The near birthday fiasco…

I’d say it started yesterday but it really started just over a month ago when my ex-husband had his birthday. Ever since we separated he’s insisted he wants no birthday celebration at all. No calls… no cards… no presents. He doesn’t want to remember he’s ageing, leave him alone. Then, after the date, he’s mad because no one remembered his birthday. General cognition and cause and effect are not his strong suits.

This time he decided to get back at Emma for not calling. Never mind Emma never calls anyone. Never mind she’s having problems with her phone. Never mind she doesn’t keep track of dates. He was mad and he was retaliating. So he called Kait and told her he was going to deliberately misgender “Colin” in a birthday Facebook wish to get back at her. A) because that’s what loving and kind Fathers do and B) because there was no way posting his ignorance on Facebook could blow back at him…

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Emma knew just what to say

The first thing that confused James was absolutely no one wanted to here his side on why he’s misgendering his own child. So he explained anyway…

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Then my friend Robin told him to step on a Lego and he literally took that to be a death threat…

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And my friend ran with the Lego death threat. Because we all know how deadly a block of lego is when you step on it…

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It’s funny in some ways but this is a grown man, Emma’s father, on her Facebook page the night before her birthday. And here is when he really started showing his true colours. First by using gay as an insult, then his above comment about not supporting “lgbt crap”, and finally by deciding Robin must be trans and referring to her as “it” and that “trans freak”. Along with this…

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Kait finally had enough of him, after being on the brink for months, and blocked him…

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… and her post whooshed right over his head

Then it just got plain pathetic…

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My ex and I talked a lot about being parents, when we were young and engaged, and how we wanted to raise our kids. He wanted to be a hands on Dad, something he hadn’t much experience with (as much as he loved his father). It’s like he set out to do the exact opposite.

I almost never mention my ex-husband on the blog and this thread is exactly why. He’s a living train wreck of a man, a person who lives solely to tear down other people.

Today is Emma’s birthday. She played Undertale before school while I watched then we went out for dinner with her Nana (mmm… potato curry), and now she’s heading out to Value Village to look for computer parts and/or a phone… as happy as can be. Then she’s having birthday pudding, since she decided it was too hot for cake. There was no mention of her Dad, he’s a non-existent part of her life and, sadly, that’s how it should be with him.

Emma and her new purse

Emma with her new purse and sucker

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On dinner guests and why my cat is purple…

I was heading out the door for a (futile) look for bike locks at Dollarama when my phone rang. It was my friend A letting me know her fiance’s birthday was today, the day of our dinner party. He was turning 16 (with a few decades experience… and a year to grow on). I promised I’d make a cake to go with dinner and mentally decided to run into Metro for a cake mix. I have an amazing from scratch recipe but it’s better for cupcakes than layer cakes.

I got home at the four hours until company mark and did a quick clean and sweep of our place before placing one scented candle in the middle of our table and the other on the fireplace mantle. The candles were a gift from A and S so I figured they’d be appreciated.

Just over an hour later I stepped over Jeremy’s HotWheels track (asking them, once again, to put it away) and took two aromatic pans out of the oven. Fifteen minutes later I looked at an irreparable mess. I joke that frosting is an amazing glue but there’s a limit to what it can do.

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Almost recognizable as cake

I frantically messaged several of my friends and one (thankfully) suggested making cake balls. I can do that! Smushing cake bits into frosting then rolling it into balls is in my skill set.

My hands closely resembled mud mitts when Jeremy exclaimed something unprintable. I turned to see our dining room and half of Smudge coated in purple wax… the scented candle still rocking in the corner. Thankfully no one (and nothing) was burned but this was two hours until company time, we had exactly two cake balls and a room that looked like it was decorated by Jackson Pollock.

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The cat was pretty well decorated too

A frantic call to vet gave me the instructions to a) put some ice on the wax and b) when informed the cat was now one third wax, to wait for time to take its course. At that point Smudge was trying to moon walk out of the wax and Jeremy was scraping the floor with my good metal spatula.

