Category Archives: Bearded Husband

Tree or Bush

Remember that game we used to play? Tree or Bush? You took a blade of grass that had gone to seed, asked your friend “tree or bush?” and then proceeded to do the opposite of their response.

“Ha, ha, ha, NOPE – bush.” “You guessed BUSH? It’s a tree, sucker.”

It was so ridiculous, but so satisfying. Oh the games kids play. And then we move into adulthood and leave childish things behind.

But then there was that time that my husband decided to plant a sapling that had randomly taken root on his mom’s balcony.

“Check it out! It’s a Maple tree! And it just spontaneously took root in an empty cinder block.”

Readers, to be fair and accurate, I was on board with the transplanting of said maple sapling into our newly-purchased back yard. We had just taken ownership of our first home and were anxious to put our own mark on it. Sure, let’s find a spot and get some shade going.

We couldn’t believe how quickly it took root. It was so hardy. So strong. So bendy. Wait, bendy? Are trees supposed to be that flexible? Nevermind, we were new to this whole tree-planting thing.

A few weeks passed and I started to doubt the veracity of the claims that this was a maple. Or a tree. But my husband would not be deterred.

“I don’t know, it grew awfully fast, almost LIKE A WEED.”

Bearded Husband replied, “I’m sure all saplings grow quickly, plus we have a lot of sunlight.”

“Those leaves don’t look very maple-y.”

BH: “It’s just a variation of maple, they all have their own look.”

“Isn’t it supposed to have bark?”

BH: “You might have a point.”

“It’s gone to seed, like a dandelion. A very tall dandelion.”

BH: “I’ll get the shovel.”

We laughed at our gardening misstep as we removed this very tall transplanted weed from our lawn. Weren’t we so naive to think a maple tree just appeared in a block of cement? And then we planted it? Adorable. What a rookie mistake.

Ha, ha, ha. Newbies. Any expereinced gardener/homeowner wouldn’t make that error in herbology.

Nope, definitely not. Especially a second time.

Fast forward eleven years to our second home. We inherited a nicely landscaped yard. All we had to do was weed and tidy until we were ready to put our own stamp on it. So weed and tidy we did.

“I think that one tree at the side of the house isn’t a tree. I think it’s a weed.”

BH: “It’s ten feet tall. It’s a tree.”

“It looks a lot like that so-called tree we planted at the old house.”

BH: “Quiet. It’s fine”

“Is it that you just don’t want to dig it out and dispose of it?”

BH: “SHHHH.”

I conducted a highly scientific survey of my social media contacts and three of them agreed it was a weed, so I hacked that invader down.

One time is a rookie error, two times is lack of memory, but three times isn’t possible.

Right?

Last month I was trimming near the side of the house and discovered a green, leafy creature resembling those dancing air things you see on car lots. 

“We have one of those aggressively tall weeds again.”

BH: “Our neighbour has planted a lot this spring, I think it’s hers.”

“ONLY IF SHE PLANTED MAGIC BEANS.”

BH: “SHE HAS A REALLY GREEN THUMB.”

The weed-tree and I are presently at a stand-off, mostly because I’m afraid it has become self-aware. It knows too much. It’s Little Shop of Horrors, but the plant knows where I keep my secret stash of M&Ms and that I’m the one who finished the Doritos. 

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What Cup?

Eight days.

EIGHT DAYS.

I thought perhaps they were playing a game of chicken with me or had colluded to see how long I could stand it. But I was wrong.

After eight days every male in this household said, “what cup?”

But I’m getting ahead of myself, especially if you weren’t following along during the whole debacle.

What Cup? I don’t see any cup

One morning as I tidied up the breakfast mess I noticed a blue plastic cup under the slight overhang of kitchen cupboard. This also happens to be the highest traffic area in our house. My first instinct was to pick it up and return it to its home with the other colourful kids dishes (after a wash, of course, rest easy, it’s safe to eat here). But then I thought, “No.”

