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A Few Lessons Learnt

This post was originally published on WorldMomsBlog 07/14/15

Sometimes, being kind hearted can bite you in the butt, you know. I’m not advocating to notbe kind. But just be aware that sometimes, you get more than the satisfaction of having helped a cause. You get a nagging child who won’t let you be until you surrender.

I know the feeling too well because when I was a teenager, I was tasked with walking my dog in the evening. I used to live in a town, and before going to bed, my last job was to drag my old dog for a stroll. More often than not, I wouldn’t come back for a long time. So my worried father would rush outside, looking for me. I was never far, just down the road, standing outside of the building where homeless guys came to hang around. I’d be there with them, chatting. As soon as I’d spot my dad, I would ask him if they could come and sleep at home. Invariably, my dad would smile, and say, “Maybe not tonight.” Then he would lecture me about how we couldn’t invite strangers that we meet in the street to come and stay at our home. I really couldn’t see why not.

As history has a funny way of repeating itself, the other day, I took my three kids to give a helping hand to charitable organizations that had conglomerated together for the day. My daughter wrote Valentine Cards for veterans. (So if you got something with Elsa on it, you know where it came from.) My sons decided to make toys for sheltered animals. Awww, so sweet. I helped them make play balls for cats, and tug toy thingies for dogs. After a few hours, it was time to wrap up. I was looking for one of my sons, and spotted him talking with the lady from the animal shelter.

As soon as he saw me approaching, he started, “Mom, the lady says that if I really want to help animals, the best thing to do is to adopt them. I think we should. I really want to help.”

  • Me:  “No.”
  • My son:  “Oh come on, Mom. It would be such a nice thing to do.”
  • Me:  “Not a chance in the world. Absolutely not. No way. Never. Is that clear?”

The shelter lady was a bit taken aback by my dry, stroppy tone so she volunteered to help reach a compromise, “Well, maybe if you don’t want to adopt, you could be a foster family for some of our animals. That would be helpful as well.”

Normally, I am all about compromise. I think it shows social intelligence, respect for others and promotes a healthy atmosphere. But on that particular occasion, this is how I responded to compromising,

“Look, lady, what part of “Not a chance in the world. Absolutely not. No way. Never” was unclear to you? Come on boys, we have to go.” And I walked away, fuming.

I can definitely say that I achieved a few things on that day. Being a charitable soul was nowhere on the list of accomplishments though:

  1. My son has been calling me “mean” and “horrible” more times than I can count, so all in all, it was a great bonding moment.
  2. The shelter lady might have lost faith in the human race – I know I would have if I had met me!
  3. Even my pets look at me funny. They can sense I said a big, fat “no” to a potentially really fun time with pals.

This was my version of teaching empathy to my kids. Not sure how I am going to top that one next year.

Of course, I am exaggerating. We did go to the event and my son did nag me to get a dog, or ten. But we didn’t argue about it. Instead, we discussed how you should only commit yourself to what you can handle, and how it would be a lot worse to sign up for something and not assume the responsibilities in the long run. The big lesson was, “Think about the consequences of your choices”.

That day, I felt really proud of myself for tackling such a serious topic with tact, elegance and poise. Well done me! As I was leaving my son’s bedroom after kissing him good night, feeling like mother of the year, he chimed, “But Mom, when can we adopt a dog then?” Em…

How do you teach (seriously!) lessons about empathy and responsibility to your children?

jun06

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The Only Advise A Mom Needs . . .

And I’m not going to build up to it or create suspense. I’m just going to tell you right now:

Don’t, just don’t ever say anything positive involving your kids -unless you want things to go really wrong. It never works. Optimism is a crazy concept that often leads to drama. There, you have it!

Remember last time you said “Touch wood, my kids have never had any serious accident” and that same day, your ten year old fell off his bike and broke an arm? “Touch wood” doesn’t work. “Touch wood” is total baloney. Doesn’t matter if you eat the wood, it cannot override the curse against optimistic moms.

How about the time when you said, “We have been lucky this winter, nobody got sick” and the next day, your three kids were in bed with the flu?

