Thursday, June 30, 2011

Of rats and bedbugs

About three years ago now, I started anti-depressants.  I was pretty bad at that time and I think the only person that actually kept me remotely functional was the  my mom.  Were it not for her, I would probably have been one step away from losing my kids.

My depression was fairly bad and it showed in my housekeeping.  I am not, nor will I ever be, a neat freak but I do try to adhere to a standard of cleanliness that will get me labelled "normal".*  Through all of the clutter and, yes sometimes, filth, I only once had an infestation issue.  The formula: Neighbours had a junk pile in their backyard that attracted rats + a cat who liked to escape through the screen door on the patio if it was left open even the slightest crack and did not close the door behind him (no matter my training attempts) + vermin of my own (my kids) who would go outside and leave the patio door open (frequently more that just a slight crack) = a rat getting into my house.**

Lilly and I were standing in the kitchen one morning (and this was after my meds so it was actually clean(ish)) and we see the rat run from under the hutch in the kitchen to under the stove.  I freaked, Lilly freaked and anyone I told this to convinced me it was just a mouse.  It would have been the biggest mouse I had ever seen, but so many people said that there was no way a rat would be in my house that they convinced me that it was just my mind playing tricks on me. Although I have had a handful of mice in the house, I never freaked when I saw them.  That should have been my first clue.

I come home from work one day and go to sit on the couch to talk to my mom.  She tells me not to sit in a certain spot and I ask her why.  Well, I guess she decided to pull out the sofa bed and vacuum it*** and found a dead rat.  THE dead rat.  I had mixed emotions about being right at that moment.  I cleaned up the rat, disinfected the sofa bed mattress and went about my life as best I could.

It's now three years later and I haven't had any vermin infestations, but I do think I have bedbugs.  I have bite marks on my arms every morning and I just saw a red bug under my sheets as I changed them.  Thankfully it was dead but I am terrified to take of the foam mattress cover's cover to investigate further.  Do you think it would be a good idea to sleep out in a tent all summer?  I'm willing to if it means not sharing my bed with bedbugs.

Or I could call an exterminator.

*That being said, please don't come over to my house right now.  I am looking around and thinking there is nothing normal about the huge mess my house is right now.  Give me a call and a day's notice before you come, lest you label me "fly lady's worst nightmare".

** Some people would get a new patio screen door to solve that problem.  We moved to a house that had a patio door that would latch when closed.

***All of you neat freaks who may be reading this, is it normal to do that as part of a cleaning schedule, or is my mom nuts?  I'm leaning towards the "my mom is nuts" option, but that my just be to make me feel better about never having done that unless someone was going to use it for sleeping.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Who Slits Her Wrists In A Cake Made Of Strawberry

My kids are watching a Strawberry Shortcake video right now (old school, not the new ones).  As the theme song was playing, a thought crossed my mind.  I wonder what the people who wrote and performed that song are doing right now? I wonder if this was all that their life amounted to, writing the theme song to a Strawberry Shortcake movie.  I wonder if the highest the performers climbed on the ladder of success was singing that theme song?  As a poetic gesture, I would drown myself in a tub full of strawberry daquaries were I them.

(Theme songs starts at about 1:55)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Whoa. That's deep.

I had another really interesting dream last night.  I can't remember it all, but here is what I remember....

I am on the Titanic.  (Yea, that Titanic.  Except there was no Jack, Rose or intense love story.  But there was an iceberg.)  Lucky for me, I was on first class. Unlucky for me, this all happened after the ship hit the iceberg.  I was at dinner with someone, I don't know who or why really, but he was a member of the crew and former military.  I guess the leak in the boat was so slow at this point and no one really thought it was going to sink that they decided to keep on as normal as possible.  Weird.  Anyway, during dinner the conversation turned to how one of the captains (or something) had slapped my dinner companion earlier that evening for something that did not involve my companion.  I was going on about the injustice of that action when some man at the table pointed out that "Isn't it his right to strike his subordinates?  If he thinks they have done wrong then they should be stricken."

My companion and myself were silent for a second then I leaned over and whispered in his ear "It's OK.  Tell him why he's wrong."  My companion then said "If you try to rule through fear, you get fearful men.  Fearful men do horrible thing out of their fear.  If you rule through justice, you get men of integrity."  After that I don't remember much except being cold.

Thanks to my narcolepsy, my dreams can be as deep as the ocean.  (Get it?  Aw, I am made of the funnies!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Premeditated Random Acts of Kindness (Or, why on earth do I think of these things? Please tell me I'm not the only one.)

