I recently joined a place that offers holistic therapies, woowoo lessons and a variety of classes, including Pilates, meditation, twelve kinds of yoga, spinning and strength training. I’ve been sticking with hot yoga (literally and figuratively…booyah!), mainly because I’ll never understand the point of Pilates, meditation always turns into a nap and my lady parts are still recovering from the one spin class I did in January.
When my friend, M, suggested we check out their boot camp class, I figured it would be kind of like the studio—peaceful, encouraging and almost spiritual. I was very, very wrong. (Very.)
Our first mistake was not reading the
warning description of the class:
This high-intensity workout combines plyometric interval training and strength training. Everyone should bring a towel, water, workout gloves and a mat for abs. Also, it is not a workout that should be done on an empty stomach. A small healthy meal (like Greek yogurt and berries or a protein shake) should be eaten 1 hour before this workout.
I once read that plyometrics (“explosive” exercises like jump squats) shouldn’t be attempted by women who’ve had babies because their pelvic floors might not be strong enough and, long story short, they could pee themselves on impact.
Let me be clear: I have birthed a ten-pounder. My pelvic floor ain’t what it used to be. Thankfully there were no impact issues in the class, but if I’d known that what I was doing was plyometrics, and that the impact risk was there, I totally would’ve faked incontinence and bailed from the class.
Our second blunder was not bolting from the class as soon as we saw our instructor:
There were only three of us in the class. I had nowhere to hide. We did lunges, sit-ups, burpees, push-ups and planks. That was our warm-up. The rest of the class was a gasping, sweaty blur and I can’t remember most of the exercises. I suspect the experience was repressed, similar to childbirth or bikini waxes.
For three days after the class I was constantly reminded of Magda’s boot camp, mostly because I couldn’t stand up from a chair (or toilet) without assistance.
I’ve determined that if my exercise regime requires digestive preparation and more than two pieces of workout gear, it is not the class for me. Also, I shall no longer exercise if I cannot do it barefoot.
8yo (on first day of vacation): How many days until school starts?
Me: You have two and a half months.
8yo: THAT’S IT?!?
Both kids (first day of vacation): Mom! I’m bored.
3yo: When’s my birthday?
Me: 37 days.
8yo: Can I go call on my friends yet?
Me: It’s only seven o’clock in the morning. They’re still sleeping.
8yo (to the heavens): Summer is the worst!
3yo: You smell like your baking does.
Me: Aww, really?
3yo: Yup. Just like poopy eggs.
8yo: I need to borrow the blender and some matches.
8yo: OMIGOD. You’re the worst mom ever!
Mommmmmmeeeeeee. I’m sooooooo bored.
3yo: When’s my birthday?
Me: 16 days.
Me: You’re not leaving the house without sunscreen and a hat. C’mere.
8yo: The horror! (note: he pronounces it “whore” and will often yell “The whore!” in a crowded public space, while pointing at me)
3yo (inspecting a mole on my armpit): What’s this?
Me: A beauty mark.
3yo: I’m pretty sure it’s your brain.
Me: I’m signing you up for camp.
Me to both kids every morning: Fudgesicles are not for breakfast!
Me: What was your favourite part of dance camp?
3yo: The eating.
Me: What was your favourite part of horse camp?
8yo: The swimming.
3yo: When’s my birthday?
Me: 3 days.
Mommy, I’m so bored my eyeballs are turning to stone.
8yo: Having heatstroke was awesome!
Me: How so?
8yo: You guys were like my butlers.
The Serb (to me every day after work): You really love that white wine, huh?
Me: Turn off the TV and go play outside.
8yo: But I haven’t seen this Scooby Doo before where he goes in the mummy tomb and Velma gets lost and… (proceeds to recap entire episode).
3yo: When’s my birthday?
Me: 364 days.
3yo: When’s Halloween?
And while I’m being their butler/cruise director all summer, I’m forced to listen to this all day.
When it comes to camping, my motto is, “5-star or No-star”—which essentially means I don’t camp. As a kid, my family and I camped our asses off. Every weekend from May through September we were parked in a trailer (or in a tent when I was really young, but I’ve repressed those memories).
