Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day Four and Five W.C. (without children)

{I took tonight off from Zumba because I am still sore. Plus I dyed my hair a horrible color- think Rhianna's neon red hair...minus Riri's smokin' hot body to equalize the ridiculous Ronald McDonald do. So instead, I'll post the rest of our vacation blogs and re-dye my hair something a little more natural. Cheers! xo}    


      Sweetmarymotherofjesus- my legs are killing me. Just for the record- I wish we had gone to Cuba instead. The goal for Wednesday was to go to Rona's (they now know us by name and astrological sign) to buy more slate, to finish the fireplace walls, to tile the bathroom wall with slate and grout the bathroom floor. Tall order considering Nick's fingers were splitting and bleeding and I was shuffling along like a senior citizen. I seriously hate myself for complaining continually and so openly about the pain I was in. I'm going to try to stop doing that from here on.

     We stopped at Rona's, talked to Pierre, asked him about the little lady and the kids, bought about 250 lbs worth of slate tiles, went for breakfast and headed back to the cottage. No fighting, no meltdowns, adequate amounts of coffee, perfectly laid tiles. Easy breezy day. The bathroom floor was ripe for grouting so we set to that task too. Nick's job was to grout with the float and my job was to drink Pepsi, wait 20 minutes and then wipe the excess grout off. Sounded great to me. Well it wasn't. It would have been fine if I only had to wipe the floor down once...not the five times it actually took. More squatting. Awesome.

     After supper we called the kids at Danny and Lynn's. It was our first time speaking to them since sneaking out on them Sunday afternoon. Noelley wasn't interested in talking on the phone (probably busy playing with her feet or something) but Dryden took over the conversation willingly- chatting away, telling us about his week in gibberish dialect and then abruptly signing off with a sudden, "Ok...buh-bye!" I smiled like crazy after talking to him. I suddenly missed them both fiercely; my heart squeezed painfully. I looked away so Nick wouldn't see me tear up but he called me on it. He has this totally obnoxious habit of pointing out whenever I get misty eyed; at sad parts in movies he always looks at me and says, "Hey, are you crying?" It makes me so mad! Why can't he act like a normal male and pretend like I don't have emotions? And when they do come to the surface, why can't he turn the other way and become absorbed with something on the floor? But I digress...My Advil/bubble bath/wine/A535 routine was no longer cutting it either.


     I dropped the teaspoon from my coffee on the floor. Nick watched as it took me 3.5 minutes to bend down to retrieve it before announcing: "Ok, that's it- you'll be taking today off. No work, no cleaning. Go put a movie on." I tried to play the martyr- "No, no- I'm fine! I can help with the rec room floor." He threw my spoon back on the floor and raised an eyebrow at me...I didn't bother picking it up and headed into the living room to see what movies were playing on the dish. So my Thursday was relaxing. Nick, however, laid all the tiles in the rec room by himself. I definitely felt guilty (yet oddly enough, not quite guilty enough to get up and help...) I felt really bad after I saw how painful his fingertips looked. They were split, and raw, and bleeding. He shrugged it off and got ready to go out for supper. It was the only night we went out, and we didn't stay out late as the Habs were playing at 7. (sigh and the romance just keeps coming and coming...) We hit up Jean Coutu first to get some medicated cream for Nick's hands and then the restaurant. It was nice just the two of us. Half way through the meal and family of five sat in the booth across from ours. They had three kids under the age of 8ish and they were funny. Nick and I kept watching them and laughing to ourselves. We both missed the kids and knew it- our eyes told each other that every time they met. It was a lovely day for me, supper was fantastic, the Habs won, and we weren't exhausted come bedtime- the wine still came in handy, just not as a pain reliever...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day Three @ Chalet Pomainville

