Loosening ties

October 25, 2010

So this past weekend there was some family drama.  And for once it was my family who was acting up.  Shocking I know.  We’re the normal ones.

The story is long and complex and boring to anyone who is not a member of my family.  In a nutshell, we were planning a celebration that has been going on for about 10 years and this year half the family can’t make it for various reasons that are beyond everyone’s control.  Normally this would not be a big deal, but my grandmother, who is pretty much the reason we have this celebration, is 98.  No one knows if she’ll make it to the next celebration.  So it’s kind of important for us all to meet up. 

This year there are some pretty big obstacles in the way.  A major move is happening with two family members and the day that has been chosen conflicts with a pretty important event in another family member’s life.  There are no other suitable weekends either and no one is really happy about postponing this until January, when the weather is not great.  And really, once you postpone a big celebration it’s kind of a death knell for that celebration as getting consensus on a date that works for 13 people is like herding cats.  Pretty much impossible.

It’s not that we don’t want to meet up but rather that life has gotten in the way.  Which sucks.  A lot.  I don’t see my family very much.  Geographically, we’re spread out from each other.  Roughly a three hour car ride separates each branch and that’s if traffic and weather co-operate.  This celebration was the one time of year we could all count on being in the same place at the same time and it’s always fun.  Stressful to prepare for (cooking, cleaning, baking, shopping, making, wrapping) but fun.  And good to see each other.  Some of us see each other regularly, but some of us only see each other this one day of the year.  Which is why it makes me sad that this year, it likely won’t happen.

I often complain about (and mock) my husband’s family for their “closeness”.  I kid (sort of, but mostly I’m serious) that his family is made up of the ties that bind.  His family often gets together (much more often than I’d voluntarily meet up) and many of them make a point of keeping in close contact with each other.  Many of them visit back and forth and honestly, if we wanted to (I generally don’t) we could be doing things with some member of his family every weekend of every month.  That’s a little (ok a lot) too much family for me.

But, on the other hand, it beats seeing relatives (who I do like) once, maybe twice a year.  It’d be nice to have some sort of happy medium.  I wish my family was a little more interested in visiting each other.  Of course I wish the Hubs’ family would be a little LESS interested in visiting each other and while I’m at it, I also wish we’d win the Big One so I could retire and be a lady who lunches (and knits).  But a leopard can’t change its spots.

We’re trying to figure out a solution but I think this year’s celebration just won’t happen.  Maybe we’ll do it in the spring but I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t happen at all.  Which is too bad.  Because sometimes, it’s nice to have ties that bind.  Sometimes.


Close encounters

October 19, 2010

The commute to my job takes me through some pretty rural areas.  I pass a lot of farms and open fields and even though I sometimes get stuck behind farm trucks and combines and God-only-knows-what-manner of farm vehicles, I very much enjoy the drive to and from work.  Until this morning.

I am a HUGE animal lover.  In fact, some people would say I like animals more than I like people.  On a lot of days, they would be right.  On my way to and from work, I see a lot of road kill.  Mostly skunks and raccoons and lately a lot of possums.  Occasionally a rabbit.  I find it disturbing, but if it’s a choice of hitting the animal or being hit yourself, I can see why there’s a lot of road kill.  Animals are unpredictable at the best of times and when you add darkness/early morning, oncoming headlights, traffic and human reflexes to the mix it often doesn’t end well for the animal.

Since starting my job in April I’ve had three deer encounters.  The first one was when I braked suddenly to avoid hitting the car in front of me that had stopped suddenly to avoid hitting a fawn crossing the road.  No one, including the fawn, was hurt.  I was a little shaken from the adrenaline rush but that also could have come from seeing a baby deer up close and personal. 

The second incident happened in the middle of the day when I was driving along a country road to Mary Maxim.  A deer burst out of a junior school driveway and zigzagged towards me.  Fortunately I was alert and driving slowly due to a bend in the road and was able to brake in time to avoid hitting it.  But it did run alongside my car for a moment, so close that I could see the rain drops on it’s back, until it ran back to safety.  I think it’s safe to say that both of us were quite shaken.  Again, no one was hurt.

