Friday, August 31, 2007

More gratitude

I'm thankful for:
oatmeal~milk~fresh air~my mom~the colour red~my new car~locks on doors, especially when one's husband is gone at night for 180 nights in a row~the feeling after both boys are in bed for the night and PEACE descends~buttercups~clear blue sky~tea~my water pillow~peanut butter~peaches~sunsets~grace~cats~water: creeks, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, oceans, tidal pools, puddles, from the faucet, and to drink but NOT falling from the sky in little droplets~too many wonderful people to count~a job I love~my house, comfy and pretty, with a yard and lots of windows~Matthew's jokes~a church that makes me food and prays for me~coworkers who let me sleep~tulips~hanging baskets~my worm composting bin~the colour green~stories~kalamalka lake~manning park~history~clouds~storms without lightning~cuddles~good movies~giacometti, my favourite artist who made fantastic bronze sculptures, my favourite of which I saw in a smithsonian museum in Washington, DC~kids' day at the Vancouver Art Gallery (the 3rd Sunday of every month)~snow~adventure~Matthew's birth mom for the sweetest gift on this earth~my body for carrying and feeding the miracle of Ayden~the meeting places of ocean and earth, sometimes sandy, sometimes rocky, and always breathtaking~pumpkins~cranberries~a good surprise~a well though gift ~weddings ~baptisms~fireplaces~springtime~silence~love

Compliment

I'm at work today. I have a few things I'd like to blog about, and then I'll get to the 'compliment' part of this post...
Yesterday was wonderful. We spent a good three hours at the water park, we ate, we played, we bought ice cream from the ice cream truck whose driver oh, so brilliantly decided to stop by the water park on his travels and made a killing, I'm sure, we laughed, and we cuddled. I made a fantastic dinner!!! Wow, lookit me! I made salmon and roasted vegetables, couscous, and some fresh veggies because I know the boys won't touch my roasted stuff. So yummy. The boys even ate some of it. A dinner is a 100% success if I like it AND the boys eat some of it!
After supper I had to shower both of them and get them in their jammies before I took them to their grandparents' place for overnight. I then went to this carefree chef cooking night with a bunch of my girlfriends, and I tell you, I have found THE WAY when it comes to cooking and working and family! You pay around $30 per meal (feeds six adults), preorder your meals, and get together a group of friends for an evening. The carefree chef company does the shopping, slicing, dicing, setup, cleanup, and dishes, and you just go around from station to station putting together the ingredients for great meals. Since one meal feeds six adults, I split each meal into two containers and am able to feed the three of us twice from each meal. Wowsers. I think the three best parts were: a night out with friends, a bunch of meals in my freezer, and the MEAL IDEAS that I would NEVER come up with on my own, being a cooking novice and hater. Like pork and apple kebabs, and thai mango currey chicken and stuff. It was fun. But boy, was I tired at the end of the day. I fell into bed at 11:30 and that was that.
So this a.m. I got up at 5:20 to get ready for work, got here, and FELL into bed. My dumbest coworker woke me up at 8 by playing some really annoying music so I switched rooms and fell back asleep. He later mentioned that I gave him the evil eye. I don't remember :) but I am famous for 'the look' so it could be that this was the case. I slept until 12:30 when our pager went off. So I'm scrambling around for my boots, my jacket, my stethescope, and my purse, and smoothing my out of control hair and running down the four flights of stairs in my ambulance station (Lions Bay is built on a cliff, baisically!) while my partner is patiently waiting in the ambulance. My coworkers have been very gracious with me since Brent left, and I'm very grateful for this. I've spent a lot more time sleeping while at work lately!! Now every one of you who is reading this is turning green because I can sleep on the job but let's remember I only made $8300 last year and that should help!! This next year should be better, paywise, because I now work in a busier area. Anyways, we did two calls in North Vancouver, a heart attack patient who I (being the attendant today~I much prefer that to driving!!! But we take turns) gave some drugs and did a full assesment on, and attempted an IV but she had dissapearing veins so after a few tries I left that for the hospital. So the drugs are pumping and the siren is wailing and we're jumping red lights and she's rolling around in agonies of pain and sweating like crazy, so I used up all my adrenaline stores on her.
I'm not even finished handing her over at the hospital when dispatch calls us with another code 3 (meaning urgent) call, can we please clear, there is no one else, beg, beg, plead, plead, so we drop everything and run to the drug store where one of the pharmacist assistants is having a stroke. I must have found more adrenaline stores somewhere because there we are, hoofing it from the store to the hospital, IV running (hooray! First attempt, lookit me!!) oxygen flowing, sirens wailing, jumping red lights, me sweating and my patient looping the same question over and over, "Where am I? Where are you taking me? What happened?" and I would answer her and she would forget and ask me again in 20 seconds...her blood pressure was 210/128 (normal = 110/80 to 130/90) so I'm sure the blood was just spurting into her brain with every hearbeat. Often when the brain is injured it will automatically increase blood pressure in attempt to get oxygen to the brain tissue, so I'm not sure if it was a chicken before the egg or after the egg type of scenario.
I love my job.
To top it off, after my 2nd triage report the nurse says to me, "do you do something else? Like another job besides this?" I've been asked this before and it always throws me for a loop, like am I way off base in my report?? I said, "I'm a mom, that's my other job," and she said, "Really? You're so good I assumed you must be a nurse! Can you work here all the time please?"
:D
Hence the 'compliment' title to this post. That was nice to hear after sweating my brains out on two critical calls like that. I self evaluate at the end of each call and I forgot a few things but no call runs perfectly and they were minor things, so it was awesome to feel good about my work, and then to be praised by someone with a higher level of training on top of that. Awesome.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cute pix

