When I’m Sixty-Four

I’ve been obsessing over numbers lately. Yes, it’s a C.P.A. thing (my other profession), it’s tax time, and it’s also spring.  You see during the past month or so:

  • my dad celebrated his 82nd birthday


  • my son turned 23 far away in London-town during exams

Alec Read grade1

  • my daughter, the Hippie-Dippie Wildchild,  much to our horror became legal everywhere when she turned 21

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  • my husband, The Original Obnoxious One, reached the grand old age of 55IMG_0415
  • and my hubby and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary

courtesy iclipart.com

So I am feeling rather tired from all that celebrating and a little…ancient.


Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four?

Also The Original Obnoxious One and I saw Sir Paul McCartney in concert when he passed through Vancouver in late April. There was a lot of press and social media about the fact that Sir Paul is 73 – for good reason.


courtesy thebeatles.com

He was incredibly energetic and funny and warm and of course, a Musical Super-Power. I’ve never seen him in concert before so this was quite the thrilling experience for me. A great big tick off the old bucket list.

But back to the ageing thing.

When I get older, losing my hair
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine,
birthday greetings, bottle of wine?

About 18 years ago I had laser eye surgery; I was extremely near-sighted so afterwards this meant I could see clocks and computer screens and drive without peering through 3 inch thick lenses . It totally changed my life for quite awhile.

But then I turned 50 – ouch.  I actually needed reading glasses – purchased from the local drug store – to read the newspaper at night. And then during the day. And then to read anything at all. But I’m not the only one.


The Original Obnoxious One and Franklinstein

And I even have bifocal sunglasses for reading outside!



Shhh! Don’t tell anyone those are reading sunglasses.

Recently while walking Franklinstein in the woods not far from where we live, I ran into an old colleague, a girl from back in my C.P.A. articling days. We walked and hiked together, chatted up a storm.When I whined about turning older and becoming near-sighted, her response was:

Look Rita. Yes, I need reading glasses too but here’s the thing. In the morning when I get up and look in the mirror (sans glasses) I think I look amazing – no wrinkles, no grey hair on my head and no hair on my legs.All is good!

Of course the reality is just a wee bit different.

My friend does have a few wrinkles – after-all she has 2 boys roughly the same age as my kids and has been married for almost 30 years. She does have quite a number of grey hairs on her head as her hair is naturally quite dark and she doesn’t dye it. And she does use reading glasses for absolutely everything.

So then I felt a bit better – someone else was suffering just like me!

You’ll be older too.
Ah, and if you say the word,
I could stay with you.

Except I don’t have the issue of grey hair, because I have very expensive blonde highlights in my mousey brown baby-fine hair. Hairy legs – shockingly yes whenever I put on my glasses and look at them. Otherwise who knows?!

And the drug store near me carries all kinds of cool and colourful reading glasses for folks like me – I should know because at any given time I have at least 4 at the house. One pair for upstairs, one pair for downstairs, one sturdy  pair for reading in bed and one floater pair.


courtesy peepers.com

And by the way,  The Original Obnoxious One also has several pairs of readers lying around the house, and at the office and in his gym bag, and in his briefcase.

Most of the time I don’t really think about the whole aging thing. I’m active –  I walk Franklinstein whatever the weather and we dance together regularly,IMG_1431 (Edited)

I do Pilates, I  eat healthy for the most part and I smile. A Lot. Except when I don’t. Like when I’m reading or concentrating or writing. That’s when The  Original Obnoxious One lets loose with his own unique brand of obnoxiousness.

Each and every evening.

Rita, what’s wrong? Smile! You look sad..or miserable..or angry. Be happy!

Here’s the thing. Nine times out of ten I am happy. I’m not miserable or sad or even angry – unless someone in my family did something incredibly stupid.

Again. You know who you are!

But l do have wrinkles (a couple)  and gravity does weird things to my face.

Okay, I confess, I have RBF – Resting Bitch Face.

IMG_2141 (2)


Get over it!



Lyrics of When I’m Sixty Four courtesy thebeatles.com








Green Eggs and Ham


courtesy Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

After several days of massive Tokyo crowds, illegible city signage, non-stop neon lights and those high-tech multi-functional washlets with heated seats, we escaped to the countryside. As mentioned in my last post, Oh the places you’ll go my husband, The Original Obnoxious One, made all the travel and accommodations arrangements for this trip to Japan – or rather his people did. After speaking with friends and colleagues he decided we should stay at a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Ryokans are generally located in scenic areas, near mountains or water, and feature tatami-floored rooms with foldaway futons, communal and private baths, elaborate multi-course meals and multiple rules and regulations.


