Archive for ‘whine and cheese’

October 5, 2014

I brought this on myself.

by Decemberbaby

You know how sometimes you get just a little too hooked on a computer game (the brainless or mostly brainless kind, generally) and play it for hours and hours? And then you suddenly notice that it’s 2 a.m.? I do that. I suspect it’s genetic, because my mum does it too, and I’ve tried very hard to limit my game-playing and to be stricter about my own bedtime.

And yet, last night found me playing Ores until the wee hours of the morning. As if that wasn’t bad enough, this morning I woke up with my index finger (you know, the one I click the mouse with) all swollen, stiff, and sore. There went my plans for the day. Couldn’t build the sukkah, since the index finger is my trigger finger on the cordless drill. Couldn’t work on reupholstering the dining room chairs, since that knuckle hurt every time I used the scissors.

How frustrating, to have a beautiful, sunny day and the motivation to get things done… and to be prevented from doing things by a totally preventable injury I caused myself.

At least I may be cured of playing that stupid game.

September 18, 2014

Evenings chez nous

by Decemberbaby

I was all poised to write something profound, but my brain is in “irritated” mode and I just can’t be thoughtful. So instead, a glimpse into my life at dinnertime and beyond:

6:15 – everybody sits down at the dinner table

6:16 – somebody comments that they need a spoon for their peas. I get up and get them a spoon.

6:17 – I start a nice conversation with Mr. December about his day.

6:18 – somebody spills an entire jug of water. I jump up and get the kid a towel so they can clean up the spill.

6:19 – I have to remind said child that the spill isn’t cleaned up until there’s absolutely no more water on the table, floor, or chairs.

6:20 – “Yes, the floor under your sister’s chair counts.”

6:22 – everyone is eating nicely together…

6:28 – … until they’re not. The spoons are not drumsticks and the table is not a drum.

6:30 – the children claim to be done and run away from the table. I get up, hunt them down, and bring them back to the table. In this house, you’re not done dinner until you’ve taken your plate to the kitchen sink – and I’ll return you to your seat at the table as many times as necessary until you actually show me that you’re done.

6:35 – I sit down at the now-empty table and eat the rest of my meal. If I’m lucky, the children are playing with Mr. December. If not, they’re whining while he gets ready to leave for a volunteer meeting.

6:40 – I finish eating and ask the children to get their pajamas on so we can read together.

6:42 – I ask the children to get their pajamas on so we can read together.

6:47 – I remind the children that if they waste all their time goofing off, they won’t get any reading time. I disappear into the kitchen to clean up from dinner.

7:00 – “Are you guys wearing pajamas?” No, of course not. In fact, they’re not human anymore. Staring at me from inside a cardboard box are a lion, a cheetah, and a bunny. Not one of them has brushed their teeth.

7:10 – “Eema, will you read us a book?” Three expectant, smiling faces peer over the back of the couch. A small hand proffers a paperback copy of Flat Stanley.

7:11 – They emerge from behind the couch. The costumes have been discarded. I suppose this is progress, although “naked” is not a synonym for “pajama-clad.”

7:14 – “Put on pajamas, or NO READING TIME.”

7:15 – They would, but they have to poop. All three of them. At the same time.

7:30 – I am finally done wiping bums. I send the children to put on their pajamas.

7:35 – Three children emerge in underwear, assuring me that this is all they want to wear to bed. We settle on the couch and read four chapters of Flat Stanley.

7:50 – They want more chapters. I know the feeling, but no.

8:00 – Everyone is tucked into bed.

8:05 – Everyone is back out of bed, either to pee or to drink, or possibly to drink and then pee (or maybe the other way around.)

8:08 – N asks me to tuck him in. “I’ll tell you when I’m ready, Eema. I just have to get my guys organized.”

8:11 – Sartre was wrong; hell isn’t other people. Hell is being forbidden to move from your child’s side while he arranges and re-arranges his stuffed animals according to size, genus, species, softness, and (I suspect) astrological sign.