“Leave the wax for now,” I asked them. “It’s time to take Angel to the vet for her shot.”

I was giving Jeremy an extra 15 minutes to get ready, knowing they’d need it.

“I’ll need a harness,” they announced five minutes later.

“Umm why? She doesn’t need a harness in her carry box.”

“But I’m anxious and want to carry her,” Jeremy announced.

“And you have to walk across a busy road,” I protested.

I was up to five misshapen blobs and our company was coming in just over an hour. The cat was still purple, there was a coated spatula on the dining room floor, and I hadn’t even started dinner.

“But the carry box is breaking,” Jeremy informed me frantically. “I can’t put her in there!”

“Why didn’t you tell me before now,” I blurted.

MELTDOWN

Once Jeremy calmed down, they left with Angel in their arms at three minutes to her appointment and I settled in to making the rest of the cake balls. I declared enough at 15 balls… if anyone wants cake-ball batter, I have half a bowl sitting in the fridge complete with a teaspoon.

Time to make dinner and, I realized with dawning horror, I had nothing but a jar of marinara sauce and noodles. I was going to make fresh rolls but that time got taken up with purple wax and exploding cake. And I had been planning on buying fresh veggies for the sauce and a bottle of frizzante but I was so pleased to remember the cake that I forgot.

Jeremy walked in with Angel and almost immediately right back out again with a list of exactly three items. Pop, leaf lettuce, and four nice soft dinner rolls. There wasn’t any point in adding veggies at this point. I didn’t have time to cook them.

“That’s not fair,” Jeremy blurted. “I just got home.”

“Do you want to wash the baking dishes and set the table instead?”

“Fine, I’ll go,” they sighed at fifteen minutes to company.

The grocery store is a five minute walk away. Five minutes later I could still hear Jeremy chatting with a random stranger… eight floors below. They got home one minute before our company arrived with a container of mixed greens, four bottles of pop, and four bags of potato chips.

“Umm, Jeremy, where are the buns?” I asked as I looked (again) through the bags.

They sighed. “Buns are boring Mom! That’s why I got chips. Only boring parties serve bread.”

“And what are we going to sop the leftover sauce up with?” I asked and they stared at me blankly.

“Chips are still cool!” they retorted, waving a bag of jalapeno chips in the air.

The guests were great and everyone enjoyed the cake balls (thanks K!) but, much to Jeremy’s disappointment, it’ll be a while before I invite guests over for dinner again. Smudge and I need to recover.

Happy birthday to me!!!

birthday Doctor Who 10th

Since the 10th Doctor never actually showed up, I’m taking Jeremy camping instead. Plus I made myself chocolate peanut butter cupcakes 🙂 The first year I became vegan, my Mom made a bowl of fresh fruit because she doesn’t know how to make a cake without milk and eggs. I’ve made my own cake ever since. This year’s will be the best so far.

Jeremy tried to convince me that today’s opposite day, which means I’m supposed to give zir a present instead of vice versa. I’d say it was a nice try on zir part but zie woke me an hour early then started begging for video games so zie’d have something to do in the car. In essence, since my Mom bought the present and I bought zir three (four?) games, I did buy zir a present. The kidlet’s about as subtle as a sledgehammer but just as effective.

And we’re heading off for five days of swimming, hiking, and exploring. All I know is there’s a large pond (which Jeremy says is at least as big as a football field… or three even), two beaches, caves, hiking trails, and trees. Jeremy assures me there’s lots of trees. I’ve never been there and can’t find any pictures so all my mind is picturing is lots of ????? and a gravely, muddy beach with lots of weeds. Jeremy didn’t mention either so my mental image is probably (hopefully) off.

