Righting a wrong

At some point in the history of my house, someone truly believed the master bedroom should be painted with mint green stucco.  Welcome to scraping and painting day.

Overheard: nutritionist meets inquisitor

When Henry is feeling Older Brotherly, he refers to his sister as 'Sweetie.' All other times, she is a shrill, multi-syllabled 'Jaayaayne!' Here is a pre-breakfast conversation from this morning.

Jane: Koo-key.

Henry: No, Sweetie. We don't eat cookies for breakfast.

Jane: (tilting her head to one side) Why?

Henry: Because it's not a good way to start your day.

Jane: (tilting the other way) Why?

Henry: Because it's not noo-tri-shuss.

Jane: Why?

Henry: Because cookies don't have things that are good for our bodies.

Jane: Oh.

Slight pause.

Jane: Koo-key.

The whole, carroty root

I have nothing specifically against dandelions. This time of year, I think they look kinda nice in the yard. Cheery. Yellow.

I do, however, love pulling them up. It's especially good fun in the spring after the rains. The soil is loose. The growth is fairly new.

You have to lift all of the leaves to get a good, strong hold. Then give it a firm yank. Do it right, and you can get most, if not all, of the thick, carroty root. So satisfying.

Last spring, I had the kids in the park near our old house in Saint John. The slide, teeter-totters et al were arranged on a bed of sand. While the kids played, I spotted what seemed like a medium-sized dandelion growing near the edge of the sand.

I gave it the gentlest tug and the whole bloody thing came up. I swear, that root had to be a foot and-a-half long.

Name That Baby 2

Six months into Erin's pregnancy and all this stuff still applies to our search for a name. Thanks to those who left name suggestions in the comments. If anyone else has an idea, just leave a comment on this post. (Remember the criteria: known, but not common; easy to spell.)

And, no. We still have no idea whether it's a girl or a boy. Erin thinks it's a boy. I think Erin is a girl.

For fun, check this out. It's an interactive chart which allows you to track the popularity (in the US) of any name. It goes back to the 1880s.

(hint: my favourite boy name was the 17th most popular name in the 1970s; the girl name was 41st in the 1940s.)

Jane's shiner

Jane was helping Erin with some things upstairs yesterday afternoon while I was at work. They were in the bedroom. Erin asked Jane to get her something from the bathroom.

While Jane was in the hallway, she must have been distracted by the cat.

"Oan!", Erin heard her yell (the cat's name is Joan).

Jane loves Joan. Joan can't stand Jane. Janey has a tendency to shriek when Joan is nearby. Their relationship is usually one of shrieking and fleeing. This must have been the case this particular time.

The cat's nearest escape (by Erin's reckoning, she didn't see it happen) was the stairs. Jane chased her down the first flight of four steps no problem. It was the long flight of 12 that she lost her footing on.

I shudder to think what it must have sounded like to Erin. To hear Jane shift in an instant from an exciting chase to a terrifying fall.

She was at the bottom by the time Erin found her. Both crying, I imagine. Jane already had a goose egg on her forehead and the beginnings of shiner. Erin frantically felt all of her limbs.

"Does it hurt here? How about here?" Jane had not a bruise, break or cut anywhere else but her big melon.

Jane has since told me the story many times. It always ends with a big smile.

"Mummy!" she says.

"Did Mummy pick you up at the bottom and make it better?"

"Mmm hmmm. Mummy."

Take THAT, intern

Henry's always been very curious about maps. He's spent hours studying our giant map of Canada. He also loves an electronic globe our friend lent us which identifies any point when you touch it with a special pen.

Henry showed up at my office one day a few months back. As he toured around the newsroom, he bumped into an intern who happened to be sitting beside a world map.

Henry: (pointing) Hey!

Intern: This is called a map.

Henry: I know!

Intern: See this? This is a country called 'Canada.'

Henry: Right! And this is the Gulf of Tonkin.

Erin's relaxing bath

Erin: I think I'm going to take a shower.

Me: Why don't you take a bath?

Erin: Really?

