The American Calgarian

Tales of a Midwesterner transplanted in Western Canada

Archive for the month “August, 2012”

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I prepped them. “Kids, tomorrow we are pulling your school supply lists and we are going shopping!” It is getting to that time in the summer where every other sentence is “I’m bored” or “She/He is annoying me!”. You know, the end of summer vacation. The children have had so much quality time with their siblings that they can barely stand the sight and/or sound of each other breathing. Or, is it just my kids? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So this morning I had their respective school supply lists in hand. I had gathered the leftover school supplies from the previous year for us to look through before heading out the big box store I cannot name, (though feel the need to shower upon exiting). Every year I tell myself that this is going to be “the year” I pull it all together and get the kids school supplies without a temper tantrum, yelling or pouting. Also, it would be nice if the kids behaved as well.

So far the day was going swell. I had some supplies from last year lined up. We had purchased backpacks at (the awesomest) Lands End while on a recent trip. My inlaws had given the kids some colored pencils and stuff for said trip. We had about a third of their supplies in hand when leaving the house. We headed to the awful store, because although I hate going there, it is the only place I can go to get school supplies for 3 kids without taking out another mortgage, (please come to Calgary soon, Target!). The exercise was exhausting, though easier than last year. I did not raise my voice; however, I did ever so quietly (and totally on board with parenting experts) tell my children that if they did not take responsibility for their behavior STAT that there would be no electricity in our house the rest of the day. After exhausting the resources of the awful store, we (Apprentice) was still in need of a couple of things. The news that we were headed to another store after paying for our cart was met by much rejoicing, (or whining, but I was half delirious by this point). So I did what any mother would do. I bribed them. I took them to lunch prior to hitting the second store so that all tummies would be happy. Where tummies are happy, especially tummies of boys, everybody is happy.

Fast forward to home. We had unloaded all this shit into the family room with intentions of sorting out each kids stuff later in the day. When “later in the day” arrived, Mid voiced his opinion that we should leave the supplies out until the next day, as he was not interested, nor in the mood for, sorting out supplies. Apparently Mario had some emergency in his galaxy that required Mid’s immediate and uninterrupted presence. I voiced my opinion that the supplies needed to be sorted today to avoid a trip to the emergency room after tripping over all this stuff. Also, my opinion trumps everyone else’s because, well, I Am Mom, Prime Minister of the House.

Mid continued to protest. I must give him credit, as in hindsight I think it was one of his better performances. However, friends, this is where I lost it. I told him that I did not care what happened to the supplies, but I was going to start dinner, and by the time dinner had been prepared, eaten (and enjoyed, dammit), those supplies were not to be all over the family room floor. I went on to say that I would not be helping with the sorting and organizing of said supplies. I added that without the supplies they would not be able to start school, which should be a relief to the kids that did not want go to school anyway. I turned and went into the kitchen.

It was then that Mid lost it. He came into the kitchen, crying, pleading with me to help him with his school supplies. He assured me that he did, in fact, want to go to school and was not able to get his things together without my help. The pleading, the almost crying.. He is nothing if not tenacious. I told him that I needed to make dinner and he would have to figure this out on his own.

This little spectacle made an impact on all three kids. How do I know? I had prepared a new dish for dinner, rigatoni with kidneys beans and other yummy veggies, and everyone ate it without complaint or asking for something else to eat. They took their plates to the sink. They washed up and then planned how they would divide the school supplies on their own.

When I came into the family room to check on their progress, they had made little. They apologized for their behavior earlier and asked if I would help them. This time I said yes. And I thought to myself, “next year this is not going to stress me out. Next year is going to be the year.” Here’s hoping.


Mickey Hits the Lights

Or, The Latest in a Series of Altercations Involving My Children as Summer Comes to a Close

As I type I can hear them quarrelling on the floor above me.  There is stomping of the feet and some “Stop it!  I am serious!”, followed by a plea to whomever may be listening to make the other kids more like the kids on Good Luck Charlie.   Uh oh.  I just heard something serious.  Be right back.

