PREDICAMENT of a MOTHER

Just a skip, hop and roll down from our rock you find yourself in a beautiful park. Playground, spray fountains, picnic tables, grass field, public washrooms- everything you need for a perfect, relaxed play time. Even a river runs through it!

Everything is fine in Happy Land – until this guy shows up!2013-05-08 14.46.42

He parks his truck in the middle of the parking lot and sounds his horn to make sure everybody knows the ice-cream van has arrived!
Pardon, he doesn’t sound his horn, he plays a wonderful, melodious, innocent children’s tune. Like the ones you can listen to at Disney.
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Oh you evil ice cream seller! You put us mothers in an awful predicament: On the one hand, we love our children and want to spoil and protect them. On the other hand, we love our children and want to spoil them BUT don’t want to spend $5.00 on an ordinary ice lolly!
Do you see my dilemma here? On which grounds do I refuse to buy an ice lolly for my son(s)?

What do you think of these ones?
I forgot my money – That’s always a handy one
Next time, it’s nearly dinner time – Try it, not bad if the child is smaller
We have the same ones at home – This is quite logical for us grown – ups. Definitely not for your child if he is hot, bothers and craves an ice lolly now!
Look over there, do you see the beautiful birds? Nice try, Whom are you fooling though?
They are too expensive! The truth is, this answer makes us look cheap in the eyes of our kids. They might even think “Mom doesn’t love me, she doesn’t buy me ice cream.”

Last year I made the big mistake of purchasing five ice creams from him at a grand total of $25.00! I even had to borrow cash from my neighbour in order to pay him! Good grief!
I did it once, I will never do it again!

Whenever we see or hear him today, I all of a sudden become blind and deaf. Thanks to the greedy ice cream man I turned into one cold – hearted, tight assed mother!

To this day I am still complaining about this ridiculous rip-off. My boys have smartened up since then. Is their anything more annoying than listening to your whining mother? I don’t think so! Nowadays my boys know better, they eat ice cream from our home freezer!

LEFT IN THE DARK – during power failure

Living on top of a hill has its advantages; we can’t get flooded, in case of an earthquake nothing can crumble on top of us and – if so inclined – you can use the terrain to get,-and stay in shape. (It took me five months of solid commitment to run or cycle up our incline. Now I can do it with a smile on my face).

The downside of living high? Our Municipality decided we don’t need streetlights or road markings. If you translate this into day to day living it means you will find yourself in a ditch if you get side tracked by deer, coyote or be(e)ar.

Furthermore, our power supplier wanted to save a few bucks and put our power lines above, instead of into the ground. Up here, this causes a problem during stormy weather.

Photo by C. Waschko

Can you see the lines? Photo by C. Waschko

We had one of these days yesterday: At 5.15pm some of the tree branches hit  a power line and just like this, time stood still!

Our boys were in shock when all of a sudden their juice was cut off during their mind craft game. When they realized it wasn’t their mother and one of her tricks to get them outside, they came up with their own, fun alternatives:

C.Waschko

Hockey fun during black-out!
C.Waschko

photo C.Waschko

Mindcraft guys C.Waschko

We had no idea when the power would be back on. Faced with either a one or 10 hour black-out, I wrecked my brain what to do with our half cooked dinner in the oven.

C.Waschko

C.Waschko

The boys refused to eat raw chicken and planned our meal instead:”Let’s have take-away.”

The plan itself was a good one until I wanted to hop into the car: my four wheeler was parked inside our garage. Obviously, our switch didn’t work. Could I have opened it manually? I don’t know. We have something dangling from the garage ceiling, but I ain’t pulling this one!

We had to wait for Dominic and his car. When I told my ever so clever husband about my cooking dilema, he only looked at me with raised eyebrows: “Why can’t you cook dinner? We have a gas stove!” I told you, he is a clever one. Instead of Dominos Pizza it was pan fried chicken with macaroni for us.

Good Gracious me! By force of habit I filled up our garborator with our left overs, like I always do. Again, Dominic watched me: “What did you do this for?. How will you turn it on?” Yukkies, don’t you just hate a smart ass? But again, he was right!

Luckily, I stopped myself in time before I loaded up our dishwasher with dirty, greasy plates- Who needs a machine if you can do it yourself?

The German housewife C.Waschko

The German housewife
C.Waschko

“Quickly boys, finish your homework before it gets too dark. Grab your candles on the way up.”  Last night, we could have been Mormones for all I know.

Candles for us!  C.Waschko

Candles for us! C.Waschko

Instead of our usual evening noises (freezer, TV, music, fridge) we heard laughter and animated chatter. Honestly, I forgot how much our Korean son can talk. I wonder what he will tell me when he discovers I used his chopsticks to light the candles….

