Did I say that out loud?

Thoughts and musings of a mom

Dear Walmart

 

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123 Main Street
Somewhere Hot in July 
E1E 1O1

456 Main Street
Somewhere in Head Office Land
LOL LOL

A Very Hot Day in July, 2016

Dear Walmart,

Are you trying to kill me?

I know the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the light blue duotang (which coincidently is not a real word according to Word and any other word processing program), but why do you insist on selling school supplies in July?  

My heart rate increases (ok, I admit the Heart and Stroke Foundation would probably like it to increase a bit from its current status, but this is not what they had in mind), I get all sweaty, my stomach lurches, and occasionally very bad words slip out of my mouth at the site of those pencils and paper.  Some years, I even throw up in my mouth.  Repeatedly.

Now if you camouflaged those scissors and rulers down in office supplies, where they rightfully belong, all would be well, or at least, excusable.  But no siree, you insist on placing them right out front, so there is no escaping their presence.  Yup, here’s your cart on your right and over here to your left is your brand new box of 64 crayons (which by the way, should be illegal, but that’s a whole other topic).

There should be a set beginning to the Back-to-School shopping season.  It could even be government regulated, just like hunting or fishing season.  And while we are on the topic, age restrictions would be good too (right up there with buying cigarettes and alcohol).  Here are the set days (I suggest the third week of August to the last week of September) and the age requirements (17+).  

Walmart, you could be a trend setter.  Picture it!  Keep the fans and air conditioners out front, along with the bubbles and pool supplies.  Let us live in our sunscreen and (pool) chemical(ly) induced vacation fantasy worlds a little longer.

Come on.  I’m not asking for rainbows and unicorns here, folks.  School is eventually going to begin. There’s no stopping it.  The leaves will change colour.  The air will grow cooler.  Pencils will be sharpened and zippers zippered.  But right now, while I’m dripping in sweat from some July pre-menopausal hot flash, I am not in the mood for buying school supplies.  My July pay check was meant for overpriced ice cream cones and slushies.  Sell the awesomeness of school supplies when it cooler outside, so we don’t have to try to convince our little ones that the polka dots on their light blue duotangs were made that way by the company, and not their mother’s sweat and tears dripping onto them in the shopping cart.

I am certain that we can come to a mutually agreed upon decision here.  If you are willing to meet with me to discuss this matter more fully, I can be found in the candy section of your store buying freezies at least once a week.  Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. 

And just so you know how serious this issue is, I am passing this letter along to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.  Don’t be surprised if you hear from them too this year regarding the early starts to their seasons.

Sincerely, 

A melting-in-July mother of 2 and teacher of many more

cc:  Santa Claus
       Easter Bunny
 

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The Let’s Be Realistic Resolutions

Fall 2015 338 COPY AWell, it’s that time of year when I should reflect on the past and look forward to the future. In my 40+ years on the face of this earth, I think I’ve had one New Year’s Resolution stick. I’m happy to report that I am a master tooth flosser, thank you very much.

So this year, I decided to create a new list of resolutions for myself. A much more doable list. No losing 136 lbs or learning to sky dive for this girl. No starting a new company, reading all of Shakespeare’s works, or traveling to exotic locations. There will no cooking with leeks, running a marathon, or learning how to speak 4 new languages.

Instead, I will….

*Shower every day. At least once. Unless of course, I’ve been really, really sick and I need a doctor’s note for work, in which case, I won’t shower because if I’m sick, I’m going to look and smell the part too.

*Never go to Walmart in my pj pants. Maybe the top under a zipped up jacket, but NEVER the pants.  This resolution does not apply to grabbing the Walmart flyers at the end of my driveway.

*Refuse to take up smoking this year. Or going to bars. Or smoking in bars.

*Give up pop. Yeah right, who am I kidding? I just discovered Cherry Coke at the Walmart.

*Always use my right hand when I am writing with a pencil. Well, because I’m right-handed.  (I suspect I will nail this one.)

*Look for new ways to incorporate cream cheese and sour cream into my cooking.

