Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unexpected dinner guest

I found a bug in my kitchen tonight.

It must have been in the spinach, because I noticed it on the leaves after I had submerged the bunch into a sink of cold water. I never understood why they say to do that with your leafy greens, but now I know: it's to make the bugs float to the top. My first thought was to squish him but he is pretty big so I knew that would involve a mess and crunchy bug sounds. I debated whether I should let the cat have at him, but decided that that was too cruel. And who knows what kind of bug he is? What if he made the cat sick in some terrible act of vengeance. Anyway, I didn't want to hurt him. It's not his fault he got caught up in my spinach while he was probably minding his own buggy business.

Aside: Buy local. That way if you find a bug in your produce, you can pitch it out your back door without worrying that you are introducing a feral species into your friendly neighbourhood habitat.

Finally, he was kind of cute. Not scary or hairy or anything like that. Green. And green bugs are always nice. Right?

Plus . . . he had clearly been living in our fridge for at least two days (impressive) then survived the plunge into the icy depths of my sink. Seriously, he persevered! I couldn't kill him now.

So I quarantined him.

I put him in a disposable plastic container with a bit of water in the bottom (for him to drink) and a few leaves of spinach (because he obviously likes them) and set him on the counter while I finished making dinner and considered what to do with him. Yes I did. Did someone need to know about this? Should I call the grocery store? The government? I started with the husband - who was out with Sam. He reassured me that I could figure this one out on my own.

When David got home, I showed him my makeshift bug terrarium, but forgot to warn him that the lid was not secure. A moment later, water, spinach and bug were scattered on the kitchen floor. David mocked me for trying to collect the bug without touching him.

D: Just pick him up with your fingers.

J: No! He might bite.

D: Yeah, 'cause you found him in spinach. He's probably a meat-eater.

With mocking complete, he googled to find out if this little guy was indigenous (likely not since the spinach came from Mexico) or perhaps dangerous. He seemed to be neither. So we let him hang out while we had dinner.


Unbeknownst to David, I was growing attached to this little bug and had started building a vision of our future together as a family. I'd buy a proper house for him and research what kinds of other greens he might like. We'd find him a buddy to hang out with in there and Sam would name them. Sadly, as his vocabulary is still quite limited, their names would be Hot and More. When they finally passed away of natural causes, we'd have a tiny bug funeral. It would be touching.

So you can imagine my horror when David came from the kitchen later in the evening and said:

I threw your bug over the balcony.

me: What?!?

Heartless Husband: Yeah . . .

me: I didn't get to say goodbye!!

HH: What?

me: I can't believe you did that!

HH: Are you serious?

me: YES!! . . . Did you throw his spinach over with him?

HH: . . . no.

me: (Aghast)

H: . . .

me: What's he going to eat?!?

HH: Are you serious?!?

I get up and walk away . . . pause while HH processes the crazy that has taken over his wife . . .

Mocking Husband: I'll go look for him.

me: Don't be stupid. (It's 10 pm and dark out. And he landed in our grass. And he's GREEN!)

MH: I'll do it. I'll go right now.

me: No!

Slightly Caring or Perhaps Just Remorseful Husband gets up: I'll go look for him.

me: You'll never find him.

SCPJRH ignores me and goes out into the dark backyard with a flashlight.

. . . less than 5 minutes pass . . .

SCPJRH comes up to me with his hand closed around something.

me: No!?!

SCPJRH opens hand revealing small, terrified-but-happy-to-see-me Mexican Spinach Bug (see how I am anthropomorphising him?)

me: You found him!!!

Redeemed Husband: looking proud

me: How did you find him?!?

RH: I calculated the trajectory of my throw off the balcony and just looked in that area.

me: Shut up.

Once Mexican Spinach Bug was safely back in his lettuce-water-Glad terrarium David apologized for his gross underestimation of my emotional connection to our green house guest. I forgave him and announced that the bug must be named. I also wondered aloud where would be the most comfortable place in the kitchen for him to sleep. David gave me a hug and said he loved me in the way that he does when I am being so silly and adorable that he can't help but think of how sad and boring life would be without me.

And that folks, is why we've been together for 14 years.

-----

We are accepting suggestions for our Mexican Spinach Bug's name. What do you think???

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Here's something I will leave behind

Being bullied by corporations and putting up with shitty customer service.

Do any of you shop at Garage Clothing Co.? Well please consider, you know, not.

I've pasted my complaint letter below. It's short, don't worry, and explains it all quite concisely. I sent it to their online customer service and am promised a response within 48 hours.

-----

Hello,

Today I brought back a tank top that I received as a gift at the beginning of December. It was the kind of tank with the lace that covered the upper back and shoulder straps. I had the receipt and was returning it because, after just one wash, the tiny elastics in the lace had all snapped and frayed and were visible all over the lace.

This was at the store at Granview Corners in White Rock, BC. The manager (Ivy) had to make a call to confirm the return (I assume to Head Office) because it had been more than 30 days. Head Office told her that since no one else had complained about this particular problem with these tank tops that it could not be considered a "manufacturer's defect" and therefore could not be exchanged.

Ivy was professional and nice, and my complaint is not about her. My complaint is that the item is clearly defective, yet even with a legitimate receipt I was not allowed to exchange it. I took my receipt and left the tank top at the store with Ivy.

I will tell you what I told her, which is, I can't believe that your company is willing to lose a customer over a tank top that retails at $6.

