Tuesday, August 19

Dot the I's and Cross the T's

The home inspection was yesterday and for a 29 year old house, it's in great shape.  A few things need dealing with, some sooner than others, but nothing is really all that bad.  All of our conditions on sale have now been met so the house is definitively ours on the 28th of November.

One odd thing the home inspection pointed out is that there isn't a heat vent into my sewing room.  It wouldn't be hard to add one because the furnace is on the other side of the wall.  I am not all that concerned.  I can leave the door open (there is a vent just outside the room) for air to circulate and once the iron is turned on, the room will warm up enough.  How often have I ended up sewing nearly naked with my hair pulled up because I was too hot?

Lately I am quick to tear up and terribly forgetful (like not taking sleeping bags, pillows, chairs or Mr.Lina's camera with us for Summerfolk).  Some of it is probably because this is a lot of change all at once.  Some of it is because I'm tired.  I didn't realize we would be buying a car and house when we got tickets for the Argo game and our usual Summerfolk weekend.  Some of the tears make complete sense, but it's still flowing a little easier than it should.

Small picture hides the slightly puffy eyes.
We bought a new (to us) car last week, 2012 Nissan Murano.  We bought it on Saturday after seeing our house the first time, picked it up on Thursday.  I loved my old Alero.  12 years and 341,000 km of memories.  It was the first car I purchased, 100% mine.  Mr. Lina was with me when I bought it, but he had no involvement in payments or picking it out.  I was either the driver or in the car for more than 300,000 km.  As excited as I was to buy a new car, it was hard leaving the Alero behind and I cried at the dealership (which shouldn't surprise me, I cried when I signed the purchasing papers for the Alero).  I forgot to bring my cheque book which made making the down payment more difficult than it needed to be.  Let's just say that I was a bit of a mess and the dealership probably thinks I'm a complete flake.  Even driving away, the Murano felt foreign, rather than exciting new, I felt insecure initially and resistant to the changes.

It crossed my mind as my eyes were welling up and spilling over about how hard any change is and that this is a moment to remember when I adopt.  When I am matched with my kids, it's going to be such a happy event for Mr. Lina and I.  But it's not quite the same happy event for the kids, it's just one more change in a life of uncertainty.  I don't think they are going to believe us (or the social workers) when we say it is their forever home, that kind of trust and attachment takes time.  The happy part of being told they will live with us will likely be a suspicious happy.  It is okay to be sad about the good byes, good even.  If I'm confused enough to have tears and complicated feelings over a car, imagine how hard that turmoil is to express when you are 6, or 4 or 2.  I'm not sure there is enough crayons out there to express and explore those complicated feelings - where to put the sad part while everyone around you seems to be so very happy and appear to expect you to be happy too.

Now for more change.  It's time to do the last bit of work to list our house.

Wednesday, August 13

We Got It

Assuming there are no horror stories uncovered in the home inspection, the house will be ours.  :)  A bit of drama came with it yesterday (and what good story doesn't have drama?)



As I posted yesterday, we were waiting to hear the sellers response to our offer on the house.  The offer expired at 7pm.  Late afternoon, our agent calls.  He got word that another offer was being prepared for the house - did we want to revise our offer since we were not the only one?  

At this point, you have to put your best foot forward.  Our offer of less than listing was based on the premise we would negotiate up, it wasn't going to stack up to another offer.  We told our agent we'd go to full listing, but that was it.  We would walk away from a bidding war, as much as I love the house, there are others.  Our agent agreed and said he would wait to submit the revised offer until he knew the second offer was in writing.  

We had tickets to see the Toronto Argos play the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL football, the older but less financially viable version of the NFL).  Mr. Lina bought these months ago, a conflicting game to cheer for when it's his current home vs childhood home playing.  Given the highway construction going on in Toronto, we chose to take the subway in.  

6:45 we get above ground, waiting for the call.  7pm we grab some food, I'm dealing with the food and money in case Mr. Lina's phone rings...  7:05 passes....

Just as I'm having my purse checked by security to go into the stadium, his phone rings.  And it freezes, so we didn't answer the call.  We got as far out of the way as we could between security and scanning our tickets to call our agent back on my phone.

It seems the other offer never happened.  They didn't want to get into a bidding war and walked away.  He had a counter offer from the sellers, accepting all of our conditions (which were pretty standard - home inspection, financing) and closing date but a price below asking, just not as low as we offered.

