Archive for September 2013

This is what Ashelyn thinks of the sand at the beach:


Note the smirk. She isn’t afraid, and we aren’t torturing her for fun. (That is what she does to me on the regular.) No, Ashelyn is just finicky about strange things, like sand on her bare feet or having her legs covered by a blanket.

Interestingly, her oldest cousin – now five – had the exact same aversion to sand as a tot. Guess this particular quirk can’t be pinned on me!


The house we’ve been living in sold!IMAG0680-1

It’s an old house (in an upscale neighbourhood, surrounded by mansions, but that’s irrelevant to this story). Turns out the previous owners failed to remove the underground oil tank, a remnant of the city’s pre-gas heating days. Before the property changes hands, it had to be done.

So, a few weeks ago, a crew of two started digging up our driveway. (Making lots of noise early in the morning and during Ashelyn’s nap times, may I add.)


Once the oil tank was uncovered, they found a problem. It had rusted and leaked, contaminating the surrounding soil. So they dug a bigger hole:


And carted away the contaminated stuff. That was two weekends ago, the last weekend of August. The hole in our driveway was patched up with new dirt, our front door cordoned off because the front steps had been demolished in the digging process.

That was the beginning of our water woes.

I had a music directorship gig out in Langley from Monday to Wednesday, which left Kevin at home by himself. (Ashelyn comes with me, because she doesn’t sleep for anyone else, remember?) While we’re away he texts me about “the water getting so small,” which in such vague terms doesn’t register with me as significant.

Until I return. Something was wrong with the water pressure, alright, as in there was none. I eke out a shower on Thursday. I run Ashelyn’s cloth diapers through a soak cycle, then a wash and extra rinse, but the water is so scarce I can’t be sure they’re clean. So I leave them in the washer because I don’t know what else to do.

Meanwhile the flow around the house is steadily diminishing. We figure we can hold out until our landlord is back in town on the 31st. Except that weekend is Labour Day long weekend. Our landlord can’t contact the oil tank crew – presumably to ask what they did – until Tuesday. We wash dishes by trickle, and take trickle showers.

Tuesday: No water. By now even the trickle has petered out, and nothing at all issues from the taps. Our toilets no longer flush. I receive notice that a plumber will drop by the next morning at 8AM.

Wednesday: 8AM, no plumber. A few hours later one of the oil tank guys shows up and basically says it couldn’t have been them who messed up our running water. Later in the afternoon someone comes to take a look. He’s joined some time later by two others – plumbers! They poke around and seem to believe the oil tank crew damaged a water pipe, after all. A little more digging is in order, they say, just a matter of getting down to the pipe and repairing it. The plumbers would be here at 8AM the next morning and we should have water again by noon.

Meanwhile, the place is becoming rather unsanitary. We’ve tried to keep on top of the dishes, but it’s a losing battle and fruit flies are breeding in the sink. The bathroom is starting to smell faintly of pee. Soon all three of us will be running out of clean clothes to wear. We invite ourselves to my brother’s for dinner (again).

Thursday: 8AM, no plumbers. They do arrive just after noon. They’re very nice, but unfortunately, because a pool of water has accumulated under the house, they can’t reach the pipes. An excavator is needed to dig a drainage trench. Hopefully that’ll be possible for tomorrow, they tell me. They leave.

And then return, with instructions to do some preliminary digging. They successfully locate the pipe. It seems to be crushed. We’ll be back at 8AM tomorrow morning to fix it, they say. Is that too early?


The offending water pipe, repaired at last.

Friday: 8AM, no plumbers. It’s okay, though; by the time Ashelyn is up for the day they’re here at work. Ashelyn plants herself in front of the big bay window and solemnly assumes the role of supervisor. This involves distracting the plumbers with periodic waving and exclamations of “hi!”

By late morning, WE HAVE RUNNING WATER AGAIN! The plumbers show me the broken pipe segment, sheared off at the juncture where it meets the foundation of the house. Was it the oil tank crew? They seem to think so. At this point I don’t really care because RUNNING WATER. Flowing so happily from our taps and showerheads!

That was a twelve-day saga, for those keeping track. Longer, if you include the oil tank excavation.

Also? Since this story opens with (not) our house being sold, it’s only fitting that I end with the fact that we’re moving at the end of the month. Fun times!

In August, you suddenly and inexplicably developed boob preference. Or should I say boob ADHD? Gone is our alternating one-per-feed system that worked so well for so long. For some reason you now feel a need to switch it up every few minutes, like, A HUNDRED TIMES. (Okay, maybe ten.) I’m decidedly unhappy about this. Not only is it annoying, it usually leads to MORE LAUNDRY.


I think you’ve outdone yourself this past month, both in terms of sugar sweetness and omg-what-kind-of-creature-have-I-unleashed-upon-the-world-ness. You had a will, but now you have an opinion.

You like to snack on raw noodles. I have no idea whether this is in any way good for you. Generally we keep our noodles and pasta out of sight behind cupboard doors. Still, when you see them, you demand one. One noodle, thin and hard and crunchy.

We had a week-long potty strike … a week of laying off and letting you poop in your diaper, because poopy diapers are bad, but still better than constipation. A constipated toddler is not something I wanted to risk having on my hands. Thankfully your potty strike ended as abruptly as it began.

The revolt against diaper changes and tooth-brushing lasted a bit longer. We seem to be over that hump, but it’s a delicate peace, highly dependent on your mood.

IMG_20130806_222644You think soaps and lotions are the grossest things ever, something about the way they smear over skin. Whenever we break them out you make this pained expression, accompanied by an anxious whine. (It’s a sound I might make if I were ever forced to let a spider crawl down my arm.) You’ve even gagged just watching daddy rub on hand cream. Who needs lotion when you’ve got perfect marshmallow skin, right?

Jumping! is your new obsession. You don’t always quite make it off the ground, but you try.


Sorry, did I say “obsession”? Actually, most other things pale in comparison to the intensity of your feelings about music. You like Disney songs – especially the opening African choir part of “Circle of Life” and the segment in “Kiss the Girl” where the tadpoles jump in and out of the lagoon singing “na na na” – and will insist that we replay those same twenty seconds over and over and OVER. You also like Lily & Madeleine. I have video footage of you interpretive dancing in the kitchen to “In the Middle.”

When I sing a line you recognize, you light up and go hunting for the iPod touch, demanding that I play the track. You’ve been known to melt down when a song ends or stops abruptly. (This applies to live music as well, whether it’s band practice or just me tinkering on the piano.)

IMG_3979Your vocabulary has been exploding lately, approaching a hundred words. Notables include open, more, 弟弟, (belly) button, ball, apple, bucket, toes, balloon, ten, done, mine, rice, hair, raining, run, come, chicken, dirty, music, blackberry, water, 哥哥, phone, door, morning, bird, bee, cookie. Your enunciation, however, can require some deciphering. Raining and morning you pronounce perfectly, but blackberry sounds more like “bai-jee!” Oh, and you know your name: “Aye-den.”

When I mentioned sugar sweet, I’m thinking particularly of how, even though you’re increasingly able to play and read independently, you still like to know that I’m there. I’m thinking of how you pat a spot nearby, telling me in unequivocal terms to “[sit] down!” before contentedly going about your business. (You get very upset and scream-y if I try to leave.)

And for the times my brain starts to unravel from hearing the same twenty seconds of the same song over and over again, your spontaneous kisses and 愛你s totally make up for it.