8:15 – I finally tuck in the boy, followed by the girls. A gentle kiss followed by, “if anybody gets out of their bed for a non-emergency, there will be CONSEQUENCES. Do you understand? Good. I love you!”

8:18 – I can hear them talking, which I guess isn’t that bad.

8:21 – I hear them arguing, which is pretty normal, if not ideal.

8:34 – I hear crying. I evaluate it for pitch, intensity, and duration, and decide that it’s not serious. I ignore it.

8:43 – “Eema, my lemur is wet.” Whatever, kid. Just go to sleep.

8:45 – It hits me that if a lemur is wet, who knows what else has been drenched?

8:46 – There is a puddle on the floor of the bedroom with a water cup lying on its side nearby. No sleuthing required – I throw a towel at the floor and bark, “mop it up.”

8:47 – “Eema, I got hurt.”

8:48 – I lose it. “I don’t care. You wouldn’t get hurt if you’d all just stay in your OWN beds and go to SLEEP.”

8:50 – They’re talking again. And arguing… something about a lemur.

8:52 – I give up on thinking of a profound topic for this week’s blog post. Seriously, this post writes itself!

8:59 – I hear crying. Again. The three-year-old emerges, clutching her stuffed lemur and whining, “I need you.”

9:00 – The boy comes to the living room with an alphabet puzzle and says, “Eema, can you tell me what all these letters are?”

9:01 – “NO!”

9:02 – “Eema?” “GO TO SLEEP!”

9:03 – “But eema?” “GO TO SLEEP!

9:04 – “Eema?” “GO. TO. SLEEP.”

9:05 – Maybe I should just lead by example. I’ll hit “publish” on this blog post and then go to sleep.

9:06 – …right after I finish the next chapter in my book. And get a drink. And go pee…

This post has been brought to you by three plush lemurs, and by the letters N and O.

April 24, 2013

If this van ain’t rockin’…

by Decemberbaby

I woke up a few days ago with that achy feeling in the back of my throat. You know the one.

“Ugh,” I groaned. “I think I’m getting sick. How did that happen?”

Mr. December rolled his eyes and said, “You know that the kids drink out of your bedside water glass all the time, don’t you?”

Actually, I didn’t. In their eagerness to share with me, the children have given me a wicked sinus cold which has since migrated into my lungs. I’m on puffers, but also trying to decide at what point I should seek medical attention for the sensation of a brick sitting on top of my lungs.

But that’s neither here nor there. The real point of this blog post (aside from ensuring that I post at least once a week) is that I’ve made an important decision: from now on, we need to keep an inflatable mattress and appropriate bedding in the van at all times.

No, seriously. If I have to drive around with the equivalent of an entire living room on wheels, I might as well have a cozy place to nap while I’m waiting for my children’s extracurricular programs to end. I’m expending way too much energy just trying to remain upright as I watch my daughter bounce around on a trampoline. I wish I could just lie down right here, but vinyl tile and fluorescent lights don’t make for a healing environment.

So, a BYObed it is. Also, a bumper sticker: “If this van ain’t rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’!”

March 1, 2013

Le plus ca change…

by Decemberbaby

Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I’m on antibiotics. Again. For mastitis. Again.

I think I might also have a sinus infection, which would explain the feeling of *holycrappleasestopinflatingthatballooninmyheaditsabouttoburst!!!!!* I get every time I sit up. The doctor assured me that the Keflex I’m now taking for the mastitis should knock out any sinus infection as well.

In the meantime, I’m learning a few things:

1. I’m only fat because food tastes good. No, seriously. Right now I can’t smell anything at all, which means I can’t taste anything. And absent taste, food has no particular purpose, so why eat unless I’m feeling hungry? And is that why people gain weight when they stop smoking? Because suddenly they can actually taste their food?

2. I’m a very lucky woman to have so many friends and family to call on in times of need. I’d like to send a shout-out to L, who picked N up from school at lunchtime and drove him to my parents’ house; to M, who fed N lunch and got him settled for a nap; to my in-laws, whose devotion to our children is such that they didn’t even flinch when asked to pick up K from school and N from my parents’ house and then come here and babysit all three kids for 4 hours; and, of course, to Mr. December, who kept me supplied with hot packs and tea and blankets all through the feverish shivering hours of the evening and night.

