Monday, 30 May 2016

Teach your kid not to be an A$$hole

It's feeling hot, hot, hot out these days. We've got a taste of summer in late spring. I love it, a bit humid but I'm not going to complain, just over 2 weeks ago there were flurries in the air. So sweaty is better than snow!

We spent most of the weekend in the hospital, well, I guess we were not in the hospital, but we were staying close enough to the hospital to go and see Big C's dad. 

He is doing much better now after his surgery. They moved him to the rehab ward late last week, but then told him he couldn't do anything because he hadn't been properly assessed. WTF? They want him up and going and strengthening everything, but now they are not going to let him move. He hadn't been assessed they said. I call B.S., everyone covering their collective ass so that no one gets in trouble. 

But the politics of healthcare are not a subject I even want to get into. Big C raised a bit of a stink on Saturday morning and at least his dad got a walker so he could get himself to the bathroom and get up to eat his meals and things so that was good. But I ask why you would move him to a rehab facility and then not offer any sort of rehab for almost 3 days, stupid system if you ask me.

Aside from that it was a good visit. Miss K enjoyed taking care of her poppa and generally found the hospital experience fascinating. We did some swimming at the hotel, some shopping for the hospital bound and kind of got away from it all while not really getting away from it all at the same time.

I did spot some stellar parenting while away as well. And by stellar, I mean not at all exemplary.

I've ranted before about the negligence and disregard a lot of people have for their kids and their behaviour but I've got 2 excellent examples of "why have kids if you aren't going to pay attention to them?"

The first was kind of a passive disregard. We were at the pool, and there was a lady dozing in a chair poolside. I give her credit for snoozing as the noise in the pool area was deafening. I thought nothing of it until I noticed a boy in the pool that could only be her son. He was not a great swimmer, but adequate and in all likelihood tall enough to touch bottom every where in the pool but would you not think you should keep an eye on them?

He did have a guardian over 16 years of age at the pool, but I guess the rules did not state they needed to stay awake. Very odd in my books.

The second annoyance was a larger group of children, I'm assuming 2 or 3 families staying together, were playing at the pool and by playing I mean being general idiots.

Every pool rule was pretty much broken by them and the general lack of consideration by the kids was a direct result of the lack of interest from the parental figures present. 

From what I could tell, the mom's were by the pool area sitting on lounge chairs and the dad's were outside, chatting and smoking with each other.

Again the parental figure of someone over 16 years of age was there, but there was not one of them really paying any attention to the kids.

We had kids playing in the shower that is supposed to be for all guests, spraying one another and basically using it as a splash pad. Two others were playing with a football that was disintegrating and causing all sorts of floating scum in the pool itself. The whole bunch of them were running, trying to throw one another in the pool and jumping into water that was at most 4 feet deep, in some instances only 3 feet deep.

The first couple things are basically just allowing your kids to be douche bags. And for that I'm sorry for society that you're letting them grow up that way. The latter is a safety issue. Any 4 year old who takes swimming lessons can tell you, no running by the pool, no horseplay, no jumping into water that is not a safe depth and so on.

But, my conclusion is some parents don't care. They don't care if their kid is an asshole, they don't care if they're doing something most would consider unsafe or inappropriate behaviour. They don't care enough to even get in the pool with the kid and show them what would be acceptable actions in a public situation.

I will say the kids were not total assholes, but their disregard of all the other patrons in the pool, told me their parents sure as hell didn't give a shit either.

There were 2 threats issued by one dad and one mom when the play got particularly boisterous, but they were largely ignored. The moms went back to chatting and drinking and the dads went back to being outside and smoking.

I just don't get it. Being an impolite moron as a kid is one thing, you don't have much of a chance if your parents teach you nothing. But being a negligent parent is another. I guess they don't care if their kid gets hurt or hurts someone else, its better to just sit back and let things happen.

At least none of the kids was stupid enough to be going in head first to the relatively shallow pool, but how long before one of the wrestling matches beside the pool dumped someone in the pool in the wrong way?

