Throwback Thursday…

I just found an old photograph of the kids and it’s so sweet I had to share. The kids are eating homemade creamsicles made with juice and yogourt and the cat in the back is our old cat Pumpkin (he’s on a leash).

I know I’ve shared several childhood photos recently but I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic this past week and, well, the kids were adorable.

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What makes a house a home…

Kait and Elmo

Kait sharing a laugh with Elmo

I was looking at my hutch and the wooden home sign on the shelf when I thought to myself, “What makes a house a home”? I’d always thought it was the people in the house that made it a home. Love, kindness, and shared connections. The bonds of family and friendship.

I spent 23 years raising my children and had no doubt our place was a home. There was almost visible love around us and kindness. And, of course, friends. Our home had plenty of hugs and kisses, plenty of listening, and lots of “I love you”. It was home sweet home.

Then I moved here with Colin. It felt different moving without Kait but, with Colin, it was still home. And now it’s me moving all by myself.

I can look at all the gorgeous things I’ve bought for this apartment. My bronze twig cutlery set, rainbow cups (one set from me and one from my parents), beautiful wall art. Everything to make my apartment more inviting. But items don’t make a home. Can it be a home when I’m by myself?

I’m going to have four cats with me to love and spoil. I have friends already talking about visiting. And I’m sure I’ll make friends there, especially since there are groups being held in the building.

Those are all good but my final thought was it’s what’s inside your heart that matters. If you enter and your heart feels at peace, you’re home. No matter who or how many people live there.

I’m not sure when I’m going to get there, the building is under construction, but when I arrive, I know I’m going to be at home.

Kait, Colin, and frog

Kait and Colin while camping

I wear my tears on the inside…

The conversation came out of nowhere. One minute we were getting ready to catch the bus and the next Colin was talking about whether trans people should out themselves to prospective dates. I was on the side of no and Colin, surprisingly enough, went for yes.

“It’s no one’s business what’s in someone else’s pants,” I said as I locked the front door. “Genitals are private.”

“What about you and L?” he asked. “You must know about her.”

“No,” I replied. “I’ll probably find out if we get serious but right now it’s none of my business.”

“Well it’s not right,” Colin loudly insisted. “I don’t want to find out my girlfriend’s transgender after I’ve been dating her for a while. I don’t want to find out we can’t have kids together. Not when I’ve given up my own happiness for a kid.”

Those words free fell from his mouth to crash onto the tiled floor.

“Given up my own happiness”

I couldn’t cry, I just couldn’t. He didn’t need that. His pain was his own and I couldn’t add to it.

We were halfway to the bus stop when I casually commented, “Did you know disabled kids are the least likely to get adopted?”

I tried to keep my tone light and non-committal. We’ve already had the adoption talk before and it wouldn’t help to go through it twice. But I was talking to the person who asked the store clerk if they had any special needs guinea pigs. Luckily I succeeded and he proceeded to talk about special needs all the way to the bus stop. Hopefully I’ve planted a seed.

I wish he’d put his own happiness ahead of a baby that doesn’t exist and a girlfriend he has yet to meet but that’s got to be decided by him, not me. So I’ll just keep remembering “given up my own happiness” and let the tears trickle down on the inside where he can’t see.

Colin and Angel

 

Moving right along…

I still haven’t got a move in date for my apartment. I was told “sometime in the summer”. My psychiatrist laughed when I told him that and said, “That means September”. I have to admit he’s probably right. I’m moving right along for the new apartment. I’ve got new cutlery, new plates, new wall art, and new food storage containers. I’ve even enlarged the floor plan for the unit so I can plan a little easier.

Apartment layout

My floor plan

The hard part is Colin. While he has contacted the John Howard Society regarding help finding an apartment, he hasn’t done anything else. No money’s been saved, no units have been called. Every once in a while he’ll ask me if it’s too late to cancel my apartment. I keep telling him it is. I’ve signed all the agreements and accepted the subsidy. I can’t back out now. I can’t help thinking he’s not really trying to move because he figures I’ll cancel and stay with him if it gets to the summer and he has no way to move. Which means I’ve got to put in all the effort.

 

I mailed in an application for my building, which he could afford until they updated the home page recently and added “plus utilities”. The utility company figured the cost would be between one and two hundred a month. Ouch! I don’t pay utilities because I’m on subsidy. Colin isn’t that lucky.

I called another place which advertises $760/m for rent and wasn’t surprised to find their waiting list is well over a year long. And viewit.ca only offered a place that is known for it’s dealers, cockroaches, bedbugs, and mice. Ironically their price wasn’t particularly low either. All that’s left is wading through kijiji on a regular basis and looking for apartment for rent signs. And his worker at John Howard Society. Hopefully she can help him find something.

