Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What A Mess

Speaking of small spaces recently highlighted one of my most common nemesis, the kitchen and in particular the pantry. 

Oh the dreaded tomb of countless boxes, cans and containers which shall never see the light of day.

With bits of flour clinging to the edges of every shelf after a little slip. Half full Tupperware containers of non-identifiable dry goods which were labeled once upon a time;  about the same time in fact that the phrase once upon a time came into being. 
The sticky container of molasses now cemented to the bottom shelf.  The mystery bits of old noodles?, crackers?, oats?,  wedged into little crevices.  The can of something without a label that I once knew contained something worth keeping but apparently not using.

Now by all accounts my kitchen and even my pantry isn't all that disorganized but it could still use some help from time to time.   
It's about that time.

After getting groceries last night I found myself holding a box or can in my hands several times staring at the pantry shelves with absolutely no idea how to stuff one more thing in there.
Which is also how I ended up at the end of my morning with a container of honey (read sticky) rolled outs ALL OVER my kitchen floor, shelves and the bottom of my socks.

Well sometimes it takes creating an even bigger mess before clean up really begins. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

This Small House

The average single family household being built today is 2,500 square feet.  In fact this past decade has often been described as the McMansion or Monster home era.  While it does seem that the McMansion era may be slowly fading away and that more people are beginning to see that bigger is not always better the average house size is still significantly bigger than it was 50 years ago.

While there are certainly some challenges to living in a smaller space I can assure you the benefits, at least in my opinion, can actually outweigh the negatives.  Also while societal expectations may link financial worth to the size of your home the correlation is not necessarily true.  We have all heard the expression house poor I'm sure and I for one feel that life experiences shouldn't be traded for more square footage.

I and my family choose to live in a smaller house primarily because we would rather spend our money on doing things rather than on our mortgage.  The other big thing that keeps us in our small house is that homes (of any size) on our street rarely go up for sale and we absolutely love where we live.    

We do from time to time lament the lack of space and I do admit a small amount of extra space would be appreciated but I also have absolutely no desire to live in a McMansion.  I've learnt a lot in the past few years living in our small space and I thought I might share what some of the positives are to living in  small space.

1. Our ecological footprint is smaller.

2. It costs less to heat/cool, power our home.

3. It prevents us from gathering useless items.

4. It encourages us to keep it clean as well as takes less time to clean.

5. It encourages us to spend time outdoors

6. We have more money for experiences.

7. It is cozy.

8. It encourages us to spend time together.

9. It teaches us to value things more.

10.It teaches us self-discipline and self-control

11. We have more yard space.

12. Upgrades cost less

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's a Girl

No I am most emphatically not expecting nor will I ever be.  Not that there's anything wrong with that it's just that our family has moved onto the next phase at this point.
The adult to child ratio in our household meanwhile has jumped from 2 vs2 to 3vs2 while we host my oldest daughters "twin" from the school exchange program.

She is a very nice girl and both her and my daughter seem to be enjoying her stay with us. I've spent much of the past days since her arrival shuttling them, and on occasion a few other teens, around the city from one place to another for various activities.
It's been busy to say the least and I actually found myself this morning looking forward to a bit more routine of a day at work and most importantly no driving to some far flung place only to sit and be bored out of my skull while the kids have a blast.

In the rain.
In the blustering wind.

Stepping in mud every second step.
It is assuredly spring out there.  While the weather was gorgeous the week before, this one has been very cool and wet.  Everything is turning nice and green but it's made finding activities for two teens (hard to entertain in the first place) difficult to do. There is no go for a walk or go jump on the trampoline to kill a few minutes of boredom.

Teens are after all easily bored and while I expected two to be able to somewhat entertain each other it doesn't quite work like that these days.  Now a days as boredom hits it instantly leads teens in this day and age to gravitate towards their cell-phones.   
I would like her experience in Winnipeg to be a bit more memorable than that although I'm sure it will be even if they aren't entertained every moment of every day.  This trip is after all a first experience for her in many ways.