Every time I go to my doctor, he asks me, “So, how is the family? Everybody okay?” I never answer “Yes”. I know better. He’s just trying to get business. Because if I go, “Yeah, everyone’s great”, then shabam! We are all in his office for the next three weeks.

We can’t blame the kids. It’s not their doing. As much as they like winding us up and pushing our buttons, I don’t think they go around breaking limbs and catching virus just to drive us insane. Babies aren’t immune to it either. For example,  if you say, “I’m so happy my 12 week old baby sleeps through the night now!”, prepare a gallon of coffee, because you won’t be sleeping for a while . . .

In case you are an incorrigible optimist and think that you can use the same curse to jinx bad situations into good ones -in a reverse psychology type of twist, don’t bother. It doesn’t work. I tried it on my child who doesn’t like school. I thought if I admit to it when asked, it’s gonna jinx it and he’ll love school. Or at least just agree to go, which would have been a good result.  Instead, now my three kids refuse to get out of bed during the week. So well done me!

Just so you know, you would be wise to never say anything positive about your pets either. Pets are like kids, except they care even less. I was so proud after my cat understood the whole litter business that I blogged about it. Since that day, I have been wiping pee off the floor for well over a year now. The little monster does her business right next to her litter. It’s like she read my blog and thought, “I’ll show you, silly…”.

As for the dog, don’t even get me started! He rewarded my bragging about his clever mind by stepping on a half destroyed deck full of rusty nails, falling through, getting stuck and relying on me to pull his 100 pounds off to safety. Which I managed to do, I don’t know how. Once I got him out of his sticky situation, he ran straight back on the deck and did the exact same stupid stunt.

So let me just make this very clear: don’t ever say anything positive about kids or pets. It will come back and bite you in the butt. My only question is, what’s the story with husbands?

dog

Dog and kid, plotting . . .

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Cats Have No Heart. . . Literally

Don’t get the wrong impression about me. I love animals. All of them. Well, almost. I don’t like mosquitoes, but who does? I don’t like little buzzy things that land in my food either. They never used to bother me until I saw this TV show about flies: When they land in your food, they puke in it. The idea is that they’re supposed to eat their vomit back before they fly away to puke into somebody else’s meal. Except, when you waive them out of your plate, you don’t know at what stage of their hopping-eating-puking process they are. Wait too long and they’ll puke in your plate, but waive them away too early and they won’t have finished eating their vomit. So with that, I never eat outside anymore, and neither will you! I’m not too keen on little crawling things either. Or big for that matter.

Generally speaking, anything small creeps me out because they always spook me. Anything big scares the living daylights out of me. Other than that, I LOVE animals, they just have to be middle size, not flying, not crawling, and obvious about when they are finished eating their vomit back. So it leaves me with dogs and cats. I have one of each.

I am a dog lover, although admittedly, the dogs I love the most are the ones that don’t live in my house. The mess, the smell, the dirty paws, grrr. But I love mine so much I put up with it.

I am not a great cat lover, mostly because my cat hates me so I feel a little scorned. I could never work out why Athena doesn’t like me. I am nice to her, I feed her, I sit on the floor and try to play with her. That’s more than my kids can say! Despite that, she couldn’t care less. Admittedly, she despises everybody in the house more than she despises me. I am the one she hates the least, so that’s a compliment I guess.

Still, I couldn’t understand why my cat has such a heart of stone. Well, now I know! I came across a picture of the dog’s anatomy and one of the cat’s one. Here is the dog,

dog

You can clearly see his organs, everything in there. It’s gross but it’s science, people!

 

 

 

 

Now, here is the anatomy of a cat…

cat

 

See! No heart.  Nothing. Just bones, claws and piercing eyes.

 

I knew there was something more to this than just not liking me.

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The Scientific Side Of Motherhood

This post was originally published on Worldmomsblog on 8th April 2015

Science can explain everything in a mom’s life. All that nerdy mumbo jumbo is not just about the universe, or the evolution of mankind. Sure, it’s somewhat nice that we are able to send shuttles in space, produce electricity and retrace the origins of mankind. But the true use of science is for moms, to make sense of their day. And here are a few examples where you use science without even knowing it.