Our first stop was the Aura-Tachibana in Hanoke, an easy two hour train ride from Tokyo. And the Japanese train system is amazing – clean, efficient and relatively affordable. But once we arrived in that tiny town and started to look for our ryokan, we couldn’t tell left from right or up from down. Yes, we had detailed instructions multi-coloured maps but…


courtesy iclipart.com

After bumbling around for an hour or more we dragged our bags and carry-on items up the steep hill, around a couple hair-pin twists to the Aura-Tachibana. By the way, our Japanese is almost non-existent despite what The Original Obnoxious One likes to believe, and the receptionist’s English was very, very rudimentary. After 30 minutes of trying to communicate, the most we could understand was that we could leave our bags at the front desk but couldn’t check in to our room for several hours. We even phoned our super-duper problem-solving incredible travel agent back in Vancouver. She yelled at the local ryokan rep in English with a heavy Mandarin accent  (we could hear her across the lobby) but was ultimately unable to convince them to let us stay.Why? We never did figure that part out.

What to do and where to go?!

We meandered back down the hill, through the town, to the river where we had a lovely view of a couple of homeless guys washing and urinating. 018b36c0ceaa3289a8d94304340fc9a61f4615205c

Of course it was Sunday so very few stores or restaurants were open. Apparently Hanoke’s claim to fame is its hot springs, natural beauty and view of Mount Fuji. We couldn’t find any vistas in or around town of Mount Fuji and the homeless folk  were not exactly naturally beautiful. Maybe our hotel accessed the hot springs for its communal baths?! But Hanoke is close to Tokyo so it provides a quick and easy get away for families and couples. Especially couples. 😉

Basic RGB

courtesy clipart.com

After walking around in circles for a few hours we climbed back up that mountain and were shown to our room. We were one of the lucky ones there, with our very own private hot tub and view of that same river we had now come to love.015389d32a64abb9823faea18f36cc8d0f4e615f8f

My husband was a little more adventurous and actually ventured out of our room in order to soak in the communal hot springs and baths.


The Original Obnoxious One heading to the baths – doesn’t he look cute?!

Somehow the thought of parading around naked, with my (mostly) blond hair and mottled menopausal body towering over of a bunch of cute little Japanese ladies did not fill me with joy and pleasure. So I stayed in our room and studied the official instructions of how to behave and what to do and not do.

But the fun was just beginning. As the only non-Japanese folk at dinner and breakfast the following morning in the large dining room, we weren’t the least bit nervous or uncomfortable until we were presented with this and this.ryokan breakfast

Okay let me confess something right here, right now. I will generally try most any food most any time most any where except at breakfast. Yes, it’s true – I am a wimpy cowardly breakfast-eater! Give me cereal and milk or yogurt and fruit or eggs  but that’s it. Plus of course a latte. I will travel miles and miles for a latte in the morning – just ask my most patient parents.  A regular boring cup of coffee just doesn’t cut it. I know, I’m spoiled but I blame it on the never ending rains here on the wet coast, November through March.  The Original Obnoxious One is much more accommodating – if its edible he’ll eat it, regardless of colour, texture, etc. Imagine my unmitigated pleasure upon gazing at this adorable delicacy at 8am :


Dried Horse Mackerel – even the name is “interesting”

Those eyes hypnotized me and not in a good way. But  I did take my chopsticks and attack  this fishy fish and made it look like I sampled the delights when in reality I tried to remain calm – I only screamed and gagged in my imagination! In fact, at that moment I sympathized greatly with this character:

i do not like

courtesy Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

Just exchange green eggs and ham for fishy fish and jam .

I survived only to relive much of the experience again in our ryokan in Kyoto, the Hiiragiya, minus the delayed check-in and homeless absolutions. At least in Kyoto breakfast and dinner were served in our room by our very own geisha-girl/butler,


Ahhh…where to begin.

so no one else had to observe my attempts at poking, prodding and fumbling with chopsticks. There were a few more choices so I could avoid the fishy fish for breakfast. And I could find a latte close to our hotel without too much trouble. Plus our dinners were absolutely exquisite in appearance.


and tasted pretty good.

i will try

courtesy Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

The Original Obnoxious One was in heaven – he loves this kind of stuff. But he was most proud because the staff congratulated us several times on having the best room in the ryokan –  the best because it had the largest private bath.


