Irreverent Mama

Friday, April 28, 2006

Isn't she sweeeeet? No, you haven't stumbled onto Cute Overload by mistake. This is our newest family acquisition, a wee little dwarf hamster, as yet unnamed. Just the sweetest little puff of fluff, about the size of a walnut, is she.

What's that you ask? Why are my daughter's hands green? Well, those would be the rubber gloves. Not because she's allergic, no, no. No allergies in this family apart from a bit of hay fever. Nope. The reason she has gloves on is because this sweet little walnut-size puff of fluff is a VICIOUS little horror.

She bites. She draws blood!! If she can't get at you to bite, she does this weird boxing thing, where she stands up on her hind legs, makes a teeny little "ch!" noise and pokes her front paws at you. "Come over her, and I'll rip your face off," she dares, unaware or uncaring that we could squash her with the side of a well-placed fist. Not that we would. Eeew.

After much diligent effort, my husband, hamster-tamer extraordinaire, has managed to teach her to take a sunflower seed from his hand without trying to bite him first!!! Yes, after two weeks of daily practice sessions, the hamster has learned not to bite the hand that feeds it! Woo-hoo! We're on our way.

Well, she's learned not to bite it when there's a sunflower seed in it. Otherwise, all bets are off. Approach with Extreme Caution.

The irony here is that we bought the hamster as compensation for the budgie, who was supposed to be the girl's pet. Contrary to her hopes, though, he does not coo and hop onto her finger, but cowers in terror whenever her hand enters the cage. I love the budgie: he's pretty and his warblings delightful, which is enough to keep me happy (taking deep satisfaction in small things is a good trait in a mother!) but for Becca, he's a big disappointment.

Let me state here that we are Pet People. At the moment, we have a budgie, a cat, and a guinea pig. We have had in the past, other guinea pigs, a rabbit, gerbils, a dog, other cats, rats, and hamsters. Probably some turtles and snakes in there, too, I forget. We know pets. We know they often need time to settle in, that when frightened and disoriented in a new environment they can lash out.

But this little bitch? We're not sure whether to name her, because it's looking increasingly likely we'll be taking her back to the pet store. If they won't take her, maybe she'd like to get out of the cage so she can visit with the cat!!

So far, the suggestions for names are The Bitch (husband), Little Nipper (my daughter), and MegaDeath (son, 17).

I lean to MegaDeath, myself. Her days are numbered.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

So I'm having a shower this morning, and my sweetie is sitting on the side of the tub, and we're chatting about this dream I had last night. Long and convoluted with bizarre changes of scene like most dreams, this one had me and some young thing - son of a client by a previous marriage - seeking a place to make out. (Editorial note: to the best of my conscious knowledge, said client has neither prior marriage nor twenty-something son.)

"Thing is," I gripe to my sweetie, "I never get to come in these dreams. Mostly we never find a place, or someone interrupts, or he turns into something else and/or vanishes. But even when everything is working out, right at the moment of ecstacy -- I wake up. Every time."

"Well, that's a drag."

"Sure is."

"So, is that the equivalent of a wet dream? Do women have wet dreams?"

"This one doesn't. All she gets is dreamus interruptus."

He smiles a wicked smile. "I could always help you with that."

I grin right back. "I took care of that at 2:30 this morning."

"But that was four hours ago."


Sunday, April 23, 2006

There's a blog I quite like. (Well, there are many, actually.) Though I have never commented - with 100+ blogline subscribers, I don't think she really needs my input - I read every new post with a wry grin on my face. She's great.

Still, I have to say this. I am always shocked when I hear of a six-year-old throwing a screaming tantrum. Unless there's some sort of delay or disorder, that is. At six? Bizarre.

Oh, well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Okay, a confession: I am kinda loud. I can tone it down when need be, but if I don't have to, I'm happier. I figure I have to when we have house guests. Or now that my kids are teenagers, and likely to a) be awake when we're indulging, and b) know just what it is they're hearing. So these days I'm quiet a lot...


So my brother and his new bride stay over one night a few years back. My brother being oh, forty or so, and his bride a mere 26. This is not the oo-la-la coup for him you might think: they're both pretty homely folk, and the "bride", despite her masters degree in Women's Studies, looks and talks like a middle-aged small-town 1950's woman: broad in the beam and narrow in the mind. (Oh, nasty. But really, it's true.)