     During the night, sometime between succuming to the opaque stillness of sleep and reluctantly and begrudgingly opening my eyes to a grey and snowy (WTF?) morning, I morphed into a crippled 89 year old woman. I literally heard my knees creak like an old cellar door as I climbed out of bed. I painfully shuffled through the cottage and limped downstairs- Nick watched as I stumbled off the last step and then burst out laughing. Mistake #1 for Nicholas for the day. One would think that after living with me for six years Nick would realize that it is detrimental to his health and physical well being to pick on me in the morning and it can be considered a death wish to laugh at anything stupid that I may do, or say, before I've had a single cup of coffee. I snarled something at him that kinda sounded English; he calmly put his trowel down and said: "Lets go to town. I'll buy you breakfast and all the coffee in Quebec first, then we'll go Rona to pick up a few things." I growled in reply and limped like I was recovering from a bullet wound all the way back upstairs. I contemplated not putting shoes on to save myself bending down, but alas, the effing snow put the kabosh on that idea. It pains me all the way down to my soul to admit this, but he was right; I felt better by the time we got home. Some more Advil and I was good to go. The plan for Tuesday was to rip up the old floor in the bathroom and lay the tile in there and then put all the slate up on the two walls behind the fireplace. It was an ambitious goal to say the least but I was hopped up on Advil and caffeine so I agreed that it was brilliant.

     When we first bought the cottage three summers ago, the downstairs bathroom was atrocious. Truly hideous. We knew we couldn't afford to gut it at the time so we prettied it up with some inexpensive fixes. One of those fixes came back to bite us in the ass (which was already sore from all the squatting.) We didn't rip up the ugly red/brown/green/yellow linoleum on the floor- we just place the sticky tiles on top to make the floor look nicer and easier to clean. So today, instead of having one old crappy floor to pry off, we had two. And let me tell you, they knew how to glue linoleum in 1971. That stuff was glued, tarred, stapled and held down by over-boiled Quebec maple syrup. Or so I was told by Nick- I surely wasn't any help prying that junk off. So back to Rona's we went to buy a heat gun ("It come in it's own case! Look at all the attachments it comes with Rachel- this thing is great. I'm buying it.") While Nick swore at the floor for the next two hours, I did the spring cleaning upstairs (Shoot me. In the head.)

     After the heat gun saved the day, after the walls were washed, and after the tiled kitchen counter top that some moron thought would be an awesome idea was scrubbed, we finally started tiling the bathroom floor. Nothing to report there- just amazing tiling skills. Thank you Mike Holmes. We stopped for supper and the mandatory Advil/A535 intermission because honestly, at this point I was fucking hurting. My back was still great, oddly enough...go figure. I was so glad to take a break from squatting to place the tiles once we got to the fireplace walls in the main rec room. A little reprieve was in order. Actually a sizable reprieve because we ran out of slate 3/4 the way up that second wall. Luckily, on our last trip to Rona, I noticed the same slate, for the same price. Trip #3 to Rona would have to wait for tomorrow as it was well past midnight at this point and I was already walking like a hobbled diamond miner from Ecuador. Advil, wine, bubble bath. Rinse and repeat.

Day Two Without Children

     Both Nick and I were refreshed, rejuvenated, and eager to start working when we woke up this morning (and not to the screeches of excessively happy toddlers, but to the sliver of sunlight fighting it's way through our heavy drapes and across the wall.) The crisp mountain air coupled with the serene silence of our lake mellowed me out for a long day, and promised to keep my soul light and carefree. Although I admit that the morning was slightly less joyful without our little happy morning risers- I did, however, appreciate sleeping the entire night through without interruption and loved the option to swing my feet out of bed and onto the chilly floor at the leisurely hour of 9:30.

     Our goal for Monday was to prep the entire basement and lay the tiles in the games room. The day passed pretty uneventfully. We worked side by side and soon developed our own system. Nick measured and cut on the wet tile saw and I discovered a natural talent for spreading cement (very much like icing a cake really.) Because it was our fist time doing a tile floor, it took us an inordinate amount of time to plan the layout, to mix that first batch of cement, to space the tiles out properly etc. We finished our first room right before supper without a single arguments, no evil looks (that I caught anyways, and I know for a fact that Nick missed 3 very obvious and exaggerated eye rolls), with all fingers intact and accounted for, and without having to resort to talking about the kids. The only complaint I can voice- and one that will undoubtedly become a recurring theme this week- is how much pain I am in. By 7pm I could barely walk. Why? Because I managed to complete 1372 (approximately) squats while placing all those stupid tiles. I was trying to ensure that I wouldn't throw my back out on the first day of work so I didn't work from my knees, instead choosing to squat down to lay each tile. By the end of the day my legs were screaming at me- screaming and cursing at me like a piss drunk sailor. My back feels great by the way...After supper I guiltily left Nick to clean up and retreated to the bathtub. I poured the hottest bubble bath I could stand, popped a couple of Advils, and poured a glass of wine...then I came to my senses and just brought the entire bottle in there with me. Some liberally applied A535 rounded out my day. We were too tired to be romantic; Nick was already snoring as I gingerly climbed into bed. I feel horrible admitting that I don't recall thinking about the kids once, actually once in bed, I don't recall much of anything except the crisp cotton sheets that smelled ever so slightly of lavender.