There was also another large room with a long counter and double sink.

Of course the beautiful views of the private courtyard  and gardens didn’t hurt. In fact the Hiiragiy Ryokan was quite a special place – small and intimate, run by the same family for six generations, beautifully maintained and centrally located.  And it has even been updated with modern amenities like wifi. Once I got past the morning menu terrors, I really enjoyed wandering the street and lanes of Kyoto – lots to see, especially in the old part and even the most touristy sections were gorgeous and fascinating.


But I will say that I was rather relieved to leave Japan for Hong Kong and then Thailand, where I could anything under the sun for breakfast, including eggs!

i like green eggs

courtesy Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss






Come on, it’s NOT that difficult…just make a decision!

So how many times have you said that to your parents? Me? Well…I’ve probably said it a couple of times (although usually a bit nicer) but I sure have thought it many, many, MANY times. I mean really, how many times do you have to discuss dinner plans, travel plans, or moving plans, or…? Actually quite a few with my parents.  Like maybe a billion.

As a case in point, let’s consider their cottage.


My parents live in Southern Ontario and they have always either owned a cottage or had access to their parents’. Or they owned a piece of property on a lake where they had plans to build a cabin. Note that when I say cabin, I really mean cabin, as in perhaps 500-600 square ft. total. For four people. Well actually 3.5 as my sister was just a baby at that place.

So yeah, my parents (who are not quite eight decades old, but almost) have been cottage goers since the dinosaur ages, but the last several years have been worrisome, and we know how much I like to worry . Although picturesque, their cottage was on a northern lake (north of Muskoka and Parry Sound) that had a fairly small population of cottagers, especially regular cottagers.Half the time their land-line phone didn’t work, and they never quite remembered exactly how that new-fangled cell phone worked. They’re not quite as agile and nimble as they once were,


we’ve all changed a bit over the years – gotta love that 80’s hair!

so getting down to the beach became a bigger and bigger issue, and the boats were used less and less frequently. My father is not the superb driver he once was and my mother can no longer drive the car at all. (she now has mobility issues) . So my sister and I were rather concerned and we chatted with them several times, numerous times, a gazillion times about selling. But they are stubborn…especially my mom!IMG_2278

My parents just could not make a decision.What would they do instead? Who would they hire to list the place? How much should they charge? Would anyone buy it? The list of questions to be considered and debated was endless.

Finally after many years, and a bazillion conversations, they actually put their cottage up for sale! And guess what…low and behold they had some interest… AND A BUYER. Well, let me tell you, this sent them into a major tailspin.

It happened too soon!

We weren’t expecting this quite yet!?

What do we do now???

Thank goodness, however, they did sign on the dotted line.

But then the real work began, because they had to deal with all the things they had acquired over the years and years and years of cottaging. What to do with all the dishes, and towels and sheets? What about the dishes and glasses and mugs and cutlery? And don’t forget the games and photos and pictures. Once again, my sister and I had an infinite number of conversations with them  –  especially my dear darling mother. Did we want the salad fork/silver spoon/blue mountain pottery mug/macrame hanging/picture???

Don't take this spoon!

Don’t take this spoon!

 And on and on. During a weak moment  I offered to go and help them sort through their crap junk  very important stuff…luckily they did not accept my kind offer.

Fast forward a year and they are happy that they are finished with the entire process. Thrilled actually.

Similarly my husband and I also own a cabin – not in Ontario, but up Indian Arm, a wild and magnificent fjord adjacent to Vancouver. We’ve owned this place for over 15 years, but have not used it much recently.IMG_0290_resizedWe’ve had some technical difficulties – like having to replace the cement pilings that were falling apart, and then the rotten lower deck. Out place is water access only and the boat doesn’t always work. Lately the kids never want to go,DSC01834 cuz they want to spend time with their friends in the city, where there’s electricity (rather than a generator), computers and T.V.’s, (we have neither up there), shopping (the cabin is literally in the middle of nowhere) and warm swimming pools (as oppose to freezing cold, extremely deep, salt water).

