Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Total Loss...

In the recent weeks, I have found myself using the phrase “total loss” a lot.

I was at a “total loss” when we lost most of our belongings when the home we moved in to was infested with bed bugs.

If I always trusted my instincts I would be living in a forest somewhere in a house built of dung and twigs (maybe not dung…I think it would be pretty hard to find a bunch of dung these days without some extra effort).  However, this is one of those cases where I probably should have listened to my inner self.  We moved into a beautiful home, but something just didn’t feel right. 

The neighbours were weird, there were ominous noises , and the basement was one of the scariest places I have ever been – seriously. I guess I also had a hard time leaving my old life behind (a life that I hated – go figure!).  I knew I had to grow into this home and make it our own, but there was always something that wasn’t right. Whether it be that the plug in the bathroom was on the opposite wall of the mirror (which drove my OCD into overdrive) or the fact that the landlord told me (after I moved in) that the people upstairs were being treated for bed bugs it just never felt like a home and I found myself constantly on edge. 

After spending a small fortune on precautions to prevent us from getting bed bugs in our home, EVILBOY woke up one night with bites all over him – and I lost it. The thought of the possibility of getting an infestation was hard enough, but to actually encounter the problem was enough to push me over the edge.  We moved out that same day – leaving everything behind.

The criticism I got for leaving this home behind was shocking. I had a hard time believing anyone would react differently in such a situation – but with my mental state, I knew this was for the best of our little family.  This was not my problem to begin with, we were very unfairly thrown in to this.  I tried – so hard – to live knowing that this could happen and when it did I hightailed it out of there simply because I didn’t want to put us through the trauma of going through treatments for weeks, months or maybe even years and always wondering if marks on our bodies are from an injury or the return of bed bugs.  It’s just something I knew I couldn’t handle emotionally.

So while some people think I made the wrong decision, I am pretty confident – in our situation – that I made the only decision  we could live with.   

I was at a “total loss” as to where to turn when we needed help.

The first place I turned to was our insurance company who were quick to inform me that “insects were not covered under my tenant policy”.  I didn’t believe them so I called again only to be given the same answer.  I called local social service agencies, churches and the health department (many of which never even awarded me with a return phone call).  The only people who would help us was a society which normally helps people who are returning to society after a prison term.  They were very nice, but unfortunately they too did not follow through with assistance as promised.

The first night we spent with EVILBOY’s grandma (his father’s mother).  I realized how much trouble we were in when I had to make a late night stop at Wal-mart to buy a whole outfit for my son to wear to day camp the next day.

The second night my mom came to help us try to salvage what we could and we spent the night on the floor at my old apartment (luckily it was still available).  We slept on a roll of foam, a duvet cover and two or three top sheets that I had in a box that I had yet to move to the new house (thankfully!).

Our goal the next day was to salvage some more things and try to find beds.  When things weren’t looking so well, I put out a call of help on Twitter to see if anyone knew somewhere we could get help to replace our beds.

What happened next was completely shocking.

I had a “total loss” of words when a bunch of people came together and donated to help us get through this.  

There were people.  A lot of people.  Some I knew very well – others new friends who all came together to help.  We received furniture and money and advice.  I remember reading that first tweet about people helping us and bursting into tears in our elevator.  EVILBOY looked at me and told me to please not cry again but then somehow noticed that they were happy tears. At that moment I felt as though everything would be okay. 

In fact, I feel better than okay. People helped us. People cared about us. I don’t know why it took a disaster like this to happen before I realized how much people really do care. Because of the help we received, I want to smile in public more, I want to be able to make eye contact with strangers more often, and I want to be able to help someone one day like people have helped us. It’s amazing how acts of kindness can really lift your spirits.  

The physical part of this whole ordeal is really superficial.  The emotional part is something I’m not sure I will ever get over.  I will always pick at specks of fluff on my bed wondering if it is a bug. I am not sure I will ever get over feeling like bugs are crawling all over my body at night.  

While we were able to save some of our important belongings (which are currently in bags on my balcony – or in the process of being removed from bags and sanitized), we did lose a lot of things. I’m not sure if I will ever get the image of my stuff strewn about the sidewalk carelessly (even though they were thrown out properly with notification of bed bugs people still scavenged through our belongings) out of my mind. I'm not entirely sure we will ever be able to replace some of the memorabilia that was just too risky to keep, but I will always have the love of others received on my mind and that is much more valuable than anything we had to throw away.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

What's In YOUR Purse (2014 edition)...

I am writing to you from the sweltering treetops of my apartment. About 65% of my belongings are packed neatly in boxes. The other 35% of belongings I just can't live without for a whole entire week and a bit (I'm not sure of an exact moving date - I'm that kind of gal - let's make it as inconvenient and last minute as possible). 

I am writing because a) I'm tired of trying to figure out which stuffed animals I should pack away and which ones I absolutely need and b) I realize that I haven't written in a while and c) You will probably want to know what's in my purse right now because even I am puzzled by the whole thing.

Without further ado (those stuffed animals aren't going to pack themselves - although someone should invent stuffed animals that can pack themselves and also cook dinner and stuff) I present to you, my current purse: Hoarders edition.

