This is SO not funny

Yeah, I’m actually writing a blog that’s not funny or silly or attempts to be either. I simply can’t help myself, because I need to highlight a really sad situation. Perhaps this story struck me to the core because I have 2 teenage kids who were bullied during their lives. Perhaps it’s because I was heavily involved with a social services agency for 10 years who’s mandate was to promote healthy relationships. Whatever. You may have seen or heard about this. Even if you have, please watch it again and share it.

Here’s what she said:

I’m struggling to stay in this world, because everything just touches me so deeply. I’m not doing this for attention. I’m doing this to be an inspiration and to show that I can be strong. I did things to myself to make pain go away, because I’d rather hurt myself then someone else. Haters are haters but please don’t hate, although im sure I’ll get them. I hope I can show you guys that everyone has a story, and everyones future will be bright one day, you just gotta pull through. I’m still here aren’t I ?-AmandaTodd

Unfortunately Amanda Todd is no longer here – this Vancouver teen killed herself earlier this week, just one week before her 16th birthday.

Now go hug your kid, or your partner or your friend. Make a connection to the people in your life. Make sure they know that you love them. As much as I like to write about the silly things my family says and does, I love each of them fiercely – even the lazy dogs. And I thank God every night for them.

Really.

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The Bathroom Wars

There are two subjects in our household that get everyone excited about – excited enough to  loudly discuss &/or argue &/or battle over. They are:

1) money

2) bathrooms

Oh sure, we discuss many, many issues and even disagree on quite a few, but it still always boils down to these two.

Money is rather obvious – my kids ask and/or beg and/or demand something and I say… NO.

Hey that’s as mother’s job. And that’s an accountant’s job and that’s what I was in a previous life. Not much real challenge here. Plus both my kids like money and I hold the purse-strings…unless they ambush my husband when he’s in a good mood and then anything can happen…sigh. Sometimes I even say yes…just to keep them on their toes.

So – the Bathroom Wars.

In this house the kids have to share a bathroom, which is tragic of course because all their friends have their own bathroom. But don’t worry — I tell them that back in the dinosaur ages when I was growing up, my mom, dad, sister and I shared one tiny bathroom. Yes, just one! For some reason they don’t seem too impressed by this fact. Besides, I told them they were lucky since the toilet and shower/tub are in one room, and the sink is in an alcove just outside.

Regardless for the past ten years we have listened to:

My daughter, the Demon Child loudly complain to my son, the Obnoxious One, ” Put the toilet seat up when you pee – the seat and floor are covered in pee. You’re so gross!”

To which the Obnoxious One would yell, “Then flush the toilet when you’re finished.You’re disgusting!”

This Christmas , the Obnoxious One made a habit of not flushing just to bug his darling sister, so she wrote on his Christmas present,

Spelling has never been her strong point.

Now that my son is away at university, my daughter has decided that the bathroom is hers, and hers alone; she does not want anyone using it ever again. So she has had major words with my husband because his study is on the other side of my son’s bedroom…thus he uses the kids bathroom on weekends when he’s home.

“Dad you can use the bathroom downstairs or you can use the bathroom in your bedroom, but this is MY bathroom. You are not allowed in here!”

The worst fit she threw was when my poor husband stumbled into “her” bathroom late at night and used it, since I was busy in our en-suite. (don’t worry – he flushed!) The Demon Child tormented him nonstop for weeks after that.

“Dad, I was just getting to sleep and you woke me up! Because of you I was wide awake for hours afterwards.”

“Dad, that’s MY private space. How dare you violate it! Just stay away.”

“Dad, go downstairs if you need to use another bathroom. It’s not that difficult!”

Of course, he just laughed at her…then he used the bathroom downstairs.

As for me? Frankly, I wouldn’t be caught dead in that bathroom – it’s totally disgusting AND gross!

Really!

OMG – Her parents are “fond” of the Obnoxious One

My son, the Obnoxious One, is far far away in his first year of university in Ontario. With his high school sweetheart. Ha  – he would kill me if he saw that! He met the girl – let’s call her Coco – during the summer between grade 11 and grade 12; by October of grade 12 they were an item, officially.

During grade 12 Coco’s parents  tolerated the Obnoxious One’s presence. Coco is an only child and has a closet that would rival that of ANY fashionista (Chanel, Lanvin, Acne jeans, Rag & Bone are not just names in a magazine to her – no, she owns tons of this stuff). Coco has never been to Mexico, but has frequented a number of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts in Maui, continental U.S., France and Italy. Yet she is a lovely girl – intelligent, artistic, and fun to be around. And my son is her first real boyfriend.

