In what perfectly encapsulates my 2016, this week suddenly and surprisingly has me attending 3 job interviews. That’s 150% more interviews than I’ve had during the rest of the year in a single week. 6 days before we start Christmas leave. 2 weeks before Christmas. Also, the only week where I lost my voice.
All right: it’s time for me to weigh in on a growing social media trend here in Edmonton. You may have heard of it – public shaming of bad parking in local places, particularly of the “he’s clearly over the line! *finger point*” variety. I don’t care one way or the other about the agenda – my husband has submitted photos, and there are some really bad parking jobs out there – but last night one of the founders used his new fame to rant about a parking situation he feels is continuously appalling. Namely, the set curfew for parking along Whyte Ave, one of the busiest pub and nightclub streets in town.
Don’t get me wrong. All this is still fine, if a small abuse of social justice warrior power. My beef is how he chose to go about posting it, and his comparisons and wording choices involved. (Read the tweets in each image bottom first, then top.)
He starts off with a little public shaming of the police force. Sure, that’s tasteless, and he doesn’t use the actual police force twitter account to tag them, but so far we are just venting about a frustrating situation. And I’d like to point out something about the “jaywalkers hit” comment – the reason parking on Whyte Ave is restricted and not allowed after midnight is precisely for this reason: drunken jaywalkers deciding to cross the street erratically from between parked cars, making it extremely difficult to see them. The reason for the curfew is to make the sight lines of drivers using the avenue less cluttered when the likelihood of said drunken jaywalking will occur.
Now he makes a bit of an intuitive leap. Apparently emergency vehicles parked in the street on a busy Friday night of a long weekend immediately means someone died. Oh, and there’s the police twitter account popping up now. Better late than never. He does also mention in another post his it’s a really busy night for the police as there is a riot at some concert in town. Truly, this is then the night to go all righteous anger social media warrior on their asses.
I’d like to point out here that NO ONE EVER DIED FROM AN IMPROPERLY PARKED CAR. Sure, lots of people have died as a result of being idiots around parked cars, but never has the parked car itself caused the event. Having been the victim of a near death experience thanks to careless drivers while I was properly using a lighted intersection to cross a street, I can tell you that all it takes is one inattentive person behind the wheel of a moving vehicle to take a life. An inattentive person with a parked vehicle usually just results in getting tickets for or, at worst, towing of said vehicle.
And here’s the Mayor’s take on all this. I’m sorry, but I’m with him. This is not the way to gain sympathy for your cause. If you want to make a difference in the parking situation around your place of business, particularly where the situation may adversely affect you and your customers, the proper course of action is to for a group of like-minded concerned business owners in the area, create a petition for your customers all to sign, and head directly to City Hall with petition in hand to personally address the council and plead your case. Even better if it’s a petition to create more parking in the Whyte Ave area rather than redefining the parking situation of the avenue itself. This? This is not the way.
As I also follow the Mayor’s twitter account I can assure you that he gets more than enough tweets regarding parking, potholes, snow clearance and neighbourhood nuisances to make any sane person cringe. A situation like this where civic duty could be actioned with the proper steps taken probably gets his goat. It would certainly get mine. A student frustrated at the amount of homework he’s been given wouldn’t tweet to the teacher and call them out in front of all their other students about how unfair it was, and just expect the teacher to tell him it’s suddenly not due. That’s not how social justice works.
Do your due diligence. If you want change, be the change. Make the time to make it important to you. Do not whine about it on a social media site and expect dramatic results. And don’t ever, EVER diminish the pain and suffering of others to elevate your cause. That’s not doing it right at all. That’s just making yourself look like a complete jerk.
It’s Monday, and MiniSir is back at work after a 3-week vacation. There are no video games being played, the baby is demanding to be held, and I’m already missing the extra pair of hands. Grunt is fussy because he’s going through a pretty significant growth spurt – this is the one where he begins to make cognitive connections. It’s neat to be watch him as he realizes he can make his toys sing by pulling the handle, and hilarious to take part in as he begins to mimic my facial expressions. His smiles now light up the room when he sees someone or something he recognizes. But since all these things are new and scary, he is constantly seeking the comfort of our arms. It’s a wonderful but tiring experience.
Still, I’m glad the growth spurt happened when it did and not the weeks previous to that; we kickstarted our vacation by flying to Ontario for two weeks. Every summer we get MiniSir’s four children for two weeks, and since they live in Ottawa, we fly out to have them there. We are really lucky that both our families are in that area so we are not lacking for places to stay and things to do, but going from a three-person family to a seven-person one is a big difference, one that tends to overwhelm us for the first few days each time we have them.