I suppose we could have done a little more back and forth on price, but it was fair and we had enough drama already.  It's so strange arriving to a football game with FABULOUS seats and I really couldn't care about how close the players were because I bought a house.


So here is a sneak peek of what will be my sewing room as of Nov 28th.  It's a bit of an odd shape and the closet/door are behind the photographer, it should do quite nicely.


Tuesday, August 12

Home

Home is often a feeling more than a space.  Every time I've looked for somewhere to live - be it renting, buying or even picking a university - I've felt that connection to the space.  I swear, three steps off the bus when touring my university, I knew it was home even if I couldn't explain why.

We've seen oh, 6 houses so far.  Not so many to be tired of the process, just enough to have a good sense of what is available.  There were houses I liked, houses Mr. Lina liked, aspects of every house we liked... but none said home.

Saturday, we found a house I could see my kids running around in, playing tag or catch in the back yard.  I could see me cooking and entertaining, talking to friends while the last appetizers were coming out of the oven.  Mr. Lina could see where his desk would go, where he could move from bottling home brew to storing kegs and building a bar, my non-team sport playing husband even mentioned that the back yard was big enough for a football game.  I would claim the basement office as my sewing room - laminate flooring, HUGE closet, a window and good lights.  My mom sews in the basement, I see the advantage of kids playing within ear shot.

But it was more expensive than what we had seen.  While I knew it was within reason, it was enough we wanted to sit with a calculator and double check.  Fortunately, the market we're going to is cooler than what we're leaving so not all decisions have to be made the day of listing.  We arranged to go back last night.  We also asked to see other houses of a similar size and price to see what the competitive set was like.

First house was lovely.  On paper, better even.  Newer windows, very well cared for, finished basement, beautiful gardens, $20K less...  and yet I wasn't happy.

Second house was the same floor plan as Saturday but 190 sq ft smaller - slightly smaller living room and master bedroom but still big enough.  I didn't like it at all.  Honestly, their real estate agent is not doing them any favours letting them show the house with lights missing or out, finger prints on the walls, furniture blocking traffic flow...  Where the first house was well maintained and loved, this one wasn't cared for and it showed.

And then we went back to our Saturday house and it felt like home.

From the minute we pulled into the driveway, I felt comfortable.

Happy.

Home.

So I'm now in the limbo where we put in an offer and are waiting for their response.  I figure there will be some back and forth on price and while I'm okay with that, we can't get into a bidding war that goes above asking.

But my heart feels good about this.

Tuesday, August 5

Blink!

When we drove through small towns, my mom would always say "Don't blink or you'll miss it".  I kind of feel like every time I blink, time is flying by.

Let's see...

  • Had someone come and clean my house.  
  • I can pack or clean, not both.  
  • Best money I've spent in a long time, selling the house now seems feasible.
  • I had no idea how many patterns I actually had.  
  • The box I thought might be half full of patterns and have space for notions was overflowing.
  • Real estate agent says houses in my area sell on average in 14 days, many sell in 4 days.
  • We're going to buy the house we want, have a 75-90 day close, then list our house.
  • We looked at 4 houses last week, they were all good but not quite right for us. 
  • Side rant on floor plans.  How can a house can have 1,000 sq ft more than my house and I am not sure where I'd fit some of my furniture?  Why would two of three bedrooms need walk in closets?  And come to think of it, the second closet touches the third bedroom wall, they could have made smaller (yet still walk in - yes it's that big but perhaps too narrow for a 4th bedroom) closets for both rooms.
  • Still haven't bought a car, but we've narrowed down what we're looking for.  We set aside Sunday to look at cars and then found out the dealerships that we wanted to go to were closed.  Oops.
  • So we had my parents, brother, SIL and nephew over for dinner instead of looking at cars.  It all worked out well, nice impromptu dinner party.
  • We've gone to two 40th birthday parties in two weeks.  Those milestone years are just one party after another, and you find out which friends are a year older than you.  :)
  • I've also had strep throat.  I thought I had a cold courtesy of my two sick co-workers.  Clearly I'm not a doctor.
  • Lots of time with Mr. Lina.  
August 21st will be our 10th anniversary.  Talk about blink and you'll miss it.  I feel like it was a couple of years ago that I was putting on my big white dress and dancing our first dance.  Maybe last year that we celebrated 5 years.  And yet, the days pre-Mr. Lina seem a bit faded and distant.  The past oh... month I guess, it's been a bit of a throw back to our dating days.  I suspect part of it is knowing that with moving to another community and kids to follow after that, our "family of two" time is coming to an end.  We've gone out dancing, we've been on real dates in new locations, we've been talking a lot.  I've found myself telling stories about when we were dating, some of the silly things we did in that rush of a new relationship.  Even at one of the 40th birthday parties, I was telling the birthday-wife our "how we met" story since she's only known us as a couple.  Even in Manitoba we were talking about how it will be different - from the practicalities of where do we sleep to how we'll visit with friends.  When we're in Brandon, we often go to a friends place or a pub and enjoy a tipsy walk home at 2am.

