Friday, 27 October 2017

Complexity of High School Athletics

12 year old daughter T trying out for school basketball team.

Also on overnight field trip with school.

Coming back at 3:30pm, tryouts at 5pm, perfect.

T arranges lift home with Friend. Enough time to change and have quick snack and run back to school.

T leaves for field trip.

New information: Friend is only picking up at 4:15pm. Will not be able to get T home in time to change and turn back around and get to school for 5pm.

But T doesn't have stuff with her because was planning to come home in between field trip and tryouts.

Change in plan.

Tryouts changed to 4pm.

Need to meet her at school w her stuff at 3:30pm.


I have work meeting that can't be changed.

Husband has physio appointment that can't be changed.

Solution: Pack her bag and drop it at school so that she can pick it up at 3:30pm and get ready for tryouts at 4pm.


Not so fast.

Change in plan.

Tryouts changed back to 5pm, they are doing work on gym floor.

T calls from field trip and is devastated by turn of events.

Can  not be expected to entertain self (what if battery runs out) for 45 minutes in between bus arrival and tryouts.

Change work meeting to pick up T at 3:30pm and provide entertainment and snacks (in addition to the three I packed in her gym back and dropped at school at 8am so that it would be waiting for her when she got off the bus).

Not so fast.

Change in plan.

Field trip running late and T will not be back till 4:15pm or 4:30pm.

But basketball stuff now in school office which closes at 4pm.

Need to leave work to be at school to pick stuff back up from office where I left it this morning so that it would be ready for her when she finished field trip which is now late and while I was at work meeting which is now cancelled.

Complaint Lessons Learned:

1. Flexibility in athletes more important than ever
2. Changing direction on the court means being able to change direction so you actually get to the court
3. Next time you are watching athletes on TV think about all the office doors that almost locked with their gym stuff in it, and all the parents that cancelled work meetings to get them there

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Bilingual Advantage

So like yeah Mme. Notimportant said the F word today.

Pardon me?

Yeah. She was complaining about how we did on the spring concert which like I really think we did great didn't you Mom?

Of course.

Yeah. So like anyway she was like you guys really F'd up. You came down the stairs on the left side and you were supposed to come down on the right side, and then the kids on the right side came down on the middle side.

(Middle is not a side.)

Huh. So it wasn't even about the singing part of the concert?

No. That's the weird thing. It was about the line. But she said it all in French, obviously. So Mom, can you like call the school?

Um, well you are actually in the school so don't you think this would make more sense coming from you?

Well since you're a parent don't you think - oh, actually that's rude. How come we never have any bananas? I want a banana. I don't want to talk to the school can you do it.

Hello is the vice-principal there please? I have to speak to him about coarse language, viewer discretion is advised an important issue?

Hi, this is Mr. Vice Principal. What can I do for you?

(Explain situation).

Well, you aren't the first person to call me to complain about this.


And it seems there is a simple explanation.

I'm listening.

Mme. Notimportant is French? And in French, in Quebec, the F word is not particularly offensive. It's something you'd say to your grandmother. Especially as a verb, as it was used in this context.

Seriously? What if your grandmother doesn't speak French?

Yes. So Mme. N, without realizing that the kids would take it the wrong way, used F in a French sentence, where it is considerably less offensive than in an English phrase where it would be considered grounds for dismissal significantly more impactful.

She has apologized to the children.

Reasons Why We're Lucky to Live in Montreal

1. The public schools are still warm and fuzzy and you can get the Vice Principal on the phone in a flash.

2. Everyone thinks it's normal for a teacher to apologize to students.

3. As long as you swear in the appropriate official language, you will not get in trouble.

4. If you run out of bananas, you can give your kids poutine.

Monday, 14 August 2017

No Such Thing As A

12 year old daughter T has complicated lunchbox needs for the following reasons:
  1. She does not like sandwiches
  2. She does not like roll-ups, tacos or anything else masquerading as a sandwich
  3. She was on the Green Committee and now only uses re-usable containers
  4. She really hates cooking and would rather take out the garbage than help me in the kitchen
  5. Every meal must feature ketchup (except for organic salami which calls for mustard)
This is further intensified by the fact that she leads an insanely active lifestyle which means:
  1. She technically should be having 2-4 different vegetables at each meal
  2. She will only eat veggies raw, and no mixing of species allowed
  3. Packaged foods are laughably out of the question
  4. She needs to pack a lot of snacks to keep fueling up properly
  5. Her meals have to be kept at the correct temperature as she moves through her day
Which has led me to do the following:
  1. Peruse Pinterest for healthy snack ideas
  2. Order an organic local farmer vegetable box in addition to Costco and fruit store shopping
  3. Bake blueberry muffins at 6am
  4. Buy many miniature ice packs
  5. Continue a fruitless (haha) search for the world's largest lunchbox that is also not embarrassing

As an example, this is what we packed yesterday:
  1. Two roasted chicken legs and rice
  2. Ketchup
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Peapods
  5. Pre-cut grapefruit
  6. Cheese triangles (2)
  7. Blueberry muffin 
That was all background information for you.

