"Our life is frittered away by detail...simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau

I know I said "blog like no one is reading" but it's nice to know these people are

Monday, March 26, 2012

I can't believe I'm saying this but ...

I'm kind of jealous of Amy over at Bitchin' Wives Club because even though she is living in a sea of boxes that won't unpack themselves at least she gets a fresh start. We have been living in our current house for almost six years and that is the maximum we have ever stayed in one place.

Here's our timeline as a couple :

  • 1987 - lived together for first time in a lovely garden flat in London, England.
  • 1988 - first apartment together in Toronto, again a ground floor with patio but moved up to the second floor when someone tried to break in while we were sleeping.
  • 1989 - bought our first house in Toronto with original dark, gumwood trim, stained glass windows, ancient kitchen but huge backyard, painted the living room hunter green.
  • 1990 - sold first house, considered moving to Vancouver then bought second, considerably smaller house one block away (this was during mini recession). Again, original trim, tiny kitchen, smaller garden, two bedrooms. Painted living room blue.
  • 1993 - sold and moved to Kennebunkport, Maine while OH studied boat building. No rentals to be had before school started so bought lobster fisherman's shed behind big house with only second floor habitable. Ground floor was already inhabited by squirrels. Renovated with help of boat builders and painted living room cream.
  • 1995 - packed up truck and drove across the continent to White Rock, B.C. on the Washington state border. Rented fifties bungalow and sponge-painted living room. Faux finish era.
  • 1996 - lasted five months on Wet Coast and packed up truck to drive across continent back to Ontario (truth be told, OH did the driving while I flew with the dog)
  • 1997 - built timber frame dream home on property next to the farm where I grew up. Painted living room hunter green again because, as painter said, everyone with a house like this does.
  • 2001 - sold dream house because country living wasn't the life for me and moved back to old neighbourhood in Toronto. Painted over original dark trim with Benjamin Moore Cloud White and living room Ralph Lauren Golden Retriever or Yellow Lab
  • 2007 - sold house in the city and moved to small town. Painted every strip of knotty f**king pine panelling Benjamin Moore Cloud White much to painter's distress and living room Berh's Clotted Cream.
  • 2012 - bored of house, walls and trim trashed from three boys and friends. Eighties almond fibreglass bathrooms unbearable. Exterior nineties sage green paint peeling and blond floors scuffed. All easily fixable (with money) but much easier to just leave it behind and start fresh, right?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Is it just me or does something smell a little off?

Much as I predicted the record-breaking summer-like weather we had while the boys were on Spring Break has come and gone just as I feel my energy level returning. After over a week of feeling like complete and utter crap I can finally get out of bed and attempt to look after my children (sort of). My Other Half seems to have beaten this flu back or is just a whole lot tougher than me (unlikely, but he has soldiered on). But the fallout seems to be that I have no sense of taste or smell. Nothing. Upside is I couldn't smell anything as I pooper-scooped the backyard yesterday. Downside? I couldn't smell or taste the brownies I made last night for the boys. Upside? I couldn't care less about eating anything and might lose some weight. Downside? I keep trying things to see if I can taste them so I might not lose any weight.

It is the strangest sensation (or lack thereof) brushing your teeth and not tasting the minty toothpaste. I can't tell if I have horrible morning breath or if my teenager has left his stinky socks and shoes in the hall. I went on-line to see if this was an unusual after effect of the flu and it isn't unheard of but I have never had it happen before but then again I don't think I have every had the real full-blown flu. The one they warn you about and tell you to get vaccinated against. I am sorely missing my morning cup of coffee. I bought Eggo waffles ostensibly for the boys but really for me to eat to see if I could detect their chemically-induced tastiness. Last night I barbecued steak and veggies for a steak and feta salad and I couldn't even smell the barbecue burning off the fish from the last time we used it wafting in the open window. It sucks, there's no other way to describe it. I love to cook and I love to eat. I can't imagine not tasting wine again or smelling the lilacs blooming which, at the rate this year is going, may happen sooner rather than later. And if I can't go up to the barn and breath in the smell of leather and hay and horses, my life will be poorer, indeed.

