8:28 a.m.

Uuuuuuunnnngh.

How is it possible that it’s only 8:30 in the morning*? About an hour ago Dad said to me, “There’s car racing on TV at 8:00, if you think Simon would be interested.” I stared at him. I blinked a few times.

“You mean, like, 8:00 tonight?”

“No- this morning.”

I was shocked. Stunned (yeah, I know what “stunned” means in NL- both definitions apply here). Aghast. “You mean it’s not even 8:00 yet?! NOOOOOOO!”

It felt like it should’ve been about 10:00. I guess my first clue should’ve been that mom and dad were, in fact, still at home and not on their way to the first of mom’s 3 services for the day. My brain, she don’a work’a so good on’a no sleep. Friends, it’s going to be a looooong day.

Oh- as for the rest of last night: I eventually got to bed after Ike fell asleep on his own- stuck his pacifier in his own face and everything. How… odd. Not that there was anything normal about last night, of course. Simon slept until some unreasonably early hour this morning; Isaac and I were already up. Isaac, who still DOES NOT want a pacifier at night. If I give him one when he’s crying (instead of his beloved BOOOOOOB), he settles for a second, and then starts twitching… and kicking… and sucking harder. Then: WAAAAAAH! Mommy, you tricked me!

So yeah, I’m tired. The good news is that it is officially less than 5 weeks until I see AJ again! I miss him so much that sometimes it gives me a stomach ache. It’s been worse since I saw him in August, and I imagine it’s only going to get worse as we get closer to his graduation. It’s reminding me of what it was like to be a kid with Christmas coming, except that instead of baking cookies and putting out the Nativity scene, I’ll be starting to pack boxes and looking into address changes/ new health cards, etc. Whoopee.

*Note that I did not say “8:30 a.m. in the morning.” I kind of laugh when people do that.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden… Tiger

entropy  (ěn’trə-pē): A measure of the amount of energy in a physical system not available to do work. As a physical system becomes more disordered, and its energy becomes more evenly distributed, that energy becomes less able to do work… The amount of entropy is often thought of as the amount of disorder in a system.*

The house in in what could politely be termed “a state of disarray.” In my mom’s words, it looks “like a bomb hit it.” Either way, the place is a mess.

The thing is, we’re reasonably certain it was clean just last night. We tidied and cleaned before my grandparents came over for supper, and it looked quite good. But for some reason, over the course of a day, this house always (always!) manages to devolve into chaos at an alarming rate. I don’t want to point the finger at any innocent people here, but the amount of mess seems to have a direct correlation to the number of children present and the amount of time they spend a) awake, and b) in the house. I’m aware that correlation does not equal causation, but I’m sure the mess isn’t causing the children, and it’s no coincidence.

Tonight we’re looking at the same mess we have every evening: items from the play kitchen everywhere, items from everywhere in the play kitchen, dinky cars, books, crayons, dirt tracked in from outside, bits of cereal, abandoned juice cups, etc. Then there’s the mess that has appeared only in the last week or so, the stuff that Isaac dumps on the floor as he’s attempting to crawl around (usually succeeding in moving backwards or in circles). Today we had another mess (two, actually) relating to Norah’s previously mentioned refusal to poop on the potty- I’ll spare you the details. I’m just glad I wasn’t the one who had to clean it up. Eeeeewwww…

What amazes me is how, when everything seems to be out in plain sight, so many things can go missing. Let’s take Ta as an example. Ta, Simon’s stuffed tiger and very bestest friend, has been disappearing lately. We don’t tend to notice until naptime or bedtime are approaching, and then it’s panic time. Simon patters around, going “A where Ta? Where’d he go Ta? Where Ta go?” and calling, “Taaaaa! Oh TAAAAAAA!” Cute, but not really helpful.

Ta shows up in various places. A few nights ago, we didn’t find him at all, and Simon had to go to bed without him; the next morning, Mom found Ta in the refrigerator of the play kitchen. Why we didn’t think to look there, I can’t imagine… Tonight when bedtime rolled around, good old Ta was once again nowhere to be found. After searching the bedrooms, the living room, the bathrooms and the back yard, I headed downstairs. Downstairs is my brother’s territory- him and Norah, and his girlfriend Madelyn when she’s here. Dad watches TV down there, but that’s about it for the rest of the family. I didn’t think Ta would be down there, but, well, he’s a troublesome tiger at times. I found him curled up in a corner, beside the rocking chair in Norah’s room. Good hiding spot, but I won this round, my furry friend.

I came across a definition of entropy a few weeks ago- the tendency of things to move towards a state of chaos (or homogenization, either way), unless energy is added which will prevent this from happening. This has to be true- I see it every day. It happens in your house, too. Even if you’re the world’s most anal-retentive neat-freak, it happens; the only reason your house looks so nice is because you put energy into keeping it that way. Left on its own, your food would rot, dust would collect, and your pictures would all start to hang at funny angles for no apparent reason. See? Chaos. Mwa ha ha!

Madelyn and I were talking it over, and we think we’re going to open this house up to the public, charge admission, and call it “The Entropy Museum: Disorder InAction”. It’ll be a big hit with the tourists, I can feel it.

 

*”entropy.” The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. 07 Sep. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/entropy>.