Ayden planted a garden this spring, with just carrots. They are just big enough now to harvest them, and we had a big bowlful of carrots on Tuesday with dinner. It's great to see him get so excited about his carrots~and he will definately more willingly eat vegetables that grew in his garden! Here is a picture of the 'cutest' carrots which Ayden claimed were 'buddies who are hugging'




And here are some action shots from the water park today, where we spent a good three hours having an awesome day








And here are the boys after their haircuts today~so handsome!! They got the hairdresser to spike their hair into mohawks with gel when she was finished cutting



Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Goals, etc

Remember my modest goals for this week? I've found a new AHA in life: make modest goals. Forget motivational speakers. It's only Tuesday and I've achieved two of my three modest goals :P Today I made it to Costco (15 minutes before it opened, ironically) and despite FORGETTING MY LIST (fatal error in most cases) I remembered all but two items that I needed. Oatmeal and baking soda. Oatmeal can wait. I clean most of my house with baking soda, so that one I'll be going back for fairly soon, but I think we can limp through the next few days without it.
My other goal was to monitor my eating better. I did that today. This was actually slipping quite out of control~I discovered I have hypoglycemia this January and it has been a big AHA for me, as I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I got so angry sometimes? At nothing?! Well, it turns out it is not really me per se, but my body. It's hungry. It needs healthy food every three hours during the day, and first thing in the morning. This SOUNDS easy but with two munchkins it is actually quite difficult, as three hours goes by and I start to feel queasy and faint, and I think to myself, "why do I feel this way? I just ate five minutes ago," and then realize it has been three hours. And if I am stressed at all, or if I exercise, or definately if I cry, this window shrinks to two or two and a half hours. Guess what? I cry a little more now that Brent has gone, and I have less time to pay attention to myself, so on Friday I got pretty low twice, Saturday three times, and Sunday four times. Once takes all day to recover from so you can imagine where four takes me!!
Today was much, much better. I ate every three hours. In fact, I just finished my pre bedtime snack, a wicious peach. Isn't peach season wonderful? I kind of wish I could just function with an IV drip of glucose in my arm all day so I didn't have to worry about eating.
Tonight I made a fantastic meal with all four food groups and something everyone likes. I made this curried vegetable stew thing that is my signature dish (which the boys won't touch), garlic rosemary chicken (lookit me, I cooked MEAT), and couscous. And milk to drink. Pat, pat (on the back). I still hate cooking, but it was almost worth the effort to sit down and eat this meal, yummy! I also discovered soft goat cheese at costco for quite a reasonable price: that is now going on every salad I eat from this day forward. I didn't eat that at dinner tonight but it is in the fridge waiting for my lunch bag tomorrow.

Here's the agenda tomorrow:
4:40 wake up, shower, eat, pack lunch, get dressed.
5:10 put boys in car and head for my in-laws' place
5:40 arrive and drop boys off at in-laws'
5:45 leave for work
7:10 arrive at work (shift change 7:30~if I leave later than 5:45 traffic gets super heavy and I will be late)
7:30 am to 6:30 pm save a few lives, or not
6:30 leave work
7:45 arrive at in-laws' place to pick boys up
8:00 leave in-laws' place IF VERY LUCKY...this transition generally takes an hour but tomorrow I have evening plans so we should get on the road pronto...
8:30 arrive home, eat supper, put boys to bed, and visit with out of town friend who is sleeping at our house tomorrow night with her lovely son and pregnant belly

Anyone out there want to trade?
My mother in law might want to trade with you, too, as she has to feed, dress, and hustle the boys from her place to daycare and then get herself to work for 8:30. Then she has to pick them up from daycare at 5, feed them supper, get them in their jammies, and supervise them until I get home from work. I don't know what I'd do without her.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Thank you?

My friend tamie wrote a partial list of things she is thankful for on her blog. This was inspiring, and I hope she won't mind if I copy it. This is what she had to say about this partial list of hers:

"once you get started, it's very hard to stop. I recommend that the next time you feel blue, you just start listing all the things you're thankful for, the whole web that's holding you up and holding you together. Pretty soon you'll feel so much better, and you'll want to write a love letter to the whole wide world, the whole damn thing."

Here goes:
I'm thankful for
Family ~ sleep ~ dark, quiet nights with everyone sleeping ~ red and white ambulances ~ rotating red strobe lights in the darkness ~ traffic lights reflected on a wet road ~ pineapples ~ gut laughs ~ music ~ fresh road lines ~ friends ~ sleeping boys with their cheeks squished against the pillow or sheet, lips slightly pursed and breath quiet ~ farm sprinklers ~ the smell of cut grass ~ running ~ dancing ~ babies ~ pregnant bellies ~ worship time in church ~ sun after weeks of rain ~ swimming ~ chocolate ~ love ~ paint on a brush ~ chiropractic adjustments ~ little boy kisses ~ oil and vinegar with rosemary on salad ~ cilantro ~ meeting like minded people ~ education ~ reading ~ deep breaths ~ sleeping in ~ hot showers, especially after exercise ~ new countries ~ new languages ~ achieving difficult communication ~ a clean house ~ bodies ~ blood ~ muscles ~ nerves ~ art ~ grace ~ a beautiful photograph ~ hope ~ adoption ~ breastfeeding ~ the smell of soap ~ the art of healing ~ the art of listening ~ life

Goals this week

I have some modest goals this week:

I would like to go to Costco before it closes. Did you know it closes at 5 pm on Sundays? Did you know that Sunday is the only day this past week I was able to grocery shop? I almost shot a hole through the sliding garage door they use to close the entrance to Costco yesterday. Who closes at 5? Assholes. So I'll go on Tuesday before it closes. That is a goal. I have Tuesday off work so this should be possible.