Has anyone else had this happen to them? I have a couple of friends who lost their sense of smell and with it goes taste because of medical treatments and I am hoping this isn't permanent although a month or so would get my weight down to a more manageable level for the summer. In the meantime, I will keep trying things - salty, sweet, bitter, anything and hope for the best.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sometimes Nice Guys Do Finish First

Sunday was that most dreaded day of the year - Club Championships for the three ski racers in our family. Luckily for me my Other Half gave up racing when he became the sole proprietor of our business. There isn't enough disability insurance in the world to cover us if he was hurt and couldn't work. As for me? I am waiting until I am in the over 80 category when I hope I will be the only one left standing or at least with all body parts intact. My competitors will either have to enter in the Bionic category or else won't be walking after all the injuries and joint replacements they are already enduring in middle age. As for the boys, it was a learning year. All three were in the lower half age-wise of their categories so even Number Three wasn't expecting to be on the podium as he has done in years past. But he and his middle brother acquitted themselves well, coming in fourth and fifth respectably. Number One who works the hardest still has yet to break into the top ten of his group and it has been a frustrating year. He started out with high hopes after he got back from training in Colorado in November when his coaches told him he was one of the top skiers but as the season progressed he fell back into his old ways. No anxiety attacks this year but over-thinking every race. He is conservative and cautious by nature just like his father and that coupled with the fact that many of his peers have bulked up considerably and he is still skinny as a rail he just isn't quite there yet.

Saturday night he wasn't feeling great but was still game to go in the morning. He had an okay first run but fell in the second and when everyone gathered for the prize-giving he really wasn't feeling well but I told him we had to stay and cheer on his buddies. He lasted about halfway through the awards and then finally said he had to go home. My Other Half and I both went with him and left the other two with my sister. When we were almost home my sister called, screaming, "He won! He won! You missed it. He won!" Every year they award a trophy to the athlete who best exemplifies good sportsmanship and dedication. Earlier that afternoon, as we were walking the dog, I had remarked to my Other Half that I hoped this award would go to a kid who really deserved it, not just to another top racer who won all the time anyways as it seems to have over the past few years. Those kids get lots of recognition but the ones like my eldest who love the sport and try their best every time but just don't have that extra something to get on the podium, they rarely get recognized. Until now. As my sister relayed what the head coach had said about it being a unanimous decision voted on by all the coaches and the club cheered as my son's name was called, I couldn't believe we had missed it. I know that for my very shy son it would have been agony to go up on stage but for me, as a parent, a field that hands out very few awards for raising a great kid, I would have loved it. We did receive lots of congratulatory emails from our friends and the two little brothers were, of course more than happy to accept on his behalf. And, I know, it's not about me but I am going to make damn sure when he graduates from Grade 8 this June that I am in the front row to take all the credit for my wonderful first born.

Numbers Two and Three proudly accepting on behalf of their big brother

Saturday, March 3, 2012

More Dispatches from a Parallel Universe

As most of you know, from December to March my family and I inhabit this alternate reality called Alpine Ski Racing World. Now in Austria or Switzerland this wouldn't be so strange but we live smack dab on a big rock called the Canadian Shield. Nowhere near any real mountains but our life revolves around our ski club where all three boys spend a ridiculous amount of time going up and down a 700 foot vertical. But with them out of the house three or four day a week, getting exercise and competing with their friends it's not all a bad thing. A very expensive thing but not all bad, especially when they win.

Number Three Son practicing holding his skis up with his best bud, O-Dog for when they are sponsored by Atomic

Number Two Son with his gold medal winning team
(I try not to think where those medals have been)

Number Two with his buddies and a big honking trophy

The littlest cousin making his way up the Magic Carpet

Hot on the heels of his cousins on the race course

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