“No, I’m tired of picking up random things the boys leave around. No, I have gathered up enough dirty socks left on the coffee table, Lego on the bathroom counters, hoodies on the steps. Enough. The boys have walked by that spot no less than six times already without bothering to pick it up, so I won’t either. Because principles.”

And there it sat.

One full day.

Two days. That’s when I started to document and fully committed not to pick up that cup.

Clearly visible to the naked eye.

Clearly visible to the naked eye.

It hurt. Trust me. It took all my self-restraint not to pick it up. BUT I HELD ON.

Walking by like there isn't a cup RIGHT AT HIS FEET.

Walking by like there isn’t a cup RIGHT AT HIS FEET.

My Facebook community started chiming in, with some asking for my home address to take care of this business themselves. But I WOULD NOT BE MOVED.

And there it sat, collecting dust and missing its cup friends.

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

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They were all within ten feet of me when I set up this shot.

Day Six my friend was over for coffee and in less than ten minutes of being here she said, “hey, this was on the floor” and had the cup in hand. To which I gently replied, “PUT THAT CUP BACK I AM DOING SOME SERIOUS SOCIAL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH.” She may or may not return.

By Day Seven I decided to change things up a bit. So I added a Hershey Kiss. I thought this way I would know if the males in this house truly didn’t see the cup or were choosing to ignore it. And it was American Hershey, so you know I meant business.

Here, boys, come and get the shiny chocolate.

Here, boys, come and get the shiny chocolate.

Nothing.

The cup remained.

Some friends on social media suggested upping the ante, perhaps with cash. My plan was to add something every day until it was discovered. So on Day Eight I included a loonie (that’s Canadian for dollar). Once again, I did this within the presence of my family. We left for the walk to school and then – EVERYTHING CHANGED.

Plot Twist

I returned home with Little who said he was thirsty. As we took our shoes off I said I’d get him a drink in a second. He was only steps ahead of me. “That’s ok. I found a cup right here!” he chirped and held up The Cup.

“Where did you get that?” I asked him, playing it cool.

“On the floor,” he replied.

“Was there anything else on the floor?” I inquired.

“Nope.”

Oh, the game had changed. Who could have removed the candy and money, but left the cup? My number one suspect was Bearded Husband. I determined I would not give him the satisfaction of a text asking him, oh, no, two could play it this way. I would Wait. Him. Out.

And then the game changed again. My friend texted to tell me that a coworker strode into the staff room, walked up to BH and said, “JUST PICK UP THE CUP ALREADY” and then walked out. BH was perplexed and our friend told him I was doing a social experiment and not to worry about it. “Was I supposed to ask her about her hair or something?” he asked.

No.

So it was not Oblivious Bearded Husband. The mystery prevailed. I thought I’d have to give up, but not before interrogating all the other males in the house first. Denials and confusion abounded.

Cup Resolution

Finally at dinner time we brought our various stories together and I explained what had been going on. “What cup?” all five of them asked. ALL FIVE OF THE PEOPLE WHO WALKED BY THAT CUP FOR EIGHT DAYS. Except Little changed his story and said, “Oh, yeah, the blue cup on the floor that had the money and the New Work chocolate.”

Hold on, New Work chocolate? Coin? This kid knew more than he was saying.

“Did you see those things in the cup?”

“Yup.”

“Where are they?”

“I don’t know. Where are they?” he replied. Then he seemed to have a flash of memory and started opening kitchen drawers. After a few minutes of baffling conversation where he repeatedly asked me where he had put them, we concluded that he snagged the treats, hid them, then forgot their location before he even asked me for that fateful drink. All because he wanted to eat the chocolate himself.

I surrender.

If you need me, I’ll be sobbing quietly as I pick up random game pieces and underwear off the basement floor.