The theory of conservation of energy: Thanks to this amazing principle, you know that socks don’t just disappear in your washing machine, leaving you with an annoying pile of single socks. According to the said-theory, nothing disappears, or appears for that matter. So if you are missing socks, they are either stuck in your drain, tucked away behind the washing machine, or up some tee shirt’s sleeve. OR, a kid or pet ate it.

socks

The Just-In-Time theory: By far, my favorite thing in the world. It should be renamed with something more mommy-friendly, like, “How to never be late theory”. Don’t get the wrong idea about this though. I’m not going to teach you how to be on time. I’m just going to explain scientifically why you will always be late. In a nutshell, the Just-In-Time principle is this: If you need to take a train and you arrive 15 minutes early at the station, you are going to get a coffee and pick up a magazine. You’ll waste so much time that you’ll miss your train. For sure. Whereas if you arrive at the station with 20 seconds to spare, you’ll go straight to the platform and jump on the train.

So why are moms always late? Because if you still have five minutes before you need to leave your house, you are going to throw a load in the washing machine (maybe a load of single socks, who knows how crazy you are?), tidy up the kitchen, send one last email. Before you know it, ten minutes have passed. And now, you are five minutes late.

I know this too well because my morning routine used to look like this: I would get up a good two hours before the kids start school. This way, I had time to prepare a healthy breakfast, and while I was at it, I would plan dinner. Then I would do some washing, take a shower, wash my hair, try on five different outfits while the kids were getting ready. Then I would argue about what my daughter had chosen to wear, make HER try five different outfits, offer my kids such a wide choice of breakfast they needed a spreadsheet to keep up, make them brush their teeth, check they had everything in their bags and then we would be super late. But I have learned my “Just in time” lesson. Now, I get up two minutes before the bell is due to ring, throw the kids in the car in their PJs, no backpack, no lunch, and drive in my slippers and bathrobe. It’s not perfect, but we’re not late anymore! Yay! Thumbs up!

Minus times minus equals plus: Totally works. If your child does something wrong (minus) and lies about it (other minus), you’ll never know (perceived plus). If your son loses his phone (minus), and his school bus breaks down on the road (minus), you will run to the store and get him a new phone in a flash (plus, plus, big plus) even though you swore all the gods you knew that you would never buy him another phone.

It also works with minus times plus equals minus. Like if you are sick (minus), and want to sleep (BIG PLUS), you don’t stand a chance (minus). See! Science is a-ma-zing, moms!

The theory of inverted proportions: I am NOT too happy with this one. For example, why is it that the smaller the children, the more space they take in a bed? The more toys you buy them, the less they have? The more you tell them off, the less they listen? Why is it that more is always less, but less is never more?

I think it’s fair to conclude that science has been invented for moms. The only thing that doesn’t quite work is addition: one kid plus one kid does not equal twice the work, but more like 20 times the work. Unless we have the wrong angle on this whole addition business. Maybe we should look at it from the perspective of pre-schoolers: my daughter says that 2 and 2 equals 22, which given the above example, seems a lot more accurate a result than 4.

How about you? How do you make sense of your motherhood moments? Do you, like me, try to rationalize the impossible?

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Seven signs That Today’s Just Not A Good Day . . .

Do you ever wake up with the feeling that today is going to be a bad day, and are proven right within five minutes of stepping out of bed?

I do. I think I have a skill for smelling a c$@p day in my sleep. Not sure how I can use that newfound super power yet, but it’s a super power nonetheless.

The other day, I woke up, and somehow I knew I should stay in bed and let the next twelve hours pass. Tomorrow could only be better. But I didn’t follow my instinct and the following events unfolded:

  1. The cat was mad at me because I didn’t get up early enough to feed her – lazy me, I only rolled out of bed at 6am! That part is not different from any other morning, but what was a little original on that day, is that the furry monster had clawed my brand new Belgium linen covered bench. How did she know the fabric was so expensive is baffling me, but she knew. I could see it in her evil eyes that were saying, “That will teach you to buy Belgian linen covered anything”
  2. The same cat had peed next to her litter, because who knows? She’s just obnoxious and horrible so she can do that.
  3. Meanwhile, the dog had been busy searching through the trash can that someone must have left a tinsy bit open. He had emptied the entire content on the floor and dragged whatever he could to his crate, leaving a long trail of tomato soup and yogurt stains on the floor and rug.
  4. The coffee machine refused to work. I could have coffee if I wanted to, but in a powder form, with a spoon.
  5. As the school bus pulled in front of my house, my son was in his underwear, with no socks, trousers or shirt. He did have one shoe on though, so high five for effort! Because I couldn’t have coffee, I was completely numb to the situation, “Sure, honey, you can go to school like that, no one will notice”
  6. When I drove the other kids to school, I reversed into a trash can outside and drove all the way to school with trash attached to my rear bumper.
  7. After a long traumatic two hours of getting the kids kinda ready and at school – even though it might not have been the right school, I went upstairs for a well-deserved shower, where my lovely cat had left a nice present for me, in the form of a pile of puke. I was so fed up with that vile four legged devil! I called her to give her a piece of my mind. But she just turned around, lifted her tail to show me her butt, and went on to her next mischief . . .

At this point, frankly, even if the coffee machine had decided to make my coffee and deliver it to me, in bed, with a nice brunch tray, even if the invoices had decided to pay themselves, house to auto clean and kids to handle one another, nothing could bring a smile on my face. I was just done.

Maybe when I feel a day like this coming, I should not get out of bed anymore until somebody else steps into pee, puke, and dirty yogurt. Although I’m not even sure anybody else notices around here . . .

cat1 Evil cat, wanting to kill me

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One more Thanksgiving drawback

A few days ago, I blogged about Thanksgiving drawbacks. But I left one out, out of respect for the Thanksgiving spirit. I did not want to be responsible for clouding the niceness of the moment. After all, I moan about people being friendly only for the day. So I should show better behavior, and display my kind spirits for a little longer. But ten days after, I think I have done okay and now is my time to tell it like it is.

By and large, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Even though I complain about the cooking, the cleaning, but that’s nothing. NOTHING, compared to all the damage control we have to do after and for the next 364 days of the year.

Yes, I’ll admit that this time of year is NOT a good PR occasion for us. Not that we are holding ourselves to high standards. We are just trying to be normal, adjusted neighbors, supportive, friendly and respectful. Well, that is proving to be a bit harder than expected…

A few years back, we invited neighbors for the occasion, because it is nice to spend a lovely meal in good company, isn’t it? My husband had been cooking all morning, while I was doing nothing, probably blogging or reading majorly important tweets… So I had not noticed that the chef in my kitchen had shared a bottle of wine with the turkey – half a glass for the bird, the rest for him. I thought he was a little giggly, but it made sense, because Thanksgiving is the day to be happy!! Our guests arrived and we opened some more wine. Because it was Thanksgiving, so why not? A little while later, we sat down for dinner. It was a little chaotic with all the kids around. But once the trolls had stuffed their faces, they left us adults to enjoy a civilized conversation.

Finally! Adult time! Well behaved bunch of people sharing thoughts in an orderly and composed manner… I cannot quite remember what we were debating, but what I do remember is that my neighbor asked a question to my husband, who did not answer it. Huh?! What happened to “well behaved” and all that? I turned to my husband, hoping to give him THE LOOK and found him in his chair, SOUND ASLEEP!!! I kid you not. I mumbled some jumbo about cooking all morning and being tired, but truly, I just wished I could pretend I did not know the guy sitting next to me.

Once our guests were gone, I voiced my disappointment, in the form of, “OH MY GOSH, you are so embarrassing!! I cannot believe you fell asleep in a middle of a conversation! Are we THAT boring?! You have no shame! Blahblahblah….” But my husband is a very cool guy. And by that I mean, he does not care what I get all wound up with. So he got up, went on the sofa, switched the TV on and finished his nap…

Needless to say, we never invite anyone for Thanksgiving anymore. For the next few Thanksgivings, we went into hiding. I felt like we were not ready to face other humans with normal behaviors. We needed time. This year, we took a big risk: our other neighbor invited us to their house. So before we went, I did a few debriefing sessions with everybody:

– To the kids, NO: climbing on the furniture, getting up at the table, electronics at said table, violence of any form, verbal abuse among siblings, blood, loud behaviors. So in a nutshell, NO FUN.