It is going to be different, not to say bad, just different.  We are appreciating the good parts of being a couple at the moment, the benefits of our current home, and it's like that new relationship excitement over the changes to come.

Tuesday, July 22

Ah... Vacation...

Well that blog break was a bit longer than intended.  We spend two weeks visiting Mr. Lina's family in Manitoba.  Very restful, saw lots of friends and family.  Prior to that, work got well... crazy.  It has been a while since I worked that many nights past 7pm.  So, not much time for writing.  Nor packing for that matter.

But, we're back now.  

And life is still busy.  My car really does need to be replaced - sooner the better.  I'm not putting more money into it and now another light has come on that I don't want to fix.  Our real estate agent is coming over tomorrow night to talk about moving.  Tonight is going to be a lot of "chuck things in boxes" so there is less clutter when he tours the house.

It's kind of scary to be honest.

I think I haven't written since we returned because I'm a bit scared.  I'd rather spend time hiding from all this change rather than embracing it.  I had Mr. Lina work with me on packing up my sewing room.  Not that he did much, but having him there kept me calm and focused.  I get side tracked by little things from high school or medical receipts for the clinic.  

As tempting as it is to look at potential new houses (online, not in person just yet) and we all know how much I want to be a mom, change is pretty scary.

On the weekend I went to a birthday party for a university friends' husband.  While I do know him, I don't really know his friends and family.  Two other girls from the group came and we stuck together.  I've been a bit of a hermit.  I'm the only one of that group without kids now, while I want to hear about their kids for about 5 minutes, it just feels... stressful to see them.  And sometimes it's sad when I leave.  Not that much has been going on as large group, but I haven't even been reaching out to them at all.  It was good to catch up with two of them and we actually talked more about ourselves than their kids.  Kind of refreshing really and a good reminder that I liked them before they had kids and that friend is still in there.

One of my friends is a social worker in the region we're looking to move to.  She doesn't deal with adoption, but she will know the social workers that I will be working with (when we get there) and generalities of adoption in that region.  It was really good and it brought up all the excitement I've been kind of hiding under the pressure to get the house listed etc.  

Anyhoo... I am alive, I'm doing okay.  We are almost there.

We hosted Charlie A'Court back in March.  Charlie really is that mix of musician AND entertainer.  Charlie is good one-on-one, he and my Australian friend had some banter in the show, he knows how to play to his audience and he is a talented guitarist.  It was one of the most FUN shows I've ever hosted.  Prior to the show, we were talking about what to expect from our audience.  It was a Saturday night, I said I was relaxed as far as start/end times went, odds are a board game of some sort would break out after the show because people would stay.  And I introduced him to Cards Against Humanity as the game most likely to be played post show.

In short, Cards Against Humanity is a question and answer game.  One person draws a question/phrase (some are fill in the blank), each player has 10 answer cards in their hand, they pick the most amusing.  The person asking the question picks their favourite and that person asks the next question.  Some cards are tame, some are, well... not.  Some phrases that sound pretty tame on their own are not when paired with the wrong question.  Also, there is a "Canadian Conversion Kit" with answers like Tim Hortons, Mr. Dressup, The Official Languages Act/Loi sur les langues officielles, etc....  So something normal like "_____ keeps our relationship exciting" isn't too crazy a question, but sounds worse when the answer is "Ooompa Loompas" or "Mr. Dress-up".  I've had moments in this game where my brother couldn't speak because he was laughing too hard.  

We ended up playing that game until 4 or 5 am on time change weekend (I think 4, but with spring forward that makes it 5).  I sent a very tired Charlie to his next house concert with perhaps 6 hours of sleep.

So you can imagine how amused I was to see that one of the options in his crowd funding for his next album is Cards Against Humanity cards written by Charlie.  Or you can buy the game AND the cards.