Day One of our Working Vacation

     This morning was fairly normal for us; when I got up and came downstairs, following the beckoning scent of coffee and buttered toast, I was greeted by Dryden wearing his pyjama top (why don't my kids ever have pants on?), Nick's Jack Daniel's hat on backwards, his black leather dress shoes on the wrong feet and a tambourine glued to his left hand. Like I said, fairly normal. We played and packed, snacked, and tickled; the morning went by in waves of giggles and temper tantrums. Eventually we packed them up and shipped them off to my in-laws to enjoy a gourmet lunch and a much needed nap. Undoubtedly, we chose a sneaky exit strategy- we left while they were sleeping, snoring softly in borrowed beds. I only briefly thought about the next eight days that Nick's parents would have to face maneuvering around our kids, navigating them through their daily routines. I'm sure they'll be fine...or fineish anyways. Saku was left to entertain himself until Auntie Marie showed up later that night to hang out with him for the week. We eagerly hit the road in our behemoth Dodge Ram laden with 1000 pounds of tile, cement and a new washer and dryer. The music was blaring, the windows were down and the ice kissed wind was making my hair dance wildly around my face. I felt light, and free, and able to inhale deeply for the first time in weeks. I refuse to feel guilty or inadequate as a parent for needing some time away from my kids and for relishing Nick's company in an adults-only zone (I'd like to see if we can talk about non-children related topics this week. We should get zapped if one of us laments about the kids....) I miss doing home improvements and renos like we used to also so I'm kinda excited about that too; hours invested with the DIY network has ingrained countless pearls of wisdom into my frontal lobe which I will selflessly share with Nick - I can already visualize the death stares I will receive after telling Nick he's laying the tiles wrong. It's going to be a fun week...

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

{Insert motivational 'failure' quote here}

     I should have stayed in bed this morning. People following this blog must think "good lord, does this broad ever want to get out of bed?!" Well, no actually...it's quite plush and warm.
I can't recall if the kids were especially bad or I was just unusually bitchy, but everything was getting on my nerves: half full breakfast bowls being thrown, the dog trying to lick the smeared peanut butter off my bum, my ill fitting shirt etc...I endured two hours of being yelled at, slapped, licked, breaking up fights over the remote, wiping up droplets of spilled milk from that G-D leaky sippy cup, and telling myself that I did NOT need that cup of coffee that I rely on as my crutch. Finally, I woke Nick up and was not very nice about it. "Get up- it's your turn." Now, I'm not sure if it was my tone, the wild look on my face, or the fact that I had dark circles under my eyes, hadn't showered yet, and my whole head was twitching- but Nick got the just of the situation rather quickly. He made me a guilt free coffee and kept the beggar children away from me so that I could actually sit down and enjoy it. I was also given the rest of the morning and afternoon off. I showered, got dressed, put on makeup- but I had no where to go. I left anyways (just as Dryden launched a handful of ravioli onto my freshly cleaned baseboards. sigh.) I went out to lunch and drove around, bought some pepsi and returned home happier. The kids were mercifully already in bed for their nap so Nick and I hightailed it up to our room. To nap. No afternoon delights here people- we needed a friggin' nap. The rest of the day was fine...I guess even Moms need a time-out and a Dad smart enough to put her there.

