January 27, 2012

Who needs comedians?

I've had two men in my basement for 4 weeks now. No, they're not tied up. They are there of their own free will. I promise.

Things are shaping up nicely on the reno - Maggie the Cat is back on my lap all day, though she shoots deathray looks when Steve comes upstairs, and runs when Kevin arrives. Both men believe JoJo is a lie; she is a phantom who comes out only after they've left for the day.

There is a dumpster in my driveway (no, I'm not telling you where I live; I do not want that ugly couch you're trying to ditch in my dumpster), and many secrets and dusty forgottens are being unearthed in the basement. If anyone needs anything, just let me know. I'm sure I have one - or seven.

Steve came up this morning and asked me if I had any Vaseline. I swear I only hesitated for a moment, but in that moment, he looked straight at me and said, "don't worry, we're not playing construction brokeback down there."

And I just sit here working away...

January 26, 2012

Fulfilling a father's wish

I really hope you'll read this, if you haven't.

Jonathon Zimmer is an awesome kid. His mother, Marion, contacted me last fall, and, well, you can read the piece.

This is my first feature piece for the Globe and Mail, and they've made a gorgeous cover out of it for tomorrow's edition. That pic is of Jonathon and Philippe Letourneau of Canada's Worst Driver, and lead instructor for BMW.

I love my job every day, but moments like this one make me feel really, really lucky about some of the people I get to meet, and work with. Big thanks to Philippe Letourneau and Barb Pitblado at BMW.

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January 20, 2012

Square Off - Friday

Ah, Newt, you old newt-like thing you. Newt Gingrich, a veritable wolf in newt's clothing, apparently.

Let's define open marriage, shall we? How about something like, 'when both partners decide to take outside partners, and both partners are aware of this'. Fair? Now let's define Newt's version: 'when I decide to do what I want, when I want, and when I get caught, I'll try to move the marital goalposts'.

Goalposts, bedposts, whatever.

Join us at 5:30, CHCH channel 11.

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January 18, 2012

A little Calvin Trillin for you...

Here. Nice piece in Slate. Need a way to quantify the pretentious gits in your life? Then you'll like this.

I adore Trillin. I've linked him before, and I'm always happy when I find more of his work. This work has stayed with me for years - and it's basically about finding a parking spot in NYC.

I love quiet writers, who kind of sneak up on you. That's Trillin; he's like the Bob Newhart of writing. And if you don't love Bob Newhart, well, then we have nothing more to talk about.

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January 13, 2012

Robot Camp

Last night at Lasagnafest...

We (me, 'nother Mom) were setting up and serving lasagne to the starving hordes . There were salads, buns etc.

Me:" Okay, we’ve already burned through 4 whole lasagnas. I think we should find out if all the teachers have eaten before we let the kids start having seconds."

Her: "Ari just got seconds."

Me: Barely audible sigh.

January 12, 2012

Heaven just thumped against my front door

A great friend of mine gave me an Amazon gift chit over the holidays and said 'cheer yourself up; order some cowboy porn'. This is not a secret. I love this stuff. So I did. And it just showed up! I have John Wayne True Grit, Jeff Bridges True Grit, and Lonesome Dove. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Lasagna, lasagne...

I don't know how to spell it. Autocorrect keeps messing with me. I'm making 6 ginormous lasagnas. It's for Ari's robotics thing - I call it robot camp, but he is not amused. The kids work solid for two months building a robot and then take it to an international competition. This year the competition is in Tennessee. When I heard 'international', I admit, Tennessee didn't make my short list.

Because they have to work pretty much non-stop on this, the parents take turns bringing in dinner. With the teachers and mentors, there is a full roster of 60. Feeding 60 people. And most of them are teenage boys. I made all the sauce yesterday (I had to borrow Arlene's big chili pot as well), but today I have to assemble. I am writing this in a valiant effort to put off grating a mountain of cheese. I am now up to *4* people who have wandered in and said "doncha know you can just buy those at Costco or something?". I am trying to be domestic.

I also have to borrow a couple of ovens by 3:00. Because it would have made sense to arrange this last week, or even yesterday, you know that I haven't. I've already been to the store once this morning, but I have assembled all the stuff. I am ever thankful for that oven ready pasta. That didn't exist when my Mom used to make lasagna. Actually, I bought the other kind a few months ago by mistake, and just used it like oven ready. It doesn't really work, though the boys persevered and ate it anyway. It was a little crunchy.

