It's a Tough Life for the Pooch
by Karla ° Sunday, April 29, 2007
I took Samson to the doctors for his annual exam this weekend and he is probably the only dog on the planet who loves the vet’s office despite the surgery he endured because there are humans.

Real live humans with warm crotches to nuzzle.

And for Samson, there is nothing better on this earth than crotch poking, except maybe a slice of cheese and then a crotch poke.

As you can imagine, being out in public is the best thing ever for Samson because there is a whole world of crotches out there to sniff. And that is just what he did to every person who stopped to pat him on the head while we waited to see the vet. I know that’s just what dogs do, but Samson seems to enjoy it to the excess and I never quite know what to do when I’m standing beside a stranger who is trying to shove Samson’s head out of their genitals. Usually they give an excuse like, “He must smell my cat”, but deep down I know he just really likes to sniff their crotch and then I feel awkward.

The doctor asked if I had any concerns, and my only concern was that I was wrongfully under the impression that when his nutsacks were sent to the testicle chop shop, he would magically turn into a mellow dog that liked casual strolls in the park and lying perfectly still for me to use him as my movie pillow. But as it turns out, being sans balls must feel very liberating because at 1 ½ years old, he is still a blundering dynamo of potent vitality.

Recently though, he has started to do something that completely eludes us. He will fill his mouth with kibble from his dish, and then spit them out at Mark’s feet and he won’t eat them again until we give him the “take it” command. I think he may be displaying some form of jealousy or demonstrating his understanding of the new pack order in the family, but I’m not a dog whisperer or anything, I’m just one of the sniffable crotches around here, so what do I know.

I think it’s cute, but I’m worried about his self esteem. I can’t have an 80lb dog being all down in the dumps and depressed because he isn't my BFF anymore. There's no way I can sling him and Nate on my hips and carry them both around all day.

Has anyone ever had dogs that have done something like this, or know what he could possibly be telling us?

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A Book to Treasure
by Karla ° Thursday, April 26, 2007
I received one of the most delightful and touching gifts in the mail yesterday. Canadian author and columnist Ann Douglas sent me a book called Someday by Alison McGhee.

It is the most heartwarming story of a mother’s hopes and dreams for her baby as she grows and experiences life to become her own person from the day she "watched snowflakes melt on her baby's skin" to "the day her child’s hair glows silver in the sun".

It's so gossamer and delicately written and full of a mothers love and desire for her child to experience life to its fullest that I couldn’t help but feel more weepy and emotional with every turn of the page of this tender and moving rendition of a mothers dreams for her child coming full circle.

So thank you Ann. The book is perfect and will be forever treasured.

And as far as Nate’s recent decline on the percentile charts? If I did calorie burning aerobics like this all day, I would be all skeletal-like and look lost in my clothes too!

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Jen
by Karla °
My friend Jen recently moved to England and I can’t even begin to explain how much I admire her sense of adventure. Jen and I used to work together and let me tell you, that gal is loads of fun to be with. I would love to tell you stories about all the fun we used to have, but they usually involved drinking too much red wine with funny names like Lilly Pilly and Fat Bastard and then me getting pushed home in a shopping cart, and that makes me a very embarrassed.

Jen had to take an unexpected flight back to Canada because one of her friends died suddenly. I’m so very sad for her right now. I never quite know what to say when someone dies, which is funny, because one of my very own kids died so you would think I would be all svelte and smooth and comfortable with the whole death thing, but it still makes my head spin with sadness when someone’s life is so cruelly cut short and there just aren’t words in the English language that seem fitting other than I’m So Very Sorry. And even then, they seem so inadequate when compared to the overwhelming grief she is feeling.

Despite her hectic schedule, she is coming over today to meet Nate and maybe, just maybe, his balding little cherub head will be able to put a smile on her gorgeous face.

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Warehouse Hanky Panky
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Dear Costco

I called your 800 number to find out if a product that is on sale on your website is available in stores, and imagine my surprise when I was greeted on the phone by a throaty woman who called me Sexy. I thought, gee, that’s different. But maybe Sexy is the new sweetheart. And who doesn’t like to be Sexy.

But then she welcomed me to an exciting new way to go live, one on one, with local students and housewives. For a minute, I was stoked and thought that I might be getting a special invitation to the local debate club or something. So while I waited for further information about this unique opportunity she went on to tell me that I should lay back and relax and let hot girls talk nasty to me for $1.99 minute. And for a second, I thought it sounded like a good idea, cause you know, I’m pretty open minded and liberal and if they have something to get off their chest, I don’t mind listening. But then someone started moaning in the background and that’s when things got sort of fishy and uncomfortable.

