Thursday, 26 January 2012


I don't like change.

Spontaneity bothers me.

I wanted to leave Europe because the towels felt different.

I try not to travel north, because the water in Edmonton smells funny.

I live in the same co-op I lived in as a little kid. It's less than fifteen blocks from the house in which I spent the majority of my childhood. And twenty blocks from the house Jason grew up in. His mom still lives there.

I still own sweatshirts from high school (Only now I use them as legwarmers. Or headbands.)

So when my coffeepot died last year, I was a wreck. We had this coffeemaker before we had kids. Mom bought it for us when we moved into our first apartment (she could have waited- we couldn't afford coffee), and it always, faithfully, served the perfect pot.

It saw midnight feedings and early mornings with all four of my babies. It woke us up on eighteen New Year's Days. It produced a peace pot when we talked after an argument. It had moved up the property ladder with us as we made our way to our current home. It was family.

Sure, over the years it took longer and longer to get the promised pot of coffee. Who cares??? With advanced age comes the right to slow down a little bit. Relax. Take things easy. Maybe the hot plate didn't keep the coffee as warm as it used to, but which of us doesn't find it a little harder to stay warm as we reach middle age? The water tank leaked a little, but anyone who doesn't expect a little incontinence in their golden years is kidding themselves.

We started to notice that the pots of coffee we brewed every morning were coming out less and less full (we credited that to the leaking water tank), and finally, one morning, after flipping the 'On' switch, nothing happened.

We did everything we could. We thumped it once or twice, to see if we could restart its vital systems. We plugged it into a different outlet, trying to see if we could continue life support. We ran some vinegar through it to see if any of the major arteries were clogged. We used every heroic measure we could think of.

Finally, I leaned over and patted it softly on the lid.

"It's ok." I said. "I understand. We'll miss you."

I couldn't believe it. It couldn't really be gone- we had been together for so long!!!

Maybe if I had taken better care of it. Run CLR through it every once in a while. Kept it away from the window on really cold winter days...

Who was this coffeemaker to just abandon me? To leave me behind like this? Alone and without caffeine? I run a DAYHOME, for God's sake! I NEED MY MORNING COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

How was I going to make it through this? I just didn't have the strength for this kind of loss. The depression was crippling. I could barely move.

And then, finally, the pain began to lessen. The sun came up, and I was almost able to enjoy the sunrise. Maybe, just maybe, I could cope.

I found myself able to make decisions again. I was reconstructing my life in the face of my loss, and I knew things would be different, but it was time to move on.

And finally, I turned to Jason and told him I needed him to run to Wal Mart and pick up another coffeemaker. I could never have the carefree, untroubled cup of coffee that I had heretofore enjoyed, but I had accepted my loss, and once again had hope for the future.

(Note: The previous seven stages of grief, as defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, were experienced by me over the half-hour period of time immediately following the expiration of said coffeemaker. People experience grief differently. There is no textbook 'order' in which you should feel these emotions, nor is there a 'correct' timeline until the final stage of acceptance and hope. If, however, you find yourself lying prone on the couch, sobbing hysterically into a crusty tea towel MORE than 11 weeks after the heating element in your toaster gives out, you may want to consult a professional. Maybe even two.)

Jason went to get a new coffeemaker. I knew it wouldn't be the same, and I knew I would always have a special place in my heart for the OLD coffeemaker, but I had high hopes.

I realised when he brought it home that it was going to require a period of adjustment. I found myself becoming jealous of the new coffeemaker. Jason paid it so much more attention than he paid the old one. He actually bought filters that fit the new coffeemaker (What? All of a sudden we're too GOOD to fold a basket filter into a cone??? The new coffeemaker needs fancy new stuff, so now we're just tossing away the 87365891029 basket filters left from the old one? Whatever.) He actually checked to make sure the level of the water in the pot was equal with the '12 Cups' line on the glass, rather than simply leaving it under the tap till it overflowed and dumping it blindly into the machine. Sure, the thing had some neat features. You could yank the pot out while it was brewing, and it would stop and wait for you to pour yourself a cup and replace the carafe, thereby avoiding the 'light-speed switch-and-splatter' we had been suffering with in the mornings. No one in our house has EVER waited for a pot to finish brewing before getting a cup of coffee. (Mostly because it took the old one 45 minutes to brew each pot.) He was infatuated. He was blinded to its faults.

It was ugly.

It was new.

It was....... different.

Things eventually got better, but it's still not the same. It's not my REAL coffeemaker. It's not the boss of me. I only use it cause I have to. Sure, the colour and appearance have grown on me. I actually kind of enjoy the taste of HOT coffee. I haven't had a splatter burn in months, and it doesn't give off a funny smell as it brews. But I know it's just trying to manipulate me. Win me over. Make me forget. It's not fooling me.

If you think for a SECOND I wouldn't take Old Faithful back if I had the chance, you're crazy.

I'm pretty sure I'm not.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sweet Nothings

My sister in law gave Eva a package of Crayola Bathtime Tadoodles for Christmas. For those of you not in the know, these are floating tub crayons that wash off with warm water, and are encased in giant tubby cartoon-like bodies so chubby little hands can hold them easily.

Although Eva loves nothing more than to chew on a crayon, and was using them to great advantage, I couldn't help but do some thinking during bathtime the other day. I realized how wasted these crayons were on someone who couldn't even SAY "Surrealism', let alone explain how her Dali-esque style captured the vivid, mysterious dreams of a toddler during slumber. I bet you these things cost ten or twenty bucks! Could we not find a better use for them??? (Remember- control issues.)

A lightbulb went on. I realized that if I combined my constant desire for communication with my intense need to show my kids what a great mom I am, I could use these crayons for a new and improved purpose- sweet nothings!

I finished bathing Eva, sanitized the pee out of the tub (There's always some in there. I know it.), and scribbled on the wall in my best Mommy Dearest printing...

"What a great Christmas. I have an awesome family, and I love how polite and well behaved my children are, even when it's been crazy busy. You all make me so proud!
Love, Mom"

What a great way to wake up, I thought to myself. A little validation, a little boost to their self esteem, and every day would be a success! When they made their first million, they would not only dedicate the book to me, but 'Nurturing the Successful Adult' would be the first chapter. All about me.

The next morning, when I woke up after Jason left for work, I noticed he had added-

"Love you guys! Have a good day!"

Brilliant! It was so fun and easy that people were nearly COMPELLED to be kind to each other.

Liz chipped in that afternoon with the phrase,

"This is an awesome idea!"

And Squid wrote his name. Although Isaiah hadn't added anything to the wall yet, it was Christmas holidays and he hadn't actually been HOME for the past 2 days. HE could catch up later.

I should have known better.

This morning there was a little Darth Vader face drawn on the wall, with the words,

"Isaiah, Liz, Squid and Eva.... I AM YOUR FATHER." written below them.

Under that, in different handwriting, was the phrase,

"No- you're not."

Then, by a third separate author-


It was beginning to take on the appearance of a bathroom stall in a gas station in Forest Lawn.

I warned the family that the Tadoodles were to be used for good, and not evil, but I can tell I am already fighting a losing battle.

I just now went upstairs to put away the towels, and underneath my inspiring, uplifting message to the kids wishing them a great first day back at school are the words,

"I see London,
I see France,
I see....

I give up.