Tuesday, December 25, 2007
My grandmother is getting a unique gift today. She is either getting a new heart valve or a ticket to eternity.
My father's mother has always been possessed of a prodigious energy. My dad used to call her "the tornado." She could cook a turkey dinner while bathing a baby and cleaning an entire house, pausing only to chase the older kids out of the kitchen with the broom for causing trouble.
Then she slowed down. At first they thought it was severe asthma. She carried a nebulizer machine everywhere. The doctors finally found the real problem: a leaky heart valve.
She had the valve replaced with a pig's valve 12 years ago. It was experimental, but it worked. Nan said she hadn't felt that well in many, many years. The tornado was back in business.
She been slowing down again lately. In early December, a pain in her neck sent her back to the hospital. At first they thought it was a heart infection. After several weeks of IV antibiotics, she started having arrhythmias.
It wasn't an infection. Her valve was entirely failing.
She is in Halifax today. At this moment, her chest is open and doctors are replacing the valve. Either that or she has died on the table.
Nan was at complete peace with either outcome yesterday. She told my mother she would rather die quickly then die by inches for months. Then again, she would be very happy if the surgery succeeded.
Please pray for my grandmother today. Merry Christmas, Nanny. I love you.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I started working at a jeans store in the mall last night.
The humiliation of all this has been hard to admit, because it shows how terribly prideful I am. The worst part was dropping off resumes last weekend. Walking throughout the mall, binder in hand and makeup on face, trying not to feel like a washed-up has-been.
My training shift was last night. The work is mentally easy. My co-workers are pleasant. The boss is nice, professional and efficient. I wear jeans all the time, so an employee discount sounds wonderful.
I feel like I should have been wearing a scarlet L, for "loser." Thirty years old, three children, a very succesful journalism career in the North.... selling jeans for minimum wage. Ugh.
I fought back tears the whole drive home after the shift. I thought about all the hours my mother worked in a mall so I wouldn't have to. The straight A's. The scholarship. The magna cum laude degree.
And then a little thought occurred to me, whispered by some good angel: "How much money did you make tonight?"
I did the math and subtracted the taxes. I made enough to buy one Christmas gift for one of the children. That was money we did not have before I went in to fold jeans and hang sweaters.
I earned one of my baby's Christmas gifts.
Suddenly, minimum wage doesn't seem so bad.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
As Christmas approaches, people have been trimming their outdoor trees and houses with lights and glowing candy canes and blow-up snow globes with revolving carousels inside.
Karan blogged about ways to get into the secular Christmas season that aren't all about spending money on frivolous things. I appreciate her effort. But I need to point something out.
The true Christmas season has not begun. It won't until December 25th, Christmas Day. In fact, it's still Ordinary Time around here.
I'm waiting for the season of expectation to begin. I'm waiting for Advent.
I'll dig out my Advent wreath this weekend, and we will light the first candle before our Sunday dinner. We'll pray for the Lord to enter our lives and our hearts.
The Christmas tree and decorations go up on Pink Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent.
The Creche will go out on the fourth Sunday.
We celebrate Christmas from the 25th until the Epiphany (or Old Christmas) and then we'll put it all away.
Advent is the ancient season of waiting for the birth of Jesus Christ. It is not a time of celebrating and drinking and feasting. That comes later. Advent is a time of holding our breath. It's a reminder of the millenia people waited for the birth of the King.
The world is missing out on the true meaning of Christmas when it ignores Advent. The true meaning is that void, that want, that waiting and expectation for our Redeemer, for the One who will show us the full and perfect way to be human, is finally filled. The point is to offer ourselves and Him to all who still want and wait, who still feel the void in their bodies or their hearts and suffer for that.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
"And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Now I need to find the box with the Advent wreath in it!
Blessed Advent to you all.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I didn't even get an interview. Eight years full-time reporting experience, one national award for health reportage, dozens of nationally broadcast stories ... but no interview for me.
And Mother Corp. isn't returning my phone calls on the other job.
I'm in the midst of applying to another employer. It has several job openings right now that look cool. If it won't hire me, I don't know what to do next.
I'm over-qualified for the retail and service jobs out there. The managers keep telling me that, or that they don't need part-timers in the evenings and on weekends. I can't afford to work for a low wage full-time; the cost of child care would be as much or more than I would make.
So all this hard work while raising three kids, and no one wants to hire me.
If you're looking for me, I'm outside in the garden eating worms. Harumph.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
No matter what has happened, know I love you and your children.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
God bless you and your family.
Monday, November 19, 2007
For information, help and support, please visit the Hyperemesis Education and Research (HER) Foundation at www.helpher.org. I'm a moderator there, and happy to listen and help.
This piece was on the NBC Nightly News on Friday. Hyperemesis gravidarum, or HG, is the condition with which I suffered during Baby N.'s pregnancy.
Please watch this and tell the pregnant women around you about it. You may just save the life of a mother, a baby or both.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
I feel as if I've been playing "Qui suis-je?" lately, but the name on my back is my own. The game is figuring out the answers to my questions.
Am I a stay-at-home mother? That's the work I'm currently doing 40 hours a week, but it doesn't feel like my vocation, my calling in life. I excel at some parts of the job, such as baking and multi-tasking. I suck at other parts, such as crafts or actually playing with my kids, down and dirty on the floor.
Am I a reporter? Inside my head, in some visceral part of me, yes, I am a reporter and always will be. I think like one. I see story ideas everywhere. I still eavesdrop on conversations in public. No one is paying me to do this stuff anymore, however. I have sold my first freelance piece, but I don't know if that qualifies me as a working journalist.
Am I still even a Christian? I have struggled so much with prayer lately, with trusting God, with forgiving. Even attending Mass is a challenge, and I love the Mass. I miss the community of Catholics we had in Yellowknife, people to help me keep my eyes on God.
