Tags: Air Canada, limo, luggage, Ottawa, travel
This past week was my annual trip to our nation’s capitol and it was far from boring. There’s always a tremendous amount of work to do and much planning to accomplish before I set off for the trip, and this year was no different. I had the added pressure of planning my company’s 50th Anniversary launch reception during the conference which I’m happy to say went very well. All of our big cheeses were suitably impressed.
I arrived in Ottawa on Wednesday and of course the hotel didn’t have my room ready. They promised to call me once it was, and to please make myself comfortable in one of their overpriced restaurants. I went instead to the conference floor to set up our booth, then went to lunch with some of my colleagues. During lunch, one of my colleagues received a call from the hotel telling him that his room was ready – not me though.
As it got closer to late afternoon and the opening of the conference, I was a little impatient to get into a room so I could change out of my grubby clothes and into something a bit more professional. I got my room and went upstairs to freshen up and change. The first thing I noticed was the size of the room and how small it was compared to previous years’. Not a big deal as I don’t need much room, but when I opened the curtains to let in the light and cast my gaze upon the remarkable view … of the top of the Rideau Centre Shopping Mall. Hmmm… that wasn’t exactly the Parliament and Canal view I had booked and paid for. I called the front desk and explained that I wasn’t paying extra for this inferior room.
They immediately moved me to the opposite side where I finally had the view I was expecting. I put my suitcase down and … I didn’t have the key to my luggage.
I looked everywhere – not in my coat, not in my purse, not in my briefcase or wallet. Oh come on.
I called the front desk again and they sent a maintenance man up to cut off my lock. I was finally able to get ready.
The rest of the trip was uneventful and was able to sneak out early, hoping to catch a standby flight home. There were two flights ahead of my flight but were fully booked, so I ended up on my originally booked flight. No problem. The funny thing is, when I asked about going on standby and about how they would know which flight I was on so my luggage would get on the right plane, I had this nagging feeling not to go on standby.
PART DEUX: People Can be Such Jerks Sometimes.
On the flight immediately before mine, there was a young family with three kids and two exhausted parents. Air Canada had overbooked and they were one seat short – so they couldn’t seat the entire family on the flight together. They made announcement after announcement asking if anyone would voluntarily offer to go on a later flight as this family had to catch a connection so they could make their cruise and they would be compensated for their kindness.
No one volunteered. They all had to go home I guess.
Eventually someone gave up their seat, but it took right to the time of boarding for them to do so. Perhaps they didn’t hear the ten or more announcements. Had I been on that flight, they could have had my seat. I had already been at the airport for two hours at that point, another one wouldn’t make any difference.
I finally board my flight. All the wonderful people in executive and with those with a gazillion air miles points boarded first and they said they would announce my row soon. Finally I got fed up with standing there and I boarded only to find there wasn’t any overhead room by my seat and I had to put my laptop six rows back. Not a problem except when I tried to return to my seat I had to get through all the people trying to get to their seat. And to top it off there was a guy sitting in the seat already next to me, so obviously they let people on in my row before they told me about it.
We land in Toronto. They put us at a ‘swing’ gate which means it’s used for both international and domestic flights and there was an international one deplaning right when we pulled in. We had to wait on the tarmac for 15 minutes before we could leave. Then I had to go back six rows again to get my bag, then back up to get my coat. What a pain in the ass. I knew the car company would be annoyed that I was late – sure enough they left a message on my phone wondering where I was.
I went to the baggage carousel and my bag never showed up. Great, now they’ve lost my luggage. The man at the baggage desk seemed like he had better things to do. He assured me my bag would show up eventually as it never actually made it on the plane I was on. Grrr…
I walked the length of the terminal to get to my ride and there was the slowest woman in the pre-arranged limo/taxi booth ever. I told her the car company’s name and my name. They weren’t on the fist screen on her computer and I could tell she was trying to read every word. There were only about 20 names per screen so it shouldn’t have taken long, I was reading it much faster … not on the next screen either … or the next, but finally on the fourth page she found me and dispatched the car.
