The Devil’s left Georgia, and has gone up to West Vancouver

Where she’s living in my house.

Yep, last September I sent my daughter, the Weird One, off to university in the UK , but the Demon Child returned home in April 2014.

courtesy iclip.art

courtesy iclip.art

How do I know?

She begged and begged and begged me to get her a summer job at the cafe down the hill, even though she had never worked in a restaurant or coffee shop before. And this was my absolute favourite cafe that I frequent a couple times a week.

Chat

courtesy iclipart.com

Somehow the universe and the stars all aligned and I came through for her; the manager of the coffee shop was an old friend and was looking to hire for the summer. And it’s a 15 minute walk down the hill – I didn’t have to drive her. But the manager soon found a new job and moved on. Meanwhile absolutely everything changed at the cafe and the working environment went totally downhill. For example, the new manager:

forced my daughter to work shifts with people she didn’t like or know

and 

scheduled her for three 8 hour shifts in 3 days thus interfering with her extremely busy social life

plus

she wasn’t allowed to wear Lululemon pants or Uggs!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

But this The Terrible Awful Mother told her to suck it up; I shared with her all the lousy summer jobs I’d had over the years and how I frequently worked two or more jobs at the same time so I’d have enough money for university. When those comments didn’t gain any traction, I told her I would cut off her credit card if she quit her job before finding a new one.

In the meantime my sister and I took our parents on a week long cruise to Alaska to celebrate their both turning 80.embarkation
Yes it was fantastic, but that’s the subject of another blog. Halfway through the cruise, in a very weak moment, I sent my daughter a text message inquiring how she was.

I should’ve known better.

She texted me back that she had quit her job, and predictably I SAW RED.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

When I asked what had happened, she told me that she had a panic attack at work because the environment was toxic and she wasn’t going to let me push her around. She called me names (really, really bad ones) and demanded my support (mentally and financially);  I told her to get a grip and figure out a plan to get another job. A few more choice words flew back and forth, culminating in a 1:00 am screaming match on the cell phone. In the middle of the Alaskan Inside Passage. She threatened to leave home and live with friends and I… I said that was fine. She could either stay, apologize and be respectful or go and live elsewhere.

Such a lovely spot of entertainment in the middle of a cruise far from home IMG_2759Although clearly not far enough!

Her parting words to me:

Honestly if something happens to me it’s all on you. And also after this I want NOTHING to do with you. 

But the very next text said: Can you please put the money on my credit card. I have no money to eat!!!  (despite the fact that I did a humongous food shopping trip just before I left)

And: I found a place on Commercial to stay for the month of August for $300. Can you please chip in.

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the Demon Child’s latest obsession which the coffee shop doesn’t sell

In the mean time The Demon Child revoked my friend status on Facebook.  But hey, it’s important to have your priorities right!

Really!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who ya gonna ask…?

Who are you going to ask for directions, for recommendations, for tips when you’re travelling far far from home and you don’t speak the language?

Back in the day when my children actually kind of liked each other and kind of got along, we took them on a number of summer vacations overseas to Europe. In the months leading up to such trips I would overdose on travel books - Fodor’s, Frommer’s and especially DK Eyewitness Travel were my kind of porn, not to mention Conde Nast Traveler magazines and the TV show Rick Steeves’ Europe.

We generally rented apartments in the big cities for a few days, then drove our rental car (minus the dog) to the

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

agritourismo in Tuscany,Top-3 cottage near the sea in Dorset,103_0315_resizedgite in Provence,IMG_0210_resized
barge in Burgundy,
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gulet off the Turkish coastIMG_1537
where we lived just like the locals for a week or so.

Due to my incredibly thorough and never-ending research, we  I knew the recommended sites (the castles, cathedrals, museums)  to see and the top restaurants to savour meals (the local pubs, the tucked away bistros, the hidden tavernas.)

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Of course, this was before there was an app for all that.

However I have found out the hard way that the views expressed on Trip Advisor don’t always match my own, like the place in Miami Beach that came highly rated. Yes the location was amazing, but the service was virtually non-existent and majorly disappointing given our midnight arrival after 12 hours of travel time. Also the carpet sagged in many spots over strange protrusions, the bed was hard and lumpy and the pool staff &/or drink staff never materialized.

