Monday, May 30, 2011

Ok, I finally admit that I need glasses

Three years ago, I had my eyes checked for the first time in about 10 years. Why I had never bothered to go before was...well...simply laziness. I could see just fine, so why spend money for a doctor to tell me that.

But three years ago, I started to notice that I was having trouble seeing (actually, it was when I was trying to take pictures with our digital SLR camera and couldn't figure out why I couldn't get the camera to focus). So I went to the optometrist and sure enough, I needed glasses. I no longer had 20/20 vision.

At that time, I was eight and a half months pregnant and had a two-year-old at home. I just didn't have the time, or the patience, to deal with needing glasses. So I picked a pair that would do from the optometrist's office and was done with it.

And rarely wore them.

Until awhile later, I realized that driving at night was easier with glasses. And then, driving when it was cloudy was easier with glasses. And then watching TV upstairs on the smaller TV was easier with glasses. And then watching TV downstairs was easier with glasses (well at least if I wanted to actually enjoy watching HDTV). And then, driving in general was easier with glasses. And live sporting events and concerts and movies and....

Until very recently, I realized that life in general was easier to see with glasses on. And here's where the problem lay -- I still didn't want to wear them. Why? It's not because I was ashamed, or anything like that, to wear glasses. It's just that I finally realized that the glasses I picked out in a hurry three years earlier weren't all that nice.

In fact, I didn't really like them at all.

And if I didn't like them, I didn't like the way I looked when I wore them. So I didn't wear them.

Except now life was a little blurry.

So after months of procrastinating, I finally went to buy new glasses (and prescription sunglasses too). And now, I actually wear them. I wear them to drive, I wear them to watch TV, I wear them to sporting events, on the subway and to walk Austin to school in the morning. I wear them pretty much any time I'm not just hanging around the house (because really, what's there to see there that I haven't already seen!).

And I don't know why I never bought prescription sunglasses before. I'm so used to the world being blurry when I wear sunglasses that I forgot that it's not always like that!

So here's the new me. Next time you see me, I'll probably be wearing glasses.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kids say the darndest things

Austin is full of questions these days. I thought the why stage at age 3 was bad. This is even worse. He has a question for everything. What are these buttons for? Why is the road two different colours? Why are the street lights still on in the daytime? And so on and so on and so on.

But sometimes, he asks honest to goodness questions. Questions that don't drive me crazy.

The other day, he asked me about banks. We were in the car and I told the kids I had to stop at the bank,deposit a cheque and take out some money. The conversation went like this:

Austin: What's a cheque?

Me: It's money. When people pay me for writing, they use a cheque and then I put it in the bank.

Austin: But why do you put money in the bank, you're supposed to get money from the bank.(In the kids' eyes, you need money, you go to the bank machine, it gives you money. Easy as that.)

Me: (proceeding to explain how banks work by telling him that everyone at the bank has a different number and when I want to put money in, I put it into that number and when I need to take it out, I take it from that number. And I can only take out as much money as I have in the bank. So, I then said (because Austin knows basic math)....)Austin, if I had $10 in the bank and I want to buy something that's $20, can I do it?

Austin: No, you need 10 more dollars.

Me: That's right.

Austin: (Thinking for minute). Mommy, I think you need to work more so that we have more money.

Me: (Trying not to laugh out loud) Why?

Austin: So you can buy me more things.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A matter of national security

When we packed to go to Florida (which is where we were last week), we packed way smarter than when we went to Texas last fall. Last fall, we had it in our heads that less is more -- meaning the fewer things you have to carry, the better.

A good theory, really. And one that should be practiced when travelling. But when you decide to use just two suitcases between four people -- so that there's less to cart around airports -- don't forget that the damn airlines will charge you an extra arm and a leg for going a mere ounce overweight. So, when we flew home from Texas, one of our bags was too heavy and we had to pay an extra $50 on top of the $25 per bag you had to pay when you checked in (again, damn U.S. airlines charging bag fees at check-in.)

So, with this trip, we decided that we would take three suitcases -- two big and one small. And then, we had the brilliant brainwave. We realized, that since we weren't just going to Florida, we were going to Disney World, there would likely be a lot of 'stuff' on the return trip home. Afterall, we were going with grandparents -- and they like to buy things for the kids. A lot of things.

And of course, mom and dad wanted to hit the outlet malls too.

So this brainwave was simple -- pack an empty duffelbag into one of the suitcases. It doesn't cost anything to bring it back full because we're four people, meaning we're allowed to have four checked bags.