*Laugh more.  It’s the best medicine and if it keeps me out the doctor’s office smelling like I haven’t showered for a week, that works for me.  And probably my doctor.

*Try to learn to ignore certain sounds that I find incredibly annoying, even if it means I am a genius. Like gum chewing. OK, let’s be realistic. Can’t we just rid the world of gum chewing?

*Remember all of my passwords so I don’t have to create new ones every time I order pizza or buy new shoes.  Every.  Single.  Time.

*Watch more Netflix documentaries. OK, that made me laugh.

*Try to lower my blood pressure when talking about politics.  I will therefore not go into politics.  This also means I will not read the CBC/CNN comments under news articles…very often.

*Eat more fish. Like bacon wrapped scallops.

*Ride a unicorn down the street to the bank and deposit my lotto earnings into my account. OK, a girl can dream, can’t she?

 

I suppose I should make another list that will miraculously make me healthier, but in the meantime, maybe I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing, and tweak that a bit.  Or a lot.  A whole lot.  A real whole lot.

 

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As you step off the bus at school this week…

Changes Taking Place

My child,

May you seek guidance from those with true wisdom.

May you laugh where there is humour, not harm.

May you listen when someone needs your shoulder.

May you be a light to those who struggle.

May you find a peace within that radiates through you.

May you remember the difference between right and wrong.

May you fight temptations and win each battle.

May you be a blessing to those who surround you.

May you be a friend to the friendless.

May you be quiet when silence is required, but a voice when you need to be heard.

May you respond with love and a gentle strength.

May you learn of all of the beautiful things this wonderful life has to offer, but keep a childlike innocence within your heart.

May you be open to correction.

May you treasure true friendships.

May you realize that though you have the world to explore, it does not revolve around you.

May you be thankful and respectful.

May you enjoy simple moments.

May you continue to seek God.

May you know that we are always here for you as you journey through this life.

This is my prayer for you throughout the coming days. Be blessed and be a blessing. I love you.

Now rest, for tomorrow you will do great things.

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21 Signs You are Done with Snow

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 135 A

When we were kids, we used to hear the stories of how our parents had to walk to school uphill both ways.  Of course, the winter version of that story included the necessary description of the height of the snow banks and how they reached the power lines.

I believe we are in the midst of one of those winters right now, although I’m fairly certain my kids’ bus only goes uphill on the way home.

So as my husband goes out to snow blow our yard after the 92nd blizzard of the year, I will stay in my cozy, warm living room, and share with you my list of why I feel (know) we now have too much snow for any earthly good.

Here are some signs you may be done with snow…

*Not one single person complains on social media that schools should be open on a snow day.

*You laugh in the face of a mere 20cm of the white stuff.  And then weep uncontrollably because it is then that you realize it will be added onto the 7328cm you already have in your front yard.

*You see a snowman at your local Weight Watchers meeting, trying to lose those extra pounds before spring.

*You believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that extra 20lb weight gain this winter, is the sole responsibility of storm chips.

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 136

*You almost kiss the face of a hydro lineman in a gas station parking lot when you see him preparing for the next blizzard.

*Your husband is not jealous that you almost kissed the lineman.

*You could probably cancel your gym membership due to the shovel workout.

*You could probably cancel your pool membership too because when this stuff melts, you’ll have a pool.

*Upon your suggestion, your husband strongly considers wearing swim goggles outside to snow blow the driveway so he can see in the midst of the blizzard.  Then realizes, he’ll save the goggles for the pool.

*It would not surprise you if the local ski hill stays open until the long weekend in May.  Or July.

*Curtains and blinds are no longer necessary.  Ah, well, um, let’s not test that one.

*Locking your door is hardly necessary either because if an intruder can make it in, you would gladly give them your money, and maybe even a thank you card.

*School is canceled the night before.  Wearing pajamas inside out is not necessary.

*The kids know when you run water into the bathtub, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bath night.

*You will no longer refer to the winter of ’92 as the big storm to remember.

*Students can’t remember what a 5 day school week entails.