Thankfully it didn't happen, but it bothers the hell out of me. I'm not a perfect parent, I probably yell at my kid and lose my patience way too often. But I do teach her to be kind, considerate, follow the rules and most of all not be a douche bag.

Maybe its that sense of entitlement again. The kids think they're entitled to do whatever the hell they want and the parents think they can sit back and have adult time without having to take responsibility for their kids or teaching their kids appropriate behaviour.

But what do I know? 

Until next time…please teach your kids not to be assholes

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Kick some darkness

Spring is here for sure. And with less than a month until summer begins its starting to feel like it. Its hard to believe I'm contemplating putting the air conditioning on when we had snow just a scant 10 days ago, but such is reality.

Reality is, life is hard some times. All in all we're healthy and things are not at tragic proportions so we do count our blessings but the little things do start to add up.

The renovations are done in the previously flooded basement, so that is exciting, but now we've got to find all the replacement stuff for what we lost, so finding time to shop when the weather is good will be tough.

Big C was away all of last week for work, then had to pick up his dad from the airport as he was coming into the area for surgery. The surgery went well but his recovery has been less than smooth and its putting a strain on the whole household.

Miss K wonders why her dad isn't home most days, or why he has to go back to the hospital at a moments notice. She misses him terribly, and at times we cannot even Skype so she misses the connection even more.

Big C is tired of being away from home. He said he's been 50 nights in one particular hotel chain already this year. That does not count about half a dozen nights spent in other hotels. Right now he's spent a third of the year away from home by my estimation.

He is stressed about his dad, stressed about not being home, misses us all terribly but yet feels he needs to be with his dad. He's tired of sitting in the hospital, tired of travelling, tired of eating crappy meals at crappy times.

His dad is a stubborn patient and is making things difficult for Big C at times. Big C wants him to keep a positive attitude and see the bright side to everything, but is sometimes talking to an unwilling listener.

I'm holding down the fort at home, trying to get all the stuff done that needs to be and maybe just maybe squeaking in something I want to do from time to time. I'm managing, but sleep deprived and just plain tired of it all and longing for some normal days in the future.

As I've said in other posts I've got the utmost respect for those who parent/work/and manage household tasks all on their own all the time. It can really, really drag you down. 

I know at some point in time that my other half will return and there will be someone else to load the dishwasher or clean my kids ears or take the dog for a walk or cut the grass. But can you imagine if that person never was there? If you had to do it all day in and day out for the rest of your life? I might just go stark raving bonkers.

On top of all that fun stuff, we've got a dog that is confused as hell as to who is going to be home and when. My car decided that the rear brakes were going to not co-operate with me having a good week and generate a 800 dollar repair bill. We have persistent birds who wish to build nests where we do not want them and so on...

We have a vacation coming in 3 weeks that we're trying to book hotels for as we so desperately need to get away.

Like I said first world problems as we could have it so much worse, but how long before someone says something hurtful, how long before Miss K causes me to lose my shit over something minor? You just don't know and you deal with it as best you can.

We don't take much for granted these days, every hug, every hello or goodbye, every I love you has so much more meaning. 

To paraphrase the Barenaked Ladies, (or Bruce Cockburn if you remember that version) "nothing worth having comes without some sort of fight, you gotta kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight"

We're fighting, we know all this crazy stuff will come to an end. We are just not sure when. We want to train the dog some more, we'd like to get out golfing, we want to go boating, we have an endless list of things to do around the house, but at times life gets in the way.

And on some level, we say, let life get in the way…it means you are still alive and kicking. We're healthy for the most part, the bills are getting paid and we are safe and happy in our home, really what more could you ask for?

I would say an extra 8 hours sleep if I could have one wish, but aside from all our woes we are going to make it. They are temporary and we'll come out on the other side stronger and better than ever, maybe more tired, but we'll get there

Til next time…kick some darkness out of your life

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

All by herself

I think spring may be here now.

I spent most of the weekend without socks on, so that is a good sign. I did hear flurries in the forecast for the first part of next week, but I'm blocking that from my brain and refuse to process it right now.