I would like to eat every three hours so I don't get hypoglycemically crabby. I'm finding it difficult to remember to eat until it's too late and all logical problem solving and patience goes out the window.

I would like to learn how to tune my guitar.

Stay tuned for updates as to the completion or non of these modest goals :D

Friday, August 24, 2007

Music

I am not the world's most gifted singer. At all. But I love music! I love to sing, I played the violin from the age of four to the age of...well, the last time I played was at my friends Keli and Stu's wedding, three years ago, so that makes it to the age of 26. Violin is a difficult instrument, and it takes too much time to keep up the skill of playing it for it to be practical for my life. I could invest time into it, but I'd rather invest my time in painting or camping or journalling or something. My children, of course, but I mean the extra time outside of parenting that I have to invest in extra stuff.
But I miss music, and the rich soundtrack it adds to one's life. I have been playing with the idea of teaching myself to play the guitar while Brent is gone? We have a guitar that used to belong to my mom in our master bedroom closet just waiting to be played. I have this beautiful picture in my mind of me playing the guitar and me, Ayden, and Matthew singing but that may be a rather funny romantic idea, knowing my boys. Ayden would likely LOVE to sing with me, but Matthew would probably rather hit something. Like the guitar. But maybe?? I have told you about my plan to read the Quran, and I have been (though I must confess I am enjoying my book of Rumi poetry much better and given the choice am prone to picking up Rumi instead of the Quran, which is rich in heritage and imagery, but also rather negative and didactic~fair enough, it is a holy text and not a songlike poem and as such less enjoyable to read cover to cover). I have found it to be incredibly interesting thus far, enlightening, and extremely exclusive: Allah is merciful and compassionate to his chosen followers, but vehemently rejects those who do not follow.
So here I am mentioning another idea, to learn to play the guitar so we can sing accompanied by my rudimentary strumming. So far I have not had much spare time for anything, but maybe soon things will settle in a bit and I can carve out some time to teach myself a new musical skill. Some of our busyness has been a result of summer holiday activities, like camping and visiting my parents, so once September rolls around we should settle a bit more into a routine, and perhaps I will have more time then for an occasional guitar lesson.

Thanks for your prayers

Keep the prayers coming! Thanks for your support...I'm trying hard to trust God but I've never had to be the 'sole' breadwinner for anyone but myself~ and back then it didn't matter if I ate just pasta for a week sometimes, or didn't drive for a few days because I had no gas $. Now I have other people to worry about. Keep praying!

Bittersweet

Last night we arrived home from Vernon around 9 p.m. My tasks included a ton and a half of laundry (of foremost importance was my work uniform for this a.m. ~ why, I ask you, are the 2 halves of my uniform, pants and shirt, so opposite in colour so I HAVE to do two separate loads of laundry to clean my entire uniform? White shirt, navy pants...I wish we had something more like the paramedics on Third Watch, who have navy and navy...white just SHOWS all the dirt and ink and grass stains :p yuck), bath, teeth brusing, bedtime stories, and bed for both boys, food for 3 fish and a cat, unloading the car, and prepping the house to be suitably tidy for a babysitter to dwell in it today. Oh yes, and sleep myself.
I was a bit harried.
Ayden stepped up and offered to feed the cat and fish. He then offered to clean up some toys (there is a sticker chart reward system here, this is not completely altruistic, but somewhat!). Then he astounded me by offering to take a shower by himself. He said, "I can wash myself, mommy! I know how to do it!" Which is actually true. So, I started the water so he didn't burn or freeze himself, and in he went. It is difficult to relinquish control of certain activities, including the washing of hair and body parts. What if he misses a part? Then I laughed at myself. Well, if he misses a part, at least it gets wet because it is a shower after all and all parts get wet in the shower. And then, no one dies if a part gets wet but not soaped.
So I resisted the temptation to interfere or nag, and I left him alone to have his shower. He showered, hopped out and got in his towel, and then brushed his teeth. All while I read Matthew stories.
Teeth brushing is another area that is difficult for me to let go of. What if he misses a tooth? But I snuck in and watched him for this part, and he didn't miss any teeth. He got all three surfaces of every back tooth, and both surfaces of the front teeth, top and bottom. I can't believe this is my baby muffin! It's wonderful that he has become so independant! It's so sad that he doesn't need me to do as much anymore! One of these days will be the last time I ever see him naked, which is weird in someone who grew in you, and whose every body part you washed and cared for and accepted with love for years. That body was yours, and it slowly becomes theirs. Bittersweet.
The fact that Ayden was able to shower himself and brush his own teeth helped my sanity so much, as I was able to multi task and do laundry, get Ayden clean, and put Matthew to bed simultaneously. My muffin. What a big helper!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pray?