First trip away from her family, first time travelling westwards of Quebec, first time on a plane, first time in a primarily english speaking population.   Lots of firsts there and I'm sure there are others that I'm forgetting about.
So far we have managed to avoid real homesickness setting in, they are having fun, and she has become much more comfortable in our home after that first nervous evening.

We only have a few more days to go but the one thing that I have come to know for certain over the past few days is that participating in this exchange program has been an experience well worth the costs and efforts put into it.  
Both my daughter and our guest will never forget their mutual trips to one another's home province.  It has also fostered in them a sense of independence and curiosity that I'm sure will help take them on many more adventures in their futures. 

I'm happy to say that as it turns out exchange programs really are a pretty great thing.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

One for the Ages

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 14th anniversary with a night out but even better than that a night off from soccer.  We went to a local dinner theatre called Celebrations as a family; this is the first time that the kids have come with us and we all enjoyed the show.

Now Celebrations isn't top class entertainment but it is well done for dinner theatre and while the songs may not be top 40 and the jokes may be a little corny (I think rather intentionally) it's silly kind of fun.  The audience is often asked to participate in various moments throughout the evening and you never know what little thing may happen around you.  

One of the things that they do each night is ask for all of the couples celebrating an anniversary to come on stage for a short slow dance together.   Despite the fact that we were there specifically to celebrate our anniversary my husband was a little reluctant to go up.  Our oldest daughter however was having none of that.  She very enthusiastically pointed us out when the question regarding anniversaries was posed.     

So up we went and danced alongside all the other happy couples.
I noticed something that isn't exactly uncommon for us but it was none the less something I noted.  Before the dance the actors go down the line and ask for names, what anniversary they are celebrating and a short question.

We had the second longest anniversary at 14 years being soundly beaten by a marriage down the line of 52 years. Now that doesn't seem like something to give you pause but in addition to having the second longest anniversary we were also quite clearly the youngest couple on stage.

It's a rather common thing, more often than not while we are the youngest of a group we are also often the couple who has been together the longest and have the oldest kids.

What can I say we married and had kids young, but that is what was right for us.  We've been judged and even berated for the age at which we married and had our children however the older we've gotten the harder it's been for people to do so. 

Seeing the two kind, bright and happy children that we are raising while still happily married 14 years later makes it harder for people to reason that the age at which one marries has anything to do with the success of a marriage.

People still do it however and that's why it bothers me enough to have noticed that we were the youngest couple on stage last night, and that people still appeared to be making assumptions about who we are as people based on numbers.

With the rate of divorce these days it makes me question if this focus on ages has something to do with it.  People seem to be forgetting that it isn't when you get married that matters but who.  Being a specific age has nothing to do with when you find the right person. 

I know people who found the right person in high school  and others who found the right person at the "typical age" and those who didn't find that person until much later in life or until after they had already married once or twice before.  All of these marriages are no more or less valid than anyone else's.  

Marriage is about the people in it nothing else. I've got the right person to dance with and I got lucky enough to find him earlier than most.  

All I can say is happy 14th Anniversary my love, I can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Conversation With the Devil, - Part VI

Tom died that day hit by a tanker truck filled with gasoline, he didn't die in the fire however he died on impact.  The coroner was able to see just how important this was to me and eventually told me why he knew Tom died before the fire started even though he'd clearly been trying to save me some grief.

It having been the first real nice day of spring Tom had been driving with the top down on his car.  When the tanker hit his car without the extra support of the top being up when the windshield buckled it went down and then straight back taking Toms head with it.

5 months after Tom died I gave birth to our babies, a girl, Lillian and a boy, Thomas Jr.  They were both happy healthy children who despite never having met their father seemed to know who he was and loved him anyways. They're both doing quite well with children of their own now.
I suppose it's quite likely that they will be the one to find this story and in the hopes that they won't think any less of me there is one more thing I must add on. There was one more rather unbelievable meeting I had a few months after meeting the devil on the night they were born that finally closed the subject in my mind of whether I'd made the right choice or not.

The night my twins were born I had a different visitor, this one who claimed he was a watcher whatever that means.  He came in the middle of the night a few hours after the babies had been born while I lay in my hospital bed crying for the husband that I had killed.