Now my daughter, the Weird One is absolutely, positively, totally the opposite of me - yes,  she does take after my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, although she’s more a seat-of-the-pants kind of gal, a go-with-the-flow bohemian babe with chutzpah.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

No planning or preparation ahead of time, no way!

For example when visiting Paris with classmates, in order to fully experience the city in all its glory, she went to confession at Notre-Dame Cathedral. Yeah, that one – the religious centre of France constructed 850 years ago. The thing is, we’re not Catholic – my kids were baptized in the Presbyterian Church but it’s been many years since we graced its doors.

But she didn’t go to Notre Dame to confess her sins…oh no, that would be too pedestrian, too…normal. No, the Weird One went to confession at one of the largest and most historically significant cathedrals in all of Europe, heck in all the world, so she could have a life chat with the priest.

And ask him exactly where to go and what to see in Paris.

Really! 

Can’t say I’d recommend this as a shining example of how to how to procure travel advice in a foreign country, but when you’re the Weird One, anything goes!

 

Dear Sexy Moms of West Van

Do I have your attention now?!

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courtesy iclipart.com

 

This morning I ran into my favourite local coffee shop and grabbed a grande cafe latte, my little reward after a gruelling fitness class.

Yoga

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A group of you, whom I’ve known for years and years, were sitting and chatting at a table near the counter. One of you glanced up, smiled and said hi. Your friends ignored me, but hey, one out of three is actually pretty good.

You see, yesterday I met two long-time friends, also moms of classmates of my kids, for coffee. Yes, we drink a lot of coffee and lattes in West Van,  at least I certainly do!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

 You were sitting at small tables on either side of us, and our children – yours and mine –  also went to school together. But this time not one of you looked at me. Not one of you said hello. And I was hard to miss ’cause I was wearing a bright yellow top and even brighter yellow running shoes.

Now we all live in the same small community of West Vancouver, which has a population of roughly 42,000. Yeah, it;s a pretty tiny town. West-VancouverFor ten years our kids went to the same small private school, where there were at most 80 kids per grade. Over the years, you and I sat across from each other during tons of parent/teacher meetings and numerous class mom meetings, attended seasonal school plays and concerts together, and ran into each other at the local shopping mall, grocery store, and 7-eleven.  Our kids played soccer and tennis  and softball together, and learned to swim at the same pool. Our families still frequent the same sports facilities in West Van and ski at the same mountains.

So why can’t you just say hello?

Is something wrong with your eyesight?
Do you lack peripheral vision?
Is there a recent medical abnormality that prevents you from smiling?
Has your long-term memory been dramatically affected lately?

Look, you don’t need to worry about me – I don’t want to be your BFF. I don’t want to be invited to your parties. I don’t want to go on vacation with you to Whistler or Maui. I especially don’t want to steal your husband. Absolutely not! And  I don’t even want my children to date your children.

But I would kinda like to feel like I exist, like I am visible.

So would it kill you to meet my eye occasionally, and smile or say hi, especially when I’ve said hi to you so, so so many times in the past before?

Really?!

It’s Tough Being Beautiful…

especially if you’re my daughter, the Weird One.532988_10151643727150290_918872487_nLet me give you a recent example.

Just before dropping my daughter off at university in the UK, we spent a few nights in a tiny room at a chic boutique hotel, located in the exclusive Mayfair area of London. 554806_241007492704389_352912053_nOn our last morning, she woke up rather early – at 4:30 am –  but was kind enough to wait until 7 am to wake me, although 8 am would have been kinder! She was eager to get under way, but this Terrible Awful Mother was lethargic and exhausted. You see, the night before (and the night before, etc.), I’d had to resort to reading in the bathroom, because the bedside light was too bright for the Weird One. As was the reading light on the side of my bed. As was the penlight I brought with me. So, it was either the bathroom or the hall, and the hall was a rather dark and scary place for this Terrible Awful Mother to be sitting on the floor and reading in the middle of the night. But, as lovely as the bathroom was, it was a wee bit cold and cramped  -  for some reason, the toilet is just not a comfortable perch for late night reading.

Anyway, by 7 am the Weird One was in desperate need of croissant and tea, so she ventured off all by herself, for the very first time. When she returned, roughly thirty minutes later, she marched into the room, slammed the door and announced in an extremely grumpy tone of voice,

“Mom, the worst thing just happened to me and I’m so disgusted!”

“What, darling ???!”

“Mom, some old guy just asked me if I was single? I didn’t think Britain was full of weird old men!”

