WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU A WAKE-UP CALL: Don’t Mess With Black Ice Or A Black Egg

Coming home from the mall the other day in the car, I went to stop at an intersection and I hit a patch of black ice, which then caused me to slide right out into oncoming traffic. It was a few seconds of pandemonium, with me jamming on the brakes hard, and frantically (and pathetically, as my husband would say because he’d know what to do – obviously) waving my hands in the air, and my daughter yelling, “Mom, mom, mom, what the fuck? Are you trying to kill us?”

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU A WAKE-UP CALL AND YOU ALMOST DIE: Don't Mess With Black Ice Or A Black Egg | TheFurFiles

Clearly, I wasn’t. I’m not a maniac. I was just trying to drive home so she could start making supper, probably to next tell me that we’d forgotten a “key” ingredient, which I’d have to go back to the store to get anyway, because you cannot change the Chez Tess scheduled menu, nor can you make any sort of substitutions, even if it’s something like replacing white flour with whole wheat flour, which in my opinion, would be the better choice, but for her, would the the end of the goddamn world. Silly me.

Luckily, I drive very slowly and carefully (like any thoughtful and upstanding citizen would), and the other drivers saw me coming and went around. Eventually, the car came to a halt, but not before giving me a few more grey hairs. Another day, another dollar, I always say.

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ARE DOGS SMARTER THAN CATS? That’s Debatable

Be forewarned, this is another “dogs versus cats” post, inspired by the fact that my younger son went and bought yet another puppy (see below – his name is Prince) to keep his first puppy company, obviously. But because my son works a lot (like I don’t), and because I love animals (like I do), I end up puppy-sitting quite a bit, which – although I don’t mind so much, I can’t say the same for my husband – has literally turned my house has into a poop-filled, barf-covered, meowing, barking, growling, hissing nuthouse. As if it wasn’t crazy enough already.

ARE DOGS SMARTER THAN CATS? That's Debatable | TheFurFiles

You see, the cats hate the dogs. HATE the dogs. Particularly Lionel. They want them dead. I can see it in their squinted to sliver-sized, golden eyes, and I can hear it in their low, rumbling, thunder-like snarls. Conversely, the dogs might have wanted to play with the cats – in the beginning – but after getting swatted in the face on more than one “holy shit, that hurts” occasion, they have since given up on the possibility, and turned to a life of “let’s see if we can piss these felines off as much as is dogly possible” mayhem, which is a lot, let me tell you.

Also, because the new puppy is the size of a hamster (no joke), he cannot – let me repeat, CANNOT – be put down and left to roam the house alone. A few things could (and would) happen, if we allowed this. He would a) get stepped on, for sure. Seriously, you can barely see him, especially if you are looking down from human height. It’s like he’s a walnut that a someone dropped on the floor. Or a balled up kid’s sock. Or an hors d’oeuvre of some kind, something with bacon.

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IS SMOKING WEED BAD? For My Neighbour’s Brother It Seems To Be

My neighbour’s brother is a pothead (possible cokehead). How do I know? Because one day, when I was walking down the street, he asked me if I had “dope”. He was standing on his brother’s front porch, looking pretty “baked”, as the saying goes.

“No,” I said. “I don’t.” Jesus, couldn’t he see that I was walking my cats? (And no, I’m not a cokehead too. The farthest thing from it. I just don’t want my kitties to get hit by cars, AND we live near a busy street, AND they are a fairly rambunctious breed, AND – as my kids always point out – I am a bit over-the-top when it comes to animals, like I’d do anything to make them happy, like I enjoy their company better than I do humans, which is true, most of the time.)

IS SMOKING WEED BAD? For My Neighbour's Brother It Seems To Be

Anyway, there he was – my neighbour’s brother – standing on the porch, not really doing anything that I could see, except existing, maybe waiting for someone, meditating, vegetating, more likely stagnating – or maybe, he was just really confused. Drugs will do that to a person. Not sure what you call it when you are idling in one spot staring vacuously out into space. Whatever it is, that’s what he was doing.

I was with my son and his friend at the time – and the cats, of course – when I heard this voice coming from his direction. “Hey, you [muffled speaking]…”

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DOCTOR WHO: Do Mothers Have A Sixth Sense?

I’m not a doctor, and I don’t claim to know the things they know. But I am a mother, and when it comes to my children, I believe I have a “sixth” sense. I’m pretty good at recognizing when they are really sick or really hurt – and not just suffering from a pathetically simple, “no you don’t need Penicillin or Demerol or Xanax (as if)” head cold, and not just throwing up because they are hung over even though they deny it, and not just needing to stay home from school because they “have a test today and didn’t study for it”, and not just distressingly hobbling about because they twisted an ankle playing soccer and now it’s broken, but when I ask them if they want Chinese food, they magically run across the room. OK, so my husband could help me with that last one. He is an orthopaedic surgeon.