All in all, the evening progressed smoothly. The only downside of not being powered up? I missed special agent Jack Bauer. Yes, believe it or not, after months of watching “24” we are still on it.

Instead of dwelling on our missed evening entertainment I checked on the state of our ice cream in the freezer!  Why let a good thing melt away if I can eat it instead?  Sadly, vanilla ice cream is no real substitute for a man (aka, Jack Bauer) but for today it had to do the trick.

With my wonderful banana split in my bowl I starred into our pitch black, quiet neighbourhood – Oh Jack, I miss you so – and scooped myself a second helping!

10.05pm: When was the last time I went to bed this early? I have no idea when the power came back on; It was on when we woke up. But there is one thing I know for sure: magic happened during the black out:

Dominic decided to visit the Fountain of Youth during the night. In the morning he metamorphosed into a cute, soft skinned, blond haired, 10 year old school boy!

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How to Choose a High School

Good grief, where did the time go? Not so long ago I held him in my arms, our second bundle of joy (boy), and in a few months time he will be off to High School.

The school of our choice held his Open House on Tuesday – we joined in and wanted to be reassured of our choice ( i.e. swept off our feet).

The first time I attended an Open House was back in Holland. Over there we had our personal guide, a young men neatly dressed in school colours, clipboard in hand. He accompanied us through the massive building with well rehearsed explanations and answers to our various questions.

That was then, this is now:

Instead of the above we experienced creative chaos – and we both loved every minute of it! Upon arrival we were briefed and instructed on what was going on at what time. Complete with floor plan in hand we set out to find our way through the maze called Garibaldi High School.

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Let me tell you, they wowed us. Our son was so impressed by all the fun, noise, exhibitions and lockers, he thought he landed in an act straight out of “The High School Musical”. Here’s a way to sell your school: sing, dance, be merry and make sure the staff is not only friendly, but ueber- friendly. To me, every Garibaldi student that night did their own personal best to let their school shine in the brightest light!

Have you ever been serenaded by guitar players on route to peek into different class rooms? How about coming across the choir on your way to the lab? If music wasn’t enough to lure us, their chocolate truffles -made by the schools own chef- did it for me. For good measure I accepted the Japanese tea plus a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Our son was also smitten by the idea of getting proper cooking classes (finally!). The teacher let us taste oven warm pretzels and reassured him that “Girls like boys who know how to cook!”  Well put lady!

With our tummies full of food and hot beverages we watched a dance performance, listened to the jazz band,and watched a play rehearsal. In the biology department our junior got acquainted with a stick insect and fiddled vital organs back into the dummy.

Did we have a good time? You bet we did. When we had to leave I was so psyched, I wanted to put my name down to start High School all over again!

You see, unlike Germany or Holland, High Schools in North America are differentiated only by their main focus points e.g. IT, sports, drama and arts, French emersion, and not by their academic levels. We in Germany have three different types of High Schools: One for the academically challenged (Hauptschule), one for the middle of the road attendees (Realschule) and one for the future elite (Gymnasium). A nationwide test at the age of 10 seals our fate as future labourers, office clerks or possible university graduates.

Not here! Our son only has to worry about if he wants to graduate from a High School known for their fantastic arts and drama program! .

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To apply or not to apply depends on two basic, easy questions: How far is the school from our home and is there a school bus on offer?

For us, the answers are ‘not too far’ and yes’! Therefore: He will apply! Why make the decision harder than it needs to be?

 

 

X-MAS JIGGLES of a Different KIND

There are three things I have to accomplish on a daily basis: To make sure my family is well fed, to exercise and to strategically plan my moves on how to convince the book reading population to purchase my book when it is published (January 2013!, See: “There is a Sucker born every Second“).

I enjoy the wonderful feeling of freedom to do whatever I want to do, whenever it suits me. I discovered, To have no schedule is the best schedule to be on!

When I am in need of loud music and human contact I will join a class at our local Leisure Center. For the price of a fancy Starbucks coffee I get a 60 minute workout and can swim at the adjacent pool. I believe this is called ‘prioritizing’.

Today was the day I decided to spice up the daily exercise routine (trail runs, power walks and yoga). Leisure Center, here I come!

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Usually I end up participating in the class with the ill-mannered instructor, wearing her ill-fitting sports bra! Here is a word of warning: Jiggling “twosomes ‘in front of your eyes can be distractive to your workout! It takes all my will power to focus on my foot work and not on the wiggling, jiggling body parts in front of me! And this is said by a woman, imagine what the instructor does to her male participants!  But truth to be told: I haven’t seen any men falling of their step yet…

It was my lucky morning:  I had a new lady in front of me; far less distracting than the other one (only a few tattoos, nothing too fancy) and a new  piece of equipment to concentrate on: The BOSU ball.

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Her routine was easy enough; to keep the balance was a different matter altogether. Stepping on and off the ball reminded me of a bouncy castle, only on a smaller scale.