Am I still a young woman? The wrinkles on my face tell me I'm not. The past two years have aged me greatly; until my pregnancy with Baby N., I was often mistaken for a teenage mother. Between the severe dehydration during the pregnancy, the third C-section, losing more than 30 pounds afterwards and raising three kids, I now look older than I am. It's depressing. Yet I am not old or even middle-aged.
Who am I? Is this what my thirties are going to be, another stage of self-discovery? Sorry, I've already done this. I just want to get on with my life!
At least I'm sure of a few things: my husband and kids love me. I love them, more than my own existence. And we're going to be okay.
Monday, October 08, 2007
I am a picky eater, however, or rather a recovering one. I was the kind of child who would sit in front of a hated dish for hours rather than try it.
My brother J. tells a story about how I once ruined Thanksgiving. I tried a small bite of something I disliked because my mother threatened to take away dessert. My stomach rebelled, and I GROSSMENT puked all over the steaming turkey. END GROSSMENT
We had KFC for supper that night. J. was bitter for years.
Little I. seems to have inherited his father's cheerful love of food. But Super A. inherited my taste buds along with my imagination. I'm philosophical about it: He is healthy and growing, if a little skinny. I don't make him different food. If he doesn't eat, he goes hungry until the next meal or scheduled snack. It's his body. Whatever.
A.'s pickiness drives Hubby crazy. All A. has to do is say the magic words, "I don't like...." and Hubby's blood pressure shoots. He gets a wild look in his eye and a sneer on his face.
"You try that," he intones.
A. takes a small bite, makes the gross face and spits out the food.
This is where I usually intervene and remind A. of the table rules. One bite of everything. No spitting at the table. No complaining.
Lately, the fight has gotten worse. Hubby is pressuring him to eat more, and A. has been eating less and less.
Today at Thanksgiving dinner, Hubby looked like he was going to jump out of his seat, all over some uneaten potatoes.
What I can't get him to see is what is going on in A.'s head.
It's simple: he is sensitive to food. To its smell and taste and texture and temperature. Stress makes him more sensitive, so pressuring him to eat only makes him like the food less.
I am the same way. Even now, my food must be piping hot or ice cold. I can't eat lukewarm soup or melted ice cream or room temperature meat. Texture is important to me, too. I get it.
I don't know how to diffuse this. But in the end, eating is A.'s problem, not Hubby's. Until he accepts that, he's making it his problem.
I just have to avoid making it mine, too.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
This time last year, the kids and I were wearing snowsuits. Now we're wearing rainsuits and only beginning to rake leaves.
(By the way, while I like Amy very much, the only reason I'm linking to her campaign web site is to show you the snow in the pictures.)
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I'm going to be writing column-style articles for the paper's weekly parenting/mommy section.
I went downtown today to gather material for the first time. Baby N. came with me and we had a lot of fun.
It was like finding myself again. I can't deny the reporter within.
I'll write more about the job and how I got it this week.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
When he got in the water, his eyes darkened. He got out, climbed into my lap and said, "I want you, Momma."
I want you too, baby boy.
So I held Baby N. and stood next to the pool, occasionally rubbing his little back and hugging him when he cried.
He stayed in the water and finished the lesson. By the end he was giggling.
The lifeguard manager stood next to me throughout the lesson, watching the toddler class closely. She apologized the moment I entered the pool deck and said the instructor and lifeguard on duty last Thursday have been disciplined.
Now I must pretend I have confidence in the lifeguards. If not, Little I. might be afraid of the water for the rest of his life.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Over the past six years, I've been mothering my kids to the best of my ability, pouring the talent and hard work I used in school and work into my parenting. But in the end, all the extra work I've done has only added niceties and frills to the essential role of mother I play.
Last week, I met the most basic challenge parents face. Last week, I saved Little I.'s life.
Both of the boys have been taking swimming lessons throughout September. A. goes in the evening, but Little I. takes his lessons two mornings a week. I sit in the roped off parents' area next to the pool, towel and juice box ready, Baby N. in my lap or in the stroller. I try to make conversation with the other mommies and not look bored. I smile when he waves at me.
It was near the end of the lesson, and Little I.'s class was in a part of the pool that is over his head. There is a ledge under the water for the pre-schoolers to stand on and wait their turn as the instructor works with each child individually. Little I. was standing there, waist-deep in water, wiggling and giggling. The instructor turned her back for a moment and Little I. wiggled right off the ledge and into the water.
At first, all I saw were his little eyes poking above the water, looking very surprised. In an instant, he was completely under, arms waving above his head.
She still didn't see him.
I stood up, holding the nursing baby in my arms, and yelled with as much force and projection as my lungs allowed.
"He's underwater! I. IS UNDERWATER!"
The instructor spun, child in her arm, and grabbed my precious boy with her other hand, whooshing him out of the pool. She sat him on the lip of the pool, checking his breathing, asking if he had swallowed water. He shook his head no.
The little trooper had held his breath, just as he's been instructed to do whenever his face was wet.
I sat down, heart racing, breathing in little gasps. Forcing myself to take deep breaths, I tried to calm down. I watched the instructor hold Little I. as he put his face in the water and kicked.
"I must NOT go over there," I thought desperately. "He's okay, and if I go rushing over he will be afraid of the water."
"But I want to hold my baby boy NOW," my entire body answered back.
I held Baby N. I watched Little I. kick his legs in the instructors grasp. I did not move.
Little I. couldn't wait to tell Daddy he "went all the way under water!" The Hubby had to hold me for ten minutes later that night. I was trembling after retelling the story.
I did call the pool the next day and and had a chat with the manager about bringing three-year-olds out that deep without a lifeguard right next to them.
Thank God I was never one to go quiet when frightened.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
When we first moved here, I noticed the plethora of spiders. They were everywhere. I thought they were pretty big. I had no idea they were just little house spiders.
The other night, Hubby and I were in the kitchen eating a midnight snack when the biggest spider I have ever seen outside the Bug Zoo zoomed across the floor. It was the size of a saucer, and it moved with speed and precision.