This was also our first time having them as well as the baby, along with the first time Grunt had seen many of his relatives. We were only there 24 hours before I broke down into tears in Old Navy. Everything was incredibly different, as going from being a mommy of one to a mommy of five can be, and there are always challenges to face whenever we take custody of my stepchildren. They themselves are wonderful, and my relationship deepens with them each time we see them. What causes the issues is the level of care and attention they receive in their own home – ie, next to none – versus the love and affection they get from their father, stepmother, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins when we have them. It always results in teary breakdowns halfway through their visit when they realize that eventually they will have to go back to their own home.
The crying on my part shortly after we arrived simply had to do with the fact that I wasn’t used to bring pulled in so many directions, and that even though MiniSir was on leave, this was not really a vacation for us. Moreover, the children’s mother sent them with lice, winter clothes, and shoes with holes in them. I would swear this was on purpose if not for the simple fact that she just doesn’t pay enough attention to them for it to be. So we pay to fly there, pay to fully clothe them, and pay for a van to drive them around in, and you’re looking at the same cost as a nice vacation for the three of us instead. Sometimes, it just gets to be too much.
Which leads me to having to be two different kinds of mommy: the mommy that loves them, that shows them time and affection, that nurtures and encourages them. But I’m also the mommy that will always come second no matter what because I came second into their lives. The sad part is that I’m not even upset by this – what upsets me more is when their own father comes second as well, simply because of the restrictions that have been placed on his ability to see them and the insinuation of their stepfather into everything that MiniSir did with them as he attempts to “win them over”.
Just FYI: parenting is not about who wins and who doesn’t. It’s about being a good parent, which is not and should never be, a contest.
What is reassuring is that MiniSir goes out of his way to assure me I’m being the best mommy I can be for them. And now I have Grunt, my very own sweet baby I get to keep with me and mould into a human, which will help me accept that being someone’s second mommy is still a great mommy to be.
Being new home owners and having an infant has been nothing short of an adventure. Sure, there are lots of things you need to buy to make yourself ready for baby to come home from the hospital, and yes, when you move there are usually things you need to get for the place, especially if, like us, you have gone from an apartment to a house. Combining the two adventures together has been nothing short of hard on the pocketbook, but more importantly, on our precious little free time.
May/June is always a socially busy time with the army, and this year even more so as the commanding officer of MiniSir’s regiment is changing, MiniSir himself is heading out of the regiment and into a post with the brigade, and the CO of both the brigade and the base proper are also heading off to bigger things. When you’re one of the highest ranked officers at your level in the brigade, it’s a big deal that you attend all the various going away suppers and parties. Therefore, there have been many weeknights where my husband is off being fabulous somewhere and I’m left at home on my own with the little one for a lot longer than I have been accustomed to. Not that I’m complaining – he’s a pretty fantastic, easy-going little baby.
The problem I’m encountering (and truthfully, my husband because he’s home less than me and is still dealing with all this) is the new home owner side of things. We had a hole cut into our driveway over the winter so there could be access to the main water line. That was fine, but it’s been 6 weeks since the condo company said they would finally fill it for us. In the meantime, the rain has washed away so much of the dirt in it that the hole is now 5 times bigger than the original cut and is in the process of hollowing out underneath our entire driveway slab. Someone actually put a metal plate over it two weeks ago because there had become a very real chance of putting a tire in it and getting the whole car stuck. They painted the porch without letting us know they were doing it, and you cannot see the front door from the living room. So my hubby went to leave and stepped in the wet paint. Now we have footprints on the porch they need to come touch up because they didn’t bother to knock on the door and say, “don’t come out this way”. There’s a step down to the basement where the tread is split and I swear I’m going to step on it one day carrying the baby and send the two of us tumbling to our deaths. They said they would fix it. Still not fixed. I’ve had to get the tire repaired on my car (and I’m pretty sure I have another puncture) because of all the nails in the roads surrounding our still-under-construction neighbourhood. You get the picture.
And then there’s the alarm system. The condo board installed all the hardware for their own system and said the first year was free for us. Which seemed like a great deal until they told us that it didn’t operate with cell phones and we needed to get a land line. So we went with another company, one that we can control our alarms with a mobile app, remotely lock and unlock doors, and set the thermostat to correspond to different users and times of day. Ingenious. There’s just one problem. It hasn’t worked since they put it in. Thank god it isn’t the middle of winter because we called on Friday for a service tech to fix it, and now it’s Wednesday and he MAY be here at 3pm. If it was November I would have frozen to death by now because the thermostat that they so nicely hooked into the system isn’t working. The furnace can’t be communicated with at all. I would rather have to deal with a sweaty baby than a frozen one, but the whole point is that it’s taken 6 days! 6! We get a two-week trial period with the system. We’ve spent the last week trying to get it fixed. So far the trial is going really well. Sigh.
