Tag Archives: letting go

Black and White and Grey All Over

I’ve been trying to remember how old I was when I got my first keyboard for Christmas.  Between 7-9 I guess.  It was the 21 key Casio PT100.  And it was awesome.  I also got 4 how-to books that taught you how to play.  The  music in the books had the notes on the staff and there were stickers so you could mark the keys on your keyboard.  And that, my friends, is how I learned to play the piano.  I commited to memory the notes of the treble clef, and eventually the stickers all rubbed off the keys and it all stuck in my brain.  I also had this pretty great ability to figure out how to play a song just by listening, so when I had worn my way through those four beginner books, I just sortof figured out the songs I wanted to play.  I was only about 9 after all, so my selections weren’t really that complicated, but I could really nail Somewhere Over the Rainbow, and mash out all the favourite hymns I knew from church.

casio pt100

Before the PT100, there was the old decrepit organ in the basement.  You had to hit the switch a few times to get it to turn on, sometimes augmenting the switch flip with a hard shake of the whole instrument.  It took a few minutes for it warm up, and it always had a loud and distinct hum that you would have to ignore if you wanted to be in the same room for any length of time.  I mostly managed to tune it out while playing.  I loved to goof around on it, with it’s push button chords and two dusty keyboards.  I think my sisters may have had to practise on it for their piano lessons, and needless to say, they gave up, as would most respectable humans because the sound was actually atrocious.

When I was around 11, the church I attended got new hymn books, and were “selling” the old ones for a $4 donation, and unfortunately the Sunday this was all going down, I was sick with the chickenpox, so I missed out on the hymn book sale. Devastated, I was, since I wanted to at least see if I was playing the right notes to the hymns, and learn others that I just couldn’t figure out on my own.  A lady at my church, Joanne, knew that I really wanted one, so that Sunday, she dropped it by.  I get all misty-eyed  just thinking about it.  To her, it was likely a very small gesture, but it was significantly influential to me.

I played the shit out of “Great Hymns of Faith”,  making up the chords based on the way things sounded in church.  I didn’t know how to read the bass clef–my instructional books failed to cover that.  I also refused to play anything with more than 2 flats or 3 sharps, so instead I would transpose the music in my head.  How I learned about key signatures is beyond me–I just kinda knew.

I would alternate playing through that hymn book on the organ and on my little PT100, pretending to be Mrs. Speer (piano) or Mrs. Toews (organ)–the ladies who accompanied the congregation in their singing.  My dream was to one day become the church pianist.  But clearly I couldn’t do it without piano lessons or a real piano.

I’m not sure why my parents never indulged my desire for lessons–most parents force that shit on their kids, but I guess they just didn’t take it seriously.  Or maybe they just thought I didn’t need them.  So instead, later that year for Christmas, I got upgraded to the Casio MT 520.

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Casio MT520

Christmas Day–Me, My Dad and my MT 520

This model had more keys, though they were much smaller and it had a pretty sweet drum pad.  You could really rock out, I guess, but I just wanted to play church hymns like a weirdo. And hymns I played until I started busting the keys.  I first lost the F sharp just below middle C, and next to go was the B flat in the same direction.  The keys were broken, but you could still hit them so they would press the little button underneath to make the sound.  Until that button came off and the notes stopped working entirely. I think at the end I had about 7 or 8 broken keys on that thing, but I just wouldn’t give up.

Whenever I was in a place that had a piano, I would play it.  People’s houses, the school music room, church, AWANA, wherever.  And if I couldn’t play it for whatever reason, my stomach would almost hurt because I wanted to so bad.  I wished all the time that my parents would just buy me a frigging piano.  It couldn’t be that hard, right?  So many birthdays I would secretly hope for the best birthday surprise of all, where I would come home and find a piano delivery truck in our driveway.  Unfortunately, no such surprise ever materialized.

About halfway through grade 9, at 14 years old, I finally got the chance to take lessons.  They were offered at my school, and I could duck out of geography once a week for a 30 minute, $9 lesson with Mrs. Giesbrecht.  I told her of my dreams to become a church pianist, and she wanted to help me with that, but she knew I needed to learn some proper technique first–which I absolutely hated.  She pointed out to me that I didn’t play with my thumbs. She thought it was the strangest thing she’d seen, until I explained that I couldn’t really use my thumbs to play properly on the MT-520.  The keys were just too small for my hand span.  Understanding my technique was hampered by the tiny keys, she mostly overlooked my awkward fingering and encouraged me to continue.  She was a really nice lady.