Me: Go for it. Your back hurts. It's early. The kids and I will play. It'll be great.

Erin: I couldn't.

Me: You must.

Erin: Ok.

She heads upstairs. I hear the bath run. I'm pleased this hard-working, beautiful, pregnant woman will finally get a bit of quiet time to soak and relax. Henry, Jane and I sit at the kitchen table spelling delicious words with letter-shaped pretzels. Suddenly....

Henry: I have to poo.

Me: No you don't.

Henry: (thinks about it for a moment) Yes, I do.

We have one bathroom. This means he'll have to interrupt Erin's quiet soak.

Me: Crap.

I take him up. We break into Mummy's den of silence. I set him up for what is normally a long sit on the can.

Me: Erin, I'm so sorry, but he's going to be a few minutes. Jane's downstairs and needs a bit of company. Just call when he's done and I'll take care of it.

Erin: Ok.

I return to the pretzel game. Jane gets bored. We head to the couch to read some books. A few minutes pass.

Me: (yelling upstairs) Are you done yet, Hen?

Henry: (faintly) Nope.

I continue reading with Jane. Out of the blue -- perhaps she didn't enjoy my rendition of The Gruffalo -- she kicks me in the groin.

Me: Ow! Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow...

Henry: I'm done!

Me: Ow ow ow ow ow ow...

I hobble up the stairs and throw open the door to the bathroom. Erin's telling Henry not to stand up. He stands up. I rush to clean his dirty bum. Jane enters the room singing "Happy Birthday!" at the top of her lungs. I'm still moaning in pain. Henry is complaining about Jane being in His bathroom.

Erin: (rising from the tepid water) Great idea. A bath.

Need a bigger dust pan

Our house is big enough you would think there would be a more satisfying spot to stand than in the middle of my sweeping pile.  For Jane, apparently not. 

Thief, or just kinda dumb?

I was momentarily suspected today of theft by a woman working the cash at the corner store near my office. Upon reviewing the incident, I don't blame her.

What she saw:

A scruffy-looking, thirty-ish guy walks into the store. He wanders around the snacks. After lingering for an eerily long time around the chip aisle, he picks up a bag and heads to the cash register. There, he grabs a copy of Frank magazine and mumbles, "Hello."

He hands over the money. As the transaction ends, an older woman enters the store, creating a momentary distraction. The man takes his snack and magazine, then quickly snatches a Maritime Merchant (advertising paper) from a nearby stack and turns to dash out of the store.

"Sir!" she blurts out loudly. "You have to pay for that."

What really happened:

Yes, I'm a bit scruffy. I didn't shave today or yesterday. And I never learned to tuck in my shirt.

Despite the healthy lunch I packed this morning, I'm feeling a bit peckish. I walk into the store. I tell myself I'm going to find something decent to eat that isn't a bag of chips.

I walk past the chips, just to make sure they're there. Indeed, they are. I then walk toward the area where they sell small bags of peanuts and sunflower seeds. Arriving there, I realize I truly do want chips. I head back to the chips.

So many types of chips. Do I want potato or tortilla? Oh wait, there's a whole bunch more on the other side of the rack. I grab a bag of Doritos.

I walk to the cash. Just when I should be politely making eye contact, I see the stack of Frank magazines. It's a guilty pleasure. As I'm deciding whether to pick one up, I realize I haven't greeted the woman behind the cash. I awkwardly mumble, "Hello."

She rings in both the chips and magazine. As she does, I notice a stack of Maritime Merchants. The container they're kept in describes it as a "Free Classified." Great! I think to myself. Erin has wanted me to pick up one of those.

She hands me the change. An older woman enters the store. I take my merchandise. In the same swoop (thinking, "I'm minimizing movement by doing two things at once!"), I grab a Maritime Merchant. I turn around and make for the door.

"Sir!" blurts out the woman behind the cash. "You have to pay for that."

The awkward conclusion

Me: Oh, I -- (I realize what she thinks I've done) -- it says here "Free Classifieds."

