Monday, August 31, 2009

the autumn winds

We had the conversation. My mum called to talk about the email I sent and we had the talk. It was very unpleasant. I hate confrontation. I hate talking about money. I hate feeling taken advantage of and being too caught up in wanting us all to get along to fight about things that are bothering me. But I'm not like that, I don't fight.

So my mother said they never promised to pay half. I have no idea what that's about because the conversation was between them and Shawn. She says he must have misunderstood something. And maybe that's true. I have no idea.

They agreed to help out a little bit by paying for Little J's singing lessons. It's nowhere near "half" but it's something, anyway. Of course Shawn isn't impressed. And I'm just tired. I don't want to fight with my anyone.


Sunday, August 30, 2009


I just sent my parents an email, fairly blunt but short of asking for our half of the costs incurred. Just listing all the expenses and stating how frustrated I am with the fact that we're spending so much of our money raising someone else's child. (And I don't begrudge this girl anything, I really don't.)

Actually, when I think about it, maybe not begrudging her anything is part of the problem. Maybe we spoil her. We both were raised by parents who didn't provide us with much. Shawn, because his mother was uneducated and had more children than she could support, and me, because my parents were post-war English baby-boomers who just simply believe in holding on to whatever you have very very tightly.

So we heal ourselves, maybe, by indulging her with the things we couldn't have. Nice clothes, a nice bedroom, extra curricular activities...

Anyway. I told my parents how I feel. I'm not sure that they'll care in the least, given how my previous attempts at addressing this topic gently have been ignored, but at least I've tried.

I believe, quite honestly, that they've somehow rationalized not helping out with this, and that my email is going to accomplish nothing. And in some ways that makes it worse than not saying anything because it's so hard to be rejected when you're asking.

I wish I had a different family sometimes. I don't understand why these people are the ones I'm so entrenched with.

This morning Shawn and I packed the Element to busting with C's crap that she's had stored in our garage since last June. Finally, she said she was ready to take it back. And for me, the idea of being able to put my vehicle in the garage again has been very exciting. So we agreed to meet at a parking lot (I don't want her on my property) at 9:00am.

Of course she complained, at first, about having to get up soooo early. But I told her 9:00 was the latest we could manage because of other things we have planned today (revolving, of course, primarily around chauffeuring her daughter various places) so she agreed, reluctantly.

We sat and waited and she and Hairy Scary didn't show up. Finally I called home to ask Little J if her mother had called and she said that her mother had, and told her she would be fifteen minutes late because they were caught in that crazy Sunday morning traffic. (This means they left when they were supposed to be arriving.) So we sat and waited and boiled and stewed and considered leaving it all, until finally they pulled up beside us.

Hairy Scary was driving a COMPACT.

And C's eyes were wide as saucers.

I guess she must have been stoned out of her gourd when she packed those boxes if she thought they were going to fit in that vehicle.

We didn't stop to discuss it with her or anything. The relationship has dissolved to the point where we cannot talk to each other anymore. But to see the two of them drive up to that mountain of boxes in that tiny little compact was almost worth waiting for.


Friday, August 28, 2009

your input is requested here, for real

I'm not sure what to do.

My parents, a year ago, promised that they were shouldering the financial expense of raising Little J with us, 50/50.

They paid for us to go to court with C last December, where we won custody. They paid the whole shot, about 15 K.

Since then, they've contributed zero.

So I don't know if I'm supposed to assume that we pay the next 15 K to even the score. Or was that a separate expense?

Shawn thinks it was a separate thing altogether and that it does not relieve them from owing 50% of current expenses.

I just don't know what to think.

I know that my relationship with them is fragile and I'd hate to damage it.

And yet I feel like they're letting us down, leaving us with all these expenses for glasses, braces, clothing, school fees, etcetera.

I don't get it.

What would you do? Seriously, I'm looking for advice.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

something is wrong it doesn't belong

The garage-cleaning project went on again today. We dragged all C's boxes out of the garage and stacked them by the side of the house to put them into the Element later. I'm not going to give a rat's ass if someone steals them in the meantime. Seriously. While we were cleaning and organizing, we found the carcass of a dead spider so big that I almost wanted to burst into tears. Just thinking that that thing was once alive in there was nauseating. I wish I wasn't afraid of spiders. But not enough to do anything about it.