– To my husband, NO: drinking anything other than tea, excessive eating that might lead to the need for a nap after dinner, watching TV that might lead to dozing off. Generally, no sitting down other than when absolutely necessary

I think we totally aced the day!! Well… we would have if we had not brought our dog who decided to pee on the neighbor’s carpet. Next year, I need to do a list of NO-NOs for Pepper as well….

 

pee  That’s after a thorough cleaning…

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Pets Who Talk…

I often wonder, if pets could talk, what would they tell us? But I think it is fair to say that most animals are perfectly able to express themselves without the use of human language. At least, when I look at my lot, I know exactly what’s going on in their head, and what would come out of their mouth if they could articulate words.  Which would be really freaky, and disturbing! Especially talking fish…

Speaking of fish, mine have fairly limited conversation skills. It goes something like, “Whatever, dude…” From the time I come to feed them in the morning, to when I switch their lamp off for the night. That’s all they say, “Whatever, dude…” Man! Fish are so boring you can’t even have a chat with them…

My dog, Pepper is great. He has so many stuff to talk about. First, when I come downstairs in the morning, he looks at me and his eyes say, “Nope, I was not sleeping on the sofa! Not me. Must have been the cat…” Even though the sofa is still warm, his hair is all over the cushion and the smell of dog is unavoidable… I am just wondering, does he think I am stupid?  Mmmm, better watch your mouth, Pepper…

Then he gets all excited because he wants to go outside. I can hear him ask, “Oh come on! Come in the garden with me and throw a stick or something! It will be fun!” Not a chance in the world, pal, I have not even had a coffee yet. When he comes back in, he sits quietly next to his bowl and waits until someone notices his miserable look, “I am very hungry. Can somebody feed me please?” I am sure Pepper would be very polite if he could speak. He just looks like that kind of well mannered dog… It is no wonder, he comes from a very posh lineage of blue blood. Had he not been adopted by us, he would probably drink his cup of tea with this pinky raised. I mean, his real last name is Sir Gallahad, not Pepper Nicoll, so yeah…. RESPECT!!!

Once he is finished with his food, he sits next to his bowl again, with the same starving look, just in case someone did not notice that he has already eaten and decides to feed him twice. He rarely gets away with it, but on occasions he does get two servings so that’s all well worth it.

I don’t have a camera but I know that when I take the kids to school, he spends his entire time trying to open the trash can – and succeeds on occasions, leaving a horrible mess on the floor. Sir Gallahad, rolling in the trash? Really? What would your ancestors say? Tsk, tsk, tsk…

He always looks terribly shocked when I tell him off for being a bad dog. The kitchen floor is covered with litter, he is the only one in the house, and still he does not understand how I guessed it was him. He definitely thinks I am totally stupid…

Then for the rest of the day, he either sleeps if he is by himself (probably on that same sofa that he is not allowed to climb on), or he sits on me with a look that says, “Give me a hug!”

When we go to bed, he looks at us from the bottom of the stairs, “Don’t worry, I won’t sleep on the sofa” and goes off to do exactly that within one minute. That’s Pepper. Nice, polite, calm. Total liar, but polite.

The cat is the opposite: in my face, rude, completely hysterical and far too honest for her own good..

At 6am sharp, she jumps on my head, with her back arched, her eyes wide open like she is going to eat me with them, and she claws my hair.  “FEED ME! FEED ME! FEED ME! NOW!!!!! HUNGRY! FEED ME!!” her face screams… And she won’t stop until I get up. When I eventually roll out of bed, she races in zigzags in front of me, like she is trying to trip me off, still chanting, “COME ON! FEED ME! FASTER!!!”. I usually don’t even have the time to put food in her bowl that she is pushing my hand out of the way with her nose so she can eat.