Many of these trips were fantastic, especially if our campground had a pool or was near a beach. Unfortunately, this rarely happened. My parents were purists when it came to outdoor pursuits and we were often stuck in the sticks with nothing but dormant train tracks and a backgammon board to amuse us.*
As an adult I tried dating outdoorsy guys—I did live in the Rocky Mountains after all—but they inevitably wanted to go mountain biking or cross-country skiing or camping. It’s not that I can’t do these things; it’s that I would rather not. I can be a total Sporty Spice, as long as it involves water sports or intermittent snacking (thus, windsurfing+slurpee=heaven).
Part of what drew me to the Serb was our shared disdain for outdoor adventures. One of our first dates involved watching The Amazing Race while scarfing DQ Blizzards and yelling at the slow competitors.
After one tenting trip as a family, I made a crucial discovery: moms do all of the work. It’s like being a pioneer woman, what with the cooking and the cleaning and the washing and the lack of flush toilets. This didn’t matter when I was the kid camping with my mom. But now that I’m the mom? It kinda sucks balls.
Thankfully, the Serb’s fascination with the great outdoors can be foisted upon shared with our eight-year-old son. This past weekend they went camping while the girl and I stayed home. I left the planning and packing up to the Serb because he waits too long to do it and if I followed his lead, we would be divorced by Monday.
The night before they left he dropped a hundred bucks on gear. The morning they left he spent two hundred more on food and “a bit of beer.”
Here are the results…
The gear included (but was not limited to): battery-operated fan, 3 flashlights, flint, matches, lighter, portable DVD player, walkie talkies, mini stove, mini bbq, 4 tarps, 3 jugs of water, frying pan, frying pan with grill markings, electric pump (for the air mattress), pillows(!), and 87 bungee cords. If I hadn’t put my foot down on buying the solar-powered shower, they would have needed a U-Haul.
If Survivor Man went to Club Med, he would be my husband.
*My folks eventually saw the light, ditched the camper and bought a timeshare. Just in time for my sister and I to move out of the house.
I’ve been married to the Serb for eleven years and in that time we’ve been lucky enough to attend a few cultural shindigs. The recent wedding of his cousin, with over 600 people at the reception, was the pinnacle of my training.
It could be my giving nature or that I watched Karate Kid II yesterday, but I’ve decided to impart you with some wisdom from the Rakija-soaked trenches. Here is a handy cheat sheet to help you survive—nay thrive—should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.
Get Yer Hooch On
I purchased my hoochie mama dress months ago, but chickened out when I realized the celebration would begin hours before the ceremony. Also, despite my lack of religious upbringing, it seemed wrong to have so much cleavage flopping around a house of worship. Fortunately, most of the other women had two outfits planned all along, so my girls had a chance to come out and play after all.
Barfing and Car Crashes Aren’t Cool
Prepare hangover cures and designated driver arrangements in advance. The Serb swears by Ibuprofen and vitamin B before bed while I rely on a quarter pounder with cheese for breakfast the next day. As for the driving situation, I think it’s an unspoken Serbian marriage vow that the wife will be DD until death do they part.
Like most people learning a language, the first Serbian phrases my husband taught me were the bad ones. As a result, I can make a sailor cry in ten words or less. Make sure you have some phrases in your back pocket that can be used in polite company (“moje ime je Lori” = “my name is Lori” “hvala” = “thank you” “Ja sam oženjen” = “I am married”).
Prepare for the Meat Sweats
A Serbian wedding reception without meat is like a politician without a sex scandal: it’s just not done. This reception was held at an Italian banquet hall and offered guests the standard soup, salad, pasta, chicken parmesan with veggies and tiramisu (*shudder*). What made our dining experience uniquely Serbian were the massive trays of lamb, pork and beef that supplemented the meal (the lamb and pig having been recently roasted on a spit). Any leftover meat was brought out at midnight along with the mountains of cookies and cakes.
Embrace the Sweaty Palms of Others
A kolo is a folk dance that is part bunny hop, part line dance and all sorts of awesome. People hold hands and perform a grapevine-type move from side to side. The music usually gets faster and one song can last over five minutes with hundreds of people snaking across the dance floor, around the tables and maybe even through the kitchen. Dancing kolo is a wonderful metaphor for life: some take it very seriously while others smile the entire time; most parts are beautiful but it can also get a bit messy; and, just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, a new move is thrown your way. All you can do is hold on tight and try not to step on too many feet.
