldn’t have PP.

Trader: OK, but let’s pretend you do have PP, exactly as she is, just with slightly darker hair.

Me: No. She wouldn’t be PP. I wouldn’t want any world without PP in it exactly as she is, every hair on her head just the same.

Trader, with a heavy sigh: Fine. How about two years. Am I allowed to say that I wished we’d met two years ago?

Me: (thinking that two years ago my head was in no shape for any kind of decent relationship, and that for both of us this, right now, is probably our best shot) Sure. Ok.

Trader: All right then. Why couldn’t we have met two years ago? Wouldn’t that have been cool?

Me, grinning.

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I still have 8 hours of work to do every day. Sometimes nine or ten. It’s … umm, good, but very very strange. I feel sort of like I do the first time I run outside in the spring. Like it’s ok but I’m using muscles I don’t use when I run on the elliptical so I know things are going to hurt tomorrow.


Still. I get to save the world! Or some of it! A small piece! Or, if the world gets saved, then I can claim credit for a fraction of a per cent that requires many decimel places! You know. I like what I do. And maybe sometime in the fall the pace will slow down a bit, because this is a big chunk of projects we’ve just taken on, but between now and then what with the moving and everything I’m going to be frazzled.

So speaking of frazzled, as I just was:

Last week was, you know, frazzled.

Single mom, sick, taking care of a sick kid, second week on a new job, tons to learn and a huge workload that is somehow or other not doing itself yet though I’m sure it will in time, and dealing with an upcoming move and signing PP up for new schools and new daycares and packing and hiring movers and negotiating with the Ex or trying to and at the same time maintaining a house and getting groceries.

And many many times each day the Trader would email me to complain about how he wasn’t sleeping and his stomach hurt because of his ENORMOUS STRESS, oh DEAR GOD the STRESS, it kept him up all night (that plus he wouldn’t turn his computer off until 2 am but somehow no it’s all his STRESS), like being overseas on a business trip in a nice office with people he likes where they are paying for his lodging and all his food and it’s very pretty and he gets two extra visits with his son paid for by his company, but his ex sent him a mean email and someone he worked with who unbeknownst to him was trying to get him fired, got fired.

So what I am saying is, he had a pretty nice week. And someone who was trying to get him fired, got fired. And his ex-wife doesn’t like him and doesn’t try to disguise the fact. And the STRESS, Dear Readers, THE STRESS! And many times a day I would hear about the stress, and want to fly across the ocean to wring his neck.

Because seriously?



(And then we will hang out with an immigrant single mom with three jobs to feed the kids she never gets to see anymore, and she will teach us even more about stress. But my point is, that last week, I had a lot of stress, and a lot of things to take care of, and the Trader demanded to become one more of them and I wanted to fly across the ocean to wring his neck.)

I dunno. Reasonable? Unreasonable? When I finally see him tomorrow or Wednesday, should I wring his neck? Because I tried really hard all week to be nice and sympathetic about the STRESS he’s under, but I snapped Friday and told him to cut it out. And I still kind of want to wring his neck.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss him too, but it’s heads or tails right now whether I deck him or kiss him first.

I feel terribly guilty for not being kind and sympathetic to his stress levels but I really think they’re kind of silly (but of course all feelings are legitimate and there’s nothing wrong with feelings but surely there’s something wrong with choosing to burden your already overburdened girlfriend with them?). I do. I think he tells himself horror stories about how Situation X will lead to disaster and only the Eternal Vigilance of his hypersensitive internal alarm system will keep the sky from falling on his head. And then he doesn’t sleep and gets stomach aches and headaches and wants to curl up on my metaphorical lap and get me to make him feel better, but I don’t want to, because I want to wring his neck.

And we didn’t get into it while he was over there (except for my mild jab on Friday to get him to cut it out) because given the time difference it all would have been by email and that’s always ugly.

