A Good Dose of Reality….and sarcasm….lots of sarcasm


Every year a friend of mine and a team of other women put together an online store to raise funds for a needy family.  They ask for and receive donations of crafts, baking, gifts, candles, gift certificates and jewelry and then sell them through a private on-line “store”.  It is a great way to get into the spirit of the season and give back to some people who really need it.  People who are struggling financially and perhaps emotionally.

This year we are the needy family.  I would like to take a few minutes to tell you why we are struggling.  Here goes.

In August my husband and I made the decision to cancel our planned two-week Christmas vacation in Hawaii.  His work contract would be ending in December and while we had no reason to think he wouldn’t get another contract, we both felt it was the financially responsible thing to do.  Still, it was a dark day when I emailed the agent and told her to cancel our condo reservations and the flights we had booked on points.  I was the one who had to tell the kids that despite just spending three weeks in Southern California we would not be flying to Maui in December.  They were real troopers.

It’s been almost eighteen months since I quit my job.  It did take me a few months to get used to being at home during the day while our daughter was at school, but I think I adjusted well.  Yoga had never really been my thing but I learnt to embrace it as it helped stretch out the muscles I was now stressing on longer daily runs in the woods with my friends.  Now that my husband isn’t traveling as much there really isn’t any reason for me not to return to work.  I’m going to have to adjust my running schedule and won’t be able to help out at school hot lunch days but I know it needs to be done.  My yoga instructor will miss me, but I’m sure with some serious meditation she will be okay.

Public transit may well become a part of our future.  One of our SUVs has decided that it is tired and after fifteen years it has become…..temperamental.  So that leaves us with just the one truck.  My husband has been great about walking the half mile up to Starbucks in the mornings to get his morning mocha and we have been able to coordinate our schedules so that when he needs to get to the gym I can go with him and get the shopping done.  Fortunately Whole Food is only a few block away.  We have been researching bus route on our iPads and we think we can make it work.  Have you ever looked at a bus schedule though?  Super confusing.

Earlier this summer we had the kids bathroom renovated.  It had been stuck in the eighties and was looking a little um…..yellow.  A friend of ours helped out with the design and after a month or so my vision became reality.  But now the other two bathrooms in our house look a little shabby.  I’ve been forced to take my bath in their bathroom as the tub is deeper and well, the floor is heated.  Our bathroom does not have radiant heating.  Or a toilet seat that closes itself.  Or drawers that hold plush towels.  It’s sad really.  Doesn’t everyone deserve a nice bathroom?

So there you have it.  It’s been a rough couple of months but we are staying strong and hoping that with a little help we will see a light at the end of the tunnel.  Or maybe a Hawaiian sunset.

The Best Thing in Life is a good dose of reality.

Surviving Seventeen

My seventeen year old son is graduating from high school this year. It’s a big milestone by anybody’s standards. In a few months he will turn 18 and will legally be an adult. He is interested in video game design (we think) and has applied to a local university with a good 3D Animation program. He has his drivers license and a steady girlfriend. No worries right? You would think so. So why do I feel this anxiety about what is going on in his life? Why do I feel the need to push him in a more productive direction?

In the grand scheme of things he has never been a problem. I’m proud to say that he has made it to grade twelve and there are no drugs or alcohol involved, no classes failed and nobody is pregnant. Woohoo! Honestly, in today’s high school environment that is no small feat. He does, however, spend (in my mind) an inordinate amount of time playing on-line video games. Some days he gets out of bed, comes downstairs and is on the computer for a couple of hours before he even stops to have something to eat. If it were not for me giving him the stink eye he would be on-line all day.

I’m sure he will get into university and pretty certain he could get a job if he tried. This is not what keeps me up at night. My husband (his stepdad) and I have made every effort to help him make decisions about his future. Taken him to interviews, open houses and forwarded him information on deadlines and programs. He’s interested in it all but once we are out of the parking lot the need to think about it is gone. The need for attention and follow up just doesn’t seem to be sinking in. Or maybe it is. Why do seventeen year olds not come with cheat sheets like the video games they love so much?

What was I doing at seventeen? I thought that I wanted to go into the hotel and restaurant business. A family friend of ours managed to get me job at the Banff Springs Hotel. I worked there for a couple of years on and off with a year of very unproductive university in the middle. Oh, then I went to Europe for four months. Wow, by that time I was 21 and no closer to having any idea what I was going to do with my life. It wasn’t until I had worked for a couple of years at dead end jobs and then finished two years at BCIT that I realized what I was capable of and what I wanted to do. I was twenty five! So I guess my son has a few years to go before I really need to kick his ass. I hope he doesn’t read this.

So what to do? I do what I do every time this feeling overcomes me. I go to my “in” box and retrieve a piece of paper. On that paper is this saying.

“My prime job as a parent is to see my children not as who I want them to be or who I hope they become, but who they really are.”

Enjoy your kids for who they are. They are one of the best things in life.

Last night I emailed this to my son. I didn’t want to put it out for the world to see if he wasn’t okay with it. Later today I will post his response.  It took me completely by surprise.