Today though was a different story.  Around 8:15 am I was driving to work and collided with a deer.  Actually, collided with a deer is exaggerating the encounter, but it did hit my car.  I am, for some unexplainable reason, an excellent animal spotter (I’m also really good at puzzles and I wonder if there’s a correlation..something to do with recognizing shapes maybe?) and out of the corner of my eye I saw a deer run onto the highway.  I drive to work on a secondary, two lane highway and I’m forever grateful that it was not busy today.  The deer was heading straight for my car (for the record a I drive a compact car) and it would have struck the driver’s side if I hadn’t slammed on my brakes.  Granted, I was going considerably more than the posted speed limit allowed, but at the point of impact I was doing about 50 km (about 30 mph) and that deer was running right beside the car. 

The impact was slight for me, but probably not so slight for the deer.  It hit my driver’s side door and veered off back to culvert on the side of the road.  But it was so close I could see the whites of its eyes, and for that brief moment as we looked into each other’s eyes, I think both of us could taste the fear of the impact between flesh and polymer. 

I came to a full stop on the highway (which fortunately was empty) and took a moment to breathe.  I was fine, the deer was fine and the car was fine.  So I carried on.  As I got maybe 100 m (328 ft) away I looked in my rearview mirror.  The car coming up behind me had hit the deer.  Which was now skidding across the oncoming lane of traffic on its side, its legs flailing.  For the second time in less than a minute I came to a full stop.  The car that hit the deer pulled to the side of the road.  The deer was now back in the culvert due to the force of the impact.  I am hoping the driver of the car that hit the deer was going to check and see if the deer was ok, but I suspect that (s)he was stopping to check for damage to their car.  Fair enough.  I’d check my car too.  Eventually.  And there was nothing anyone could do if the deer was injured.  Maybe call the police who would shoot it if they had to.  I don’t know. 

Feeling really sick I didn’t have much choice but to keep driving to work and let the adrenaline work its way out of my system.  Stopping on any highway for even a few moments is never a good idea, even if the bright light of day.  I never saw the deer get up but the road curved and I was quickly out of sight of the “crash” site.  I hadn’t noticed any gore on the car or the deer or the road but that’s not an indication of anything.  And the driver of the car seemed ok as well.  (S)He slowed down smoothly and stopped in a controlled manner, which makes me believe they weren’t seriously hurt.  I am choosing to believe the deer eventually walked away.

I emailed the Hubs when I got to work to ask him to dig up his deer whistle from when he worked in the heart of deer country earlier in the year.  I don’t know if they work but I can’t face almost hitting (or worse, hitting) another deer.  I ran over a chipmunk in August and nearly threw up on the spot.  I still feel guilty about it.  Not to mention, I don’t even want to think about what kind of damage hitting a large animal would do to my car.  Or me.  Or the deer.

The Hubs called me back immediately.  Which is unusual.  He next to never calls me at work.  But he said he was worried about me.  He wanted to make sure I was safe and he knows how much I love animals so he was worried about my mental state.  He’s going out to buy a deer whistle after work, no fooling around.  I have a knack for wildlife encounters and three deer are enough for me.  I’m more than happy to watch them on the side of the road.  Preferably alive.

Out of touch

October 15, 2010

The MIL turns 70 next month.  Which is quite an achievement as she’s a cancer survivor and hasn’t been in the best of health for the past few years.  She’s a fighter though.

The SIL suggested a few weeks back, that we throw her a party.  At a local all-you-can-eat bufffet.  With 70 of her closest friends.  Paid for by the “kids”.  Which means the Hubs and the SIL.  Uh huh.  Because money grows on trees in our backyard and we burn $100 bills for fun.

Now don’t get me wrong, a 70th birthday is quite a milestone and should certainly be celebrated.  But you might want to ask what the birthday girl what she wants and how she wants to celebrate it before you start planning and spending money like a drunken sailor.

So the Hubs asked and was told flat out NO.  Which, I would like to smugly add, I predicted.  But did the SIL, the Hubs and assorted cousins listen?  No.  They forged ahead and called banquet halls and thought about menus and guest lists…which grew and grew and grew in size.  All the while ignorning the no no NOs coming from the MIL. 

