"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Anti TVite

Don't hate me for what I'm about to reveal: we have a TV, and it's a dandy one, but....we don't have cable. Or satellite. Or even two fuzzy channels from bunny eared antennae. Nope, ever since we moved to Someday, our TV has been used as a dust collecting DVD viewer only.

When we moved in, we decided not to get TV for the summer; we didn't miss it, and so here we are, over a year later and still decidedly TV-less. I think that we're an anomaly in this day and age of media saturation; I only have one other set of friends who don't watch TV. And my husband and I aren't even super smug granolas. I facebook, we both email and my husband needs to be surgically removed from his blackberry. But when it comes to TV, it boils down to this: 1) we're kinda cheap (we can't get cable here and satellite is over $75 a month!), and 2) we try hard to find better things to do than melt into the couch for hours on end in front of the squawk box.

There are a million and one things that need doing when you live in an old house on a rural property. Lawn mowing alone takes over 3 hours a week in the summer, and don't get me started on snow shovelling in the winter. There are gardens to tend, dogs to walk, leaves to rake, garages to paint and mutant dust bunnies to chase. Add a baby to the mix and who the heck has time for TV anyway?

I will admit that I miss shows like Dancing with the Stars and House, and before Jady came along, I'd sneak down to my brother-in-law's to watch them. But I can catch shows like Glee online, and when D and I really do have a few hours to chill, we rent a DVD and enjoy every minute of it. I like that we have to make a conscious decision to make the time to watch something, instead of just having the TV on endlessly in the background.

All this being said, I think our TV-less state has finally started to wear on my husband's nerves. He missed one hockey season last year, and I think he's getting sick of my dad calling on Saturday nights to mock us for not being able to watch the game.

My dad, by the way, has a gargantuan big-screen TV and every sattelite channel imaginable. When he comes to visit us, he's lost, because he's forced to (gasp) talk and listen to music. He was here last week and he walked into the living room, stared at our black, dusty TV and shook his head forlornly. "Geez, you kids," was all he said.

I know that when I lived in the city, I used to have the TV on quite a bit, sometimes just as background noise, not because I was actually watching anything. I suppose TV kind of becomes a habit. For example, I recently went away for a weekend with a couple of friends; we had a lovely hotel room with a beautiful view and a fireplace, but the first thing my one friend did was walk over and switch on the TV. Having been TV-less for awhile, I found the noise jarring and unwelcome. But to her, it was the natural thing to do.

At this point, I've told D he can go ahead and get sattelite if that's what he really wants. I do feel bad that he's missing out on hockey, cause he loves it and I think watching a few games a week is pretty harmless. But I honestly think he just wants to get some channels so we seem more "normal." I think he's tired of explaining to friends and relatives who stare at our blank screen in puzzlement why we don't "have TV."

So we'll see...by this time next month, I could be a converted TV queen instead of an anti-TVite.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

In praise of...my new car!

I tend to be pretty set in my opinions (see my blog entry about my need to always be right), but strangely, since marrying D, I've come to change quite a few of them. He takes great pleasure in teasing me about all these changes of heart, too.

For example, I vehemently opposed all-inclusive vacations, declaring them "boring" and "prissy." Then D took me to Mexico for a week, and as I sighed with bliss on the beach with a frozen drink in my hand, he asked me how I liked all-inclusives. If I remember correctly, I stuck my tongue out at him and went back to sunbathing.

I also used to bemoan the noise and stink of snowmobiles. My dad and I always grumbled about them as they blared up and and down the road in front of his cabin, and I made the mistake of complaining to D about the wretched things one winter. "They really disturb the peace," I muttered. "So loud and stupid." So he stuffed me into a snowmobile suit and put me on the back of his loud, stupid machine. We were on it less than an hour before I was begging him to please let me drive.