Tell Us Where the Clicker is and No One Gets Hurt

No one is in trouble, we’re not angry, Mommy and Daddy just really need to know where the remote is. Think hard, boys. It’s the tiny, lightweight, easily lost clicker.

Ok, close your eyes and concentrate. You were all sitting on the couch, remember? Then I came in and said it was time to pause the movie. Who got off the couch first and where was the clicker? You think you had it in your hand? Left or right? How certain are you? And then you walked where? And what were the rest of you boys doing exactly? 

So no one can remember for certain that the clicker left the coffee table yet it isn’t there now. Let’s play a fun game I like to call “Everyone Empty Your Pockets.”

Alright, alright, *deep, calming breath* if it’s not anywhere we can see it, it must be in or under something. Everybody up, I’ll check the couch, you boys check the toy bins.

Thus began The Great Clicker Hunt of 2014.

Toy baskets were overturned and the contents sorted. Repeatedly, you know, in case we overlooked something. We found an incredible selection of old elastics, Happy Meal Toy components, and random bits of Lego, but no clicker.

Next we launched Operation Couch Query. After reaching into the cracks and crevices and discovering enough cereal and pretzels to make lunches for the next day for the entire family, no clicker turned up. We decided to be more thorough. Bearded Husband stepped on the springs while I bravely reached even farther into the depths of the chesterfield. This time I came upon eight Hot Wheels cars, more snack food, two allen keys (what?), and a small piece of my sanity. Since we were being thorough and still clicker-less, I took a few moments to vacuum up the shame-filled couch.

Our hopes would rise and fall in rapid succession as our offspring discovered treasure they’d long forgotten resulted in me saying through gritted teeth, “No more saying ‘look what I found!’ unless it’s that clicker. I don’t care how excited you are that you found Gary from the Guess Who game, my heart can’t take it.”

It was there one minute and gone the next. Everyone was perplexed. We reviewed our search grid looking for oversights. The only thing to do was double check. And bribe the children. We offered a $5 reward to the son who had any information leading the safe return of the clicker and ice cream for the whole family to celebrate its return. This infused the search with a new energy and children scattered throughout the house and hunted with gusto.

We had narrowed down the possible locations based on the testimony of our eldest son. He was “pretty sure” he had the clicker in his hand when he stood up to move his army men. But his memory is fuzzy after that. Where else could it be except the couch.

Despite our thorough ferreting around we concluded it must be there, we just needed to look deeper. Brace yourselves, dear reader, this is where things get real.

We turned the couch on its side and shook it. Yes! I hear that rattle, too. Out came the crowbar, screwdriver and flashlight. We took the cover off the bottom and delved into the underbelly of the sofa. Nothing.

I wouldn't lie to you, here's proof.

I wouldn’t lie to you, here’s proof.

I reconsidered the nine-year-old’s testimony and expanded the search grid. No possibility was dismissed. I pawed through the kitchen garbage and touched raw chicken with MY BARE HANDS, but I would not give up! Sure, now we had the tools to assemble a desk from IKEA, but I had shows to watch – THIS WAS TOP PRIORITY. 

“Let’s go over this one more time and remember, no one is in trouble here, we just want to find it. Full immunity to any party involved in this devastating disappearance.”

As I descended the stairs after a fruitless search of the bedrooms, our oldest son gleefully announced “I FOUND IT”. Then that little darling turned his spiteful little face and announced, “it was on the counter under the lunch bag that MOM put there.”

Allegedly.

Full immunity, remember?

We repaired the faulty back rest, you know, since we'd opened it up anyways.

We repaired the faulty springs, you know, since we’d opened it up anyways.


He Made Reservations

When you’re a parent of young children and someone is coerced graciously offers to take your offspring for a two-night sleepover, the whole world opens up.

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The possibilities seem endless – where to start? Hang the curtains that were bought a year ago? Weed the garden? Fix the fence post? Clean out some closets? Switch rooms around? Do some coding? Churn some butter? Start raising bees?

Wait, that sounds like work.

