Archive for the ‘quotidian’ Category

When there are houses in your city that look like this ...

When there are houses in your city that look like this …

... you brave the wrath of a tech-hungry toddler and break out the camera from its permanent hiding place.

… you brave the potential wrath of a tech-hungry toddler and break out the camera from its hiding place.

She has officially joined the ranks of youngsters afraid of Santa (up close, at least).

She has officially joined the ranks of youngsters afraid of Santa (up close, at least).

Lights, lights, lights!

Lights, lights, lights!

Merry Christmas from us and ours!

Merry Christmas from us and ours!

“I love moving!” said nobody ever.

Ashelyn’s eighteen month-day was also our moving day. A blur, if you ask me, mostly because having a toddler underfoot disrupts the packing process something serious. I was still hurriedly boxing up odds and ends while the (wonderful!) guys were loading the U-Haul. On occasions like this organization is my bedrock; this time I felt unmoored.

Anyhow, we survived! Even though Kevin leans toward hoarding and I toward purging.

His brain: Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it, right?

My brain: Argh too much stuff BURN IT ALL!

Of all things, I’d been worried about sorting out the chaos afterward. I’m one of those people who can’t relax until a proper place is found for everything, who unpacks luggage immediately after a trip. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to tackle the job properly with the aforementioned toddler underfoot. The one who insists on “helping.” But grace smiled upon us and somehow we were unpacked and settled in by the end of the week.

Can you spot the busy toddler?

I thought it’d be months before I could breathe easy, so. Phew!


Hello, new neighbourhood!


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!

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Hi, Ashelyn! Show your Uncle D what happened to your blue steel FACE.


It’s turned into a pout! Now, what if I say MOUTH? What expression will you make then?


We still don’t know where you picked that one up. Wasn’t me … but hey, you’re cooperative today! Let’s see if I can actually catch a photo of your BLINK BLINK.


Yay, I’ve been after that shot for ages weeks. Awesome, girl! You rock.

womp womp

Posted on: 20 June 2013

Last night was a bit of a gongshow.

Ashelyn seemed tired, so I put her to bed at 8:30. I don’t fall asleep myself until 1:30. Dumb, yes, but I’m desperately behind on a bunch of translation work (as well as blogging).

3:30AM – Ashelyn wakes with a stuffed-up nose. Her thwarted attempts to nurse wake us both up. Then I notice that she has weird little welty bumps on different areas of her body. WHAT.

Bug bites? I’d brought her to band practice Tuesday evening, and she’d gotten some from the trip. These look kind of similar, more welt-y. Yet nothing had bitten me. Allergic reaction? But to what?

I think of waking Kevin, then think better of it. He has a fully-booked day tomorrow. Wait, that means he’ll be out all day. How am I going to survive on two hours of sleep??

What with all the on-and-off light switching, nose wiping, examining of the mysterious bumps, looking for the snotsucker, finding it in the cloth wipes basket in the living room … I’m wide awake, but what’s worse, so is Ashelyn. Crap. I start to see the light of dawn filtering through the curtains.

5:30AM – Ashelyn is finally asleep again. That means I can sleep too. We sleep till 11AM.

Come “morning,” the bumps seem to have vanished without a trace. (??) But it’s apparent that Ashelyn has a cold. Her nose is a leaky faucet, and she’s coughing. (Incidentally, none of her previous colds ever involved coughing.)

Then, in the afternoon, she has a mini coughing fit while breastfeeding, which causes her to choke, which causes her to throw up on me. And since I can’t shower till evening, I pretty much smell like rancid milk for the remainder of the day.


I’m not unfamiliar with the sentiment that once a child can walk up to mama and ask for milk … it just might be time to move on. Except I never knew you’d be able to do this at 12-13 months. That doesn’t even count as “extended breastfeeding.” Anyway, you show no signs whatsoever of losing interest, and you’re lucky I’m in no hurry to wean. In fact, sometimes you get agitated when I put my boob away, like, HEY! Okay, I know you thought I was finished, but I’M NOT FINISHED!

Breastfeeding doesn’t even keep you still anymore, which IT’S SUPPOSED TO DO. You breastfeed and dance at the same time. You breastfeed and HUM! At the same time. I’m, uhh, glad you draw so much artistic inspiration from this activity.

IMG_3649Since I alluded to weaning: I’m starting to think you need to be weaned off electronics. You find cell phones altogether too fascinating. All our handheld devices now have passcode locks to prevent you from poking around and “restarting springboard” … whatever that means.

You climb up and down stairs with ease. We don’t even have stairs in our house (save the creepy ones down to the basement), so I’m not sure how you could’ve practiced this. You’ve been able to safely slide yourself off furniture for a while now, so I don’t need to worry about you falling off the (guest) bed anymore.

It’s been a long, drawn-out road to walking, but here we are at last. From the first time you stood unassisted (at seven months), to first steps (twelve months), to willingly walking on your feet instead of your knees (a few weeks ago). I guess this means you’re officially a toddler! Where did my baby go? Admittedly things were simpler before you became mobile, but they weren’t half as fun.

It looks like she's upset, but she's actually clowning around.

It looks like she’s upset, but she’s actually clowning around.

You do this fake laugh, and it looks like this:

Sometimes you’ll even point and laugh, as if you’re making fun of something. Once it was a sleeping baby. Often it’s your reflection in a mirror.

Daddy and I were taking inventory the other day, and we realized that you know over twenty words! Some you say:

  • mama
  • hi
  • neh-neh
  • wow
  • 唉呀 (ai ya)
  • 爸爸 (daddy)
  • up
  • baby
  • amen (“ame-yah”)
  • please (“bee”)

Some you “sign”:

  • bye
  • no
  • yes
  • kiss
  • thank you
  • brush teeth

Some you recognize and respond to:

  • face
  • why
  • give
  • nose
  • high five
  • hug

Next milestone after walking: levitation.

You dislike the sensation of grass under your bare feet, and will contort yourself in attempts to avoid such contact.

You and I play hide-and-seek around the house.

I’m pleased that you get along so well with other children. Especially ones who are slightly older, old enough to humour you when you jabber at them unintelligibly. Old enough not to mind when you grab at items of interest in their hands or knock down things they’ve built. Really, though, you’re all friendliness and curiosity.

Daddy has a boxful of wooden stir sticks in his office, and you’re obsessed with them. You like to gather them into bundles and traipse around the house holding as many as you can in your fists, and a few in your mouth. You freak out when some slip out of your grasp, which inevitably happens because your hands are too small to hold that many! So then you crumple to your knees, wailing, “Oh no! Oh no!” Except it comes out more like, “Ah nao!” Have I mentioned that you’re hilarious?

Of course she doesn't mind sitting in the carseat when it's not in the car.

Of course she doesn’t mind sitting in the carseat when it’s not in the car.

Your newest (understood) word is “hug,” and it is priceless. You’ll even pat us affably on the back or shoulder; I didn’t even realize I did that to you until you started doing it to me.