Despite being otherwise happy with all the products I've ever bought from Garage, I will never shop at your store again and I'll be sure to relay this story to anyone who will listen.

-----

Now I know this might seem silly because it's just a piece of clothing and there are real life social justice concerns out there which deserve far more attention and championing. I've read amazing blog posts about issues such as infertility, racism, child welfare, unfair trade practices, health tragedies, and so on, so I know my complaint is shallow. I suppose if I was a real human being I'd be writing about how we shouldn't ever shop at these stores because their clothing is made by people (possibly children) being treated more like slaves than employees. But since I am merely a machine without feelings, this is the best I can muster up tonight.

Come on, play along. If I get a "forgive us" gift certificate from the store, I'll buy you all a tank top that is sure to fall apart in the wash.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Firsts, almost

In the past few weeks I've done two things that I haven't done in a really long time.

First, I finished knitting a blanket for Sam that I had started when I was pregnant with him. Do you know how old he is now? Yeah.

Second, I picked up a book and, you know, read. A few pages at a time. Until it was finished. I have this terrible habit of starting a book and thinking "Hey, this is pretty good. I'm going to set it down over here and ignore it for several months." Once I finally get back to it, I've usually forgotten what the thing was about and have to reread most of it. So this time I was determined to finish. It was very good and I'm looking forward to starting another one.

This time of year is all about finishing and restarting, isn't it? Completing and initiating. Lasts and firsts.

Like Sam's first public tantrum? In wal.mart while we shopped for a friend's little boy. I think his brain broke a little as tonkas and hotwheels seemed to multiply before his eyes. "Beep beep" escaping from his lips with such manic speed, repetition, and increasing volume that I wondered if the other parents in the isle thought he had Tourrette's. Then rushing from one mammoth shelf of toys to its sister on the opposite side, oblivious to the shopping carts and personal space of others. Having left my own cart at the end of the isle, I followed Sam, hunched down to his 2. 5 foot level, glancing apologetically at the other consumers while I made vain attempts to convince my boy to hold my hand or at least stop putting his in his mouth because don't you know how dirty wal.mart is?

Having chosen a gift for our friend's son, it was time to extract Sam from the hall of toys. Ha. Coaxing and asking nicely didn't work so I warned him that I was going to pick him up, then scooped him into my arms. There were protests, and I was preparing myself for a scream-fest which would force me to leave my items - unpurchased - and carry Sam out of the store, all wails and flailing arms. I imagined the glares and sympathetic nods of strangers (those without and with children, respectively). But actually, he was ok. As soon as the toys were out of view he gave up trying to convince me to go back. Once in line, I was able to distract him by letting him use boxes of gum as maracas. Fair solution.

I know there are tantrums in our future, but this was not his first. Phew. Dodge. But for how long . . . ?

As for a last . . . is there something I will leave behind in 2010?

Probably. Let me think about it and tell you later.

-----

Running tally for this week: once on Sunday, 7k
Yoga tally: once, Wednesday night

Sunday, January 2, 2011

We took the tree down yesterday. I like to start the New Year fresh and optomistic and unencumbered by the post-Christmas blues that inevitably creep in on me starting December 26th. The place looks open and more tidy (a state I rarely achieve), but it is missing the warm twinkling of the tiny lights and the inescapable presence of another living thing in the room. Not that we are lacking in living things around here, as I sit with a cat cuddled up to me on the couch, David on the floor playing the game he got on Christmas Eve, Sam sleeping soundly upstairs. We are a cozy family, tree or no.





All the same, I feel reflective this time of year (as most people do), and mostly excited but sometimes a little sad. 2010 was a challenge for us: David struggled with a business plan that, while successful in some measure, has cost us quite a bit and produced very little return. We made the difficult but neccesary decision that I would go back to work early from maternity leave and he would be a stay at home Dad for the summer. Now he is back at school - something he never thought he'd do but, again, was necessary.

As for the year to come . . . In April David will be an electrician's apprentice and start the next chapter in his professional life. I continue to work at the same place, and to my great surprise, am quite content to stay there for now. Hopefully soon I will have a permanent position so that I can get full benefits, including mat leave top-up for when we decide to start trying for number two.

There are some improvements we want to make in and around the house this year too. Some amateur landscaping may be involved. I'm kind of excited about this because as it is, our backyard is basically an unusable swamp of mud and moss. Soon it will be an oasis!

We've got some serious financial goals to meet this year as well, but there's not a whole lot we can do about those until David is working. I am proud that we were able to start an RESP for Sam last year, despite everything else being woefully neglected.

I joined a running group this morning in an attempt to kick start my habits for better health (again). I'll run at least once a week (hopefully twice), yoga once a week (I've even been contemplating trying Bikram's again - eek!). And worst of all - I mean, Yay, this will be awesome! - no wine. Unless it's a social occasion. Cuddling with the cat and blogging don't count.

Over the next two months, in an effort to embarrass myself into sticking to these health/fitness goals, I am going to have a tally at the end of each post (weekly (another goal)) reporting the number of activities I've participated in that week. Look for it next Sunday! Cheer me on or ridicule me as the case may warrant.

-----

A few more pics from the holidays.

Sam's first gingerbread house, made at daycare. I swear there is a course they teach in ECE on how to make parents cry.


Opening a care package from Nana and Papa.


Something about a housecoat makes even the cutest toddler look like a little old man. I'm also looking forward to when Sam learns to smile for the camera.


One of Sam's coolest gifts.


Opening his stocking.


A day of lovely little moments like this.