So I hung up and redialed. The same girl answered and called me Sexy again and then I realized that I was calling a phone sex line and it brought back memories of all the trouble I got into the last time I dialed one of those pay numbers. When I was little, I had the most serious little girl crush on Michael Jackson and Hulk Hogan and I couldn’t decide who I wanted as my boyfriend so to help me make up my mind, I called the Hulk Hogan hotline sixteen times in a row to ask him if he liked me. And would you believe after all that calling, I never actually got to talk to him in person. And to make matters worse, when my mom got the phone bill, I got a big spanking.

Something tells me the people on the other end of that phone number I dialed today would like to spank me too, but I’m still not done mourning the fact that Hulk Hogan never wanted to be my boyfriend. So while I relive all that painful rejection of my childhood past, perhaps you should consider changing your phone number so that if a customer dials 1-800 instead of 1-888, they don’t get the wrong idea about what kind of image you are trying to sell behind those warehouse walls.

Signed - your best sampler,

Karla

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Look Mom - No Pants!
by Karla ° Sunday, April 22, 2007

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Doggy Tan
by Karla ° Saturday, April 21, 2007
So my dream home sold within hours of being on the market. And I’m sad that it’s gone, but at the same time, it was on the busy street and part of my dream home requirements is to live on a crescent where Nate can play road hockey and ride his bike, so I guess it wasn’t my dream home after all. And to build my dream home will cost way more than we can afford comfortably on one salary after all the upgrades are factored in, so I guess if I want to stay home and raise Nate, that home is just not meant to be.

We’re still sitting on the fence as to whether to buy or sell first or buy resale or brand new. The same model house down the street as the one we live in now just sold for more than asking price. We paid more than asking price for our home too. Sometimes, during a hot market, that’s just how real estate rolls around here.

There’s still the issue with the dog if we buy new. And not having a deck right away because decks are expensive. I love my deck, even though Samson ate most of the lattice off of it. And of course, there is the issue of where Samson would sun tan without a deck. The dog needs to be able to suntan.

There is also the issue of not having any grass for Samson to ruin with his manly dog pee. Note the yellow pee grass just off the deck. I like pee grass. At least I like it better than dirt because see that garden in the far right corner of the picture? That’s a pretend garden. I put it there yesterday to cleverly disguise Samson’s endeavor to dig the hugest mother hole possible.

What I need to do is teach the dog how to use the kitty litter box.

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Rebirth
by Karla ° Friday, April 20, 2007
Last night, for the first time in over a year and a half, I went for a run. I’ve missed running - a lot, but you know how it goes, the weather gets cold, then you have a miscarriage, and then you get pregnant and then you get a fat belly and well, lets just say sitting around watching TV and eating Doritos and gestating a baby while my ass expanded sort of took precedent over exercise.

But yesterday the sun came out and it was warm enough to open the windows in my house and suddenly I had the desire to spend my afternoon on a sunny patio pounding back pints of Stella. But since I have to be a responsible parent now, I opted to instead wait for Mark to get home from work and then strapped on my MP3 player and loaded it with music that had plenty of f-bombs and excessive use of the N word and of course, my favorite song about being high as a motherfucker, you know, all the parentally responsible kind of music, and let the soothing beats take me where they may.

It was fabulous – except for the part about being out of shape and not being able to breathe and then almost throwing up on the sidewalk and constantly checking out my boobs because I forgot to wear breast pads in my sports bra and I was paranoid that all the bouncing up and down would cause a milk explosion and then people would think I had sweaty nipples - but other than that, I think I was reborn as a human - it felt that invigorating and I can’t wait to get back out there and do it all over again.

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Smile
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 17, 2007

It's when he smiles at me like this that I know he is doing JUST FINE.

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Weekend Recap
by Karla ° Monday, April 16, 2007
Ava’s birthday was much easier this year. We made sure it was a fun celebration and released balloons for her at 2:11pm and made our very own ice cream birthday cake with a thick Oreo cookie crumble bottom stuffed plenty of chopped up chocolate bars.



Samson watching us release balloons from the bedroom window. As you can see, he has conveniently ruined our blinds to create his own dog head window.


Mark, Birthday cake and Baby Nate in a Bumbo.


In order to keep busy and not sit around and dwell (because I have a habit of doing that), we continued our home search and OH! MY!, we found our dream home. Mark and I went into this home shopping process expecting to find a home we would live in for 10 years or so until we were ready to buy our dream home. But lo, our dream home is affordable today and on the market.