A few hours later... Two are in my oven. Two are at the other Mom's place. And the other two? The house across the street, which was supposed to have a teenaged girl home in it at three to help me, is empty. Sarah texted me to say 'sorry, have volleyball, oops'. I am staring at these two lasagnas that have to be in the oven rightthisverysecond. She texts back 'you know where the key is'. I do. It is not there. I make Christopher go look. He can't find it. I am contemplating heading into another neighbour's house I have a key for, but I really, really don't want to explain 'oh hi, welcome home from work, I'm just going to take my lasagnas out of your oven and leave your house smelling awesome after you've been at work all day and by the way, there isn't one for you'. That just seems harsh.

Christopher just drove them over to Arlene's. I will pick them up on the way to the school. And hump all these hot lasagnas out of the car, in the rain. I have done a mountain of dishes, my kitchen is destroyed, and the fridge is now empty.

I could have just gotten them at Costco.

January 10, 2012

Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-bop

A cop in Wisconsin arrested this guy. That's his name. He changed it in October. He was violating his bail conditions by allegedly drinking and drugging in a local park.

I want to be in that court room when they say his name out loud. I love it. He changed it from Jeffrey Drew Wilschke. I can totally understand why. 'Wilschke' sounds German or Polish or something. I have a German last name, and all my life people have tried to spell it 'Summerfield'.

I love what ol' Beezow came up with. Can you imagine the party that produced that one? I'm so laid back in comparison. Though this whole name change thing has me pondering Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Jones.

Bet nobody would ever spell my last name wrong again.

January 8, 2012

I think I'm in love with Tim Dowling...and his wife

I linked a piece of his a couple of weeks back (Go look, lazy arse; I can't be bothered to relink, do I have to do everything for you? And I asked you hours ago to bring up the laundry. Oh. Sorry. Got sidetracked there).

He writes a column for the Guardian in Great Britain, one the papers I read most days. He's like a Fatherlode to my Motherlode, if I was funnier - way funnier - and allowed to use much worse language. He has a long suffering wife (note to self: get one of those) and sons. Sons.

Go read this, if you want a laugh. Or if you've ever been a houseguest. Or just because I told you to. Anyone who can argue with a late-rising petulant son by saying "Fine...When you have your own crystal meth lab, you can get up at lunchtime" is kinda my new hero.

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January 7, 2012

Definitely going all in...

So 2012 has exploded out of the blocks around here. Going all in, indeed.

I debuted with the Globe and Mail yesterday, which was actually my birthday. I decided this was a good omen. If I'd decided it was a bad omen, I'd never have gotten out of bed.

And I had to get out of bed, because I have two men ripping apart my basement. They started January 2nd. Renos and repairs I have delayed, well, forever, are finally going forward. Lots of conversations that end with me saying "oh yeah, I remember when Dad screwed that up..."

The upside to living where I was born is that I know this house inside out. The downside is that understanding that well the scope of what's wrong with your home can be overwhelming. I've spent 15 years patching what leaks, hammering what's loose, and oiling what squeaks. 2012 is the end of that.

I've been doing the courtesy dance with my reno gentlemen. They're awesome, and I want to be a good host/client. I put a pot of coffee on each morning. I don't drink coffee, but I make sure it's there. Kevin is dutifully drinking my coffee. Steve is not. Today, I bought cookies, thinking maybe I can bribe him on Monday.

I was speechifying on Thursday morning, so I left the boys snoring soundly, a pot of coffee all brewed, and a note for Kevin and Steve to help themselves. They stopped at Timmies on the way over. Today, I bought a different kind of coffee.

The work here is probably going to take at least a couple of months. I think Steve better start appreciating my coffee.

January 4, 2012

love, love, love....

I love my readers!

Since announcing that I'm heading to the Globe and Mail Drive section, I've received so much mail. My readers are the best. I'm making my way through answering everyone - I'll get there!

I debut on Friday - grab the paper! That's the pic to look for.

This website will always be my home base - you can click on the orange RSS button on the left there over the Olympus badge to bookmark it. You can find my current columns in the links on the left, too. Motherlode is still called Motherlode; the new one will be Drive, She Said. I'll have a newly designed website in the next few weeks - fresh starts all over the place.

I hope you'll hang out at my blog when you have the time - there's a crew of regulars, and everyone is welcome. Nobody bites. Much.

Thank you again for all the fabulous notes. You'll be hearing from me in the next few days.