When we decided to get a new home instead of an older one, we thought it was the smart thing to do. But at least with an older one, it would have been up to us to fix the things that needed fixing so there wouldn’t be any sort of expectation that it get done by someone else. And that’s exactly what is happening here – people not living up to expectation. I can’t just give my baby back if I don’t feel like living up to the expectation of being a mother, so why are these contractors and providers not following through with their own responsibilities? Why do we have to harass them day after day to get the things that were promised us actually done? Customer service is just that: service, of which we are certainly not getting the quality I would have anticipated. I’m teaching my infant that if he can hear my voice, he is safe. I wish just one of these companies would do the same with me.
If you haven’t seen it, you’re lucky. Facebook has a meme going around right now to get people to share little-known facts about themselves. I’ve gotten tagged to do it, so I am, but with a twist. Since it’s been such an amazing week (I wrote ‘amazing’ as I rolled my eyes heavily), my list is:
7 Things About This Week
- It has been snowing since last Friday. I don’t say this so you can pity Edmonton and its residents, but rather so that you can understand: the average cummulative snowfall for November (the entire month) is 18 centimetres. This week alone it has snowed over 50 centimetres. That’s nearly 2 feet of snow in a week, people. This is a thing.
- MiniSir went back to work last Thursday and Friday after being in Wainwright, and since one of the senior captains went on leave and left no instructions or delegations, MiniSir spent two days sorting out his own stuff as well as this completely different full-time job. Which wasn’t a big deal at home except for the Blackberry going off all weekend and through into this week, because even though the other captain is back now no one is getting any direction from him still so they are continually asking my husband. No private time with my love after he’s been gone for months because ARMY? This is a thing.
- My new car Watson suffered injury when the block heater cord completely fell apart in my hands last week. Luckily, the temperatures this week only went down to -30C at night. I took him for an assessment so they could order a part, and then back again this week so they could fix him. That is an entire day of driving/being driven around the city because the dealership is in St. Albert and I refuse to be pregnant and waiting for hours in the waiting room at the garage. Add on the amazing traffic because of the continuous snow? This is a thing.
- Yesterday I was so happy for a day that I didn’t have to leave the house because I was just done (slept til noon, crying, etc.) that I completely missed my appointment with my psychiatrist. When you’re so overtired and depressed that you miss the appointment with the one person who can help you? That is a thing.
- Every single nice thing I can wear to cover my legs stopped fitting this week. I don’t blame Sonic, but I mean really – hurray for yoga pants. Yep, that’s a thing.
- My step-children’s new step-father decided to send my husband insulting passive-aggressive text messages about how he was a bad father, and when MiniSir didn’t kowtow and instead stood up for himself, said step-father told him he must be drunk and to go “sleep it off, tiger”. On a Wednesday evening at 8pm. This is a rage-making thing.
- I actually feel good enough to post this list. And that, my friends, is probably the biggest thing of all.
Ah, Friday. When I’m all wound up I can always count on you to be so cathartic. And after my “buying a mom-mobile” experience this week, I can use catharsis.
So MiniSir and I had already planned to get a second vehicle once the time was closer for Sonic to move from being an on-board passenger to a party of one. And I have said since the beginning of our “if we ever have kids” dreamtime that, if it happens, my ultimate Mommy vehicle is a Honda Element. So reliable, so roomy, so durably lined with hard plastic. Even though they don’t make them new anymore, I have had my eye on them for ages.
This week, a 2008 in mint condition with every imaginable feature came up for sale at a dealership, so we went to go look. The colour is officially “root beer”, and even though I hate root beer, I was hooked as soon as I got in for the test drive. Which leads us back at the dealership, deciding how we want to pay for it. Since it was used, there were a few things I wanted to ensure were included, like a Bluetooth capable hands-free phone device and an extended comprehensive warranty. No problem – the dealership took care of both of those for me. MiniSir and I discussed a few options for payment, but since my settlement money was covering this, we decided to be prudent and not just buy it outright. The cost of putting that money into a used car instead of making interest in our investments was too much for us to justify. So we decided to put a chunk down and finance the rest. SEE THAT? That’s us being responsible with our finances. And because we were…
My car suddenly stopped being MY car.
Because, even though I am perfectly well off by myself, I don’t have a job. And banks don’t let you finance anything if you don’t have a job. So MiniSir’s name had to go on the bill of sale as well. I didn’t really mind this, but it was a little irksome, particularly when the financial guy showed us our credit ratings and mine was higher. But whatever. I had a car.
|My husband is nice enough to let me drive his Mom-mobile|
MiniSir called his insurance company and had them create a policy for me so I could drive it home as soon as possible, so we arranged to pick it up the next day. While he was at work I went down to the Registry to get my plate and register my car, all excited about being a new car owner.