See you in August!!!!!

p.s. Depending on cellphone service, I might stick a picture or two up on Instagram 🙂

Jeremy’s birthday extravaganza ~ part two

I promised Jeremy two things this birthday; a ride on one of the quad bikes at Centre Island and a rainbow Doctor Who cake. The first got fulfilled on zir birthday… then I had to complete the second.

I cheated when it came to the cake and bought a plain white cake mix which I made with a can of 7-Up (okay, Dollarama’s knock off “billion bubbles” version). Then I got out six bowls and a box of neon food colouring and got busy.

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I’ve seen recipes with six layer cakes but I have two pans and not nearly enough patience. Instead I made each layer three colours, giving the cake an almost tie-dyed effect.

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I’ve baked a lot of cakes over the years and most of them I’ve summed up as “good enough”. This one ended up better than I expected…

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Purple, sparkly, and Doctor Who!!! Also, there’s some heavy duty editing here as my camera is quite insistent that purple simply does not exist.

The purple glitter and silver stars represent space while the glittery circle is the time vortex. My reaction was “OMG… I did it! I actually did it!” while Jeremy was quite blase. Zie figured I’d pull off an absolutely magical cake no problem… despite all my previous attempts.

We had zir family birthday dinner at my parents’ house and Jeremy had an amazing time. One cousin made zir a mansion on Minecraft and then they all settled down to play SuperMario on the Wii-U until dinner.

Of course Jeremy’s favourite part of the day was the present opening and my parents’ gifts were a huge hit. Zie really wanted a remote control car, one that was strong enough to take camping and on our walks. My parents bought zir a huge orange behemoth of a truck, complete with horns and rubberized tires. Plus they got zir a red telephone booth shelving unit with windows and a door. Karen bought zir a gift card for video games which was also greatly appreciated.

I’ve tried to keep my most recent disappointment as far away from Jeremy as I can. Emma has borderline personality disorder which is a hard illness to live with from every angle (hers and ours). The two of them had a fight last week which involved Jeremy pushing Emma out of zir room. She says zie pushed her… Jeremy says zie tripped. I figure zie tripped and ended up pushing her harder than zie planned (which is less hard than she claimed). As always, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. This all would have blown over except Emma went on to tell her paternal grandmother about the argument and went on to claim zie’d been assaulting her every single day and I knew all about it. At the time, she was probably in enough emotional pain that it felt like the truth.

Their grandmother completely and utterly sided with Emma, which means assuming her other grandchild is an abusive bully. And Jeremy heard nothing from her all week; not even a Facebook birthday wish. If she truly thinks Jeremy’s been beating up zir sister every day, she obviously doesn’t know zir.

After dinner was eaten, the gifts all examined, and the cake demolished; Jeremy and zir cousins went inside to play Watch_Dogs. Soon it was time to go home. Jeremy begged to stay just a little longer as zie’d promised to show zir youngest cousin something really cool. Except zir character kept getting in massive accidents.

“My character’s immortal,” Jeremy laughed. “He lives through everything!”

“Maybe he’s Captain Jack Harkness,” I suggested and Jeremy shrugged.

“No, he’s not gay.”

I was about to point out Captain Jack wasn’t either when Jeremy looked speculative.

“Or maybe he is,” Jeremy mused and zir face brightened. “I don’t think there’s any storyline involving his sex life. He very well could be gay. That would be amazing!”

We got home and I sent the cards up on our kitchen table.

“Nobody got me specifically boy cards this year,” Jeremy said happily then zie looked more closely at the card from zir grandparents.

“They made sure to pick out gifts they knew you’d like,” I pointed out and Jeremy nodded.

“Aunt Karen didn’t pick out a boy card though. She got one that could be for a girl.”

And zie smiled the sweetest smile before heading off to zir room.

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Jeremy’s 18th birthday extravaganza…

“Mom? Can I open my presents tonight? Please?” Jeremy begged. “It would make so much more sense than tomorrow morning. We’re not going to have much time and I could try out stuff before leaving. Especially if I got a remote control car…”

“I didn’t buy you a car,” I interjected. I knew who did and also knew zie wouldn’t get it until Saturday afternoon.

