Monday, September 29, 2014

LEGO-proof your register vents!

As the parent of a pair of Lego-rabid children, as well as a daycare provider, I have been brainstorming a solution to this problem for forever, as long as I can remember, since the dawn of time... er, let's just say I've now freed up a lot of my personal time...

Register vent + panty hose = no holes for those mofo Minifigures to fall through.

It's not difficult, either. All you need is a piece of panty hose that will cover the gaps in the register without stretching (you don't want it to snap back on itself thanks to tension). The idea is to keep it nice and lax so all gaps are covered while still allowing airflow thanks to the breathability of the stocking.

Initially I taped the stocking across the inside of the vent, before I realized the kids had knocked the plastic flow director off the inside of the freaking thing—no biggie, it better keeps the stocking in place, and I won't need to worry about the tape's adhesive being affected by the heat of the furnace come winter.

So. It's been two weeks, and guess what? No Lego down ze register vent... sanity restored.


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Highlight Reel

I am sick of the highlight reel.

Lately it’s become evident that I’m either in sudden contact with a slew of people who seem to forget that Facebook (and what people post on the Internet in general—with the exception of emo blogs, fanfic, Nyan cat, and gregarious hate speak), is the highlight reel of other people’s lives.

Guess what? Life don’t look like that. Nobody’s does.

Of course it’s natural to want to share the best events happening to us—large or small—but ofttimes the audience seems to forget that shit happens, yo. To everyone. For reals.

I’m not one to air my dirty laundry publicly (uh... except this is my blog, one where I documented my own medical journey... so... apparently I’m a freaking liar). In this instance, though, I’ll be overtly literal. At 4:55am I’ve just finished sorting four laundry loads that should have been washed last night but the hot water tank blew. Again. For the third time in 18 days.

This is my list of what life has been like in the last, oh 18 days... I’d round it off to two weeks, except that hot water heater seemed to mark the beginning of the shakedown, so I’m keen to stretch the timeline.

In the last 18 days I have:

- Gone five days without hot water, spread over three different technician visits to fix our hot water tank rental (yes, we rent in Ontario). That means my kids have discovered no hot water three times when they’ve attempted to fill the tub. And they've had three lukewarm-at-best baths.

- No hot water means I’ve also had to put off some necessary housecleaning. That master shower isn’t getting any less pink.

- I’ve had two cold showers (and I mean really cold—not residual-warm-water-in-tank cold). Thanks to this, my massage therapist wants to add another (possibly two) visits over the next two weeks. Apparently cold water + chronic neck and shoulder issues do not mix. (She claims she would have preferred me to show up dirty. Duly noted.)

- Been to the chiropractor seven times, and projected enough future visits to correct my spine that they’ve got me on a payment plan (whee, benefits).

- Discovered hilarious bike accident story from when I was 15 actually had invisible ramifications! The Bush Bunny story! You MUST know it—like, everyone on the planet's heard it. That time I went over the handlebars of my bike into the juniper bush on our lawn after hitting up the grocery store for ice cream? Yeah, hysterical. Company was over. It was delightfully mortifying. I still have a scar on my ass, and apparently easily two years’ worth of chiropractic ahead of me to correct the absurdly straight neck it gave me (the term is military neck, feel free to Google), along with inner ear issues (had to say goodbye to reading in cars, enjoying boat rides, and roller coasters). Oh, and it’s possibly the source I get to thank for my migraines, too.

- Had to repeat my history of being the medical exception. Again. And assure another professional that no, no, I’m not actually deaf in my left ear, despite the war zone appearance of that eardrum’s scarring.

- Been to the emergency room once (on a Saturday morning), to ensure that my inner ear problems thanks to the new chiropractic treatment are, in fact, actually inner ear problems and NOT a stroke (I wasn't panicking, I just wasn't being willfully ignorant since it would be two days before I next saw my chiropractor). Lucky for me, I failed every motor/neurological test administered on the spot, but passed with flying colours the test that says my inner ear is fucked. My eyes were tracking and I almost puked on Dr. O’s shoes—though he seemed pleased at that result, I don’t think it was for the implication his footwear almost became more fragrant.

- Speaking of strokes, in the last week I’ve spent $200 on my hair and hair products to see if it can retain some sort of body—and this is from a notoriously low maintenance girl who barely spends $100 including tip in a year—and while I’m enjoying the beachy waves I have going on, and look forward to finally being able to wash my hair tomorrow morning, whatever this is, I hesitate to call it permanent.

- Also in the realm of the superficial: despite getting my rampant Tim Horton’s addiction down to twice a week (someone throw me a party. Seriously. I deserve it), and being incredibly disciplined over the last month (unless you count the 1lb chocolate bar I devoured in three days), I’ve only lost one(?!) pound of the eight I would prefer to vanish so that I might not have to invest in an entirely new wardrobe. You know, now that stretchy-fabric weather summer is over. And good food season runs from October until January. I’m screwed.