If I ever try to step out of the room to start my day, she jumps in front of me and claws my leg, “STAY HERE! STAY!! I AM NOT FINISHED. STAY!!” Yeah, sure, sweet little cat! I really don’t have anything better to do than watch you eat and swear at me between two mouthfuls, at 6am. Seriously! So I just ignore her and walk off. Which I shouldn’t do because that little deceiving mini-monster on four legs knows everything about revenge. If I don’t stay with her, I usually find a “puddle” next to her litter. Yes. That’s what she does. She pees NEXT to her litter, just to show me who’s the boss here. I swear, she is better at mind games than all of us put together…

When she is done with her evil morning deeds, she hides somewhere and every time somebody comes upstairs, she goes wild, “Who’s there? What d’you want? Get out of here!” If it just happens to be me, she goes on my favorite, most expensive chair and starts ripping the fabric off with her dinosaur claws. She looks straight into my eyes, “You can’t stop me!! See, I do whatever I want HA!” And she is right! There is nothing I can do to stop her. One day, I chased her off the chair so she went to attack my most valuable carpet. Athena knows her expensive furniture from the cheap stuff, you’ve got to give her that…

Not once does she look like she has anything nice to say! I bet you she probably swears as well, and for that reason, it’s probably best she can’t speak. That cat needs go be taught some manners, seriously!

And as I am wrapping up this post, I just noticed that she was sitting right next to me. I am afraid she might have read the content of this blog. Look at her saying, “You will be sorry for this, lady, you just wait and see…”

cat1

 

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Today is so gross!

Life can get boring. I AM NOT COMPLAINING!! I love boring! I live for boring, I crave uneventful days and having nothing to do. That’s my sole ambition in life: sit down and do nothing coz there is bugger all to do! So I am not going to complain about boring mornings. But you gotta admit, there isn’t much excitement to expect out of packing lunch, getting grumpy kids out of bed, fixing breakfast, shouting for shoes / coats / backpacks to find a taker, dragging kids into car and driving to school. Day in. Day out.

And although I am still not complaining – I swear, I am not!, some super powerful force must have misread that I was bored, and gave me a morning to remember…

It all started when I got up and felt something slushy under my feet. As I have not plugged the coffee machine next to my bed yet – but this is a very dear project of mine, I did not bother checking the floor and flopped half asleep down the stairs, leaving a trail of foot-shaped slimy prints behind me. Still on autopilot, I opened the house door to let my dog out. Surprisingly, the dog was in his basket and did not budge. Mmm, maybe he could do with a coffee as well… I don’t know about him but I surely needed to get some caffeine pumping in my system. So I made myself a nice cup and sat down to drink it, looking at my half asleep dog. As my body slowly started to wake up, I kept looking at my pet, thinking, “Something’s funny with him today”. Old guy was lying there, staring at me. He looked a little funny with his holes in his ears, like he could be wearing earrings… WHAT???? WHAT ARE THESE HOLES? OH MY GOD!! THE DOG HAS HOLES IN EACH EAR. AND OH MY!! HE IS COVERED IN BLOOD. OKAY, OKAY, OKAY, SOMETHING IS WRONG!!!

It took me a full five minutes before I spotted the holes, the blood and the generally strange feeling that something was off. Well, that surely woke me up better than any coffee. As I approached the basket, I realized that aside from the holes, the dog’s face was not bleeding. So that blood could not be his. And then, my brain neurons connected with yesterday’s memory of a groundhog lazing on our lawn. “Bloody dog had a fight with the groundhog!”

So I grabbed my shoes and started searching the garden frantically for an injured or dead groundhog. I surely did not want the kids to grab it, hug and kiss it and nurse it back to health. Better if I found it first. But no luck! Nothing. No groundhog in the garden. By then, I started to get angry with my dog for being, well, a dog! In the past, he had brought me rabbits, birds, anything that he could catch, and dropped them at my feet, waiting for his reward (which he received in the form of shouting and “get in your basket” angry look). But a groundhog, that was a first! Seriously, what was next? A deer in the kitchen? As I was making my way back to the house I started to panic, thinking there might be an injured groundhog roaming in my house. Well, yes there was! and I “ran” into it, all right! But as I screamed and shouted and totally freaked out, the thing did not move. Because it was no more. By then, I was furious at my dog for not only bringing an animal in the house, but killing it.