Today C phoned to talk to Little J and was pleasant for the first time in a long time. Well, pleasant is pushing it, but she was less combative. Better at lying, better at saying what Little J wanted to hear, better at diffusing instead of engaging. Which means she's still full of it, but instead of leaving Little J angry, for a change, it was a less upsetting conversation. And immediately after that, Little J announced that she wants to see her mom for a visit some time soon. Sigh. That means I have to supervise a visit and I can barely stomach the thought of seeing this woman ever again. I don't want to be near her. I really don't. My marvelously supportive parents have completely dropped their end of this financial responsibility and Shawn and I are now shouldering the cost of everything. It's so discouraging sometimes, trying to do the right thing.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

even after you're gone

Insurance is finally moving on my new ring. I will soon be engaged again!

Today Little J and I set to work cleaning out the garage. We crumpled all the cardboard boxes and tied them up and put them out for the recycling guys to pick up. It was great to get rid of all those boxes (from the tiling project and from Little J's new furniture) and to make space in the garage again for CARS.

On the weekend, Little J's mother says she's finally taking back all the junk that she's been storing in our garage for the last year. I really hope this actually happens because I have absolutely had it with doing favours for this horrible woman. I want her stuff out of my garage, out of my life.

I also borrowed Shawn's dad's power washer and cleaned all the tile dust off our driveway this morning, which was kind of fun in a happy little OCD kind of way. In fact I've decided not to return this little toy right away because I'm excited about washing the garage floor when we've finally finished cleaning it out.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Today Shawn took Little J out on an adventure with his work people. We couldn't all go because someone needed to be home with the dawgs because it's a twelve hour day. I pretended to be a little disappointed that I couldn't go with them, but in a big way I was really happy about having a day to be alone. I don't get those very often anymore.

In addition to my four little pups (I'm halfway to being an octopupmom) and Little J's cat, I was also given responsibility for a small sheltie named Scruffy, who belongs to another couple who Shawn works with. Poor thing has been rather dejected for most of the day, lying by the door and making sad noises. But he's felt well enough to eat a few treats, drink some water, and go for several short trips around the neighbourhood. So I guess he's okay. Just misses his family. My pups are terrible hosts who've spent the day occasionally barking at their shy guest and trying to swipe pieces of his food. Jerks.


Friday, August 21, 2009


My kitchen is messy. But my floor is pretty. And it's finished.

This picture doesn't actually show how *finished* is finished because I took this before doing the sealant, which made it look a little more polished. But I like that it's rough. I like that it has a bumpy texture. I like that it feels like I'm outside. It's what I wanted.

And now there are so few days left in summer that I want to cry about it.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

it's not that i don't love you

I got a note from Paul today, which threw me a little. Paul isn't the kind of person who writes things. He spelled "accept" as "except" and was complimentary and warm, and inquired about my relationship status. All these things, even the spelling error, were sort of positive for me, "accept" for the fact that I had this hideous urge not to tell him I've been married for seven years, as though I might leave out that small detail and see if he would invite me to have yet another round of totally self-destructive sex with him.

Of course I didn't do that. I told him about Shawn.

I wish I could figure out what it was about him that made me so insane, and what it is that still does, even in my imagination. I'm a very disturbed individual sometimes. It's a good thing he's a province away where I'll be able to avoid ever having to truly exercise any self-control.


After his day at work, as if just to underscore how much the right person I married in the end, Shawn told me about how my new engagement ring (I accidentally lost the original in the garburator several months ago) is finally going through insurance and needed to be fitted. We went to the store and had my fingers measured. I'm a 6. Which is very odd and perhaps explains why the previous one slipped down the drain, because I'm pretty sure it was a 7. I feel weird about the new ring because it's bigger than my other one was, and having already shown how irresponsible I am, I'm not really sure it's the best idea for me to have another. Maybe I should just keep it in its case rather than wearing it.