I can’t get this thing to embed, but here is a quick link of a kolo that began before the meal was even served, or the bride and groom even sat down: IMG_2341
It’s three o’clock on Sunday afternoon and we are on a short hiatus from our cousin’s wedding. We left the house at nine o’clock to get to a pre-wedding celebration at the bride’s parents’ house, had the church ceremony at one o’clock and now we have an hour before the reception begins. I’m sure a full recap will follow, but for now here is a brief rundown of the day:
Hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep last night: 5
Hours spent dodging daughter’s foot after she climbed into my bed: 2
Number of outfits scheduled to be worn: 2 (hoochie mama dress deemed too provocative for church at noon)
Minutes taken by me to get ready: 58
Minutes taken by my kids and the Serb together to get ready: 9
Number of parental threats uttered on the car ride: 27 (i.e. “Touch her again and I will throw out all of your toys!”)
Times I stabbed my kids with the pin from my boutonniere: 6
Number of Serbian grannies that pulled my kids in for a cuddle/kiss/squeeze/etc: 17
Plates of food at the pre-wedding party: 26
Plates I Sampled: 24
Pairs of foundation garments holding me together: 2
Cans of Pepsi consumed by my son, the barfer, who never drinks soda: 4
Number of times he’s barfed: pending
Instruments played by band on the driveway: 4 (trumpet, accordion, violin and guitar)
Number of firecrackers set off on the driveway: 18
Number of times I almost hit the floor for cover: 0 (ten years ago I would’ve belly-crawled out of there)
Pre-emptive blister Band-aids on each foot: 7 (each toe, ankle and arch)
Number of blisters: pending
Flasks/bottles of Rakija (aka Serbian Hooch) floating around at any given time: 8
Percent of the ceremony I understood: 3
Photos my son took of the videographer: 146
Photos my soon took of the bride and groom: 1
Minutes until the babysitter comes so the Serb and I can escape to the reception (aka date night): 77
Number of people at pre-wedding party/church: 60 (give or take a few)
Number of people at reception: 600 (give or take a hundred)
Odds that I’ll lose my husband in a sea of Serbs: 50/50
Wednesday a.m. (T minus five days):
Wake up to worst snowstorm of winter (two days into spring). Shovel snow, feeling extremely smug knowing I’ll be in Mexico in a few days.
Twenty minutes later:
Karma kicks my smug ass in the form of three-year-old daughter: “Mommy – it hurts to peeeeee!” Feck.
Go to doctor, where daughter waltzes in and announces to full waiting room: “I gotta pee in a cup cuz my bagina is broken.” UTI is confirmed and meds are procured. Label on bottle warns to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Double feck.
Thursday a.m. (T minus four days):
Seven-year-old son wakes up with excruciating headache, lethargy and nausea. Having been to this rodeo before, I immediately cover his room in towels with barf buckets on either side of bed and double up on mattress protectors.
Five minutes later:
Son pukes on carpeted stairs after using the toilet.
Friday a.m. (T minus three days):
Find son lying in bed complaining that it hurts his head too much to stand up. Also afraid of barfing all over the place if he got out of bed, which explains barf bucket being turned into bedpan. At least I know he isn’t dehydrated.
Both kids appear to be on the mend as they are annoying the crap out of each other and me. I leave for writing group confident that a few hours away from family won’t matter.
One hour later:
Text from the Serb informs me that son has raging headache and daughter is complaining of “itchy head,” likely in an effort to purloin attention from daddy. The thought of potential cooties haunts me on drive home. Spend hours on webmd.com looking up various tumours that may be overtaking my son’s brain. Sleep for approximately ten minutes all night.
Saturday a.m. (T minus two days):
Take son to doctor who finds evidence of strep throat, which sucks, but is better than migraine or worse. Because seven-year-old is the size of a twelve-year-old, adult dosage of antibiotics (in pill form) is required. Son feels very mature.
Son refuses to take pill. The Serb and I cajole, plead, hide pill in marshmallow, and threaten brute force – to no avail. Call doctor and get new prescription in liquid form. Mature son requests banana flavour.
Sunday a.m. (T minus one day):
Receive word from friend we’ll be meeting in Mexico that spray tan is a must. I explain Spray Tan Debacle of ’09, but she insists. I am Lemming. Decide to splurge on fancy new tanning place, reasoning that having nail lady spray me with tanning gun in the bathroom of strip mall hair salon may have contributed to poor results in ’09.
Fifteen minutes later:
I am a chocolate goddess.
Pack more meds than clothes. Put kids to bed at seven o’clock in anticipation of early flight the next day. Put kick-ass new suit in carry-on, just below passports (priorities).
