Monday, 27 November 2017

There Was No Bundt Cake Either

Husband's work friend's life partner goes for ultrasound.


Doctor writes gender of twins on papers and puts in envelope.

Seals it.

Husband tells me, gender(s) will be revealed at Spare-No-Expense His &Hers Team Pink or Team Blue Baby Shower in November.

OMG. I hope we get invited to that. It will be like reality television. But, like, real.

I hope they have a bundt cake.

(Be careful what you wish for.)

Shower day fraught with competing events that land us in elegant reception hall around 3pm, having missed the first buffet at 1:30pm but arriving just in time for sit down dinner. Pasta, green salad, steak, veal, wine, champagne, flower centrepieces, photo booth, fantastic DJ.

Gender has not yet been revealed.

In between courses people play games like how quickly can you hang laundry on the line while carrying two babies and a cel phone.

No indication yet as to gender of babies.

Pink and blue balloons, pink and blue tablecloths, flowers, gifts and stunning display of all the communal gifts purchased with communal cash that would not look out of place in a royal nursery, except that the royal nursery probably already knows what gender babies are and is governing itself accordingly.

Open bar.

Espresso bar.

Plates of cake passed around with fresh berries.

Three hours have elapsed.

Candy bar now open. Doughnuts, jellies, marshmallows, cupcakes, cake pops, sprinkled pretzels and baby themed cookies.

All in pink and blue.

We have been here for close to four hours. Husband passed restless three espressos ago.

We have to stay. I plead. We have invested so much into this. We need to know whether these are boys or girls or both.

Two giant black balloons at the Head Table contain what I first thought were the slips of paper but then Husband pointed out deduced that must mini balloons inside, colour coded for Team Pink or Team Blue.

DJ starts talking.

This is it.

We are going to find out now.

I clasp Husband's hand just as DJ offers his announcement:

Sweet table now open. 
Spaghetti, sausage, pizza, giant bowls of fruit, more cake, pastries, mousse (pink and blue), macarons (pink and blue).

Listen. Husband says. The sun has set. It's almost 7pm. I can not stay in this room for one more second. We will have to find out another time whether work friend (that you have met barely twice) and his life partner (to whom you have just been introduced) are having boys girls or both.  You will need to get over this.

Complaint Lessons Learned
  1. The idea that pink is for girls and blue is for boys may be outdated, offensive and politically incorrect, but it really makes for a beautiful party. 
  2. Going to a gender reveal shower and leaving before the gender is revealed is an unsatisfying experience no matter how many pink and blue cake pops they throw at you. 
  3. Letting people choose their own genders may not be a bad idea especially if it keeps baby showers to a two hour limit.
  4. If either of these babies decides to change their genders and reveal them at a shower when they grow up I hope the food is half as good.

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.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Chasing Unicorns

Starbucks came out with a Unicorn Frappuccino.

It's pink.

It's also purple.

(Changes colours).

It's sweet.

It's also tart.

(Changes flavours).

Whipped cream. Powdered pink and purple candy sprinkled on top.

Only available till Sunday.

Well Today Is Saturday so This Shouldn't Be  A Problem.

Stop at Starbucks in neighbourhood.

Sold out.

Thankfully Starbucks retail locations are not hard to come by.

12 year old daughter T starts calling around.



Are you kidding me?


Unicorns are as elusive as we have always been led to believe.

Mom will you take me to Plattsburgh (which is not only across state lanes but in another country) to put 59 spoonfuls of pure sugar into my pre-pubescent system?


We have passports. We have time.

We can go tomorrow.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Lips Are Sealed

Listening to Seat of the Soul on audiobook and agreeing with the idea of setting intentions. Plus heard Oprah talking about it and it sounded motivational although she might have been reading her grocery list I would follow that woman anywhere.

Perfect timing it's January I'll set an intention for 2017.

This will be the year of Dropping the Subject.

One of my many bad habits is that I will go on about something long. Long. Long. Long. After. It's. Over.

Now I have to try.

No matter what happens.

I can't keep bringing up the same story over and over.

Like for example laundry on the floor.

Once I've mentioned it once, I can't keep going on about the laundry.

And you know, picking it up. And possibly throwing it into the laundry basket. And putting clean clothes away.

Because I've already mentioned it.

So now it's over.

The word laundry will not leave my lips.

Dirty clothes can sit, mouldering and festering on the hardwood all over my house, and you will not hear a peep from me.

I will just step over all the pizza patterned American Eagle underwear in the world.  Hoodies left and right and not a word. Not saying I'll like it. But I won't nag. I mean well I can nag once. But only once. Then I will just drop the subject.

Like this?


It's dropped.

Like a wet towel. On the bathroom floor. 

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Complaint Department Gift Guide

You may be thinking that this is unusual timing for a Gift Guide.

You would be right.


Relaxing and reading magazines etc over the break I noticed that lots of people are sharing Perfect Gift Guides and I want to tell you what I think constitutes a perfect gift:

A gift that you bring to my house when I invite you over is a perfect gift.

It doesn't matter what it is.

Here is my Gift Giving Guide for 2017:

1. When you are invited to someone's house, bring a gift.

2. Do not show up empty handed that is rude.

3. Gifts for the kids or pets (bubble gum, silly putty, comic books, chew toy) may be easier to choose  and are acceptable hostess gifts. (You may want to verify whether your host has a pet first. Chew toy for toddler may lead to potentially awkward situation. Same is true for  kids - you don't want to bring a video game for a parrot. Reconnaissance is key.)

4. Wrapping is optional. You can pick something up (chocolate bars, mineral water) at the dep. (Dep is like the Quik-E-Mart but in Montreal. If you don't live in Montreal, you are probably warmer than we are right now any convenience store is fine)

5. Do not obsess over making your gift perfect. This may stop you from actually picking something and then you will be empty handed which is rude.  All you need to do is bring SOMETHING it doesn't have to be just right.

6. Do not call the host minutes before you are supposed to arrive and ask if they need anything. This is very irritating. The host is frantically racing around hiding the pizza boxes taking the roasted goose out of the oven and dressing the chestnuts and does not want to pause to discuss the finer points of Fresca vs. Diet Sprite with you. The time to offer is when you get the invitation: Oh, we would be delighted, what can I bring? Otherwise, you're on your own. Choose something and bring it.

7. If you hate stores or shopping or budget is a constraint, feel free to regift, but do so honestly, as in "I just finished this book and I knew you would love it." or "I knit this scarf and it's too long for me but I think it will look fabulous on you." Auntie Havie spent years wrapping her spoons and passing them off as antique soup ladles - picked out just for you. Saved tons on packing materials when she moved.

8. Baking or cooking something for the event counts as a gift.

9. If you forget to bring a gift, or you forget your gift at home, send something the next day. Gift card, flowers, chocolate dipped fruit basket.

So you see, you don't need a gift guide.  All you need - is a gift.