     After the kids were put down (to bed for the night, not by the Vet- jeez the day wasn't that bad) I got ready to go out for a run. Which reminds me, I must add 'running' to the list of things that I am no longer good at. My heart and my lungs are willing participants- but my body thinks that this is a stupid idea. I managed the warm up walk fine tonight then made it through 15 minutes of jogging/walking and then my right calf seized up. My initial impulse was to collapse in the middle of the street and yell something random like "I need some water! Can someone get me a banana?? Please, someone call 911- tell them to bring a stretcher!!!" I wisely went with a less dramatic Plan 'B' and sat down on the neighbours soggy lawn and stretched my legs out in front of me, pointing my toes to the sky until the pain stopped and my leg stopped twitching like a crack addict needing a fix. The last 10 minutes were converted into a downhearted walk. Jogginforidiots.com is not working for me. I need walkingforabsoluteidiots.com first...so here's the new plan: I will power walk for 30 minutes/night for the remaining four days this week. Next week for 40 minutes; the next week will involve 50 minutes; and the last week of April will be for 60 minutes every night. Hopefully by then I'll be down a few pounds, and my body will hate me less and be more willing to help me out and I can re-start the plan from coolrunning.com. I am NOT discouraged. I am NOT discouraged. I am NOT discouraged! Yeah, I'm a bit discouraged. Why is this so hard for me? I have a Cadbury Cream egg in the cupboard calling my name: "Rachel- I love you! I will hang out with you and we can hate running together."

     I tossed it in the freezer to shut it up and am going to go soak in a bubble bath with a glass of wine instead. Tomorrow is another day and maybe, just maybe, I might even feel like getting out of bed.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clean Sweep

     Last night, before turning in for the night, my husband set his alarm in order to wake up early to tackle some chores before leaving early for work. We both slept soundly, enveloped in a dreamless, restful respite from the world. Our sleep was pierced at 8am sharp by an ear splitting "Waaaaaaaaiiiiieeeee.......BHAAAAA!" Now, we are unaccustomed to being woken up by the sounds of a dying coyote so Nick jumped out of bed and headed towards the kids' rooms. When he flung open our son's door, there was Dryden, sprawled out on the floor- gasping for air between wails; the red kiss of a bruise already forming on his perfect little forehead. Turns out Dryden was productively utilizing his time early this Monday morning- he finally discovered how to climb out of his bed and land directly on his head. Early morning soothing eventually gave way to breakfast and Nick's ambitious plans were replaced with some father/son bonding time spent lowering Dryden's crib to the lowest possible setting. Operation "Big Boy Bed" may have to be deployed sooner than anticipated...or at the very least I should put Dryden to bed with his hockey helmet on.

      This weekend, after countless hours of brainstorming, I devised a customizable four- point plan for the perfectly cleaned house:

Step 1- Make your significant other participate in this years spring cleaning and divide the list to ensure that he gets all the worst chores.
Step 2- Do not interrupt him while he bitches non stop while cleaning; on the contrary, agree with him. "Yes, I agree, scrubbing the tub is hard on your back." "Yeah, I have a hard time getting the windows streak free too."
Step 3- Mention that with a bi-monthly house cleaner, he wouldn't have to do this with you ever again.
Step 4- Sit back with a steaming cup of peppermint tea while he interviews house cleaners.

     I wish I was joking. But I'm not- this plan actually worked. Although I must admit, I do have reservations about hiring someone to come every second week to clean my house. Firstly, I'd feel incredibly pretentious telling people that we have a house cleaner. It is in no way a reflection of how much money we have; we are a one income household that adheres to a pretty strict budget. Secondly, I am not looking forward to the remarks and raised eyebrows of others. We don't really know anyone who employs a house cleaner and I anticipate some people asking (to my face hopefully) why I don't have time to clean my own house. Well, the long winded answer is quite simple: I like an especially clean house and I would like a fuller, more social and active life. Noelle currently has four weekly therapy appointments and a session every three weeks at home. We also try to socialize her in structured play groups every week. With the arrival of spring, we have been discussing swimming lessons and gymnastics for both kids and our social calender will only continue to swell with the changing of the seasons. If given the option of washing food and mud off my baseboards or taking the kids and dog to the park for an afternoon with friends, I'd like to be able to choose the latter.

     It will take some adjustments (mainly to the budget) but I have to agree that this might be a great choice for us: Nick won't have to wash another wall/ceiling fan/bathroom vanity and I'll have more room in my life to get outside an be a better example to our kids.