Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Identity Theft

The problem with the “family” computer is that it really is my computer, in my office— which actually happens to be the family room. Go figure.

I gave up my basement office years ago when Dan started to work freelance from home. But somehow, when he got a job and started going to a real office in a real downtown office tower, I never quite got my office back.

The point being (yes, the point) that many people end up using my computer in the evening because they don’t want to go to their own offices and computers because then they might have to actually go up (Jessie) or down (Dan) stairs.
So. Many different people log on to Facebook from my computer and unless you are very, very careful you just might end up posting under an identity that is different than your true and rightful identity.

Which might not be a problem—unless someone is posting love messages. And the love message happens to read:

Apparently that is the message I sent Drummer Boy, Jessie’s boyfriend, the other night.

I just have one word, and it’s probably the same word he has: YUCK!!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cheap Heat

It was so hot here yesterday! Almost 36C, but feeling like 46C (that's around 96F, feeling like 115F for those of you in the US). We have no airconditioning; I have a contract to finish; and Jessie was supposed to go to a wave pool with the Ys Owl Summer Program, but ended up having to deal with "girl stuff." This left her sobbing in the bathroom at 6:30 am in the morning. "But WHY today? WHY now?"

I totally agreed that it was totally not fair and so vowed, right then and there, that we would throw it all to the wind (or the heat, as the case may be) and just head out to the mall for some shopping, smoothies, and movies. (We are not lucky enough to live on the West Coast, where Beth and her family are wrapping themselves in sweaters to keep themselves warm from the ocean breeze!)

So we spent the day at the mall, as you can see by our ticket stubs. Three movies in one day! I don't think I've ever done that. And it was cheap! First we went to the mall that hosts a Rainbow Cinema (movies just moments past prime and at a cheaper price--just $6 a person). They had a "heat" deal (see "heat" on the ticket stubs?!) that put the movies at half price (okay, we're down to $3 a person). Then I made Jessie use her access pass (an entertainment pass you apply for for persons with disabilities that allows an accompanying person go in for free, which makes it two for one). So the grand total for each of us was $1.50 per movie! We spent $9 for both us to see three movies!

While the day ended up being a bit more expensive (Dan joined us for dinner after work and so had to pay the full $3 for HIS movie tickets), it was still cheaper than airconditioning.  

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nick Jonas Will You Work With Me?

It’s a hot Saturday (the temperature is climbing up past 29° Celsius) and we are on our way to the “hottest” location in town—the Bluesfest. Jessie saved her money and bought 2 tickets to see Nick Jonas (so, I guess she isn’t completely over the Jonas Brothers). Nobody else would go with her, not even Drummer Boy! So guess who’s going.

Dan, because of his tinnitus (so he says, but I’m thinking of making him get a note from the doctor to that effect) gets to stay at home and watch the Mets and the Phillies.

She’s dressed appropriately for a big festival on a hot day in a big field by the Ottawa River, don’t you think? I’ll be slumming behind her carting the requisite blanket (don’t bother with chairs, they don’t work in a moshpit), water, and snacks. I drew the line at carrying the sign she constructed, which read, “Nick Jonas, will you work with me?” (One of Jessie’s aspirations being writing lyrics for the Jonas Brothers.)

I was a little nervous that I might be arrested for cougaring.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Her Way

Jessie has a pretty straight-forward relationship with the GPS.

She hates it.

Apparently it makes me yell and swear.

“Don’t bring that GPS!” she insists if she sees me grab it as we go out the door.

“I won’t go if you bring the GPS!”

This has something to do with the trip to Boston we took last year. How I made her call Dan on the cell phone (he flew into Boston while we drove down from Maine) and say we were going to be hours late because the %^&*$ GPS had me going in the %^&* wrong direction, and now we were somewhere near *&^%(#$ Woburn and &*&^%$@ hours away from ^&*^%$ Boston. ^&*#!!! With another ^&^+#$ for good measure—just in case the cows in the field hadn’t heard me the first time. Jessie didn’t really have to relay this to Dan over the phone, as he was able to hear me perfectly clearly.

However, as I have learned to restrain myself (or how to read the GPS so I don’t end up in a river), Jessie is beginning to see its benefits.

Take, for example, the other morning—the first morning she was traveling to the Y's Owl Summer program completely solo, with no coaching or what I call “invisible support.”

“Invisible support” usually involves me hiding in bushes or sitting in the car around a corner making sure she is getting where she needs to go, but there to intervene or guide if she calls. This is not a strange lurking disease or a bad case of helicopter parenting, but a very well-known tool (at least among some of my acquaintances, which might tell you a bit about who I hang out with)—used by parents of children with disabilities to provide experiences of independence without full frontal pain (such getting hit by a car, for example). I.e., mom’s there if you need her— she appears magically and reinforces your sense of her omniscience, but is not there at all if you don’t need her and you can feel proud that you did it all by yourself!

While we had practiced and rehearsed the trip (me with her; me with her, but distant; me following behind in a car etc…) in all its variations, the trip to Y's Owl is, in all honesty, a challenge. A long bus ride and a long walk down a street with only one sidewalk (and that one under construction). All complicated by the return trip home—which requires the same long walk along the same street with the sidewalk under construction, PLUS crossing (with lights) a six-lane major road. Given that sequencing (not to mention directionality) is not Jessie’s strong suit, there were bound to be some random street crossings leading to unplanned explorations of the city’s nether regions.