Look, I'll be honest. I screamed like a little girl. But to my defence, even Hubby said, "Holy sh*t!" and ran to get a shoe to beat that spider into submission.
When Hubby hit it, it reared up on its legs. Yikes. Hubby pummeled it several times more until it expired. He then dropped it in the garbage.
Does anyone have a nontoxic way of keeping spiders out of my house? Please?
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Yes, my first baby started school on Friday.
It was just a short session the first day, only 45 minutes. He settled in like a dream.
On the way home, I watched him ride his bike in front of me, proud and upright, whistling a tune as he peddled. All I could think was, "This is the same little baby they showed to me over the C-section curtain, blue and blinking, almost 6 years ago."
Wow. Parenthood is amazing.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
This, gentle readers, is my new Phil&Ted's Sport double stroller.
I have been salivating over this stroller for about a year, but never thought about buying one until we moved to Victoria. When we got here, I realized my double Chariot was just too big for the store aisles in this city (and also that my kids wouldn't need super protection from -40C anymore, either.)
I sold my Chariot yesterday and picked up this beauty today. It pushes like a dream, and makes me feel like a yummy mummy!
Thanks to DND for its generous reimbursement of moving expenses, because that's where the cash for this came from.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
So I pulled out the calculator and did some math. Money in, money out.
Our family lives modestly, and selling our house allowed us to pay off a lot of debt. Our bills for the month are paid, and nothing is dangling over our heads. We're in the black.
But when I crunched money in and out on our basic monthly bills, I realized I will have less than $100 a month to spend on groceries if we try to live on the Hubby's income.
We feed three very hungry children. A hundred bucks is not going to cut it.
Although I had a great interview the other day, Big Crown Corp is not going to be calling for evening and weekend casual work very often. They need stringers during the day more often than at night.
"Hey, I can freelance my way out of this!" I thought desperately. "Freelancers don't make a tonne, but I only need an extra $500 a month or so! I can earn that... right?"
I sat at the computer to do a bit of brainstorming. I decided to check the journalism job board for freelance here in Vic.
Huh. All that's posted is a communications job. PR. The Dark Side. I'm not looking for full-time work anyway...
I went out and sat on the step with my mom, who is in town visiting.
"Where's the PR job?" she asked.
"Oh, at the university up the road, the one with the castle and garden we visited."
"You mean the one you can walk to from here?"
"What's the hours?"
"Nine to six, like the CBC?"
"No, 37.5 hours a week, so I guess nine to five, or 8:30 to 4:30."
"Is the pay good?"
"The highest range is about 54 grand."
My mother looks at me.
"Are you nuts? Good pay, good hours, interesting work and no commute! You'd be around the corner from your kids. Split the pay with a nanny, so what? You're still much better off financially than you would be if you stayed home."
I blinked. Then I ran for the computer.
I have sent my resume and cover letter. I will drop off my writing samples in the morning. I am pumped.
But I can't shake the feeling I am failing.
I am the last of two of my BCC girlfriends who are still technically "working journalists." All the rest have crossed over to the Dark Side.
Now, I've always had tremendous respect for many of the hardworking people in PR. My first media mentor was a PR director in New Brunswick. I only poke fun with the Darth Vader reference.
But I always saw myself as a reporter. I live it. I breathe it. Even on mat leave, I have reporter brain.
In her latest book, The Pickton File, Stevie Cameron writes about experiencing this feeling when she was gathering material for the book.
"Sometimes, in dark moments I would never admit to anyone, I felt I wasn't even a journalist any longer," she writes. "What I am, all I want to be, is a reporter."
That's me. But I am also a mother with children who need clothes and want swimming lessons, and we can't afford either on a hundred bucks a month.
So today I choose motherhood over journalism. I guess I'm on my way to the Dark Side. I just hope, when my kids are older, there's a way back.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
In other words, I had a job interview.
While I'm not interested in going back to work full-time, I am going a little shack-wacky here in the burbs. Being with the children can be fun and fulfilling, but many times it is also emotionally and physically draining, as well as boring. There are only so many times I can talk to Little I. about his favourite Transformers or teach A. how to spell a new word.
So about a week ago I called the manager of the local CBC Radio and asked if he wanted to meet and talk about casual work. He did.
We made a number of plans for a get-together, but my child-care schedule kept getting in the way. Finally, we agreed on Friday afternoon, since the Hubby gets off early on Fridays.
That morning was a flurry of washing and shaving and hair-styling. I picked up the boys at day camp and hauled them to the local McDonald's for lunch, then ran some errands around Esquimalt. Baby N. and Little I. dropped off to sleep in their car seats while the minivan sat in the Canex parking lot. A. listened to a CD while I put on make-up.
I marveled at how wrinkly I had become over the past year, and how the concealer was NOT concealing how old I looked.
We picked up the Hubby and headed downtown.
I was incredibly nervous.
I found the building easily enough, and the manager I had spoken to. He welcomed me into the office and we started talking.
The first thing he asked me was if I had been a lockout blogger.
"Why, yes," I stammered. "How did you know that?"
"Because I used to read you every day," he said. "I was on the management bargaining committee."
Oh dear Lord, I thought. There goes my casual job.
Seeing my discomfiture, he laughed. "I loved your blog," he chuckled.
After that, we got along like a barn on fire.
I've been added to his "stable" of available casuals, working the odd evening and weekend shift.
He even hinted about a full-time producer position being boarded right now, but that's too many hours for me right now and too much responsibility.
I can't tell you how relieved and comfortable I was in that news room. It felt like a little piece of home.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
Saint Gianna, patron of mothers, pray for C.
Saint Michael Argemir, patron of cancer patients, pray for C.
All Holy men and women, pray for C.
Please, please, please pray for her, whether you believe in prayer or not. Her children are still in elementary school.
I love you, C. We're praying our rosaries off.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Be back with housewifely, feminist angst later.
Friday, August 03, 2007
I do not have my supervisor's permission to do this. She would probably laugh if I asked for it.