The summer after grade 9, my dad died.  And when Mrs. Giesbrecht called to see if I would be continuing lessons in the fall and to inform us of a price increase, I told her I wasn’t sure that we would still be able to afford it, with my dad no longer around.  She offered to keep the lessons at the original price and I was able to continue to take lessons for the next 2 years or so.

When someone dies there’s a ton of shit that happens, unexpected costs arise and life gets a bit crazy.  Not only does it suck that you’ve just lost your loved one, but you basically get screwed in a lot of different ways when you’re trying to wade your way through the grief.  Months after my dad died, his friends held a memorial golf tournament in his honour.  The proceeds from that tournament were donated to our family.  I’m not sure why my mom agreed to use a portion to buy me a piano, but she did, and I was super jazzed.  Pretty much the only bright spot after months of shitty despair.

We scoured the newspapers, and piano stores as there wasn’t the internet in those days.  We came across an old painted upright that was for sale for $400.  It didn’t have a bench and it was painted, but the price was right, so we went to check it out.  It was a nice piano, the keys were quite yellow, but the paint job wasn’t bad and the sound was really nice.  It was the one. The thing I had wanted for my entire life. My very own piano.

my piano

Black and White and Grey All Over

The day the piano was delivered was probably one of the most exciting days of my life.  I played it from when I got home until well past my bedtime.  I remember sitting in the dark living room playing because the sun had set and I didn’t want to get up to turn the lights on.  It looked nice in our living room, and the yellow keys never bothered me.  My very thoughtful and talented friend, Amber, managed to make me a matching bench in her grade 11 shop class.  I don’t think I ever really thanked her for that–it really is a beautiful piece, and especially so, since she was only like 16.

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90’s half shirt and Impy, and my piano

Upright Piano

Me and My piano, Prom 1996

baby playing piano

My niece Chrissy being coy

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My Kindred, Marty, and Amber, maker of the bench in the middle

Not long after I got the piano, I did my Grade 8 Piano exam, and passed with flying colours.  I went on to be a church pianist and eventually a worship director.  I played at almost every service (sometimes 3 a week–it was a fundamental baptist church after all!) for probably 4 years or more.  It was a dream come true–the lessons, playing in church, and the piano.

When my mom sold the house several years later, I moved into a one bedroom apartment with no room for a piano, and such has been the case since then.  There’s never room for the piano.  My Auntie housed my piano at her place for years hoping that one day I might be able to find room for it, until she moved, and could look after it no longer.

My super friend, Rock N Roll Jen offered to take it for me and it stayed with her up until now.  I could visit it when I wanted, and it being at Jen’s made for some loud and drunken piano sessions.  The time has come that Jen can no longer keep it for me, and I can’t move it here.  I’ve come to realize that I will never, while living here in Toronto, be able to host a piano of it’s size.  We might be able to fit it into our home now, but we’d never be able to get it up the two flights of stairs.  We couldn’t even fit a regular couch in, so I doubt a hundred year old upright would fit.

So it’s time to let it go.  I’ll try to give it away–we haven’t had luck so far, but maybe soon someone will take it.  And if not, I’ve got a back up plan–my friend Mike and his company Just Junk will know what to do with it–sad as that outcome may be.

The last tune I tickled on it’s ivories was a shaky rendition of  Lovesong by the Cure.  Pretty fitting, I’d say.

I’m no longer a church pianist nor am I a worship director. I don’t even really play at all anymore. I guess it’s all behind me now but I wanted to tell you about my piano.  It’s just an instrument, I know, but it was so much more than that to me and I thought you should know.

NYE 1999

Partying with my piano, NYE 1999

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Heart Beating, Eyes Shining

Years and years ago, I came home to the Valentine’s Day gift that would keep on giving.  He kept on giving for the next 14 years.  Or taking, or eating, or growing or however you want to look at it.

fatty1

I’ve never had a pet as long as I’ve had Grip.  Most of my cats “ran away” or got hit by cars.  I looked after my Nana’s dog for a long time, but whenever she returned from her travels, “Impy” went back with her.  None them were around as long as Agrippa.  He’s been mine for about 14 years.

14 years is a long time for a kitty, especially a really fat kitty.  How he got so fat, I’m not really sure.  He just kept growing and growing, and then he grew some more after he was neutered.  His origins aren’t entirely clear, but from what I remember, he was found in a field in a box, then brought to a pet store, then home to live with us.   There was a time where we thought he might be a mountain lion, he was getting so big so fast.  Eventually he stopped growing at around 35 pounds.