What’s worrying me just as much is Colin doesn’t have any money other than the $70 from his GoFundMe. It’s easy to say, it’s his choice to spend all his money, he needs to deal with the consequences but, in this case, the consequences are moving my autistic 21 year old into a homeless shelter. The consequences are too steep.

So now I have two options to get money for Colin. His Go Fund Me and my LGBTQ friendly fantasy novel. Any money received goes right into my savings account where I’m keeping track of his deposits. I don’t have any fancy prizes for donating to his Go Fund Me account. The only prize is keeping him off the street. But if you buy my book you’ll get a novel that everyone who’s read it has raved about.

Here’s my book…

And here is Colin’s GoFundMe…

https://www.gofundme.com/colin039s-moving-fund

Thank you so much for helping!!!

There are places I remember…

I stood in the middle of the kitchen and finally had to admit that apartment just wouldn’t work for us. The landlord billed it as a three bedroom and it was ostensibly. Two of the three bedrooms would barely support a crib let alone a bed and every room we saw came with a list of furniture we simply couldn’t fit into the apartment. I was in the kitchen, wondering who could store our solid maple hutch, when I realized we’d have to give up half of our furniture to move in. It just wasn’t feasible. We turned the apartment down.

We were at my parents’ house a few days later and walked in as my sister was describing the apartment she’d just turned down. The whole place needed repainting from top to bottom and the front door was, oddly enough, on the landing at the middle of the stairs. It was a two bedroom (I was pregnant with Colin at the time) and there was a shared backyard. She was dismissive. I was intrigued.

Monday found me at the building trying to find any contact information. There was no apartment for rent sign and no one answered the superintendent’s buzzer. My ex arrived with Kait and a short while later the super arrived. We signed the rental agreement 15 minutes later. The paint was fine and we’d have our own patio and a share of the backyard.

Jeremy in 1998I have so many happy memories from this apartment. We did some big things but it’s the little ones I remember. Sitting reading poetry and bedtime stories at night then singing lullabies to help them sleep. The time they both were sick so I let them blow bubbles in the living room… those hard to pop bubbles that were so popular those days. Playing in the backyard… doing the actions to the Grand Old Duke of York and the Bear went over the Mountain while I sang. We got one of those big wading pools with the rigid sides and I’d stick the foot of their slide into the pool so they could have a water slide. And every warm night the kids took their baby dolls out for a walk around the block in their strollers.

As they grew older, our excursions widened. We went to all the local parks (not all at theOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA same time). One of their favourite past times was building a “sand bloom”. This involved dumping a huge pile of sand at the bottom of the slide then sliding through only to build it again. The washer was sometimes gritty but it was worth it for their laughter.

We lucked out and got new neighbours with kids the same age as mine. We did so many activities with them as well as simply playing at home together.

Colin and Kait at McRae PointEvery single summer my parents drove us to a local campground for a week of camping fun. We started out at a small campground then moved to a bigger one that was a bit closer. Both kids were fishes and loved being in the water. We caught (and released) frogs, roasted marshmallows, sang campfire songs, and read before bed. They were magical times I still look back on and enjoy.

Life wasn’t perfect. I was perpetually broke and had to plan the kids’ birthdays half afirst profile picture year in advance so I could afford the basics for a party. Presents were often bought at Dollarama and riding the bus was a luxury we could rarely afford. But we still had fun and I always had food in the kitchen and snacks available.

I went to the dentist today and walked along Green Street to stand diagonally across the street from our old building. It’s been sold a couple of times since we lived there and half the hedge is dead from vines, something our superintendent warned would happen. It looked a lot smaller than I remembered. Maybe it was all the memories stuffed in it that made it seem bigger to me than in reality. There’s a Dollarama where our old grocery store used to be and I picked up a couple of items before heading for home.

At the time it seemed like they’d be young forever. The days were so long and filled with a myriad of little activities. But of course they grew up. The days go by so much more quickly now. Now Kait’s in my former position of Mommy, raising her baby and keeping him entertained. I hope she ends up with as many happy memories as I have or even more.

Goodbye Green Street. You were a wonderful place to raise a family!

Back to school - Kait grade 1 2001b

Mommy wine culture…

icing hatFor me it started with a hat. A very glittery baseball hat in my favourite store. As everyone who knows me knows, I am a glitter fanatic. Then I read the caption and sighed. It wasn’t perfect after all. I don’t drink. I hate the taste of alcohol. But my sister loves wine and it seemed perfect for her. Birthday present shopping done.