I will not bow down to the false gods of censorship and "guideline documents" in my personal time on my personal blog.
Nothing I write here reflects the opinions of the CBC. It is a personal blog.
Everything I write here conforms to the journalistic policy of "Outside Activities".
I have not forgotten the lockout, or the blog I penned then.
Back to my regularly scheduled natterings about my perfect and beautiful children and the state of my dining room floor.
(Go see this and this for an explanation. Man, this stuff ticks me off.)
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Monday, July 30, 2007
Hooray! He's on the right track now!
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Little I. will soon be three years old. In September, he starts attending pre-school two days a week. Both he and I are very excited about this.
There's a catch, however. He has to be completely potty-trained before his first day. That's five weeks away.
So I started training him today. He went once in the potty (hooray!!!!). He's had 10 accidents.
Accidents my butt.
He requested a pull up for bedtime, but made me promise I'd get out his "big boy underwear" in the morning.
At least the dining room floor got mopped again today because of it. Five times.
Woman 1, Toddler 10.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I waited in line with almost a thousand others last night to get my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows shortly after midnight. I finished it tonight at 10:30.
What an immensely satisfying ending to Harry's story. Rowling spared us nothing, and yet I finished the book smiling.
"All was well."
Thanks, Jo, from the bottom of this bookworm's heart.
What did the rest of you think? Megan?
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
But I loathe bugs in all their shapes and forms. And Vancouver Island is full of spiders and hornets and bees and beetles and ants of all shapes and sizes.
There are earwigs in my backyard and three types of ants in my front yard. There are flying insects everywhere -- everything except mosquitoes.
Our PMQ (that's a house for all you civvies out there) has hardwood floors in the living room and dining room, and lino in the kitchen, front entry and laundry room/back entry. The hardwood is lovely, but every drip and spill on the dining room floor shows up, even after being wiped with a sponge.
My floors were filthy last night. Two weeks of visiting relatives and days at the beach and a heat wave will do that.
Last night, the ants discovered a way in my back entry. And they discovered the bounty of dried beer and wine and pop on the floor around my blue box.
The bugs had invaded my domain. And they were looking hopefully towards the bonanza that was my dining room floor.
Out came the mop and bucket, hot water and Pine-Sol. I mopped the back entry and kitchen, teeny ants shrivelling up as the soapy water hit them. Mwahahaha!
Then I entered the dining room. And an alarm started sounding in my brain. It was using my mother's voice as a weapon.
"Cindy Marie, don't you DARE use Pine-Sol on those hardwood floors!" it admonished. "Vinegar and water mopping only, followed by a quick buffing. That's the PROPER way to clean them!"
"But, Mom," I countered in my head, "the ants are coming! I need to disinfect, and fast. Besides, my neighbour Kim cleans her hardwood this way."
"You'll leave a film on them!"
I was pondering this when one tiny ant skittered from kitchen to dining room.
"Sorry, Mom, this is war. And war is ugly."
Twenty minutes later every ant in the house was dead, and all my hardwood was gleaming. The whole downstairs smelled of pine trees.
Woman 1, nature 0.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
I'm waiting for our real estate agent to call with a possible sale of our house in Yellowknife. The other party made an offer, we accepted, and the house was inspected yesterday. Now it's all a matter of the final decision.
My stomach's in knots. Sell, house, sell! Saint Joseph, pray for us!
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Baby N. enjoys putting things in her mouth. A lot. More than the boys did at the same age, let me tell you. We are constantly scooping stuff out of her gob, everything from pennies to sticks to dust bunnies. She always complains loudly every time we rescue her digestive system from these objects.
Yesterday, however, she triumphed. Yesterday, she swallowed a pebble.
We were out on the back step. I was hanging laundry while Baby N. sat at my feet, playing with a toy. I had scanned the step for swallowable objects when we came outside. Nothing, I thought. Then Baby N. got that gleam in her eye.
She dived. I scooped her up, grabbed her cheeks, pushed on them to open her mouth, and inserted the trusty swiping finger. I could see the pebble at the back of her mouth. We struggled. She screamed, pulled her head back and went gulp! The pebble was gone.
I sighed, brought her inside, and called the BC Nurse Line.
She wasn't choking, wheezing or in pain; in fact, she was sashaying around the living room, enjoying her success.
The nurse told me to keep an eye on what comes out her other end.
"If she hasn't passed it in a week, bring her to the doctor," she said.
Princess Plumber Butt passed the pebble this morning in her ritual morning deposit.
And I wonder why I'm going gray.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The vows (yes, she's crying; it was sweet.)
Stacey and me!
Stacey and Megan share a sisterly laugh.
Edit: I've finally found my camera. Here's some of our pics. But go over to Sally's blog for the best one.
Still catching up over here!
This past weekend I went to a happy and beautiful wedding, and watched my "sister" step into the world of The Marrieds, holding the hand of the man she loves.
Congratulations to you both, and many, many blessings to you.
Here's some shots from the wedding, above.
I called you on Father's Day, but there was no answer. My guess is you were swinging a golf club. Good.
Dad, you were the person in my childhood who showed me the pleasure of a good discussion, the value of thinking on the bigger things in life. Although we have come to markedly different conclusions about all that, I was introduced to it all by you, and at a very early age! Who else would have talked to a skinny ten-year-old about aliens and eternity and the depravity of human nature?
You were also the one who helped me through the storms produced by a sensitive nature and teenage hormones. I can't count how many times I curled up in your arms at 16, 17, 18 years old and cried. Thank you.
I don't think I ever told you how much I admired your decision to return to school when I was a kid. As I watch my husband struggle to get his homework done while making time for his family, I think about how much harder it must have been for you, with a full university course load of math and physics. And yet you succeeded.