My daughter insists that the only reason Coco likes the Obnoxious One is because he’s good looking. “After all Mom, he has a terrible personality!”I’m thrilled my children get along SO well.

Right from the beginning, the Obnoxious One and Coco’s mother have had a rather strained relationship. It might have something to do with how they met – Coco’s mom came home early one day only to discover Coco and the Obnoxious One in Coco’s room, with the door closed, in bed, under the covers…

Whoops! Luckily he survived…in one piece…more or less.

Somehow they all got beyond that, until this past summer when he broke up with Coco by changing his facebook status to “widower”. Really! Check out You did what?!

Regardless, my son and Coco connected again at university and are, once again, a couple. The Obnoxious One’s friends tease him mercilessly that the two will end up married one day. Who knows – stranger things have happened. Anyways, Coco and her parents must have liked his Christmas presents. ( see All I want for Christmas is…?Thank goodness after all that effort and worry! And they didn’t even see him over the holidays – probably a good thing – since our family went to Mexico and hers to Maui.

But, it was his actions on New Years Eve that sealed the deal. While the Obnoxious One and I were sipping champagne watching the fireworks on the beach, a pretty girl  – let’s call her Eve – had her eye on my son. Big time! Even my husband would have figured that one out! When I left the Obnoxious One just after midnight, I warned him about her intentions.

Turns out I was right. Turns out that Eve made a major play for the Obnoxious One by “bad talking” Coco and putting herself forward as Coco’s replacement. Yet, it also turns out that Eve and her family are good friends with Coco and her family. Yes, it’s a small world! The Obnoxious One tried to encourage Eve to pursue her second choice, the older brother of a friend. However, the older brother was quite a bit older (28) and really wasn’t interested in hooking up with a 17 year old for some strange reason.

Of course the entire story was relayed to Coco and her parents via several sources – that small world again. So now they’re fond of the Obnoxious One.

I asked my son for his take on his relationship with Coco. The Obnoxious One’s  response? “Mom, she knows me. She knows that I’m an asshole and yet she still wants to be with me.”

I’m so proud my son demonstrates such depth of character. Really!

Happy F–ing New Year in F–ing Paradise

Our family of four arrived in paradise, aka Barcelo Los Cabos just after Christmas. The doggies went to a resort of their own – a great spot called The Bowen Island Dog Ranch run by an amazing group of folks. Anyways, we enjoyed a few days of terrific weather – warm and sunny days with temperatures of mid 70’s. Delicious dinners, lovely rooms (one for the kids and one for us), beautiful beach and wonderful Margaritas were all part of this paradise…until the fourth night.  Then, we  found out the LOUD way that there was a disco right behind our building that blasted music until 2am. Maybe once upon a time I wouldn’t have minded the “noise” and would’ve joined the party, but at this stage of my life, I REALLY need my beauty sleep.

So anger barely held in check, I approached the manager and discussed our situation – okay, actually I demanded another room. I was shown a few options, but was warned that the first couple could be just as noisy since there was yet another disco on the other side of the resort. Really?! I finally settled on a family suite – better view of the beach although closer to the main pool and lower down. Now to get the family to sign on.

Well, a heck of a lot easier said than done…the Obnoxious One didn’t really care one way or the other as he was up to the wee hours socializing every night anyways. (turns out there was a family staying at the resort he knew) The Original Obnoxious One can sleep through anything – and usually does (see The Conspiracy of Rolling in the Deep) – so he was ambivalent. The Demon Child decided there was no way in hell she was moving – she liked her room, and I was “like, totally, like, over exaggerating”.

My slow burn started raging and roaring and threatened everything and everyone in sight. Remember, I am a women going through the Change in Life.

Luckily my husband, the Original Obnoxious One knows me well …so he and I moved into the family suite and the kids stayed where they were. Of course we had to pay an extra charge. Of course the room we moved to had no hot water – what kind of five star hotel has no hot water for showers?! Of course the new room had no towels, no hair dryers, no bottled water and no hypoallergenic pillows either. Of course it took many, many phone calls to get these things sorted out. Of course on New Year’s Eve the resort blasted noise straight into our new room.

Of course the Original Obnoxious One and I had a huge argument on New Years Eve about all of the above, as well as his weird and wacky behaviour during the previous days. Whoops –  turns out that unbeknownst to the kids and I, he was on heavy-duty medication for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis.(he’s been hospitalized twice before for dangerous blood clots)

Of course the Demon Child had a major meltdown at the EXACT same time. Turns out that she hated our family, because we are the worst parents in the entire world. She wanted to be with her friends and not us, because THEY love her, THEY appreciate her. She wanted to go home immediately. And of course I was “such a bitch”. And oh yeah, once she left home she was NEVER going to speak with us again.

