Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “Real Life”

Are We All a Bunch of Braggarts?

Check out this awesome article at the Wall Street Journal about bragging and social media (like, maybe, the Blogosphere would be included?)  Are We All Braggarts Now? –

As Elizabeth Bernstein writes,

Changes in parenting style also play a role. Nowadays, every moment—first day of school, exhausted nap in the back seat of the car—is documented. The problem is that these shared moments can easily come off as crowing about how great Mom and Dad are to have raised such an adorable kid.

We’ve become so accustomed to boasting that we don’t even realize what we’re doing. And it’s harmful to our relationships because it turns people off.

Read the rest here.  I remember 25 years ago, being told by an older co-worker to “never say anything negative.”

People don’t like downers, she said.  If you say something, make it positive.  If someone asks how your trip was, say it was great, even if you spent the entire time indoors eating Dorritos from the vending machine and making up dialogue with the TV turned down.

As for parenting, and as a parent blogger, you have to wonder how all this “look nice Luv, I want to put this picture on Facebook” is warping our kids minds and view of the world.  But is there a corollary of “suckitude bragging”?  You know, the folks that no matter how bad you’ve got it, they’ve got it one stroke worse?

Anyways.  I’ve got to fold laundry while standing on my un-vacuumed carpet while I gaze out the window at my no-longer-weeded garden.  I told the kids to get out their pj’s but they ignored me.

There.  I hope that made you feel better.


My House Has Told Me That We Need to Talk

I think our house wants to kick us in this region.

Yep, my house is starting to figure that something is up.  It’s noticed that I’ve been a bit more distracted lately.  That I’ve been stepping out for afternoons and coming back with empty boxes.  It’s tried to listen to my phone conversations and heard words like “possession” and “keys.”  But the lipstick on my collar was when a  guy walked through the house and shouted that with three guys and a truck it would be “easy to clean out.”  This house is no dummy — it’s figured out that we are leaving.

And it’s letting us know it’s displeasure.  This is no house to be easily scorned.  First, there was the tiny-tiniest rivulet of water from the door of the washing machine to the floor.  The repair man came.  He pronounced it a “non-specific leak” and told me to wipe my gasket.  But the house has other tricks up her sleeve.  The dishwasher has started making the strangest hum while running, yet isn’t sick enough for the fellow at South Appliance Repair, who was all too anxious to cash my $375 cheque just 18 months ago, to come out.  And somehow, the only bugs to come out of dormancy in this frozen wasteland I call home, have managed to die in the upstairs flush-mount light fixtures.  The ones I just washed 2 months ago.  The ones I guess I’m going to be washing again.

I’d bring home some flowers for the kitchen, but this house has upped its passive-agressive game, and now I know it would be a good $35 wasted.  As if to cover its eyes in horror, both light bulb on our porch blew at out at once, leaving our night-time coming and goings in darkness.  No cheery, bright welcomes anymore, just stumbling toward the keyhole by street lamp.  Then it brought out its big guns.  Friday morning I tried to open the door of our bathroom door and – nothing.  The lever handle had total ceased to engage the mechanism when you turn it on one direction.  In other words, a person could in a moment of er, urgency, find himself fumbling in futility as he tried to reach the fixtures on the other side of the door.

I realized that this was our house’s equivalent of hardball.  “Fine.  You want to leave?  Not until you clean up a bunch of carpet stains caused from some very small children with very large bladders.”

House, Baby.  I’ve avoided this conversation for way too long.  Yeah, we’re going, but you’ve got to know:  It’s us, not you.  Seriously.  Have you seen what a single bedroom with three girls packed in it looks like?  It ain’t pretty, unless you think being inside a room after a IED stuffed with nail polish, Barbie Dolls and used Kleenex has gone off is pretty.  And what about the time I nearly got hit by a bus putting the Baby in the truck?  In the rain?  WHEN I HAD A HEAD COLD?   Yeah, I’ve met someone new on a quiet street, but I only started looking because we’ve grown apart.  Or we’ve grown by three kids and have to part.  You get the picture.

Look, I know you’ll meet a new family real soon.  Yes, house I can guarantee it, because Transfer of Title is a legal document.  So buck up Sweetheart.  Us leaving is the best thing that could happen to you.

And please, please, please stop breaking things.  I promise I’ll buy you flowers.

Part III: Does Fate Make House Calls?

Housekeeping is back to normal around here!

When you last left this blog, I was just rushing my entire family out the door into a massive snowstorm so that another family and their Realtor, who were 30 minutes early I might add, could view our house that we were trying to sell.  (Part I and II of the Incredibly Funny Story of How We Sold Our House is detailed here.)   And when I say I was rushing the troops out I do mean solo.  My dear husband was trying to clear the layer of snow in the back alley, and as he walked back to the front yard, he was greeted with a convoy  of idling cars and all his kids sliding down the front steps with snow boots and open jackets.  Quelle surprise!

I flipped on the fireplace and dashed out.  As I shut the door I decided that I should leave it unlocked.  We had a keybox for the Realtors to use, and I knew they had been getting in since there was a card from the showing this morning, but it seemed to rude to just lock a door in someone’s face, so to speak.  I let the very affable fellow waiting on our side walk know, and climbed into our SUV as the other family climbed out of theirs.  Then we went for a 30 minute drive which considering the weather, was one of the most nerve-racking journeys I have ever been on, and will remain the subject of another blog.