A young mother and her two kids were waiting for their ride. They obviously came back from some place warm because they had no jackets. It was minus 12C! There was a little boy no more than four and a little girl no more than two, outside, waiting for a cab in t-shirts! What was this woman thinking (or not) that she didn’t pack at least a sweater in their carry on! I was flabbergasted. When the sweet little girl said ‘Mommy I’m really cold’, I nearly took my coat off to put around the two kids. Mother of the year, not. Thankfully they got their ride.
To make a very long story shorter, I finally got my bag today.
Tags: birthday, Caity is a Donut, kids
I tucked the girls in last night, and had my fill of six year old toes… This is my annual Happy Birthday post to my beautiful donut. Cait turns 7 today and for once I’m not completely overwhelmed with emotion, we’ll see how I am at the end of this post… :-S.
Caity, you grow more beautiful with every passing day. You still have your entire family wrapped around your little finger and I think that will never change. At least I hope not.
You make me so proud all the time with the things that you do. Often I ask you, although I am kidding when I say it, “who made you so smart..?” You don’t even look up, or skip a beat and say “I did.”
Thank goodness you still try to crawl in my lap and even maul me at times. I’m so lucky to be so loved by someone so special.
Happy Birthday to my monkey loving littlest-little one. I hope one day all your dreams come true.
Tags: Christmas, Christmas Wish, kids, Santa
As I’ve often written before, my kids are my life. There isn’t anything that I wouldn’t do for them, but this time I don’t think there is anything that I can do.
It’s often been said that my kids are mini versions of me. Lexy looks just like me but with brown hair and Caity has most of my features but is a combination of both her parents. I realized lately just how much like me Caity really is.
Just before Christmas, we were watching the Santa Buddies movie while the girls ate their dinner. There is one scene where the ‘bad’ guy, Stan Crug (rhymes with Scrooge) – played by Christopher Lloyd, is asked by a sick boy’s father if he would donate a puppy to his son for Christmas. Crug denies the request and says that if he wants the dog, the Dad will have to pay for it. The Dad explains that they have no money for the animal and leaves, dejected.
Just as the scene ended, I could hear Caity crying in the kitchen. I asked her what was wrong and she said that the man on the screen was very mean and it made her very sad. She cried for about 10 minutes until the movie got happy again.
I cry during Grey’s Anatomy. I cry at Bell commercials. I cry reading sappy birthday cards at the drug store. The stage version of Les Miserables brings me to tears. I’ve always been this way. Work had been very stressful this past Fall and I would frequently end up in tears because of the tough decisions which were being made that I had no control over. A friend of mine said that I was born with a birth defect, my tear ducts are too close to my heart …
Caity appears to have the same condition.
Tonight the four of us were watching TV and during one of the countless marathons a commercial for one of those ‘save the children’ programs came on, with John Lennon singing “Happy Christmas/War is Over” in the background. There were many sad faces of destitute, orphaned children on the screen. Caity started crying again. Actually she started sobbing. Hard.
I asked her what was the matter and she said she was sad about the orphans. I tried to reassure her but nothing was working. I pulled her onto my lap for a cuddle, which is the one sure way of finding comfort for her and usually calms her down quickly. She sobbed on my shoulder.
She lifted her head and looked at me and said, “Mummy, I know what I’m going to ask Santa for next year…”
“Oh? What’s that?”
“I’m going to ask Santa to give all those Orphans new Parents so that they won’t be lonely at Christmas”.
I told her that was a lovely thing to do. Caity surprises me sometimes. She’s only six, but she already has so much empathy. I’ve always known her to be a sweet child who doesn’t like to see someone upset or hurt. She will always try to help them, especially at school. Yes, she can be a little devil and the world’s biggest pest sometimes, but she has the most endearing qualities too. It is very sweet knowing that she has complete and total faith in Santa, that he can do anything. I just don’t know how he will pull this one off.
I’m sure it’s because she’s been sick with Bronchitis this week and her defences are down, but she nearly made me cry tonight. Alex rolled his eyes at us and Lexy said that we should try to adopt a kid next year.
