Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Saga Continues

So the webs around the house have been better. I'm only having to brush down my front door every other day now instead of every day so that counts right? I don't know if it's guilty conscience, ghosts of blasted spiders, or just that the weather has turned cooler but I see spiders. Everywhere. Like, Haley Joel "I see dead people", kind of everywhere.

Last night as I was getting ready for bed I glanced up and saw an enormous spider just above my head. Thankfully the ceiling is too high for me to reach so Hugh had to get out of bed to get it. I wasn't even going to watch, I was going to stay in the bathroom and brush my teeth and resolutely not watch. But of course, I had to look. I call this the Britney Spears Syndrome; you know it's going to be bad but you JUST. CAN'T. LOOK. AWAY. So Hugh grabs some toilet paper and crushes it and throws it into the toilet. Right before I have to pee.

As I stare down at the inert form I am faced with a dilemma. Do I flush that spider away and waste the water of an extra flush? Or do I trust that it's dead and pee on it. I think of worldwide water shortage and I sit down. And start panicking. I can't even pee because I'm so afraid that spider is going to come back to life bite my bum. It's like when you're a kid and are convinced a snake is in the outhouse waiting to bite your bum because some you knew knew someone, who knew someone, who heard that it happened to someone, at some camp, somewhere. As I start yelling this Hugh says, while killing himself laughing I might add, "Heather, dead spiders don't resurrect themselves. They don't come back to life. It just doesn't happen!"

Okay. In the interest of full confession I'll admit that I was being a bit melodramatic. I didn't really believe that the spider was going to come back to life, well not entirely anyway. I just had that outhouse/snake feeling and freaked myself out by yelling about it. Sometimes I can't resist the drama of a moment. I finally talk myself back down and am able to pee and as I stand up and turn to flush I glance into the bowl and THE SPIDER IS SWIMMING!!!!! ALL EIGHT LEGS ARE MOVING! I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING!

I know that's a lot of caps but MOTHER OF GOD THE SPIDER CAME BACK TO LIFE! You know how kids have that one scream that makes you drop everything and run with with all your adrenaline pumping. All of a sudden I was being held up by Hugh and he wasn't laughing. Well, not at first anyway. Hugh was hugging me and I was crying into his shoulder about the spider being alive, ALIVE! as in not dead! when I felt his body start to shake. I looked at him and he was laughing. I almost got eaten alive by a spider and he was laughing! As I glared at him he said, you are so going to blog about this aren't you. I SO AM.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I'll get you next time, Gadget...

The Ant Bully was on TV the other day so we PVR'd it to save it for a day that feels like Fall and staying indoors and making soup. However, since it is the 25th of September and at 34.6 degrees we are breaking 125 year old temperature records, I don't know how soon that day will come. So the kids watched it the other day during Sebastian's naptime and I caught bits and pieces of it while doing some puttering around the kitchen. Somehow a boy becomes a mini boy and has to find his inner ant as punishment for crimes against antdom or something like that. And then he realizes ants aren't all that bad, they have feelings too, and he tries to call off the exterminator he ordered but of course was unable to dial the phone due to his extreme smallness. I don't know how it ended because we had to shut it off just as the exterminator was firing up his Husqvarna, ant-sucker thing and going through his stash of poisons while laughing maniacally, but I imagine, since this is Disney or Pixar or something, that mini boy heroically saved the ant kingdom, gained a new respect for his teeny friends, regained his height and lived happily ever after grateful he discovered his inner ant. But I'm just guessing.

Movies about bugs don't really thrill me. I detest insects. I'm not even really much of an animal person. Little bitty kitties? Meh. Baby chicks and bunnies? Nice from a distance. Also, I don't care how much the dog in the window is; you know, the one with the waggly tail? And I certainly won't be bringing it home with me. Some of you are thinking right now that I obviously don't have a soul. I just really can't imagine adding another animal to the ravening pack already living in my house. And I don't just mean my kids.

We have been inundated by spiders this Fall. I mean, everyone is abandoning the sinking ship and we're dry ground, kind of inundated. It started a few weeks ago when I opened my front door and noticed the top half of the open doorway was covered in web. Yuck. I grabbed some paper towel and brushed it away. The next day it was back and I brushed it down again. And then it was back the day after that. So I Googled spider webs and read through how it's important not to disturb their webs because of the integral part they play in the delicate balance of nature. Do what you want when they're covering your front door, I grabbed a bottle of Windex to poison them away. I sprayed down my front entry from top to bottom including the siding. Satisfied I won this round I twirled the bottle around my index finger and watched tumbleweed roll down the street against a backdrop of prairie sunset fire.