Better book some social time in there, too. Apparently, my bearded husband was thinking the same thing. We were hatching our plans for our FreedomFest when he gazed at me lovingly and said, “Tuesday I am taking you out for lunch.”

“Oh! Yes! Will I need to get dressed up?”

He smiled, nodded, and replied, “I’ll let you know what you should wear.”

This clearly meant that yes, we were eating somewhere fancy. Plus, he had made a reservation. You don’t need a reservation for Pita Pit.

Tuesday rolled around and as I headed out for breakfast with a friend (must cram in as much social time as possible when a babysitter is not necessary) BH said, “Don’t be back too late, we can’t miss our reservation. Do you want to know where we’re going?”

Obviously.

“We’re going canoeing and I’ll pack us a picnic.”

Canoeing.

could wear a dress and my nice shoes, but not the most practical.

It was a good thing I was going out because I needed time to adjust my expectations and my attitude. By the time I arrived home I was, if not excited, at least mentally prepared for our adventure.

And so we were off to canoe the Grand River.

IMG_6497

 

There were four other canoe enthusiasts along for the ride. Five if you count the dog one couple brought. Very thankful I was not in their canoe.

Canoe Mascot

Canoe Mascot – that’s a thing, right?

Soon we were dropped off at the start and ready to go.

Seems innocuous when your partner isn't rocking it.

Seems innocuous when your partner isn’t rocking it.

You know what’s fun? When your fellow canoe-er pretends to tip the vessel. Twice. Hilarious.

The pros don't wear the life jacket.

Pros don’t wear life jackets.

I am not a pro.

Look at me being all adventurous.

Look at me being all adventurous.

Highlights from this trip included the guy who wore a leather coat underneath his life jacket. To canoe. In August. We noted that he did very little paddling. Also, there was some lovely scenery.

It took effort to deface this bridge.

It took effort to deface this bridge.

Local wildlife

Local wildlife

 

Free souvenir!

Free souvenir!

Along the way I found an ideal spot to hide and scare people, should we make this trip again with friends.

IMG_6517

 

Despite my poor attitude going into this journey, we had a great time. The sandwiches were delicious and the company, acceptable.

Still smiling. Wait, this was taken before we left.

Still smiling. Wait, this was taken before we left.

If you had two days to yourself, what would you do? Can some peaches? Go to the beach? Clean the grout in your bathroom?


Dorothy Who?

They live among us.

They come in all colours, shapes, and sizes. From the outside, you’d never be able to tell.

They mow their lawns, go to work, enjoy the odd handful of M&Ms. They can carry on a normal conversation, have acceptable hygiene, and if asked, they’ll agree that leggings are not pants. But they aren’t like us.

You think you know people, but do you? They could be living in your house. You might have even married one.

In fact, it might be years until you learn the truth.

It might go something like this.

One evening your family is enjoying a meal outside when your youngest child points out how windy it is. You casually remark that you might all get swept up and taken to the Land of Oz. Your children giggle and then ask if you can watch that for the next family movie night. They turn to your husband and ask if it’s an appropriate family movie and he offhandedly replies, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen it.”

You're off to see the who of the what now?

You’re off to see the who of the what now?

He’s never seen it.

The Wizard of Oz.

He. Has. Never. Seen. It.

Ever.

Never, ever.

Hypothetically, that would be pretty awful. And one might need time to process a lot of life choices at that point. Hypothetically.

They are out there, guys. Be on your guard.

 

I'm sorry, did you say "never"?

I’m sorry, did you say “never”?


Is it on Sale?

There is a closet in our basement that I believe was intended for linens or something, but has been repurposed into what I call “The Food Bunker”.

We have four growing boys to feed and that adds up. Our commitment to keeping our spending down involves savvy shopping. Bearded Husband is quite adept at keeping the costs down. He seems to have memorized the standard price of everything.

Me: Hey! Chicken is on sale. I can stop on my way home.