*Your kids can no longer simply build a snowman by rolling 3 snowballs.  They have to carve the poor creature out of its surroundings.

*You consider unfriending friends and family who post pictures on Facebook of them sunbathing in much warmer climates.

Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 163 A

*You consider allowing your kids to play with matches outdoors in the hopes that the snow will melt if the burning match touches the ground.

*Move over Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton….snow plow operators just took your place in the list of the most admired people in our part of the world.

And finally…

*Even your kids give up singing the Frozen soundtrack.

So obviously, the groundhog did see his shadow on February 3rd.  And your shadow.  And my shadow.  And possibly an entire village of stinkin’ groundhog shadows.  But here’s to BBQ season, which may officially begin in August, at the rate we are going this year.  I’m serving up groundhog burgers!  Join me if you can!

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Why I’m not wearing new fancy shoes to school today

The good Lord above blesses us with intuition. Sometimes we listen to it, and sometimes we don’t. Unfortunately, this is a story about how I didn’t.

This weekend my daughter asked me if I wanted to go for a bike ride with her. Not incredibly in the mood for a whimsical trip around the neighbourhood, and knowing we had company coming over, I stated that I did not. I did relent though when she asked me immediately afterwards if I would go play with her and her new skipping toy that she had just purchased at Walmart that afternoon.

As I sat on my front steps and watched my daughter try out her skipper/skipping toy/ankle chewer, I thought to myself, I could do that. It had been a few years, but I knew I still had it in me. Just put the circle con-TRAP-tion thing around my ankle, swing it around in some kind of centrifugal force type manner and hope for goodness sake, I can jump over the attached rope and ball. You get the picture.

I should have known when I couldn’t get the loop on my ankle without taking off my shoe first that it was a mistake. But did I stop myself? A big resounding no.

I also should have stopped when a nearly audible voice told me that I could break my ankle with this device. But did I listen? Heck, no!

Well, my daughter and I took a couple turns each. I was trying to be fair, but I was getting pretty good at this. We had even brought the toy out onto the street because it was more difficult to do in the grass, our driveway had just been sealed and the street was very quiet at the time.

So, on my final (and I mean final) attempt with this destructor, I was doing really well, and even promised my daughter that I would give it right back afterwards. Visions of kicking it old school were running through my head, pre-electronics, kids playing out on the street, an impromptu street hockey game between the dads and the kids. A real Norman Rockwell painting. I think I even heard a choir singing in the background.

And then gravity and all of the other creative forces of nature screeched in, interrupting my little poorly-timed daydream.

I looked down and saw my left foot step and roll over on the darn ball, plummeting me to the pavement, in an embarrassing fall. I wasn’t completely flat out, but decided that for dramatic effect (and maybe even for safety’s sake), I had better lie down the rest of the way. I didn’t hear a snap or crunch, but there I was lying on the street, so I figured I had better get my daughter to go retrieve my husband, the paramedic, from the house to assist me.

My daughter didn’t race to go get him as quickly as I thought her little body could carry her, so she had to be told a couple of times to go get him. A deep, hoarse whisper rose from the depths of my soul and she finally got the memo. Note to self, practice kid’s response time when mom is giving orders while lying in the middle of the street.

But I must say, my husband’s response time was much quicker. He immediately came out of the house and came to my side, bending down and trying to help me up off of the street. He told me later that because I wasn’t screaming in agony, he actually took me a bit more seriously. Make another note to self, remember that in the future, but use it for good and not evil. And for the rest of you reading this, if my husband is your paramedic, he’s going to take you more seriously if you’re not screaming bloody murder after your arm has been cut off.

While attempting to walk up my driveway though, I realized that I was going to faint. I’m a fainter. I admit it. I lost all pride decades ago in this department. I faint at the sight of needles, I faint at the talk of needles, I faint while getting a needle, I faint while someone else is getting a needle. I even almost faint just thinking about a needle. In fact, this paragraph is making me woozy. But apparently now I faint while trying to hobble with a sore ankle in my driveway, as my husband gives me direct paramedic orders to keep on going.