But when we arrive on a sunny day, it’s absolutely magical. And it’s less than an hour door to door.IMG_0273_resized

So here’s the thing: a real estate agent contacted us a couple of weeks ago to say that he had a client who was very interested in purchasing property up Indian Arm. My husband responded immediately and showed them around. Meanwhile, I was – silently – freaking out! I’m just not ready to sell…I don’t think. I mean, we had so many great times there over the years, and so much fun. IMG_0309-1_resizedAnd even though we haven’t used it lately doesn’t mean we won’t go there in the future. Both kids have expressed interest in hanging out there this summer, with their friends...and without us. My son just turned 20, so has been “legal” in BC for a year and my daughter will be 18 very soon.But still, the thought of them going there with their friends with no real adult supervision...gives me the heebie-jeebies. Not happening.

But do I really want to sell the cabin? I mean, we have our house up for sale, but what if it doesn’t sell? The kids don’t want us to sell the house. And we do have a ton of amazing stuff at our cabin – photos and books and games and pictures. And since the cabin is water access only, it’s always challenging to transporting anything up and back.  I just don’t know what to do! I can’t make a decision!

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

But I’m so not like my parents...really!

Time to Man Up

My husband utters these words all the time and it drives me absolutely crazy. Sometimes he refers to our son, sometimes the dog, and sometimes people at work. He generally knows better than to use those dreaded words in connection with me. So I guess I’m just going to have to do it for him.

Because I’ve fallen off the edge of the world.

Because I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

For those of you who have read my blog previously, you’ll know that for the past couple of months I have been whining complaining writing about the amazing people in my life, and in particular my daughter, the Demon Child.

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

This school year has proven to be  a nightmare,  a disaster of epic proportions, an extremely stressful and challenging one, given the fact that the Demon Child :

  • is in Grade 12, her last year of high school
  • has a steady boyfriend who is in Grade 11(he doesn’t have the same stress as those in Grade 12)
  • has been applying to several prestigious Canadian universities back east
  • is a hormonal teen age girl who seems to be PMS-ing 24/7!!!
  • has ADHD, so that ordinary difficulties for other kids become MONUMENTAL END-OF-THE-WORLD TYPE PROBLEMS for her which she typically takes out on her poor, long-suffering mother (yeah, that’s me)

The past month in particular has been a topsy-turvy crazy roller coaster ride;

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

heck, it’s been the 10 hour version of Space Mountain, that super scary Disney roller coaster ride in the dark – yeah that’s my life.

courtesy Orlando Fun Tickets

courtesy Orlando Fun Tickets

Especially this past month. Something about March….spring, renewal, and its opposites – death, destruction. Okay maybe I’m the one that’s being a wee bit dramatic now.

So let’s consider the good, the incredible, the WOW March factors…

  • the Demon Child traveled to Nicaragua on a school trip for 3 weeks – I tried not to clap and cheer too too much before she left
  • my hubby, The Original Obnoxious One and I went to Maui for a week…just the 2 of us…for our first visit ever! Yes, we were absolutely the only people in West Vancouver (other than our kids) who had not been to Maui.
  • the Demon Child actually got accepted into each of her top 3 choices for university.  I’m still not sure how that happened!?
  • We kind of bought a new house, subject to the sale of our current home – even the paperwork has been signed!
  • After the power washing and the window washing and the cleaning and the gardening and the staging, we put our house up for sale

courtesy iclipart.com

But of course, we never get the absolutely terrific stuff without the awful, dreadful terrible crap. And this time the bad has been  really bad. It put all of my whining and all of my complaining into perspective as just that…whining and complaining.

First off, when we had the building inspection done on our new house – it failed every single test…and not just a little, but a ton. In fact, it’s a miracle the place is still standing, because any minute it just might slide into the ocean. So yes, I pouted and was a little upset. But this was nothing…

courtesy iclipart.com

courtesy iclipart.com

Compared to the loss of Killer, our 12-year-old yellow labIMG_2087 that we’ve had since she was a puppy.Scan.BMP She wasn’t eating everything in sight as usual and was vomiting so I took her to the vet to for a checkup …and left with a death sentence. Tests clearly showed a multitude of tumors in her lungs; she had been experiencing difficulty breathing, but we thought old age was simply catching up with her.  We waited 24 hours for our daughter to return home, (which meant that my husband was then out of town) and skyped my son in.

The next day Killer was gone.