  • Purse: Let's start off with the purse itself. You're looking here at a somewhat vintage Old Navy shoulder bag from 2007ish.  This bag holds everything and only smells bad sometimes. I bought it on clearance for $8.99 (I never buy things full price at Old Navy) and I think it used to have a little bauble/tassle thing attached but that's been gone for a good five years now.  The liner of the bag has separated from the bag itself so now I have a super-cool divided bag.  I kind of like it that way. 
  • Movie Stubs/Cineplex peely things: I like going to movies. We have movie stubs from some recent movies such as: Maleficent, 22 Jump Street and two from our recent visit to the Guardians of the Galaxy Sneak Peek.
  • Keys for work: One day about a month ago I had to bring my keys to work.  They have been in my purse ever since.
  • Halle Perfume: I assume this is Halle Berry's perfume? I'm not sure. My friend was giving it away so I hoarded it in my bag - true hoarder style! I forgot to smell it. One day I probably will.
  • Peanut Butter m&m: This must have escaped from the entire bag I ate during the Tammy movie.  I bet it still tastes good (albeit linty)
  • My keys: I use these everyday. They have loyalty cards on them. Also: Power Rangers lanyard. Best ever!
  • Black Crayola Marker: ....I don't know why.
  • Lego: That's not mine.
  • Cell Phone:  Don't leave home without it! One time I was the worst five minutes of my life!
  • Advil/Tylenol #2: Back from my shingles days.
  • Cords for old Nintendo:  You never know when you'll need those!
  • Wallet: It's old and ugly but I love it...even though my mom told me not to buy it - but I did anyway.  I'M AN ADULT!
  • Painter's Tape:  ...I got nothin.  Don't ask me to paint your house. The answer is no.
  • Target Receipt:  I buy all the clearance items so there are none let for you to buy.
  • Simpsons Season 2 DVD:  I bought this at a flea market on the weekend.  EVILBOY has since informed me that we already own this DVD set.  Doh!
  • Heart sunglasses: I like the red ones better than the pink ones because they don't make my nose pink!
  • 3D glasses: Recycle these glasses?  NOWAY! These are special edition Transformers 4 Optimus Prime and Bumblebee glasses. I will wear them to every 3D movie I see (as soon as I figure out how to wash the buttery topping residue off the lenses.
  • Simpsons Lego legend: I want all of these. Currently we own six of them.
So that's it.  I'm afraid that's all the words I have until I get moved and unpacked and stuff. If you have a purse I'm a little bit interested to see what you have in it so tag me in that stuff!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014


My whole life I feel like I've been trying to get away from something - yet I always find myself running back to what is familiar.

Which is why I never burn bridges. I hold all relationships dearly in my heart and I think about them often.

This is probably why he is so hard to get over.

Our relationship was short in terms of an eternity, but intense.  We experienced at least ten years of togetherness in three years.  Life. Death. Discussions. Love. Arguments. Regret - and some of those things people don't get to experience in a relationship. It was all pretty wild.

Sometimes I think that if he were right in front of me now, I would break out into my nervous laugh and say what the hell was that?? 

So it was strange when I felt like running away from my problems and the first thing I stumbled upon was an ad placed by an old landlord on the local classified site.  This was a person who gave us a chance - a young couple with a baby on the way - and rented us his home.  I mean we were absolutely hopeless.  No money.  Disability cheques once a month. We certainly didn't look good on paper.  I'd like to think he saw my eyes light up when I knew that home was where we would be bringing our baby home.

 He must have known. 

So I replied to the advertisement.  It took me two days to figure out how to reply without seeming like a complete fool.  I left my comfort zone and made an appointment to see this house.

Seeing him brought me a strange sense of relief.  

I get feelings like that sometimes. I can't explain it.  It's a feeling of reassurance.  A slight push from someone invisibly cheering us on.  I felt strangely comfortable around someone I hadn't seen in nine and a half years - essentially a stranger. 

As I looked up at the high ceilings in a potential new home, fretting over changing the light bulbs on fixtures that high up, the stranger came up behind me and mentioned how the ceilings were much higher than those at our old home - and for some reason that made it okay.  I am a lot wiser now.  I can certainly figure out how to change those bulbs on my own.

Even though I look a whole lot better on paper now, I am still having a hard time with this decision.  I am also having a hard time believing that I am here.  Doing this.   Something has to change though. Betrayal is not an easy thing to get over.

Change.  It's a scary but necessary thing sometimes. 


Friday, 27 June 2014

An A+ For Effort...

Report card time is never really a nice time for kids who have a learning disability.  We’re fairly new to the world of learning disabilities, but I do know that getting a report card has been very stressful for my son. Even though he doesn’t know the full extent of his disability because knowing his personality, I feel like he would just “label himself” and give up all together.

He knows he gets extra help. He knows he has special accommodations in the classroom – he doesn’t know that this will be a struggle for the rest of his life.  Maybe I’m a coward, I just don’t think breaking it to him at this age is a good idea in his case.

Yesterday we received his final grade four report card.  It didn’t matter to me what that piece of paper said.  We are all guilty of telling our kids if they get A’s they get rewarded. I know of other parents who have systems worked out that way, including my own parents. In our case, A’s don’t matter.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see an A, but I do not expect them – and that is okay.

I see this child come home after school telling me about the volcano he learned about that day or about Ancient Egyptians or even what he planted that day in garden club.  He may not understand everything all the time and may struggle with testing, but the information is there in a way that he perceives it.  I see his personality shine when he talks about the things he learned that day.  Even though he can’t really put those thoughts down on paper properly – they are in his beautiful little brain.

I am confident that he will learn these things in time…in his own time.  I’m okay with that. I may even be naive or underestimating his disability and he may never learns these things, but I see an effort and that’s all that really matters to me.


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