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Feb. 25th, 2012

My mom, for some reason, picked up this antique mirror that she saw at a garage sale some weeks ago. It's like six feet tall and only cost about $10. She has a thing for big old mirrors. Anyway, we have nowhere to put it so it's been sitting against a bookshelf in our living room for a while. It's quite heavy so it's not going anywhere.
Earlier this week Tempest and baby were playing on the floor a few feet from it. I told Tempest to move away from the mirror because it made me nervous, but naturally she wasn't listening. I was in the dining area (about 10 steps and a couch away) talking with my mom when baby suddenly took an very unexpected unassisted step (at eight months?!) toward the mirror and fell into it with her hands out, pushing it back just enough to unbalance it. It fell forward. This thing weighs about 25lbs. It felt like it was falling in slow motion. I could see every millimetre and all I could think about was the kitten I had as a small child that went into a coma and died following a small plyboard falling on it in exactly the same way after I'd leaned it up against the wall as part of a "kitten maze". I screamed and ran went as fast as I could, but I wasn't fast enough.
Without a second of thought Tempest leapt forward and grabbed Zephyra, pushing her to the ground and covering her body with her own. The baby swing we had sitting in the corner slipped when Tempest slid forward and fell before the mirror, causing it to hit that first and slow the fall. The worst of it hit the swing, then slid sideways and gave Tempest a hard bonk to the head… though not near as hard as it could have been. I pushed it back up against the wall, grabbed Z and moved Tempest out of the way to check her. While certainly shaken up, she was completely unharmed: she didn't even get a bruise. The worst injury was Zephyra's tiny little blue bruise on the centre of her forehead from when Tempest landed on her to protect her. Neither of them cried for more than 30 seconds before moving onto something else, completely unfazed by how close they came to being very seriously injured.

Tempest is a big girl; even if she'd taken the full force of the mirror she would have walked away with a mild concussion at the worst. Baby wouldn't have fared nearly as well.
My heart was pounding for the next hour, and yet I was also filled with this incredible sense of pride over Tempest's actions. She didn't think for even a second before she did it, and even though the mirror hitting the baby swing first is what made the difference; it had not have been there, Tempest would have saved her little sister from very serious injury. That mirror's weight is no joke.

I moved it into a secure closet after everyone had calmed down. I couldn't stop thinking about Tempest, and it made me see her in a different light. In the last few months there have been a lot of small, seemingly insignificant changes to her behaviour. It's like I'm actually witness to her growing up. It sounds really ridiculous to say aloud - I mean of course I'm watching her grow up - but I mean it in a sort of time-compressed way. She's always been a little girl in a lot of ways, and she still is, but so much of what she's doing lately is really… old. Or mature, at least. And then there's all the little signs like her complaints about her nipples hurting and the weird mood swings and the sudden embarrassment at school over some older kids accusing her of "being in love" with a boy down the road that she's been friends with for a few years. Suddenly she cares more about other people than herself, she goes out of her way to make people happy and she has this weird aura of maturity about her that wasn't there before. It's weird and wonderful.
Yesterday afternoon we came home a little late from picking Xan up (they go to the same school, but his class gets out fifteen minutes earlier) and she was sitting in the living room watching TV and folding Zephyra's diapers without any prompting whatsoever. When she arrived home and found we weren't back yet, she just decided it would be a nice thing to do to surprise us. WHO IS THIS CHILD?!

Zeph is also growing at an alarming rate. At eight months she's crawling very well on her tip toes and goes extremely fast, cruising easily, taking a few unassisted steps toward things she wants, has temper tantrums over being told "No" or having something taken away, suddenly started eating food (applesauce and rice, mostly), recognizes a few signs, says, "a-dah" when she wants Curtis and plays peek-a-boo. Three weeks ago NONE of these things were happening.
She's also ridiculously clingy. We've never had clingy kids, so having one this attached is…weird. And annoying. I mean sometimes I love it: she'll be sitting with me all afternoon and lay her head down on my chest while singing quietly to herself, stroking my breast or my face and smiling all the time… but it gets old after the fourth or fifth hour of that. She never gets tired of it. I can spend an ENTIRE DAY with her in bed, or on the couch, or sitting somewhere else with her literally doing nothing else but quietly sitting next to me. That's it. I'll offer her toys and shit but she'll be content to just sit there and bang on my chest, occasionally nurse, chat and play peek-a-boo. If I even TRY to put her down she'll immediately start crying and waving her hands for me to pick her back up again.
She has her down time every so often - but not often enough. I'm so used to kids that are REALLY independent and she's… not. I can barely ever put her down without her crying and she makes strange like whoa. Is there a button I can push to turn this off? I guess this is another example of nature over nurture: I've raised three kids exactly the same and yet this one is the only one that gives a fuck if there's more to mom than a pair of breasts.