Oh the drama…

The Demon Child slammed a few doors and marched off to her room to skype with her precious friends. The Original Obnoxious One slammed a few doors and marched off to the small quiet bedroom; how he slept through all the racket I’ll never know! The Obnoxious One and I looked at each other, tiptoed out of the suite and slunk off dejectedly in search of music and champagne – after all, it WAS New Year’s Eve.

Well we found both the music and champagne. Wow, what a New Years. Yeah…just f–ing lovely.

The good news is that the next day I apologized profusely to my husband and he forgave me. My daughter apologized to both my husband and me for real, unlike in the past when she said she was sorry that I was a bitch. (apparently she had her period and her friends were bragging about how great their New Years was without her) Of course we forgave her too. My son…well he was hung over for much of the day, but that’s another story. 😉

Really.

P.S. as you can tell, I LOVE iCLIPART and Maxine.

Here an F bomb, there an F bomb…

For some cosmic reason, my children did not inherit the math gene. You see, back in the dinosaur ages when my husband and I went to university, we both studied lots of numbers; he graduated with degrees in economics and law, while I graduated with degrees in math and business. Because I was such a glutton for punishment, I followed up with a Chartered Accountant designation as well. But of course in those days EVERYTHING was so much easier than today, so my children assure me. 😉

The Demon Child and The Obnoxious One do love money, and especially what they can buy with it. They know what their weekly/monthly budget is, and if I’m a day late or a dollar under, they know that too. They’re comfortable with percentages, (as in sales) interest and even compound interest. But, anything to do with formulas, shapes and exponents causes their eyes to bulge and cross, their tongues to hang out and their hair to stand on end. Really, I swear!

Last week the night before the Grade 11 math test, my daughter cracked open her notes for the first time.

“Mom, I need your help with math. NOW!!!”

I’m busy getting dinner ready darling. Ask your dad.”

“NO, I want you.”

We went back and forth for several minutes before my husband  knocked on her bedroom door. “I can help you with your math right now.”

“NO. Only mom can help me. You suck at math.”  – this is so not true but the Demon Child is not known for her veracity, but rather her creativity and dramatic nature

“Mom’s busy. It’s me or you fail your test. If you fail your test, and fail math this year, you won’t get into your preferred university. You’ll have to live at home and go to…”

“FxxxK off Dad! Go away!”

“But…”

“FxxxK Off!” and she slamed her door shut.

The next morning while driving the delightful Demon Child to school, I asked her why she was SO angry with her dad when he was only trying to help.

“He was rude to me and mean.”

What? You’re the one that swore at him?!”

“But he shouldn’t have threatened me and bullied me”

“So he’s supposed to beg you so you will allow him to help you?” Besides he was just pointing out the obvious. I looked her straight in the eye.

“Well, he has to be nicer to me.” she tried to pout but there were unmistakable signs of chagrin lurking at the corners of her mouth as I rolled my eyes.

So we were right and she was wrong; we all knew this. For once, though, we let it go. Yes, we did not engage, so we did not have a HUGE battle. We figured it was her loss at the end of the day.

If she wants or needs help, she’s going to have to figure out how to get it…appropriately.

Hopefully she  will learn next time.

Hopefully we’ll be able to stay detached next time.

Really!

The devil inside

The other evening while I was blissfully catching up on emails and writing my latest blog post, unbeknownst to me, my darling daughter, the Demon Child was downtown with a girlfriend. Granted they had no school the next day, but still, I like to receive advance notice of these kind of excursions. Apparently they were “hanging out”…words that send shivers down my spine, especially when that “hanging” takes place at night.

When it’s dark.

And late.

But the best was yet to come.

I sent her a text message shortly before 10 pm inquiring exactly where she was and when she would get home; she told me not to worry because she was walking home on the bridge.

So my sixteen year old daughter and her clueless girlfriend were WALKING eleven kilometers (almost seven miles) from downtown Vancouver to the middle of  West Vancouver via the Lions Gate Bridge at 10pm at night because they ate too much, and wanted to walk it off. 

We do have a perfectly good bus system, but hey, why be safe?

Is the Demon Child  stupidly naive, or is she just trying to torment me?! And yes, the tormenting part has definitely worked!

Eventually we did have an actual cell phone conversation where I expressed concern about what she was doing; she failed to understand why I was a wee bit upset. But when I suggested that I discuss the situation with her friend’s mom, the friend just about jumped off the bridge then and there in protest.