3. Antibiotics are magical. I can imagine only too well what a week or more of this suffering would be like without them. A couple of hundred years ago a fever like this would have had my husband and children fearing my demise. Now it just means yet another visit to the doctor and a heart-to-heart conversation with my pharmacist. What a time to be alive.

4. We (as in Mr. December and I) need to teach the children to knock. Moreover, I think we need to repeat our lesson on what constitutes an emergency worth waking a sleeping parent (Hint: if there’s no fire and not more than a litre of blood, it’s not an emergency. Either fix it yourself or WAIT.)

5. We have finally established circumstances under which the phrases, “I want you to look at my breast” and “can you please massage the underside of my breast for me?” can in no way be construed as a come-on.

6. Shit happens. We all know that. But it only happens on the floor when mommy is very sick and just the act of bending over to wipe said floor makes her howl in pain. Well played, universe. Well played.

I’ll see you all when my sinuses clear.

October 28, 2012


by Decemberbaby

Remember that TV commercial for the board game Frustration? “Frustration can be fun!” No, no it can’t.

I’ve been working on a very intricate quilt for the last couple of weeks. It’s been the bane of my existence. Anyhow, I finally got the top pieced and I spray-basted the whole thing together with the batting and the back. I started quilting. And then…


Ugh. Really? the thread started bunching up under the quilt like little multicoloured bird nests. I sighed, took the machine apart, cleaned, re-threaded, changed the needle, and started to quilt anew.


Grrrr. Maybe I missed a small piece of thread that’s stuck between two metal pieces? I repeated the whole cleaning and re-threading process. Now to fire the machine up again…


I’m stuck. I’ll have to take the machine into the shop on Monday and hope that it doesn’t take them long to fix the timing (I’m pretty sure that’s the issue.) I suppose this is what a backup machine is good for… although I’m not sure if my darning foot will fit on the IKEA machine, so I might be out of luck as far as the quilting goes. Maybe I can work on some of my smaller projects.

Or maybe I should turn my attention to the clutter-pit that is my house. First up – the calendar area.

(Can I maybe just go back to bed and hope for de-cluttering elves to show up tonight while I sleep?)

October 20, 2012


by Decemberbaby

I just need to take a moment to bask in your love and approval. I might lose it with this post. Then again, maybe not.

You see, I’m kind of a prude. Sure, I’ll put my hand up at a Weight Watchers meeting and casually mention that sex counts as an activity, even if it’s not listed in the program guide. And I’m not in the least bit inhibited when it comes to, uh, marital intimacy. And I’ve slept with every guy I ever dated (it’s true! Does the fact that I only ever dated one guy change how that statement sounds?)

But you know, most of those things happen behind closed doors. And with the exception of the first one, my sexual exploits (sexploits?) are known only to me and Mr. December. Which is as it should be, as far as I’m concerned. There’s a time and a place for everything.

So I hope you’ll all understand when I state, here and now, that it bothers me exceedingly when women attend synagogue in skirts that don’t even make it halfway to their knees. Or in tops that show a lot of cleavage. It just screams “inappropriate!” to me. Even worse, it smacks of disrespect – even if none is intended.

I find it strange that some women get all defensive and bristly when I say this, as if it’s their God-given right to wear whatever they want whenever they want. As if someone is imposing some medieval dress code on them. As if we’re passing judgment.

Okay, I’m passing judgment.

But why do women defend their right to wear too-tight and too-revealing clothing into a synagogue when they would travel to India and gladly take off their shoes in any given temple, or respectfully don long pants instead of shorts when visiting the great cathedrals of Europe? What gives?

I’m not an adherent to the standards of tznius (modesty) in dress that orthodox women follow. But you know what? We come to synagogue, many of us, to talk to God. Or to be part of a holy community. It’s hard for me to feel holy, or focus on God, when my eyes are constantly drawn to a woman’s cleavage – and I’m a heterosexual woman. Seriously, it’s that distracting.