I've been completely consumed with personal shit and it's made me not want to sit down to write, or work, or do anything. My days are completely filled with either sitting with baby or trying to pretend I don't have any problems.
The house stuff still isn't worked out. We're trying as hard as we can to not lose this place… it would kill me to move. I think weight be able to keep the house if we go onto a ridiculous budget and cut everything. EVERYTHING. It's not as bad as it sounds: we were only keeping our phone line and cable for mom, because she demanded them, so cutting those off is actually a huge relief… the only thing that worries me is Hydro (power: heat, hot water, etc) because they've mysteriously raised their rates by about 150% in the last few months - and it isn't just us - and there has been no explanation as to what the fuck is going on. Our last bill was literally $200 more than it usually is. We paid it quietly, but the more we asked around the more we found this was the case with everyone… even Curtis' work, who got a bill $500 more than they've EVER had even though there's been no change in their usage and no reason for the rate hike. No one seems to have any idea what's going on with that fucking company so that's all the more reason to be worried about it. I fucking hate Hydro. So much.

Anyway, as a result of all this our lives feel like they're in a state of flux. Nothing feels very secure and it's sort of like we're floating around waiting to land on something. It makes it difficult to make decisions about anything. Right down to what to have for dinner. What's Mac N' Cheese or cheeseburgers if we MAY NOT HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE, FOR FUCKS' SAKE?! Adulthood was supposed to be easier than this.

Speaking of housing bullshit. My mother is moving into this really beautiful assisted living facility that's about two blocks from our house. I toured it with her and it's really gorgeous. The place is set up like a community and they have events four times a day, and bigger ones several times a week. There's all sorts of social goings-on, classes, seminars and regular bus trips around… the rooms are lovely and she has a corner unit so it has extra space and gorgeous light. There's muffins and coffee every morning and if you choose to go down to the dining hall for lunch and dinner you buy in (it's $7 or $10 a meal) but each room has a full kitchen. They have full home support and a Life Alert program for falls and emergencies, and people come in and check on you and clean your house every day so you're never lonely. It's really cool. Plus it's so close that the kids could easily walk to her house from school on days they want to spend time with her. Tempest already has a reservation to attend a Bingo night.
So anyway, the problem: she's all set to go in and has all the paperwork filled out so we thought it would be smooth sailing. Mom's on permanent disability for obvious reasons, and if you've ever been on disability, you know that it is not exactly in the business of helping people. It's in the business of making your life as difficult and humiliating as possible while you begrudgingly get support and desperately try and find ways off it (like selling drugs, or prostitution… which I know many people have turned to in effort to get away from them. THAT'S HOW AWFUL THEY TREAT YOU).
ANYWAY… during an interview mom mentioned that they have meals in the area if you want to buy them, and they give you a muffin and a cup of coffee every morning if you come downstairs. The worker replied, "Oh so they include your meals with your rent?"
"No," my mother answered. "You have to pay for all your meals."
"But they have food in the building."
"Yes. That you have to pay for."
"So it's included? This service?"
"It's part of living there. But I have to pay for it if I want it. It's cheaper for me to buy my own food and make it. In my kitchen. Which is in my house."
"Right," said the worker. "So since they cover your food in your housing, I'm going to cut your monthly services down by $300. You don't need food money anymore." Then she stamped the papers and sent mom on her way. If she cuts her cheque, she can't afford rent… OR food. Mom explained over and over and over again but the worker just kept saying the same thing back: "It's a service that's included therefore you don't need food money."

Devastated, terrified and humiliated, mom went to the facility coordinator and talked with her about it. And cried a lot. She was so horrified at what disability did to mom that she said she'd cut her rent down to whatever they gave her minus $100 so that she could, you know, survive. Thank god for that.
Disability then starts the whole paperwork for the damage deposit and sets up a payback schedule for that, gets the mailing requests filled out to begin next month and then tells mom that if she needs help moving (which she does) that they'll pay for a moving service only if she calls all over town and finds a whole bunch of quotes, gets the companies to fax them the quotes in extremely overcomplicated and detailed ways, and then they go through them for the next 10 days and find out how to spend the minimum amount of money and see if someone will help her with that.

So mom was on the phone for hours every day calling various moving companies and explaining her situation. She has one room to move, and three pieces of furniture - mostly its just boxes - but because of the timing restrictions we can't help her with any of the big stuff. Curtis and Brother are both working and my dad isn't here. Plus we have nothing big enough to haul it.

Finally she gets all the quotes sent in and disability tells her that she has to wait 10 days to get a response. That's cutting it extremely close, especially since she's been working on this since late January and it's not like they haven't known all this stuff and could have helped her out earlier… but whatever.
Yesterday she still had no formal anything from disability, plus her forms never arrived in the mail like they should have (including her monthly cheque, if you can call it that after they cut it down so far she can't afford to even buy milk and cereal) and the moving companies needed a reservation to continue, so she called to check in. They put her on hold for almost an hour, and when she finally got through and asked for an update she was told there was no record of anything.
They "lost" her request for moving. They "lost" all the forms the moving companies sent them. They "lost" the quotes, "lost" her information on the damage deposit, "lost" two months worth of work with the facility… but were somehow now sending all of her mail to the room she's set to move into. Which she can't pick up because she doesn't live there yet. And now they won't reverse it, or resend anything, because somehow this is all her fault and they have no requests or record of anything so clearly she has to figure it out and take some responsibility for her life, geez.