I loved it!  A few other ladies were new to this equipment as well. Together we embraced the challenge and opportunity to experience and learn something new. It was wobbly at times, so what? We weren’t perfect, but we had fun and we had a good laugh at our own expense.

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From the aerobics room I ventured into the pool area. Before I got into the water I watched a few wheelchair bound teenagers. Their caretakers carefully helped them to get into the specially designed pool.  Another teen was put into a lift to help him get into and enjoy the water. Every member of the group displayed either a mental or a physical disability..

Our Municipality here in B.C. prides itself for the wonderful equipment they offer for our handicapped (better:”challenged”) citizens, All public areas, facilities or buildings are designed to grant easy access for all. The buzz word is INTEGRATION!

I started to swim, my body capable, healthy and strong –  and it hit me like a hammer on the head how ridiculous my thought process really is! I am getting worked up about the jiggling instructor and loosing track of my footing, whereas right next to me are teenagers sitting in a wheelchair because they can’t walk!

Sometimes I really need a slap in the face to realiize how fortunate we are to posess and control a healthy body and mind! Being born free of disability and illness should be the norm, but unfortunately it isn’t.

Being “normal and healthy”isn’t extra-ordinary! Do you know what makes ‘healthy and normal ‘extra-ordinary?  APPRECIATION!

To appreciate our wonderful, capable body regardless of its shape, size or age. And our ability to fully learn and experience something new – even if it’s the small task of stepping up and down a BOSU ball.

FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER

It wasn’t a night to remember, but it was a fun night out!

Three real blondes and one brunette with a combined age of 201 years added more sparkle and energy to our dead Haney pub/club on a Friday night than all of the mid twenties combined!

Ladies, we rock!

Originally we started out as a cinquet, but ended up as a quartet. We lost Blondie No.1 as fast as we uttered “Let’s go dancing”. She couldn’t bear the thought of having any more fun without her husband and called it a day.  (“Blondes have more fun”?) The four of us didn’t express ‘guilt’ at the thought of leaving our husbands behind.  For tonight they were our ‘man-sitters’ and that meant: NO babysitting charges!

Our handsome quartet left for the closest dance floor in town, The Haney:  A pub at day time, a club on Friday and Saturday night.

The HANEY

It’s 10.10pm: The club/pub is still empty, the dance floor hasn’t even been cleared of chairs and tables yet – but the music is good. Top 40 music with NO artificial techno beats. Are we that early? Where is everybody? Right, next door at the “Caddy Shack”! They are holding their “”Rookie of the year Award”!

There is nothing better than a strip – show to lure the paying public from the public house! We are tempted to wander inside but reconsider after we read the cover charge (five bucks!). We all have the same thought: Let’s rather buy a drink for that money than get intimidated by skinny bodies covered in lacy lingerie! This is fine with me, I’ve seen it already. (Check out “Guts & Glory”).

Back inside the pub/club we take matters in our own hands and rock the place! No turtleneck and hiking boots could stop me from joining my enthusiastic, dancing mother friends:

Alana has the groovy, trendy moves.

Jaqui goes with the flow and rocks it any way she likes.

Kerrie gets so carried away that she demonstrates the “litter box” on the dance floor for us!  This lady has no shame: truthfully she admits she stole the move straight from a “Shrek “movie.

(The “litter box”: Drop down on all fours, keep arms extended, toes on the floor. Alternately wiggle and kick one leg into the air. Pretend you are a cat in her litter box).

And for me? All moves are inspired by my former life as aerobics instructor and my German heritance (marching combined with step-touches).

After 20 minutes of enthusiastic exercise we are still the only ones dancing! It gets busier, but still, the youth is hanging, checking their i-phones instead of moving their legs.  We are not the youngest anymore, we don’t have last names sounding like Travolta, Timberlake, Jackson or Usher, but we definitely have their attitude:

We can move like Jagger! I call these creative, innovative dance moves.. Or as Grace Jones said we are “Slave to the Rhythm”. Let me compare this to the young crowd who finally follows our lead. Uniformed in too tight dresses and high heels, they move like one. Nothing fancy here, all rocking to the same, dull beat of the same techno background. I couldn’t help but feeling sorry for them.  They never experienced the innocent disco scene. The great sound of pure, honest music. We danced to the originals. Not to artificially enhanced, computerized, pre-fabricated sounds.

We only know what we know and what we remember. I wonder what these young women and men will remember. Probably only the text messages they received while standing in the middle of the dance floor, moving as one.

I said it once; I have to say it twice: Ladies, we rock! And don’t let any twenty –something tell you otherwise! They might be extra-ordinary in their own way, but we are extra-ordinary on the dance floor! They don’t even know how to do the ‘litter box”, we do!