Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Promises

Open letter to my husband:

We first met in 1992. I didn't know what to think of you then - you were a little wild, a little crazy and really different than anyone else I'd ever met. I had just graduated from high school and had followed my love of horses to the race track... where you'd been for years. One of the few things I did know was that I liked the way you looked in those chaps...

In 1994 we started dating. I lied to my mother when she caught a glimpse of you and asked me how old you were (I swore you were only 24!)... and I convinced you to shave off that awful mustache before I introduced you to them face-to-face (I swear it took years off your looks!). And I know you haven't forgotten the introduction... it must've been shell-shocking for you to walk into a house full of 75 party guests - but trust me, it was much better meeting them when they didn't have time to grill you... I don't know why I was so sure they wouldn't give you a chance (I know they're more open-minded than that) but we were from such different worlds.

Dating you was wild and fun... and all over the place. Not just geography... not just the traipsing across provinces on a whim, but the ups & downs of figuring out whether we really wanted to be together. We were on, we were off... and then we got back "on" and didn't look back. We lived wherever we landed and just fell comfortably into being us... jumping out of planes, riding over frozen rivers... galloping over snow-covered fields. We always landed on our feet... and it didn't matter if we fell through the ice here or there, or hit furloughs hidden beneath the snow and came tumbling down off our mounts.. because all was right with the world, we were falling in love and being together was FUN.

In 1997 we married. We didn't stop playing or living life like the adventure it was to us at the time. Looking back I cringe a little at the risks we took and they way we took everything as it came. We ran off to live in another country with only $200 to our names... and the belief that everything would work out. And it did. And those two years were wonderful and carefree (for the most part) and a perfect time for us. We never had to work at being a couple did we? It just happened when we weren't looking. We trusted and we jumped... and I'm glad we did.

In 1999 we became a family and it was good. We had to make some changes but there was new fun to be had with our little man. It was harder, but really, not much changed with us... 5 years we'd been together and now we had this tiny human depending on us to do things right - which didn't seem so hard... until we found out we'd be adding another. We made some hard choices then. We walked away, for good, from the only life we'd known together... and struggled to find our footing in the "real" world.

In 2001 we bought our house and welcomed our second son. Those were both great things... but I think this was the toughest year for us. Maybe it was the famed "7 year itch" that destroys so many relationships. Maybe it was because money was so tight... or the stress of two little ones and your schedule working nights... or any number of reasons. But we just couldn't seem to find it in ourselves to play nice. This year and maybe into the one following were the hardest times in our marriage. More than once I believed "this is it, it's over". But we didn't let go. We could have walked away and we both would have felt justified... and it just would have been another marriage that didn't work, oh well. But we stayed... and we stuck it out... and we kept that promise that we'd made to each other 4 years earlier.

We made it through "the worse" ... and thank God we did, because if we hadn't, we'd never have survived to enjoy, or truly appreciate, "the better" that was to follow.

We found ourselves again. We weren't the same people that we'd been before, our life had a steadier, calmer rhythm to it. We'd both changed but we grew together... because we chose to... when we could have walked away.

And in 2006, we completed our little family with that beautiful baby girl I never thought we'd have. From where I'm sitting, these past few years have been the happiest and best we've ever had.

You joke all the time when we recall how long it's been and fast time has flown by... "I can't believe you've stuck it out this long" or "put up with me this long". And I always want to toss back "Me Neither!" (with a grin)... but you've got to know it's not true....

There are things about you that annoy the hell out of me and make me want to scream or tear my hair out in frustration. Just like a I know there are things I do or say that make you feel like throwing something... but that what keeps our marriage from being boring. We have passion... and I don't just mean the reason we've added 3 to world's population... we light sparks off each other sometimes without even trying. Aries & Sagittarius.... Horse & Tiger.... we definitely belong... but it'll never be boring. We're different in so many ways... but our cores still ring in harmony. It's solid.

And I look forward to the sparks the next 12 years will bring.

Happy Anniversary Love.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Isn't it always the way?

I lost my keys yesterday.

Well I suppose I technically lost them sometime over the weekend... this past weekend when I didn't use them because I didn't leave my house for two whole days. I find that hard to believe too... no shopping, no errands, no driving of any kids to and fro... my husband and his car ventured out for task number 3 there a couple of times - but we were so busy purging and reorganizing that I actually didn't leave the house for two whole days.

