Tuesday, August 31, 2010

In Which I View Something That Might Have FDPG & I Watching Glee After All

In another life I used to love watching all these award shows, but lately I've gotten to the point where I just check out certain gossip sites after the fact. Which is where I saw this. And maybe it's my knee melting weakness for this particular song, or maybe it's nostalgia plain and simple, but the opening segment for Sunday night's Emmy show, in my opinion, rocked. I might have to start watching Mad Men after this...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Letters To The Editor

To the woman who tried to smuggle a tiger cub in her luggage:

Dear Smuggling Woman,

I don't know why you did this or why you thought this might be a good idea, but allow me to express my complete and utter dismay at hearing what you did. My stomach sank last night when I saw those photographs on the evening news. There is no excuse for putting a live animal in your luggage - much less drugging that animal in the hopes that it would remain silent during the trip. I don't care how much anyone promised you or what kind of life you lead in your home country, you have no right to take a little animal like this and stuff it in your luggage. You have done a cruel thing and I hope that in your afterlife someone makes you aware of this fact. I feel very Old Testamenty about what you've done. Tiger cubs don't deserve such a fate.


A Person Who Really Likes Wild Creatures

Thursday, August 26, 2010

In Which I Talk About Myself In The Third Person

Sheila vacuumed up a newly hatched swarm of winged ants yesterday. This swarm was in her kids' bathroom. There were zillions of them, it seemed to Sheila. They were clumping all over the window screen. They were crawling on the floor. Tiny ants with wings. Balls of them clinging together. Sheila had never seen anything like it in her entire life. She felt like slamming the door shut it was such a strange and bizarre sight. She wanted to run away. She mentally cursed her husband for not being there to rescue her from the Adult In Charge position she'd been thrust into.

Reminding herself that she was (in an alternate universe) a stalwart Jane Austen Heroine, Sheila girded herself with a shopvac and some nerves of steel. She needed them, because behind her were her delightfully horrified children, making many retching noises and getting way too excited. Nothing like a gazillion crawling winged insects in the bathroom to add some zest to the afternoon, not to mention the fact that now the kids would HAVE to use Sheila's bathroom, something she doesn't normally like them doing (well, not the boys at any rate). It was seriously weird, so weird that afterwards, once Sheila had shopvacced all those winged insects up into a mushy oblivion and could therefore relinquish the role of Sole Bug Remover, Sheila telephoned her husband at work, something she rarely does, to tell him all about it.

But while Sheila was talking breathlessly to her husband a sudden memory popped unbidden into her head, of a time when they'd lived in another house in another city and she'd called him to tell him how the sudden heat of the afternoon sun had woken millions of ladybugs from their winter sleep in the shingles of their house. Ladybugs were crawling all over the windows of the house. Ladybugs were coming out of the ceiling. Ladybugs were flying all over the front yard. Big ladybugs. Little ladybugs. Orange and red ones. It was wonderful and wondrous at the same time. Sheila was entranced, mystified - she felt like she'd just received the most beautiful love note possible from Mother Nature. Sheila's husband, probably because he was sitting in a cramped office in front of a computer screen punching out the words to a book he was trying to write before the next semester started and was thus feeling hurried and irritable, did not grasp the import of this mystical messaging system quite the way Sheila did. "Why are you calling?" he asked Sheila. "Do you want me to do something about them when I get home? Is it a problem?" Sheila, realizing that her call was reminding him of hot sunny lazy days sitting in front windows watching the blue sky, ended the call, reassuring him that a few billion ladybugs was not a crisis in any way shape or form. "It's just a text from Nature," she said. "Hmm," said her husband, wondering no doubt if Sheila had been into the gin.

So there was that memory, inching itself into her thoughts as she told her husband all about the swarms of winged ants in the downstairs bathroom. She described how she'd wrestled with the shopvac. She described the crawling feeling on her skin. She told him how she'd had to go back twice more to get the rest. How she'd even used a - gasp - stinky chemical spray in the cracks of the floor and the wall, from which they were issuing. How the boys were peeing gleefully in her bathroom. How awful the entire event had been. And she might have said a little bit about Being Brave and Stalwart and fortunately he made all the right noises and reassured her that he would look into that crack when he got home. She was glad her husband didn't seem to have the same memory of those long ago ladybugs in his mind as they talked, and she damn sure wasn't going to remind him, because a gazillion winged ants crawling all over the bathroom wall didn't seem like much of a love note to her.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Summer Correspondence

Letter to the wasps in the disused oil furnace chimney:

Dear Wasps,

I know that chimney is probably the perfect place for a nest, particularly such a honkin' big nest as yours, but as one of the residents in the house attached to that chimney I must protest. Call us heartless but we are not big wasp lovers, although the young woman up the street who protested our attempts to cap the chimney probably is. Why don't you try her house? I can pretty much guarantee that she'll leave you until winter, at least, that's what she told Richard to do. He was a bit short with her, I admit, but seeing as how that was his 8th time on the roof shooing you all away AND it was at least 35ºC at the time, I think you could probably cut him some slacks, no? And maybe even stop squeezing through the taped up slits in the grill on our fireplace doors (prompting me to be rather more charitable to their glassy chrome ugliness)? You are spooking me and the kids with these antics. We know you are trapped and doomed to die in that chimney, but flying drunkenly (and ash-coveredly) around the room is getting to us. It's been four weeks now and your hive shows little sign of ceasing and desisting. I have a 25 year mortgage on this house, so there won't be any ceasing and desisting from my end either. How can we resolve this? Please respond by going away post haste.


Perplexed and Distressed House Owner

Letter to a girl who had to do the morning dishes:

Dear FDPG,

We know that doing the breakfast dishes is no fun. We know that it positively RUINS the summer holidays for you, and we know that we SHOULD really go out and buy a dishwasher if we weren't so darn cheap, but have you ever stopped to reflect on the fact that almost every other chore in the house is done by someone other than you? I counted the dishes this morning and there were only 11. Surely that isn't too much to ask, considering you had a toothsome repast of sweet tea and fresh blueberry muffins? And no, we aren't going to start handing out allowance as a result of all this frenzy of labour, either. We're too cheap.


Your (cheap) parents

Letter to sail on sailboat,

Dear Sailboat,

Why did your stupid dratted %$#&ing sail have to rip NOW? I realize it's over 30 years old but that's no excuse - I am over 30 years old and I don't rip during times of bleak financial outlook. I soldier on, like the good Jane Austen heroine that I am. I don't require Richard to spend upwards of $300 on me in order to get me back to reasonable working order. Hmm, now that I think about it, maybe I should. I need some new clothes, actually. But that's no excuse for you. You're just playing on the fact that he's obsessed with you, aren't you? I'm warning you, sailboat. This had better be your last attempt at wresting the Alpha Diva Position from me. There's only room for one diva in this house.


Alpha Diva Sheila

Letter to van,

Dear Van,

Thank you for having air conditioning. I love you and your cold air. And thank you for not running out of gas on the Malahat the other day, even though I had forgotten to fill you up prior to our little excursion. I know that 70 minute traffic jam left you rather short of breath. It left me feeling quite horrible, trust me. Nothing like running out of gas on a long and winding mountain highway with only one's rather disapproving teenager for company. Hearing over and over again that one should have filled one's gas tank is not what one likes to hear when one is in imminent danger of running out of gas, particularly when there is no gas station for miles. So thanks again. I will try not to repeat this.



Letter to girl up the road who likes wasps,

Dear Girl Up The Road,

I realize that we have offended you with our callous treatment of the wasp nest on our roof, but that's no excuse for picking some of my roses this morning at 5am. How do I know it was you, you ask? Because I was sitting on the front porch watching you. I was having trouble sleeping and sitting on the frigid cold porch seemed (at the time) a charming alternative to continually shoving the 10-tonne octocat off my legs in bed. I practiced benevolence this time, mostly because it was 5am and I was feeling a little more dishevelled than usual, but next time I will stand up and scare the pants off you. Trust me. That was A Shropshire Lad you plucked. Sure, laugh all you like (it's a weird name but I'm partial to it now) but I was saving it for the Rose Bouquet: 5 In A Vase category at the county fair next week. I am most displeased with you. You might have cost me $5 in prize money. Next time pick the plums, I haven't entered them in anything.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Birthdays For Nine Year Olds

Cupcakes. Bubbly mango punch. Chips (or as the fervent fans of Horrid Henry in this house call them: crisps). A very loooong slip and slide (on a steep hill, no less). Lots of truly wonderful friends to share the day. Fabulous hot sunny weather.

Fun. Fun. Fun.

And now they're nine.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Things To Do With Candy


Here's pretty much how I spent the last little while: hat, beach bag, towel, and water bottle.

Oh, and lots and lots of sand.

The kids spent their mornings doing this with their dad. It's a small boat so we had to do it in turns.

Max flipped it one night, prompting Richard to ask a nearby canoe-paddler to take him out to where Max was so he could show him how to right it. I asked Max if he was scared when it flipped and he said "No, all that went through my head was a bunch of swear words."

Here's FDPG (aka "Only _ More Days Until My Birthday" Girl) trailing Dominic, making sure he doesn't get one minute more time on the boat than she does.

Some of us spent some time in trees reading.

Max spent a lot of time building highly elaborate and finely structured sand cities.

At night we wandered. Down to the sand cliffs. Over to the park. Along the water front. Over to other people's beach cabins.

And now we're back and gearing up for the Cupcake Extravaganza Party. Fondant may or may not be involved. Martha, beware!