- Used the fancy points earning/redemption system at my favourite grocery store, only to discover after checkout that my “tailored” rewards weren’t added to my account. This is the third call in three weeks to rectify it, and despite having Mr Lannis officially add me to the account, I’m apparently still a second class citizen unable to make executive decisions. ON FICTIONAL POINTS.

- More serious: I learned of four people whom I otherwise thought were fine are in actuality quietly suffering depression (all of whom live in the same hometown they grew up in. Coincidence? Hm). Attended the funeral for one who lost his battle.

- Yes. So. Funerals. Plural. Two, within six days. One for a dear auntie. The other for the boy who was my first kiss and prom date. Yep. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

- And depression of course, is a fearful concept to me, as it is closely linked with anxiety and I have an eight-year-old who has already been diagnosed with that. Oh, and in the last two weeks he’s come down after bedtime to complain of everything from the sun burning up, to the world running out of trees, to the misconception that noise pollution will fill up our atmosphere and choke us all to death. Fun times.

- And now, for the fourth day in a row, I’m up after only five hours sleep (so little I just spelt that 5ive. Oh joy). Is this a problem? Not particularly. It’s my ginseng in action and I’ll have a nap later.

- Oh, and not to be dismissed, but there have been copious migraine auras thanks to barometer swings (thunderstorms and cold temps, ahoy!), proximity to cloying perfumes (see funerals, and some loosely-related shopping therapy), and apparently the sucker-for-punishment stupidity that was less boring hair. So many migraines in need of blocking, that tomorrow when I go to the blood donor clinic, I half expect them to turn me away because my blood volume is half Advil Migraine Liqui-gels.

- The barometer has also made it tricky to predict how to dress, with one day last week being over 40c/104F, and today’s projected high being 14c/57F. I’m a sweaty girl. I’m not cool with these swings. It makes it all that much more difficult to adjust. And I like to know if I can bother opening the windows... though I do enjoy a good thunderstorm.

- Oh, and thanks to the chemically-induced brain befuddlement, I mistakenly keyed my deposit amount into the bank machine. So I get to wait until the bank adjusts the amount, while my money rests in limbo. Lovely.

- And last but not least, seasonal allergies. Have you tried to scratch your pallet? Pro tip: it doesn't work.

So. That’s my shit list. There’s more—there’s always more if you look for more. But that pretty much sums up our end. Lots of happy things happened on our end, too, not to be overlooked, including long overdue visits with family, and friends (hi, Nicole and Robyn!).

Contrary to what this list indicates, what have I posted to the blog? Nothing. While full of fluffy content, I realize it’s also a better reflection of what’s going on inside. So no, I haven’t felt like blogging. Facebook? Yes, there have been a few posts:

- Ranted in a humorous way about the water tank issue.

- I have posted a tidbit in a mini-serial (one I should probably begin publishing to the blog) about what Mr Lannis watches on YouTube. In this case it was the retro classic 99 Red Balloons redone with red balloons (I know, right? I’ve already watched the shit out of that video!)

- Posted a photo of the luxurious material I snagged for costuming—yay for Hallowe’en stock and costuming fun!

- Two half-assed gratitude post reshares of part of the work Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York is doing overseas.

- Photos from finally framing a print of Larry Elmore's artwork that I've had since April.

- Another half-assed reshare of the historical post on September 4th, commemorating how on that day in 1957, 15 year old Elizabeth Eckford encountered an angry mob when she was the first girl in Little Rock, Arkansas, to bridge the gap of the then-newly-deemed unconstitutional segregation. Brave girl.

- A passive aggressive status post about how Pinterest keeps emailing me telling me I’m qualified for a business account (Sorry to disappoint, Pinterest, but I’m still not a business).

- A photo of wordless Ikea instructions, since shopping therapy last week has been... er... expensive.

Is this a happy list? Is the first sad? No. There’s no emotion involved in a list. It’s all projected (even with my editorial ramblings). All emotion is projected from our minds—another thing that I’ve learned again and again over the years and have recently been reminded of (thanks to this video)—all emotion is in our heads, not our hearts. Our hearts simply pump blood.

Has it been a rough week? Invariably so. Am I upset? Currently no. I’m pretty much rocking my early morning tea in a delightfully calm got-up-early moment with the laptop.

Obviously if I dwell on the lives whose celebration ceremonies I attended last week it can been emotionally world-rocking. Naturally. But that’s grief. That’s coping.

The rest? Blargh. ::dismissive hand wave:: It’s all life. Whatever.

All of it together? Meh. I’ve walked through worse fires and emerged unscathed. Give me time, I’ll be fine. Always am. I’ve had better weeks, and I’ve had worse.

I bounce. I bounce well. I always have. It’s a skill. Read that again...

It’s. A. Skill.

Get good at it, people, because life holds no punches. You are not responsible for other people’s actions or reactions, only your own. Be accountable. Live. Learn. Move on.

Yes, I have been nominated for the gratitude posts on Facebook. Four times now. Four.