Earlier this year, Caity told me that she wanted to empty her piggy bank and give the money to someone who really needs it. Maybe this is an opportunity to teach the girls about charitable giving. We’ll have to look for a good cause or two to support. It sounds like something we can do as a family.
Tags: Christmas, Disney Infinity, Ice Storm, kids, Rob Ford, Toronto Ice Storm, Turkey, Turkey Pot Pie
I’m sitting here at the computer, with a warm glass of Sauvignon Blanc (simply because it didn’t make it back into the fridge after Midnight), waiting for my pies to finish baking. More on that in a minute. The girls are playing Disney Infinity and despite having every character currently available (Santa went a little nuts), they seem transfixed on The Incredibles characters. Lexy must always play “Violet” and Caity ends up with “Mrs. Incredible/Elastigirl“. My hand is swollen – a result of my Boxing Day fiasco (more on that later too), and it’s difficult to type. I need to ice it and elevate it. Or have another drink…
Last week after Christmas Dinner (a fabulous Turkey if I do say so myself…), I made the usual Turkey Pot Pie. This time, however, I used actual pie crust instead of Bisquick biscuits. OMG it turned out fabulous. Even better the second meal when I had leftover Pot Roast gravy poured over top – yum yum! I said to Alex that I could probably turn my standard Goulash or Beef Stew into a Pie, since we both enjoy the frozen beef pies, or pub pies – so why not make them? I made the stew earlier today and let it cool slightly before putting the mixture into the pie shells. I’m thinking this will make a couple of yummy dinners this week
The fun part of the Turkey Pot Pie adventure last week is that I severely strained the muscles in my left Bicep and Forearm. I was at Target’s Boxing Day Sale at the ungodly hour of 6 am to pick up a couple of Kitchen Aid Pot sets that my Brother and I wanted. I was fine lifting the first box, but when I picked up the second, it felt like a zipper was moving up the middle of my arm and then the pain started. It hurt so bad I started crying in the store. I hadn’t been in that much pain since I fractured my ankle many years ago. It’s slowly been getting better, but certain movements still make it twinge and I can tell it’s not fully healed yet. The fact that my hand is swollen too is a pretty good indication that I’ve done too much with it today.
I’m on vacation still until the end of the week, heading back to work on Monday. I’m putting the girls in daycare and plan on taking some much-needed time to do nothing for two days. They were home last week too because of the horrific ice storm which paralyzed Toronto and Durham Region – luckily our wires are buried, so we weren’t affected by the power outage, just the massive build up of ice over everything. If you haven’t heard about the ice storm, you can read about it here, and here, and here.
This was my front lawn the night of the storm. Our pretty Birch Tree had snapped on two of the limbs and the other just bent over under the weight of the ice build up. There was half an inch of ice on everything, including my Husband’s car. That was a lot of fun to chip off. The driveway was even more fun. And of course, every place you could think of had sold out of road salt. Hopefully it’s back in the stores by now.
Something like 300,000 people in and around Toronto were without power for more than a week. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford decided it wasn’t an emergency and everything was being dealt with as quickly as possible to restore power. The temperatures dropped to more than -15C.
It was pretty nuts.
That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say for now. Hope all y’all had a warm and wonderful New Years. Let’s hope 2014 is better than 2013 – the curse of the odd year once again over.
Tags: Caity is a Donut, Christmas, Elf on the Shelf
OK, so the other day I did some surfing to find even more things to get the kids for Christmas this year and I ended up at the Chapters website. With it being less than two months until … wait for it … Christmas, they naturally are trying to sell us loyal consumers, well, everything. Don’t get me wrong, I love and worship Chapters and think it’s the best thing since sliced bread, which is why I give them so much of my money every year. They have wonderful things to browse through if you’re in the mood for ‘window shopping’. But I digress. While I was surfing their site, I came across the page for the Elf on the Shelf doll and book. Well. If that isn’t just the neatest thing ever invented. I’m not even being a little bit sarcastic. I literally think it’s the neatest toy/idea out there.