So they're spending the night. My brother has annoyed me all evening by his unctuous uxoriousness. (Pretty good, huh?? I didn't even have to look those up! But you can, if you want, down at the bottom of this page.) It's really quite nauseating, as much because I know, I just know, he's doing it to show off as the actual display he's putting on. "Look! I have a WIFE! Look at me! I'm being a HUSBAND! And we're so IN LOVE!!" Okay, so he was 39 before he married, he's probaby still amazed it happened at all - I know my mother and my sister certainly are - but enough with the showing off already. "Honey, dear, darlin', pookey, lovebug." Bleah. Oh, and the play-fighting. That can stop, too. The pretend hits and the 'loving' name-calling and the wriggling and the shrieking. On my couch, four feet away. Ick.

Off we go to bed. And they start making out. Squeaking bedframes and creaking floors I can ignore, because they're unavoidable in our old house, but the noises... They're in the NEXT ROOM. Is he still showing off--"Oh, look! I'm MARRIED! I have a WIFE! We have SEX!!"--or is he really that stupid? Could be either.

After ten minutes of "oh, babies" and "mm, yeses" and gasps and sighs and more shrieks and giggles, I nudge my sweetie. We could just hammer on the wall, I suppose. We could just put in ear plugs. But revenge is sweeter. So, sitting on the edge of the bed and facing the adjoining wall, I fake - just like Meg Ryan - a spectacular orgasm.

Sudden and complete silence from the other side.

No eye contact at breakfast the next day.

They've never slept over since. Bwah-ha...

Unctuous: adj : unpleasantly and excessively suave or ingratiating in manner or speech (Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University)

Uxoriousness: excessively devoted to one's wife; excessive fondness. (

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Monday, April 17, 2006

I've watched this six times, and I'm still hurting my sides laughing over it. The animal is a hamster, and it seems she (the hamster) does this for entertainment. Over and over again...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My boy can always find something better to do than go to bed when he's tired. At seven years old, bedtime was just something he did without thinking about it. At seventeen, not so much. He reads, he plays on the computer, he talks to friends on the phone.

This is the boy who has to be reminded Every. Single. Night to turn out the light at the official ten p.m. school night lights-out. Every single night.

Last year he would get surly about the reminders, but I persisted despite his resistance, despite feeling just a little silly and anal about it, because I believe adequate sleep is essential for growing bodies - and lordy, is that boy growing!

This year he's perfectly co-operative, bless the boy, but he still never, ever manages it independently. This is not deliberate defiance, just a tendency - which he inherits from me - to lose track of time when involved in a project or when reading, and another tendency - which he gets from his father - to night-owlness. Still, I feel self-conscious some nights, sticking my head in the bedroom door and reminding this young man who towers over me by a good six inches, "Five minutes till lights-out!"

Some things, though, are worth doing, and sometimes, just often enough to keep me at it, I get some encouragement. Daniel's telling me about his conversation at school:

"So Joel was bragging about how he doesn't go to sleep before two in the morning, and I'm saying to him, 'You mean you like being so tired you can't think all day?"

What did Joel say to that? I wanted to know.

"Ah, Joel said it was totally not cool to go to bed so early. I told him it was totally not cool to fall asleep on your desk during math class and wake up with drool all over your face, like he did one day last week."

What did Joel say to that?

"Nothing, but everyone else laughed. But it makes no sense, mom. I'd rather be asleep at two in the morning in bed than two in the afternoon on my desk, you know?"

From time to time, your kids, they just make you feel good, you know?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I attended a funeral last week. It was and it wasn't sad. The woman who had died was not young - though she was not aged, either. She had been very ill for a long time, and for many there, her passing was a relief as well as something to mourn. More than anything, it was a family reunion. A reunion with some tears and comforting, but a reunion nonetheless. A social, laughing, partying woman, she would have liked that.

I sat behind a family who had brought a very young child, about four years old. He behaved impeccably. Because she was being cremated, there was no casket, but rather a series of picture and a floral display. It was quite nice. I sat in front of another young child, about eight. After the first six minutes, he started to fidget. And fuss. And cry. And whine. And kick the seat in front - mine. After a good ten minutes of this, dad takes him out. Finally.