It was after that I noticed the sheer amount of wine related items aimed at women, in particular mothers.

wine glassGoogle “Mommy juice” and you will find so many stemless glasses to choose from. And then there’s this unsubtle glass. Yep, I get it. We’re boring sober, awesome halfway though the glass and magical unicorns if we finish the whole thing. I’ll have you know I’m a glittery magical unicorn without alcohol, thanks.

Another glass I saw said “coffee am/ wine pm”. I’m hoping they mean dinnertime and not one in the afternoon. I don’t like coffee either so I get to be “boring” twice over.

wine shirtDon’t get me wrong, I know alcohol is fine in moderation. What bothers me is all this media makes it seem like alcohol is the norm and you have to drink to be cool and fit in. I posted about this on Facebook and everyone but one person said there was definitely an increase in products advertising wine to women. One friend said, “I feel like its everywhere. I often feel like I am the only mom who doesn’t drink” and honestly, I feel the same way sometimes, especially when I see products like these virtually everywhere. I wanted to get a glittery hat for my Dominican Republic trip next week and every hat in Icing was about drinking. The only hats I could find without alcohol were in Claires and very obviously aimed at children.

wine printI’ll be at our local mall on Tuesday, hoping to find a cup with a reusable straw so that when I buy my slushies for by the pool, I can just keep reusing my cup. I have a feeling though that if I want a glittery cup with no reference to wine, I’m going to have to hit the children’s store again. Maybe I’ll be lucky but I’m not counting on it. And I can’t help but wonder how much pressure this puts on woman to drink in order to fit in.

For those of you out there who feel left out because you don’t drink, you aren’t. There’s plenty of us and we’re fabulous. You don’t have to drink to fit in. You don’t even have to fit in, just be yourself and let the world fit in around you. You can be a sparkling magical unicorn without fermented grapes. So raise a glass of whatever you like, ignore the marketers, and celebrate you.

be you

My weirdest boss ever…

It was 2004 and I’d just moved the kids and I to a high rise complex. Then I got a job at the doughnut store across the street. It was almost perfect. There was a daycare in our building so I just took the kids downstairs and walked across the street. I could be there in under five minutes. The only problem was my boss. He was beyond weird. One day, or even one moment, he’d be jubilant, praising me to the skies for something that was perfectly normal, like mopping a slushy floor.

“You’re my best employee,” he’d exclaim, “The best employee ever.”

Then he’d flip and he’d start literally offering me to his customers.

“She’s useless, absolutely useless! Take her… take her!!!”

The customers would shuffle awkwardly then hurry for the door as soon as their order was complete.

Then one day I came in for my shift and went to work at the cash only to be told he didn’t want me to work there, which was my usual spot. So I moved to the bagel counter and was told the same thing. So I asked where he wanted me to work.

“Nowhere,” he retorted, “you’re fired!”

A short while later I went in to get my last paycheque. I found it lying on the floor under the shelf they usually sat, marred with foot prints. He’d literally stomped all over it. He asked if I had a job yet, even though it had only been a week, and smiled when I told him no.

A year went by and I found work at a call centre representing a major internet provider. It wasn’t the best job but I was making $12/hr and was only a few months away from getting benefits. The kids and I were going out shopping one morning and just missed the bus. We could have gone home to wait but the kids wanted bagels so we walked across the street and went inside. The boss’s wife was behind the counter. She was quiet but polite, as usual. We ate our bagels then the kids asked for doughnuts. And that was when the boss came in.

He pushed his wife aside without a word and took our order. His face was like sunshine and his grin beamed.

“So, do you have a job yet?” he asked. His grin said he expected the answer to be no.

My smile widened until it was almost as big as his. “Yes, I have,” I replied and his smile disappeared.

“I’ve got a full time job with major internet service provider,” I continued. “I make $12 an hour and I’ll have benefits in a couple more months.”

He didn’t even say a word. He spun around and stalked into the back of the store. I figured he was going to his office. His wife took over the order and quickly completed it. Then she looked up and said, “Oh!” in surprise before running out of the store. I looked up too in order to see him in his partly backed out car while she urgently talked through the window.

He was so mad at me that I’d moved on in my life and got a better job than the one he’d offered that he had stormed out of the building. Even though he’d just arrived. Even though he hadn’t so much as said “hi” to his wife.

We walked out the door in silence then Kait looked up from her doughnut and said, “Mom, that man’s really weird!”

I laughed. “You don’t even know the half of it.”