You may think Killer was just a dog, and an old one at that, but

  • for 12 years she gave each member of our family unconditional love and support
  • for 12 years she was a calming presence in a house full of big personalities and bigger egos
  • for 12 years she kept me company when the kids went to school
  • for 12 years she delighted us with her sniffing and snorting, her moaning and her groaning, her sneaking of chocolate, butter and garbage (yes, all poison for dogs)IMG_2099

Life will never be the same for our family. Over the past 12 years, our children have grown into young adults, my husband has lost a few more hairs from the top of his head, and a few deep lines and wrinkles have taken up permanent residence on my face.

But, there is this relatively new little boy in town.West Vancouver-20121101-637

So guess what – it’s time for Franklinstein and me to man up.

But we will never forget.

Rest in Peace Killer.

I really should give up and become a hermit – officially!

Do you ever have one of those days where nothing goes quite right, where nothing feels quite right? It’s not that every little thing is a disaster , but…

Last week I had one of those days.On the surface there was nothing to complain about, since we’ve had perfect early fall weather here in Vancouver.

One evening my hubby and I were invited to a black tie function honouring the top business leaders in town,which included a couple friends and business colleagues.  I had to be downtown by 5:45 pm to meet my husband at the new Trade and Convention Center, a spectacular venue. I needed to leave home between 5:00 and 5:15 to be on time, and figured that would be no problem. Absolutely none.

Yeah right!

I seemed to be very busy that day – of course, now, I can’t remember what crisis in particular I was dealing with, but I’m positive it was something really, really important. Totally! But I had already determined what I was wearing – a long black gown I’d bought a few years ago, worn a couple of times, and received plenty of complements on.

Yup, I looked just like this…minus the slit, and the hair, and the figure

So I figured that half an hour was tons of time to get ready. I showered, put my dress on, started my makeup,

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then went downstairs to the kitchen for a glass of water. There I found a lake of nasty stuff  deposited by one of the dogs by the back sliding glass door. Really. I wonder if Jennifer has to do these kind of things?! Of course, I was the only one home, so had to clean up the lovely mess in high heels, long dress and all.

The dogs supervised of course.

Delightful.That rattled my bones…a little bit. Just a little bit.

So I decided I should wear the tennis bracelet my husband gave me for my 40th birthday. It may be stunning and expensive, but truly it has major sentimental value. Because we’ve had a ton of construction in and our our home the past several months, I’d stuck it away somewhere. I couldn’t remember exactly where, but figured it shouldn’t be too hard to find.

  • I looked through my drawers in my closet – no luck.
  • I looked through my husband’s drawers in our closet – no luck
  • I looked through my bedside table – nothing
  • I looked through my husband’s bedside table – nothing
  • l searched through all the other sweater and sweatpants and scarf drawers in our room – nada
  • I searched through all of our shoes – nada
  • I even broke open our safe – after spending 30 minutes trying to figure out how to open it. Of course it wasn’t there either.

By this time it was starting to get late. I called a cab and applied the last of my makeup. Midway through application of the ultra-important under-eye concealer/miracle worker, the concealer slipped through my fingers and danced down the front of my dress. Which I’d just paid megabucks to have cleaned. Sigh.

Well I did eventually make it to the event, even though the cab picked me up at 5:40. So yeah, I was just a teeny bit late. And despite there being 1400 people in the room, I did find my husband and did chat with a few colleagues. Unfortunately our friends didn’t win, but we did have a very nice evening with lots of great discussion,food and wine. When we got home I went up to my daughter’s room to say good-night.

The Demon Child took one look at me and said, “Oh Mom, you didn’t wear that tonight, did you? No, no, no Mom! Well, I always hang out in a long black dress just like Jennifer Aniston. Duh! “Mom, that’s not becoming at all. You should’ve worn something else! You’re way too old for that!”

Thank you darling. These are exactly the words every mother over a certain age wants to hear…especially from their own beautiful teenage daughter. I should have said this. I might have thought this.

But I didn’t. Nope – instead…

courtesy iclipart.com

The Wicked Witch of the West returned ( see Watch Out for the Wicked Witch of the West) and said several absolutely positively TERRIBLE things to the Demon Child.Then she took off on her broomstick. But the damage was done. So the next day I had a ton of apologizing and sucking up to do.

Menopause is soooo lovely. Really!