As we swung back in front of our house, we saw the Realtor’s car pulling away.  Then a cell phone call!  Hopes rise!  It’s our Realtor!  Hopes soar!  She has a very important message from the other Realtor!  Hopes atmospheric!  She said that he couldn’t get the key to work, and he was concerned that our house was unlocked.  Hopes back to normal.

We went out to dinner at friends that night and everyone commiserated that our house would sell, just be patient.  They gave us pep talks and remembered how hard it was.  We drove home, and as I paid for diapers at the Shopper’s Drug Mart, my husband read the email on his iPhone with the Offer to Purchase attached.  After some back and forth on price we reached a deal.  By the time my Sweetheart picked up Sweetie Pie from her Guides’ sleepover, we had a sold our house.

The buyers’ Realtor was still really concerned about those keys, so much so that the wanted us to let him in for the home inspection, instead of relying on the keybox.  I thought this was overkill since it worked for other showings.  It must of been the bad weather causing problems with the lock.  But for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I’m willing to humour someone.

Friday morning he arrived, opened the keybox and pulled out the keys that I saw our Realtor put in — same tag, same key.  And then I watched as he put them into the lock, and nothing happened.  The lock would not turn.  I tried and the entire mechanism totally jammed.  I compared them to the key that I have used nearly everyday for 6 years and they were exactly the same.  I tried another set of keys that I had cut at the same time and they worked perfectly.    And it dawned on me then:

That if they hadn’t all shown up 30 minutes early in a snowstorm, and I hadn’t left the door unlocked, they probably wouldn’t have bought this house.

So, here’s the $64,000 question:  Fate or coincidence?  Were they destined to buy this house, or just the first of a string of potential buyers?  Were we having good luck, or was some sort of intervention at work?

I’m afraid I’ll never know.  But I am glad that I don’t have to shout at the kids for disturbing my throw cushion vignette.  And I hope I never again am forced to ask someone for help retrieving my pants.

Why Introverts Don’t Have Lots of Kids

Just a nice quiet day around here

I am an Introvert.  I prefer to think things through, to have deep one-on-one conversations, to really delve into the philosophy of something rather than just skimming the surface of a lot of topics.  And sometimes my kids make me feel like I have a ringing alarm clock strapped to my head.

I am reading (or trying to at least) a fascinating book by Susan Cain called Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.  In it she discusses fascinating research into personality and neurology, that aims to figure out why some of us draw our energy from being outgoing and interacting with others, while others (like myself, my husband and a bunch of the kids) draw their energy from being solitary and really thinking deeply about things.  Breadth versus depth, warrior commanders versus philosopher kings, you get the idea.

So a book like this is right up my alley.  Each page is more fascinating than the last. Until I actually tried to steal a few quiet minutes to read it.  As I bent my head over the page…..


Baby started screaming and hysterically laughing, while banging the side of the tub.  Yes, I was trying to read a few pages as I sat next to Art Girl and Baby in the bathtub.  Art Girl’s new Allergist recommended daily baths to help her eczema.   (By daily, he meant up to three times daily.  It’s hard enough for me to remember to remind her to brush her teeth, so I am really hoping that her skin is dramatically improved by her trips of the Upstairs Main Bath Spa.)

Art Girl was oblivious to all this.  She was busy squirting water with a latex rubber octopus all over the floor and walls.

“Mom, look!  The Octopus has to go to the doctor!”

At this she piled poor, sickly Octopus into a floating bucket (why is that in there?) filled it with water and proceeded to dump it all over Baby’s head.

Baby is not amused.  She now starts crying while trying to climb out of the tub, splashing water and furiously clutching for my dear, neglected book that I am holding over my head as I try to find a place that hasn’t been covered with 3mm of water from all the flaying and squirting.

“Stop it!  Hold on!  Wait a sec!” I cry.  Then….

“Ring. Ring. Mommy.  Ring. Ring. Mommy.”

I grit my teeth at another interruption.  Princess, who was banished from the bathroom 2 minutes ago for encouraging Baby to climb out of the tub, is back.  She is standing on the other side of the closed bathroom door, calling me on her imaginary cell phone, which is really her fist put up to her ear.  For some reason, this always compels me to put my fist to my ear and answer her.

“Yes, Mommy here.  I’m really busy and I have to call you back.”

No!! You don’t know who this is yet, Mommy.  We have to start over.  Ring. Ring. Mommy….”

“Helllo-who-is-this?” I interrupt trying to answer my hand while towelling a wriggling 10 month old with the other.

“Hi, Mommy. It’s me. I’m sending you a letter. Are you having a nice day?”

“Yeah.  It’s great.  Bye”  I say in my “I don’t want to be remembered as the 21st Century’s Mommy Dearest” fake nice voice.  By now, Baby is dry and I am wrestling her into a diaper, and then sleeper.  I open the door and ask the nearest older girl to play with for 5 minutes while I help Art Girl with all her medicated creams and ointments.  As I walk past my book, my dear abandoned book, it reminds me of the deep thoughts I was going to have.  Something about personality and kids and….

Knock.  Knock.  Knock.  “Mail delivery for Mommy!  Mail delivery for…YOU SQUIRTED WATER ALL OVER MY LETTER!!  MOMMMY!!”

One day I’ll finish that book.  It will be a good day, a very good day.

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