Tomorrow I need to do some final work on the kitchen floor. The grout has had three days to dry and now the whole thing needs to be sealed.

I also want to repaint the kitchen eating nook. I painted it a rather-too-loud orangey colour which Shawn and I thought would be sort of quirky and funky because it's just a small area, but it really doesn't work. The wall is too close to the colour of the cedar ceiling, destroying the contrast between the two. I don't think I want to do that tomorrow though.

It's hot again.

I think we're going to drag the futons out and sleep in the living room again.


Monday, August 17, 2009


It's our anniversary. Seven years. Seven years! I wonder how that's really even possible. Seven years of marriage, and more than twenty years of knowing each other. Time is speeding up as I get older. I think we are going to go out for dinner or something tonight to celebrate.

Today I finished grouting the floor. I'm so glad it's finished. So so so glad it's finished. I think we can celebrate that too.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

put her in the safe and lock it

Shawn fixed the squeak in the floor today after cutting several large holes in the basement ceiling and applying a variety of clamps and screws and to the underside of the floor. At last he found the magic spot (he always does) and it was solved. Good news, I get to carry on grouting on Monday. (whoopie)

I finished painting Little J's room today, and Shawn put up her new curtains which I'll need to shorten (hooray for iron-hemming). Now they're upstairs together, the two of them, assembling her furniture. It's so nice to see them bonding. I know he's so important to her, his approval and his affection. I feel the same way about him.

It'll be nice to have this project buttoned up so I can go back to focusing on the kitchen which still needs grout and sealant. And then paint. And a backsplash. And baseboards. These are things I want to accomplish before the holidays are over. It might be a bit overly ambitious but I'm really hoping I can do it all.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hallelujah, the spending spree is over. My credit card is still smoking but I think we're finally done. Furniture, bed linens, paint, curtains... everything. Today when we bought paint I got paint for the kitchen too, so I'm looking forward to finishing up that part of the house and being able to eat there once again.

The kitchen floor is still not completely done. I've got more grouting to do but can't finish it until Shawn fixes the squeak. Which is topping the list for this weekend.

This has been one of the most productive summer vacations I've ever had with school and all these home reno/ decorating tasks. I'm determined to leave myself at least a week at the end to relax before school starts again.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I will sleep with a clear conscience.

Soooo tired.

We shopped for Little J's room today. She'd been feeling sort of unsure of herself, of whether she was really wanted, for real wanted, or whether we were just letting her stay here because there was nowhere else for her to go. And Shawn and I talked about that and decided that we needed to find some ways to help her feel more settled here, more at home. So we decided that we'd let her redecorate her room, which is currently made up of old furniture we scrounged from various places, mostly Shawn's family who had some old kids' stuff they didn't need anymore.

So, we told her she could get new furniture, and pick a paint colour and the whole works.

Today we did the furniture shopping. We found a headboard and a nightstand and a bookshelf and a dresser. All really nice stuff. And extremely HEAVY. Little J was a superhero helping me carry stuff, unbelievably heavy stuff, from the store to the vehicle, and from the vehicle to the house. (The wonder of the Element. All this stuff FIT.)

So we have all the furniture now, and we just need curtains and bed covers. That's on the list for tomorrow.

While we were shopping, I found a huge fabulous free-standing pantry/cabinet kind of thing that would be perfect, so I got that too. And Little J helped me set it up and then we put in all the food that's been stupidly stacked in the corner of the living room because we had nowhere to put it. So the house is looking far more organized than it has in awhile.

Now if I EVER finish grouting the kitchen floor it will be a bloody miracle. I'm stalled because we have a floor squeak that needs to be fixed before grouting so the grout doesn't crack. And I ordered some miracle clamp thing that's supposed to kill the squeak, but it still hasn't arrived. So I'm blissfully unable to grout at the moment. And part of me is frustrated because I want to finish this job. And part of me is just so damn glad I don't have to do it right now.


Crazy C called to repeat all the same things she said yesterday.