I'm stressing out! Work has been so slow, and human resources has NOT called me about a full time position (which I'm close in line for), and I'm worried about money. If I can't make enough to pay the morgage and pay for preschool and daycare, not to mention food, what am I gonna do? I'm away from home 60-70 hours a week right now~ I CAN'T work any more hours than that! I just can't! It's hard enough on the boys when I work that amount. I'm trying to trust God but it sure is tough when it looks like I'm doing my bit but things are looking bleak over there in his bit...I keep hearing him tell me to trust him but for some reason I can't, just. So if you're the praying type, add me to your list!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Broken system

I know most of you have heard different versions of this same story before, but this one hits pretty hard, pretty close to home for me. There is a shortage of hospital beds in BC. There is a shortage of physical beds, a shortage of nurses, a shortage of physicians, and most of all a shortage of operating room time. There are operating rooms that sit empty and unused and specialists who sit in their offices, constrained by government restrictions on how many hours per week they can operate. Operations are expensive. Meanwhile, people sit on waiting lists for months and years for surgery. I waited 8 months for heart surgery (the first time) and ten months for heart surgery again (the second time). Brent waited 18 months for knee surgery.
Anyways, this is apparantly 'high' on the government's agenda. A focus, apparantly, shortening these waitlists. A quieter, less highlighted problem is the shortage of extended care beds in the province. If a person is of an age that they need to live in a care facility, they go on a wait list. In fact, I've seen physicians tell their families to call an ambulance for a loved one because they physician figures that if an elderly person is taking up an ER bed, extended care units will be more accomodating about finding a bed. If there is no bed, there is no bed, and the elderly person more often than not winds up for days in the emergency department until the family gets fed up and takes them home, or a bed opens up on a medical ward, wich is inappropriate because the person needs extended care, not medical care. Someone in ECU needs to die before a bed opens up.
If one is elderly and rich, finding extended care is not a problem, by the way. There are very nice pay as you go extended care facilities in this province. I'm spending my kids' inheritance on a nice one when I'm old. I'm dead serious.
Anyways, often when extended care beds open up, couples who have been married for long periods of time and who both need extended care, are split up. It is rare for two beds to be available at the same facility at the same time, and often the separation is not rectified afterwards, when beds DO open up.
Well early this morning in North Vancouver a sad version of this occurred. An elderly couple in their late 70s both needed to enter extended care, and the wife was palliative (meaning she was dying and needed care to die comfortably and with dignity). The province was unable to provide them with extended care in the same facility (you would think they could share a bed, or a bedroom, but they can't even share a building) so this couple was going to be split up.
Well, instead, they made a suicide pact and together jumped off the balcony of the 14th story of an apartment building in North Vancouver. This jump was approximately 135 feet. Needless to say, they did not survive.
Most of the time I don't post regarding the inevitable encounters with death that I have at work, but this one had to be spoken about. It is wrong to separate couples at the end of their lives, when they need more comfort than ever before, and have spent more time together than apart! Who wants to die alone? Suicide rates amongst the elderly are surprisingly high. Or not so surprising, given this type of situation. I had to speak out about this, if only on my blog.

Otter Lake whirlwind...and single parenthood...and goodbyes

Whew! What a week!! It feels like Brent just left an hour ago, and it has been an entire week already.
Tuesday I took the boys camping at Otter Lake, 1/2 hour outside of Princeton. Princeton is a teeny town where, incidentally, my parents met; as far as I remember it the story is that my dad, a teacher, was 'jumped' by some high school students and had to go to the hospital to get checked out and met my mom, Nurse Nancy. Who wouldn't be in hot pursuit of the sexy Nurse Nancy? They dated in Princeton, which was so small it had no restaurant fancy enough to wear anything other than jeans and some plaid hippie shirt to, and my dad had no phone so he used to leave my mom messages under her windshield wiper. And the rest is history.
Anyways, Otter Lake is our annual (this is our 2nd annual) summer camping destination and Ayden has been looking forward to this trip since last year when we got home. So, having asked around to find a replacement adult for Brent and failing to find one, I decided to take the boys myself. People were shocked. People at the campground admired me. I thought ???????????!! My mother took THREE kids between the ages of 4 and 10 all the way across Canada in a little Toyota Tercel in 1988, a six week trip: I can do two nights' camping in a provicial campground. :) And we did fine. It was a lot of work for me, but I was prepared for that.
Our drive up in my NEW CAR, a '95 Toyota Corolla which I am in love with (it only takes $30 to fill it up~ $35 if really on empty, and a tank lasts forever) was fun! I was RUNNING and SWEATING with my efforts to get us out the door Tuesday morning, and I had to turn around at Aldergrove to go back for our towels and ALL of Matthew's clothes, which I had forgotten in the upstairs hallway. But this was all in the name of fun, and I didn't have a time agenda per se, except that I wanted to get to Otter Lake before dark, so it was fine. In fact, I felt blessed that I had been 'reminded' seemingly out of the blue that I had left these articles at home and that we were still close enough to turn around and retrieve them. The boys were good as angels on the drive up; it is amazing how long two boys can entertain themselves with two small action figures, when they are in a good mood! It's doubly amazing how they can't when they are in a bad mood :) but such was not the case on Tuesday.
Past Princeton and halfway to Otter Lake is a tiny town called Coalmont with a 19th century hotel and a half a dozen houses which always intruiges me...
A few minutes past that is Tulameen, a cottage community with a general store and a few houses. It seems the main industry in Tulameen is firewood, since there are 'firewood for sale--cheep!' signs everywhere...
Ayden started shouting for joy, and Matthew echoing, as soon as Otter Lake was visible. We spent the afternoon on the beach, Ayden 'fishing' and Matthew trying desparately to drown himself, and then headed back to set up camp. Dinner was healthy and easy by design, with no cooking involved. Which was good. I'm a terrible cook. Which I lived up to the next morning when I attempted pancakes on our gas campstove. Brent always makes pancakes when we camp; I just wish I knew HOW! My first attempt was charred black (as we all know, campstoves have two temperatures~ too hot, and off). My second attempt was baisically deep fried. The boys wouldn't touch them. This turned out to be good, as I was sick as a dog for a few hours afterwards. Ah, cooking. Women are supposed to be able to do this? While I was trying to make pancakes I heard Ayden trying to convince Matthew to share a toy with him, and he reverted to "Matthew, I'm getting angry. One...two..." I about died with laughter, as this is Ayden's attempt at the time out countdown that I do to get HIM to behave!

