At Woo Woo Headquarters* I recently took a Healing with Angels workshop. It’s also known as Integrated Energy Therapy, or IET, and is a hands-on healing therapy similar to Reiki. The workshop itself was phenomenal. Considering how disinclined I’ve been to organized religion in the past, the irony of attending a class dedicated to connecting with angels was not lost on me.
I learned that the term “angel” had more to do with universal energy than cherubs playing harps, and while at the workshop I’d felt a profound connection to…something. I wondered if and how it would continue once I was at home, away from the guided meditations and Skor dip. A few nights after the workshop—during a full moon—I crawled into bed long after the Serb had fallen asleep and decided to put my learning to the test.
The house was silent as I focused on my breathing to clear my mind and invited the angels to connect with me. A gentle current—similar to pins and needles, but more ticklish than uncomfortable—ran up my arms and down my legs, but I couldn’t be sure if it was me or something more mystical at work. I decided to go to the source.
Umm… angels? Are you there?
The tingly sensation intensified and moved to my elbows, then to my shins.
Wow…hi, angels…thanks for stopping by!
My foot began twitching, although I was still wide awake. The prickly feeling settled in my shoulders. It was an interesting and unfamiliar feeling, but I suspected it was still something I was controlling.
Okay, angels—I need a definitive sign of your presence, please.
It was at that exact moment my bathroom light turned on.
Holy sh*t! Was that you, angels?
A surge of energy rolled over me.
Uh, that’s cool. Thanks for clarifying. That will be all for now. See you later…bye…
It was definitely one of the weirder things I’ve had happen to me, and that’s saying something (as readers of my blog know). I found the switch for the smaller light above our shower in the “on” position. The Serb had mentioned weeks before that the bulb needed to be changed.** The switch hadn’t been flicked up by some astral force, but the entire experience was freaky nonetheless.
After enjoying one of the deepest and most restful sleeps since having babies, I wondered if the entire episode had been a dream. A couple of weeks later, I decided to try again as I fell asleep. I asked again for a sign that this angel stuff was really working.
My bathroom light turned on. Again.
*For all you pervs, Woo Woo Headquarters is not located in my bedroom…that’s Woo Hoo Headquarters.
**Tangent: Is it a husband thing to have an aversion to changing light bulbs? Like toilet paper rolls that require months of nagging and threat of a court order before they’re changed? Or is it a cultural thing, like my husband claims? His explanations are suspect at best.
While it’s true that my new job has many perks (did I mention the spa retreat in cottage country next month?), it’s not all rainbows and kitty cats. Aside from the whole working part of it, I’m also finding that the activities like grocery shopping that I once took for granted must now be squeezed into miniscule compartments of time while my kids clamber for my undivided attention.
The biggest hit has been to my exercise. Before starting my job, I was a regular at my kick-ass yoga studio’s sunrise yoga class (Hi Melissa! I miss you!) and downward dogging had become a daily
obsession routine. I’ve tried practicing at home before work, but escaping to the land of Zen is difficult with a four-year-old trying to ride me like a horse. Sometimes I drag myself to a class after the kids are in bed, but I’m not in the habit of getting hot and sweaty after eight o’clock unless the Serb buys me a nice meal first.
Then I found Insanity, in every sense of the word. A couple of friends lost their post-baby weight with Insanity, a series of half-hour cross-fit DVD workouts. It’s an eight-week program that progressively intensifies, but I decided to start with the recovery week DVD that focused on core and balance—it sounded vaguely yoga-like and I figured I’d have a fighting chance.
Within minutes I was drenched in sweat as I lumbered through squats, lunges and push-ups. It was eerily similar to the boot camp I’d attempted last winter; that debacle had left me unable to rise from the toilet unassisted for a week thanks to my shredded quadriceps. When I saw the uber-fit twenty-somethings dripping from their efforts, I knew I was in trouble.
I rallied myself with the reminder that I’d birthed two babies, completed a triathlon and endured a 10-month ear infection. Surely I could make it through twenty-seven more minutes of sit-ups. I persevered and finished the workout. And three days later—when I could once again stand up from the toilet without assistance—I bought a six-month membership at the yoga studio.
I’ve determined that I like my exercise like I do my lovin’: sweaty, challenging and yielding positive results, but with minimal chance of me dying during the act.