DOCTOR WHO: Do Mothers Have A Sixth Sense? | TheFurFiles

All mothers have this otherworldly “kinesthesia”, this “ability to know things, don’t ask how” – at least, most of us do. It’s part of our biology, our scientific, rudimentary, plasmic, constitutional, nuclear, basil (is that a spice?) make-up. Like knowing to check the doors at night to see if anyone has locked them – they haven’t. Like knowing when NOT to ask my daughter about her schoolwork/to help clean the house/to be nice to her brothers so she doesn’t bite my head off (she’s pre-period, duh!) – as smart as he is, that’s a skill that my husband does NOT possess. Like knowing to bring snacks on a two-hour car ride (even when the kids are adults), because low blood sugar means low blood sugar no matter how old you are, and it can turn a perfectly normal boy/man into a monster, so it’s best to be prepared.

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IT’S A VERY VERY MAD WORLD: Subway Twilight Zone

I went to Subway the other day for my daughter – Subway the “sandwich store”, not subway the “underground transportation system” (in that case, I would’ve said “the” subway, but maybe you are not so good with grammar). My daughter was hungry for roasted chicken on whole wheat, and I’m a really nice person. That’s why it happened.

Anyway, when I went inside – a little reluctantly because I’m not a big fan of fast food places even if I’m NOT the one eating the crap – there was a short line of four people (including me), and two staff working behind the counter making sandwiches.

It's a Very Very Mad World: Subway Twilight Zone | TheFurFiles

The man at the front of the line asked for three BLT’s (bacon, lettuce, tomato), two toasted, one not – emphasis on the “one NOT” because that is where the problems began. The Subway sandwich maker girl person employee – a young woman by the name of May – assembled the two toasted sandwiches no problem, and was all set to put together the not-toasted one, when her brain operations seemed to grind to an unfortunate halt.

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WHEN GOOD MOTHERS GO BAD: I Think I’m Pretty Normal

I think I’m a good mother. A great mother, in fact. But I’ve had my moments. Not negligent moments, mind you, like I’ve never left my three kids – when they were under the age of five – home alone (with only the cats to babysit) so I could go out “partying” with the “girlzzz” (though I may have wanted to a few times). I’ve never hit anybody with a hammer (heaven forbid) or even a straw broom.

I will admit however to hanging up a few snowsuits really hard, and to “dropping” apples into the crisper rather than “setting” them in there. I was the one who paid the price for that when the kids refused to eat them after because they were bruised – isn’t that always the way? And more than once, I’ve folded laundry with such irritability that my fingers ended up slightly chafed from me pressing down so hard along the creases of the fabric.

WHEN GOOD MOTHERS GO BAD: I Think I'm Pretty Normal

No, I’ve never done “lines of coke” in the bathroom between the cake and presents at a birthday party, nor have I told the kids that they were “worthless pieces of shit” no matter how “are you kidding me with that attitude” difficult they were, but I have taken an entire Nintendo system (with games) to the thrift store out of spite. (It had been a long and frustrating six months, if I recall – kids go through some “we will fight over every single thing” phases, you know.) You could argue the disposal of a video game system to be a “good” mother moment. My children didn’t see it that way. Neither did my husband.

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THINGS ARE NEVER WHAT YOU IMAGINE: That Time On The Train

I went to visit my parents a few weeks ago. I needed to get out of town – alone. I needed some “me” time, away from the dishes, the laundry, the barking dog and the “fuck you dog, we are NOT friends” ever-hissing cats, the often angst-filled millennial children, and the basic craziness that IS work and family. Not my husband though. I never need to get away from him, because he’s awesome and brainy and athletic and super good-looking. Right now, he looks like Tom Selleck, only darker. Thanks Movember. I know he’ll read this. Hi dear!

THINGS ARE NEVER WHAT YOU IMAGINE: That Time On The Train

Anyway, I thought I’d be smart. To make it an uber-relaxing trip where I wasn’t required to drive the five and a half hours down the highway from hell (the 401 here in Canada) through “I’d rather light my feet on fire than have to do this all the time” Toronto traffic, I booked a ticket on the train. It would be tranquil; I could stretch my legs out, eat chocolate, and watch bad Netflix movies, I thought. At least, that’s how I imagined it would be. That’s the way I remembered it from when I took it ten years ago. Apparently, times have changed. Or I have changed. Or both.