And sure enough, having an extra bag was a briliant idea Because we needed it. We had toys, we had dolls, we had Mickey clothes, we had two new pairs of adult shoes each and a bunch of other clothes from the outlet malls.

So, when we were packing up, we used the duffel bag to throw all our dirty laundry in. Then everything else -- the toys, the dolls, the new clothes and shoes, the unworn clothes -- went into the other suitcases. And we balanced the weight almost perfectly.

And when we got home, we unpacked and discovered this in our laundry duffel bag:
Our bag was searched. I'm sure it was random or something. But it's much funnier to think that our dirty laundry is a matter of national security.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Five misconceptions my kids have about me

Recently, it dawned on me that at the ages of 3 and 5, my kids have certain misconceptions about me. So, in honour of Mother's Day, here are five things my kids think they know:

1) My kids think I can sing. Both my kids love singing (and dancing to) kids songs. Learning through song is a big part of how kids grow up, and I find myself singing to them a lot. The other day, I was trying to wake my daughter up by singing our good morning song, when she opened her eyes, smiled and said "again". And I sang it again. It dawned on me, that she thinks I can sing. When in all honesty, I can barely carry a tune. Although how hard is it, really, to carry a tune when the extent of your repetoire is ABC and Wheels on the Bus? I wonder how many more years it'll be before they realize I can't really sing?

2) My kids think I'm crafty. Let me put it very simply. I'm not. Over the years, I've learned how to do simple kids crafts with the help of my dear friend the Internet. 19 times out of 20, a craft we do together was someone else's idea. I just followed their directions.

3) My kids think I know everything. They have questions for everything. I have answers. The relationship is as simple as that. Although at least half the time, I'm talking out of my ass.

4) My kids think that on the mornings they're both at school (2 mornings a week Alex is in preschool and 5 mornings a week, Austin is in Kindergarten), I'm sad all by myself. It takes a lot of willpower every time one of them says that to not tell them that what I do when they're gone is the happy dance.

5) My kids think I'm supermom. Well, at least they get one right.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mom's out there.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Running right down the middle of Yonge Street

I did it. I accomplished my third 10K run in less than two years, finishing with my best time yet -- by far. 1:09:37.4. That's 69 minutes! I was targetting a 70-minute finish, so let me tell you, right about now, I'm pretty proud of myself.
It was an amazing running experience -- and a very different one from running at the zoo. At the Zoo Run 10K, the number of runners is capped around 2,500. Here, it's not. So there were more than 12,000 runners, running down Yonge Street.

At the zoo, after the first kilometre or so, the pack spreads out and you're pretty much on your own -- well at least you are when you're nearer to the back of the pack. At the Sporting Life run, you are always amongst the pack. It is simply a sea of people running straight down Yonge Street -- from north of Eglinton to Richmond, and then across Richmond and over to Fort York to the finish line.
And yet, it was such a rush. So much so that in a way, it seems like a bit of a blur to me. I just ran. And waved to Ryan and the kids who were cheering me on around the 1K mark. And found some friends standing around 3K hoping to catch a glimpse of me (and they did because I started smiling and waving madly). And looked around at the stores as I went by. And looked down and realized, "hey, I'm running right along the yellow centre line -- and I'm at Yonge and Dundas!"

And before I knew it, I was passing Yonge and Bloor and passing Yonge and Dundas and passing the Scotiabank Theatre on Richmond. I was just running. And enjoying every minute of it.

I felt like I was flying. I had no idea how fast I was going, but it felt faster than I'd ever gone before (and it was!). I messaged Ryan as I stopped to walk around 4K and then again around 7K so that he'd know where I was. He and the kids wanted to see me near the finish line, but it's a little more complicated with this race than at the zoo which is contained in a small space.

When I messaged him, I had no idea how long I'd be running, but it didn't feel like it had been very long.

And then, I was there. I could see the finish line, Ryan and the kids were yelling "Go mommy go" and I found a new speed I didn't know I had.
It felt incredible. And, I have to admit, although I complained about having to get up early (I was up at 5:45 a.m.), drag the kids out of bed (we got them up at 6:30 a.m.) and get my butt to Yonge and Eglinton before 8 a.m. on a Sunday, I may just consider doing this run one more time next year.

But first up is the Zoo run one more time this fall. Austin wants to do the kid 500 metre run that follows the 10K, so I figure if we're going to go for that -- I might as well run another 10K.