I have been through over 30 homes already and my real estate agent must hate me because of all those homes, that was the only home I walked into and wanted to cry. It felt like just like home - all that was missing was the smell of burning pizza and dog. The layout was perfect and the size could accommodate a growing family and the entire dining room swallowed my current home whole. Also, the granite kitchen with soaring cabinetry complimented my ability whip up gourmet kraft dinner and frozen pizza dinners perfectly. The hardwood throughout was perfect enough that Samson had many years ahead of him to completely ruin it with his toenails that I never remember to cut and the ensuite master bath with the corner tub and two person shower or the fireplace in the family room were all perfect locations to make another baby.

The only drawback to this home was that I would need a safety net when swinging from the chandelier because the 9ft ceilings felt that towering and grand and the home faced a busy street and Nate can’t learn to ride a bike or play hockey on a busy street.

The other catch is that our home isn’t for sale yet because although Home Depot is being extremely cooperative in getting the giant hole in my ceiling fixed, they aren’t exactly quick. And I can’t put my home on the market with a hole in my living room ceiling. Prospective buyers would so be turned off of those toilet gremlins.

The other option to consider is buying that exact same model home from a builder, which would be ideal because these homes are only five minutes up the road and we can buy with the condition that we sell our home first and we would get the exact home we want. The only problem is the fencing and grass situation, which is non existent in a new home development for the first year or so until all the zoning is complete. Essentially, we would be living on top of a pile of mud, which I’m sure Samson would love because he could roll in dirt Every! Single! Day! And without a fence, it makes letting Samson out to potty kind of hard and to be honest, I don’t even know if electrocuting Samson with electronic dog fence would be enough. He’s a big boy. And a strong boy. And besides, something about tasering my dog feels kind of cruel. Also, he never learned to pee or poo when out for a walk. He is only comfortable in the privacy of his own backyard. I’m thinking we would need to anchor a dog chain to the foundation of the house to make sure he didn’t escape, and even then, I wouldn’t put it passed him that he might be able to pull it off its foundation if a cat ran by or he wanted to chase a leaf blowing in the wind.

Surely there dog owners out there who live in a home without a fence. But my guess is, their dogs actually listen to them.



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In Memory
by Karla ° Saturday, April 14, 2007
Sweet Baby Ava

Born: April 14th, 2005 @ 2:11 pm ~ 6lbs 6oz
Died: April 14th, 2005 @ 9:30 pm

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Happy Birthday Ava
by Karla ° Friday, April 13, 2007

Dear Ava,

Tomorrow, the 14th of April, would have been your second birthday baby girl. Like last year, your father and I will release a balloon for you, and blow out the candles on your birthday cake. It will be an ice cream cake again, the kind with the thick cookie crumble bottom because that is my favorite kind and I bet you would have loved it as well.

This year your brother will be joining us. You would have loved him so much Ava. He is bucket loads of fun and loves to smile and talk has mastered the manly art of thunderous farting. I bet you would have found that funny too because fart jokes never get old.

He is fourth months today, and I’m very concerned for him because he is slipping off the growth charts and not growing very well. In two months he has fallen from the 25th to below the 3rd percentile and I’m feeling like a big huge failure at this whole mothering thing. All I wanted was to love, cradle, nourish and protect my children and I failed at doing that for you and now if feels like I am failing your brother too.

Your father and I plan on moving soon and I want you to know that it has nothing to do with leaving any of your memories behind and everything to do with finding a place to call home where we can finally start rebuilding our life together. This place has never felt like home after you left us. I’ve tried Ava, I really have, but I can’t see past all the heartaches we have had here. I may have failed on my promise to protect you, but your memories will come with us no matter where we go and that is one promise I know I can keep.

I wish I could have another chance too hold you and tell you that I love you and think about you every single day but somehow, I like to believe that you already know that.


Family Photo



Happy Birthday Ava.

Love and Kisses

Mom
xo


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Buy and Sell
by Karla ° Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I don’t think I realized how difficult the home search was going to be. For starters, I am not a big picture kind of person. For me, it’s all in the details, and if the kitchen must be torched to rid the house of its evil orange and brown linoleum flooring, I can’t see past all the work and time it will take to make that house our home. Mark on the other hand is much more big picture focused and can walk into a home and envision us building a life there despite the probability that we’ll need to knock down walls and eat the Easter Bunny for dinner who thought purple countertops and pink tiles would be a good idea.