At least the mystery of the dog’s ears was solved…

As a responsible and composed adult who can think on her feet, I then dialed animal control to come and help with cleaning the mess. I did not want to touch that thing, dead or alive.

“I have a groundhog in my house, it’s an emergency. Please help!”

“OKay, calm down, Ma’am. Is it dead or alive?”

“Dead. I think. I don’t know. Please come”

“Then it’s not an emergency, you can take care of it yourself. Have a good day.”

WHAAATTTT!!!

It’s okay, it’s okay, I am a composed and responsible adult, whatever that means . So I did the only thing I knew: I screamed for my husband to come and “take care of it”. This was not exactly the kind of breakfast he expected, but he decided to get on with it to put an end to my hysteria. As he was “handling the package” and I was keeping at a safe distance of five miles, he shouted at me,

“OKay, I have some kind of bad news?”

How worse could it get? I did not understand.

“What is it?”

“Well, there is only half a groundhog here. The… erm… back part is missing!”

Ewwwww, so now we were searching for groundhog legs, somewhere in the house.

We did not find it. Chances are, the dog ate them for breakfast. But we did find out something: the stuff I had stepped into when I got up and dragged across the entire house floor was…. Cat puke.

And this blog is WHY I don’t want any more pets EVER.

Sorry, I cannot put a picture. Anything to do with this blog would be too gross…

 

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Efficiency 101: three life-changing golden tips

If you have been following my blog, you know that up until then, I have always been a little overwhelmed, late for everything, and generally pretty clueless. If you have not been following my blog, you missed out on an opportunity to feel great about yourself. But too late!!!! That was the old me. Now IN COMES THE NEW ME: organized, efficient, and such an expert that I am even going to give you some advice! I can hear the skeptics among my readers thinking, “How did she become such an expert overnight?”. Well, I would like to think that there was an organized-me trapped inside the body of an all-over-the-place mother. And now, she -the super tidy me, has been freed to express herself. Of course, I could also be suffering from a sudden case of full-of-myselfness, but that also makes good material for blogs, so who cares?

ANYWAY! Let’s just say that for whatever reason, I have discovered that I can be very very good at being efficient and it has changed my life… well, not quite yet, but I live in hope. So here are my three easy-to-follow tips that will help you save time and energy… But yet again, probably not!

Tip one: don’t listen to anything I say. I had these big plans to accomplish a million stuff a day now that all my kids are at school. However, getting dressed before lunchtime is still proving a challenge…. I think I might have been looking at this “getting ready in the morning” business completely from the wrong angle. Seeing many of you wearing clothes in the morning, I always thought it was a reasonably achievable target. But now I am starting to wonder, so I’ll just put the question out there, “are you sleeping with your clothes on?”

Tip two: Do not set up your office two floors away from where everything else is: bathroom, kitchen, trail of papers that you have left lying around for the past ten years. Because you’ll spend your day going up and down the stairs – good for exercising, but lousy for achieving anything.

My office is in my attic. I spent a lot of money and energy converting the space just so I could “hide away from everybody”. Well, I think I am just going to have to let everybody use the attic so I can work everywhere else… Because I must be doing one hundred trips a day up and down these stairs, and I am done!! So yesterday, I decided I was going to think this through: before I went up there in my dungeon, I piled up everything I needed:

computer – check

invoices – check

paper for the printer – check

paperwork for my books – check but note to self: why did I decide to store these in a binder??!!

coffee – check. Other note to self: this looks dangerous, Nadege, DON’T DO IT!

And up I went! Well, not only did I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – 900 dollars to be precise and now I need a new computer, but of course, I had also forgotten half of the invoices, and a pen (what kind of a person does not have a pen in an office? A disorganized one…). So I went back downstairs. Then up again. Then the phone rang. Argh…. ran downstairs to pick it up just as it hung up! Went back upstairs with the phone, but without my cell. Ran downstairs to get my cell. Where the heck is it? Searched the house like crazy, which implied a few more going up and down, only to find it where it ALWAYS is: in my handbag. Went back up, but guessed what? I had taken my pen downstairs to look for my phone (don’t ask…) and forgot it there, so ran down again. Grabbed the pen, but left the phone…. you get the picture. By the time I had gathered everything upstairs, I did not even want to sit at that bloody desk anymore, I was so frustrated! So my advice is to establish your office in the middle of the kitchen where everything is within a few steps…