Two days later the webs were back. And I developed a small tic in my right hand which caused me to involuntarily squeeze a trigger every time I opened my front door. And then the webs were everywhere. Walking up the steps to my front door the iron railings were strung with garlands of web. Sitting on the back deck sipping cold tea while the kids played I saw glistening webs everywhere I looked in the railings. They were even in the house. I found webs hanging from light fixtures, hanging from the ceiling attached to our TV, and on a random wall in the kitchen. I went upstairs to do laundry and found a single perfectly formed web in my upper staircase railings. The small tic in my hand turned into a bulging vein in my forehead.

Spiders. They mock me with their never-ending web spinning. Every time I see a web I destroy it but they just keep reappearing. Checking the front porch for spiders has become an obsession. I started by going out every morning with a shoe and whacking all the spiders I could find. The first few days were fruitful, lots of kills, but then the spiders started hiding out so I had to switch up my routine and go out hunting just after the kids went to bed. That worked for a while but they've disappeared again so I'm keeping my patterns random to throw them off guard.

It came to a head yesterday when I went to fill up the kiddy pool; I put my hand on the tap and right into the centre of a sticky web. I actually yelled ARGGGHHH! like I'm some sort of cartoon character. Looking at the siding around the tap while the pool was filling I saw hundreds of dead insects wrapped in little web cocoons. THEY HAD TAKEN OVER! And that's when I completely snapped. I finished filling up the pool and put the spray attachment onto our hose; I fired up my own version of a Husqvarna and I blasted those suckers till every cocoon on that side of the house was gone. Then I did the garage, the back of the house, the other side, and my front entryway. Oh the power beneath my fingertips! I laughed wildly, exultantly as I watched those cocoons fly off the siding. I saw spiders scurrying away from me and I chased them with the spraying water. It was glorious! GLORIOUS!

Whoa, did you just hear that? That evil maniacal laughter? I think I just became the bad guy, the exterminator. I did think of Charlotte's Web while blasting cocoons yesterday and yay for Wilbur and all that but guess what? It's a story! It's not real! Also? I have no inner spider! Also? I WILL WIN THIS ROUND! I have to. Because seriously, this vein in my forehead? It's going to start designing a clothing line soon.

I opened my front door just before bed last night. No webs. Can I actually declare a victory in this epic battle of man vs. insect, me vs. the spiders? I think so. Time will tell. On the other hand I'm scared to open my front door this morning so who is really winning?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Not much for me to wish for

We got the Sears Wish Book the other day. Man, I loved that book as a kid. I remember my sisters and I going through it, ticking the pages and putting our initials beside all the gloriously wonderful things we wanted Santa to bring. That book was thrills and enchantment and sugar plum fairy dust all printed out on glossy pages. On Saturday I made myself a sparkling lemonade with fresh mint and sat out on my front porch to flip through the book. It is very strange to be looking at Christmas things when it's 34 degrees in the shade and it's September! Whatever, I'm not complaining.

Sadly, this was a case where the wonder that touches your eyes as a child doesn't quite survive into adulthood. There is just so much crap in the Wish Book! Ordinary beer glasses not quite special enough? You want a glass boot to drink your beer out of? Done. Check the Gifts Under $15 pages. Also on those pages a Country Cats Kitchen Collection which consists of trivet, salt and pepper shaker, napkin holder and spoon rest all done as ceramic cats. It's luuurvely. I think I'll get a set for all the special spinsters in my life. Also on that spinster list? Flip a couple of pages to the Gifts Under $20 and you'll find a throw with wolves on it that also has handy snaps to convert it into a wrap. So great for those cold nights when you're ALL ALONE! Cause trust me if you wear that thing everyone's gonna run screaming. At least you'll have fleece wolves for company.

And for the AC/DC, Pink Floyd and Rolling Stones fans you could get some pretty sweet old-man slippers for under $20. Is that the definition of ironic? When I see these slippers I picture a stained wife-beater, hole-y sweats, longish frizzled hair and a scraggly beard shot with grey. The rocker got old dudes, so old he needs slippers to keep his feet warm, but hey, let's not forget he's a rocker. Et Voila, Pink Floyd slippers.

Two of my favourites are in the Gifts Under $10 pages. There are some monogrammed notepads that are actually really cute and would be a good idea for teacher gifts or something like that. But only if you're one of the lucky ones whose name starts with A, B, C, D, E, J, K, L, M, S, T or R. I know those are good letters for the final Wheel of Fortune puzzle but last I time I checked I wasn't a contestant and I want an H!

My other favourite in those pages is the Kilt Beach Towel/Wrap. It's a velour towel printed to looks like a kilt, even including the change purse or flask holder or whatever that leather bag with tassles is that hangs around the waist. But the best part? It's reversible. Velour for going out, terrycloth for staying in. Ooh, and can someone please buy me the Canucks dart set or the mug that says, "Born to Bingo"? Are you there Santa? It's me, Heather....