It's pretty cool that not only am I being impacted by hosting musicians, but it sometimes leaves an impression on them too.  I can't wait for our cards to arrive.


Wednesday, June 4

Adoption Training - Take 2

Last week I tired to blog about the PRIDE training class and well, it didn't work so well and I scrapped that post and wrote another.  That's not a bad thing, writing without posting still means I did some thinking and I liked the post I ended up with.  But let's try again...

We were given a binder for the course.  I kid you not, the paper in it is bigger than the width of my hand.  It's a whole lot of information being thrown at us.  Fortunately, we're not expected to sit there and read the whole thing, we aren't turning page by page during the course.  It's more for reference (and has "homework" sheets), but it really highlights how much territory there is to cover.  Some of it is technical or legislative in nature (did you know that what became the first Children's Aid Society was actually a branch from the Humane Society?  The Humane Society mandate was initially for children and animals), some of it is focused on the child's perspective of what they experience and how that changes their needs.  Guess which part is more interesting?

I read a few blogs about adoption - particularly Stellar Parenting and The Accidental Mommy.  They don't post all that often at the moment, they are busy moms and it's hard to write about this stuff.  Both do a great job of balancing their need for family privacy, but letting you know it's not all sunshine and rainbows.  I'm left with a positive perspective of adoption, they fight hard for their kids, there are rewards for that.  Through the PRIDE training, I found myself relating a lot of what they were saying to things those women experienced - be it the kids life prior to adoption or their behaviour or how the parents dealt with the behaviour.  Honestly, I found myself nodding a LOT in class because of their openness.

The session on attachment was naturally interesting.  Attachment is the trust that makes the parent-child bond strong.  Ideally, children know that their parents will provide for them - be it food, clothing, attention, love, they know it will be there.  As infants, they learn about the world through experience - I was hungry, I cried, someone fed me, isn't the universe great?  If there is inconsistency, the baby doesn't know that you're busy, or asleep (or drunk or high, or absent as the case may be), they just know that the world doesn't always provide, and they don't learn to trust that you're going to be there for them.  Makes sense when you think about it like that.

I initially thought of attachment as a binary system - you are or you aren't attached to an individual.  But it's actually a spectrum.  Sure there are strong attachments, but I think lots of us have insecure attachments for very normal reasons.  How can a mom of multiple kids be there every time a baby cries?  That doesn't make her a bad parent.  Some parents were advised to let their babies cry to make them independent.  That can also make the child less likely to ask for help and more likely to feel unsure that others are going to say yes.  I can see that in myself.  I LOVE helping others, but I have to feel really secure to ask people for help.

When I was a little girl, I capitol-L-loved Strawberry Shortcake.  For my birthday, maybe around Grade 3 or even 5 (I doubt Grade 4 because I had chicken pox), I was given Strawberry Shortcake talc that smelled (naturally) like strawberries.  I was thrilled and next time I went to the bathroom, I took it with me and dusted away.  My mom's best friend (I called her aunt kind of friend) asked me if I used the talc and said no.  I really don't know why.  It was an obvious lie, I would have reeked of strawberries and probably had white talc somewhere on my hands or clothing.  And doesn't it show appreciation for a gift to rush off and use it?  I remember this moment so well, where we were standing, how I felt...  My answer wasn't driven by logic, it was a fear she'd take it away from me.  Totally irrational, I have no idea why I felt so compelled to lie.  The risk of losing that talc was more than I could deal with.

When I look back on that now, what I find interesting is that lie came from such an emotional place for such a foolish thing.  The training course and (even more so) the home study are intended to make you look at yourself.  Learn what kind of attachment you have, what kind of parenting lessons you learned from your parents.  I wonder where that moment came from.  Why couldn't I trust that someone wouldn't take it away from me?  Why did I feel so strongly about protecting my beloved strawberry scented talc?  Is that how lying feels when you don't trust the universe to provide?  Is this at all related to how challenging I find it to ask for help?

Don't take this as an admission I have a poor attachment to my parents or they did anything wrong at all.  All I'm saying is all of our relationships are complicated.  Why would it be any simpler between parents and children?  I find the prospect of looking back with this lens interesting.

