Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Thus spoke my best girlfriend, on this day, at nine o'clock in the morning, exactly twelve years ago.
I was sitting up in bed, nursing a cup of tea, and contemplating heaving my enormous bulk downstairs for some breakfast.
"Of COURSE I'm okay. The doctor saw me just yesterday-- this baby is high, and in her exact words, I'm 'tight as a drum', even if I AM nine days overdue... I'll meet you at the doors of Labour and Delivery tomorrow morning at 8am... They'll start the induction just as soon as we get the paperwork done. I'll need you then, for sure. Go and get food for your family!!"
We hung up, and I thanked my lucky stars to have such a friend: one who would leave her nearest and dearest at six o'clock in the morning, and struggle through two hours of nasty rush hour traffic, to support me through the birth of my first child. My husband is the "squeamish" type-- the type who freaks out and demands I take antibiotics at the first sign of a sniffle-- and I wasn't entirely sure he would make it through a long, hard labour in a fully-conscious state. Sandy would be there to support BOTH of us-- the "green", newbie parents-to-be.
I felt a twinge as I waddled down two flights of stairs for the kitchen, and breathed through it. Several more rapidly followed as I munched through my cornflakes and toast, but it wasn't anything unusual-- I had been having those pesky Braxton-Hicks contractions for WEEKS... and for what?? For the doctor to proclaim me "high and tight" upon each and every examination. As my due-date drew nearer, and then passed altogether, I began longing to actually BE "high and tight" in a completely different manner... Surely a few pain-relievers and a glass of white wine were IN ORDER once you had passed the forty-one-week mark...
I puttered around, and planned out my day. I had one day of work left. One matinee performance of "Showboat" to get through, with all the various crazy costume changes and typical disastrous malfunctions. The cast and crew had been wonderfully supportive during the run, and cheered me on enthusiastically every day I actually turned up at work. Apart from the stage hands making air-traffic-controller-type motions with their flashlights every time I crossed the darkened backstage (it was all in good fun, really... even though they WERE supposed to be ensuring that I didn't trip on all the damn lighting cables rigged across the floor), everyone seemed quite thrilled to have a heavily pregnant woman around, and by no means felt they had to make "allowances" for me... well, apart from letting me go first-in-line in the cue for the only ladies' room in the back of the theatre, that is.
I would have one more half-day on the job, and then would take the evening off, in order to rest up for the next day's delivery. Husband and I would enjoy a leisurely dinner together-- the first one in WEEKS, because of our conflicting schedules-- and then settle down on the couch to watch one of my favourite movies: "Some Like It Hot", with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.
At about eleven o'clock, I called to my husband breathlessly, "I'm going to take a shower. Then, could you drop me off at work?"
Husband noted that I was slightly red-faced, and puffing a bit.
"It's nothing, I promise. I've been having these contractions for weeks now. YES, they're five minutes apart, but they always stop. This baby is coming TOMORROW. I've got a matinee TODAY. I'll be ready in half an hour..."
And I trailed off to the bathroom.
LUCKILY... My husband had the sneaky foresight to call our obstetrician while I was out-of-earshot. Because had I been within earshot, there would have been NO WAY I would have let him call. And then call my boss, and tell him that I would not be "in" for the performance that day.
When I emerged from the bathroom, I discovered my husband standing at the front door, my little suitcase in hand. I was told that we were heading for the hospital. NOW. No questions.
And thank goodness for his insistence... because once I got over the fury of being usurped by my spouse, I was doubled-over in the passenger seat of our Volvo, huffing and puffing away, praying that the twenty-minute journey to the hospital could be just a little bit faster... and the date with the anesthesiologist could be arranged, oh, say, AS SOON AS WE HIT THE PARKING LOT??!!
I'm certain the nurses thought I was just some melodramatic first-timer, when I had to take breaks every minute or two to put my head down on the desk and breathe through excruciating contractions, while I was completing the hospital sign-in process. No one seemed in much of a hurry to call a doctor, either. But mercifully, my own OB was on call that day, and came hurrying down as soon as he heard we had arrived.
"You're seven centimeters. SEVEN!! That's great!! Amazing!! You slept through most of your labour!! How about that?? It won't be long now..."
My husband was IMMEDIATELY on the phone to Sandy-the-best-friend, who lamented that she likely wouldn't make it to the hospital in time...
But I was too busy discussing a Very Serious Matter with the doctor to be much panicked about that. I knew Sandy would arrive eventually... but WHAT OF THE EPIDURAL???
I had been taught from a very early age, that when making important decisions, or choosing a life-path, one should always allow for some "wiggle-room", just in case. "By all means, choose what door you want to go through," a former guidance counsellor used to tell us, "but for goodness sake, make sure you leave a window open."