This has been a dreamy summer for my kids—Fun Daddy has been working from home and taking generous breaks to hit the parks and pools every day, while Get-Shit-Done Mommy slogs it out in a Dilbert Cubicle with busted air conditioning. Every day has been a new adventure followed by homemade slushies and water fights in the backyard. The neighbourhood kids even started hanging around our house to get in on the fun. But last week the Serb hit a couple of speed bumps on his road to parental sainthood, and their names are Pootch and Matsie.
It began on Wednesday with a phone call from home informing me that my four-year-old daughter had stuck tweezers in an electrical outlet. He was wondering if a trip to the ER was required and I assured him that she was fine (kids stick things in outlets every day and learn the lesson to not stick things in outlets, am I right?).
I mentioned the mishap to a few co-workers and got the side eye when I answered that no, the Serb wasn’t rushing our kid to the hospital, and no, I didn’t realize a child’s heart could stop as a result of an electric shock. A quick Google search (“my child stuck tweezers in an outlet”) confirmed that over 700,000 people had dealt with this issue and most of them had sought immediate medical attention.
I called the Serb to find him already at a walk-in clinic, where the doctor told him we were lucky our daughter hadn’t been knocked unconscious, or worse. When I arrived home I saw the charred tweezers:
As well as the exit burn on my daughter’s hand:
I finally understood how lucky we were (as did my daughter, who kept telling me through her tears that, “I’m sawree and I learned a big lesson ‘bout ‘lectricity…sniff…don’t do it…”).
The next day I returned to work and my colleagues were eager to hear how my daughter was doing. Before I could relay the good news, I received a barrage of texts from the Serb:
For some reason, the snake freaked me out far more than the electricity. I called my husband, squawking about ERs and venom sucking, only to be told that my son had laughed it off (apparently there was a cute fourth-grader nearby) and was already over it.
I try not to be (too) superstitious but can’t help wondering if sending them off to go camping today, Friday the 13th, might be pushing everyone’s luck.
Now that I’m working for The Man, I’ve been wondering if I should look for a permanent job outside the home once this contract gig is over. Let’s recap some highlights from my resume and see how I stack up against the competition:
A detail-oriented communications professional:
Enthusiastic team player:
A dedicated mentor with strong leadership skills:
Proven strategic thinker:
Impressive interpersonal skills:
Passionate about my career:
The Serb and I pride ourselves in our restraint when it comes to using television as a babysitter. Granted, we may have gone a bit too far with our first-born—sheltering him from television until he was three years old has resulted in him being rendered catatonic in front of any program (i.e. Bass Fishing on Saturday afternoons)—but in general we allow our children responsible screen time in manageable doses. Or so we thought.
What follows is a verbatim transcript from a recent conversation overheard between my nine-year-old son and four-year-old daughter:
Him: Arrested Development is my favourite inappropriate show.
Her: Mine too.
Him: I like Tobias Funke. He’s hilarious and sometimes is coloured blue. And he showers in shorts.
Her: I like the lady with the golden hair.
Him: She’s Lindsay and Tobias is her husband. But they don’t like each other much.
Him: The grandma-mom is also funny, and she loves al-kwo-haul (ed. note: he means booze)
Her: They all do.
Him: GOB is my favourite. He dances and does magic and thinks he’s really cool. But he’s kind of an idiot.
Her: The golden-haired one is his sister. I like her.
Him: Yes. And Michael and Buster are the other brothers. Michael’s the only normal one.
Her: Buster has no hand.
Him: Yes, and he’s dating a grandma, but not the drinking one.
Her: I’m the one with the golden hair (ed. note: guess who’s seen Rapunzel 26 times?).
Her: You’re George Michael.
Him: Gross! No Way! He loves his cousin, Maeby!
Her: Oh, right.
Him: Daddy can be the grandpa in jail, mommy’s the old lady drinker, I’m GOB and you’re Lindsay.
Her: With the golden hair?
Me and the Serb: COME ON!
Every December for the past 13 years the Serb asks me, “When is Christmas?” He’s not joking, nor is he wondering if it falls on a Wednesday. My commie husband needs reminding that Christmas is always on December 25th. I also send him a marital memo each April regarding my upcoming birthday and Mother’s Day in May. And on January 1, 2000 we got hitched, in part to ensure he would never forget our anniversary (or how many years we’ve been married).
My point being, small details like dates aren’t really his thing. Except Father’s Day.
Just like I can find a bathroom in any mall despite my innate lack of direction, the Serb instinctively knows when Father’s Day is coming. I think he enjoys this day even more than his birthday, because it acknowledges more than just being born; Father’s Day celebrates his role as a dad.