I made it though, all the way to my front steps, with a little tough love from my husband. Ok, I also admit, I’m a really bad patient. Although there was that time I had my wisdom teeth pulled, and I think I was pretty funny that day. And then of course, there was that other time when I was in the midst of giving birth to my second child, when the intern told me that HE knew what I was going through. He learned a new lesson that day, so yeah, I’m not always a bad patient. But pretty close.

Back to the story, and under my husband’s orders, I regained my composure out on the front steps. With his assistance I made it to the recliner in our living room and positioned myself there for the majority of the evening. I made a quick Facebook status about my embarrassing fall and found out that most of my neighbours were away at that time, and that there was no video footage of it floating around cyberspace.

The next day my foot continued to swell and some bruising appeared. I continued to elevate, ice and rest for most of the day. I even learned how to use crutches. I would have posted a picture of my foot, but to be quite frank, I wouldn’t have made a foot model prior to this occurrence, so I saw no need of putting you through that. And by the time I had proper lighting for a quick shot, it would be another day of not shaving my legs, so ah, yeah, not going to happen.

This brings me to today, our final day of summer vacation, and I’m left sitting in my recliner, continuing to ice and elevate my foot. I’m happy (ok, maybe not happy, more like, pleased) to report that I can put on a pair of shoes (they really won’t fit in our dress code for work tomorrow), and I actually walked across the lawn without any crutches. Tonight I will practice internal wincing just in case a 5 year old accidentally steps on my feet tomorrow in eager anticipation of their first day of kindergarten.

So here is what I have learned from this particular episode of The Life and Times of Christy Terris Hoyt…
1) I’m not 12 anymore. Nor am I 22. Who am I kidding? I’m not even 32.
2) When the good Lord above tells me that I might break my ankle while playing with a skipping toy/ankle chewer, I will listen and actually heed the warning next time.
3) Oh, and when my husband brings home crutches from his parents’ place three weeks prior to the above-mentioned incident, I won’t question him and tell him that we can easily pick up a pair from the Red Cross. Thankfully, he listened to his intuition.

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Guess Who Bought a New Purse

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It’s not a new BLUE purse. In fact it is quite orange and small. And it has flowers on it. But most importantly it has no keys and padlocks (or secret passwords or guards)!

I bought it in Saint John at a locally owned shoe store (Happy New Brunswick Day Weekend to me!). My husband had gone into the store initially by himself to find a pair of shoes (he wears size 15/16 men’s shoes, so those of you who have to purchase size 13, breathe a collective sign of relief that you don’t have to remortgage the house every time you need to buy new shoes). He stepped out a few minutes later to tell me I should come in and check out their purses. I love my husband!

In the end, he walked out with new shoes (at a decent price) and I walked out with my new purse (more than my eBay purchase, but still at a decent price).

Now, here is the question, when do I have to switch back to my black winter purse?

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My new blue purse

My husband has been buying crap ham radio stuff off of eBay for several years now. He has had much success with it, and received many inexpensive items rather quickly. So late this spring, when I felt that I needed to update my purse for a more fashionable summer look, and after shopping throughout our little town for such an item, I turned to my husband’s standby, eBay.

I had been tugging around my winter’ish old black purse for a few years. It was big, and could carry many items in its several compartments making it sometimes difficult to locate just a simple lip balm. The purse needed its own legend, index or map. I needed something smaller, something springy, something blue.

When I went on eBay, I had a couple requirements. It had to have free shipping and be blue. I think I even put under $25 to be very strict and tight with my purse strings, so to speak. No brand names, no fake brand names, nothing of that sort on my new blue purse.

As a side note, did you know there are ten different kinds of purses out there? In my last ten years on this earth, I’ve known two different kinds of purses; a big purse and an even bigger diaper bag. In fact, the two could be interchangeable. Stick a Winnie-the-Pooh iron-on on my purse and you’ve got a somber looking diaper bag.