So of course it was Monday morning... when I had all three kids ready and at the door just in the nick of time to not be late for my first appointment of the day before I realized I had no keys.

No van key, no house key, no office key. I wasn't going anywhere.

Had to be a Monday.

I raced around frantically - trying not to completely lose it, but no matter how many reasonable or unlikely places I searched, nothing but the spare van key could be found.

At least I could drive... I couldn't lock my house or get into my office - but I could take the kids to school and daycare, which I did. Then I returned to the house for a more thorough search.

I was so pissed.... not just that I was on my way to being late for a client meeting and not just because my assistant was on her way downtown to a branch meeting so wouldn't even be at the office to let me (and the client!) in for our appointment.... and not even because I remembered, only after several unsuccessful attempts to reach him by phone, that the only other person who *might* have a key to my office and could possibly get there in time to help me was out of the country for one more day still.

No I was pissed at myself. Because I remember, at some point during the weekend that I saw my keys somewhere they shouldn't be. And I remembered thinking to myself at the time that "I should grab those because I'll never remember they're there". But I didn't. And for the life of me I couldn't remember where I'd seen them. And how stupid of me for not putting them where they belonged when I saw them!

Looking for my missing keys was an exercise in futility... because no matter how many places or pockets or surfaces I checked I KNEW there was no hope of finding them - I knew that they were in some random and completely obscure place... and my brain WOULD NOT spit out where that was!

So I ended up calling my assistant... she was almost downtown, but turned around and we ended up getting back to the office at around the same time. The client was early and waiting in the hall. (Great). But we had a chuckle over a Monday morning from hell and moved right along...

I went and got additional keys cut for the office... resigned to the fact that it could be a long while before I saw my keys again. I'd planned to cut additional keys for the house too... who knows how long it would be before someone in our home just happened upon my elusive set of keys.

And what a set of keys to lose! I can cover the basics (office/house keys) but that missing set included a special security key for the exterior of the building that houses my office. A key with a $125 replacement cost. And my funky-ass van key - one of those new ones that're a key/remote combo unit (it doesn't even have a metal shaft that goes into a keyhole anymore... just a plastic stub with a microchip in it that meets up with a slot in the van's console to start it!) would probably cost even more than that to replace. And then we got a new alarm system just last week that comes with a Handy little key chain remote... also on my missing keys - and $80 to replace.

Ugg. I chose not to think about it. I mean I KNEW they were in my house somewhere... at some point, in the next decade at least I would surely find them again....

Only I didn't have to wait that long. Because this morning I decided, at the last minute, to wear a different pair of shoes to work today... and when I went to step into them, my foot found those missing keys hiding - completely out of sight, in the toe of my shoe!

The shoes were sitting on the step directly below the hooks we hang our keys on.

And then I remembered!! (my brain will work... just a day or so later than I need it to!)

I was coming in the front door... balancing several items, hands completely full... when I reached up to hang my keys and they missed the hook, landed on my shoe and slid down into the toe. I watched them go... unable to reach down and grab them because of whatever I had my arms full with. And I thought to myself "I need to come right back and grab those because I'll never remember they fell in there".

But of course we all know that didn't happen. Who knows why... I probably set my stuff down and was instantly distracted by one of the three short people that live in this house. Maybe someone was bleeding... or about to - who knows. But I promptly forgot about the keys and went on with our weekend.

And if I hadn't hated my choice of outfit this morning and decided to change (meaning I needed different footwear too), I probably wouldn't have found them for days to come.

I suppose there's a lesson here about listening to myself... or being more organized... or even just being tidier and not leaving things where they lay when I know they belong somewhere else.

But I'm big enough to be honest with myself. I've "lost" so may things, in so many different (and yet familiar) ways, It's just a matter of time before I lose them again....

Next time I'm just checking the shoes first!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Apparently there is someone out there who would want that...

The scavengers have been out driving non-stop all weekend.