Tip three: don’t have a cat. Cats are vicious. They are trained to climb over the neat pile of papers you have arranged by order of importance, or whatever freak piles you do to make yourself feel better. They stand bang in the middle of all these little piles and they WAG THEIR TAIL, until there is only one big lump of trash on the floor. They also invade your space without a care in the world. When my cat is not standing on my keyboard “typing”, this is where you can find her.

cat

And don’t you dare try and move her if you value your clothes and skin…

Dogs aren’t so bad. But if you insist on working two floors up, make sure the animal does not need to do some business in the middle of your very productive day.

When you look at it closely, being efficient is near impossible. Of course, there is always the possibility of giving up and live a blissful life of mess, being late, and ruled by cats…

 

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Blogcation three: If pets could talk…

I miss my pets, kind of, but I don’t want to admit it. When I found this post from last fall, it made me a little nostalgic. Hope you like it.

 

If pets could talk, what would they say? I look at mine and believe me, they are as able as humans to express how they feel, what they want, their likes and dislikes, etc…. They can’t say the words, but as far as I am concerned, they don’t really need to. I can hear them by looking at them…

The fish go something like, “Whatever, dude…” From the time I come to feed them in the morning, to when I switch their lamp off for the night. That’s all they say, “Whatever, dude…” Man! Fish are so boring you can’t even have a conversation with them…

Pepper is great. He has so many stuff to talk about. First, when I come downstairs in the morning, he looks at me and his eyes say, “Nope, I was not sleeping on the sofa! Not me. Must have been the cat…” Even though it is written all over his face that he was totally on the sofa. Cheeky dog! Then he gets all excited because he wants to go outside. I can hear him ask, “Oh come on! Come in the garden with me and throw a stick or something! It will be fun!” Not a chance in the world, pal, I have not even had a coffee yet. Then when he comes back in, he sits quietly next to his bowl and waits until someone notices his miserable look, “I am very hungry. Can somebody feed me please?” I am sure Pepper would be very polite if he could speak. He just looks like that kind of well mannered dog…

Once he is finished with his food, he sits next to his bowl again, with the same starving look, just in case someone did not notice that he has already eaten and decides to feed him twice. He rarely gets away with it, but on occasions (like tonight) he does get two servings so that’s all well worth it. Then for the rest of the day, he either sleeps if he is by himself (probably on that same sofa that he is not allowed to climb on), or he sits on me with a look that says, “Give me a hug!” And when we go to bed, he looks at us from the bottom of the stairs, “Don’t worry, I won’t sleep on the sofa” and goes off to do exactly that within one minute. That’s Pepper. Nice, polite, calm. Total liar, but polite.

The cat is the opposite: in my face, rude, completely hysterical and far too honest for her own good..

At 6am sharp, she jumps on my head, with her back arched, her eyes wide open like she is going to eat me with them, “FEED ME! FEED ME! FEED ME! NOW!!!!! HUNGRY! FEED ME!!” And she won’t stop until I get up. When I eventually roll out of bed, she races in zigzags in front of me, like she is trying to trip me off, still chanting, “COME ON! FEED ME! FASTER!!!”. I usually don’t even have the time to put food in her bowl that she is pushing me out of the way with her nose so she can eat. Then she goes and hides somewhere and every time somebody comes upstairs, she goes wild, “Who’s there? What d’you want? Get out of here!” If it just happens to be me, she goes on my favorite, most expensive chair and starts ripping the fabric off with her dinosaur claws. She looks straight into my eyes, “You can’t stop me!! See, I do whatever I want HA!” And she is right! There is nothing I can do to stop her. One day, I chased her off the chair so she went to attack my most valuable carpet. Athena knows her expensive furniture from the cheap stuff, you’ve got to give her that…

Not once does she look like she has anything nice to say! I bet you she probably swears as well, and for that reason, it’s probably best she can’t speak. That cat needs go be taught some manners, seriously!