No, I don’t add them to my timeline. Personally, practicing gratitude—though it’s a very useful concept that I believe can be extremely helpful—is a private thing (much like grief). I don’t have a journal, I do, however, go out of my way to see things through other people’s eyes, and to be actively grateful for my own lot in life.

And this list? This isn’t even a blip on the radar. Life goes on. I laugh at it, because the universe has thrown me worse, and I only ever emerge stronger. I mean, what’s a few days of inner ear problems when you stood pregnant next to your mother’s casket? What’s a few days without hot water when you went a month unable to use your arms after you’d maimed yourself in the interests of cancer-free longevity?

Perhaps it's perspective. Perhaps it’s terminal realism again. Whatever it is, honing the skill was difficult in the moment but oh so valuable in the long run.

All I know is I have it fucking good, even on my darkest days.

I'm sick of listening to entitlement issues. I'm sick of watching people consume the highlight reel on Facebook and compare that to their own situation only to find it wanting. Of course it's found wanting. It's unrealistic!

Life is not all sunshine and fucking rainbows, people. It's life. It's called life, not fun-happy-time.

This rant is not brought about by interacting with any one person in particular—quite the contrary, there's a myriad of factors at work. In the last two weeks I’ve encountered enough people that I’m into the double digits in my tally of those who are wallowing, mindfully ungrateful for their blessings. I have nothing against venting. But so much of how we are affected by life is through our own perspective of events, and when you constantly find your lot disappointing, you're poisoning your own mind.

You're your own toxic enemy.

Choose to be stronger.

Choose to laugh.

Choose resilience.

So if this rant seems to pertain to you, it might, but likely indirectly. Maybe there’s something in here to learn (for the record, most of the people I’m thinking of don’t know I have a blog—let alone a name, heh—one is a celebrity, and I’m 99% sure the lady at Costco is completely unaware I even exist. Despite having to walk around me while complaining into her phone).

Never be arrogant enough to believe it’s about you. It likely isn't.

And lest this list be misconceived ranting about people who are clinically depressed needing to own their shit and stop whining—it’s most definitely not. It might be a reality check for anyone else out there who thinks everyone else's life is perfect... in actuality this is only a list. And a rant. Because some people need to hear the truth...

The highlight reel is just that: highlights.

And never forget that it’s a phonetical misnomer: it’s not real at all.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bunny Bites

Ever get a notion stuck in your head and it eats its way through your brain? Something that begins quite logically, but slowly morphs from reasoned to rabid?

Yeah. Right now I have that. About rabbits.

Er, well, one rabbit. A bunny.

Not a certain one in particular, just the notion of a bunny. An aesthetically pleasing bunny, to be sure, as I enjoy aesthetically pleasing pets (if I'm giving you free room, board, and healthcare, you'd damn well be pretty to look at in return).

I've never had a bunny. My life has been bunny-less. Bunnyland is unchartered territory.

It's not even that the kidlets are bugging for one. It's me. I would like a bunny, and even as the person of the household who would be saddled with 99.9% of said bunny's care, the idea still appeals.

Rationally I know it's likely not a great, good, sane idea with Minette around. She's a cat. A cat's cat—she allows us to coexist in her house, as we have opposable thumbs and thus can more easily access the cat food, and water that hasn't touched the toilet bowl. And before she made the executive decision to be an indoor cat, she was a damn fine huntress.

Of course, she hasn't killed anything larger than an insect in years. Hell, the day Hamster got out of his cage we found her sitting primly about two feet from him, regarding him calmly in the middle of the living room carpet. They both turned to blink at Mr Lannis and me when we entered the room, as if we'd interrupted some pet pow wow of unknown importance.

However, after speaking to a representative of our local Humane Society, it would seem the missing a-hole Moggie's disappearance is basically textbook behaviour of a young female run off by an older territorial female (Minette—prissy thing she is). And Minetters does tend to lose her shit, go berserk if there's another cat in our yard, hissing, spitting, and growling in a seizure-like frenzy.

She's eleven, and healthy head to toe. She clearly prefers a single cat household.

But I'd like to adopt a bunny.

I'm home a lot. It would be out of the cage much of the day and crated at night. I keep reminding myself that it would be best to wait until Minette's kicked it, has passed before we enter into another long term pet commitment, since anything before that would be a possibly conflicting pet scenario.

At this rate, Minette will likely survive us all, and if not, then she'll be our anecdote about a bizarre long-lived cat everyone seems to carry in their back pocket—you know what I mean... how your great aunt's friend had a 27 year old cat they assumed was immortal until it got smoked by a train.

Yes. Minette will be around for years.

But I'd like to adopt a bunny.

And apparently our Humane Society allows for month-long fostering to see if the bunny's a good fit for our family...

It's crept into my head, this idea of mine, and has slowly gained urgency for no apparent reason.

Kind of like the boys' need for Hamster. And our subsequent aquarium. Oh, and those weirdos that are the frogs.

So while I know rationally I need to wait for a rabbit, I've been bitten by the bunny bug...

Place your bets... I'm thinking by spring we'll have a bouncy new friend (shhh... don't Mr Lannis)...