For those of you who are not familiar with the phenomenon, basically it’s a small boy or girl elf doll which you ‘adopt’. S/he comes with a story book which also acts as a set of instructions for the parents, presented in a way that’s entertaining for children. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. The story goes that the elf is a magical scout elf who works for Santa Claus. After you have ‘adopted’ (read: bought) your elf and taken him/her out of the packaging, you pick a name that is unique to your elf, put the information into the book that comes with the elf and finally go to the website to legally ‘adopt’ your elf into your family.
The elves have no magic until after the adoption and naming are done. After that, no one is allowed to touch the elf for Christmas Magic is the most fragile of all magic, and if you touch the elf, the magic might come off then your elf would no longer be able to travel to the North Pole. Your elf cannot talk, but s/he listens to everything that goes on in the household. Each night, when all the humans are in bed, s/he flies back to the North Pole to tell Santa about the activities at the house and if the children were good or bad – this helps Santa come up with his Naughty and Nice list.
The next morning, after flying in from the North Pole, your elf will be in a new location in the house and the children will have to find them. This is a lot of fun, especially since the elves have been known to get into a lot of mischief when everyone is sleeping.
Yes, we started a tad early this year, but the kids were so excited so I thought we’d try it. They named our elf “Snowflake”. Last night she sat proudly on our fireplace mantle, listening to all the activity in the house. Caity kept watching her.
“Her eyes don’t move, Mama.”
“Nope”. I explained to her that Snowflake was very much like the toys in Toy Story. The come alive when no humans are around to see them.
Then she went off to play with something and came back to check on Snowflake a few minutes later. Lexy was much more patient, but still entranced with the whole idea. They both said goodnight to Snowflake and welcome to our house. They hoped she would like it at our house and would leave us a present when she left on Christmas Eve.
This morning when they were brushing their teeth, I could hear Caity ask Lexy “Where do you think Snowflake is this morning??”. They came racing down the stairs and found her in the kitchen. She was sitting half inside Alex’s Tea Bag container, legs inside the container and the lid resting on her knees. Apparently after her long journey to the North Pole and back last night, she needed a cup of tea! Alex exclaimed that all his tea bags will now taste like little elf feet!
The girls giggled like crazy when they found her. This is going to be a fun six weeks.
Then, when Caity was getting dressed for school this morning, I was sitting on the couch watching her, but pretending not to. Caity put on her shirt then ran into the Kitchen, looked at Snowflake and said “Pretty”.
Then she came back into the family room to put her jeans on. She ran back into the Kitchen, looked at Snowflake and said “Pretty”.
She came back into the family room and put her socks on, then she ran into the Kitchen, looked at Snowflake and said “Pretty”.
Lexy was at the Kitchen table, watching the whole thing. The final time Caity came into pay Snowflake a compliment, Lex said: “For goodness sake Caity! Stop trying to suck up to Santa!!”
I howled … I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Tags: andrew lloyd webber, bustopher jones, Cats, kids, memory, musical theatre, rum tum tugger
We took the girls to see CATS yesterday at the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. The last time I saw CATS was probably 20 years ago – a fact that makes me feel remarkably old. It hasn’t lost any of its charm after all of this time. The Rum Tum Tugger is quite the card still. This time he plucked a woman from the audience behind us and deposited her in the lap of a gentleman in the first row. We were right behind them and the kids thought this was hysterical.
This was Caity’s first live theatre event. Lex is a seasoned theatre goer, having been to a few with me before. I wasn’t sure that Caity was mature enough to sit through two hours of theatre, but she was really good. I explained to her early on that this isn’t like going to the movies, you can’t leave in the middle to go to the bathroom – you have to wait for a break. ‘OK …”, she assured me. Getting her to go to the bathroom on command when we’re out is challenging enough, she never has to go when it’s convenient.