Is this about ego? Is it about being blind to the effect of one’s clothing on other people? And is it so hard to remember that how we dress for synagogue (or anything) is an expression not only of ourselves, but also of our respect (or lack thereof) for the sanctity and importance of the occasion?

I don’t have any answers. Just questions that come up time and time again… so I’m turning to you, my readers. What do you think? And if you think that there should be standards, who gets to decide?


August 16, 2012

One day my car will come…

by Decemberbaby

So we ordered our new minivan 16 days ago, with the stipulation that it was to be delivered by August 16 or the contract would be voided and our deposit refunded. It’s August 16. Did you get a new minivan?

Neither did I.

Amazingly, neither the salesman nor his manager has called us. I called them twice this week and was told that “we’re still working on it, but we’ll have some news for you in the next 24 hours.”

I’m frustrated, annoyed, and absolutely amazed that the deadline has come and gone without even a courtesy call to say, “sorry we haven’t found the model you need as yet. Can we interest you in a different trim level, or do you want us to keep looking?” Is it just me, or is this bad business?

July 17, 2012

Dear automakers and brochure copy writers…

by Decemberbaby

I love the exhaustive list of a vehicle’s features. Honestly, though, you could definitely edit the list so that customers don’t have to search for the stuff that matters. I’d suggest not bothering to mention such features as: “Door Ajar, low fuel, and driver and passenger seat belt indicators.” ‘Cause you know, every car has that. Ditto door map pockets and cup holders. And, you know, DOORS.

And another thing: why do I have to go up an entire trim level just to get a power liftgate? I want one, but there’s no way I’ll pay seven thousand dollars for it. I mean really, how stupid do you think we are?

(Answer: “apparently, very.”)

“Wheels? The brochure doesn’t list wheels for this model. You want wheels, you gotta move up to our BS model, that’ll get you some wheels.”

July 10, 2012

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi…

by Decemberbaby

See what I did there? In the title? Sic transit! In a post about my car!

Bah, whatever. That’s about all the humour you’ll get in this post. Consider yourselves warned.


I got rear-ended on highway 401 on Friday morning. Suffice it to say that I had three options, two of which would have resulted in me rear-ending someone else, and so I took the third, which relied on another driver to be paying attention.

He wasn’t.


I can tell you that crumple zones really do crumple impressively. I can also tell you that people’s exhortations to put all loose items into a secured glove compartment or something similar are well-intentioned but poorly informed; all of the latched compartments in my car sprang open on impact, belching their contents all over my car. My poor, poor, car.

Brace yourselves, it ain’t pretty.

Yes, the impact was hard enough to break the rear windshield. It’s obvious what happened: the stroller saw a big grey pickup truck bearing down on it and, in a moment of sheer panic, punched through the windshield in an attempt to escape. Good thing, since we couldn’t open the tailgate at all. There was probably no point in pulling it out anyhow, since the seat is now studded with tiny shards of glass. I think we’ll be getting a new stroller.

Speaking of things that can’t be opened, get a load of my rear passenger side door. No amount of brute force could open this door. I’m doubly thankful that the kids weren’t in the car, because being unable to free my kids from the car is not on my bucket list. seriously.

Where were the kids, you ask? Ah, the kids: the reason I was on the 401 in the first place. I was on my way back from dropping K and N off at my in-laws’ home for the day. I had big plans for the day that included some blogging, some sewing, and some napping. Oh, the plans I had!

But you know what they say: Mensch tracht und Gott lacht. That’s (probably slightly incorrect) Yiddish for “Man plans, and God laughs.”

Back to the kids. They would have been physically fine. The carseats weren’t crushed or squished or anything. See?

Although on second inspection they do seem to be a little… crooked, or something. But anyhow, plenty of space for the kids inside the seats, and no protruding metal or projectiles. No squished-kid potential whatsoever. Thank God.

Anyhow, the first thing I did (after sighing, wiggling my toes, turning my head, and sitting completely still for two full minutes to collect myself) was call the OPP. Yeah, you know me. Oh, wait… I called the other OPP – Ontario Provincial Police. Even though I was well inside city limits, the 401 is a provincial road. Toronto police don’t have jurisdiction on the 401, apparently.