“That’s okay,” zie continued. “No matter what it is, I won’t have any time with it on my birthday morning. We’ll be getting up then going right out for the bus.”

Which was true enough. We had a family dinner to attend on Thursday night then Jeremy opened zir presents from me as soon as we got home.

opening presents

The bluetooth speaker was a huge hit. Zie immediately synced it to zir phone and set it to play in our living room, turning off the lights for maximum effect…

disco lights

Nothing says disco more than instrumental soundtracks from video games.

The other presents were a hit too. Zir Minecraft keychain turned out to be a working chest which zie’s using to store gum…

Jeremy and zir Minecraft keychain

At least zie was last night. At the rate Jeremy goes through gum, it’s probably all gone by now.

The only thing Jeremy wanted to do for zir 18th birthday was to ride a quad bike at Centre Island. I had visions of us picnicking on the lush green lawns under a gorgeous blue sky with downtown Toronto as a back drop behind us. That so didn’t happen.

From the moment Jeremy’s birthday showed up in the extended weather forecast, it called for rain all day. By Thursday, thunderstorms got added as a special treat. The bike rentals are weather dependent. I started frantically trying to think of something else we could do in downtown Toronto. The Hockey Hall of Fame was a definite no. I’m an ethical vegan so the new aquarium wasn’t an option. And Jeremy’s not that fond of heights so the CN tower didn’t seem like a great idea either (especially since heavy rain would destroy the view). After an entire week of waffling I decided to take zir to the island and hope for the best, which we got although it was slightly delayed.

Jeremy made a friend on our last trip to Toronto and she met us at Union Station. The two of them chatted all the way across to the island, where we found the closed and shuttered bike rental shop. My heart sank. Then I saw a sign saying they opened at 10:30am (phew). Ten thirty came… the staff didn’t. I tried the number on their website and the automated voice cheerfully announced the shop opened at 11am. By this time the clouds were breaking up, I hoped someone was looking at the sky and not the forecast.

Jeremy had already asked several times when we’d be having lunch so I figured that would be a decent distraction. I picked a picnic table situated right beside the shop with a view of the pier. Jeremy asked if we could eat on the pier instead. Our food nearly ended up in the lake due to the strong lake winds but Jeremy’s hair looked fabulous…

wind in Jeremy's hair

We got back and finally the shop was being opened. The employee paused while pulling a bike out to inform us the shop opened at 11:30am. Alrighty then… it was time for birthday cupcakes (and the last distraction I had available). Luckily the bikes were out by the time the cupcakes were done and we were the first in line for our quad bike. Jeremy, of course, took the wheel and we were off to explore the island… or as much as we could without crossing any bridges.

Friend and Jeremy on the quad bike1

The bike actually is adorable. I love the little headlights.

The sun even came out while we were riding. Jeremy and zir friend were thrilled with everything. The island school and fire station… the house boats… the playground and mysterious wooden fort (presumably another playground). Meanwhile I peddled, pointed stuff out, and listened to them talk and laugh.

It started to rain when Jeremy’s friend had to leave. We went on a couple of rides at the amusement park but it’s aimed at small children and Jeremy was way too big for most. Even the roller coaster was tiny.

The poor kid thought zie was at risk of decapitation, as if the ride would still be open if every 6ft 2in adult lost their head halfway through.

The poor kid thought zie was at risk of decapitation, as if the ride would still be open if every 6ft 2in adult lost their head halfway through.

The rain turned into a torrential downpour by the time we reached Union Station. I had plans of taking Jeremy to The Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner but it was only 2:30pm and even Jeremy’s not ready for lunch that early. However, I knew of a store in the Eaton Centre which sells Doctor Who items. It wasn’t that far away and we could get there through the PATH. This was the biggest mistake I made all day, although it turned out okay in the end.