At the reception which followed the service, I heard dad say to someone, "Yes, he's a wiggler. He can't sit still for more than ten minutes. Never could."

And I'm left wondering: well, if you knew that, why on earth did you bring him?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The door has just slammed behind the stepkids, piling out into their mother's van. The house reverberates with silence.

Suddenly the door pops open again and Youngest Stepson (10) returns.

"Have you seen Ginny's (his oldest sister) stuff?"

"I don't know. What kind of 'stuff'?"


And you know, he honestly thinks he's answered the question.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Isn't this gorgeous? You can make your own! Yes, I know the type-in box and the submit button have cyrillic characters on them, but it works fine with our text, too!

Введите текст на латинице

Friday, April 07, 2006

What is with all these mommy bloggers trashing their mothers?

Everywhere I've been this week, women are dissing other women. Because, face it, your mother is a woman. Not only that, she's a fellow-mother. What makes it all right to mock and deride her publicly?

Now, some of these women appear to have legitimate grievances, but you know what? These women are treating difficult people respectfully; they're not white-washing their mothers' flaws, but they're not being nasty, either. These respectful straight-talkers are in the minority. Most of them - by far the majority - are merely whining and sneering in a nasty, early-adolescent way at older women who are doing their best by their daughters. Who, presumably, have done their best since the day they gave them birth.

Do these whining women not realize that one day their children will be their age, and they will be their mothers' age? Do they not realize that their very own sweet little darlings will treat them the way they have seen mommy treat gramma? Do they not realize that their mother is a woman and a mother, imperfect but trying hard, just as they are?

If you want your children to be tolerant of your quirks, better be tolerant of your mother's. If you want your children to be kind, to be respectful, to call, to visit, to share their lives with you - try treating your own mother that way.

And trashing her over the internet? That's just not right.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Chalk one up for taking no shit from assholes...

Off to buy the boy a new bike. At seventeen and six feet tall, Daniel has reached man size. Not quite man mass, yet, being of the long and lean persuasion, but certainly man height. I agree to buy him the bike on the understanding that this, being an adult bike, is the last one I will be buying, so he's to take care. Well tended, it should last for years - certainly see him through university. No problem, mom.

He calls around the used sports equipment stores and the pawn shops, and we find one, a pawn shop, that sounds promising. Away we all go - a family outing.

Arrive at the shop. A little seedy, as these places often are, it has an impressive display of bikes hanging in the front window, and the fellow who tends to us, though he has the look of a man who's been dry a whopping six to eight weeks now, obviously knows his stuff. His moustache is somehow full and scraggly at the same time, his greying hair curls over his collar, even while it's a couple inches shy of his forehead. His jeans are yellowish on the thighs and butt, his white dress shirt sits like an unfamiliar visitor on his shoulders and wrinkles in protest down his belly. His tie - because folks who work with the public need to be presentable, you know - is crumpled and askew. He's rough around the edges, indeed, but within a very few sentences he's proven himself friendly, knowledgeable, and up-front.

Daniel notices that the seat tube is not the right size for the bike. We pull it off, and, sure enough, it's been wrapped with duct tape to hold it in place. "Hey, good eye, man!" congratulates the bike guy, not the least dismayed, and trots off to the back room to get us another seat.

There is a flurry from the back of the shop. Loud voices. Not raised in anger, just loud. Well, one loud voice, and it proceeds with much bluster to present itself in front of us. This fellow is appreciably cleaner than the bike guy, but a whole lot oilier.

"I so sorry, folks, but we don't have one in the right size right now." He scans our family group and lands on my husband as the alpha male among us. He turns to him, puffed up and fussing. They'll do business, man to man. Except that husband came along because he likes bikes. I'm the woman with the money.

I'm fine with this, though. This man is already annoying me.

"Tell you what. I'll give it to you ("give" it to us, I ask you) for $200."

I pipe up. "That's the price we were quoted over the phone, with the seat."

He stared at me, non-plussed. "No, ma'am. Not for this bike."

"Oh, I think so. It's the only Specialist here."