Thanks for being there, Dad, and for showing me what a man should be. Happy belated Father's Day!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Ickler is the Paris Hilton of Canadian journalist mothers. Self-absorbed to the point of mental incapacitation. She's one of these wealthy people who moan and complain about their lives all the freaking time. She's got it sooo hard. Being a mom of one spoiled brat with two nannies is soooooo difficult. (One nanny for the week, one for the weekend, mind you.)
She recently posted a time line of a typical day so you can get her hard work and motherly devotion.
Mademoiselle Eckler, try my day on for size.
5:30 a.m. Nurse baby for the fourth time that night, but wake up during the process because the sun is up. Realize I need to get up in half an hour, meaning I got six hours of sleep -- a good night.
6 a.m Get up, wash and dress (a little early -- usually up at seven.)
6:25 Eat breakfast, wake house guest, clean up mess in kitchen and dining room.
6:50 Start a load of laundry.
7:10 Kiss husband goodbye -- he's been awake since 5:50, and is dressed in immaculate uniform with shined shoes.
7:15 Check email, CBC.ca, G&M, Facebook and the HER Foundation.
7:25 Children wake up. Washing, dressing and feeding frenzy begins.
8 a.m. Chivvy kids into shoes and coats, pack diaper bag and snack, head out door.
8:16 Leave for airport with house guest and three kids in minivan.
8:50: After much swearing, arrive at airport. Have Tim Horton's with Megan and kids. Send Megan back to the North.
9:30 Potty break.
9:40 Pack kids in minivan. Head home.
10:30 Arrive at home. Carry sleeping baby into house.
10:40 Log food at Weight Watchers Online.
11:00 Clean more messes.
11:16 Baby awakes. Carry her downstairs.
11:30 Make lunch for children and self.
12:15 p.m. Clean up lunch.
1:00 Pack boys in stroller and baby in backpack. Walk to rec centre (20 minutes). Register boys in swimming lessons.
1:30 Arrive at rec centre playground. Push swings, hand out water and snacks, etc.
2:30 Pack kids in stroller and backpack. Walk up steep hill to grocery store while all three kids nap.
2:50 Pick up supper supplies.
3:10 Walk home (25 minutes), then put away stroller and backpack. Sit on front step and watch boys play and baby try to eat grass.
4:00 Start supper prep (roast chicken and potatoes.)
4:10 Kiss Hubby hello.
6:10 Serve supper with Hubby's help. Hubby and I clean up.
7:00 Free time. Read book.
7:30 Chat with neighbours.
8:00 Hubby bathes all kids. I dress and diaper baby.
8:20 to 9:55 Nurse ravenous yet sleeping baby while surfing Net.
I still have an enormous amount of housework to do.
And you know what, Ickler? Today was a GREAT day.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Things are good. We're settling in as a family again. Hubby and I are learning to parent together again, too.
We met Hubby at the airport, signs and banners waving. When he stepped off the plane, I didn't recognize him. He's lost 30 pounds! That was a shock.
It's good to be together again. I missed him desperately.
This will probably be my last post until Victoria.
Goodbye, Yellowknifers! It breaks my heart to leave such wonderful friends. I love you. Know I pray for you.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tonight is the last night I will put them to bed on my own in a very long time. The Hubby returns tomorrow.
My feelings are a stew right now, but the stock is certainly gratitude. I'm so grateful to the friends who watched my kids and cooked me meals and cleaned my house. Grateful to my parents for listening to me moan and complain. Grateful to my in-laws (both sets!) who helped me during a tight financial squeeze. And to the staff at the MFRC, who were an unfailing help and support through this, the longest, hardest and most accomplished winter of my parenting life.
To all of you, thank you a million times over. Please give me a chance to return the favour; call me anytime you need a hand.
And thank you, God, for giving all these beautiful people to me as my family and friends.
As for the other feelings floating in that stock? Excitement, certainly, and elation. But also some nervousness and fear. Will we fit back together as a family easily, or will we squabble and fight? How has he changed? How have we? Can I let go? Will the kids be royally ticked off and show it? I'm expecting the worst, but hoping for better; after all, we have a very long drive ahead of us.
If you're the praying type, drop one for us tomorrow, will ya?
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Although you are an entire country away, you have been my rock and strength these past two years.
In the midst of your own health concerns and worries, you pulled me through mine.
In the midst of your own concerns this winter, you helped me face four months alone with three small children.
You listened. You let me cry. You gave me encouragement and advice and sometimes a verbal spank.
And you did it all over phone lines and through computer screens.
I have always admired your strength, your fierce will, the way you raised us.
Thank you for my childhood. Thank you for still mothering me as an adult. Thank you for refusing to be my friend, and insisting on being my mother.
I love you very much.
Happy Mother's Day.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
This was not easy on my parents. I was always bursting into tears about something, out of sadness or happiness. I realize now it must have been intensely stressful.
A. is the same way. His goldfish died on the same day that we sold the tank of tropical fish (angelfish, a gourami, and sundry others. Yes, we had two tanks of fish!) Losing all of his pets on the same day was just too much for his little heart to bear, and he sobbed about it for 20 minutes, curled in my lap. Then he looked at me and said, "Loving is hard, Momma."
Oh yes, it is hard. A.'s first lesson in the adultness of life: Loving is hard.
I've been watching that happen around me this month. Friends struggling with love and family and loss.
A family that attends our church lost a son to suicide this week. My heart is broken for them. How inexpressibly awful. And yet they pray and hope and struggle to work through this grief. My admiration for them knows no bounds, as well as my sadness for their son and for the disease that took him from us.
I've also been watching three sets of friends struggle with married love. I'll say no more about that here, except I love them all and am praying for them.
In my own family, my grandmother saw her heart doctor in the past two weeks, and was greatly relieved she would not need another heart operation. But my mom and I want to shake her because she would have been fine if she'd listened to her doctor rather than a cab driver. The doctor told her to take her meds. The cabbie told her not to. She listened to the cabbie. So now she is on a much "tougher" drug for life.