Today I took the girls over to my mom's house to help decorate her Christmas tree.  While I was there, we had a really hefty snowfall.  I would say we got around 10cm or so.  I was not looking forward to coming home and shovelling out the driveway so, imagine my delight when I pulled up to the driveway and saw someone had snowblowed it!  YAY!  It was our neighbours.  It seems that I was the recipient of a Random Act of Kindness (RAK).

While I was shovelling the part of the driveway that's beside the house, I started to wonder; Was it really a Random Act of Kindness?  A true RAK to me is when someone decides spur-of-the-moment to do someone a kindness.  They had planned to go out and snowblow our driveway when it started snowing, so it was more of a Premeditated Random Act of Kindness.  But, does the Premeditation negate the Randomness of the Kindness?  If you decide in the morning you are going to pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you, the Act of Kindness is not Random to you, but it is Random to the person who in on the receiving end.  I have to admit, I am stumped as to whether those are PRAKs or RAKs or if those acts are both PRAKs and RAKs and it just depends on whether you are on the receiving end of the Act.

One thing I am sure of is the existence of AAKs (Accidental Acts of Kindness).  Like, when you are following a car and you both are going 10kph over the speed limit and the car in front of you is the one who gets pulled over.  That is an Accidental Act of Kindness although the person being pulled over may not see it as such.

So yes, these are the things that go through my head as I shovel snow. (That and for some reason the thought that I have overdue library books popped into my head.  I mean, why can't I think of that when I can actually go and return them?)

Monday, November 22, 2010

When life gives you lemons.

Forget lemonade, I'm making margaritas!  It has been a topsy turvy year for the Scott family (hence the lack of posting).  This summer, Kevin lost his job.  It was a stressful time, to be sure, but it turned out to be the best thing that happened to our family this year.

Yep, that's right.  Unemployment was the best thing that happened.  Kevin was working for a company on contract for over 18 months.  He worked his ass off for them and they let him go when he told them he wanted to be hired on full time.  You see, they didn't want to pay for his drugs.  After only five weeks of unemployment, Kevin found a better job that included benefits.  So, starting December 7th, we will no longer have to shell out the $600/month to keep Kevin alive.  So better pay, less of a commute, less physical and paid benefits.

I am cautiously optimistic about the future.

Alright, enough of that happy fun stuff.  Let's talk about what's important here....

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood is out!  I am dying to play this game but I can't afford it until after Christmas.  I held it in my hands and then I put it back on the shelf.  It almost killed me.  I may have to go rent it, send the kids off for the entire weekend and play nonstop for two days.  Likely to happen?  No.  No it's not.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2012 - I watched it and they did it all wrong

I'm not usually a person to tell another person when they're doing their job wrong. Especially when said job is something I know very little about.  But, everyone involved in the making of 2012 did it wrong.  (Except maybe the actors because I can't ever call John Cusack wrong.  swoon)*

SPOILER ALERT:  The premises of the movie, for the one person who has not seen it, is that the world is supposed to do some sort of shift of the poles in 2012 but it actually starts two years early.  This causes massive tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. So we get to see a bunch of people try to get to China where they are building ships (they call them Ark1, Ark2 etc.) for a few select people and animals to try to survive until the waters recede and they can make a go at it.  I lost count of the number of close calls there were with air planes taking off while the earth behind them disappeared.  I mean, as far as action movies go, I say meh.  I didn't expect any more from the guy who gave us Independence Day, though, so I wasn't disappointed.

The whole story that took place should have been told in twenty minutes to half an hour.  The real story is not what happens when the earth crumbles, but what happens to the survivors.**  These ships were mostly inhabited by rich people and politicians.  The rich people and politicians no longer have power.  If they want to survive, they would need to be knocked down a peg or two (or three or four).  The world doesn't need rich people in a money-less society (I would argue that the world doesn't need rich people in general but there is some good done by the haves on behalf of the havenots, so I won't go there).  The world doesn't need politics in a communal society.  What they need are people who know how to build a hut.  They need botanists, they need zoologists, they need doctors, they need weavers, they need engineers, they need plumbers.  And they need people who will do what they're told.  When was the last time the congenitally rich (Paris Hilton, anyone?) or a politician was willing to do what they were told?  Wouldn't that be a fun story to watch?

The other thing they would need is children.  Lots and lots and lots of children.  They are the next generation and there wouldn't be a future at all without them.  They would need a lot of people in their peak breeding age as well as a lot who have not yet reached it.  This story didn't focus too much on the others on the boats so I have no idea if there were a lot of children and young adults on board, but wouldn't it be a fun story if they overlooked that?