"Couldn't be." He raises his voice, scans the room, bellows. "Who quoted $200 for the Specialist?" No answer. Not surprising: the others are busy with other customers. They're probably about as excited as I am at engaging the guy, anyway. I certainly don't blame them for staying under his radar. "No, ma'am, it couldn't have been this bike. It's worth six, seven hundred dollars."

Uh-huh. I stare at him a moment, then wander off. It's clear he's not about to take me seriously. My husband returns to the fray of getting him to replace the seat. There are other bikes here with seats that will fit - why not one of those? No, no, that can't be done. The bikes are sold "as is". Yes, and this bike was "as is" with a seat. Seats are easy to find; get one at any hardware store for ten bucks. (Ten bucks? I don't think so.)

Back and forth they go. But I know my sweetie: he's not loud, he's not big and filled with braggadocio, but once he makes up his mind to something, he sees it through. He's annoyed with this asshole, too, and he's not about to leave without a seat for the bike.

Asshole hasn't figured this out yet. In his assholery, I imagine he thinks that the small, quiet guy is no match for his vigourous manliness. He raises his voice once more. "Lenny! Dwayne! Get me the specs for this pipe, so these people have the right numbers to tell to the folks at Canadian Tire." (Oooh. "Specs". "Pipe". Technical terms and everything. I am sooo impressed.)

Now, I know Asshole doesn't want to lose this sale. That's why he came steam-rolling out from the back room, full of sound and fury. I'm fully confident that my husband's determined focus will wear the Asshole down.

With that confidence, I walk to the cash desk, intent on closing this deal. Asshole's continued bluster at my husband envelops me as I go. I pull a disgusted face.

"Is there a problem, ma'am?" It's yet another employee. This store sure has a lot for its size. He's got a wide, round face, shoulder-length blond hair pulled back in a pony tale, and a gleam of intelligence in his grey eyes.

"That man is such a jerk."

He looks startled, and concerned. "Who? Which one?"

"That one over there, fulminating by the front door. A total jerk."

He relaxes. A huge grin spreads across his face. "You, ma'am, are a discriminating woman."

We share a grin of complicity. "Look, I want to buy that bike, but I do not want to listen to that idiot any more."

"Can do. How much is it?"

"I was quoted $200."

"Two hundred it is."

"When I was twenty-two," I tell him as he looks up the bike's number in his catalogue, "I would have stood and listened to him sweetly, but now? Now I'm just too old to put up with that kind of stuff."

"Life's too short to waste it on assholes, huh?"

"Exactly." Grins all round.

The bike guy, who turns out to be Lenny, and his compatriot Dwayne, sensing something's up, wander over. Sheldon, the pony tale guy, explains, "This acute lady thinks Gary over there is a jerk." He widens his eyes in mock astonishment.

Lenny, and Dwayne snigger quietly. We don't want to call Gary's attention to my little end run, but me and the boys are having a whole lot of fun over here. "Gee, and all this time we thought it was just us!" says Lenny.

"Nuh-uh. Gary is a pompous ass. I just want to buy the damned bike and go home."

"Yeah, Gary, he can make your ears bleed," Dwayne pipes up.

I turn to Lenny. "We were doing just fine with you. How come Gary came charging out, anyway?"

Dwayne and Sheldon leap to Lenny's defense. "Ah, Gary's just real pushy."

"No kidding." We all roll our eyes. More complicit grins are shared.

Sheldon is ringing it through when I hear the negotiations on the other side of the room draw to a close. Gary is making a big loud deal of ceding us a seat for the bicycle.

"Hang on, Sheldon," I say. "It sounds like we're getting the seat."

"Oh, I knew you would. He's not going to let you walk when we have a dozen seats on other bikes that would fit."

Gary is tossing figures around, and lands on one. "Oh, it's going to cost us another twenty dollars."

Sheldon hands me my receipt, the transaction completed. "Never mind, ma'am. I'll just tell him the twenty went in the till direct. Any woman as smart as you deserves a break now and then."

Lenny and Dwayne grin. They just love getting one up on good old Gary.

"Now, remember, ma'am. If you ever need anything from us again, come to this desk, and we'll see that you get what you need."

Will do, Sheldon.