So I wasn’t surprised when I got a call from Jessie just at the time that she was supposed to be arriving at the YsOwl site. But I was surprised by her request:

“Mom . . . I think you better bring the GPS!”

And she was right! She was so lost I couldn’t, at first, find her on google maps. (You are WHERE? Okay. Find a street sign and read me BOTH names. Watson Creek? But the only Watson Creek I can find is a greening reclamation project outside the city?!?!)

It turned out she had, as predicted, crossed roads when she shouldn’t have and turned the wrong way down streets. I finally did locate her and told her to stay put until I rescued her. I was no longer interested in teaching, just in getting her to her program on time so I could get back to work (hmmmm, and I wonder WHY I work from home!).

As we drove up to YsOwl Jessie noticed Drummer Boy (also doing the same summer program) at the bus stop, waiting for the others to join him.

“What’s up DB?” she yelled out the window.

“I got lost,” he replied, “I walked the wrong way.”

“Then how did you get here?” I asked, since there was no mother/rescuer/maker of miracles accompanying him.

“Oh, I just know that if I get lost, I re-trace my steps.”

Brilliant boy. And while my daughter may need a GPS to find her way around the city, it looks like she doesn't need one to find a good guy. She's already got one.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dancing Through Canada Day 2011

On Friday, July 1st, we headed downtown just before noon for the Canada Day celebrations and to get Jessie to Major’s Hill Park for the flash mob that she was involved with doing a choreography to “Like a Waving Flag” by K’naan. (Flash mob = group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perfrom an unusual or artistic act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment and/or satire see also random acts of culture for some really fun flash mobs). Emphasis on MOB, as we got stuck on the wrong side of Wellington St. when Kate (hold on to your fascinators everyone) and Will were due to pass by on their way from Parliament Hill to the Governor General’s. I have no pictures of that famous couple because we were squashed on the edge of a steep set of stairs along with 30 million (sorry, apparently the official count was hundreds of thousands) other sweating, red-maple-leaf-bedecked tourists and natives (as in native to Ottawa). Also, I wasn’t really interested in photographing them or getting near them and our brush with the royal couple was purely circumstantial—we were trying to get through the Wellington Street madness to join the Majors Hill madness so Jessie could be on time for the flash mob.

I will be kind to us all and not give you a complete blow-by-blow (let's just say some words were said that were not majestic and we had to hoist Jessie over a three-foot metal-pronged fence, going against the crowd) description of our journey. Suffice it to say that we made it, and the video (see below) is the proof!

Then we went home to gather up our strawberries (what is Canada Day without strawberries?) salad, and elderflower water to join the extended family descending on my friend Cathy’s house (Rebecca and Rachel are her daughters and the stars of many previous posts) for dinner. The gaggle of youth that had collected then headed out for a night of swing dancing hosted every Friday night by the Ottawa Swing Dance Society. Accessorized appropriately with large bottles of water. I do bless the Gray’s every day for their unique and delightfully inclusive group of friends, family, and acquaintances.

Friday, July 1, 2011

DB Usurps Coveted JB (Jonas Brothers) Spot on Bedroom Wall

It has been a whirlwind of weddings (blog to come), flash mob rehearsals (next blog), graduation preparations (blog to come), and summer program registrations (not blog-worthy, except the bus training part, so . . . blog to come) all culminating in Tuesday’s final high school graduation and celebratory dance at Drummer Boy’s house outside the city. All the Storefront students (12 of them) were invited, with the graduates themselves being chauffeured along Ottawa’s renowned canal and out to DB’s house in a white stretch limousine.

The evening, by all accounts, was a wild success. (DB’s mother deserves a commendation and award for making it a very special occasion—something all the students, and parents, will talk about for a long time to come!) When I arrived to pick up Jessie, I found her seated on a chair like a princess, enraptured by the show DB was giving—a hip-hop song and choreography composed for and dedicated to her. His intense performance was matched by her intense response—an electric current that ran almost visibly between them.

When we arrived home around midnight, I sent Jessie up to get ready for bed while I finished loading the dishwasher. Then, I heard a bizarre tearing/whooshing/scrunching noise echoing down the stairwell. Having admonished her to be quiet because Dan was already sleeping, I went upstairs to see what midnight madness was occurring.

Jessie was trying to shove a large amount of paper into her small room-size garbage can.

“Jess! What are you doing?”

“Getting rid of Joe Jonas,” she replied as she waved her arm across the room, calling my attention to the now bare (previously plastered with Joe Jonas posters) wall beside her bed. The noise I had heard was the sound of posters being torn off the wall and squashed into the garbage pail.

“I’ve outgrown the Jonas Brothers. I don’t need them anymore. I have DB!”

I stood there stunned—it was a moment I had always prayed for (the absence of the Jonas Brothers from our basic house d├ęcor and background sound), but now wondered if I was really ready for it.

I then turned and caught her just as she was about to cut into a group grad photo that one of the parents had printed off and given to each of the students when he came to pick up his daughter from Drummer Boy’s party.

“What are you doing?”

“Cutting out me and DB. I’m going to put THAT on the wall beside my bed!”

Jessie has truly graduated.