Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hobson's Choice

A snippet from last evening's dinner conversation.

Frankie: "Mom, would you rather be killed by a pride of lions or an army of ants?"

Trillian: "Is there any chance of escape?" I've played this game before. I have to set the ground rules.

F: "None."

T: "Ok, then I'd have to go with the lions. It would be over faster."

F: "What if they were really old, decrepit lions with dull teeth?"

T: "It would still be faster than a bunch of ants."

F: "What if they were piranha-like ants..."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Work-Life Balance a Fraud

Amy Schneider is disillusioned. After years of being told that she could have it all by ERA evangelists, guidance councilors, and countless cosmetic commercials, she has learned that she cannot have a six-figure career, be a PTA mother, and rival Martha Stewart as home-maker of the year.

"I just feel so lied to," says a disappointed Schneider. "I mean, the woman in the Enjoli commercial can do it all." According to Corporate Confidential: What it Really Takes to Get to the Top, women who take advantage of corporate work-life balance programs are less likely to make it to the top than those who sacrifice their home lives.

"Like, why didn't someone tell me that if I want to be a CEO I have to ignore my kids?" asks Schneider, who currently works as a data clerk for a Fortune 500 company with an excellent benefits plan. "Maybe the telecommuting policy should come with a warning or something."

Schneider's HR department states that it is currently reviewing her proposal to add a warning to the front of the Personnel Handbook that reads: "Warning: Face Time is Directly Proportional to Career Advancement."

Friday, August 26, 2005

I'm good, but not that good

I don't pretend to be an organized parent. Especially in the mornings. That is why summer is a blessed event in my books. There's no getting lunches ready, or dragging the children out of bed to clean them up. There's no checking homework or signing permission slips. Except for the last two weeks. The children have been enrolled in day camp. Alas, our small town doesn't offer such a program, so I've been dragging them with me to the larger town in which I work and dropping them off before I head to the office.

The first couple of mornings I was prepared. I made them exciting lunches the night before, ensured that they each had a towel and bathing suit, and attempted to slather sun screen on them before we left the house. After that, however, things went downhill. I would sleep in. Or forget to make their lunches. Or forget to give them a towel. Or not send them with a hat.

Every day it's been something different. Luckily, my car is an amazing repository of "things that were never brought back in the house." On the day that it rained, I was able to produce an umbrella from under the passenger seat. On the day that there was a chill in the air, I rummaged around and found a couple of sweaters the children had left in the car. On the day that we forgot to bring hats, I miraculously found two in the trunk. I've even found extra sunscreen in the golf bag Arthur never took out of my trunk.

My children have come to think of my car as the bottomless well of day camp.

Yesterday it became readily apparent that we needed to do some grocery shopping. I was unable to pull together enough appropriate food to make a decent lunch. I announced to the children that we'd get something for them on the way to camp. I was thinking we'd stop at Tim Horton's and pick up some sandwiches or bagels or something.

My daughter looked at me with awe and asked, "You have extra lunches in your trunk?"

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Keep It Going, Baby

I'm as guilty as the next person for taking my car for granted. I drive about 90-100 km to and from work every day. It hurts when the price goes up to $1.03 /liter (that's $3.89/gallon). But Arthur and I have agreed for a while that gas prices going up is a good thing for our environment, and for technological innovation in transportation.

Think I'm crazy? Have a look at Carmi's column this week. I vividly remember the oil crisis of the 70's. I was in 3rd grade. We've had 30 years to come up with alternate fuel sources and innovative ways to transport people. We did nothing except buy obscenely larger SUVs. Necessity fuels innovation. I predict that in a couple of years Smart Cars and Prius's will be flooding the roads. And ethanol will be a common household word. I predict that automotive manufacturers will be investing significant R&D resources into new ways to power cars. I predict that the oil industry will finally lose the strangle hold it has on the Western world.

All we need is for gas to hit $2.00/liter. Keep it going, baby.