So after reducing the possibilities using the eBay handy dandy narrowing tools (I’m sure there is a more consumer-friendly name for this particular device, but anyhoo), I made my selection for the new blue purse that I would love, adore, and drag everywhere with me this summer. I ordered it. Ok, my husband did, but I did a lot of pointing at pictures on the computer screen over his shoulder.

Finally the day arrived. My new blue purse had landed at the post office and soon I would be toting my new blue purse everywhere. My shoulder was ready, as were the contents of my old purse, including my soon-to-be located lip balm. I was going to dazzle everyone with my new blue purse.

Purse 1

At first glance, this purse was terrific. It met my expectations (seasonable, blue, and not a diaper bag). But something was off. In fact, it was downright odd.

Purse 2

The purse was sealed at the very top of it. How was I supposed to get into it? I’m no engineer (or rocket scientist for that matter), but something was definitely not right about this purse.

Purse 3

Oh wait! There was a padlock on it. What I thought was a cute little decoration in the nice (and perhaps somewhat deceptive) eBay picture was an actual lock. My favourite expression, “You have got to be kidding!” was uttered a time or two. But alas! There was a key for the lock. A one-step-up-from-a-little-girl’s-diary-key was included (at no extra cost, fancy that).

Purse 4

So I unlocked the padlock, put it aside and continued to undo the side straps, one on each side of the purse. I couldn’t believe it.

Purse 5

So by this point in the game, shall we call it, I had unlocked one padlock, and unstrapped two side straps, and then I was ready to open my new blue purse.

Purse 6

You will notice that my new blue purse is empty in this picture above. It might be my summer vacation and all, but who in the name of time has the time to open up such a contraption on every occasion they want to go into their purse? Sure it might help curve spur of the moment impulse shopping decisions, but if that’s the case, leave your Visa at home in the freezer (thank you various women’s magazines circa 1998 for that hint).

Of course, some may ask, why did you not cut the top part of your purse so you could get into it in a fraction of a second? Like seriously, what can you actually do in a fraction of a second? It’s a purse, not a piñata. I couldn’t cut the thing.

But what if you lose that all important little key? Sorry I missed your call, I couldn’t get into my purse. What do you mean I can’t win the all-inclusive cruise to the Bahamas because I didn’t answer my phone in time? Seriously, child, do you really need a cough drop/money for the zoo/a pen/lip balm/your university tuition? Mommy can’t get into her purse right now and hasn’t been able to since 2014.

I’m just not so sure I can use this thing. I am sad to say. A purse going to waste.

But finally, just for a minute, imagine being mugged with that thing. Ah, sorry, thug, I can’t get into my purse. You see, there’s a lock on it. Could you pick it for me? And yeah, sir, when you get into my purse, could you hand me a 20? I’m going to Target. I need a new blue purse.

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Letting Go and Let to be a Mom

Life is crazy! This I know for certain. If I over think my life as a mom, I could go crazy. All too often we beat ourselves up over the least little things, or we allow ourselves to get beyond the point of usefulness in these little battles.

Emotions are raw, feelings are hurt and egos are bruised.

The more I read on social media, the more I believe that I am an incredibly unfit mother at times. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. Doubt creeps in. Issues are created. We build our fences. Walls are constructed. The ring has been placed out in the open. Gloves have been put on. Even a spectator or two has wandered in to observe the match.

And why do we feel we must draw blood? Be right all of the time.

It is these little battles that will divide us.

I don’t need to list all of these issues out here. You know the ones I’m talking about. You walk into a room and there is that undeniable hush. “Did you know that she lets her kids…? Puts her kids in…? Feeds her kids…? Bought her kids…? Made her kids…?” And heaven help us, if the issues are brought up on our favourite social media venue! They are no longer whispers, but shouts and sometimes virtual fisticuffs.

All of these little battles conquering us, when really we need to take a step back and realize that we are in this process together. We inherently have the same goal for our children. To grow them into productive human beings, who will give back, love and be loved.

We just need to lie down. Some of these micro-battles were never meant to be fought. The imaginary foe didn’t even draw a line in the sand.

But yet, these battles wage on in our minds, on our computer screens, and at the sidelines of our children’s games in the park.