The weekend rocked actually. It was shorts wearing temperatures. I did not wear shorts but most of the family did. The dog was  not overly impressed as he spent most of the time just wandering around panting as it was pretty toasty for April but I loved it.

We got some yard work done, had some social time as Big C's dad was visiting and basically put in a nice weekend. A welcome to spring weekend, a little work, a little play and a good time had by all.

Miss K had her bird friend home on the weekend to capture in a bunch of activities. Sam came home to see how things were at our house. Sam is not a real bird but a stuffed, looks a whole lot like the toucan from Fruit Loops fellow that stays with each SK kid for a week.

I believe it is the teachers way of capturing the kids in a scrapbook for her to keep and remember her students in the future. A fun way for the kids to do a little show and tell about what goes on in their lives outside school too.

Miss K was thrilled at the idea. And to her credit took on most of the project herself. Of course she needed someone to take the pictures with her and Sam in it. But she did come up with most of the ideas of where and what to do with Sam and we were relegated to the sidelines just a little bit. This gives me hope of future projects to come in school.

I printed out what pics we took and she took charge of arranging and placing them in the scrapbook. She taped the 4 corners with colourful tape and only needed help when some of it was not sticking well and we had to replace with another kind.

Last night she figured we should start work on the sentences describing what they were doing in each picture. She figured that since she could already spell Sam, that she could at least start them on her own.

She did great for a kid who is not yet 6, she asked about words she could not spell and I think I wrote on 3 of the pictures because she couldn't think of anything to write. So much better than doing it all for her. 

I could have made that scrapbook totally rock, I have the skills and tools to do it, but I didn't. I had the ability to print out pictures and I did, but the rest was up to her. Big C helped to replace the tape that wasn't sticking, and the rest was all her.

I could not have been prouder. Yup, she needed a bit of help, and with that I am always willing, but I did not straighten one picture, or correct one letter of what she wrote, it was her project and she did it.

Even better she has it done a full day before it needs to go back to school. Tonight we will not be rushing around trying to complete something in a hurry. Its done and ready to return, pressure off, whoohoo!

May all future projects go like this…I know, I know, wishful thinking…

Busy times coming up, date weekend for Big C and I in 3 days, retriever trials the following 2 weekends, fancy work dinner for me the weekend after that and then we're to the first long weekend of the summer season…May 2-4. Wow…this summer is going to fly…

Til next time, hope it is spring like where you are too

Thursday, 7 April 2016

When it rains, it pours

The saying is when it rains it pours. Well, last week when it rained it poured into our basement. Some April Fool's prank.

I'm guessing the air was pretty blue when Big C stepped into the 3 or 4 inches of water that was there on Friday morning. He was still pretty livid when I came back home after an appointment. He was mad because I didn't answer my cell phone, which I'd left in the car because of said appointment. 

Not sure why he was mad that I didn't pick up, it's not like there was anything I could have done anyway. The water was already there.

I bought new rubber boots a few weeks ago, I had no idea I would be wearing them in the house, in the basement, in water over my ankles.

Of course it was in the finished part of the basement. We have an old house, the original part is likely pushing 100 years. But some time ago, maybe 20 years, they added a new section to give more square footage to the place and the new basement is what flooded. It's also the part with carpet and laminate floor, or should I say was the place with carpet and laminate floor because that is not there any more.

Oh what a mess. But it could have been worse. We really didn't lose all that much, had we flooded the older basement it could have meant fridges, freezers, sporting equipment, hunting stuff and so on, so a few bits of older furniture ain't so bad.

It was not a cool April Fool's joke though. The sump pump never even came on thought the plumber. By the time he got to our place it was nearly 8 pm.(I guess there were many, many insurance claims that day), but we got a brand new much more reliable one now, and a battery back up coming this week as I don't really want to experience this again.

The house I grew up in always leaked when it rained, we'd even have an inch of water now and again in one of the low spots, but we knew it happened and nothing of value was ever down there. But this was something else again. I cannot imagine what its like to have that sort of flooding on your main level, like what happens in the south when they have hurricanes and such.