Our second day was divided between the beach, the hammock, the nature trails, and our campfire, which was pleasant and relaxing despite me being solely in charge of two rascally, very dirty boys for 13 hours. Matthew did get a few time outs that evening as it is very difficult to remember NOT to touch the campstove or run near the campfire when one is excited. That night I read Matthew two stories and he was asleep by the middle of the second one, and I read 5 or 6 chapters of Charlotte's Web for Ayden, until our flashlights (all four of them) died and we had to go to sleep. Both nights I went to bed when the boys did and I think this was the key to my survival as both mornings the boys woke up at 6:30. The morning that we left Ayden woke me up at 5:50 with "TODAY IS OUR WUCKY DAY!!!! WE ARE GOING TAMPING TODAY!!! WAKE UP MOMMY!" so an 8:30 bedtime for mommy was warrented. This could be the key to my survival the whole time Brent is gone, although I can see this wearing thin as in this model I have no time alone during the day and I relish my time alone, what little I can spare.
So, my advice to any single parent who wants to take their children camping is, take extra batteries for all your flashlights, and go to bed at the same time as your children. And don't deep fry your pancakes. Oh, and if you have kids with 'strange toilet aversion syndrome' or worse, 'outhouse refusal syndrome,' bring a plastic potty with a removable seat, and some flushable baby wipes. This saved my life.

The following morning was departure day so I had to feed us, wash the dishes, and pack the entire campsite back into our Toyota Corolla sedan before 11 a.m. I did this with 20 minutes to spare. :) Power mommy! As we pulled away both boys were yelling, "BYE CAMPSITE, BYE BEACH, BYE LAKE, BYE ODDER WAKE, BYE ICE CREAM STORE, BYE CAMPFIRE, BYE FISH, BYE KAILIE (a neighbour's dog who loved to play with the kids), BYE TREES, BYE MOSQUITOS...."
To ease the pain of leaving Otter Lake I promised the boys a stop at Manning Park's sub-alpine meadows, which my friend Rob took me to MANY (okay, several) years ago and which I've always wanted to revisit to show my kids. I stopped in Princeton for lunch at A&W (not worth it, by the way; I think I'll stick to my trail mix and ham sandwiches from now on...greasy and I found a hair in my veggie burger) and Ayden started to wail that we were stopping and we weren't at the meadows yet! He's so funny. I had to explain that it was lunchtime now but the meadows were still an hour away, but the big, shiny tears just kept gathering on his lower eyelids until we were on the road again. Matthew was sleeping. Unfortunately my camera DIED at Manning Park so I got NO digital pictures of this Canadian God masterpiece~luckily I bought both boys disposable cameras for the trip and Matthew had 15 or 16 pictures left on his so I snapped some pix on those but it will be awhile before I can print, scan, and post them. Also, I am at work so will have to wait until I'm home and have computer time (not often syncronized these days) before I can post any pix of our Otter Lake camping trip. Rest assured, pictures are forthcoming.
The rest of our trip was uneventful until we hit Chilliwack, where there was dead standstill traffic which did not let up until we reached our exit in Langley. I don't recommend bumper to bumper traffic in a standard on a hot day with two crabby, stinky kids in the back. At one point though, we pulled over to pee and a train flew by~the conductor waved at the boys and it MADE their day, especially for Matthew, who stood there with his mouth open and his eyes flicking back and forth from car to car for the entire length of the train. He then talked about it for an hour afterwards!
I wanted to watch 'my show,' So You Think You Can Dance and it was on at 8, so I had dinner/bath/bedtime carefully planned for timing so I could be in front of the TV (and have the car unpacked) by 8. I started defrosting fish and unloading the car, and I had the boys busy with an activity so they would stay out of my way, when I encountered a COOKING PROBLEM. I couldn't light the barbeque. Seriously, am I THIS BAD? Apparantly so, as 5 minutes of work produced only one fireball and no lit barbeque. Instead of TURNING ON THE OVEN as any sane, rational woman would do, I thought "*f* this!" and took the boys to a restaurant instead. Encountering cooking problems generally sends me to restaurants. Of course, before we could go we had to shower off 3 days worth of dirt and sweat and sunscreen, so by the time we were at a table in Red Robin and ready to order, we were all hungry enough to eat the table! The waitress messed up my order and brought me a chicken quesedilla instead of a vegetarian. I hate chicken but I was so hungry I ate it anyways. The salad she brought me was gross, too, so I fed the boys the croutons and left the rest of it~AND paid for the entire meal instead of complaining, because I didn't have the energy.
And I missed So You Think You Can Dance after all. My friend asked her roomate to tape it for me and last night I sat down to watch it and discovered that the friend's roomate had taped an hour of those rainbow bars and that aweful noise that plays when a station is off air. So much for that! That's okay, it's only TV and I rarely get to watch the show anyways. I just like to see people dance. In fact, I subjected Rob to this show while he was here visiting in July and even he admitted the dancing was cool. Or something like that, since I was watching TV and not really listening to him.
:)
All told, the crazy stories were more funny than bad, and we had a rousingly successful camping trip.