And we've been busy purging this house. Every time we find something new to discard and set out on the boulevard it disappears within the hour. I can't believe it... I keep on thinking that there's not much time left and most of the people are probably finished their treasure hunting by now... but by the time I think to look out the window for it, whatever we've set out there has again disappeared.

This has to be one of the best ideas our city has ever gone ahead with. It's saved us a seriously loaded trailer load of trash to the landfill... and given us the boot in the ass to actually get rid of a bunch of junk NOW (as opposed to later... which we're really good at).

The mind-blowing list of things someone actually wanted:

- an old worn-out play kitchen that is missing parts, filthy and been outside in out back yard exposed the weather for over a year
- 3 old VCRs... one even had a remote
- OLD speakers for a surround sound system (surround sound system not included)
- huge twin mirrors in a wooden frame that used to be attached to the back of a dresser
- an old rusty travel BBQ
- an old wooden desk with the top veneer separating from the plywood underneath (and chipped to boot)
- an old, used (and replaced for cosmetic reasons) cook top for a kitchen
- an old, cracked baby sled with no pull rope
- an old plastic push-em, ride-on trike that my dog chewed the handles on when she was a puppy
- a big & clunky old wooden kitchen chair with plush red seat (yes - it was VERY ugly)
- a bicycle with the chain hanging off... the part the chain attaches to on the back wheel had snapped off and was hung up in that rusted chain
- an old lawn mower with a seized engine
- a lexmark printer whose copy function never worked... and I couldn't find the software to go with it
- and I can't remember what else but it must've been worse than these since they're so forgettable.

Now I have 8 bags and several boxes for CD to pick up on Tuesday... and 4 boxes and 2 large toys to take to the consignment store as well. We are clearing space!

My husband has been working like a dog all weekend. He's relocated alot of our "shed" items into the secondary "lean-to" shed we built beside it and transformed the shed (with the addition of shelves etc) into a new "work-shed" for all the tools and construction paraphernalia we have. This was necessary because he's losing his work room in the house.

That's right, construction on our middle child's bedroom has finally begun! I only wish I'd thought to take a "before" picture of the workroom with all it accumulated clutter and crap before we started. After two days of solid work, the room has almost been cleared right out. It's amazing how much bigger it looks now. And the shed is going to work really well now that it's properly set up to store everything we need it to.

By the time this winter is upon us, my family will be comfortably settled in our now 5 bedroom home. I'm tired, but feel great about how much we got done around here this weekend.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


My city is one giant garage sale today... a garage sale where no money changes hands. The city announced a few months ago that they were going to have this city-wide "free-cycling" weekend. So basically any junk you want to get rid of can be set out by the curb with a "free" sign on it... and everyone is welcome to drive around and pick up whatever they want.

People started putting things out last night... and it was barely dark before the first scavengers were out snapping up other people's give-aways.

A perfect example of "one man's junk is another man's treasure".

We've got CD coming for a pick-up of clothing and house-hold items here on Monday... so we've been busy bagging and boxing up old items for them. With this free-cycling day also hitting this weekend, it's the perfect opportunity for a major purge of our domicile.

We put out numerous items on the boulevard last night... and by this morning when we woke up, only an old wooden desk was left! So we filled the boulevard up again. Strangers have hauled away 12 items of what was trash to us so far... and only 6 things remain.

This has saved us hauling more than one huge trailer-load of crap to the landfill... all at no cost!

I'll be taking a few boxes and some nicer large toys to the consignment shop this week, a few bags will loiter around waiting for garbage day on Wednesday... and when CD shows up and takes away their windfall from us tomorrow, we will have disposed of more than a full, floor-to-ceiling-stacked room's worth of unused items from our house!

Amazing. I'm such a pack-rat by nature... I never realized purging could feel so good!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Now you bring us summer?

So mother nature has finally decided to grace us with more than 2 days of beautiful, warm summer weather in a row.


Now, when school is ready to start and time for going to the cottage has grown short.

What was she thinking?

All summer it's been blistering hot during the week.... only to dissolve into days of rain and thundershowers in time for the weekend.

It's been cool and it's been wet - and it's not been a summer for enjoying time at the lake.

But maybe we should just be grateful and say "better late than never".

We still have this one, last long weekend.... with a forecast worthy of journey up to the cottage and all the effort that requires.

Wish us luck!