Senior3

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“Oh, really?” what to say?!

“Yes! First of all, it’s way too early in the morning for a stranger to talk to me on the street.”

“Well dear, he was probably just on his way to work.”

“Then Mom, it was so creepy ’cause he was so old – he must’ve been at least 30!”

At least 30 – trying very hard not to laugh, and to actually take her seriously, I asked the Weird One what he said, exactly.

“Well, he told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen and then he asked me if I was single.”  And yes folks, she was mad. Livid, in fact! “But Mom, it was early in the morning, and I had no make-up on and he was really, really old!!!”

“I see. You know, most girls (like me) would take that as a complement.”

“Oh, gross, Mom!  It was way too early in the morning and 30 is just way too old for me!”

On the bright side, I guess I don’t have to worry about her having daddy issues or bringing home older men. For now, anyway.

Really!

A Tale of Two Sisters

Once upon a time there were two sisters who were nine years apart in age.  Even though they loved each other very much, they couldn’t be more different from one another.

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One had fine blond hair, while the other had curly dark brown hair.

One was average height, while the other was statuesque.

One excelled at school, particularly in English and Mathematics, while the other excelled at sports, especially in swimming and volleyball.

One was cautious and introverted and found solace in reading fiction, while the other was effervescent and gregarious and loved to hang out with friends.

One maintained virtually the same hair colour and style for over twenty years, while the other changed the colour and style of her hair on a monthly basis.

One pierced her ears as a teenager (just one hole in each lobe), while the other pierced each ear numerous times, and got a small tattoo or her ankle, followed fifteen years later by a larger one on her lower back.

One was determined to pursue a highly successful financial career, and the other set her sights on marrying the love of her life and being a stay-at-home mom.

One embraced a conservative outlook on life, while the other thrived on a seat-of the-pants approach.

One moved across the country to live on the wet West Coast, while the other moved to a subdivision within an hours drive of where they grew up.

Eventually each sister did get married and each sister did pursue a career, one in accounting and one in recreation therapy. Each sister had two children, a girl and a boy. As time went by, however, they traded aspirations, so that the conservative accountant became the stay-at-home mother and the outgoing athlete became the manager of many.

When the older sister’s daughter turned eighteen, and that daughter went to university far, far away, the older sister wondered: had the universe played a joke on the two sisters? After all, her crazy, charismatic, bohemian daughter had long brown hair (before she dyed it pink – yep, the latest!), numerous piercings (including a recent nose stud), a tattoo (still just one – fingers crossed), and desperately wanted to save the world from itself.1097285_10153091960670290_1898675884_o

The younger sister, meanwhile, had a daughter with blond hair, who was cautious and careful, who enjoyed the orderly nature of mathematics, the quiet pleasure of reading, and who lived for dance – jazz, ballet and hip-hop.527614_10151435117720084_1288564314_n

I think someone somewhere is laughing at us, big time. The good thing is …IMG_0933-001

we’re laughing right back. Really!

I’m a survivor but… I’ve had a couple close calls lately

You may have noticed that I’ve been absent the past few weeks, but I really am still in one piece. Yes, I did take my daughter, the Weird One/Demon Child to the UK for some last minute mother/daughter bonding before delivering her to this university.IMG_2196In a timezone eight hours ahead of my own. And yes, it actually was rather traumatic for me.

Beforehand we did have a few grand adventures – walking and hiking and 1272404_10153182640500290_1963781292_oshopping and hanging out.1268644_10153182634665290_1346345177_oAnd glaring and fighting and huffing and puffing.IMG_2148

Yep, we had them all. After a wonderfully busy, entirely rewarding and absolutely infuriating week with her, I headed home to do laundry, clean the house, put it back up forsale once again and then…pack up. Again. For another trip to Europe.

Okay, confession time – this is where I almost, well kind of, feel like one of those decadent and spoiled housewives of Vancouver.  But here’s the thing – 10 months ago my husband, the adorable Captain Dumb Dumb, and I decided that after all the excitement and drama of the past year, we needed a real vacation together, desperately. And I didn’t want to be home alone with Franklinstein,crying my eyes out 1186787_10151796775032492_987179013_nafter turning into an empty nester overnight.

So five days after seeing my daughter off to university, my husband and I headed to Italy for almost three weeks. There, I’ve said it. So that’s why I’ve been rather remiss of late.