P.S. I did find my bracelet the very next day…after I tore my bedroom apart once again.

Happy Birthday to you and you and you

My daughter’s birthday was last week. I should have known there was going to be trouble when she announced at breakfast that she was not happy about turning 17. When asked why, she responded:

“Mom, my life is easy this year. I have very little stress right now. My classes aren’t hard, I have friends and I have a boyfriend. But the future is scary. I’m nervous about going to university, deciding what I want to study and what I want to do. I don’t want to get a job and move out. I just want to stay here forever.”

“You sound  like Peter Pan and his song,

I won’t grow up,
(I won’t grow up)
I don’t want to wear a tie.
(I don’t want to wear a tie)
And a serious expression
(And a serious expression)
In the middle of July.
(In the middle of July)
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,

I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Not me,
Not I,
Not me!
So there!

Of course I totally forgot about that during the course of the day when I busy running around picking up groceries, doing a zillion loads of laundry, purchasing and wrapping birthday presents.

That evening the four of us met at the restaurant of her choice.

My husband, the Original Obnoxious One, was annoyed because he was on time for the dinner reservation and I was late – his time is money, and mine…is not. My son, the Obnoxious One, was annoyed because he didn’t like the restaurant; I told him to suck it up and gave him the evil eye. My daughter, the Weird One was annoyed at having to interact with her brother; for 9 months she had been an only child and enjoyed having her own space, having my full attention. Also she had overdosed  on sugar so not hungry because she’d already consumed a birthday pie, and part of a birthday cake provided by random boys at school.  I was annoyed because everyone else was annoyed and I had organized everything. I wanted everyone to be nice…and happy.

Ve vill have fun damn it!

After dinner we drove home for dessert and presents. We all decided that we were too full for birthday pie, even though it was raspberry rhubarb that I had picked up specially from the Savoury Island Pie company that afternoon. As the Obnoxious One expressed his delight in each of his presents, my daughter morphed into the Demon Child. Her reactions to her presents grew worse and worse. Her tone of voice grew more and more nasty..

“Oh great, a gift card from Starbucks. How original mom.” hmm…

“Oh wow, body cream that you buy me on a regular basis anyways.” Just bite your tongue

“Razors? Really? What were you thinking?!” I’m sitting on my hands so I don’t slug her!

“I WAS thinking that your main gift will be an iphone which you and I will sort out together. I WAS thinking that it would be fun for you to open a few presents on your birthday even though you didn’t give me any indication of what you wanted –  and you are SO very particular.” And you are such an ungrateful so and so.

“You go and get me the iphone tomorrow when I’m at school. You don’t work.” Just  push all my hot buttons why don’t you

“No darling, you need to come with me. And I do have other things I need to do tomorrow.”

The gauntlet was tossed and the results, in hindsight, were predictable. Quibbling turned into arguing, and arguing turned into yelling and door slamming and…

For some reason this argument on this evening disturbed me more than usual; I was REALLY upset. So, I gave myself a timeout – I retreated to my room and read my book for over an hour.Of course during that time the Demon Child tried a couple of times to bully me into agreeing to get the iphone on my own, but I held firm. My son and husband thought the Demon Child was over the top as usual, and rude and inappropriate but…

I was really tired from travelling across the country. I was really tired from hauling my son’s belonging up two flights of stairs. And of course I was really tired from running around  doing everything for everyone.

By the time I did try to go to sleep, my brain was whirring and churning and my husband was snoring loudly and thrashing widely. Sleep was not something that came that night.

Nevertheless at breakfast the next morning guess who said,

“So when are you picking up my up my iphone?”

And guess who blew their top?

to be continued…

Why are men SO stupid or Why I became an Axe Murderer

Let me say for the record that I love my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, and my son, the Obnoxious One, very, very much – they are without a doubt two of the most wonderful males on the planet. (with the exception of my Dad of course…and George Clooney…and Daniel Craig ) But after the family vacation from hell/paradise over New Year’s, each member of my family needed a little R & R…on their own.

This past weekend was going to be heavenly. My boys were taking off for a few days of skiing and male bonding at Whistler and my daughter was sleeping over at a friend’s house. I planned to catch up on my reading and writing – and respond to the wonderful honour of receiving the Versatile Blogger Award from the amazing Tales of the Motherland.  I also planned to catch up on my wine drinking and bubble bathing  and…

then I was going to cook an incredibly delicious gourmet dinner  before sending my son back to university.