What it really boils down to is the fact that I like shiny and new, but shiny and new comes with a higher price tag, less space and proximity issues. We live just outside of Toronto and being centrally located to commuter trains is important for Mark because he already spends 2 ½ hours a day commuting and even moving a few kilometers North means his day is just that much longer. Older model homes are much cheaper, generally larger than new homes, more centrally located and have bigger yards and finished basements, but they require work. Which is a problem because the extent of my handy man skills is limited to making the tool box look pretty by colour coordinating the screwdrivers.

Also, we can’t seem to come to a consensus about whether to buy a home before or after we sell the one we currently live in. We have agreed that the next home we buy will be a 10-15 year commitment, so I think buying a home first and then selling our home makes the most sense because that leaves us with all the time in the world to find a home that we love. That being said, if we buy first, we have to sell our home, like yesterday, and that automatically makes us a motivated seller and we may end up having to take a huge cut on the list price of our home in order to get the funding for the new home in time.

Mark on the other hand, prefers the idea of selling our home first and then beginning the search for a new home because that way, we don’t have to be motivated to sell and end up underselling our current home. His solution to finding the perfect home is to put a long close on this house, like four months, which should give us plenty of time to search. I’m hesitant about that because I don’t want to be bound by time constraints when searching for a new home and end up settling for something I don’t love.

How would you do it?

Buy then sell or sell then buy?

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Fish Tales
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Uncle Jay and Baby NateMy family came to visit us for Easter and since I have not wanted to let Nate out of my sight for a period of time greater than seven seconds, my parents came equipped with bribe tactics to get me out of house and brought hockey tickets for the game that would determine if the Toronto Maple Leafs qualified for the playoffs.

As much fun as going to a hockey game is, I couldn’t bring myself to go. Firstly, I am not ready to be away from my son for an extended period of time. Secondly, my boobs are not capable of being away from the human that they feed for an extended period of time without turning into rock solid milk cannons and thirdly, if I didn’t go, it would give Mark and my Dad a chance to have some male bonding time.

So while my Dad and Mark were out doing manly things like eating street meat and comparing chest hairs and cheering on the Leafs, we had a wild pajama party at home and Nate kept us all entertained by telling big fish tales.


"Really McGramma, it was that big!"

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Baby Blues
by Karla ° Friday, April 6, 2007

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Graffiti
by Karla ° Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I have known for a long time that I wanted to move out of this house. We moved here when I was pregnant with Ava and when she died, so did all of the hopes I dreams I once had for this place.

We’ve been puttering around for a few months now trying to get our home in tip top shape to sell, but the momentum has kind of worn off and I guess we’ve just been waiting for something to spark a fire under our ass to get things moving.

And then it happened. The other day I went to the corner store to buy milk and there, right beside the slushy sign, was a giant penis spray painted on the wall. And since nothing sparks a fire under your ass like a giant penis, I went home and called my real estate agent.

I have to admit, I found our first outing very disappointing and I’m not exactly sure why. There wasn’t anything wrong with the homes we looked at. They were bigger and newer and not covered in Samson fur, but I couldn’t picture myself living in any of them.

Maybe I am more attached to this house than I have let myself believe.

Or maybe I just like the new neighbourhood artwork. Really, who doesn't love a little penis and milk every now and then?


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Theories for Everything
by Karla ° Tuesday, April 3, 2007
I have very mixed feelings about going to my mommy group outings. And it’s not because I don’t like the other woman there, or because I don’t like the sound of babies crying, or because there’s no free booze. The truth is, I don't like sitting around talking about developmental milestones because it all feels so competitive. Yesterday was all about who is sleeping through the night and who is rolling over and who got their first tooth and who is solving quadratic equations and who is writing a thesis to solve the Theory of Everything.

Personally, I’m still stick stuck on whether the chicken or the egg came first and right now my baby just really likes to pull my hair and flash his big toothless smile, but I am considering asking him if he wants to help me teach an aardvark to sing.

And it’s hard not to notice undertones of defensiveness when discussions circle around breastfeeding, starting solids, pacifier use, whether or not to spray your kid with insect repellant or where the best hole is to take a temperature.

I have learned a few things I suppose, like the importance of sunglasses to protect your baby’s eyeballs from the cornea burning inferno that is the sun. But do you know how hard it was to find a pair to fit his tiny head?

And did you know that the digital ear thermometers sold at the baby store, the ones with the big picture of a baby on the box - the same kind that my doctor uses – aren’t actually recommend for babies?

Apparently, I am a giant pushover for marketing strategies that involve placing pictures of babies on boxes.

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Pulling Shades
by Karla ° Monday, April 2, 2007
It was a long night last night.

I have high hopes that Rockstar Baby Nate has finally had his fill of boobs and is now ready to sleep off his milk hangover.


"Dude – there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to party with my mom all night long."

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