"hush my child" said a calm comforting voice.

I looked up from the bed startled.  Before me stood a middle-age fairly handsome looking man wearing a preachers collar and suit. "Just leave me alone for awhile I'll be fine" I said sharply not wanting anything to do with him.

"No you won't, not without a little bit of knowledge.  My name is Sariel I am a watcher and I saw the conversation you had with Lucifer."

"you did?" I asked

He nodded "and Lucifer wonders why he" he gestured up "decided to cut off his wings" he sighed "The idiot. Anyways you don't care about that, what Lucifer told you was only partly true" He paused looking at me quizzically as if confused by what he saw in my face.

I was sitting there once again wide eyed and somewhat fearfully, I wasn't sure if I believed him or not about who he was.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to believe him or not but I was quite certain I didn't want to have another conversation with some angel, devil, watcher or whatever kind of other-worldly creature.

"I'm not going to try and make you choose between two ridiculous choices, don't panic we're all good here, ok?" I slowly nodded "I'm just here to give you some information, first of all your husband didn't die in the fire after the accident he was killed instantly...."

"I know that" I said

"Oh" he stared up at the ceiling for a minute before rolling his eyes and muttering "oh well thanks for sharing that bit." he looked back at me "Sometimes they are so inconsiderate"

"They?" I asked not sure I wanted to know the answer.

"The angels, the ones who got to keep their wings." he answered dismissively "You know they are just so smug about it sometimes.  Anyways that's not why I'm here, I'm here to share my knowledge with you." He said the last half of the sentence in a booming authoritative voice that shook the ceiling.

He shrugged "sorry they" he pointed at the ceiling "seem to think that voice is more suitable. Personally I think they're nuts. Ok down to business" He paused again seeming to gather his thoughts.

"Ok so the day you had your little chat with Lucifer your husband was supposed to die. If you had told Lucifer to save your husband he would have but he wouldn't have done quite as neat a job of it as he made it seem he could."

"He still would have been involved in that accident but rather than die instantly he would have been hurt really bad instead. You would have rushed to his side and being upset as you naturally would be you slipped and fell while running to his side."

"That small little slip would have sent you careening down a flight of stairs which in turn caused you to lose those two babies that are now sleeping down the hall, and here's another little tidbit Lucifer left out of his deal it also would have killed you, literally not from grief or whatever but because you would have bled to death."

"wait so I would have died as well?" I said "but the babies he told me they would still have had a chance, was he right about that?"

"oh no, definitely not, what Lucifer told you about soul-bonding and all that crap was kind of true they weren't bonded to their own bodies yet but they were bonded to yours." He looked down thinking for a moment then looked back up at me "Look it's hard to explain maybe we shouldn't get into it. Let me just say that they are your children and without you they couldn't ever be born, ok. "

"ok" I said

"Anyways your husband, Thomas right" I nodded "Good name Thomas, I always liked it. Where was I oh yes Tom, so Tom would have been alive but hurt badly and now he would be living with the death of his wife and children on his conscious as well."

"Eventually he would have gotten just physically well enough to kill himself. Lucifer told you that you didn't want to know what happens to the souls of people who kill themselves and you know what that's the one thing I agree with him on, you don't want to know."

He stopped talking for a minute watching me "you understand what I'm telling you?"

"I think so," I said slowly "you're telling me that I didn't kill my husband that day. That I saved my life and my children's lives instead and" I hesitated "Toms soul."

"hey look at that got it in one." he grinned "well that's all I had to tell you so try to get some rest and enjoy those babies" he turned around to leave the room.

"Wait" I called after him "that's really it, you aren't coming back? He's not coming back?"

"You're scot free sugar, can't say you'll never see me or him again but not in this lifetime." and with that he turned and walked out the door.

I've never seen him or Lucifer since, and I've lived a perfectly ordinary life, in some ways a rather blessed life, it's always been a happy one from that day on at any rate.  I guess when you make the right choice when faced with the devil you're a bit more sure you will make good decisions the rest of your life without worrying about doing the wrong thing.