So the dispatcher told me that she could see the collision (yep, big brother is watching the traffic) and that we’d have to pull over if at all possible. Apparently they don’t like it when accidents block two lanes of a busy sixteen-lane freeway. So I turned on the engine and tried to accelerate. Nothing but noise. Eventually I was able to move the car by absolutely flooring the pedal, and I figured there was probably something wrong with the engine or the fuel delivery system or the dinglehopper or something. Then I got out of the car and saw exactly why it wouldn’t move:

That’s right, the rear wheel couldn’t turn, being blocked as it was by all that crumpled metal (or whatever cars are made of these days.) My car was rendered undriveable.

And yet I walked away with only a small bruise where the lower change compartment hit my shin as it popped open (the compartment popped open; my shin did not.) I am otherwise fine, an observation which seems to baffle a great many people. Even the guy at the auto-body shop, when I called to inquire as to the status of my car, said, “First I have to know – are you all right?” Apparently he had driven past my car on his way out of the lot on Friday and thought to himself, “Wow, somebody must have gotten hurt pretty badly.” Nope. Apparently automotive engineering is remarkably advanced. I tip my hat to the fine people at Toyota. And I thank God about fifty million times a day. Really.

There are other events upon which I could elaborate: my sympathy for the other driver, who was fine but who was driving his employer’s truck on company time and was about to miss a service call, it would seem; my good fortune in getting rear-ended so close to my parents’ home on a day when my dad was still home at 10:30 in the morning; my appreciation of my dad’s ability to drop everything and come get me so I wouldn’t have to go to the collision reporting centre by myself; the extremely unimportant serendipity of having my car rendered unusable with only $4 worth of gas in the tank (as if the $50 invested in a full tank would have mattered.) I can tellĀ  you that my mother took care of R so that I could sleep in the afternoon.

(And for those of you wondering where Mr. December was during all this, he did offer to come right away, but he works downtown and has no car. I couldn’t see the point of him taking the subway up and then… what? Taking a cab to come get me? Picking up a zipcar and racing to a crash site from which I’d long since been towed? Nope. He came home at his usual time, my in-laws dropped off K and N, and we had a lovely Shabbat dinner at my parents’ house.)

I still don’t know whether the insurance company will decide to fix my car or whether they’ll just call it a write-off. I do know that they won’t let us use those car seats ever again (though I’d like to harvest them for parts so that I can add some more harnesses to the Bakfiets) but won’t pay the replacement cost – they calculate 10% depreciation for every year since you bought the seat. I also know that I’m not ready to move on to another car. Our Yaris is tiny, but it has served us very well. It has hauled IKEA furniture, three dozen balloons, my mountain bike, three carseats and a double stroller, renovation materials… at times I’m convinced that it’s a pickup truck masquerading as a tiny hatchback. And yet if we had to buy a new car right now, how could I justify not buying something bigger? I have three small children who won’t always be quite so small, and our next car really should reflect that. It’s just that I’d hoped our next car wouldn’t be making an appearance for another few years yet. I love our Yaris.

And that, as Forrest Gump would say, is all I have to say about that.


June 13, 2012

Work-in-Progress Wednesday: the no-progress edition

by Decemberbaby

You know how the second you’re really gung ho about a project, one of your tools just up and dies on you? Yeah. My sewing machine did that last Thursday.

I tried fixing it myself. I opened it up and cleaned it and oiled it and closed it back. But the darn thing just wouldn’t work!

So there I was, with lots of stuff to sew and no way to sew it. It was a low point, that’s for sure. Add that frustration to the fact that R slept very little (and kept me awake) most nights, and you can see why absolutely no progress has been made this week.

You know what, I’m not even doing the project-by-project account of how little progress has been made. I’ll just leave you with this sad picture of (exhausted) me and K’s half-finished (and slightly mangled) bike shorts:

Off to pick up my sewing machine from the repairman. What are you hoping do get done this week?