I also wasn’t sure that Caity wouldn’t get bored and then become a big pest, but she was enthralled with the big ‘Cats’ running and jumping and singing on the stage. They even interacted with the kids in the first two rows (ours included), letting them ‘pet’ their fur during intermission. Our seats were excellent, second row, which made the stage very close. Cait had a booster seat because she couldn’t see the top of the stage. I tried to tell her that it won’t matter, because the actors will only a few feet from us, but she wanted one anyway. During the second act, she wouldn’t stop smiling, she had her legs bent up so that she could rest her head and arms on her knees. She loved it. Another theatre junkie is born…
I’ve loved the theatre since I can’t remember when. I’ve seen CATS about 10 times, Les Miserables at least that much, Phantom of the Opera a few and of course Miss Saigon – back in Mirvish’s theatrical heyday of the late 80s/early 90s. Back in the days when I had disposable income… Les Mis is still the bar that I rate all other theatre – Michael Burgess and Louise Pitre were fabulous. I needed a whole box of Kleenex when Louise Pitre sang Fantine’s Death Song, ‘Come to me’. “Come to me, and rest against my shoulder. How fast the minutes fly away and every minute colder.” I get chills just thinking about it.
I’ve seen some wonderful productions that I’d love to see brought back – Blood Brothers, Clue, La Cage Au Folles (yes I know it was just here, but George Hamilton simply doesn’t cut it). I’ve seen some wonderful Shakespearian productions in Stratford and even followed some actors around to different bars while there, just to see them in person. Thankfully Geraint Wyn Davies didn’t press any stalking charges (j/k).
But I digress…
Lexy was in the perfect spot to catch the flower from Bustopher Jones himself. Well, ‘catch’ is a bit of a misnomer. The carnation kind of bounced off of Lexy’s face and shoulder and landed on the floor in front of her feet. I don’t think she realized what was going on until I told her to pick it up. She’s a lucky girl to get a souvenir like that.
All in all it was a good afternoon, a wonderful tradition to instill on my kids – a day that I hope they will remember always.
Tags: birthday, Cats, kids
I’m soooooooo not ready for this post. Lexy turned 10 today and it’s a day she’s been looking forward to for a long time. She’s been counting down for months, proudly telling me that in X days, she would no longer be a 9 year old. In fact, yesterday she told me it was her last night being 9. The picture below is the last ice cream she had as a 9 year old…
I wish she was 3 again… My biggest-little one is getting far too big for my liking.
Where did the time go? Lex is in Grade 5 this year. She’s so smart and wonderful, a voracious reader. She’s kind and beautiful and all the very best things I could wish for. She loves her little sister and is very protective of her (and also Caity’s biggest boss). She has a soft heart for animals, despite her early affinity for torturing the cats…
When Lexy was 18 months old, she was in the kitchen being very quiet. All I could hear was the sound of nails desperately scratching on the floor… I walked into the kitchen where I found the cat lying spread eagle on the floor and Lexy sitting on top of him. Mavvy was staring up at me wide-eyed, pleading for help…
“Lexy! WHAT ARE YOU DOING??!!??”
“I widing Mavvy!”
Poor cat. He loves her despite this.
Lexy, I know you don’t always agree with your Dad and I and one of the many things I love about you is your fighting spirit. Never lose it my child, just curb it a little,
I don’t know how I was lucky enough to have you. I never want to take you for granted and wish you only the best this life has to offer. You will be a superstar one day, of that I’m sure. You will do whatever you set your mind to, and you will succeed.
Happy Birthday, my Doodle. I love you babes to the Moon and back.
Love, Mom xoxoxo
Tags: graduation, Kindergarten
School’s finally finished for the year – man this year went by way too fast. Must be that I’m getting old(er), that the passage of time seems to move too quickly now. I remember when I was a kid, it took forever to go anywhere – even the corner store. Now, everything passes in a heartbeat. You wake up one morning and you have a newborn in your arms. You blink, and she’s a toddler. You turn your head and she’s starting school. Then there are days like yesterday, when your littlest-little one graduates Kindergarten.
My little donut is a big girl at last.