It is not a war to be won. Relax. Withdraw your sword (of words) before you trip and a childhood, your child’s, has passed right by you.

Tears will come, issues will surround us, and there will always be people who think differently than you. But this is a life to be lived. Enjoyed even. With a little play and hard work thrown in there for good measure.

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Missing My Mom

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It’s 13 years ago today that we lost my mother. She was 53, the age I will be in 11 years. Not old, at all. My sisters and I were all in our twenties when she died. We should have been in our sixties. Isn’t that how life is supposed to work?

My mom taught me many things while we were on this earth together…
Education is very important. If the opportunity arises to further your education, seize it. And if the school is open, you had better be in your chair paying attention to the teacher.
Work hard and don’t be lazy. Take pride in your work.
Take time to relax each evening and read.
Pay your bills. Your kids don’t need to know what your paycheque is, but they can see you paying the bills.
Look for the sales. And if there is a limit on how many Pepsi you can buy, give your children a couple dollars and let them go through the line as well.
Set aside money for your children’s education. Encourage them to get summer jobs and save their money for their education.
Use a clothesline.
If someone else in the house enjoys cooking more than you do, allow them free reign in the kitchen.
Give your children responsibilities around the house. If they don’t do them, remind them that they won’t want to “forget” them again by taking away their technology (back in our day, this meant the television).
Look out for your sister. If you’re on a walk with your younger sister and she looks like she is going to walk out onto the road, push her back over and sit on her (which I fortunately never had to do).
Send your children outside to play (on a side note to this, if you haven’t seen them for an hour or two, you might want to check to make sure they haven’t locked themselves in the barn).
Learn to drive a stick shift.
Clothes from your local department store can do the same job as brand name clothes, just for a lot cheaper.
Humour is a good thing.
Don’t fight in front of your children.
Don’t treat your children like they are your friends or your peers. Because they’re not. And have adult conversations with other adults, not your children.
Take time for a cup of tea. And teach your children how much milk you like in your tea, so they can make it for you.
Eat supper together.
Your relationship with God doesn’t have to be all show and tell. He knows your heart.
Let your children learn to make their own breakfast. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Serve supper to your children first. Then they won’t notice that you “accidentally” ran out of carrots when you go to make up your own supper plate.
Friends are important. Keep in touch with them. Call, write letters, visit.
Respect your parents.
Take Sunday afternoon drives just because.
(Proverbs 22:6)

I love my mom. I miss her. I wish you all could have met her. And for those of you who did, you met one amazing woman.

Unfortunately, my mom never got to meet my girls. It’s days like today, I feel some pangs of regret that we didn’t start our family a little earlier. But maybe, just maybe, I can pass on to them some of these things that she has taught me.

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Photoshop me

Lately I have been editing a number of photos that I had taken this fall. Photoshop is my friend. What doesn’t appear to be just perfect in my eye is edited. A little tweak here, a little adjustment there and everything is right.

Isn’t editing great? We see the photoshopped versions of ourselves and others all of the time. We look at our houses, jobs, community involvement, outward appearances. The pretty version of ourselves. The Christy 40+ version.

We relocate, upgrade, build, renovate, paint, makeover, dress up.
We moisturize, accessorize, exfoliate, tweeze, scrub, scour, enhance.
We mask, cover, tear down, update, advance, elevate, modernize, discard, polish.

But what happens when the photoshop of our lives fails? It doesn’t compute the “necessary” changes. Everything is stripped away and we look into our homes, medicine cabinets, cosmetic bags, thoughts, and hearts. Completely unedited.

I can take a picture of you and edit the picture. Fix that picture, that image, that piece of paper. I can take away that blemish, change your shirt colour and make everything around you appear clearer…on a screen, on paper.

But I can’t fix you. Whatever is broken inside you, I can’t touch. I can only give suggestions, offer a listening ear, and pray with you and for you.

But I know someone who can. No photoshopping involved. Let Him renew, rejuvenate, and restore you. He’s much better at editing and refining.

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