Crazy stuff. We had snow over the weekend too. Enough to put the plow back on the 4 wheeler. Enough with the April fools tricks already, we've had enough.

The basement is still drying out, they had to cut out drywall and let the outside walls dry too as it was still pretty damp down there after having the fans and dehumidifier going for 4 days. 

I still cannot believe it. I guess that is what you get when you put in cheap stuff, expect it to fail. The old owner of the house never spent much money on things and you can tell. Thankfully insurance will fix this one for us and get us back to the way it was.

I've had eggs a couple times this week and gotten a double yolk each time. I hope that means good luck is coming back our way…anything I've read says something about fertility… that would be scary wouldn't it??

Til next time…stay dry in all these April showers

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Things that go Trump in the night

I can honestly say I have very little interest in politics. I'm not saying I dislike the democratic process, I just really do not have any interest who is running for mayor, school board, premier, president, prime minister or whatever.

I do think my vote counts and I do make every attempt to be part of the democratic process. At times I even take interest in the issues at hand, but I really don't care over all. Is any one leader going to be better than another? Maybe, maybe not. Are they really going to carry through on what they promise? Maybe, maybe not.

Perhaps its skepticism on my part about how much one government can really do over the course of a term that leads me to this apathy, I really don't know. But I just don't really care or have any interest in following campaigns or platforms or running races or whatever you want to call it.

In all honesty, I usually pick a candidate on the likelihood that I would like to sit down and have a beer with them. Are their values parallel to mine, would they be able to talk about normal things like family and recreation and have a few laughs or would they always be "political"?

Right now we have a prime minister that I think I could possibly kick back on a Saturday afternoon and have something to talk about for a few hours over some munchies and beverages. Same goes for Obama in the USA. He seems like a pretty down to earth guy that would be interesting to hang out with. I'm not sure how much we have in common, but he seems like a person I would pick chat with if I had the chance.

There have been others over time that would have been interesting to hang with right from the local or club level on through to leaders of nations.

Where am I going with this? All eyes are on the USA right now and the race for nominations in the republican party, with a certain billion dollar mogul reality tv personality leading the way.

Scary stuff.

As a Canadian I always hate the US just a little bit, they're the bigger, stronger, more powerful neighbour that you just cannot match in so many ways so you resent them a little bit.

I've always said that there are a lot of Americans who are ignorant purely because they are American. They don't think they need to know anything about anyone else and are entitled to do what they want  and think the way they do because they are American.

I'm not saying everyone that resides in the US is this way, in fact it is probably a minority, but just as in elementary school there are a few bad apples that give the whole class a bad name.

American's get a bad rap in a lot of countries for this attitude of "my shit don't stink and there is nothing you can do about it"

They're going to be walking a fine line if a certain fellow named Trump gets the Republican nod for president.

He is exactly the pompous (and I don't mean his hair), arrogant, misogynistic asshole personality that everyone hates.

He is trying to preserve America he says. 

I haven't seen him speak, I haven't heard his message first hand, I know I shouldn't judge without "the seeing is believing" aspect. But how can anyone get behind this man?

The fear mongering and verbal assaults of anyone and everything should be a turn off for any reasonable person.

I just don't understand it. Are there Americans that are really that naive or dumb to think this man is the saving grace for the good old US of A. Dear Lord I hope not.

Being a neighbouring nation to the States I liken it to your neighbour having a tank or cannon in their back yard. They say you will be safe but who's to say when that weapon might get aimed your way and take you and your family out without warning.

I think Canada and Mexico feel this way, what is our neighbour going to be like if this guy gets into power. Should we just build a wall and keep the whole damn lot of them out at all times?

It's a weird scenario, one I hope never happens here. Politicians are not usually well liked, but there hasn't been one in a long time that I've disliked as much as this one. I definitely don't want to sit down and have beer and wings with him

All I can say is Go Hillary…:-)

Monday, 14 March 2016

Proud parenting moments

If you have read things here before you know that we've had our battles with Miss K and her swimming lessons. She loves the water and likes to be in the pool but is perplexed sometimes as to why she should need to take swimming lessons.