Matthew kept asking me if daddy was going to be home soon; "Daddy home? Daddy home? Mommy, daddy home?" and last night when the boys pulled away from the curb in grandma's truck to spend two nights with her while I work, Ayden was wailing and holding out his arms for me...he hasn't cried when I leave for work since before we adopted Matthew, and never like that...I think daddy's absence is starting to sink in now that we are home again, and it is enough to rip my heart away from my chest to have to go to work when they need me. Tough goodbyes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

2 nights at Whistler in summertime...and airports...and jealousy

It has been awhile since I could sit down at the computer for any amount of time! It is strange to have my blog go un-updated for so many days! This week will be no better because I'm taking the boys camping to distract them from daddy's absence. This past week was a frantic flurry of 'to dos' and 'to remembers' and 'to packs' and 'to launders' ...Brent and I celebrated our 5th anniversary on Friday (so thankful we were able to spend this together before Brent left)!! What a lifetime we've packed into five years, and still it's always 'team Vose' with lots of softness and acceptance, and remarkably little conflict! I'm very thankful.
To celebrate we took off for 2 nights to Whistler, where we spent part of our honeymoon. We had tons of fun! We rented mountain bikes and bombed around some trails! I realized that although I have wanted to own a bicycle for years, it has actually been 9 YEARS since I rode one!! How time flies! It is true that once you learn to ride a bicycle you never forget, because I hopped on and didn't fall once. I had some scrapes from the pedals, and I was muddy from head to toe including glasses and hair because it had rained the night before. Brent avoided the puddles, but I relished them! Now I really need a bicycle. I had forgotten how fun it is to ride! I will include pix of our time in Whistler when I have a chance. We ate a TON of delicious, expensive food and enjoyed the scenery immensely. We had one 2 sentence spat regarding me watching Dr. Phil...what holiday is complete without a moment of petty spatting?! Don't worry, I put Brent in his place. Ha ha.
We returned Saturday morning to a messy house and the daunting task of getting Brent out the door in less than 18 hours with everything he may need for the next 6 months. This morning we woke earlier than the kids (novel!) to get things organized to leave by 7:00. We spent an hour at the airport, Ayden and I genuinely weepy and Matthew acting up a STORM wailing and flailing his body around, but really not that genuine. He's a drama queen. There was not a single real tear regarding Brent's departure, though there may have been one or two regarding the non sharing of candy. I mock him (lovingly), but he is simply too young to understand exactly what happened this morning! As far as he is concerned, next week is as far away as next year, and daddy has travelled for work before. Here's praying he will deal well with Brent's absence and not be shaken to his core as far as the security of his attachments...I pray he knows his daddy loves him and is coming back even though the wait seems interminable to his little two year old mind.
The boys enjoyed watching Brent's airplane arrive, unload, and load back up again, and they yelled and waved for a long, long time after Brent had gone through security! :)
It feels surreal to be alone. Christmas seems a lifetime away. A friend at church asked me, "So, when does Brent leave?" this morning, and I just started to cry. After that I was okay~I was generally worried I would be a weeping snotty mess in church since opening up to God generally brings up all that messiness, but I didn't want to quite open up that messily, that publicly, just yet. I held it together for the rest of the service.
Ayden had requested lunch at Tim Horton's so we pulled in there after church, where the boys promptly tag teamed me. Ayden's order: Yes bagel, no bagel, just donut, not allowed donut?, wailing, okay bagel with strawberry cream cheese. Matthew's order immediately following: No bagel, donut, donut, donut, WHY no donut?, wailing, donut, donut, donut?, okay bagel with srawberry cream cheese. Apple juice.
I bought a cinnamon bun for them to share for dessert.
Ayden's lunch conversation: No bagel, don't want bagel, hate bagels, didn't order bagel, only want cinnamon bun. Hate bagels. Want only water, apple juice, and cinnamon bun. WAILING. WAILING. WAILING. Finally mommy has had enough and takes him out to the car for a time out.
I come back from the car time out deal, and Matthew is pinching icing from the top of the cinnamon bun. Bagel untouched.
Matthew's lunch conversation: WHY bagel?, no bagel, yucky bagel, bun?, WHY NO BUN?!, NO! NO!
Ayden:
"MOMMY I HAVE TO GO PEE!!!" so we rush off to the bathroom, where he takes one look at the toilet and says, "No, I don't have to pee anymore."
So we go back to the table, where Matthew is again pinching icing from the cinnamon bun. Bagel still untouched.
Mommy's chili is stone cold by now, and mommy is sweating.
I finally convince Ayden to eat the cream cheese off his bagel and he quiets down.
Matthew:
"MOMMY, PEE!!!" I am not joking, all of this is true. Matthew at least does actually pee.
In the end, both boys eat 1/2 bagel and no cinnamon bun, because they are tired and want to go home. Guess what? I don't care. I throw the bun in the garbage and go home.
I would like to pride myself with the fact that NOT ONCE through this hour long tag team escapade did I raise my voice or get angry. I have my good moments!

As far as the "jealousy" part of my title, this one is for my friend Louise. To console me in my husbandless state, my friend bought me and her tickets to the LIVE TOUR OF SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! November 11th!! In Washington!!!!!!!!! They sold out in 2 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is me slightly excited to see a live version of my favourite show: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

This was a nice pick me up on a hard day.
Thank you Wyville!!