And my husband is the dream dad.
Because of my husband, my daughter will grow up knowing that she is capable and worthy. She will recognize what real love is—respectful, joyful, playful—and she will settle for nothing less.
Because of my husband, my son will know that a real man is generous with his time and feelings. That integrity, loyalty and good manners are the epitome of cool. That being true to oneself is the greatest truth.
Because of my husband, I know that I am loved because of my shortcomings. He inspires me to be a better parent, partner and person. And I will always know, and never take for granted, that when it comes to getting lucky in love, I won the lottery.
Happy Father’s Day
Sydney is a city that brings to mind opera houses and gorgeous beaches, but to me it means King’s Cross—the granddaddy pimp of red-light districts; home to tranny hookers, sketchy tattoo parlours and more strip bars per square mile than anywhere outside of Bangkok.
Prior to travelling to Australia in my early twenties, my exposure to porn had been limited to Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the underwear section of Sears Catalogues. The first half of my trip was similarly restrained—working at a seaside resort, learning to dive on the Great Barrier Reef and spending New Year’s Eve at Ayer’s Rock. Seven months into my trip, my friend and I ran out of money, and that’s when things quickly went from PG to NC-17.
With less than a hundred dollars left between us when we arrived in Sydney, my friend and I were nervous. Being fiscally responsible young ladies, we immediately blew half of our wad at the Beach Volleyball World Championships. We were now desperate, albeit with great tans.
A café down the road was hiring, but it paid only six dollars an hour and I failed the frothing test (this no doubt contributed to my coffee phobia). A girl at the flophouse hostel where we were staying suggested waitressing at a King’s Cross strip bar as a quick way to make great money (while keeping your clothes on).
For my six-foot, busty, blonde friend this was obviously a viable career opportunity. For 21-year-old Lori Dyan, who could have easily been mistaken for a shaggy-haired, bespectacled dude (think Weird Al and Sally Jess Raphael’s love child), it was less than ideal. Thankfully—or not—even the most meager cleavage counts in King’s Cross, and we soon had jobs.
I was now an employee of Playbirds, an homage to red velvet kitsch that offered a potpourri of pervy options. Those in the mood for soft-core porn could view cheesy 70s smut from the archaic RCA televisions. Stripper purists who just wanted a gal on a pole could enjoy the show in theatre-style seating. If it all became too much to…ahem…handle, the brothel upstairs provided a private experience with a selection of dancers.
In my 3 weeks of employment (working only a few days a week) I made $3,600, more than enough to fund the remainder of my trip. Unfortunately, I didn’t see much of Sydney—I spent most of my days recovering from my nights. Breakfast became bedtime and my tolerance for hard liquor skyrocketed exponentially.
Ironically, it wasn’t the garden-variety deviants that were most disturbing; it was the busloads of Japanese businessman and their wives. They would arrive as a tour—some wearing surgical masks—and proceed to stay for no more than two dances before filing out again. The wives always looked miserable as they watched their husbands don white gloves in anticipation of a dancer’s approach. If gloves weren’t available, a tissue would be used as a barrier between his hand and various female body parts.
The frat boys were the most exhausting. During my first shift, some jackass grabbed my butt so I spun around without thinking and whacked him on the head with my round metal serving tray (this explained why all of the trays were covered with dents).
Despite all of the grief and degradation I witnessed, working in a strip club wasn’t all bad. I learned I was made of tougher stuff than I’d ever imagined. I learned what really goes on at bachelor parties (FYI, the Serb never got one). I learned when the owner asks you to travel with him abroad as his personal assistant, you should politely decline.
But the most important lesson by far, the one that will guide me to my grave, is simple: my daughter will never backpack through Australia.
Five weeks into my new job, I’ve realized that all work situations have pros and cons, and mine is no exception. Here are the standouts thus far:
I have to take the bus.
Pro: I now have 5 hours every week that I can dedicate to writing. Or reading. Or Tweeting. Also, one can never underestimate the treasure trove of character studies found on public transportation, even in the ‘burbs.
Con: Exploring Toronto via antiquated subways and quaint streetcars is fun. Hauling ass through the ‘burbs on a bus makes me feel like I’m back in Grade 8, and not in a fun way.
The Serb is in charge of the house.