It was a good plan.

It was a great plan.

But it was foiled by my husband, the Original Obnoxious One. I spoke to the two boys the first night and was rather concerned to hear that my husband had had a panic attack that morning when the Obnoxious One dragged him down some scary runs on the mountain.

Then on the last day of my partially marred bliss, while contemplating menus, I received a frantic phone call from my son. Turns out that while traversing a glacier, my husband had another panic attack, this time accompanied by chest pains, difficulty breathing, and a foggy mental state. So even though my husband has a history of dangerous blood clots (he’s been hospitalized twice for blood clots in the lungs, a potentially fatal situation) did they call a ski patrol for first aid?

No, of course not.

They skied down the mountain. Oh they added a couple extra stops along the way – like whenever the Original Obnoxious One couldn’t get a breath, which was every 15 feet or so. And they did download at the mid-point. How clever.

And they did ask for a doctor/medic once they returned to their hotel. How lovely.

And then my husband wanted to drive home himself two hours down the Sea to Sky Highway in the fog and the rain. Yeah, really!

Luckily the folks in the Whistler Emergency Centre wouldn’t let him drive – nope, they put him in an ambulance that transferred him down to the North Vancouver hospital. Where he stayed the night in the ER. Where they pumped him full of drugs. Where they did tons of tests including blood work and CAT scans and X-rays and …

So my son had to pack up and drive down, while I sat at home and worried…and bit my nails…and worried…and pulled out my hair. Fortunately he and the car made it home in one piece. As for my husband…turns out it was his heart the doctors were most concerned about, because it was beating irregularly; but, they couldn’t rule out a blood clot. So he stayed the night in the ER.

Guess what? The nice family dinner didn’t happen – we were all too busy wringing our hands in the ER waiting to hear the verdict. My son had a morning flight to Toronto the next day, so he and I dragged ourselves out of bed at some early, ungodly hour. Luckily check-in at the airport was fairly easy. On the way home I drove straight to the hospital. After a couple of hours of waiting, they let my husband go, but with a portable heart monitor to follow his every heart beat for the next 24 hours. Apparently the atrial fibrillation had passed and he was “all better”. Right.

So I broached the subject of work on Monday. ‘You’re not going into the office tomorrow are you?”

“Of course I am. I have a very busy day and I wasn’t there Thursday afternoon or Friday.” translation: I’m far too important to take any more time off.

“But can’t you just work from home in the morning?”

“Totally out of the question.” I’m Mr. Important after all.

“But you’re going to take it easy, right?”

“Sure”  Famous last words.

Because  Age 50 + constant stress + mega work hours + caffeine + alcohol = NOT smart

This morning he called me from the office and said that he’d had a great sleep last night and thought he would go for a workout  – that means spend half hour on the bike pumping furiously, followed by weight lifting for another half hour or so.

“Are you crazy? Are you trying to kill yourself?”

“Well I haven’t been to the gym for a few days.”

“Yeah, because you were in the hospital, you idiot!”

A couple hours later he called me again. “Well, I just had a big workout and I feel great. I’m still alive.”

Next time I’m NOT going to wait for the heart fibrillation or blood clot to get him. Nope, I’m going to take matters into my own hands.


P.S. My son called to let us know that he forgot his keys to his residence as well as his passport. Oh, and Air Canada lost his baggage. Good thing I can get my hands on 2 axes.

Ready or not (and I’m not) – it’s 2012

Okay, so I’ve been AWOL for a couple of weeks – the holidays parties, the Obnoxious One’s return from first term at university, the husband’s non-stop working hours at the new firm and the puppy’s destruction of house and home got in the way.

This isn't my dog actually - but it could be!

And a little thing called Christmas.

Yes it's a fake tree - so what?!

And a little family vacation to Mexico for some sun.

You’d think I’d have second  thoughts after the past family vacation this summer (see The Family Vacation: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly ), but no, we went… and it was absolutely positively wonderful for a few days…and then it wasn’t. More later. Much more later.

You might have noticed I wrote two entire paragraphs without mentioning my daughter, the Demon Child even once; that’s because she was actually quite angelic during the month of December…for her, of course. I confess that I started to panic.I mean,what if she never did anything crazy or terrible ever again? What would I write about then?

But never fear, dear readers…I’ve got TONS of stories up my sleeves now! Yes, tons.