And when did the gift sections get so expensive? The Gifts Under $5 section that I remember from my childhood is gone. I ordered my dad a Canucks towel from that section one year. I was expecting a bath towel. He got a hand towel. Oops! What else can you expect for $5, right? The highest price point I remember is Gifts Under $100 and those gifts were awesome; diamond rings and fancy electronics and things like that. This year I noticed a Gifts Under $500 section. Who buys something worth $500 from the Sears Catalogue? If I'm going to buy a floor-length, down-blend coat with genuine fur trim for $399.99 I want to try it on first, you know?

I wonder what my kids will think of it?

Monday, September 14, 2009

BIRTHDAY 2010! (and yes I realize it's actually only 2009)

Tristan and Ava turned 5 last week. Five. It feels like a milestone even though our kids are not starting Kindergarten until next year. To celebrate we did an Olympic-themed party in honour of Vancouver 2010. Since a picture is worth a thousand words...

Behind the kids are wrist bands which we gave out to each child when they arrived and travel mugs which we gave out at the end. The wrist bands have a red maple leaf on them and were cut from men's ankle socks I found at the dollar store. The travel mugs (also from the dollar store) have sleeves inside you can remove to colour your own picture on. We printed off the Olympic rings on one side and a maple leaf on the other for the kids to colour at home. And taped to the mugs is a pencil with Canadian flags all over it, in case you were wondering.

Hugh demonstrating parts of the obstacle course.

Ava in the obstacle course. Notice the costume change? Apparently this is much better attire for obstacle-ing.

Tristan in the obstacle course.

Sebastian is one month away from being 2!

My sister Erin was visiting from Vancouver.
Click on one of the pictures of Ava to see if you can see the bruise on her nose and the scrape on her forehead. That is thanks to being kicked in the head by Auntie. Hugh had finished building our little balance beam for the obstacle course and we were testing it out. Erin was a gymnast so she decided to try a cartwheel, can you see where this is going? Ava was standing too close, Erin's legs went up and THWACK! Ava dropped like a rock. We originally thought Ava's nose was broken. I'm going to get mileage out of that one for years!

The birthday kids!

Medal presentations. Every kid got a medal to take home. I found them at a garage sale for 10 cents each. Most were random sports medals but there were a couple of medals that had music notes on them and one had a harp on it. Medals for harping, who knew?

The Olympic Rings (use your imagination, they're pretty neon.)

A final thought:
I think the worst part of any party of these younger ages is trying to control the mayhem surrounding opening presents. We tried the spin-the-bottle-to-pick-whose-present-to-open trick but it was so not successful. Half of the kids were trying to open the presents they brought, the other half were shoving them in the birthday kids faces and no one was capable of sitting still after being jacked-up on punch and cupcakes. Plus I was trying to monitor 2 kids opening presents at the same time and making sure they expressed appropriate thanks. How do you spell chaos?

And so ends another party. We had perfect weather, the obstacle course and medals were a huge hit and the party was relaxed enough (minus the present opening) that even the adults had fun. Overall, I will call this one a success.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Drum roll please....

Hugh is officially employed!

We got a call the other day and our call display read GOC Dept Natl Def. My flight or fight gear immediately kicked in while I frantically tried to think of some sort of offense we may have committed for the Department of National Defence to be calling. Then I remembered that Hugh was expecting a call back from the Army Base where he had interviewed a few days earlier. Right. Army Base, it. Why is my immediate response to authority to freak out? I can't remember ever being called to the principals office because I was in trouble so it's not like I have a response based on my history. The same thing happens to me when I'm out driving and see a police car; I immediately slam on my brakes whether I need to or not. I can't control it, it's become a reflex. I know I'm not speeding (too many photo radar traps here) and yet I still slam on my brakes, I can't stop myself.

Anyway, Hugh has been hired by the British side of Base, and no he doesn't have to enlist. He's hired as a civilian to fix all sorts of big armoured vehicles. When he went out for the interview he was stopped while 3 big tanks went rumbling by and everywhere he looked he saw fatigues and soldiers saluting. He said it was like being on the set of a movie and that at the end of the interview he almost felt like he should salute though he managed to restrain himself. Thankfully.

So there you have it. Our golden summer has officially ended. It has been an incredible gift to get to spend an entire summer together. For the first time since our twins were born I feel like I have regained my equilibrium. I am physically rested, my emotional reserves are full and I am going into this Fall with high hopes for patience, creativity and spontaneity with the kids. Although I did just press my shoulder blades together and roll my neck while taking deep breaths because we just finished breakfast and Ava is already asking for a snack and I just want 5 uninterrupted minutes to write....