Put dinner on table for
ingrates family. Refute son’s claim that his pasta smells like pig’s butt and remind him that mommy is not a short order cook. Ignore rumbling belly that hasn’t been tended to since lunch so as to avoid puking in class.
Load dishwasher, change laundry, make lunches and search frantically for yoga mat. Simultaneously.
Find yoga mat/flying carpet in three-year-old daughter’s closet. Hastily throw on yoga gear.
Leave house completely frazzled, tossing red gym bag (so stuffed with towels, clothes, etc that it resembles Santa’s sack) in the car and peel out of the driveway. Swear at other motorists for duration of the drive. Vow to relax.
Arrive at yoga studio and realize wallet (with driver’s license and yoga pass card) is at home. With bra.
Open door to dimly-lit hot yoga room and gasp at the intolerable heat. Find space away from prone bodies splayed about the room. Place mat, towel, extra towel and water on the floor and lie down.
Eyes snap open as yoga instructor’s voice welcomes everyone to the class. Look around groggily and realize dozens of people sneaked in during nap-time. Now have lady with aversion to shaving her pits encroaching on one side and dude with aversion to underwear of any kind in front.
Even more off-putting: lithe yoga instructor, whose ass looks like two coconuts tied to a telephone pole. Decide to look in mirror at her instead of self.
6:02 – 7:00 pm
And so it begins: bending, sweating, balancing, sweating, stretching, aligning, sweating and, for a brief moment during dancer’s pose, a hint of barfing.
Wobble out of the class feeling equal parts exhilarated and exhausted, with a raging case of “yoga brain” (i.e. extreme dopiness…see also: dummy mummy, aka mother-of-a-newborn).
Have a shower in the spa-like change-room, taking advantage of the one chance this week to shave legs without three-year-old daughter trying to wrench shaver away.
Stumble to the car (careful to cover freewheeling breasticles) feeling ten pounds lighter.
Drive home, bemoaning forgetfulness of wallet as Dairy Queen (with Blizzard sale!) comes into view.
Enter house to find it cleaned up, with both kids tucked into bed, fast asleep. Have best sleep in recent memory. Vow to do hot yoga every day for rest of life.
With the nightmare of Christmas Eve – and the accompanying stench of rotting shrimp – behind us, we lurched into Christmas morning with blurry-eyed anticipation.
Despite staying up until 1:30 a.m. doing laundry, I was woken up at 5:43 a.m. by my fully-recovered-and-completely-hyper son. And even with me handing out the gifts one-by-one to ensure we appreciated the experience, at 6:20 a.m. all presents were unwrapped, leaving my three-year-old to wander amongst the torn paper asking in a forlorn voice, “Where my uddah peasants?
Our families live far away and despite the lovely offers of friends to have us over for Christmas dinner, we decided at the last minute to spend the entire day in our jammies watching Christmas movies and having as stress-free a day as possible.
To that end, I picked up a “Christmas kit” offered by my local supermarket. If you’ve read my Thanksgiving post, you already know why I didn’t even consider cooking a turkey from scratch; besides, the sweet neighbour who cooked that meal went coconuts on us.
Here’s what came in the kit:
And, the pièce de résistance for me, a vacuum-sealed, half-cooked turkey
The instructions were simple: stick the turkey in the oven for two hours and for the last half hour, add everything else. The results were mixed: my son only ate the mashed potatoes and meat; my husband said the vegetables tasted like warm ass (I’m guessing that’s a negative?) and only had meat with stuffing; and my daughter ate nothing (I suspect this had more to do with the seven Christmas oranges she devoured waiting at the table).
As for me, I was so happy to have a bird that was neither crispy charcoal nor raw chicken sushi (chushi?) that I practically wept with gratitude. And really, if the evening ends without me cleaning up someone’s vomit, I consider it a win for mom’s everywhere.
The night before Christmas started out in such a promising way: we’d just returned from a cool new Korean barbecue place where you grill your own food at the table and come home to a Toblerone fondue. The kids were in their new jammies, had willingly posed for a cheesy in-front-of-the-tree photo and were begging to go to bed so that Santa could do his thing. I should’ve known it was too good to be true.
I was cleaning up the kitchen while my husband wrapped some presents downstairs when my son came stumbling around the corner in tears. My eyes darted to the now-empty plate of cookies and half-drained cup of eggnog on the coffee table beside the tree in our living room, but he was so upset that he didn’t even notice mommy had scarfed Santa’s treats.