Monday, August 10, 2009

And that's as much grouting as I can do today. My hands are so sore. I am developing more and more respect for tradesmen each time I try to spend a full day doing physical labour. I did put in about five hours and have sadly little to show for it, but I'm chipping away at it and fully anticipate being done before I turn forty. I cemented down the tile pieces that Shawn cut to finish the stair and I grouted another small section. This time I used the weird thing that looks like it's meant for icing a giant cake and it seemed to make it easier, at least at first until my hands got too tired to squeeze it anymore. (Grout is not nearly as pliable as icing.)

It's raining today; I think this is the first rain we've had in a month. The poor lawn has been turning more and more brown. Of course brown grass doesn't grow or need mowing, which is a blessing, but it looks awful. So I can look forward to it looking pretty again. And look forward to mowing it, which only takes about two hours for the front and two for the back. !!! Sigh. I want to have a huge yard AND a gardener.

I feel like I want to go back to bed now.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

More drama. C and Little J had a fight on the phone tonight and Little J called her a "bottom feeder". I seriously didn't teach her that, but wow, is it ever apt. C says she's getting an apartment at the end of the month and she wants the cat back at that point. Here we go round the mulberry bush... (This, of course, is why she's placing the calls to Child Protective Services, because she's planning to have us back in court again at that point.)

And in other news that has something to do with Life, I finished sealing part of the new floor last night and it looks beeyootiful. There's still lots more grouting to do, but it's nice to see what it will look like when it's done. If I just look at that section I can pretend we're finished. Shawn fixed the stair with a wood nosing and it looks great. I'm so glad he's getting good at this kind of stuff.

Tomorrow I get to grout all day again, I think. Whoopee!


Friday, August 07, 2009

This afternoon I received a call from a social worker with Child Protective Services telling me that an "anonymous caller" had phoned with a concern that my husband had been using drugs in front of "the child".

Good lord.

Every time I think that C has sunk to the lowest she can possibly sink, she finds a brand new way to disappoint. She's a disgusting person. The social worker was kind. She told me that they found the report suspicious and were aware of the custody problems, and that they'd decided not to bother with an investigation because it was clear that there wasn't really a problem. Even still, I'm angry. I'm angry that C doesn't care who she hurts in the process of trying to twist the system into giving her custody. I'm angry that she always finds a path into my life no matter how many ways I push her out.

It's been two years now since I moved here and today was my first haircut since then. It's ridiculous that it's taken me this long to get around to this. When I let things slide, this is always the first thing to be neglected. My hair. It was long long long and flat and heavy and all one length. But I finally decided to find someone to tackle it, and off I went this morning to see the hair stylist. She was adorable and weird. She greeted me at my car when I pulled up and hugged me on her driveway by way of greeting, while her dogs sniffed my pockets. She was beautiful like a little Spanish doll.

I don't know why I can't just go get a haircut like a normal person in the mall, but I can't. I hate that, I hate being in a roomful of people all having their hair done at the same time, with dryers roaring and chemicals in the air. I just hate that experience so much. And so I always take the time to find myself these weird little ladies who have their own businesses, so I can avoid the mall experience. The one, the new lady I've found, is a keeper. She did a good job and she is adequately bizarre. Not as bizarre as the last one I found in the Winter City, but still comfortably weird.

So that's my big accomplishment for the day, driving to a stylist and getting my hair cut. I'm going to be taking Little J and her pack of girlfriends to the mall in an hour and then picking them up a little bit later. Fun stuff, being a chauffeur.

Then it's the weekend, and Shawn gets to stay home with us. Perfect perfect!


Thursday, August 06, 2009

I didn't work out yesterday after all. It was too hard to get off the couch. I did manage to buy the grout I needed, though, and to do a little bit - but not an excessive amount - of grouting. I also took Little J to the library so she could find the first two Harry Potter books. She is rereading that series again from the beginning. I still haven't read any of them and I'm not sure I want to. This kind of book just doesn't do the magic inside me that it seems to do in others. Or at least, the movies didn't.

After dropping Shawn off at the train station this morning, I went to the park so I could run outside. It was busier there than I expected it to be but it was so nice that it was cool enough to run outside again.