In the meantime, I’m back and feeling tired and bloated after the holidays. It’s the one time of year when I truly believe we should all indulge in dark chocolate and champagne and dark chocolate and wine and margaritas…and did I mention chocolate?

So today, I made my first trek back to the gym, back to pilates. It went something like this:


What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is ours

So I admit that I’ve uttered these words on occasion, but usually in connection with closet space; specifically my husband’s closet or shelf or desk or cash or…

Imagine my shock and chagrin when I heard these words pouring forth from the lips of  my daughter, the Demon Child?!  Yes, it seems that in the past few months she has grown taller and slimmer so that now she can fit into  MY clothes and shoes. And she’s decided that she even likes some of my stuff. What happened to the Teenage Fashion Police of just a few months ago who hated EVERYTHING I wore? Wonders will never cease.

The thing is I’m not very good at sharing because I never had to do it growing up. My sister is almost ten years younger, so by the time I got married she was still a young teenager. My mother has had weight issues for the past 50 years, so sharing her clothes was never an option. And my husband’s taste in clothing is conservative and traditional and just plain boring; plus most of his casual stuff is 25 years old and ugly.

But the real kicker is that I’m not allowed to touch ANYTHING in the Demon Child’s closet.

“So darling, how come you can wear my clothes but I can’t wear yours?”

“Because I’m amazing, Mom. And you’re old. Don’t be like those other West Van moms who try to be teenagers. It’s gross.”  – she may have a point but I’ll never admit that.

“But what about this sweater of yours? It’s kind of cute and you haven’t worn it in a while” – I could nab this right now and she’d never notice!

“Ew Mom. NO! That came from Artizia. You can NOT wear anything from Aritzia. It’s only for teens and girls in their 20’s.” – somehow this doesn’t seem quite right!

I know I’m in big trouble when her laser focus nails me and she boldly proclaims, “I like that Mom. Think I’ll just have to steal it from you.”

And she does. Especially now that she’s on a budget, she loves shopping for free – in my closet and drawers.

So I’ve started hiding anything I really like that  I want to keep to myself – in various closets around the house, under my husband’s piles of junk,and in the dog’s kennel. Because you see, when she returns something to me, it has holes in it or has shrunk 2 sizes or is just totally ruined. Or she simply keeps it forever, like the first classic Coach bag I bought 20 years ago when I first started making real money. Somehow it has vanished into her room, never to return.

My solution? I figure my only alternative is to go shopping.

Like I need an excuse. Really!

The Conspiracy of Rolling in the Deep

Recently I conducted a scientific survey with a sample size of approximately half a dozen. I asked women – friends and acquaintances – married to men of advanced middle age to determine whether night time activities in my house were consistent across the board. The research revealed that each and every other women surveyed suffered most evenings as I do.

I intend now, however, to break that silence once and for all and reveal the great conspiracy.

Most nights our king size bed has more in common with a stormy ocean, its waves crashing on poor hapless souls than a peaceful oasis of slumber inducing calm. The thunder begins deep down in the depths of my husband’s belly, gathers momentum as it rises up through his nose and mouth and exists in huge cacophony of noise. The bed shakes, the mattress rolls and the covers develop minds of their own.

To say that the Original Obnoxious One snores is to say that the Sahara Desert is warm.

I take some comfort in the fact that I am not alone in this hell. Yes, each and every one of the above surveyed wives of middle aged men confirmed that men snore louder and with greater frequency as they get age .

So why does this happen?

Research suggests that this a conspiracy perpetrated by the men we love to torment and torture us. Perhaps they are jealous of the long hours we spend:

  • cooking delicious and nutritious meals for our families and
  • cleaning every surface (including the toilets) until spick and span and
  • chauffeuring our children to the four corners of the earth on a daily basis.

We women do tend to hoard the good stuff for ourselves. Perhaps they wish they were the ones chatting on the phone with our mothers and sisters ensuring that family dynamics run smoothly. Perhaps they are despondent at the thought of their wives making the monthly trek to Costco without them.

My darling husband LOVES doing the laundry so much on weekends that he looks for any excuse to do more. And, sometimes he “forgets” to add the detergent or washes the delicates in hot water just so that I will have the pleasure of shopping for new items. The Original Obnoxious One really is most considerate.

Whatever the case, the good news is that we are on to them.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.