We all agreed that I would pick them up asap at Park Royal, the mall that is located just off the Lions Gate Bridge in West Vancouver. While driving en-route I received another phone call from my darling daughter. This time she confessed that they had walked on the wrong side of the bridge and now were stuck in North Vancouver…in front of the First Nations reserve at 10:30 pm. Need I say more???

Oh and by the way, West Vancouver’s dirty little secret is that we have a rat infestation problem – rats jump off the cargo and container ships and swim to the North Shore. Homes are the waterfront are especially susceptible. Some bright soul decided the way to fight off the rats was to increase the skunk and raccoon population. Now, when the sun goes down the skunks and raccoons come out to play…with rats, garbage, and sixteen year old children!

We’re not talking teeny tiny cute varmints either! If anyone gets in there way – good luck!

So really, is the Demon Child trying to kill me before my time? After all, I have joined the half century club. My nerves are quite tender. My hair just might turn white and fall out (due to constant pulling and tearing). Despite frequent pilates classes and dog walking along the trails of the North Shore, I could have a heart attack and keel over at any moment.

I bet she knows all this and is just plain evil…she does take after my beloved husband, the Original Obnoxious One after all!

I did pick the girls up. I did not strangle, shoot or maim them. I was VERY VERY VERY angry though. I refrained from yelling…too much.

Of course the next day the Demon Child claimed that it was her crazy friend’s idea to walk home  via the Lions Gate Bridge on the wrong side…

Right…and I’m 29.

Really!

Another one bites the dust, sort of…

Imagine my consternation when shortly into the new school year, my daughter the Demon Child, announced, “Mom, there’s a NEW MAN in my life. His name is George*. I’d like you to meet him on Friday”

Oh my goodness…is this an older guy? Is he 30, balding, unemployed and only interested in one thing? Does he smoke pot all day long? Does she have a clue what she’s doing? Is he going to sell her into white slavery?

While all these thoughts raced around in my head, I replied as nonchalantly as possible, “That’s nice dear. I look forward to it.”

With the Demon Child I have learned through trial and error (many trials, many errors), that it’s best not to ask too many questions too soon. So, I bit my tongue…for twelve whole hours. Quite impressive don’t you think?! The next morning while I was driving her to school, I asked as coolly as possible, “So, does George go to your high school?”

She glanced at me in astonishment. “Of course Mom”  Oh thank God thank God thank God

“Is he in your grade?”    grade 11

“Yeah”   I was on a roll.

“Is he in any of your classes?”

“No Mom, but why do you care?”   Whoops…I had gone too far. I quickly changed the subject.

During the next couple of days they spent a great deal of time together – lunch dates, shopping outings downtown after school.  Finally Friday arrived. I prepared myself for the worst. In walked the Demon Child…and a very sweet, innocent looking teenage boy with a buzz cut. He looked me straight in the eye and shook my hand. After chatting with me for a bit, they informed me ever so politely that they were going downtown to see a movie.

Turns out they went to see…wait for it…The Lion King in 3D.

Wow – I figured it must be true love, at least on his part. I mean, come on, what 16 year old guy wants to be caught dead watching The Lion King?! The next day after gauging the Demon Child’s mood – which was quite positive – I asked her what their status was.

“Is George your boyfriend?”

“Yeah, I guess he is. What do you think of him? Did you like him?”  Oh man! She actually ASKED for my opinion. She was actually interested in a nice boy.

I consciously tried not to froth too much at the mouth when I oh so casually mumbled, “Oh yes, he seems fine dear.” Holy Cowthings are finally turning around between the Demon Child and me. She is turning over a new leaf. Life as we know it is going to be grand!

Fast forward a week…then two weeks…no mention of George. No trips downtown after school. No movie dates.

I finally got up the courage to enquire, “So what happened to George? You haven’t mentioned him in awhile.”

“Oh Mom, he is SO annoying. He sends me text messages all the time. He wants to be with me all the time. When I first started this new school I thought it would be good to have a boyfriend. But now that I have some really nice girlfriends – Natasha, Dana, Melanie and Amanda – I decided that I don’t need or want a boyfriend.”

Okay then. Poor, poor George.

That might have been the end of the sad story, except that tomorrow night the Demon Child is going to a concert in downtown Vancouver. She begged me a few months ago to buy her four tickets online; I did so but only with the understanding that she had to reimburse me for the cost of three. In typical teenage fashion, at the last minute all of her girlfriends baled on her, so she had to find three new kids to go with her. So guess who? – two new girls, and…George.

Should be VERY interesting. Really!

*names have been changed to protect the innocent