Friday, February 27, 2009

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Whoo. It has been a while, yes? As you can imagine, quite a lot has happened. But this is just a quick note to say: First or Only? The answer is First. I'm pregnant (with a girl!) and due in July. Life, while not exactly easy, is good. And the baby is kicking the crap out of my innards. Thank you for reading (if anyone is). It has meant more than you know.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Dear Reader (and I'm pretty sure there's only one of you),

Thank you so much for checking in every once in a while. I am still alive, I survived the hideous move, and I'm feeling much better now. There's so much to tell! Like, asbestos removal! The least of our problems! Proper drainage around a foundation! Does it matter? Why, yes! Houses built in 1957: are they insulated? No! And flannel sheets! How I love thee on a cold winter's day! Etc.

But now I'm going to warm my hands around a hot mug of tea and edit, edit, edit until I have to pick up Charlie from school. I will be back. Soon I hope.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I’m even feeling better about the house we bought in Toronto. I’m not convinced that we will live there forever, but at least I feel like I can move into it now (earlier this week I was scanning house rentals, so this is a huge step for me). I’ll give it at least a year.

Pack it up; pack it in

In one week the movers will be here. (Mental note: call movers to confirm.) Reality is setting in: in one week, we won’t live in Ottawa any more. I am sadder than I ever thought I would be about this change of events. After two years of feeling trapped here, after hating the suburbs and this car-dependent life, after bemoaning the unfriendly nature of this city, I am shocked to realize that we built a happy, connected life here. Not that it was easy, mind you. Our neighbours are our friends, and I hope we stay in touch. We have a little group to hang out with at the park after dinner. And even though I still hate getting in my car every single day, I appreciate what the suburbs have to offer. It’s quiet here, and I don’t mind it anymore. We have the best babysitter ever, and we will miss her. I have friends – not terribly close – but there’s a connection that goes beyond just having young children. It’s a good life, and it’s a life I think I could lead quite happily if we had to stay here.

So why are we leaving?

Because HS’s job does not require us to be here (and that’s the reason we moved in the first place). We can have all the things we have here (except a roomy, 4-bedroom house with double garage and 2.5 bathrooms, of course) in Toronto. We can rebuild the happy, connected life we had before and have our families close by. We can live in a city that supports a career for me too. We can have more of a balance in our lives, because for all that we have here, we are alone in a lot of ways. I don’t look at moving back as failure or running away from an unhappy situation. We are choosing this. And as hard as it is right now, it will be better for us in the long run. And while I have some reservations about raising Charlie in a big city and the move back to a busier life, I know going home is the right thing for us. I can hardly wait to go biking along the boardwalk. I want to walk Charlie to school on his first day of JK. I want to call my sister to see if she wants to go the gym, or a movie, or even coffee fer cryin’ out loud, just on the spur of the moment. I want to go back to school. I want to go to book club. I want to work part-time in an office and wear my nice shoes. I want to have another baby.

So it comes down to this: Ottawa, I do love you after all. We will visit. I will think of you fondly and remember that this is the place where I learned a hell of a lot about myself, where I overcame depression, and where I became a Mom. I will miss you, and that’s ok. I can miss you and still know I’m making the right decision.


The berry patches are open, so get out there and get picking! Our local is Dekok Berry Farm, and we got three quarts of ripe, sweet berries yesterday. Charlie has become surprisingly adept at picking, so we filled our basket in no time. I’ve already made strawberry shortcakes (just add Bisquick biscuits and spray whipping cream!) and strawberry smoothies. I’m also planning a nice strawberry and goat cheese salad (with toasted almonds of course) and perhaps a strawberry-rhubarb pie so I can use up the pie crust in my freezer. And I feel all virtuous in that 100-mile diet kind of way, that the only carbon footprint from these berries was a five minute drive from my house to the farm. But I suppose I should take my bike next time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Two weeks

In two weeks, we will be packed up and moved out of this house. We will be living in Toronto. We will take possession of a house that I do not want. A house that has caused no end of stress and turmoil for the past three months. I know it's just a house. I know we can sell it if we need to. But we would take a huge financial hit if we did. All of our hard-earned equity would be thrown away. I hate it already, and we haven't even lived there yet. I don't know what to do. I hope that when we get there things won't seem as bad as they do right now, because bad and uncertain things tend to get amplified in my obsessive brain. I will try to make it a home for us. I have promised HS a year.

This move is tearing us apart. It was supposed to be the right thing. It was supposed to be like going home. But nothing about this move has been easy, and everything about staying in Ottawa seems easier in comparison. I know a lot of this is just transition, and moves are huge stressors, and things will be better once we are settled. Right?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Curse you Ottawa!