The worst of it was not his size, but he was a total bastard as a kitten.  He used to tear around our then apartment, climbing up people using his claws, scratching, biting, attacking at every opportunity.  I can think of at least 5 people off the top of my head that likely have permanent scars from his misbehaviour.  We couldn’t control him.  We’d lock him in his kitty carrier to calm him down, but he figured out how to unlock it.  He’d get the gate open, and come tearing out faster and more furious than before.  Probably the meanest cat around.  But he was so very very sweet too–if there ever was a Jekyl/Hyde kitty situation, this was it.  He would curl up at night between our pillows and cuddle with us all night long.  In the morning we would wake to the sweet smell of his kitty breath.  I’ll miss his kitty breath the most.

Grip spent the majority of his life eating diet food and having human sized poops.  He was so big, he relied on Simon to keep him clean.  He was a total pain in the ass, but I spent many lonely nights cuddled up with him in my bed.  When I had no one, I always had Tubby, and I’m certain that there never was another pet that loved their master as much as he loved me.

fatty2

He was confused when Marigold was born, and he watched me like a hawk when I first brought her home. He eventually took to her and they became very good chums.  He tolerated her hugs and tugs and kisses, and often looked for her if she was away visiting her auntie or grandparents for the night.  She loved him, and he loved her which made this whole thing incredibly difficult.

fattymg2

fattymg1

Last Tuesday, we said goodbye to Agrippa, the Roman statesman kitty.  It was his time.  I asked some of his old friends to say a few words about him.

fattyshoe

On Agrippa:

“Oh poor boy. He was scary but still part of the family.  He wanted to hurt me but not bad enough to lose his comfy spot”

“Cat Heaven is a little fatter now.”

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“Whoa is that a cat?”

“Hard to believe that he was such a fiesty little thing. I will miss that girth.  Actually, he was a demon. He would attack us for no reason.”

“When I read that Agrippa had died, the first thing that came to mind was Gord and Andrea’s place on Spencer…We ate, we talked, we napped. We put on music to propel us into the night, then came crashing back home. We talked into the early morning until we fell asleep, then we got up and started all over again. What was it, that magic we created? I don’t know. But Agrippa was there, and is still, presiding over some of my fondest memories.”

gripchair

“He is the best damned cat that ever lived.  A true legend.  He was a great friend.  Over the years, I’ve thought about him often and I’ve always missed him very much.  Today, I’m really sad”

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Thus ends the long and obese tail of Agrippa.  If there is some sort of kitty after life, I’m sure Grip has found Simon and they have banded together to form the unholy army of the night they always dreamed about.  But rather than causing kitty mischief, they’ve found somewhere cozy to snuggle up and groom each other.   Lazy bastards.

heartshaped cats

Little known fact about Agrippa…his favourite band was the Pogues (Simon was more into Neil Young).  This song goes out to him.

So long, Tubs.

And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter

Laugh if you want to, but my favourite book is Anne of Green Gables.  I’ve read the entire series a few times, and some particular installments in the series,  more times that I can even remember.  Lucy Maude is a great story teller.  And if you’ll remember back to when you read Anne, or even if you didn’t read the story, you probably can probably recall bits of the tv movie that aired on the CBC or you took a class trip to some high school performance of the play.  You might even remember Anne’ bosom chum, Diana.  On January 1st, my bosom chum got on a plane.  And just like that, Toronto got a little less sweeter.

anne

It hasn’t been such a sweet place as of late–the political storms, the weather issues, and the transit follies.  Surprisingly to me, I find myself sometimes wondering why we continue to live here.  Though today, I drove through the city, and I’m happy to report that it was easy to find all my old loving feelings for the city.

I took the long way home and remembered that there are so many places around with so many great memories attached.  Memories of me and my bosom chum–the things we did, and the places we met up, the places we took pictures.  I’ll sure miss her while she’s gone.

Magical Adventures

Magical Adventures

I had already lost her earlier this year.  A result of  the time and space and the things happening in our lives that began to naturally separate us.  An undesired side affect of desirable life changes, I suppose.

I met her in December 2005, at my kindred’s birthday party on Robert.  She was wearing mauve, and I knew instantly I wanted to be friends with her.   Later, I saw her kitchen and wondered even more about how we were going to become friends. And then, months later, after having moved to Toronto, I found myself meeting her at Spadina and Dundas on our way to see Final Fantasy at the Music Gallery.  I’m sure you’ve heard this before.