The Cottage- part 2

The problem with catching up on this kind of thing is that so much other stuff is going on while I’m trying to get caught up that I seem to be getting farther behind every time I write…

Where was I? I think it was the boathouse, right? We were throwing our luggage, coolers, and baby equipment into the boats as quickly as we could to avoid the rain. It’s a beautiful lake. Alright, technically the lake itself is pretty much just water- it’s what surrounds the lake that’s beautiful. Some of the shoreline is inhabited during the summer, and those parts are covered in every shape and size of cottage and cabin you can imagine; in just a few minutes you can travel from my grandparents’ cottage, which has no indoor bathroom facilities (really!) to places that are impossibly huge and, well, civilized. Some of these people actually fly in- directly to their cottages. It’s obscene. Most of the area around the lake is pretty wild, though. It’s just trees (cedar, various evergreens, birch), ferns, moss and rugged Canadian Shield rock. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for the original settlers in the area, clearing the land… it must have been backbreaking work.

But back to the cottage. Grandma (affectionately known as “Grammar” for her her habit of perpetually correcting us) met us down at the dock, and Simon was out of the boat before the rest of us. He took his time checking things out: the big, screened-in side porch that went up several years ago, the open living room, dining room and kitchen, the loft with its 2 bedrooms, and my grandparents’ bedroom on the ground floor- not a bedroom door in sight. It’s possible to find privacy on the island, but it’s easier if everyone just gets used to hollering “ANYBODY HOME?” before going… well, anywhere. We dropped mom and dad’s stuff off at the main cottage, and took our suitcases and backpacks (mine and the boys’) out to the cabin- a separate building that was built just after my parents got married. Co-incidence? I doubt it. This would be one of those areas you can have some privacy, as long as you remember to shut the blinds. We slept out there so that we (and by “we” I mean Simon and Isaac) wouldn’t keep everyone awake at night. You know, with “our” crying.

Actually, the boys both settled in a lot more quickly than I had anticipated. Simon needed someone out in the cabin with him while he was falling asleep for the first week, so I was glad when Dad and Grampa both decided they were capable of singing and/or boring him to sleep. Isaac? Isaac will go to sleep anywhere there’s boob. Staying asleep… well, that’s another entry entirely.

What did we do at the cottage? Generally what we’ve always done. There’s a corner cupboard filled with the same toys and games my brother and I played with when we were kids, books, the island to explore, napping (which I rather missed this year!), boating and swimming. We watched the hummingbirds coming to the feeder and kept our eyes open to look for the loon family- two healthy babies this year, which is great news. There are years when none hatch, or when the babies don’t make it until August; the little floating islands people have built for them to nest on are helping with that. Simon was happy to stay close to the cottage at first, which suited me fine. I’m not generally a paranoid mom, but when there’s water around, I think it’s justified. Simon didn’t want to live in a big, puffy life jacket for two weeks (terribly unreasonable of him), so I had to be satisfied with trying to keep track of him every minute of every day. Having 5 adults on the island to help was good, but that didn’t stop visions of “Me? I thought YOU were watching him!” conversations from swirling though my mind. There are times when I wish Simon would be just a little less cautious… this wasn’t one of them.

(click on photo for larger image)

Oh- you still wondering about those bathroom facilities? Some people are surprised to hear that we still have an outhouse; others are disgusted. It’s not that bad, really! It’s private, but the side that faces away from the cottage is open at the top (but screened in, thank God), and the view’s nice. It doesn’t smell bad (OK, not THAT bad), and the only time it’s actually inconvenient is when it’s raining. Night time’s not great, either, but there are these white tin pots under the beds… Hand-washing and tooth-brushing happen at a sink in the cottage, but you have to get drinking water from the kitchen, and THAT comes from a well that you have to take a boat trip to get to so you can fetch that pail of water… It’s all good. Showers? Not so much. “Go jump in the lake” is more like it. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh, crap- Simon’s hurt. Gotta go.

The Cottage- part 1

I say “part 1” because, as much as I’d like to present y’all with a coherent narrative of our entire trip to the cottage (and my all-too-brief visit with AJ in Regina), the odds of me having enough time to do that are slim, at best. Simon is watching “Lilo and Stitch” and Ike’s asleep for now, but they both have this nasty habit of needing me just when I’m settling in to do something that doesn’t involve them. They’re so childish…

You wouldn’t expect a 5-hour long road trip with a 6-month old and an almost-3 year old to go well, would you? I certainly didn’t. The cottage (which belongs to my grandparents) is a great place to relax, and it’s on a beautiful lake, but it takes forever to get there. When I was little it seemed to take days. I was prepared for a lot of whining and crying, and for having to make a lot of stops along the way, so I was pleasantly surprised when Ike slept most of the way and Simon was content to look out the windows, do a little colouring and tell me about every piece of construction equipment we passed along the way. We stopped for lunch in Kaladar (which for some reason I keep calling Kandahar, but that would’ve been a bit of a detour), where Simon charmed a group of senior-type ladies with his smiles and his adorable little physique in his sleeveless t-shirt. Other than a pit-stop at Timmies, that was our only stop, and the guys were fine with that.

ready to go!

ready to go!

Then… the cottage. Hitting the dirt road is always exciting- you know you’re almost there. By the time you hit the boathouse (not literally, please), the road is down to one lane, and the trees are reaching out to scratch at the sides of your car. Then it’s into the boat for a trip down the lake to the cottage, which is on a private island (really!). I’m glad my grandparents bought a big boat a few years ago that has a cover on it, because it was raining when we got there. That hasn’t been uncommon this summer; it’s been so wet that they’ve been seeing unprecedented mushroom growth on the island. (Insert your own joke here about how it’s good to have a fungi around on vacation- I’m too tired to think).

Aaaaaand there’s Ike. Told you he’d wake up as soon as I got started on this.