When they considered who got to survive and who didn't, there was no clear cut criteria outlined for the viewer.  The only thing we get to know is that people were mostly selected because of their position in life and if someone funded the project, they got to go no questions asked.  I don't think this is entirely unfair (ugh, how capatilistic of me!) as the bulk of the Ark Project was funded with private money.  If you want the money, you have to give the donor what he wants in this kind of situation.  But, think about that for a moment.

Let's say Kevin and I are rich.  Like Sheik kind of rich.  We donate large sums of money to secure a place on the Ark.  Fine.  We benefit and so will thousands of others who get to go with us.  But Kevin can't live without his meds.  If he is not medicated, he will have seizures and that will cause the growth in his brain to bleed and that will kill him.  It would not be a question of if but of when it would happen. Will they still let him on in lieu of someone who is more likely to survive? Who will supply his medication?  Did they let diabetics on?  Did they let people with mental disorders like bipolar on?  Did they think about where people would get the meds they need once the world was in ruins?  Wouldn't that make a fun story if they overlooked that?

Next time, I fully expect to be involved in the creative process when an apocalyptic movie is being made.***

*Sorry Kevin but you know how I feel about John Cusack.

**ABC passed on an opportunity to make the aftermath of 2012 into a TV show.  I say boo on them.  If the show Lost did so well for them, I can't see why this wouldn't work (although I do admit that I have never watched an episode of Lost so I could be way off the mark with that one).  I could also see Matthew Fox as Jackson Curtis and he just may be looking for work. They don't even have to call it 2012.  They could call it Aftermath.  Please, ABC?  Please?  I'll bake you some cookies....

***One more thing they did wrong is they killed the floozy.  The floozy must always be punished for being a floozy and must not be allowed to live.  In this case she had a sugar daddy and was sleeping with the pilot, she must die.  She was one of the nicest characters in the movie.  Just once I would like to see the floozy live.  Another rule I would break is comedy relief.  It always comes before an intense scene.  I want to put it after.  Instead of Jackson backing into a Porsche and putting it into a newly formed crater and saying sorry to the owner before the intense drive through L.A., I would get them through L.A. without any comedic relief and then have a penguin randomly land inside the open door of the plane or something.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Buy Nothing Christmas

Yep, it's May and I'm talking Christmas. Crazy!

This year my family has decided to do a modified Buy Nothing Christmas. It's only May and already I feel less stressed about the holiday season this year.  I think that this whole idea has made me plan and think about what exactly I am going to do this year and that has helped me a lot. 

Like I said before, we are doing a modified version because the kids are each going to draw names for who to buy for.  They're making each other gifts but only buying for one.  That right there cuts down my Christmas budget by over half.  I don't like the idea of each of the girls only giving a present to one of her sisters and so they are to make something for all three of their sisters and buy for only one.  They are actually more excited about the idea of making presents than they are about going out and buying something.

Another way we have modified the idea of Buy Nothing Christmas is that we do actually have to buy the materials to make the presents. I have heard of some people doing this with just what they have on hand or what they find and reclaim.  We're not going to do that.  Here is what the girls have come up with, so far, to give each other.

Lilly is making books for everyone.  She is doing a comic for Madeleine staring the Rock Sisters (which are named variations of Lilly, Madeleine, Victoria and Rosemary) and P!NK (who is currently Madeleine's favourite singer).  Her and I are using the digital scrap book kits I have bought and making Victoria an Eye Spy book because Victoria loves those books.  She is making Rosemary a What Do You See book.  She will draw a picture (Lilly is an incredible artist) and ask things like "how many red balls do you see".

Madeleine is making Victoria and Rosemary felt boards.  Rosemary's will be of Peep and the Big Wide World and Victoria's is going to be all cats, her favourite animal.  She is going with my sister in law to a jewelry making session and is going to make Lilly some jewelry.

Victoria is "making" everyone aprons.  She has picked out the materials for everyone and I am doing the sewing.

Rosemary is "making" everyone stuffed animals of their favourite animal.  We will be going to get the materials for that as soon as I find all of the patterns.

The kids will love all of that!  I can't wait for them to open their presents and it's only May!

For our part, Kevin and I are buying one gift for each kid and making one.  Lilly and Madeleine are both getting used IPods, Victoria is getting used Lego and we're not quite sure about Rosemary yet but it will be something used.  We (and by we I mean me) are making Lilly and Madeleine quilts and Victoria and Rosemary are getting outfits - Rosemary's with a knitted vest and Victoria's with a crocheted hat.  Victoria is also getting an apron.

I wrote all of that out to show anyone who reads this (hi Kevin!) that it's not hard or depriving your kids to buy less and give less.  In fact, it's easier and it involves the kids more in the actual making of the gift.

Merry Christmas everyone!