Weighing In

Anyone have 5 pounds to lose? How about 25? I weigh in on weight in my latest on Stressed But Nice…

Stressed But Nice

In a few weeks, we’re heading down south and taking the kids on their very first trip to an all-inclusive Carribean resort.

Here are just a few of the things on my to-do list:

  • Force the kids to try on all of their summer clothes that I optimistically packed away in September, in complete denial of the fact that in the six months that have elapsed since then, they’re bound to have outgrown everything.
  • Go shopping for completely new summer wardrobes for both kids once I see that not one stitch of clothing I lovingly washed and folded and packed away still fits them.
  • Inventory and set aside each and every item we’ll be packing.
  • Defy the laws of physics by packing said items into two suitcases and four carry-ons.
  • Pray that the Canadian dollar rallies the day before I go to the Currency Exchange and not the day after.
  • Make all of the arrangements regarding…

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The Bobbsey Twins vs. The Ranger’s Apprentice: My How Times Have (Not) Changed!

Read any good kids’ books lately? I have! Check out my latest post on my new blog Stressed But Nice.

Stressed But Nice

A couple of months ago at a school book sale, I picked up a copy of “The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island” for a whopping 50 cents. The familiar purple spine with the drawing of 6-year-old Bobbsey twins, Freddie and Flossie, along with their trusty companion, the shaggy white pup Snap, brought back a wave of nostalgia so strong that I would have been willing to pay at least double that!

When I was a kid, I adored the Bobbsey Twins. I wanted to be the spunky Nan Bobbsey, one half of the 12-year-old twins Nan and Bert, older brother and sister to Freddie and Flossie. (I was perfect for the part, I reasoned, with my dark hair and dark eyes.)

Every chance I got, I picked up another Bobbsey Twins adventure, sometimes, if I was lucky, at the bookstore (keep in mind this was decades before the Chapters mega stores and Amazon.ca), more often than…

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Control Freak, Yes…But a Puppet Master?

Luc didn’t know this about me, so I bet you didn’t either! Check out my latest on my new blog “Stressed But Nice.”

Stressed But Nice

If you asked me who knows me best in the world, I’d have to say Luc.

This year, we’ll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. That same month (October) will mark 22 years that we’ve been together.

Luc knows my routines, my moods and my quirks. He understands my hopes, my dreams and my fears. He loves me. He accepts me for who I am.

He’d also be the first to tell you that I’m a total control freak.

Cases in point:

  • I keep lists of everything: grocery lists, to-do lists, rainy day project lists.
  • I keep an overall budget spreadsheet, I save all of our receipts until the Visa bill comes in, and I enter every last little cash purchase, right down to a pack of gum, into an app.
  • I meticulously keep track of every dentist, doctor and specialist appointment for the four of us, including results and follow-ups.
  • Everything (and…

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Koala Bears and Biopsies

While Me Woman You Man/Me Man You Woman are on temporary hiatus, check out my latest on Stressed But Nice…

Stressed But Nice

Two summers ago at the San Diego Zoo, as we left the Elephant Odyssey and headed for the Outback, my cell phone rang.

It was my doctor’s office, and a chipper Nurse Erin asked, “Hi Jennifer, I was just wondering if you’ve had a chance to book your biopsy yet?”

Um, excuse me? What biopsy?

A concerned Luc dragged the puzzled kids off to see the koalas while I spent a frantic half hour making long distance phone calls back to Ottawa (never mind the data to look up phone numbers online, never mind the time difference, never mind the roaming charges) to find out what the hell was going on.

It’s amazing how an entire zoo can disappear in a second as your entire being tries to focus on what a succession of people on the other end of the line thousands of miles away are telling you. Suspicious spot…

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Time for a New Start…

To everyone who has enjoyed Me Woman You Man and Me Man You Woman over the past few years…no we haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. Luc and I are doing well. Life has just gotten in the way of us maintaining our parallel blogs with any sort of consistency.

In the meantime, I’ve begun my own new blog. You’ll find it at stressedbutnice.WordPress.com. I hope you’ll come have a read.

Take care,

Jen

No! Not My Eyes!

In my 45 years, I’ve endured any number of uncomfortable, unpleasant and undignified medical tests and procedures. Obviously I would have preferred not to, but since it was always in the name of fixing, removing or preventing a health issue, I could eventually talk myself into and through it.

But when it comes to corrective laser eye surgery, I’m having a whole lotta trouble convincing myself to voluntarily lie down on a table to let someone affix a suction ring to my eyeball and slice a flap from my cornea.

I’ve worn glasses for 34 of my 45 years. Contacts no longer work for me. My prescription is so strong that even the thinnest of featherlite lenses is of Coke bottle thickness. I have dents behind my ears and divots on the sides of my nose from the constant pressure. My glasses are the first thing I put on and the last thing I take off every day. I’m one eye chart line away from needing bifocals. I have every reason to want laser eye surgery and, as I found out at my consultation last week, I’m a perfect candidate.

So what’s holding me back?