And so, when I was told that "the window was closed" on the heavy-duty, effective pain-relief, it did NOT go over well with me, the She-Lion-In-Hard-Labour. It didn't go over very well with my semi-hysterical husband, either... Even as they were tucking me into bed and making all the weird adjustments to the end of it, and shining that blasted light DOWN THERE, I could STILL hear him shouting, "But I'm supposed to be HER PAIN ADVOCATE!! I PROMISED HER!!!"
To which my blessed doctor responded with soothing "clucks", like "Yes, yes... It's hard, isn't it? I have four children, myself... There for every one of them.... It's hard to watch your wife go through... But it's the same for everybody..." And then, when my poor, distracted husband threatened to go off the deep end, altogether, I heard a nurse say firmly:
And then, everything went a bit fuzzy for me after that... It was a "blessedly" quick labour, but a truly shocking one. Not frightening, exactly, but I do remember being completely amazed when a sort of "animalistic instinct" took over, and suddenly I understood exactly what to do, and how to focus...
My first memory of my newborn daughter is the sensation of the weight of her tiny little body being placed on my chest. And while I was so exhausted from the hour-and-a-half of hard, HARD labour, that I couldn't even open my eyes to look at her... couldn't even really "hear" her first cries... I remember the feeling of her... of the two of us, separate, and yet, together at last.
My husband cried. And I confess, I took advantage of his completely flabbergasted state-of-mind to ask to name our baby after my much-loved great-aunt, and after his mother. They were beautiful names-- perfect for the perfect little dark-haired angel they had gently swaddled and placed in his arms.
It's been twelve years, today. It feels like only a moment ago, but in so many ways, it has been a lifetime. Forever.
Happy Birthday, my beautiful, sweet, twelve-year-old girl. I'm so proud of you. And happy birthday to me, too, because on this day, a dozen years ago, I became a mother. We are a pair, you and I.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 3:53 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:44 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Now, brace yourselves. I have broken with my long-held belief that it is best if the colours in my home all figure around the same value (the strength of a colour-- the "lightness" or "darkness"). I went slightly nuts this week, people, and painted the dining room "Pomegranate", from the new, more environmentally-friendly line of paint from Benjamin Moore, which is called "Aura". It's a spectacular colour... I love it. Child Number Three wandered in while I was rolling it on, and said she "liked the OLD room better..." But, when I asked her what colour the room had been before, she couldn't tell me. Hah. MORE proof that a dramatic change was long overdue. The former room had been the exact colour of chocolate milk... which sounds delicious, but in actual fact, was rather a bland pinkish-brown. I always felt the room was a bit cavernous, whenever we ate in there... But not anymore. The space has warmed right up, and become more elegant, but a bit more "intimate", too. I'm thrilled, even if my family members are still a bit scared. One good meal in there, and I figure I'll have them converted...
The last project will be the girlies' bathroom... and they all want purple. I've settled on a pale, fresh version-- much like this wisteria-- and then I'll have to turn "handywoman" and replace a few light fixtures... This is a bathroom in desperate need of a complete renovation, especially since we've got one child teetering on the brink of adolescence, and two more following up the ranks... but until I've got the bucks to re-model and put in some MAJOR storage space (and a few more sinks-and-mirrors), a quick-fix will have to do.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:56 PM
Friday, April 18, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:04 PM
Posted by Candygirlflies at 11:16 AM
Monday, April 14, 2008
And in the springtime, a woman's thoughts turn to... Bathing Suit Season.
Yessir. The most stressful time of the whole. damn. year. is right around the corner.
Back-to-school? Tough, but I can handle it. Christmas? Fa-la-la. But one mention of Bathing Suit Season, and you'll find me spewing an entirely different "f-word", altogether.
The idea that one of these days-- no doubt, much sooner than I'd like-- I'm going to be forced to don my summer wardrobe without being labelled obscene, has made me do something different this year.
I've become a "closet cyclist".
Well, actually, a "basement cyclist", if you want to know the absolute truth.
Every night, after my girlies have been bathed and read-to and kissed goodnight, I don my "sweats" and head down two flights of stairs, for my trusty stationary bicycle.
It has been pleasantly surprising how much I enjoy pedalling away every evening-- I actually look forward to the half-hour of time where I can close my eyes and not think about very much at all. I love the fact that I can just put my head down and not worry about following a route, or how deep the next pot-hole in the road might be. There's no traffic or farm machinery to dodge. I REALLY love that I am no longer having to pay for a gym membership that I hardly ever used. And my children? Don't need to stay with a babysitter, or suffer the former-gym's "child-care facility".