Out of the first half of the class, Mr. Lina in particular felt very positive.  A lot of the tricks to creating attachment with children are things he does instinctively with children who are hesitant.  Like letting kids set the rules to a game or imaginative play, or making them talk to you by explaining an activity.  As an example, Minecraft.  It's a computer game that seems to be taking off based on the references I see around me.  Mr. Lina plays it from time to time, but it scales down to children by changing the settings so there are more resources readily available and fewer ways to kill your character (at least as I understand it).  The game came up as an interest of a friends daughter and Mr. Lina had her explain it to him as if he didn't know much about it at all.  Which is true.  He knows how to play from a technical stand point, but an 8 year old girl has different objectives and strategy than a grown man so they don't play the same way.  You can see how an insecure child would get wrapped up talking about the game and forget she was feeling insecure.  Dialogue starts and it gets easier from there to build rapport.  Or how about Mr. Frog-a-Lina?  He wasn't setting the rules for play, he was following the cues from the kids and letting them drive where it went.

I've always had more confidence in his ability to parent than he has in himself.  But I'm his wife, like your Mom, I'm suppose to be supporting him.  To hear a social worker say X, Y, and Z are good things to do and realize that at some level, he does it, that has more impact.

And we're only half way.  We'll see what this weekend brings.

Wednesday, May 28

Writing Styles & Swirling Thoughts

One fabulous thing about blogs is that we each have our own voice, our own focus, our own style.  If you read back to early posts for a lot of bloggers, they don't sound quite the same.  I think it's because we ease into our writing style.

Sometimes, I write from the heart.  I am not saying it doesn't need editing or polishing, but it just... flows.  I miss that.  It was actually easier to write like that about infertility.  I don't feel that way very often.

Sometimes I have thoughts, but it's stuck between my head and my fingers.  When I write, excessive amounts of detail come through to the point it sounds like a play by play my life.  I don't think that's good reading.  Quite often I can trim these posts down to something manageable, removing sections, summarizing others.  

Sometimes I just start again.

Guess which day today is?

I have thoughts, big thoughts, swirling thoughts.  We started our 27 hours of parenting training required to adopt in Ontario.  Half of it was last weekend, we get this weekend off and then we wrap up June 7-8.  I can't seem to stop talking about what I've learned, what I see in other peoples relationships, what I see in myself.

But it's not coming out right.  And even when I trim my novel of a post down, the focus of the story isn't there.  Possibly because the class is only half way done.  

It's all straggly little trees of facts, without the forest of a story.

That's frustrating because this is exactly the kind of place I want to sort these swirling thoughts out.  I learn about my own thoughts while writing for my blog by looking at all those details and trees and try to find the theme, the basis of what I am thinking.  What the forest is.

So, part of this forest includes:
  • We're on the right track.
  • We have good instincts.
  • All of my reading, thinking and observing has paid off.
  • Dealing with the losses as they came was a good thing, I am ready for this.
Hopefully I can connect a few more dots and speak about my experiences without sounding like a lecture on attachment and parenting like I spewed all over my mom and my brother and his fiance and my coworker and....

Wednesday, May 21

Not-So-Fun Mom

Last weekend was a long weekend in Canada - Victoria Day.  We did the usual for us, camping with almost 30 people.  It was a bit chilly this year but mostly dry.  If you dress right, cold is manageable, but cold and wet is miserable.  I didn't pack quite enough extra blankets so it was a bit cold over night on Friday.  Thankfully we camp close enough to home I could pop back and pick up some flannel sheets so we were toasty the rest of the weekend.

The down time was good but certainly had some challenging moments.  Some friends camp with their kids, others just drop by for an afternoon, this year there were anywhere from 5-12 kids running around ages 10 right down to a visiting baby.  The one challenge with this kind of extensive time with other peoples kids is that I get a little annoyed with some of them.  It becomes clear to me, I'm not going to be a fun mom.  I'll be a good mom and there will be lots of love and fun moments, but I'm not going to be a fun mom.  My kids are going to hear no, and I am going to mean it.  When I read about adoptive parenting, I see the need for consistent and firm parenting.  I suppose with longer exposure to other families while camping, I see what happens when any child doesn't get that.  When no means maybe, or not yet, or someone else will say yes.  I see the manipulation that goes on and how often the kids win when no doesn't mean no and it irritates me over the weekend. 