BH: If it’s not less than $3.00 per pound, don’t bother.

I can’t keep those numbers in my head. In fact, I had to check that price with him before I wrote this.

Me: I picked up Oreos, they were on sale.

BH: Less than $1.99? No? Hope you kept the receipt.

Living on a budget means you have to be patient.

Me: We’re out of apples.

BH: I know. I’m waiting for the fall when they go on sale.

I’ll just start taking some Vitamin C supplements for a while.

When there are sales, we stock up. And I mean stock up. That’s when the Food Bunker really comes in handy.

We'll be eating vegetarian for the next while, boys.

We’ll be eating vegetarian for the next while, boys.

No one is allowed to be lactose intolerant for the next few weeks.

No one is allowed to be lactose intolerant for the next few weeks.

You may have sliced black olives or French sliced black olives, but no kalamata - they weren't on sale.

You may have sliced black olives or French sliced black olives, but no kalamata – they weren’t on sale.

You are in luck, natural AND processed peanut butter were on sale.

You are in luck, natural AND processed peanut butter were on sale.

The boys have grown up with the understanding that very little is bought that is not on sale, or at the very least on for a reasonable price. But they use this knowledge to try to get non-essentials into the grocery cart.

Son: Oh! Can we get these? Look, they are on sale. I love those chips.

Me: That’s a featured item, it’s not on sale.

_______

Son: Can we get some Fruit to Gos?

Me: Not on sale.

Son: But that is a good price…

________

Son: Cheesestrings are ON SALE. Can we get some? You never buy us those.

Me: Nope, still a rip-off.*

_______

Living within our means and keeping to a budget doesn’t mean we don’t treat ourselves, though. In fact, look what we are enjoying today (please ignore the pink sticker).

photo-9

I haven’t indulged in these because raisins are involved.

photo-8

They might be 50% off, but they are 100% delicious.

What do you do to save a buck or two? Seriously, I’d really like to know.

_____________

*More of my thoughts on Cheesestrings coming soon.


Why I Don’t do Organized Sports

Bearded husband says I pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch on him.  He claims that when we were dating, I was sporty… and into sports…. and liked sports and stuff. He’s deluded. WE WERE DATING.

Ok, ok, I admit I was more into that stuff 15 years ago. But we clearly remember the past differently.

Him: You used to play baseball with me.

Me: I let you practice pitching with me as back catcher. It hurt. A lot.

Him: Remember how you used to play badminton?

Me: In the backyard with lots of lemonade breaks.

Him: Well, we played squash together.

Me: We were dating.

Him: You played beach volleyball for a while.

Me: Until I went home in tears, remember that part?

Him: Alright, but we would go for runs together, remember?

Me: I had a wedding dress to fit into.

Truthfully, I actually do enjoy sports, but not enough. I like to play for fun. FUN. Don’t count on me to get the winning goal or the impossible save. The only good game is one where I get to laugh. A lot. Mostly at myself.

I chat when I exercise, it’s how I know I haven’t pushed myself too hard. In between at-bats is the perfect time to catch up on the latest news. Right after the serve is a great opportunity to tell my teammate I like her shoes. Waiting for a pitch is when I do my best meal-planning. This is who I am. This is who he married.

If anything I have gotten better with sports. Now, when I go to watch a game, I bring along really good snacks and sometimes even a chair, not just a blanket. Oh, and I also bring four small spectators with me. Let’s just take a moment to acknowledge the effort that takes.

Sometimes I even pretend to follow along when SportsCentre is on. And not just the Top 10 stuff, the real clips and commentaries. And for each professional sport, I memorize one or two players’ names so I can act like I know what’s going on. Kirk Gibson still plays for the Tigers, right?

Maybe he’s right, though. Maybe I did pull a bait-and-switch. I baited him with a mediocre sports enthusiast and switched into the Spectator Extraordinaire. That guy always wins.