Over the past several weeks, a few of my blog-friends have written posts about their own exercise regimes, and listed some of the music that they listen to, in order to get motivated. Kim, of The Merits of the Case, who beat her breast cancer with such style and grace last year, is now running marathons. And Leann, of The World Through the Eyes of Me, is a self-proclaimed gym addict, and has just celebrated achieving another fitness "personal best" this week. Both of these gorgeous, strong women posted some of their favourite music, and so, in response, I'm going to "show you mine", so to speak...
With apologies to my parents... Who, no doubt, would love me to be listening to all of the Mozart Piano Concertos (in order, of course)... I give you:
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:03 PM
Yesterday, my parents came into town, and swooped me away from my little family, so that I could spend one. entire. day. drenched in the most spectacular theatre that any of us has seen in many, many years.
Right now, at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto, the Chichester Festival Production of "The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby" is playing... And if any of you have an afternoon and an evening when you could go and sit through all six-and-a-half glorious hours of this play, I assure you, it will be something that you will remember for the rest of your lives.
My bum may still be completely numb from all that sitting, but my heart is full with the memory of a splendid production, and a wonderful day.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:12 AM
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:07 PM
Thursday, April 10, 2008
A) Your hair dresser
B) Your lover
C) Your veterinarian
Well, in my own case, my hair dresser happens to be one of my best friends. I didn't even leave her on the day that I accidentally fell asleep while she was cutting my hair (in my own defense: I was about two weeks post-partum after my third child was born). While I was snozzing, she razor cut my chin-length bob to a snazzy little pixie cut. It was a shock to wake up to, and certainly NOT what I would have chosen for myself... but man, she made me look HAWT, even in my feeble and exhausted condition. She's downright magical, people. I would never leave her. I DO understand that some people have trouble when they leave a hairdresser, and would rather confess an infidelity to their spouse than to their stylist. Especially if they are forced to go crawling back to have a bad hairdo fixed...
As for B, well... I won't go into it. Paul Simon has already given us fifty different options.
My own answer to the question, therefore, would be a resounding C) the veterinarian.
Yesterday morning, George (the Fierce, Vile Cat in Residence) came hurtling out of the basement, as she usually does most mornings, in search of her morning kill... er, um... repast. She wound herself around my legs, and gave me an "affectionate" slash-to-the-ankles to get my full attention. I looked down at her sharply, and she met my gaze... while furiously winking one of her enormous yellow eyes. Upon closer examination, I was dismayed to find that her right eye was actually quite swollen and irritated. Indeed, she looked like an angry pirate in desperate want of a patch.
Not so much because the poor wittle animal was suffering... but because it necessitated that I, the long-suffering owner of poor wittle animal, would have to take her to the v-e-t.
I have a relationship with George's v-e-t that would, at best, be described as "uneasy". Not that she isn't a very thorough doctor of animals-- she is. She is extremely attentive, and a meticulous diagnostician. Hell, I've got the bills to prove it.
The problem I have with this animal expert is the GUILT she attempts to lay on me during each and every visit, whether my cat is ailing or not. She is the Mother-in-Law of all Veterinarians, if you will. Yes, even at WELL-CAT CHECK-UPS, she manages to make me feel as though I've been "shirking" my duties as owner. That I'm flunking out on her feline attent-o-meter, and I'm just not doing enough to ensure that my ferocious, sixteen-year-old black monster--who is normally as healthy as a HORSE, I might add-- will live forever.
Sanctimonious Vet: The cat is overweight! What are you feeding her?! And how are you ensuring that she is getting adequate exercise?!
The vet recoils in horror when I tell her that I buy George's tinned food at a major grocery store chain, rather than purchasing million-dollar tins of specially-medically-formulated morsels that meet all of the feline's delicate nutritional requirements. And, I tell her, if I could pry the animal off of the hot-air vent in my kitchen and actually wake her up during the day, "regular exercise" might be a possibility. Apparently, suddenly and frighteningly leaping onto one's owner while she is asleep during the wee hours of the night, in order to beg for food, doesn't count as "exercise". Even if the height of my mattress IS on the tall-side.
Sanctimonious Vet: The cat has gingivitis! Why are you not brushing her teeth?!
Well, because I'd have to catch her first, quite frankly. And the idea of roaring around the house, wielding a specially-designed toothbrush that costs more than the electric job I use on my OWN chompers, after an animal that is foaming at the mouth, does not appeal to me, for some reason. The only thing that would appeal to me LESS, would be actually catching her, and having to endure the mauling I would receive if I ever DID attempt to brush her teeth.
Sanctimonious Vet: The cat has a bad attitude, and bit me.
If you'd quit shoving things up her backside and forcing her mouth open to a degree that makes it look as though she could turn inside-out and accidentally swallow her own head, I assure you, the cat would PROBABLY be a lot calmer.
Yes, a trip to the vet clinic is NOT on the list of My Favourite Things. And it sure as hell isn't on George's top-ten, either.