“MOMMMMY!” he wailed. “I P-P-P-PUUUUUUKED!”
Did he ever. His new jammies were covered – and I mean shoulder-to-ankle – in barf. I’ve already documented that my son is a horrible puker; it’s like an epileptic exorcism when he’s sick.
Needless to say, his room was a disaster. The entire bed, comforter and pillows were covered in his dinner. Did I mention it’s a queen-size bed? And that we forgot to put his mattress-protector-thingy under the fitted sheet? And that we’d let him cook his own shrimp and mussels at the restaurant? We should’ve been surprised that he wasn’t sick on the car ride home.
My husband grabbed our son and stuck him in the shower while I grabbed Santa’s my eggnog and topped it up with a few ounces of rum. Fortified, I went to work on the dirty bed, lamenting my lack of hazmet suit. Thankfully I had a container of detergent that I’d used in my triathlon days – it gets any smell out of anything – and by Christmas morning he was back to his old self in his newly-laundered jammies.
The silver lining of this fiasco? That my three-year-old daughter had slept in her room for the first time all week. Otherwise, she would’ve been beside him and likely lost in a sea of seafood chunks.
Since the psycho-smack-down last week I’ve only caught a few glimpses of my nutty neighbour, but the craziest things happen to us every time we do see her and I’m left with only one logical conclusion: she’s put a curse on us.
It started with the workers who finished our renos without her lunacy assistance. Our kitchen sink has made a gurgling sound when it drains for the last couple of years (did I mention we suck at home repairs?) and the reno dudes offered to fix it at the end of the job. According to them, the pipes weren’t properly installed and we were missing some curvy part that was essential.
That morning my husband saw M ducking into her garage. That afternoon the dudes re-did our pipes. That evening we put the dishwasher on and the pipes under our sink burst, spewing water like a fire hydrant. Yesterday a proper plumber came and $500 later, we now have a sink that works (turns out we should’ve simply snaked it…whatever that means…).
As for myself, M and I had studiously ignored each other the day before my grosstastic ear infection started* and again last night when I took out the garbage. Returning to the kitchen, I realized that I’d misplaced the cookie orders for the hippie school fundraiser. Without these orders, we would be left the following day with hundreds of boxes of quickly defrosting cookie dough and no clue where it should go.
I tore the house apart looking (to no avail) before finally collapsing beside my husband. In the middle of the night my three-year-old woke up and came into our bed complaining of a sore ear, but she kept forgetting which one hurt, so I chalked it up to her needing some cuddles.
My husband’s stomach was a bit upset so I gave him some TUMS and left him to sleep with our daughter while I joined my seven-year-old in his room (does anyone else play musical beds?).
In the dead of night I was woken by the screams of my son. In a stupor I leapt out of bed and headed for the door… or what would’ve been the door in my bedroom. In my son’s room, it was the wall I headed for, tripping over something and going face-first into the closed closet door. I belly-crawled like a wounded soldier down the hallway and felt frantically for my son in the darkness of my bedroom.
“Mommy – what you doing?!” my daughter screeched. Crap. I’d shaken her awake. I dragged my son, still wailing, to his room and climbed into bed with him. He’d had a nightmare, woken up, and his sister had taken all of the covers. He was inconsolable.
I could hear my daughter freaking out in the other room and moments later my husband threw her in the bed beside me.
“I’ve been sick all night,” he croaked. “I haven’t slept at all. You have to take her.”
I now had an arm wrapped around each sniffly kid. Good news: they both fell asleep almost instantly. Bad news: I was trapped like a horizontal scarecrow. Over the next two hours, my arms turned progressively more numb, then moved on to pins and needles, then went completely limp. I finally eased my way out about ten minutes before they both woke up.
The next day, I found the order forms in the garage, babied my sick husband, dealt with the plumber, organized the cookies and came home to make dinner for the family before realizing we’d run out of laundry detergent (nobody has clean undies), and night time pull-ups for my daughter. About halfway through dinner, I realized I was getting sick, too. I’m now in the throes of the worst flu of my life – my eyelashes ache.
I’m doing this post in the hopes that anyone out there who knows voodoo can reverse this mother f’ing hex. Alternatively, if you’re driving by and have a spare bottle of Tide, I’d appreciate a loaner…
* For those of you on the edge of your seat, the sadistic doctor sucked all sorts of debris out of my ear and it barely hurt…I now have a bit of a crush on him, actually…