The PATH is a labyrinth of food courts and stores under the office towers in downtown Toronto. They’re loosely connected with infrequent maps and signs. Two decades ago I knew the PATH well enough to easily travel to the Eaton Centre but the stores I used as landmarks have all changed. It’s a tedious and confusing route at the best of times, dragging along a claustrophobic teen brought new *excitement* to the experience.

I was finally able to assure zir we were moments away from the actual mall and then we ran into construction… underground… in a mall. The detour continued to lead us further east. Jeremy panicked while I lied and said we’d be there soon. Finally we hit a subway station and I scrambled out as quick as I could, only to realize I recognized nothing. It wasn’t a big deal, we were in downtown Toronto, not the dark side of the moon. I just needed to walk a bit and find…

OH WOW LOOK… A HIDDEN GARDEN!!!

Jeremy’s used to me and my obsession with little hidden parks and followed along behind me. And this little courtyard garden was worth it. Not only were there trees but three amazing fountains. My favourite was the bronze sculpture of tree that shot a spiraling fountain of water into the air.

fountain courtyardI watched Jeremy surreptitiously while I snapped a serious of fountain photos and knew zie wouldn’t make it to the mall without collapsing into a meltdown. Zie needed plenty of quiet and some food. Meanwhile we were standing beside a small, almost empty restaurant. As much as I love The Old Spaghetti Factory, it’s anything but quiet. This restaurant ended up being the best.

Jeremy enjoying zir birthday dinner

Steak, potatoes, and one of Jeremy’s favourite shows, piped comfortably in through zir headphones.

Jeremy was in much better spirits when we left and so was I. They didn’t have anything vegan on the menu but the chef “whipped up” a pasta dish for me that was amazing. And we turned out to be only three blocks away from the mall… where we found Doctor Who earrings for both of us and a full sized sonic screwdriver for zir (the 11th Doctor’s of course).

I’ll write about Jeremy’s family dinner and zir rainbow Doctor Who cake tomorrow.

What a weekend…

Emma turned 19 years old on Saturday and since she’s looking for an apartment, I bought her kitchen supplies…

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She was thrilled with them 🙂

She also had a surprise for Jeremy. She used her birthday money from Mark and her grandmother to get a heart tattoo on her forearm, complete with autism jigsaw pieces and Jeremy’s name. Pretty much the sweetest tattoo ever! Then she did his nails…

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And styled his hair…

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I had plans of making Emma a birthday cake but that wasn’t what she wanted. So this year she had birthday frosted cinnamon rolls. They were so good! Made for an interesting blowing out the candle shot 🙂

Emma and Mark went off to celebrate with friends while Jeremy and I went to Karen’s house for a family dinner. Jeremy had removed most of the braid, insisted on clear fingernail polish and scrubbed off his toe polish. I don’t think anyone even noticed either way. The only comment he got was a question as to why his hair wasn’t as purple as before. He used a different dye this time, which isn’t as vivid but lasts longer. So the evening was quiet for us.

Then came today and the second family visit… an all day trip to the zoo. The trip went fine, which was a relief. Jeremy and I took just over 300 photos between the two of us. Jeremy took this one…

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And I took this one of Jeremy, on a Gorilla climb…

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I’ve got better shots of him but they show his face. Both Amy and I went up and my Dad did as well, which was impressive considering he was decades older than everyone else. He went right to the top too.

It was a good visit. I think the only conversation we had with Amy was general chit-chat in the car. The weird part is that both Amy and Karen have posted their big family zoo pictures on Facebook. They managed to get Jeremy in several group shots but, despite me being right there for the whole trip, both managed to miss me in every single photo. That’s pretty darn talented. I’m glad my Mom borrowed my camera and took a few shots because otherwise it would look like I wasn’t even there.

Amy doesn’t leave yet but, while she and Karen have several more outings planned, neither Jeremy or I have been invited. Which means we won’t see her again for another year.

And now that our family obligations are done, us introverts can relax.