But I will tell you this. I did find myself in dire straits several times with the Demon Child and I did fear for my life. And for hers. The worst episode occurred on our very first morning together. After travelling for roughly twenty-four hours, through more time zones than either one of us could count, we finally dragged ourselves into a lovely hotel in Cornwall overlooking the ocean. IMG-20130830-00155Although we were both exhausted, sleep took awhile to claim me, whereas the Demon Child started snoring the moment her head hit the pillow (just like her dad – I really HATE people like that!). So the next morning, when I could have and should have slept until noon, or later, there was one minor glitch: the Demon Child woke me up at 6 am, after a measly 5 hour snooze,  screaming in my ear:

“MOM, you drank my contact lenses! How could you? You PROMISED me last night that you wouldn’t! I HATE you!!!”

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Somewhere in the dim dark recesses of my foggy brain I recalled the fact that the Demon Child had forgotten to pack her contact lens case. She packed everything else - including the kitchen sink – but no contact lense case. SO she carefully placed each of her contacts in a glass of water, in the bathroom, on the sink. I must have gotten up at some point to use the toilet and drink some water.

Should I be blamed for her stupidity? 

But it was the very first morning of our trip together, and she was ultra-nervous about the whole univerity thing – the people, the profs, the school, her classes. So after some swearing and screeching, we made up; I apologized and she accepted  And our trip resumed. Oh,we had quite a few more tense moments – like when she accused me of expecting too much of hotels or of complaining too much or of snoring too much or of being too conservative or too lazy – but at the end of the day we had a great time together.

Sometimes keeping the peace is more important than being right – at least that’s what I tell myself! Really?! What do you think?

You can’t handle the truth!!!

You may remember that we entered a brand new era in my household. A hint that the universe was unfolding as it should. An indication that perhaps, just maybe,this Terrible Awful Mother had done an okay job raising her children. Yes, this summer both of my children friended me on Facebook. This took some trial and error on my part: learning that I should observe but not “like”, that I could read but not “comment”, that I could post photos but not tag. But just when I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it, disaster struck . In a most unlikely and unforeseen manner.

As my daughter , the WeirdOne, (recently the Demon Child) is spending her first year of university in the UK, various hoops needed to be jumped through, numerous forms needed to be filled out and several interviews needed to occur. However, paperwork and busy work and organization are not the Weird Ones forte; as a typical kid with ADHD, she thrives on creative and stimulating circumstances, bizarre friends from every walk of life, music, dancing and of course, chocolate and Nutella.

But give me a situation to analyze, criteria to review, paperwork to plough through….well those are things that this accountant can cope with. I may not thrive on them, but I can certainly handle them.
So it turns out that because the Weird One is spending more than six months in the UK, she needed a special visa. To obtain that, she had to fill out a number of forms and schedule a compulsory interview with the representative of the British consulate. I sent her a text confirming when this was happening.But a better time became available and I may have neglected forgotten to tell text inform her of the change. Maybe that’s one reason they call me the Terrible Awful Mother . The night before, I reminded my daughter and guess what happened: the Demon Child appeared in all her glory. And then some.

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courtesy iclipart.com

Apparently a very good friend of hers planned to get a tattoo at that particular time on that particular day and it was of the utmost importance that my daughter accompany her. The Weird One gave her word after all. My husband and I tried talking to her. We tried rationalizing the situation. We tried bribing her. And yes we yelled at her. Finally I threatened to contact her friend on Facebook and explain the situation. Turns out that was the last straw for the Demon Child.

“You are a Terrible Awful Mother! You can’t handle Facebook! You can’t handle the truth and you certainly can’t handle being my friend!”

And with a quick click that was it. Not only was I defriended but I was also blocked. Banned. Back to square one. Rats!

Half an hour later she informed me that she had spoken with her friend and that the timing of said tattoo had changed and that my daughter could now attend her interview. But I was still defriended and still blocked.

About a week later my status was reinstated and all was well once again.

So here’s the thing. Summer is now over and I am on route to the UK with the Weird One. Just the two of us. No husband, no son, no Franklinstein. We are spending 7 nights and 7 days together before I deliver her to the University. Will there be blood? Will there be casualties?
Only time will tell.

Stay tuned and wish me luck. Lots and lots and lots of luck.

Really!

P.S. I am posting on my iPad rather than my desktop computer, so feel like a total blogging newbie. Please bear with me. :)