Her: (looks at me like a dirty thief)

Me: Uh.. that must mean.. free to advertise. I thought... Ha ha. Oh. Ha! Oh god. (I put it back on the pile)

Her: (looks at me like a dirty thief)

retirement 3

I try not to wish away time, especially not with the kids. But my mind tends to wander to the idea of retiring to some little, old house in the Kennebecasis Valley.

I think what seems most appealing is the idea of having my wife back. I love my kids (repeat: LOVE MY KIDS), but they're hogging Erin. I keep telling them I saw her first. They don't seem to get the hint.

We'll take lots of road trips. Mostly day trips to it-doesn't-matter where. The fun will be the chatting in the car. We're good at that.

almanac 14


Any previous words I've written or spoken in favour of this form of precipitation are void.

A song for Creamy

Here's a little ditty Henry and I penned for his best stuffed pal. The melody is vaguely similar to "Polly Wolly Doodle."

Creamy is a dog.
He's a really nice dog.
He's a really, really, really nice dog.
He's not a frog,
or a log;
He's just a really, really, really, nice dog.

The trip in five points

1. Henry woke up on Day Four and decided he wanted to wear underwear. Henceforth, he was potty trained. Even at night! I'm calling it Henry's Working Vacation.

2. A 90-ish year-old woman approached Jane in a cafe in our hometown. With a sweet smile, she told my daughter, "I'd like to give you a smack!" I'm hoping she meant to say "kiss."

3. I hate air mattresses.

4. My Grandmother is wonderful.

5. The attendant on the flight from Toronto to Halifax gave me instructions on how to hold Jane during take off and landing. He kept referring to "the infant", and how important it was to support "the head."

A few minutes later, as Jane enjoyed a snack, Erin said, "The head seems to enjoy the popcorn."

I'm back!

Thanks Bojan! It was fun to log into my own blog and be surprised by what it said. It was like waking up the morning after a drunken blogging blitz without the painful hangover.

Great job, and I hope you're not the next victim of the stomach flu.

Guest blogger: One more thing...

Guest posted by Bojan. He's minding the tomato patch while Dave spends a few weeks in Ontario.

We were listening to a Don Genova’s podcast this morning while making breakfast. It was an episode about meatballs - Dannika’s favourite food in the whole world. So, naturally I made meatballs and pasta for dinner. It was one of those total disaster days. Dannika jumped off the stool and into the cat’s dish with dry food and water flying all over the place. Elise thinks this is great. she can - finally- get the taste of cat food. She almost does, too. While trying to hold on to Elise while Dannika is wailing that her leotards are wet I manage to knock over a wine glass which promptly shatters. Anyways, nobody got hurt and we all enjoyed those meatballs. Afterwards we were sitting on the couch when Dannika remembers that she has to tell me about school on Friday:

Dannika: There is no school on Friday.
Me (mockingly): Oh nooooo! What am I supposed to do with you... Arghhhhh...
Dannika: You can read to me and Elise whoooole day...
Me: Noooo... I don’t want to be with any children... no more children... Arghhhh...
Dannika (sternly): You have two wonderful children and you HAVE to take care of them.
Me: Aye, aye ma’am!

At this point Michelle comes home from work, walks over to the kitchen and eats couple of meatballs from the pan.

Michelle: Nice balls you have here Bojan.
Me: Gee, thanks honey.

Guest blogger: Goodbye

Guest posted by Bojan. He's minding the tomato patch while Dave spends a few weeks in Ontario.

It has been my pleasure to mind the tomato patch.

Welcome home gang!

Guest blogger: Fearless

Guest posted by Bojan. He's minding the tomato patch while Dave spends a few weeks in Ontario.

We have a very steep flight of stairs in our apartment. Our 10-month old Elise climbed the whole thing. It’s time to put up the gates. The kid is fearless. We don’t have much experience with fearless... but, I think, it’s going to be quite a ride.

Guest blogger: A question

Guest posted by Bojan. He's minding the tomato patch while Dave spends a few weeks in Ontario.

I am thinking that mornings might go a lot smoother if I spike my first coffee...