So it goes that I used to violently oppose owning any vehicle larger than a 4 door sedan. Definitely NOT an SUV. Oh no, I'd never own one of those. SUVs were for right-wing eco-haters who got their jollies frittering away our precious fossil fuels. When D strong-armed me into test-driving a Toyota RAV-4, I was secretly relieved that I didn't enjoy it. Same with the Honda CR-V. But then I made the mistake of letting my Dad talk me into trying a Subaru Forester when he and I were in Owen Sound one day. I don't hang out with my Dad very much, so I did it to humour him. D gets a kick out of quoting what I said when I came home: "Oh, that car was sah-WEET!"

Nope, I didn't end up with the "sah-weet" Subaru in my driveway. But I do now have a Nissan Rogue. Which is kind of like a baby SUV. Sure, it's full of phthalates and it guzzles slightly more gas than the Kia did, but I...and it hurts me a little to say this...I love it. That's right. I LOVE MY NEW CAR. Me, the one who hasn't actually ever owned a brand new car. So to further my "In praise of" series, here are a few reasons why I love it.

1) It starts. It stops. The Kia didn't do either very reliably. 'Nuff said.

2) It's like the last bowl of porridge in the Three Bears' house: not too big, not too small. It's not scary like a Hummer, or obnoxious like a Lexus SUV, but it's no hurridly built piece of crap either. The Rogue is shiny, spacious, and pleasant-looking without being all "Hey! I'm a brand new SUV! Lookit me, you lousy 1985 hatchback! Yeah, I'm talkin' to you!" No, the Rogue is all about Polite Modest Luxury. And that's just fine with me.

3) It's one heck of a smooth ride. The Kia would hit 90km/h and start to shudder like a bowl of Jell-O; the Rogue hits 110 before I even realize we're in an 80 zone. (Don't worry, I'm working on my lead foot.)

4) Stuff fits in it. Car seat, stroller, overnight bag, coffee mugs, oversized purse, shoes, beach chairs, beach umbrella, diaper bag, groceries, bags of dog food...oh, I could go on. I have no idea what its capacity for "stuff" is, but I plan to find out.

5) No dog hair. Yep, the Rogue is a no-Neko zone, as decreed by my husband. Secretly I am not at all sorry about this, although I put up a weak protest just for appearance's sake. But it is so nice not to sip coffee with dog hair floating in it, or drop an apple and have it come off the floor looking like a hedgehog.

6) My husband calls it my "truck." Or my "vehicle." Cuz it has 4 wheel drive. I've never owned a car that didn't automatically spin doughnuts in the snow before. Or one that warrants being called a truck or vehicle. That makes me feel like a big girl.

RIP Kia...long live the Rogue!

Grief sneaks up

An acquaintance of mine who recently lost a baby posted a very poignant sentence on Facebook a few weeks ago: "When will this ball of hurt go away?" If I were to post a reply, it would be this: "It doesn't."

It's weird. You'd think that having a healthy new baby in my arms every day would be the perfect antidote to losing our dear, wee other babes. But while my love for Jade is a balm that helps the old wounds heal, I have come to realize the hurt may not ever entirely disappear. And that's okay.

We lost our first babe two years ago in September, so that explains why I've spent a heck of a lot of time rocking Jade and sniffling lately. It's so bizarre though, how grief sneaks up and attacks when you least expect it. I can feel perfectly mellow, at peace with the world, enjoying a great day; then I'll happen to glance at a picture of my mother, or wander into the Blue Room (which was going to be Rose's nursery), or look under the old chestnut tree where I spent a lot of time sitting wishing I had a baby. And then it's all over for about half an hour: hello grief, goodbye mellow afternoon.

The good thing is that after I embrace my sadness a little, it melts away, leaving me no worse off than before. I could blame it on these pesky hormones but instead I tell myself that it's healthy and normal. I don't wish it away, no matter how intense the hurt gets. I think it's important to keep feeling, keep remembering and to keep acknowledging my grief. If it stays tucked away all the time, it's sure to come raging out in some wacko manifestation. So I'll continue to sit in the rocking chair with Jady on my shoulder and weather these little storms and take care of these little balls of hurt.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Hunting and Gathering

Here's something you probably didn't know about me: I think I was a squirrel in a past life. At least, that's what I would have been if I believed in past lives.