Did you know that if there are two names on the bill of sale the Registry will not let you register the car in just one? Neither did I until I got there. Defeated, I went home to wait for MiniSir so we could go together and register my new car. He was allowed to come home a little early to sort this all out before he left for Wainwright the next day, and together we went back to the Registry to register my new car.
Did you also know that if the insurance policy is under one person’s name, even though the car is listed as the other spouse being the primary driver, the car can only be registered in the name of the person listed on the policy? NEITHER DID I UNTIL THEN.
I had to sign an affidavit letting my husband register MY car in HIS name so that I could go get MY car off the lot. And thus I was no longer the proud owner of a car; I was just the person allowed to drive my husband’s second vehicle.
Here’s what really really REALLY gets my goat. If I had had a job, MiniSir’s name wouldn’t have been on the bill of sale, which would have let me register the car myself as long as I had my own insurance as well. Which I take from society to mean the following: Get a job, keep a job, don’t get married, and don’t have kids. Well done. As one of the declining number of couples who decide to have children, I want to thank you for supporting my husband and I. When your failing public works systems are collapsing, remember all those people that wanted to contribute to the economy but couldn’t because you were just too judgmental.
Meanwhile, I’m gonna go stick girly decals on my husband’s new Element. Excuse me.
I’m going down in a blaaaaaaaze of sorry…
Oh Bon Jovi. Thank you for being so incredibly corruptible to meet my needs. Because this is how I feel – like I’m getting shot down in some sick, apologetic hailstorm of crap. I have had a bouquet of GPs since the accident, and aside from the one that had a stroke and can’t be blamed, only one of them has had any real idea of how to treat me. The others – well, I’ve been called a junkie, had a whole team of doctors refuse to assign me one person to oversee my case, and now I have one so fixated on my weight that she disregards my perfectly logical requests.
I went to see my family doctor on Monday morning, armed with the information from the occupational medicine doctor from Calgary. I was anxious to see her as she is going on medical leave for 4 months to have a hip replaced, and I wanted to make sure I had some things sorted out while she was away. The first thing she always does is ask how many times a week I swim, to which I respond “twice” because it is currently the upper echelon of my physical ability. Shaking her head as though I’ve done something wrong, she then asks me how much I weigh. When I stand on the scale and it hasn’t changed since the last time, she tsks me. TSKS ME. As though swimming and gaining muscle is going to somehow make me lighter. She doesn’t mention the inches I’ve lost around my stomach, even though I can now fit into clothes I last wore over a year ago. Still not daunted, I launch into my story about the specialist visit in Calgary.
The first thing I bring up is the issue with pelvic fractures affecting fertility. I ask for a referral to a fertility clinic to explore it further. She shakes her head again, with the response that any referral to a clinic of that kind is such a huge investigation that unless we have been actively trying to 2 years to get pregnant and haven’t, she won’t even consider referring me. I indicate that it’s been two years since the accident (two years exactly on Monday), and that we haven’t been using any contraceptives since. She then suggests that maybe the fault is with Matt. Deadpan, I inform her of his four children with his ex-wife. When she sits and stares at me blankly, I counter with asking for imaging of the area – MRI, ultrasound, xrays, all of it – since I’d like to know what it all looks like now, 2 years down the line. Again, a shake of the head and she tells me that there is no imaging that will show the amount of scar tissue build-up (a complete lie) and that it won’t prove anything. Her last parting shot on the subject? “You don’t even know if you want to have children, so you need to make up your mind first.”
How is it even possible that the health care system is so broken that, instead of trying to figure out if it is even possible for me to have kids, I have to decide if I want to try and then try and fail before they’ll do anything. It seems backwards to me. Don’t see if it’s even possible – just put yourself through all kinds of mental anguish trying to decide and then not getting pregnant anyway.
The second issue I bring up – the nerve damage and possible effected reflexes – is met with complete ignorance. She has no response for me, even when I ask for a neurologist’s opinion, as if we’ve reached the point of no return and she can’t be bothered with me any more. Indicating that she’ll wait until the specialist’s report is in her hand, she berates me for my weight again, a parting shot before she opens the door signalling the end of the appointment, and tells me to make an appointment for December when she’s back from her surgery.
So what now? What am I supposed to do for 4 months without a GP and no direction? Apparently losing weight should be on the top of my agenda, but the way I feel about my doctor right now, she can go rub salt. I’ll weigh what I want, I’ll swim as much as I want, and I’ll feel good about doing it. If my weight goes down, then fine, but if not, then fine.
I don’t care.
I’m waiting for the specialist’s report, just to see what my lawyer has to say, and my psychiatrist, and my physiotherapist: professionals that actually give a crap and care about my care. I’ll go from there. And if my doctor doesn’t happen to be involved for the next four months, whatever.
It’ll all be in the reports anyway.