One of my life's mentors, a childhood friend of my father's, is very very sick again. His cancer has returned, and he's too sick and weak for chemo. This man has now had cancer three times in his life. I'm praying for a miracle at this point. His mother's prayers produced one when he was a teenager. He is one of the kindest people to ever walk the Earth, and we will all have lost something if he leaves us early.
Loving is hard.
And yet, with all this, my life continues with its busyness and happiness. I have always felt deeply, but then the feelings move on. Happiness is never really far. I wonder if I am essentially shallow.
But then I remember the quote another blogquantance recently posted, from Albert Camus: "In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
I have always had that invincible summer. God willing, I hope I never, ever lose it.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
I'm having a massive garage sale Saturday, May 12, 8 to noon.
Hubby arrives home Thursday, May 17 (two weeks.)
We leave for Victoria in our minivan the early morning of Saturday, May 26.
Our house is for sale -- anyone want to buy a house in Yellowknife?
And now the roller coaster ride begins.
Hands in the air, people!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
And what a house! Four bedrooms, a front yard, a back yard, living room, dining room, kitchen. Only one bathroom, but who cares! It sounds like an enormous palace to me!
For those of you who do not know me in real life, Hubby, the three children and I live in a single wide trailer with two bedrooms and a small addition. The computer nook and the front porch/mud room comprise the addition. There is a small square of grass in the front and a small rectangle on the side.
The new house is two streets away from the public school in which I have already enrolled A. It is a brand new school, and I can walk him there every day. It is also close to the MFRC, where Little I. will be attending pre-school twice a week.
There is a maple in the front yard and little flowers poking up through the grass.
Hubby is finalizing the details of his moving leave, so I can't post much about that until tomorrow. However, the children and I will see him very, very soon. And then we will be headed to our new home.
The final lump of sugar in this sweet news: We will be in Victoria in time to see one of my "sisters" marry the love of her life.
"Rejoice to the LORD always, and again I say rejoice!"
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Having lost 20, I expected to go down in size. However, I was realistic: I'd been squeezing myself into size 13/14 pants and XL shirts before Weight Watchers. I expected to be a size 10 and a L shirt, and I was very excited about that.
I arrived at Reitman's (the only decent store in town that caters to women who are not teenagers, whippet thin and/or rich) and picked a bunch of size 10s and L shirts off the racks.
I tried on a large T-shirt and size 10 jeans, very excitedly noticing how easily they zipped. I looked in the mirror. The jeans were TOO BIG. So was the shirt.
I started to cry a little bit. The saleslady asked if I was okay. I turned to her and said, "I have been overweight since I was 19 years old. I started WW 2 months ago and have lost 20 lbs. This is the first time I've bought clothes and a 10 is too big."
She looked at me, smiled and said, "I knew the 10 and the large were too big when I hung them for you. I was wondering why you chose them. You still see the old you, but honey, I see you as you are, and you are a size 8 and a medium shirt."
I cried a bit more, and she gave me a big hug and went looking for clothes in the right sizes.
I bought two pairs of size 8 jeans and five size medium shirts. They all fit perfectly.
I was hoping I'd hit a size 8 at the end of my journey. Looks like I will really be a 6/7. I haven't worn those sizes since high school.
I came home and calculated my body mass index, or BMI. It's 25, which is the highest end of "normal, healthy weight."
I am no longer obese. I am no longer even overweight. I am NORMAL.
I am in shock.
There is some very exciting stuff happening on the Big Move front, but I can't say anything about it until tomorrow night. Things will be more final then.
Hubby is in Victoria, busting his butt to get himself settled and our nest ready. More info tomorrow night!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I told him I am extremely proud of him and his accomplishments. I am always proud to be my husband's wife, but that pride shone a little more brightly last night and today.
Tonight, though, I had the inevitable come-down. Little I. was being a B-R-A-T at bedtime, making messes and trying to keep his brother awake. When I finally settled him to bed, I started in on housework, as always.
And then it hit me: here I am, scrubbing the kitchen floor, while my husband celebrates one of the most significant accomplishments of his life. I can't be there. I can't even talk to him on the phone unless he finds a moment to call (unlikely since he will be entertaining his mother, sister and future step-father after the graduation.) I don't even know when I will see my husband again.
It's cruel, this uncertainty. The people around me expect me to be happy and excited and say things like, "Almost done!" But who knows if I'm almost done? I don't. Neither does the Hubby. All we know is he flies to Esquimalt tomorrow to start his new career, without wife or children.
About other people's expectations: I honestly wish they'd think them through before sharing them with me. The people who expect me to be miserable all the time tick me off just as much as the people who expect me to be happy. They foist their own fears and beliefs and foibles on me. I wish some of these people would just ask me, "How are you doing? How do you feel about that?"
My good friends and family do, thank goodness.
There is a woman I frequently bump into who always says or does the wrong thing with me. She has a background with military life. I try to be nice, since I am trying to follow Jesus, and that means looking for Him in every person I ever meet. But I wanted to rip her face off the day she asked me when Hubby was done, then smugly announced it would be harder when he came home than it is now.
Why did she say that? I understand reintegration is difficult for families. Heck, the MFRC offers reintegration sessions for spouses, it's that stressful. I expect bumps. But HARDER THAN NOW? We may argue when he returns, but when the Hubby is back I will be able to shower with the door shut, eat my food before it is stone cold and sleep in until 7:30 on weekends. I will go grocery shopping alone from time to time. I will have someone else to step in at bedtime when I'm about to lose it.
I can think of a lot of things that would be harder than now: flood, fire, tsunami, cancer, another HG pregnancy, a death in the family. Having my husband come home does not tip high on my freak-o-meter.
Some people are only happy when they are making others miserable.
Okay, rant over.
Once again, CONGRATULATIONS HUBBY!!!!!!!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Congrats, honey! I'm so proud of this accomplishment. I know it was probably the hardest thing you've ever done. Way to go.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
I started searching for a clean shirt, soon realizing all I had clean were sweaters too warm for the weather. I opened my closet and started digging. All I could find was a "peek-a-boo" blouse: a blouse that I can button up, but which gapes between the buttonholes at the bust.