I’ve been through this with him now so many times. He works himself into a panic over some nearly impossible scenario and it doesn’t come true but next time he’s still convinced it will and there’s always something he’s working himself into a panic over, and instead of managing his fear or his reaction to it he’s constantly trying to control these situations by telling people what to do and you can imagine how well that goes over, and how well it works. (Example: coworker got fired, Trader went to HR to tell them how to restructure the department. Three guesses as to how fast they took him up on it.) It’s like that old Zen proverb about how if you live on stony ground, you can either protect your feet by covering the entire earth with leather, or covering your feet with leather. The Trader is running an exhausting 24/7 enterprise trying to cover the entire fucking planet with Kevlar.

I am feeling that wringing his neck is likely to be ineffective towards the larger change that I think might be helpful, i.e., better stress management (plus turning his computer off before 2 am). But I so, so badly want to wring his neck. Given that, in my overall email absence from being the sick mom taking care of a sick kid while learning a new job and overseeing a household move etc. etc.–plus actually avoiding email because I didn’t want to see another STRESS message–I have the sinking feeling that he largely pestered Niamh for that support instead, and her life has not been all that easy either lately … anyway, given that, maybe I want to wring his neck twice. I’ll let you call that one, Niamh.

What do you say, Dear Readers? Wring his neck: yay or nay?


In happy news:

PP rode her bike to school for the first time today. Oh the furious pumping of the little legs! Oh the spinning of the training wheels! Oh how proud she was of riding her new bike to school! Pure gold.

We went to see How to Train Your Dragon. She loved it; so did I. Such fun. For the last thirty minutes she sat on my lap which is always my favourite way to see a movie. For her fancy matinee out, she wore her new dress, new sandals, new purse with a teddy bear tucked in the front pocket (Cutie wanted to see the movie too), and a sparkly purple crown that was crooked all afternoon. I wanted to eat her, but she wouldn’t let me.

I’ve signed her up for her new school and have daycare info. I have movers. I have packed six whole boxes, mostly of books. I have booked the party room for PP’s Magic Treehouse themed Moving Away Party. We bought invitations. Madeleine’s master list has proved enormously helpful, so thank you again! I have found a local book club and a local green group. Everything is coming together, and when July 5 comes, this phase will be over and (hopefully) all worthwhile.

And as long as I think about PP in her crooked crown, I can’t help but be happy.

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I feel guilty for not updating.

As if you are all dying to find out about what has been happening in my life. And I feel badly, because I’ve been so busy working I can’t blog, and it’s kind of like the girl who abandons her friends when she meets a new boy.

I don’t like to be that girl for either actual or metaphorical boys, and I suppose a new job could be considered a New Boy in that way.

And when I do update I’m now like that annoying girl who can only go on about the New Boy.

He’s so cute! And he’s cool! And the other day he said this and it was so funny!

So, I apologize. But.

I had eight hours of work to do today!

Eight! Eight whole hours. That hasn’t happened in donkey’s ages. And it was real work, and none of it was clerical. I even did it well. Earlier this week the project lead on this one was not sure I should be brought in because the deadline is coming so soon and I was new and not familiar with anything yet and now she’s happily sending me more work than she has to, and I’m happily doing it. Which is such a change from the last place, where they decided not to bring me in on existing projects and just wait for new ones to come in. Which took, like, months.

Of course PP got sick on the weekend and I’m sick now which is always what you want to happen when you’re starting a new job. And you don’t have sick leave yet.

And the Boss is still not happy about the teleworking thing so I have to think of a few subtle ways of managing up so I can keep doing this until we move. About two weeks down, seven to go.

I have hired movers. I am registering PP at her new school on Friday. I’ve even started packing. It’s real, it’s really happening.

I have a new job, I have projects and responsibility at my new job, I am moving to a new town with my daughter, I am using the personal pronoun altogether too much in this entry. I apologize.

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S: I’m going to a show tonight.

Ad: Oh? Who?

S: Stars.

D: Stars! I love Stars! Set Yourself on Fire was amazing.

Ad: That’s the band with Amy Milan in it, right?

Maeve, happily: Yes! I love Stars.

S: They’re good? What’s their sound like?

D: Big. Lots of instruments.

Maeve: And pop-py.

Ad: They’re part of that whole Broken Social Scene-Metric-Feist scene.


We like the same bands.

Put this in context: every time I tell people what music I am listening to lately, they look at me blankly and ask if they’re real bands because they’ve never heard of them.