And let me tell you, even at paying half the tab, the tab was still several thousand dollars.  Again, I’m not discouraging the Hubs and his family from celebrating his mom’s birthday, I just want to see it done so that most people, especially his mom (who is afterall the star of the show for the day), get what they want.

But all is well that ends well.  In a conversation with the SIL, his mom put her foot down and flat out refused a party.  It seems that people of her generation don’t like to celebrate birthdays and she’d rather have her close family around her instead of basically everyone she’s ever spoken to.  Which is fair enough.  Not everyone wants a big party.

But what really makes me wonder is what the hell was the SIL thinking by suggesting all of this.  Afterall, shouldn’t a daughter have somewhat of an idea as to what her mother would like?  I don’t expect the Hubs to know, because as sons often are, he’s kind of clueless.  I think, that because she’s lived away from home for so many years, she’s lost touch with her parents.  Which, despite the fact that the outlaws are not my favourite people in the world, is kind of sad.  And even though she comes home for a few weeks at a time, much of her “home” time is spent out.  In other cities, at friends and relatives’ places.  And when she is at home, the SIL spends a lot of time “sleeping”.  Which I suspect is code for texting her friends on her Blackberry.

So the SIL is not actually drawing on much current knowledge of her parents.  And it’s a sad state of affairs when I can better predict how the MIL will react than her daughter can.  I think it’s time for the SIL to move home.  Or at least back to North America.


October 13, 2010

ExpectANT not expectING.  I’m not pregnant.  I’d have a much better post title than that.

Do you ever have the feeling that something is going to happen?  Like you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop?  Jumpy when the phone rings?  Anxious every time you open your inbox?

That’s how I’ve been feeling for the last month or so.  I can’t really figure out why I’ve been feeling expectant.  I don’t expect any big news from anyone about anything.  I don’t play the lotteries either so it’s not like I’m having a premonition of winning the big one.  That would be nice though.   The Hubs is unlikely to be sent out of town for work either so I’m not waiting for that news.  I just feel weird.  Like I’m waiting for something.  But I don’t know what I’m waiting for.

It’s like a cloud hanging over me.  Not a dark cloud of impending doom but a cloud of, well, expectation. 

And to be honest, it’s driving me nuts.  Whatever it is that I’m waiting for better hurry up and get here.  I may be expectant but I’m definitely not patient.

Here’s to four more and then some

October 8, 2010

Chuck Palahniuk said that “Love is just a word until someone comes along and gives it meaning”.  Four years ago today, on a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend, I married the DH. 

Yes I complain about him (and his family).  Yes we argue and fight.  Yes he makes me cry and drives me insane.  But he also makes me laugh and sing and dance and be a better person too.  As the sitcom song said, you take the good, you take the bad.  And so far, the good far outweighs the bad.

DH gives meaning to the word love. 

I’d do it all again big guy.  Here’s to four times four times four times four more years.

Sometimes it really is all about the little things

October 6, 2010

Now that it’s fall, seem to have more energy and motivation to do stuff around the house.  And I’ve made a few changes to how I do some things, specifically laundry.  As much as I’d love a main floor laundry room, that is NEVER going to happen.  We just don’t have the space, and without a massive wallet-breaking renovation and losing half our backyard in the process, we never will.  So I suck up trucking four or five or even six baskets of laundry up and down three flights of stairs every two weeks.  Sometimes every week depending on how dirty we are.

That’s not the bad part. 

The bad part is DH’s shirts and all our table linens that sit (and multiply in the dark of night) in the laundry basket in our bedroom (where I fold the laundry) until I haul it all back downstairs, iron and fold and then bring the shirts back upstairs.

I don’t mind ironing but I don’t like going up and down the stairs like a crazy woman carrying anywhere from five to 25 shirts.  Yes DH has a lot of shirts and I am a lazy wife.  And no, he’s not going to iron any more than I will and I enjoy doing it on a Sunday night while I listen to the opera show on the radio.

So, I finally had a flash of brilliance and brought the iron upstairs to the bedroom.  Genius I know.  Now the iron lives on top of the armoire when it’s not being used, the ironing board lives in the knee wall closet when it’s not being used, I don’t have to wrestle with carting a million shirts up and down the stairs and quite frankly the task is much more enjoyable as a result.  Sometimes a small change is all it takes to make an unpleasant task better.