September 23, 2013

Full of It

Gratitude and enthusiasm, that is.

Despite my curmudgeonly ways, I never thought my life would look like this. Guys: people pay me to dig through their statements and tell them what's what. I've been quoted in every national newspaper and one national personal finance magazine. (Uh, this is Canada. There's only one.)

I have a housecleaner. I work from home, and - as of the time of this writing - am only hours away from leaving said home for the weekend (alone) to attend a conference full of journalists and financial planners and personal finance bloggers.

Let me repeat the relevant part: blah blah blah alone blah blah somethingaboutmoney blah blah blah. I'm going to slip the surly bonds of responsibility and will be able to eat when I want. Stop for coffee if I want. Ride the subway. Read a book. Talk about money without being interruppted. Learn how to spell interrupted without being interuppted....oh, so many magical things!

And then, just as the guilt really sets in over leaving Seth alone with two and a half children* for the weekend, I'll come in on Sunday night, throw a bunch more stuff in the van, and leave again on Monday morning for a ten hour drive to Pennsylvania, during which trip my parents will be stopping by the house unexpectedly and often, so don't try anything funny.

My only regret is that I'll miss the bulk of Chinese Tourists Taking Pictures of my House Season, and - alas - won't be able to follow Dawn's suggestion and ask them what the deal is.**

*Mom's taking Lucy for a day and a half, so maybe that should be "two and a quarter children". What do I know? I'm bad at children division and offspring fractions are beyond me.
**Like I ever would anyway. Don't you know me at all?

September 16, 2013

Embracing My Inner Curmudgeon While Kicking Her In The Teeth

It's no secret: I'm cynical, skeptical, and deeply suspicious of change. I'm like a grumpy old turtle with really thick glasses, peering at the world querulously and demanding to know who's the idiot knocking on my shell.

My default response to the doorbell or the phone is "what do you want now?", I'm unforgiving, impatient, and very impressed with myself

Except when I'm not.

I was going to write "the other half of the time I'm somethingsomethingsomething", except long years of curmudgeonly navel gazing has determined that that's patently absurd. It's not "the other half of the time". It's at the exact same time.

At the exact same time, I'm full to bursting with the will to forgive anything, to assume the best intentions, to see past moods and value people. I'm comfortable talking to strangers, and can wait patiently for my daughter to ask me something even though I already know the answer (and it is no).

At the exact same time, "I don't know" comes out of my mouth pretty easily, I can list every one of my many (legion, even) weaknesses of character in excruciating detail, and have a pretty easily quelled but existent nonetheless desire to hug everyone tightly and not let go for an uncomfortable amount of time.

My years of being a curmudgeon have set my face into grumpy lines. For years (1984-2008), my default facial expression was "pissed off" and now - even when I'm thinking about unicorns covered in Nutella - I look like I'm about to stab someone unless I make a conscious effort to make my face match my thoughts.

For a long time I thought that my I hate you/I love you attitude was sure proof of a mental disorder. Then I realized that people are messy, and I - believe it or not - am people. And therefore, messy.

I know that the me who loves people and forgives them their trespasses is winning. I also know that I can stop wringing my hands over being a curmudgeon. It's okay to dislike crowds, and disorganization, and stupidity. The world is broken. I'm broken. Fortunately, I'm not the one who as to figure out how to fix it or me.

My ideal me is still a curmudgeon, just a redeemed one.

September 9, 2013


Seth still makes good food.

This is good, because I still like to eat good food. Everybody wins.

In completely unrelated news, guess what season it is in Muskoka?

Need a hint?

Yup. It's strangers lining up taking pictures of my house and very often standing on the front porch to do it season. My favourite time of year.

I was genuinely excited when I saw this bus, because it's started early this year. I wasn't expecting them for at least another month. Nothing gives me quite the same bubbly, thrilly feeling in my stomach than watching flocks of tourist wander onto my lawn and pose awkwardly for picture. YAY!

Fortunately, I no longer have a slab of plywood for a front door. Instead, and no thanks to two of these three people, it is wildly, gloriously red

I've been known to stand across the street admiring it.

And you wonder why my neighbours love me so much...

September 2, 2013

Fair warning: I'm going to say shit in this post. A couple of times.

I was all set to write a letter to some lady at the park about her dumb little kid. It would have been great; my particular favourite was the line: "Your kid was being a little shit. I know this, because my kids can be little shits. But yours was shittier."

But she was young (-er than me, anyway). She was part of a group of friends that obviously hadn't seen each other for a while, and they were having what seemed to be a much-needed Vent and Visit while their kids were playing.

The fact that her daughter had teamed up with some other little dude and has zeroed in on the singular goal of chasing my kids out of the park with kicks and slaps and cruel words wasn't her immediate fault, although that behaviour had to have been practiced with dedication for it to have been perfected to such a degree.

And she was horrified that it happened, although I didn't stick around after the stair-pushing incident to find out if she thought I was some crazy over-protective Crazy Parent once she had time to talk to her friends about it.

So no angry "Dear Mother Who..." letter. Instead...


Dear Little Shit in the park,

That look on your face, when you were eyeballing me over your mother's shoulder? I know that look.

You're a little shit.

Cut it out.

A Mother Who Doesn't Like Watching Her Kids Get Pushed Down The Stairs.