What, and you mean you have four days to figure everything out? Sorry, you're SOL. Click.

… Disability in B.C. everyone! They're there to help.

When baby won't let me do anything but cuddle with her I pass the time with TOR or Netflix (depending on the type of cuddling she requires). The other day I downloaded "La Belle Endormie" because [ the preview ] made it look like this wicked art house film where they take the "sleeping beauty" narrative and put it in the context of a woman's sexual awakening through a dream world. Sounds cool, right? The preview was better. Maybe I'm not intelligent enough to get this woman's films, which is possible because apparently she's famous for being awesome, but holy fuck this thing felt like it was a bunch of pieces haphazardly put together. I spent two hours watching that and still don't understand what the fuck just happened. Most of what is in the preview, and implied by the preview, happens in the last fifteen minutes of the film. And even then it makes no sense.

In related movie happenings, we got our hands on six or seven screener films as we have a family friend who is an Academy Awards judge like person (seriously - I'm not exaggerating). She was sent a whole slew of stuff that's not released yet, like Tinker Tenor Soldier Spy and Albert Nobbs and Young Adult and The Adventures of Tin Tin. There's a few more but I can't recall the names. I took home Albert Nobbs because ever since I heard about it I've been dying to see it. We haven't watched it yet but I hear it's good. Everything but that one has a plain black cover with a circle of stars that says, "For your consideration in every category". It feels kind of naughty to even be watching them at all. All the more reason to see every single one. We never watch TV or go see movies anymore, so we're completely out of touch with what's going on. I don't even know what's in theatres right now. The other day I saw a list of the top ten most popular songs on a local radio station and I didn't recognize a single, solitary one of them. I feel like an old hermit.

** I almost forgot to add this. I took a video of Z playing peek-a-boo late the other night. When I played this for her, she played peek-a-boo with herself. You already saw this if you're on my [ Facebook Page ], where I often post bits and pieces throughout the week.

Xanism of the Day:
Xan came home from school this last week, very excited, talking all about the 100th day of school celebrations.
"We had cupcakes! And then we had a walk! And then we played games! And we even had a scab hunt!"
"A scavenger hunt, Xan. It's 'scavenger hunt'."
"That's what I said."

Quotes of the Day:
While walking to the store Curtis and I were discussing finances when he suddenly interjected, "Ugh. Is it that time of the month?"
"No…?" I answered, confused. "It was a few days ago though."
He scoffs. "I meant for paying bills. What were YOU thinking about?"
"That would make a brilliant marketing campaign for some bill payment company."
Without missing a beat Curtis adopts a suave demeanour and begins reciting a make-believe commercial: "Does your bank account have that not so fresh feeling? Is it that time of the month?… for bills, that is! Go with our bill payment company. Deposit the money and we'll pay your bills for you. You won't even notice 'that time of the month' anymore… it's like it's not even there!"
"Now I can do all the things I've always wanted to!"
"Like horseback riding and swimming!"
"Wearing white capris and dancing on the beach!"
"… for no reason whatsoever!"
After a moment of thought, he adds, "We need to get Isaiah Mustafa for this campaign. You know, 'Look at your bank, now look at mine, now yours, now back to mine. Your bank account could be as good as mine, but it isn't.'."
"Or maybe George Takei? 'With this company I can finally enjoy other activities during that time of the month!'"
"Oh myyy."

Along a similar line, Curtis came home from work the other day with his index and middle fingers of his right hand dyed a deep red colour. He said he got a hole in his glove while preparing beets and some of the juice leaked in and dyed his skin, but he didn't notice until after his shift ended and he took off the glove. A coworker saw it first and pointed it out to him.
"What the hell happened to your fingers?"
He looked at them for a moment and casually responded, "Heather's on her period".

Oh menstruation jokes, you will never not be funny.

Links of the Day:
RIP: The Death of the sneak peek and proofing gallery - For photographers: An interesting take on how photography is changing, and why it's better to lean toward more traditional sales to be successful in the business.
Interrupted sleep may be the best kind - New research points that the 8-hour stretch that we've all been told is best for us, actually isn't good or natural for our bodies.

PS. My layout has fucked up my ability to leave comments and click on them from the main page. After a long and exhausting (and COMPLETELY unhelpful) conversation with tech support, I've decided to redesign my entire journal again to get around this. However, I barely have the time to go pee these days with baby the way she is so this may take a while. In the meantime I'm just going to have to shut off my layout and revert to something simple so it won't screw up. So it'll look boring for a while.


Feb. 28th, 2012 03:07 am (UTC)
The steps thing has only been once or twice, and she won't walk if we hold her hands yet so she has a while to go I think... but she gets really excited sometimes and will just suddenly take a step or two out and fall on her butt. It's pretty insane.

re: disability
Fuck them. Seriously, fuck them. I hate everything about them. They aren't in the business of helping people.

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