  1. I’m basically a chicken. Several years ago when I needed to get my four wisdom teeth removed, I cancelled and rescheduled the procedure three times before they promised me a general anesthetic so that I’d able to go through with it. I’m not sure the 1 mg of Ativan the eye centre is promising me is going to do the trick.
  2. I know too much. When Luc had his laser surgery 8 years ago I watched the whole thing on the handy-dandy big screen TV in the waiting room. His eyeball was the size of my head. There were puffs of smoke (which the good eye centre people swear is simply vapour from the laser but I know was his vision going up in flames). It was not pleasant to witness, let alone imagine doing to myself. Some people like to be fully informed ahead of time, but I’d rather crawl into an MRI machine not knowing just how loud and claustrophobic it’s really going to be (been there) or consume a radioactive cocktail not knowing exactly how gross it will taste going down (and back up again) (done that) than read the leaflet or watch the play-by-play in high definition beforehand.
  3. It’s expensive. As we’ve talked about before, Luc and I have very different spending habits. And this definitely falls into the big-ticket-item category. Especially because we don’t have that kind of money lying around. And the van needs repairs. And we want to go on a winter holiday with the kids. I could totally talk myself out of this based on the cost alone.

But here’s the thing. Luc swears that having laser surgery was the best decision he ever made. And he has an endless list of reasons why I SHOULD go through with it. No more glasses or contacts. No more fogging up in the winter, wiping off raindrops in the spring and fall, and constantly pushing my glasses back up my sweaty nose in the summer. No more uber-expensive prescription lenses and cheap snap-on sunglasses. No more nose prints after a kiss or readjustments after a hug. Overall improved quality of life. Being able to go snorkeling on our upcoming holidays and actually SEE the fish!

Plus he’ll hold my hand. Reassure me. Look after the kids and the household while I recover. Slap it on the Visa, earn Aeroplan points for our trip, pay it all off in the long run, and help me get on with what he and the good eye centre people promise will be a better, clearer life.

He has an answer for every argument I put forward. He has the appointment booked for me. He has the credit card in his hand ready to put down the deposit. It’s a gift he wants to give me.

I have 24 hours left to make my decision. And if I don’t do it now, I know I never will.

I know I CAN. If a doctor told me I’d go blind if I didn’t, I’d psyche myself up, lie down and let him have at it. The big difference is that this is a choice. And one I’m finding exceptionally hard to make.

I’ll let you know if next week, I’m writing this blog with brand new eyes.

Read what Luc has to say about laser surgery.

The Elusive Throw Pillow Equation

Did I mention I’m addicted to decorating magazines?

I only subscribe to two, but every time I take the kids to Chapters, stock up at Costco, pop into the pharmacy or check out at the grocery store I inevitably find myself picking up, flipping through and buying another.

And the one piece of advice that they all repeatedly offer as the simplest way to update a room (besides a fresh coat of paint, which, seriously, decorating magazine people, is NOT AT ALL SIMPLE) is to change out your throw pillows.

I love their photos of accent chairs with a one-pillow pop of colour. But I especially adore the pictures of couches you just want to sink into, artfully piled with an assortment of throw pillows in various colours, patterns, shapes and styles that somehow works. This is the look I’d love to replicate on my own sofa.

Two problems:

  1. Luc has issued an official Throw Pillow Limit of two, deeming any more than that to be excessive, unnecessary and irritating.
  2. I totally suck at it.

You’d think that with my extensive informal design training (which has cost me as much in glossy mags as my university education) I could accessorize a simple chocolate brown microfiber couch, but I just can’t pull it off.

I started with the two throw pillows that came with it. Yes, I know. If they came with the couch they probably go with the couch. But the brown shot through with a subtle line of blue was just too, well, subtle.

So I tried the cream and brown floral cushions I’d saved from our last sofa. But they just looked dated.

A quick trip to Home Sense and I was back with a beautiful new pair of cream, blue, grey and mocha ikat cushions. We kept them on the couch for awhile, but I knew from the beginning that the scale was all wrong. And I quickly realized that no matter how popular that pattern currently was, I’m just not a boho-chic kinda girl.

The graphic lattice ones were too stark.

The watercolours too washed out.

The stripes too stripey.

Yes, this has been going on for a while.

I’m pretty close with the latest set: a soft cream, blue, grey and green abstract floral that perfectly matches the two framed prints behind the couch. But they’re stuffed with feathers and no matter how many times I fluff, reposition and karate chop the tops of them, they squash down into little lifeless floral clumps the minute you sit anywhere near them.

And what of my cast-offs, you ask? Well, they’ve all made their way into the basement playroom, where they usually languish all over the floor. But at least they get regular use for sleepovers and forts.

Except for a few weeks ago. After reaching my “It’s the basement and I don’t really care how messy it gets because nobody ever goes down there anyway” threshold, I yelled at the kids that if they didn’t do some serious tidying soon, I’d pick up every last toy myself and throw them in the garbage.

An hour later they called me downstairs. The basement floor was spotless. And our old sofa was artfully piled with all of my throw pillow rejects. What should have been a jumbled mess with their varying colours, patterns, shapes and styles, somehow worked.

It was a masterpiece, worthy of a two-page spread.

Tomorrow I’m heading back to Home Sense, Throw Pillow Limit be damned.

This time, I’m taking the kids with me.

And I’ll probably pick up a magazine on the way home…

Read what Luc has to say about throw pillows.