I appreciate your prayers and support! It really is miraculous how I've been carried thus far. xo.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

blessings

I was nervous about Brent's pending departure and its effect on my daily functioning. I worried (still worry...wishing for the Russian verb tense which expresses past action and continuing across the present to an indefinate time in the future, in a single word) about stressing and crying and flailing around for six months, crabbing at my kids and barely surviving. This is spectacular Melissa form. Stress=crabby mel. During my paramedic exams there was some hissing and growling. Maybe some yelling. :p
My friend Dana pointed out (speaking from experience, having been separated from her husband for three months at the end of her last pregnancy) that separation can have some advantages. There is growth potential, and time to invest in things you don't get around to when your spouse is there to hang out with. This is true! This conversation helped me change my perspective on Brent's time in Regina from something we need to endure to an opportunity for growth, self reliance, self examination, and wrapping myself up in God. Rarely do married couples have the opportunity to 'be apart' in a healthy manner for a extended period of time, so perhaps I can cull this experience for wealth, instead of merely wishing it didn't exist.
This week I have been praying for peace and strength, especially when I'm at home with my family. For Brent's sake I don't want to be weeping and falling apart, barely holding it together as he goes off to RCMP boot camp to get his ass kicked...he has problems of his own to worry about without stressing about whether or not I can handle our home, children, car, pets, and self without him here! Some healthy "I'll miss you," and some tears are certainly warrented but I just don't want to fall apart. Also, for my kids' sake I want to stay calm and strong. They need a soft, strong place to fall when they grieve for Brent and process his absence, without worrying about whether or not mommy can hold it together. To this effect I've been praying for peace.
Already I have felt peaceful to a degree I didn't think possible in the light of single motherhood. Praise God! I remember Matthew with his legs wrapped around my torso and his arms wrapped around my neck, rolling down the hill in White Rock; here I am, wrapping myself around God, looking forward to a time of solitude, with peace and joy as well as the giving and giving and giving that single mothers do. I'm overjoyed, and surprised by peace.

Rumi

The light that lights the eye is also the heart's light;
The eye's light proceeds from the Light of the heart,
But the light that lights the heart is the light of God,
Which is distinct from the light of reason and sense.
At night there is no light, and colours are not seen;
Hence we know what light is by its opposite, darkness.
At night no colours are visible, for light is lacking.
How can colours are visible, for light is lacking.
How can colour be the attribute of dark blackness?
Looking on light is the same as looking on colours;
Opposite shows up opposite, as a Frank a Negro.
The opposite of light shows what is light,
Hence colours too are known by their opposite.
God created pain and grief for this purpose,
To wit, to manifest happiness by its opposites.
Hidden things are manifested by their opposites;
But, as God has no opposite, He remains hidden.
God's light has no opposite in the range of creation
Whereby it may be manifested to view.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Letter to the Premier

Okay, so in May I wrote this letter to the Premier regarding working conditions for BCs paramedics. It was a good letter. It took me 3 weeks to write it, with several drafts and 4 or 5 peoples' input regarding editing, and I emailed it to the premier at the end of May. Near the end of June I recieved a reply, though not from the premier. It was from the COO of BC Ambulance, to whom it had been forwarded for the purposes of being answered. Her reply was thoroughly unsatisfactory, as she invalidated half of what I had addressed, and ignored the other half. I left the letter idea alone for awhile, but any of my coworkers who heard about the existance of 'the letter'~fast becoming infamous~ wanted to read it, and all of them encouraged me to not let it drop. Many of them offered to co-sign it if I wanted to pursue the idea.
So, I've hatched a plan. I can't offer all of my energies to this idea, but it's worth another shot! I have faxed a copy of the letter to my union and am requesting that it be read at the next annual ambulance paramedics union convention, which is to be held in Richmond the first weekend of October (which I plan to attend). I also plan on re-sending it to the premier's office with a request that it be read by the premier and not forwarded to other people~perhaps with some other signatures attached to it?
I'm not a political person, per se; but I think that some really wonderful people who happen to be paramedics are being very poorly treated by 'the system' that employs them, and I'm tired of it. What other profession pays so little to employees with professional training and an essential role in our society? Sometimes, I can't even believe I jump through the hoops I jump through at work, and most people who hear the details of my employment are very surprised anyone would want to do my job for so little compensation. Most health care workers who are willing to work in remote locations are paid extra, but paramedics are paid less. A LOT less. I think the system is designed to be like firefighting, where in rural communities volunteers carry pagers as they go about their normal life, and drop everything to respond if there is a fire. The problem inherent in this design being applied to paramedicine is that it takes a certain level of medical training to be a paramedic, above the level of a volunteer firefighter in a rural community, and this medical training costs upwards of $6000 and requires travelling to an urban centre where our training facilities exist. Once a person is hired as a paramedic, they must maintain their license with minimum requirements regarding 'patient contacts' and continuing medical education, again not available in small communities. The degree of medical training required and the continuing education and patient contact commitments are too difficult for a volunteer to maintain. As a result, most rural communities have VERY few local paramedics, so we are 'imported' as it were, but not financially compensated, as nurses and doctors in rural communities are. If it were possible to make a living as a paramedic in the province's rural communities, these rural locations would no longer have ambulance staffing problems. There are plenty of people who love to live in rural settings who would rather live and work there, but if they are paramedics they can't because it is not possible to make a living at it!
Not sure if anyone is still reading this.....
This is my rant for the day.....