After watching Owen Pallett perform incredible magic on his violin, we headed back to my apartment on Robert for leftovers of the food I had made earlier in the day.  There was souvlaki, spanokopita, dolmades and tzaziki–probably the most elaborate Greek meal I had ever prepared.  I played her all my favourites from the latest Belle and Sebastian album.  We danced around my apartment, smoked a bit and I’m sure had some drinks all before exiting the back door to make our way to the Cloak.  There was nothing unusual about the path we took on our way over to see the Gospel Sundays, but AJ’s keen eye noticed a weird lumpy case sitting on top of a postal box.  After stopping and inspecting the case, we revealed the contents.  A violin.

We found a fucking violin on the side of the road after having just attended a concert featuring the violin!  

There was no one to be seen in the immediate proximity of the violin, and we left a note on the post box for the owner to contact us.  We never found it’s rightful owner.  AJ still has it today.  I don’t think she brought it on the plane though, but one day, she’ll learn to play.

It’s a special and unique friendship story that I will carry in my heart forever….re-telling it at whatever chance I get. A cosmic beginning to the friendship I had been looking for all my life.  I don’t know how else to describe it–our friendship that is.  I have a lot of people I really truly love in my life that are special to me in a lot of different ways.  Friends for greater than 30 years, some.  Others I’ve known only for a short time, and others still, who I never see or talk to, yet they continue to reside deeply in my heart.

What developed with AJ is a cosmic friendship with a bosom chum.  And I’m sure she feels the same way too.

Bosom Chums

Bosom Chums

I miss her, I do.  But I already missed her.  In a lot of ways I feel alone without her, and I have for the last while.  I’ve shared some of the most incredible moments of my life with her.   She has this ability to make any event, situation or circumstance magical.  At times I wonder if she IS in fact some magical and mystical creature like Loch Ness or Big Foot.  But she photographs well and I’ve seen her reflection in the mirror with my own eyes.

I have three biological sisters, and I am not close with any of them, and speak to them very little, if at all.  There’s a myriad of reasons for this I suppose…distance, age gaps, lack of common ground.  I haven’t thought about it enough to really understand why…but we’ve never been close, so I’ve never felt that that sister connection was missing in my life nor was I even aware that there even is such a thing as a sisterly connection.

As AJ and I grew closer over time, I grew to love her immensely and care about her in a way that was unfamiliar to me.  The only way I can describe it is that I must love her the way that sister’s love each other.  And it is a love that will never die.

The second time one of your very best friends moves away in a matter of months isn’t fun/  It is, in fact,  exponentially lonelier.  I don’t think I have fully accepted the fact that she is gone, and I’ll probably become drastically more aware, when she is not here when this little baby arrives.  I know for certain, though, that her pursuits are noble and I’m excited for the chapters that will unfold for her after her short stint away at school in Northern Alberta.

So I wait for her return, and I think of her fondly.  My magical, amazing and lovely bosom chum.  Sweet, sweet Alana.

30withaj

My 30th birthday sleep over

foggy alley in Toronto

In the Alley by the Pie

Giant Guinness

A stroll after Saturday Afternoon high tea

herfaveholiday

Turkey Coma on her favourite holiday

luxardo

Straight from the bottle

matesofstate

On our way to see Mates of State

Anniversary Traditions

I just looked it up.  It was actually March 5th.  Turns out that’s actually my pal’s Parks’ birthday…funny coincidence.  I didn’t even know there was a Park’s when I moved to Toronto.

In 2006, I made a pretty significant life decision.  I quit my job, packed up my shit and moved here.  I had exactly 4 friends on the north shore of Lake Ontario.  And now, this is my life.  Lake Ontario at the bottom  of my street, and Queen Street is just steps to the north.  I listen to Parkdale sounds as I fall asleep at night, and I wake to Parkdale sounds in the morning.  Deep in the throbbing heart of Parkdale, I am at home in my Parkdale House Of Dreams.  Until 2006, I didn’t even know what a Parkdale was.

West Queen West upon entering Parkdale  “You’ve Changed”

Coming to the decision to move away from my friends, my family, my love, was actually easier than I thought it was at the time.  I had been to visit my dear Kindred on several occasions, and cried whenever I left.  So I moved, and my life changed. Of course I miss my friends, and it was challenging to make new ones, so that part wasn’t easy. But the rest really was pretty simple.  It didn’t matter that I was surrounded by tons of really rad people who I really really really  love a whole lot, I always felt lonely in the Cath.  I knew that if I stayed in Niagara I would live a sad lonely life.  I needed things to change.  I needed to be alone to end the loneliness.