Oh Ottawa! How could you? How could you seduce me so completely just as I am about to leave? You were so cold and standoffish for two years, and now you have clutched me to your bosom. How could you make me love you? I hated you for so long! I clung to Toronto, my other great love, and I compared you to her, and you always came up short. But now, you make me question my decision to leave. You offer so much: large, affordable houses without significant levels of lead in the drinking water! kind, friendly neighbours who will watch my child and have us over for dinner! warm nights perfect for playing frisbee at the park! quiet streets with young families! everything within a 20-minute drive! even the bad traffic is still traffic that moves! ARGH! Stop being so wonderful! Don't make me miss you!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Wheel of Fortune

A while ago I read a post on Metro Mama's site (I'd link to it, but for some annoying reason, Blogger in Mac doesn't have that handy button to create links, and Charlie will be ready for pickup at preschool soon, so I don't have time to code it. That and I'm lazy.) about the wheel of fortune. No, not the game show, but the Shakespearean (Elizabethan??) concept that our lives are wheels that turn around and around: sometimes our fortunes are up, sometimes they are down. (See also: Dan Zanes, Wonderwheel) In her post, Metro Mama noted that things for her were definitely up and she wanted to take note so when things are down she will remember all the good she has. I was touched by that idea, and when I was reading this (back in December), I noted that things at Chez FOO were definitely up. We were moving back to Toronto. Preschool was going well for Charlie. Work was manageable for HS. I was working too, and that felt good. We were going to Florida. Our families and friends were in good health. I was so happy, I was even thinking of calling it quits with my therapist. We were plannning another baby.

And then 2007 came along.

There have been lots of little things (and a couple of big ones) that have cause the wheel to shift for us lately. And while I recognize that comparatively speaking our downswing is NOTHING compared to what others have to deal with, there's just been a lot of shit. So, as I threatened, here's my Oprah Gratitude Journal. Please forgive me for this (you lone reader out there), but here is a list of Good Things to Think of When the Bad Stuff Seems to Take Over:

1. I have a good marriage. Despite all this awful stuff, HS and I talk. We love and support each other. We have figured out a flaw in our relationship recently, and we are aware of it now and working to fix it.

2. I have Charlie. Despite the fact that three is kicking my ass on a daily basis, he is wonderful. And he is potty trained. Whoo-hoo!

3. Speaking of serious flaws, I realized a pattern of behaviour that I need to change. It's a pattern I learned from my parents, and I'm horrified that I have only recognized it now, at the age of 35. But it isn't too late. I can learn from it and do something about it.

4. I have a great family. Yes, they drive me crazy. But my parents are both still around. They are relatively healthy and independent. When we move back to Toronto I will be a ten-minute drive from my sister. I like my in-laws. I have two sweet neices that Charlie adores. I have a good relationship with my MIL. My brother-in-law's new girlfriend is awesome. My nephew is doing well at school.

5. I have good, supportive friends (who are finally having kids). There are so many people who are happy that we are moving back. I can have a girls' night out once and a while. My good friend is having a baby in September. My other good friend will be off for the summer. I won't be so alone.

6. I can work part-time, at home, while Charlie transitions to his new school and adjusts to the move.

7. Our new neighbourhood in Toronto is safe and family-friendly. Charlie can walk to school. I can walk to Tim Hortons, the library, the boardwalk, Shoppers, the bank, and the grocery store. I am looking forward to saving a ton of mony on gas.

8. I can take some courses at Ryerson this fall.

9. We are safe, we have a good roof over our heads, we are in financially decent shape.

10. It's summer. I can wear flip-flops. And this afternoon, Charlie and I will get popsicles.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day

HS and Charlie gave me two of my favourite things for Mother's Day: sleep and a large Tim Hortons coffee. Ahhhhhh. That would be enough for me, but I also got flowers, homemade oatmeal pancakes and bacon, and a family nap in the afternoon. Sweet.

Alas, HS had to leave for Toronto last night, so Mother's Day ended a bit early in my opinion, but HS's work beckons. I hate being alone, especially since I'm alternating between freaking out and freakish calm. I'm in a huge downswing o' crazy, and I don't like it. I'm trying very hard to dig out of it, but even though I've upped the therapy and started the SJW again, I'm still a mess. And why? I feel like I've made a huge mistake. I should have spoken up and I didn't. And now I have to deal with the consequences. And who knows? Maybe I did make a mistake, maybe I didn't. I won't know for a while. I feel like I need to start a Gratitude Journal a la Oprah to remind myself that the life I have is actually pretty awesome, and this crazy is temporary and whoa baby, you have a lot of good things going for you, etc.

I'm stuck.