Caity’s school had a graduation ceremony for the Senior Kindergarten kids, held in their classrooms. The Teachers wanted to do something special for them and this was much more intimate and wonderful than being stuck in a gymnasium trying to see over someone’s huge head – or worse, having to listen to someone yap all through your child’s part.
I arrived at the classroom a little early, and Caity saw me through the hallway window. She was jumping up and down to get my attention. When the Teacher opened the door, Caity was instructed to take my arm and lead me to my seat. My heart melted a little bit and it was all I could do not to cry. Caity showed me her ‘memory book’ that she worked on for the entire year and then when all the parents were seated, the ceremony began.
Caity wore a cap and was handed her diploma and then the kids recited a poem:
‘Here I Come!
Get ready, get set because here I go.
I’m ready to show you all I know!
I’ve graduated kindergarten and I’m done.
I’ve laughed and learned and it’s been fun!
First grade, first grade ready, set, go!
I’m ready to show you all I know!
Get ready first grade because I’m on my way.
I’ve graduated kindergarten, hip, hip, hooray!
When they were through, she went straight for the snack table … that’s my kid. I told her how proud of her I was, that she makes Daddy and I so proud every day with all the special things that she does. This kid has my heart, hook, line and sinker.
The Teacher Mrs. M. gave a wonderful speech about what a terrific year the kids had. She felt bad for the Senior group because their Teacher last year moved to another school, so they didn’t have the continuity during the two years of Kindergarten. She went on to tell us that she too was moving to a new school next year and how much she would miss the kids. She watched them grow and learn and she marvelled at their progress. Mrs. M. said that when the school year started, most of the kids didn’t know their vowel sounds, and now most of them are reading above their grade level – grade one or better. She mentioned the proof she had of this, of how smart her kids were, when Caity brought a note in one day for her and at the bottom it said: ”P.S. Caity read this entire note to me.” Caity and I beamed.
I remember that day. I had to send a note to her Teacher about something and Cait asked what it said. I told her to read it – so she did. I didn’t realize she could read so well until that point, about 4 months ago. I’m so proud of my donut
It’s amazing how she’s grown.
Lexy will be in Grade 5 this September. She had a great year too, finishing with 7 A’s and the rest were B’s. I’m so proud of my beautiful girls. I can’t wait to see the Women they become.
Scratch that. I can wait. I can wait a long, long time …
Tags: Cancun, Easter bunny, Excellence Playa Mujeres, kids, Mexico
Gosh it’s been busy. It’s been completely insane at work, but is starting to calm down a bit. So to recap the year so far …
After the snow left, the Easter Bunny found us …
I wish he would start eating the weeds and crabgrass …!
We had proof that life was beginning again…
We had a lousy Mother’s Day (weather-wise) … I know this is Canada, but really, eh??
But, we also had this:
Alex and I escaped to Cancun the end of April and it was heavenly. We liked it so much, we’re hoping to go back again next year. Who could blame us, look at these:
We had critters there too. Allow me to introduce you to Enrique… and my monkey friend! Muy Bueno!
and of course, there is this little monkey, who turned 6
She’s growing up faster than I would like … She’s graduating Kindergarten next week it seems like she just started going to school…
and this one’s turning 10 in a couple of weeks. TEN! *insert silent screams of insanity here*
I’m not ready for life …
Tags: Blood tests
Caity had to have a blood test done yesterday. She was less than thrilled with this. She took it pretty well and only started screaming and crying when the lab tech tightened the rubber strap around her arm. Her last experience with having blood drawn was not too pleasant, so really, I don’t blame her for having that reaction. They only took one vial of blood, so it didn’t take too long and she got a sticker for being a good girl at the end of it.
I dropped her off at school and went to work after we were done at the lab.
When I got home from work yesterday, Caity had a nose bleed. In fact it was gushing pretty good. She saw the blood on her hand and her sleeve and started crying.
Between her tears, she said: “Mummy, this morning they took blood from my arm… Now my nose is bleeding… Soon I won’t have ANY blood left! Oooooooohhhhhhhhh…..”