Sunday afternoon, I was making dinner.  Jambalaya in my cast iron dutch oven on the fire.  It's a bit fussy only because it's hard to tell just how hot the coals/pot are but I'm getting better with practice and burning the bottom less.  I brought little silicone pot holders with me to the fire, they look like frogs and worked pretty well with the hot cast iron.
From Cilantro Cooks

Mr. Lina was wearing my pot holders and chasing kids around the camp site while the jambalaya simmered.  It was pretty funny as he stomped around snapping the frogs open and shut.  One of the (non-chasing) kidlets asked me for s'mores.  I'm not sure what made her think I was the owner of any marshmallows, chocolate or graham crackers as I watched my dinner cook.  I said no, she should ask her dad.  Which is also the answer I gave when asked if she could have a drink the previous day, and when asked for a snack earlier in the day.  You see the pattern?  She wandered off and came back with a huge bag of marshmallows (which I'm pretty sure did not belong to her family) and pestered me again to make her s'mores.  She wasn't the only kid around, another parent was giving his 3 kids popcorn as a post-dinner snack (hoping salty snacks would make for better bed time than sweet).  The middle kid (about 3 I think) in that family had been the focus of the Mr. Frog-a-Lina chasing and wanted in on the marshmallows, more because Mr. Frog-a-Lina was there and they wanted to feed the frogs popcorn and marshmallows.  At this point, Mr Frog-a-Lina got silly about the desire for popcorn s'mores, knowing I did not pack any of the required ingredients and could not fulfill what he was asking me to do and in my head I wasn't sure how well hot melted marshmallow, chocolate and popcorn were going to work on small fingers.  The popcorn wasn't going to offer much protection from the hot parts.  I got tired of  being pestered for stuff they should ask their parents for and knowing that at least one father probably didn't want his kids having popcorn s'mores and my inability to actually do what they (or I) wanted to do, and I lost it on Mr. Lina.  

Thus popping the bubble of happy fun time for Mr. Frog-a-Lina and the kidlets.  

We went for a walk so I could get away from the s'mores insanity and apologize for my behaviour.  I knew I was snapping at Mr. Lina because he was there and an easy target compared to the kids that weren't mine to discipline.  I don't lose my cool often so it has more impact when I do (at least on Mr. Lina, I don't think the kids were all that phased).  A few tears were shed and oddly not by me.  Mr. Lina loved running around and being silly, but it was also leaving him feeling sad that those weren't his own kids he was chasing after.  And boy, do I understand that.  Popping that happy bubble was pretty bad timing.  

After a little walk around, we went back to the site, we had dinner.  I had a little alone time while I changed into warmer clothing for the evening and prepped the tent for bed time.  Mr. Frog-a-Lina returned for more chase, with even more kids involved.  I could hear him (and the kids laughing) 4 sites down as I walked to the washroom.  I ended up with a 3 year old frog-chaser snuggling up with me as the sun was setting.  Not surprisingly, Mr. Lina fell asleep at the fire at dark o'clock (camping is not about clock watching).  Who knew pot holders could be such great exercise?  And did you know they come in monkeys and dogs and pigs and roosters...

Wednesday, May 14

Is Spring Finally Here?

You know how sometimes a room has to look worse to be cleaner?  Yeah....  I can barely get into my sewing room.  But I have shredded a whole lot of old financial statements and put less sensitive paper out for recycling, so I know there is progress.  Even if it doesn't look like it.  We were going to go to an open house on Sunday only to get there and it was cancelled.  Pout.  We are getting closer...

We did a little spending at the garden centre on the weekend and worked on making the outside of the house look pretty.  What is it with dandelions?  Do they hate us that much?  By the time we dug them all out of the back yard it looked like a heard of elephants trampled what little grass was left.  On the plus side, my perennials look much nicer without all the dead leaves from last fall around them.  I still have to plant the annuals but the risk of frost is still real here until May long weekend, so I'm not worried about that just yet. 

Speaking of annuals... I usually do some container gardening on our back deck.  A few tomatoes, some herbs, maybe some radishes and a hot pepper plant.  I wasn't going to bother this year, just sticking to flowers and herbs that would be easier to care for and still provide a little colour.  Then we saw Bhut Jolokia peppers (aka ghost peppers, one of the hottest peppers out there, 400 times hotter than Tabasco according to wikipedia).  Usually I can't find anything more exotic than cayenne or hot banana peppers (which is fine, I don't mean to complain) so I don't know that I'll ever see Jolokia seedlings again which made it worth the purchase.  We'll see how that goes, my backyard isn't exactly the same as it's natural home climate of Northern India and I'm not one for babying plants (hence the purchase of seedlings, not seeds).