I sighed and put it on. Another frump day, I thought. Then I looked in the mirror.
The blouse no longer gaped at the bust. In fact, it fit perfectly.
Losing weight has been strange. When I look in the mirror undressed, I see very little difference. But my clothes tell a different story. My clothes say I AM 10 per cent lighter than I was 7 weeks ago.
16.5 lbs gone. 16.5 lbs to go.
Friday, April 13, 2007
THREE CALENDAR MONTHS! (Bangs head on keyboard)
Ok, ok, I'm ok now.
Mom and dad, don't read this part: I haven't had sex in three months! I want my husband back!
Lots has happened lately, so I'll give you a list:
- Spring has finally come to Yellowknife. The boys and I have been wearing our funky rubber boots all over town.
- Baby N. has graduated to a rear-facing large car seat, and is out of the baby bucket. Sigh.
- My darling father-in-law called the other day and offered to pay the cost of sending the children and I to the Hubby's graduation. I soooo want to go, but can't imagine surviving the trip. Plus, Hubby flies out to Esquimalt the very next day. So not worth it. But B., that was such an incredibly kind offer! You are so thoughtful.
- A. has discovered the wonders of big, fancy words. I love to hear him say "gigantic" and "discovery". I did that as a kid. Anyone remember "hilarious"?
- I have lost 15 lbs on Weight Watchers. Hooray! 15 to go.
- Baby N. is crawling well and is now pulling up on her knees. Video coming soon.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."
Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rab-bo'ni!" (which means Teacher).
Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."
Mary Magdalene went and said to the disciples, "I have seen the Lord"; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
Alleluia! A happy and blessed Easter to you all. (Trying really hard to not devour my entire bunny!)
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
I love Easter, and that love has very little to do with all the chocolate (yes, I adore the chocolate, too -- especially the Lindt bunnies Mom sends. Thanks, Mom!)
Easter is the time of year when I get to take the time to really, really think about my faith, the central core of what I believe about Jesus and why I believe it.
I believe He died for our sins. I believe He rose from the dead. I believe He was and is God, never created and always begotten.
Most of all, though, I believe in Gethsemane. What he did in Gethsemane.
Jesus went to the gardens of Gethsemane the night before the Crucifixion. He wept and prayed and begged the Father to change his mind, to stop the Crucifixion, to protect His Son. He was frightened. He was weak. He was trembling.
Then He got up and faced his captors and accusers calmly and peacefully, accepting what was going to happen.
I spent months in Gethsemane. And the only reason I came out of the Garden was that Jesus was there, and He walked out with me.
My illness during my last pregnancy started in my second trimester. It was at its very worst during weeks 16 to 18. No eating or drinking without violent vomiting. Vomiting bile and blood. Dehydration. Drugs and IV fluids and more drugs.
I used to drag myself into the bathroom, lie on the floor with my head on the toilet seat, and beg God to let me die. Or to take the baby. Or both of us. Just take this cup. Take it, take it.
There was one day when I thought about aborting my baby all day and night, incessantly. My 16-week old baby who was kicking me so hard The Hubby could feel it when he touched my belly.
I was thinking of this time during Mass on Palm Sunday, holding Baby N. in my arms, my reward for enduring The Agony in the Garden. And all I could do was thank Jesus for having gone to Gethsemane first, for truly understanding.
Jesus in the Garden tells us pain and fear and suffering are real. They are terrible. But they are temporary and surmountable.
I have a good, in real life friend who is enduring the Agony in the Garden right now. She is a private person, so all I will say is please pray for her and her baby, as well as the rest of her family.
"There can be no greater love, than to lay down your life for a friend." -- John 15:13
May you soon pick it back up again, my friend, with your child in your arms.
Have a blessed Holy Week, everyone.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
His posting is restricted. That means he goes to Esquimalt alone on April 27th. He will then meet with his commanding officer and start to work out the family's move.
That means I will be alone in Yellowknife for even longer than originally expected.
At first, I was nonchalant. Heck, what's another few weeks?
Then it started to sink in. I have been operating with an attainable goal. That goal is now out the window.
I've been a mess ever since. I had a screaming, bawling breakdown in the front porch today as I tried to chivvy Little I. into mittens. I just can't DO this anymore. I can't, I can't.
And yet I have to, so I will. There is no way out now. I have to keep going. Necessity is my only motivation now.
In more amusing news.... I took the boys to a movie today: Meet the Robinsons. It was rated G and looked pleasant.
The boys were terrified after the first ten minutes. Little I. was shaking. A. was almost yelling, "Let's go home!!!!!"
We sat in the lobby and finished our treats. The boys seemed to enjoy the outing based on the fact they ate popcorn and M&M's in public.
Congrats to my best friend E. on finishing her PhD thesis and handing it in yesterday. Hooray and way to go!
Monday, March 26, 2007
The posting message is the official information you get when the military posts a member to a location (ie. when you move). You can do absolutely nothing before you get that posting message -- can't book the movers or the school or your recreation passes. And you especially can't get on the waiting list for married quarters.
Once you get your posting message, things tend to move quickly.
The Hubby has been posted with DFE -- dependents, furniture and effects. So me, the kids and all our stuff. And the posting is happening as soon as he graduates from basic officer training on April 26th.
He will come home, help me pack, and drive us to our new home in Victoria.
I will be in Yellowknife for about six more weeks.
Six weeks to say good-bye to seven and a half years. To friends and people who are practically family. To wrap up my job at Mother Corp and make sure they give me my superannuation. To get all our stuff packed, our extra stuff garage-saled, our house on the market. To gather up the medical records and immunization records for myself and the children.
Six weeks to set up our new life in Victoria. To get on the married quarters list and get a house. To choose a school for A. To move our bank accounts, our mailing address (especially with EI and the federal child care payments) and find out about moving our health care cards. To get Little I. on a pre-school waiting list.