She uses the argument that when we're in the boat she's wearing a life jacket so that will keep her afloat. There is always the plea that she does not like or does not want to go to swimming lessons.

Our response is suck it up buttercup, you're going. We will not make you take a dance/karate/golf/ski/violin/chess/basket weaving lesson in your entire life. We will make you take swimming lessons.

It's a life skill and when you are around water as much as we are, absolutely 100% necessary. It's no wonder they've decided that "swim to survive" programs are a good thing in elementary school. You need to know what to do when faced with deep water.

I think we had a break through this weekend though. It was the final day of Miss K's swim class and she actually tried to do all the things the teacher asked by herself, which involved some very basic skills but she had to have her head/face in the water all the time and she did it.

She did not pass the level as there were about 3 things on the list that she had not done well enough to be moved on but she really really tried.

I was so proud of her, so was Big C and most important she was proud of herself.

We bought her goggles this session as she said the water bothered her eyes. With such a healthy dose of chlorine usually in the pool I could see her point. But we hoped it would boost her confidence to get her noggin in the water the way she needed to.

It took a bit but I think it might have been a stepping stone to what we saw this weekend.

She wasn't even too bummed that she didn't pass. She was impressed that she did so many things by herself and knew that she did better that day than most of the other days combined.

So much so we had to go swimming again on Sunday at the family swim. I would have much preferred to stay home and have a nap or do other things, but she was keen and wanted us all to go. She was fantastic. Instead of being whiny and negative when we wanted her to try things she threw herself into it wholeheartedly and did the best she could each and every time. 

I was frozen and had to go pee after about 5 minutes in the pool, but she was having so much fun and really doing well it was heartwarming to see, even if my teeth were chattering.

She has a long way to go before she can swim independently, but I think we just crossed the first big hurdle and from here on in, perhaps going to swimming lessons will be less " I don't want to go" and more "I wonder what I will be able to do this week"

Miss K is always a little anxious over new things and situations, but her confidence is building and it is such a treat to see. 

Til next time…I hope someone in your life can get over something that makes them anxious

Monday, 29 February 2016

Try teaching respect, courtesy and manners as a parent

When will people start taking responsibility for their own shit. And by shit I mostly mean their kids.

I've written before about integrity and taking ownership of what you do and being a grown up when you are over the age of 18 or so. But I'm talking about sucking it up and actually being a parent and being responsible for your kid and their actions.

What I'm seeing lately is a blatant negligence in the parenting department.

I don't mean the providing of basic needs like food, clothing and shelter, or even love and compassion. I am talking about the guidance and leading by example that seems so lacking in parents these days.

Lets take a couple of recent examples.

The first involved what I assume was a grandparent, but they're a parent to someone so we'll stretch the example a bit on the first one.

We went bowling on a Saturday afternoon at a large bowling centre and just about every lane was packed. We were sandwiched in between two large party groups. On one side a hockey team made of 11 and 12 year old boys. On the other a big group of 4 and 5 year olds for a birthday party.

Which do you think was the group that most made me question the parenting skills being displayed in today's society?

Not the group of pre-teen boys thats for sure.

We had a couple of youngsters from the latter group that continually walked into our lane, were over in our seats, were at our ball rack etc…

This is fine if we were done or were not bowling, but we were at the time. Having little folks running behind you or in front of you while bowling is a safety hazard not only for them but for us as well.

Miss K is slight in build and could have easily tripped over one of these little people had they got in her way. Big C or myself could very easily have hurt one of them had we stepped on them.

We told the children in question that they should look out or get back over with their own group a couple of times. They seemed to give the blank stare of "why are you talking to me" but usually complied.

I will note at this time that there was a number of parents and grandparents sitting back from the lanes that were supposedly supervising these children that made no effort to keep them in check.

By the 4th or 5th time that one of these little people made their way over into our space and Big C more loudly told them to back off, one of the "adults" overheard and took exception.