As soon as the leaves start changing colour, I'm seized with the urge to collect things: shiny brown chestnuts, acorns with their cute little caps, bristly pine cones, feathers from under the bird feeder. I'm not sure why. I think it disturbs my husband when he starts to notice little piles of things building up on flat surfaces around the house. He puts up with my obsessive stone-collecting habit, but I think the acorns are going to drive him over the marital edge.

Gotta go. I think I just saw a bluejay lose a feather!

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Sunday Drive...continued

You know, I started the whole Sunday Drive series of blog entries back in the spring and then pretty much abandoned it. So I will delve back a month or so ago and tell you about our latest Sunday drive.

We didn't go far (Goderich) and we didn't do a whole lot, but that's what makes a Sunday Drive so pleasant. There's no schedule, no rush and no worries.

Goderich is touted as "Canada's prettiest town" (at least, that's what it says on the sign, and according to Queen Elizabeth). It is quite picturesque, with its rugged old Gaol, beautiful view of the lake, winding streets and overflowing flower baskets. There is a square in the centre of town that's interesting to walk around, although driving can be another matter if you're behind someone who's lost, or are yourself dizzy from contemplating which of the many exits will take you to the beach already. (Fun fact: D tells me that the plans for Guelph and Goderich were mixed up and Guelph was actually supposed to have had a square in the centre of town. According to Wiki, that isn't actually true, but it's still funny to think about.)There is the best bakery ever and a few nice cafes, plus a little movie theatre that serves kick-ass popcorn. It's great.

We ran a few manly errands (TSC and Crappy Tire, of course) and then D surprised me by fulfilling a long-standing wish of mine: to drive down to the harbour and eat at the fish place. Every time we drive by the sign that says "Best fish on Ontario's West Coast," I sigh and hint heavily about how I'd like to go there for supper someday. Well, this particular Sunday was someday.

It takes a lot to coax D out for supper, but for some reason Sunday drives seem to bring out that rare "take my wife out to eat" urge in him. So we drove down the steep, winding road to the harbour in search of our elusive fish. I kept my eyes open for what I thought would be a biggish restaurant. Instead, we drove up to what was basically a tiny little trailer with a nautical air about it. Yup, that was the place! Inside, it was tinier than I'd expected, but tidy and neat. Each table had fresh flowers on it and everything was decorated with fishy or harbour-y stuff. We squeezed ourselves and Jade into a table at the back, next to a lady wearing a Royal Canadian Legion uniform and her husband. I could have reached across and plucked a french fry off Mrs. Legion's plate, the tables were that close together.

Luckily, it was the kind of place where everyone either knew each other, or decided to get to know each other while they ate. We chatted and traded baby stories with Mr and Mrs. Legion. The waitresses were friendly and pleasant.They even took turns holding Jade so I could eat! Now that's my kinda place.

After supper, we headed down to the harbour boardwalk. It's a very long trail of nicely constructed, raised boardwalk that goes on forever along the shore. Jade fell asleep in no time thanks to the bumpity bumping of stroller on boards and D and I chatted about nothing in particular while a strong wind off the lake buffeted us and mussed our hair. I always enjoy my walks with him; we never seem to run out of things to say. We read all the historical signs, took turns pointing out crazy people swimming in the roaring waves, nodded to other folks out for evening strolls.

On our way back, D spied two ships coming into the harbour. They were tall ships, something I'd only seen once before in Montreal. We made it to the harbour just in time to see them sail right up and dock. I guess it was part of some tall ship adventure tour because there were a bunch of teenagers scurring around on board, tying ropes and untying ropes when some guy yelled at them to do so. If I didn't get seasick just looking at a boat rocking around on the water, I'd say it looks like a cool thing to do. Just not for me.

To end our Sunday drive, I convinced D to stop for ice cream at the roadside stand just outside of town. $11.00 later, we were happily scarfing down sundaes in the car while Jade watched. A perfect end to another happy day.