Six weeks to say good-bye to the place where I had all my children, where I began my career as a journalist, to the professional contacts I've made and the reporters I've worked with.
I've waited for this day since last summer; however, I now feel as if I don't have nearly enough time to do everything I need to do.
All of a sudden, I don't want to go. I can't bear the thought of leaving this place. I will never see the midnight sun again. I will be gone before the nights turn into a long sunset, before the time when I hang one last load of clothes on the line to dry in the sunshine while I sleep.
No, it can't be.
And yet... a small part of my old self, the wanderer and adventurer, is still inside. And she is saying, "On to a new home, to a place I've never been and never seen with my own eyes! On to new people and stories and challenges! Woooo-peeeee!"
Sunday, March 25, 2007
- I took A. and Little I. to Caribou Carnival this weekend, and forgot my camera. But it was all right, since: a. Little I. slept in the Chariot the entire time, waking only for cotton candy; b. there was NOTHING to do for kids this year (no children's area); and c. I was much too busy eating le tire d'erable (maple sugar taffy) to take pictures.
- My fourth weigh-in for Weight Watchers is tomorrow. My last weigh-in was 152 lbs. That's 11 pounds gone. But I had an extremely bad WW week, so I'm simply hoping I maintain my weight. Having sick kids pushed me right back into some of my old eating habits. I'm just gonna dust myself off and keep trying.
- I have a confession. I have been secretly reading a blog of another Yellowknife mom for quite some time. I just wanted to say, Other Mom, that I know you read here because you've linked to me (thanks!), and I think you're a funny and perceptive writer. I think we share the same sense of humour. We should do coffee sometime, if we can find some time away from our combo of six kids. More mom friends are good.
- My friend E.'s grandmother fell and broke some bones. Praying types, get out those rosaries! Thanks.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Anyway, things are settling in here. Still have a week of March Break, though.
Caribou Carnival started today; the fireworks are popping outside as I type, but I'm also nursing a cranky baby, so I'm stuck. I'm taking the boys to the ice tomorrow, so I'll post pics then. Yum, tire d'erable!
As for housework, the kitchen, floor, fridge, bathroom and laundry are done; still trying to get the polishing, Windexing, dusting, vacuuming and fish tanks done.
By the way, if you're the praying type, please remember my friend Brooke in yours. She is 22 weeks pregnant, has HG, and is in the ICU with a blood infection (sepsis). Her baby's name is Gabbey. St. Gianna and St. Gerard, pray for Brooke and Gabbey. Lord Jesus, give Brooke strength and please bring them through this. Amen.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
"Buuuuuttttttt it'sssss miinnnnnneeeeee! I want iiiiiiiit!"
"Nooooooo, I want to put on my snowsuiiiiiiit!" (followed by laying on the floor and refusing to do anything, then screams of rage when Mom puts on the suit.)
Multiply this by oh, 50 million times, and that was my day.
The baby is also feeling unwell and clingy, so by the end of the evening I was so fed up I was cursing under my breath and wishing to high heaven I had never given birth to any of them. I had two crying jags today; I haven't cried from exhaustion and frustration in a long time.
A. was a trooper, though. He distracted his siblings as much as he could, making them laugh every once in a while, and helping me in countless little ways. That boy really does have a compassionate heart. He put his arms around me at one point, looked in my eyes and said, "Tomorrow will be better, Mom."
Well, maybe I'm just wishing I'd stopped after A.
One of the reasons I'm feeling this way, of course, is the housework. I have a hard time keeping up on the best of days; add two sick children to the mix and it's darn near impossible. (Warning to HGers: GROSSMENT) My fridge smells like something is rotting, although I can't find it. My kitchen floor is sticky and grimy. My living room is full of clean, unfolded laundry. And my bathroom WAS a toothpasty, smelly mess until an hour ago. I scrubbed it out as soon as I got all the kids to bed. END GROSSMENT
I also managed to start the washer and dryer, wash the dishes and start the dishwasher tonight. Tomorrow night I'll scrub the fridge, the kitchen floor and clean the little appliances in the kitchen. Wednesday night is dusting and polishing. Day times will be laundry folding and vacuuming. By Friday the place should be clean enough to allow visitors.
A. spent yesterday afternoon and this afternoon at friends' houses (it's March break here, so no playschool for TWO. ENDLESS. WEEKS!) I'm hoping he can go out and have fun tomorrow, too, while the siblings recover.
Five weeks and 5 days to go.
Saturday, March 17, 2007
I took the boys to the Ice Castle this afternoon, while Baby N. snoozed away at Grandma G.'s. While I didn't get any photos of the ice castle in full, I got some great ones of A. and I. playing with A.'s schoolmate M. (M.'s parents, by the way, are wonderful people who help me out whenever we bump into them in public. The last time was at A.'s play school pool party. M.'s dad P. played with Little I. for half an hour straight while A. and I lounged in the hot tub. Thanks, P.!)
Look at the posts below for pics.
The adventuresome five-year-olds finally stop sliding and join I. for a hot drink. Yes, the table is made of ice.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
In the end, I'm grateful for this experience of solo parenting, because I have a small insight into the life of a single parent. I now understand the exhaustion, the boredom, and the feeling of being completely overwhlemed. But I also understand I am NOT a single parent.
Single parents are alone, usually, for the duration of the child-raising experience. They get no break today and they know they will not get a break until their youngest child is about 18 years old. There is no end date, no spouse on the phone with whom to vent or share milestones. No husband or wife saying, "I wish I was there. You're doing a great job. I love you."
I know this will end soon. I know The Hubby can't wait to get his hands on our rugrats. I know my work is appreciated by another adult. I am blessed and I know it.
My deepest admiration for all the single parents out there. You're doing a great job.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
I remember when tax return season meant another student loan gone forever. Not anymore.
The Hubby better not be sailing during next tax season.
PS. Today was weigh-in day. I lost another 2.5 pounds! Total loss: 7.5 lbs