"Well, he's only 4, he doesn't know any better". To which my husband retorted, that our daughter is only 5 and we've taught her better.

I think the grandma summed it up. He doesn't know any better because all the adults are sitting on their ass oblivious to what their kids are doing and have provided no guidance as to what would be acceptable behaviour in a situation such as this.

I have no objections to kids having fun or being excited in a situation new to them like bowling. However when there a handful of adults just sitting idly by and not one of them is making an effort to corral or suggest to the offending parties what might be acceptable behaviour I call bullshit.

Get off your ass and teach your kids some decency, at the age of 3 and 4 they should be able to comprehend that they need to stay out of other peoples way. Not tough to do people, courtesy goes a long way.

I can guarantee that grandma would have been the first to be in our face if her precious little rugrat had been stepped on by Big C while he was bowling, but god forbid you keep the kid out of the way in the first place.

Case number two happened just this past weekend.

Big C was out at the barn and I had just let the dog out as it was a mild day and he wanted to survey the world of our backyard as he so often does.

About 5 minutes later I was talking to Miss K in the living room when I heard barking. It didn't sound like our dog, he usually lets out just one single bark at a time and this was successive barks.

I chalked it up to being the neighbours dog and carried on talking to Miss K. But the barking sounded weird and seemed to be coming from the opposite side of the house than our neighbours.

Our dog was indeed on that side of the house, but did not appear to be barking. Hmmm, this is odd I thought so I went to investigate.

I looked out our back french doors to see our dog at the end of his rope looking at something in the yard of the church beside us.

Aha, I'd found the source of the barking. Two young lads standing at the edge of our property (there is a small creek that separates us) and they were barking at our dog trying to get him to bark back.

The poor dog was just standing there wondering what on earth they were doing.

In retrospect I wish I'd grabbed the video camera before I slipped out onto the deck and told the little buggers to "knock it off".

Judging by the .35 seconds it took for them to turn tail and run away I knew that they knew their actions were in the wrong, but why were they there in the first place?

There are kids as young as 5 or 6 playing in that creek after church lets out and not a parent to be found. Granted these kids were older, but it's February, why are your kids playing in or near a creek anyway?

I would be willing to bet the parents have no idea what their kids are up to or even specifically where they are. They're inside socializing or working or doing whatever with not a notion what their kid is up to.

Still other people tell me of children in a group setting that have fallen and are crying and not one parent or caregiver responsible for that child is nearby. They instead leave it up to whomever to assist their child in a time of need.

Others mention children under the age of 4 left in a home while the parents are outside or otherwise occupied or worse yet sleeping and no one paying attention to them.

I don't suggest for one minute that you hover over your child 24/7, I'm not a helicopter parent and never intend to be. Miss K doesn't usually like to be left alone, but we encourage her to stretch her boundaries and be a bit less clingy. I don't want to smother or let her have free reign, a nice happy medium would suffice.

But I sure as hell know where my kid is or have a pretty good idea 99.9% of the time. And I'm sure most parents can distinguish their kids cry from all others so why not respond when you hear them?

I'm asking that you "parent" your child. Offer them guidance and suggestions on appropriate behaviour. Distinguish what boundaries are appropriate for their age and abilities. Be a role model not a "oh someone else will take care of it" person.

Grow a set and take on responsibility for your kids actions and behaviour. If they don't learn it from you who the hell are they supposed to learn it from. Set a good example and maybe the kids will follow suit.

I know there are kids out there who will rebel no matter what you try to do or say. And I understand there are special and extenuating circumstances in a lot of cases. Those are not the people I'm trying to speak to.

I'm reaching out to the parents and caregivers of the children that I speak to like a parent and they give me the look of "why are you talking to me that way?"

I'm not a hard ass. I do however expect respect, manners and courtesy from everyone including children and I see many who are not taught or shown any of these things.

Its a sad day, when people want teachers, coaches and just about anyone but them to "parent" their children.

Til next time…teach your kid to hold a door for someone else, it might go a long way