My colleagues and I like the same bands.

I feel 22 admitting that this matters to me, but it does. It doesn’t mean we will all be best friends forever, but it does mean that I feel just a little bit less out of place.

And now that I may have convinced just two or three of you that the bands I am always talking about are so real bands with real albums that other people like too and which are very popular in certain groups, go download Stars new single Fixed (which is awesome) and Broken Social Scene’s new album Forgiveness Rock Record (which is also awesome, and if you can only get one song make it All To All, which sounds a bit like the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s latest It’s Blitz, or World Sick).

…the work part is still ok too.

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So my cousins friended me on FB.

They remain fundamentalist zealots. They post anti-abortion messages and links calling people who have had abortions baby-killers and stuff about how only idiots aren’t Christians and and and and and, and. I get sick of it, but I grew up with it and with them and so I know how to nod and smile and not take it personally and sigh a lot and shake my head and have real conversations with other people.

Today one of them posted about how a jeweler screwed her over on a return of some jewelry, and in response she called him a nazi.


Because he wouldn’t give her a full refund.

Yes, of course, J. How could anyone not see that denying you a marginal amount of money is equivalent to the torture and slaughter of millions of innocent people?

Oy vey, as they say. My head aches from the effort of not-exploding. This, Dear Readers, this is why I do not have a better relationship with my extended family. I can’t manage to be nice to people on a regular basis who are so constantly offensive and I do not have the energy or motivation to educate them. Meanwhile they are certain I am on my merry way to the Eternal Flames, and thank goodness, because an eternity in the bonfires of hell would have to be more tolerable than listening to that sort of prattle for more than a few minutes at a time.

I do not deal well with the nazi references.

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…and it will be sparse and stay sparse while I am in this “of course you can trust me to telework for two months before I move!” stage, as I will be trying very hard to create trust and impress someone who really doesn’t like teleworking. Plus–well:

Tuesday was great. Fabulous! Except for the horrific splitting headache that set in around 10 am and which even codeine could not dispell, and which I tried hard to hide but probably people could tell what with one hand pressed permanently to my temple. Other than that, it was wonderful. I met everyone–all ten of ’em–and they seem like a great group of friendly, easy-going, helpful smarty-pants. The Boss likes to take breaks in his office upstairs to practice the fiddle, and he’s got a music stand and bunches of sheet music to facilitate this. There is a shower in one of the upstairs bathrooms so you can either ride your bike in, or if you’d like take a mid-day break to go for a run or a round of tennis. The office is in a restored heritage building with high tin ceilings and big windows and large shared rooms for offices, which I didn’t think I would like but I do, since the desks are arranged to give everyone some measure of privacy on their monitors but there’s a sociable hum in the background. And no one singing hymns, which actually one person did at the old workplace.

Hymns in the freaking office. I kid you not. She also left religious tracts in the kitchenette.

The talk is all the right kind of talk, about hiring people who are creative and smart and trustworthy and just letting them do their thing without too much interference. Talk doesn’t necessarily mesh with action so I am taking my time in deciding to what extent I should buy the talk, but I like the talk. You need to have the talk to have the action.

I am getting a pile of projects soon too, and it’s a bit dizzying (HOLY CRAP I HAVE RESPONSIBILITY!) but I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to having a new challenge to wrap my brain around. And a good one. It’s a private-sector for-profit job where I get to do some good in the world in an environment that promises a lot of autonomy and flexibility and I am psyched.

I also get to be in charge of the corporate style guide, as un-corporate as it is (real entry from the company business policy: “Dress code – business casual, no jeans, ties permitted and cuff links permitted … Casual Fridays every week – jeans allowed, so are ties”), and the Boss seems to place a great premium on good writing and a clear style, so hurray! I will be able to do writing for a job that DOESN’T SUCK.

We went out for lunch on my first day and a sub-group of musician-colleagues discussed putting on a company death-metal concert in the office after hours. It’s just that kind of place.

And my computer time is going to be highly restricted over the next little while as I try to learn everything about my new field in a couple of days so I can start working on projects sometime tomorrow. It’s not going to be perfect because nothing is ever perfect but I think it is going to be good.

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