Photos from the Ear Falls trip

An action shot. The unaffected tourists kind of ruined this shot. Posted by Picasa

Yes, the water was cold. Posted by Picasa

Change time zones, but never leave the province. Posted by Picasa

These are the ones we didn't eat. Posted by Picasa

Arthur's action shot. Posted by Picasa

Frankie in the canoe on Rabbit Blanket Posted by Picasa

Benjy on Rabbit Blanket Lake Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sweet, Sweet Slumber

Saturday: Pitch camp at Rabbit Blanket Lake. I have a cot (v. comfortable), Arthur has a foam mat (he says it is v. comfortable), and the kids share a double air mattress. Awakened frequently through the night by Benjy, whose limbs are going to sleep. This is because her sleeping brother Frankie is continually rolling over on top of her, kicking her, or inadvertently pushing her off the mattress.

Sleep: 5 hours.

Sunday: Still at Rabbit Blanket. Arthur and I decide to take the mattress so we can isolate Frankie on the cot. Children sleep like a dream. Every time Arthur rolls over I am catapulted off the mattress. Until it springs a leak. Then our asses are on the ground. Also, old people in next camp snore very loudly. Their grandson wakes with the dawn. We hate these people.

Sleep: 4 hours.

Monday: Make it to Ear Falls. Whew that was a long drive! Arthur and I sleep in a trailer, Frankie in a spare room in Aunt J.'s house. We put Benjy in the trailer with us so she doesn't get scared if she wakes in the night. Have to share a tiny bed with Arthur. He sweats. I shiver. We both drank too much of Uncle B.'s homemade wine. Benjy wakes early.

Sleep: 5 hours.

Tuesday: I sleep on one side of the trailer, Arthur on the other. Sleep well until Benjy comes in screaming that we left her in the house. Mommy is crying because her head is splitting from the Mike's hard lemonade. And mommy seems to be coming down with something. Benjy is a sweaty child to sleep with.

Sleep: 4 hours.

Wednesday: Back in the trailer. Separate beds again. A little conjugal visit. No Benjy. Good sleep. Feel like crap, though.

Sleep: 7 hours.

Thursday: Leave a day early. Not feeling so great. Pitch camp at Sleeping Giant. Bought some new self-filling air mattresses. Don't really seem to "self-fill". Spend the night with my ass on the floor. Rains. A lot. 99% waterproof. The 1% not waterproof is right above me. Use my sleeping bag as an umbrella. Frankie finds a sticker in the morning that says mattresses must be inflated and deflated 7 times before first use. Will see the humor in this later. For now, try not to kill the messenger.

Sleep: 2 hours.

Friday: Still raining. Decide to keep driving all the way home from Sleeping Giant. 1,337 km. Start at 10AMish. Get home just before 3 AM. Hate and loathe driving. Covet the practical compactness of Western Europe. Shall petition when well again.

Sleep: 0 hours.

Saturday/Sunday/Monday: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sweet, sweet mattress. I shall never again take you for granted.

Friday, August 05, 2005

North of Winnipeg

I'm going to be offline until the 15th. I'm going here. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Why I live to be a parent

When I opened the door, I nearly passed out from the odor. It was as if I'd walked into the Ape House at the Detroit Zoo. One of the children had left the window open, allowing 90 degree heat to waft in to the otherwise air conditioned bathroom. The guilty party had left the door closed, allowing the heat to intensify the stink. And, much to my delight, one of my children had left a huge present in the toilet to marinate for ten hours in the intense heat.

Parenthood is clearly a gift from the gods.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Three-Day Weekend

No one knows the three-day weekend like Canadians. We may have even have invented the concept. If not, we've adopted it as our own, and have perfected it. If there is a public holiday, Canada will find a way to make it happen on a Monday.

Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving, and the August civic holiday are all three-day weekend events. Piss on the mid-week holiday, is our motto here. If only we could get Christmas, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day to fall in line.

Canada Day (July 1) used to be cause for a long weekend, but a recent push to celebrate it as American's celebrate Independence Day (on the actual day) has ruined this worthy tradition.

And really - why get caught up on a number. Who cares if Canada Day is really on the 1st. Why not celebrate it on the closest Monday, as we do Queen Victoria's birthday?

What do you think? Don't three-day weekends make more sense than a mid-week day off?