This is the first week it's finally been warm enough to not wear socks.  At long last, my open toed shoes can be worn again.  Sadly with the warmer weather seems to come rain (mostly scattered showers/thunder storm, not all day depressing rain) and the temperatures are dropping slightly just in time for the upcoming long weekend (Victoria Day).  Figures.  We camp every year, in the rain and occasionally the snow.  Temperatures of 15C during the day and 5C at night aren't so bad if it stays dry.  If.

I really should make a water proof jacket one of these days.

I also think I should send my parents to the Northwest Territories for Mother's Day next year.  I swear this was the most sane Mother's Day I've ever had.  No tears, no stress, I was very relaxed about it all.  I didn't forget about it but I didn't really think about it.  I did buy my traditional gift of a fuchsia hanging basket and hung it up at her house so she'd come home to it when I picked my parents up from the airport.  Really, we might be on to something here.

Wednesday, May 7

How to Declutter - Film a Movie

We've been picking away at decluttering the house and we have made headway, but it seems that the key to doing it was film.  Mr. Lina filmed a short fake trailer on Saturday.  It's amazing the effort that goes into 90 seconds of film.  Somehow it managed to involve every room in the house except my sewing room.  Either it was in frame, space used by lighting/camera, or it was space to serve food and chill.  So pretty much every room needed some level of decluttering, admittedly some more than others.  My sewing room being the one exception.  Things were hidden in that room.

Here's a behind the scene shot of one of the death scenes in my kitchen.

Notice the vast quantities of fake blood on that actress (her shirt has white and coral stripes under that blood).  As much as I knew this was going to be a horror trailer, and in the 80's slasher style, I didn't QUITE do the math on how much fake blood would be involved.  Nor how far the splatter would go.  The upstairs bathroom (shower death scene being a requirement in most slasher films as an excuse to show a little more skin) looked like Dexter visited and forgot his plastic sheeting.  The bathroom and kitchen are cleaner than I think they have ever been because I kept finding splatters of fake blood everywhere.  For example, I don't think I've ever taken a tooth brush to the grout on the floor in my upstairs bathroom.  Washed the floor, sure, but scrubbing on my knees with a tooth brush?  Not really my typical cleaning style.  There was fake blood on the inside of my oven door, under the burners, on the back splash, the little indents under the counters...  It was just... everywhere.  There are a couple of spots I think we're going to need to paint because the red isn't coming out of the porous material.

No sewing was needed for this film set, but I did craft services again. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for a much smaller group than some of the other film sets (a benefit of a 90 second shoot and a minimal crew).  It was enough to keep me on my toes.  Everything went so smoothly they finished up the shoot a few hours early.  Unheard of I tell you.  I think the only thing that went wrong was my spider plant falling.  This happened before the picture above, we were moving the other actors around and getting the lighting right when the spider plant got hooked on someones pants or something and fell, missing her head by maybe 2".
She's got reflexes like a cat that one.  I kept trying to see the plus side of things and for this one, it's that A) the actress moved and was fine, and B) that spider plant was pretty pot bound, it seems a new pot was in order anyhow.  We should have decluttered that corner too, but it wasn't going to be in frame.  Lesson learned.

Past that, it's okay.  I seem to be in a quiet sad spot at the moment.  Not teary or anything, but I lack focus and interest in work.  It's harder to get out the door in the morning, when I get there I don't know where to start, I don't want to call in for my client team meetings.  Not quite sure what to do about it or what to make of it.  I'm on week 2 of some PMS symptoms, I'm thinking that's probably a factor but not the only one.  It seems to be more work focused than home focused (I was a-okay fine on the film set, even with cleaning up the blood), maybe this 5 day a week client facing is just too much.

And amusing to me, my youngest brother Clone and his wife have decided that the name they picked for their son doesn't fit.  So they changed it.  I'm not quite sure why I find it funny, but I do.  Parents pick names so early and who says that it's going to fit the face and personality that you see when the baby is born?  I am pleased they made the change now if they weren't happy, it can't be easy to admit the name you picked just didn't work.  You know my parents only had a girls name for me (my paternal grandmothers name, most of Dad's family died in a car accident 4 years earlier) and only a boys name for Scot, and no name for Clone when we were born.  My mom was convinced I was going to be a boy (to the point she argued with the doctor when he said "it's a girl!") so it's kind of funny they didn't have a boys name for me but there you go.