It was clear to me that we'd both had enough. And so, I decided to try and screw up my courage and take the cat to a different vet. I decided that I would attempt to find a vet more like the ones I remember from my small-town childhood. A low-maintenance, James Herriot-y sort of vet, who lives in the REAL WORLD and doesn't expect me to treat my cat with even more TLC that I show to my own offspring.
So, I called around. I called four or five different clinics, and you know what? Not ONE of them would see my cat without having her medical records transferred from Sanctimonious Vet's office first.
Fine and fair enough. Having a thorough knowledge of the case history IS, undoubtedly, What's Best for The Animal.
However, the trick in each case arose when I mentioned that it was Sanctimonious Vet's office that they would have to have the records transferred from. There was a pause on the other end of the telephone line... and then I was asked if I would like to phone Sanctimonious Vet and make a personal request to transfer the file.
It turns out that the entire vet community in this town is just as tripped-out by Sanctimonious Vet as I am.
One receptionist even said to me, "Just so you know. She's not going to take it well."
Another one encouraged me, "Don't be scared!! Just phone her!!" To which I replied, "Hell, woman, YOU don't have the guts to call her, either!"
Eventually, I caved. The angst was just too much for so early on a week-day morning. The thought of having to REASON my way out of Sanctimonious Vet's practice was even MORE excruciating than enduring the lashings of laid-on-guilt. Even though I knew I was in for a grilling, I phoned Sanctimonious Vet and made an appointment.
Even after I hung up the phone, I could hear her voice in my head, as I trudged down the stairs to the basement:
Sanctimonious Vet: The cat has ram-pag-ing conjunctivitis, and needs MAJOR SURGERY! We'll be resecting her eyelids as soon as we can get an imprint of your platinum VISA card! Of course, I'm assuming you DO HAVE a platinum VISA card...
For her part, George the Fierce, Vile Patient heard the faintest rattle coming from the depths of the downstairs storage room, and took off like a black streak of lightning for the furthest corner of the house.
Because she knew what was next.
The Wrestle. Into. THE. BOX.
Now, I am aware that many people have nice, gentle, NORMAL cats who will ride in a car quite happily. Some like to perch in the rear window, and peer out at passing traffic. Others like to cuddle in a towel or blanket. Some, like our Little Cat, years ago, like to curl up on the passenger seat, and pretend to be a Person. Our former Big Cat, on the other hand, liked to cower under the back seat, occasionally howling tides of "WOE!!" at various intervals during the ride, because HE knew what was coming next, poor fellow.
However, NONE of this prepared me for the Grand Production that is "George In The Car". I attempted to drive with George, without the benefit of a restraining device, precisely once. And never again. For the shrieking howls that rang out during the short journey, punctuated by the loud THUMPS that were George, pinging off of the ceiling and walls of my hatch-back as she hurtled 'round, searching desperately for an escape... nearly did me in. What DID do me in was the moment that she made contact with my head... and she proceeded to wrap her furry self around me, like a strange, live "turban", sunk her claws, and HUNG ON.
THAT was a trip that will never. be. repeated.
Now, we use The Box, which is equipped with a double-action lock, and special slots to slide a seatbelt through. Yes, we need a seatbelt restraint, too.
Trust me, people, I would give her tranquillizers if I could administer them using a dart gun. Because I have discovered the hard way over the past sixteen years, that the only thing I would rather do LESS than attempt to brush this cat's teeth, is to try and get a pill down her throat.
And anyway, if I were given tranquillizers to get her through these trips to the vet, the temptation to take them MYSELF would be almost too great to resist.
After much pomp-and-circumstance, George and I made it to the appointment. And we now have some lovely viscous eye drops that I am supposed to attempt to administer to the cat, three times a day.
Sanctimonious Vet was actually on her "best behavior", as the appointment turned out to be fairly low-key, and went without much incident.
She thoroughly examined the cat, as she always does, and then turned to ask me about my inadequacies.
And THIS ONE was a doozie of a question, people. One that I had to bite my tongue till blood was coming out the sides of my mouth, to keep from answering...
THIS is what she asked:
"Has the cat been under any stress, lately?"
Posted by Candygirlflies at 9:30 PM
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:59 PM
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
It was a Pep chocolate bar... a delicacy that many of you American readers may not know... It is a large, round disk of chocolate, filled with the most divine, slightly crisp white mint filling... It is one of the only candy bars that I will pay good money for, because unlike so much of the other commercial chocolate out there, it is rich and delicious and NOT filled with all those waxes and chemicals that prolong shelf life, but considerably compromise taste.
Posted by Candygirlflies at 8:16 AM
Friday, April 4, 2008
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Posted by Candygirlflies at 10:08 PM