Now, please join me in my car yesterday as we drop T off at a full day of basketball camp. Today they will be doing drills. For eight hours.

We say goodbye, wish her a great day.

Drive three minutes to work.

Swipe card at underground parking.

Pull into spot.

It is 8:57am.

Phone rings.

Hey, Mom?

Yes, sweetie? You ok?

I. I, forgot my lunch at home.

Things That Crossed My Mind
  1. Establishing complex and non-negotiable lunch requirements and putting lunch in gym bag are two different skill sets.
  2. Less of my time needs to be spent procuring and preparing lunch, and more time needs to be spent on reviewing options for shipping and delivery.
  3. Cultivating a lifelong disdain for McDonald's in all my children was probably not a great tactical move, as there is one across the street from basketball camp and they have unlimited ketchup. Factory stuffed chickens be damned.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Home Alone + Castaway = Sophie's Choice

Chapter One: Home Alone

Click on Estimate Fare to determine if ubering to the airport makes sense.


Wait. Husband says. Maybe we should Park N Fly.

We should Park N Fly?

Yes. Wait. No.

Oh. Changed his mind.



But we are five people and Now no uberxl's available.


1. Leave one of the kids at home (like in the movie Home Alone)

2. Take a regular cab

Chapter Two: Castaway

Call regular cab company and request minivan at no extra charge.

Cab comes.

Minuscule hatchback in the shape of a minivan, but the size of large watermelon.

Driver says. Well I can fit five of you without your bags.


1. Leave the bags at home (like Tom Hanks lost his luggage in Castaway)

2. Call back for actual minivan

Chapter Three: Sophie's Choice

1. When travelling with your family, not only might you be without airplane seats (story here) but you may have to leave a kid behind (How do you choose which kid to leave at home?)

2. If you decide to bring all your kids, you may not be able to bring all your bags (See? Another impossible choice)

3. If you would like seats, kids and bags, you may have to be up before 5:53am to confirm transportation to the airport (irrelevant, but just saying)

Moral of The Story

If Meryl Streep's tragedy has taught us anything, it's that despite all the complaints about minor annoyances of travel, as long as you all get there safely and return safely, none of these small inconveniences are really important.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Unicorns. Chasing. 3. Please Try to Keep Up.

We go visit my great aunt and uncle who are 90 and almost 92 respectively and bring them hot chocolate with whip.

We apologize for not bringing Unicorn Frappuccinos.

(First we explain what Unicorn Frappuccinos are.)

(Yes we told them about the sugar, but what do you think is hiding in your kale smoothie there Mister, so please don't judge.)

Wait. B says. They have Unicorn Frappuccinos downtown across from the Bell Centre.

How do you know?

Well, while I was in there having my vegan drink re-made for the third time I heard the baristas talking.

They said there was one location in the city that still had th-

Before his sentence was even finished he was on the phone to the-

Before he was even off the phone with them, we had peeled away from the curb, tires squealing.

Lessons Learned

1. Sometimes you might be willing to travel to upstate New York great lengths but what you are looking for is actually available right next door

2. If you're vegan and you drink Frappuccinos you will have access to information that the rest of us couldn't even pay for

3. If you have your drink re-made multiple times, the baristas will "accidentally" leak top-secret-classified corporate information to you just to get you out of their store

4. Although we are all sad that the Canadiens lost the playoffs, the Bell Centre is still good for something

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Chasing Unicorns: 2

But before we leave the country to throw hard-earned cash at a greedy multi-national we should probably call first.

T calls.



May have to drown sorrows in hot chocolate with whip, which if it's any consolation, I'm sure also has 59 spoonfuls of sugar.

Meanwhile have promised 18 year old B that we are going on a Starbucks run and he is still jonesing for a Vegan Frappuccino, no unicorns necessary.

Go to second Starbucks in neighborhood so that B can get his almond soy coconut situation sorted.

Mom this tastes kind of funny, it's not sweet enough (they probably stopped after spoonful 57) so I need them to make me a new one.

They make him a new one.

It still tastes kind of funny Mom and not like I need them to make me a new one or whatever but they shouldn't be selling these to like other vegans customers so I need to say something.

We will wait in the car.

15 minutes elapse.

B comes out juggling multiple (well at least two) Vegan drinks and pours a bit of this into some of that until he has exactly the right mix of Frappuccino which frankly seems just as complicated as the Unicorn however is neither pink nor purple.

And therefore not what we are looking for.