Now I'm back in my pajamas and enjoying toast and yogurt and coffee. Mmm. I think this day is going to be just fine.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Aggh. I'm so sore today from all the work I did yesterday on the floor. Everything hurts.

So I'm going to try and work at a more moderate pace from here on out. Something more manageable. I did manage to get a couple of things off my list yesterday in addition to getting a good start on the floor. I returned that stupid $170 extension cord that Shawn bought for no good reason. And this morning I finally got my hair appointment arranged for Friday. (This seems like a small thing but it's not since I haven't had my hair cut in as long as I can remember.)

Today I need to go back to the hardware store and buy more grout. And I want to work out - which I hope will make my sore body a little less achey. And I need to bag the weeds and grass we pulled out the other day so that it can be picked up tomorrow with the other yard scraps. And then, of course, I should really spend some more time grouting. Maybe I'll limit myself to 2 hours.

So that's the wildly exciting day I have planned, and yet, as I look at it, I can't seem to convince myself to get up off the couch. I'm so so so tired and sore. Maybe I should plan a nap instead.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

In spite of making note of all I wanted to do today, I didn't manage to accomplish it all. I did work out, which was so nice now that the heat's dissipated, and then I called to make my appointment (got an answering machine) and went to work on the floor. And that's where it all stalled. Grouting the floor, like every other aspect of this job, took a million times longer than I expected it to. Since I was only planning to grout a small-ish section, I figured it might take a couple of hours. It took about five hours. Getting the grout OFF a slate tile is completely different than getting it off ceramic tile. Grout doesn't like to let go of rock; it holds on tight and needs about a hundred washes before it considers going away. I'm now totally exhausted. I guess I didn't really need to work out since I spent five hours scrubbing the floor, but I had no idea it would turn out that way.

So tomorrow I guess I'll continue grouting. And maybe for the rest of my life.

(At least it looks cool.)


Monday, August 03, 2009

Yawn. Floor progress has slowed. I got a new dremel today and worked some more on the grout lines, and then sealed a portion of the floor so that the grout won't stick to it as much when we start that part. Tomorrow I'm going to try and do some grouting while Shawn's at work, but I have so many other things on my list of things to do that I'm not sure where to begin.

I want to work out and return the stupid extension cord that Shawn bought that we didn't need. And I want to get groceries and set up a haircut and plant some new flowers in the front of the house. It doesn't seem like so much when I type it out so maybe that's the way to make sure it all gets done.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

Floor floor floor floor.

We didn't really work on the floor today. The thinset was drying. I spent a bit of time dremel-ing out bits of thinset from between the tiles with a carbide bit. But the dremel gave up the ghost about 2/3 of the way through that job, so I've got to go get a new dremel tomorrow so I can finish. Then we begin the grouting process. I'm getting tired, sick and tired that is, of this process. But it's so worth it in the end. By doing this ourselves we've saved thousands of dollars that would have had to be spent on labour otherwise.

Little J and I also did some yardwork today and she helped me weed the tulip bed which was a nightmare, taken over by grass. We managed to pull out all the rogue grass and now I'm wondering if we should go ahead and plant a summer flower to fill up that space until the tulips and daffodils do their thing again next spring. Otherwise its a boring strip of dirt, there for no reason. We got filthy doing that job and I got a bit sunburned too, which always feels strangely pleasant (as long as it's mild) even though I know it's not good for me.

I was wrong when I said that Shawn is going to work tomorrow (Monday) because tomorrow is a holiday. Yay. :) One more day to make him work on the floor... hahaha.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I need a haircut.

When Shawn goes back to work on Monday I am going to try and get some things-I've-been-neglecting done.

Wooohooo! We finally finished setting the tile today. What a long long long long job that was. Now it needs a good 24 hours to dry so we can start grouting. I'm so proud of Shawn, who generally loathes this kind of do-it-yourself stuff and resists it at every turn. Throughout this whole project he's been positive, cheerful and focused. Kind of miraculous. And now that this has gone so well he's realizing that there are many other projects around the house we could do ourselves instead of hiring people. Which means getting things done faster because it will cost so much less. So it's been a very good experience.