Things never quite live up to the fantasy, do they? Just like when you think marriage is going to be a bed or roses – at least, that’s what you picture in your head when you are standing at the altar, about to say your vows, gazing into your beloved’s sweet face, with his chiseled jawline and his “I’ll do the dishes every day for the rest of our lives until we both die cuddled together at the age of ninety-six” demeanour. And then a few years go by, and those damn dishes are there, and he’s got that “dad” bod, and he is on his computer WAY too much for your liking.

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HOLIDAY BAKING: The “Try Not To Spend All Your Money Or Make Me Fat” Edition

My daughter likes to cook, and bake. And as I may or may not have mentioned in past blogs (I can’t really remember much of anything these days – thanks perimenopause), she is the owner/operator of one extremely exclusive, extremely strict – to the point of being oppressive and downright disparaging – restaurant called “Chez Tess”.

OK, so “Chez Tess” is just her cooking for our family and forcing us to eat her food – when, where, and exactly HOW she says (down to every last painful “no you can’t go to the washroom, it’s time to eat, sit down at the goddamn table” detail), but whatever. We’ve given this recurring experience a name because all such things need to be formally acknowledged and/or documented. Just in case.

HOLIDAY BAKING: The "Try Not To Spend All Your Money Or Make Me Fat" Edition | TheFurFiles

So today, with the holiday season fast approaching – or at least a month to go – she declared (in no uncertain terms, as she usually does with everything) that it was “time” for Christmas baking to start. Now, any normal person would rejoice in the fact that their daughter would take it upon herself to plan and prepare an elaborate menu for cookie and dessert making, which she would do ALL on her own, which would indeed TASTE delicious – because she IS a good cook, after all.

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MOTHERS WHO WORRY TOO MUCH: It’s A Dog’s Life Version

Up until a few days ago, we were puppy-sitting my younger son’s crazy little dog – Wolfie Junior. OK, sorry Sylvia, he’s not crazy per se; he’s just really busy and needy and he bites feet and faces and eats paper and slippers and everything he shouldn’t, but from what I’ve heard is pretty normal for dogs, but which also (according to Charles) is MY fault. He’s not like that at home apparently.

Now, you have to understand, I am not used to dogs – having to constantly tell them to leave these things alone and to STOP sticking their nose in my underwear. Jesus, cats don’t need the reminder. Nor am I used to letting animals suffer needlessly in crates if I can help it. And this dog does NOT like his crate. So like the softy that I am, I’ve just been either staying home with him, or making my daughter or other son or husband do the same, or taking him everywhere I go. Yeah, he’s being totally spoiled.

MOTHERS WHO WORRY TOO MUCH: A Dog's Life Version | TheFurFiles

Anyway yesterday, I had to go with my daughter to the bank to pick up a form that she needed for work. She wasn’t sure what to ask for, so I agreed to go with her. Of course, having the dog complicated things.

In no uncertain terms, she said, “You ARE coming IN with me. I’m NOT interested in looking like an IDIOT because I don’t know what I’m talking about.” Young people and their pride – sheesh.

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How To Be Happy In 3 Simple Steps

Some days are rough, like when you get a flat tire on your way to the store to buy sour cream because SOMEBODY can’t eat fajitas without it. Yeah, people can be grumpy and difficult like that. They can also be snakes and assholes. They can get road rage, and break into your car and steal your daughter’s laptop because she was dumb enough to leave it there in the first place – in plain sight on the front seat (yes, Tess, despite your protests to the contrary, that could happen to you).

People can say things like, “You look like you have a mullet.” Thanks Charles, my son, the boy I brought into this world and for whom I’ve done a million and one things. It’s because I was exercising OK, and I had my hair in a pony tail. Sheesh!

People can pull out guns and shoot you (more likely in the United States than in Canada because our rules here are stricter – thank god), or they can simply let the door at the bank slam in your face when you are juggling groceries, two little kids – one fussy baby and a screaming toddler – a stroller, AND a coffee, because without that last item, you’d be passed out on the sofa at home, the kids (ages six months and two years) “making” dinner themselves. Some people just can’t see beyond their own feet.
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Yes, I know, most of these cases are fairly insignificant, and others – like the gun example – are pretty extreme AND dangerous. No matter what though, you are not going to get through life without experiencing some really “how will I ever cope?” shit. And the kicker? You can’t control most of it. The only thing you CAN control is yourself, and how you respond to things. So for me, happiness is definitely something I try to cultivate. If I just sat around waiting for the sun to shine and awesomeness to drop into my lap, I’d be a very sad and pathetic person indeed.

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