Well, who would have thought that stuffed animals were tools of war among siblings?  I have warned that there will be no throwing of the stuffies and the fighting needs to stop.  It’s all quiet up there for now.  That’s not good either.  When they are quiet something more sinister is usually going on.  I had better go check.

Nope.  Just quiet sulking.  Also, “Mom, can we ppuuullllleeeeeaaasssse watch some TV?”  That’s a negative.

To their credit, we went on a bike ride/run today that was longer than usual.  They had requested to go by a few friends’ houses in the neighborhood and I decided to capitalize on the opportunity.  I had a 8k run to do this afternoon and was a little worried as to how I would get it done.  Going along with their idea to pass the houses was sure to put us in the right distance.  Worked like a charm, by the way.

So now I hear a hushed voice, “Uh oh.  I am telling Mom.  You are in big trouble.”

I am waiting.  When I started to hear some stomping and yelling I decided to ignore it.  They are upstairs and safe, so we will just have to see who comes out unscathed.  I think this is the way mother lions handle their young, right?  I have never seen nor heard of a mother lion intervening in a fair fight between her cubs.

Here come the footsteps.  “Mom, you had better come upstairs.”

And here is the reveal…

No one is hurt.  They all start to tell on each other.  I explain that I am not interested in who did what because they are all sharing the guilt in this one.  No activities that require electricity for the remainder of the day.  NOW they are really mad.  I rub some salt in the wound and suggest they go to the park. Daggers come out of their eyes.  Why does this entertain me?

And is it wrong that I kind of want to know who threw Mickey into the light?  It would not have been easy and I want to know if we have a left- or right-handed pitcher in our midst.

Hometown Run

I have been doing reasonably well keeping up with runs while on vacation.  The weather has been hot so the runs have typically been pretty early in the morning, before the heat and humidity set in.

Running was never really my “thing” when I was a kid living in this small Wisconsin town.  I played tennis for the most part and some other organized sports in school.  Every now and again I would go for runs while between sports seasons or when I needed to get out of the house.  Usually my dad would accompany me.  He said it was because he liked to run, although I think it was just to be sure that I was actually running and not getting into any trouble.  Well played, Dad, well played.

Anyway, back to now.  I have become a runner of sorts so I had my mind set to at least 4 runs per week while on vacation.  So far, so good.  Good for now, as I am in my hometown and I know where I am going.  We will see what happens on a little road trip in a few days.  Running through my hometown has been a refreshing trip down memory lane.  As I pass houses that were once inhabited by friends and may still be the home of their parents, many memories of good times growing up came flooding back.

Today while crossing the street I saw a driver that resembled a friend from high school.  So deep in my thoughts that I said to myself, “His parents must have gotten a new car. Didn’t his mom have a little yellow Mazda?”  Ridiculous, of course, because we are old enough to buy our own cars, and the Mazda is most likely long gone.  When the car turned and I saw the personalized plates, I was brought back to present day, albeit briefly.

I have not been running a set route, just kind of going wherever the wind takes me.  This morning I approached the middle school, thinking of awkward dances back in the day, followed by Park Plaza Pizza (so yummy).  Crossing the street, there was the church where I was confirmed and spent many a Sunday morning and Christmas.  Heading back to my parents’ house, memories came into my head of the summer when Jenifer broke her foot and consequently the theme song for our summer was “I Want to Ride my Bicycle”.  There was the house that hung the Halloween costumes in the attic window, which totally freaked out Julie and I as we walked by one Friday night.  I came into contact with two running groups, one of teenage boys and one of teenage girls, and for a fleeting moment I tried to recognize the kids.  Do I know any of them?  Of course not.  I passed a few houses where I once babysat children and wondered where they all are currently living.  I also thought of school teachers as I passed one of their homes.  Band trips, tennis meets, homecoming, prom…

Things look a little different in my hometown but one thing is certain. LakeShore Drive is a good morning run.  So if you are in the greater Beaver Dam area and see a 40ish year old with a ponytail poking out of a white hat of the next couple of weeks, please wave or beep.  Or better yet, lace up your shoes to come run with me and we’ll catch up.

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