Rumi

"Explanation by the tongue makes most things clear,
But love unexplained is clearer"

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Where have all the decent people gone?

Okay, the title of this post is definately overkill. So, my husband is leaving for six months starting August 12th. We're dealing, but this is tough. I just feel a little fragile sometimes. Yesterday was my third day off in a row, which was wonderful and during which I vowed not to think of work at all. I am very grateful to have the type of job where I can leave work and not think about it until the next time I return to it, because it suits me very well. Well, we decided after getting ready for the day that we would like to walk to the nearby water park, so we packed up the wagon with snacks, a sun umbrella, towels, and water, and off we went. It was VERY HOT and I was VERY SWEATY and Ayden kept screaming at Matthew for incredibly minor infractions, so here I was lugging both kids in the wagon at 27 degrees (which in the humidity feels like 35, I'll have you know) and hating their guts. Every mom has some moments where she severely dislikes her childrens' company, and this was one of those for me. Since I have stepped up my hours at work in anticipation of Brent's departure and the shifting of my role into primary breadwinner, I have been wanting to maximize the time I have with my boys. You know, be the calm, fun, happy mommy on the days we're together to ease the pain of being apart. See, the problem with this paradigm is that us mommys are human. I get overheated, overtired, overstimulated, and overcrabby sometimes, and it doesn't always happen while I'm at work! I load all this expectation on myself regarding 'how it's going to be' and how I'm going to make up for the negatives in my childrens' lives...though why I automatically think of me at work as a negative in their lives, I don't know. I know we miss each other, but they have fun at daycare and with their dad, and they know I'm here for them, so why exactly I'm assuming me going to work is negative I don't know?? It's not unusual for me to feel guilty about going to work, but if you asked my opinion I would say that families are as varied as snowflakes and 'all moms stay home is best' is a one-size-fits-all attitude that I disagree with. So why is it so hard for me to go to work? I feel like I'm cheating by doing both mommyhood and work, somehow.
Anyways, this exhausting walk in the hot sun with crabby kids was not going well. Once at the water park things improved a bit; it was smoking busy so I set up camp just outside the perimeter fence for the water park because I find crowds very overwhelming. I didn't need to add to the distress of my mental state at that particular point in time! It was a good choice. I cooled off in the shade of my sun umbrella and played with the boys. Unfortunately Matthew gets overwhelmed by crowds also, and has a passion for water, which ultimately leads to blatant misbehaviour at the water park. I caught him knee deep in the mini creek, throwing toys with all his muster at other children. Twice. Ohhhh, the second time the look on my face would have scared a tiger, I'm sure of it. What did Matthew do? He promptly held his breath and fainted on the grass. We had not even made it to the 'time out' spot yet, and here he is fainting on the grass (luckily not pissing his pants like he usually does when he faints, because he had gone pee in the bushes about 15 minutes previous to this). Who looks like the worst woman of the year when her kid faints? I do. More importantly, who feels like the worst woman of the year when her kid faints? Not only do I feel guilty, I feel MAD which makes me feel even guiltier. Seriously, is it worth a walk to the park? I'm hedging on no.
After a few hours at the park (Matthew's behaviour much improved after he woke up from his faint and completed his time out and had a cuddle from mommy) I packed the boys up and hiked up yet another hill to find us some sushi. Matthew fell asleep in the wagon and stayed asleep all through lunch (is it aweful that I was glad to save the money? Yes, it's aweful. I'm still glad to have saved money on sushi for a two year old) and all through the rest of the walk home. We then had an hour and a half in our backyard with the sprinkler and the wading pool which was WAY MORE FUN anyways!! Walking any distance in the dead of winter and in the dead of summer REALLY SUCKS. Can I be considered environmentally friendly if I drive my minivan the 2 km to the water park instead of walking? I compost. Does that help?
By the time Brent came home I was feeling better, but definately exhausted. So I went to IGA for a few items and for a few minutes of peace and quiet. As I was pulling out of my parking spot after my grocery shopping, NOT breaking any parking lot rules or ettiquite, some horrible lady in her air conditioned SUV called me a bitch. A bitch!!? ME?!! I didn't do anything wrong! I have my bitchy moments but I assure you I did not deserve the label in the parking lot of IGA yesterday evening. Nor did I need it. I pulled my stupid minivan (anyone want to buy a minivan? We're selling) over to the side of the road and started to cry. Who does that to someone else? What happened to common human decency? Manners? Kindness? Just because you feel bitchy doesn't mean you can pile YOUR BITCHINESS onto MY shoulders at the end of a long, hot day dragging a green wagon with 58 lbs of crabby little boy in it!! Normally I wouldn't let someone like that bother me, but yesterday I just couldn't dismiss it, you know? I'm trying my best as a human being and some days I could use a pat on the back, or an unexpected $500 or something, not a name calling. Ayden knows to treat people with more dignity and respect than that woman. If I were her, I'd be ashamed of myself for acting with such disregard for others, with such unkindness. Where have the decent people gone? Grotesque.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Departure Date

Brent leaves for RCMP training (known as 'depot') on Aug 12th. I'm glad it is not the 5th after all, because we have another week together and more time to prepare. Yikes! Hooray for Brent! We're sure going to miss him though. I'm sure Brent and I will learn to appreciate each others' annoying bits...maybe Brent will miss my farts, and I will miss his stealth bombing of objects in our house? Or is it called carpet bombing? I spend far more time cleaning up after him than I do after the kids...
I miss it already.