Pro: Because he works from home, my husband is now responsible for the following daily activities: packing son’s lunch; do daughter’s hair; ensure hair and teeth are brushed; feed kids breakfast; drive kids to school; pick daughter up at lunch; feed daughter; pick son up after school; begin dinner prep; and keep house tidy. Since he could barely make a sandwich when I met him, my expectations were…not great. The result? Our house has never been cleaner, the school moms are in love with him and I get the kids running to me for hugs and kisses at five o’clock.
Con: None that I can see.
Swapping yoga pants and Tevas for make-up and heels.
Pro: Putting more effort into my overall daily appearance feels good and other people are noticing. Like my daughter, who asked me every day for a week if I was going to a wedding.
Con: My feet hurt.
I get paid weekly.
Pro: I get paid weekly.
Con: I am within walking distance of some serious shopping opportunities and all-you-can-eat sushi.
My employer is fantastic.
Pro: On my first day I attended a 50th birthday luncheon that lasted 3 hours and included champagne. Every day since then I’ve eaten at the company’s swanky bistro:
Which features FREE meals such as this:
Con: The Serb has no interest in hearing me whine about anything work-related.
We’ll see what happens once school is over. I’ll be spending one of those days at an amusement park with my co-workers. I expect the Serb and kids will build an extension on the house while I’m gone.
*I don’t wear, or even like, pantyhose. But I love me some alliteration.
After two false starts at the hospital and one 72-hour labour featuring a budget epidural, my son was born. When he was placed on me, the look in his eyes said, “It’s you…I choose you.”
This is my son.
When I made the mistakes new mothers make—too overprotective, too anxious, too caught up in milestones and schedules—he endured it with quiet resignation, as though he knew I needed to find my way.
This is my son.
Walking, talking, reading, writing…all of it came “late” for him. When his kindergarten teacher suggested summer school, we sought out alternatives for him and found a haven. A place where his quirky creativity is nurtured and he can thrive at a pace that suits his needs, rather than those of a school board bureaucrat. As a result, our once shy, awkward and lonely little boy has developed into a leader. A heart throb. A total ham.
This is my son.
For my birthday last week, he asked his teacher for the sheet music, practised while I was at work, and woke up early in order to serenade me with “Happy Birthday” on his cello at 6:30am.
This is my son.
When his friends gang up on each other—as nine-year-olds inevitably do—he refuses to jump on the bandwagon. Instead, he tells them he needs to think about things before making a decision. Then he goes to contemplate. Often in a tree.
This is my son.
Avoiding team sports at all costs, dressing as a saint for Halloween, finding greater comfort in the water than on land—all of these things make him different from many kids his age. It used to confound me. Worry me. Upset me. But now I see all that he is here to teach me and I am in awe of his gifts.
Happy Birthday, my son. Thank you for choosing me.
Do you ever wonder what your kids really think of you? Are you dying to know their latest little white lie? If so, then I have the perfect game for you.
The rules are simple: state two true things about yourself (realsies) and one falsehood (whopper). The other person must discern the whopper from the realsies.
My eight-year-old son uses this game as an opportunity to confess his sins:
Him: “Ready, mommy?”
Him: “Number one: I once ate three large pizzas at once.”
Note: He has never eaten 3 large pizzas at once.
Him: “Number two: I was a rodeo cowboy.”
Note: He has never been to a rodeo.
Him: “Number three:”—deep breath—”I needed some of your goopy make-up to make experiments in the garage and spilled it all over the place.”
That little bugger.
My four-year-old daughter’s approach is more straightforward:
Her: “Number one: I was a mermaid. Second: I was a princess. Last: I was a princess who can turn into a mermaid.”
Not only has this game been useful in determining my kids’ latest obsessions (and transgressions), there’s been an added benefit of knowing what they really think of their mommy:
Me: “Number one: When I was a kid, we had 2 hamsters, 2 cats, 2 dogs, some fish and a lizard in our house. Number two: Daddy and I got married barefoot on the beach. Number three: I rode a rollercoaster naked.”
My son: “The animal one is the whopper. Definitely.”
My daughter: “Married is a whopper.”
Me: “You guys seriously think I would go on a rollercoaster naked?”
My son: “It’s a lot of animals for one house, mommy.”
My daughter: “You’re not married, are you?!?”
So. To recap: I’ll spend this Mother’s Day warmed by the thought that my kids think I’m a pervert.*
C’mon, spill it—what are your two realsies and a whopper?
*Note: They’re right of course, but not for the reasons they suspect.