I had some ideas about what I was walking into by leaving, but I can assure you that those ideas are so vastly different than what I found once I arrived. There was this thing that was happening when I moved here, and I’ve realized that time was standing still for me then.  It was standing still for all of us. I really wish that I could actually paint more than just paint by numbers, because I would paint it all as a giant mural.  And it’s a big fucking party mural.  A really fun party.  The one night only affair that lasted for years, that still finds itself revived in a pub or on a deck, or in a kitchen–over a hot stove here and there.

The Cloak
The cove children

I don’t actually believe that things happen for a reason, and I don’t really believe in fate or pre-destination.  It doesn’t actually matter, fate or no fate,  when you’re too busy living.  Sometimes the universe owes you a favour–you simply accept its kind offer of amazing and be thankful.  So, thank you, universe, for this, and all the other things that have followed.
There hasn’t been much else in my life more right than that move I made in ’06.  A few things, but not many. Anyways, I’m big on anniversaries, and starting annual traditions and reflecting on special times in my life.  It’s all very special and amazing.  I do love it when there are things to celebrate.  Birthdays, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, Mondays.  Celebrations truly are some of the best times of our lives, wouldn’t you say?

There I was yesterday.  Here I am now and where I’ll be tomorrow–ever so much to celebrate!  I know March 5th, 2013 has come and gone, but each year I try, at the very least, to remember the time with celebratory thoughts.  I try to remember how I felt then, and how it feels more right every day.  

From Rancho Relaxo, to the Starbank, The Market, Neutral, Maggie’s, the Cloak and Dagger, the backdoor of 106, Croft, Sneaky Dees, The Magpie, The Press Club, Euclid, Roxton,  to the corner of Grace and Harbord.  

The Dakota, Lakeview, The Gypsy, The Park, 909 and my dress, the dog bowl, Squirrelys, The Paper Place, Preloved, Queen and Dovercourt, The Cock and Tail, The Gladstone.  The Dufferin jog, the now bricked up stairway under the GO overpass. Streetcars, Lamport, the amphitheatre, the Caddy, Salvador, the Rhino, Meher’s deck, Capital, Not my dog, The Village of Parkdale mural, Thrift Town.  Mezzrows and Tibetan protests.  The CN Tower. Going Steady.  The Golden Dogs, White Cowbell Oklahoma, and the Wednesday night residency at the Cameron. Bikes. The people.  The people on bikes. The transit.  The vibe.  The sounds.  The weather.  The fresh flowers on the street corners.  I look around me at the city and I am in love.  In love with the people and the places.  I have never in my life felt more at home.

On the sunny Sunday afternoon that Cindy and Juliee drove me into town, this song by Bjork came on.  Just as it was supposed to–this song played and I laid eyes on the city that had become my new home just at the moment where Bjork says “this is where I’m staying.  this is my home.”  In March 2006 I came home for the first time. Happy anniversary, Toronto.

Roommates Ruling Supreme

Every spring I used to plan a party with Gord to celebrate another year of us ruling supreme as roommates.   This spring, I’m planning a different kindof party.  A party that I’ll surely celebrate for the rest of my life.  I look forward to the traditions that will follow.

Remembering Stacks

I know I post the fuck out of this song.  But I don’t care.  I heard it again tonight when I had 5 minutes alone and I cried.

…he even fakes a toss

I had been thinking for a while now, about how I want to remember everything, the whole reason I write this blog.  And how, so very often a song comes on and it immediately transports me to another time and place.  A time and place that I truly lived.  I can honestly say that music, in whatever form, has been a driving force in my life.  I know most people could probably say that, but if you know me…like really really know me, you know this is true.  Truer for me than for most, you’d probably say.

It’s not often, however, that I can remember the first time I heard a song.

But this song, Re: Stacks by Bon Iver, and the moment I first heard it will stay with me until the day that I die.

I was probably just slightly overdue with Marigold at the time, and was living the ultimate wait and see routine–a classic life theme I’ve adopted from my favourite book, The Cider House Rules by John Irving.  I was just finishing up some housework and the upstairs of our then apartment was at it’s brightest point of the day.  You know how sometimes rooms have a time of the day where the outside light is just perfect and it makes you love your space in no way that furniture or design could ever do?  I have been fortunate to have this in almost all of my apartments in the city and I sincerely promise to never take that for granted.

the light at 195

It was that time of the day for 195 Grace Street.  It was that day where I thought I was truly ready for this life changing event that was about to occur.  I had been walking tons, drinking red raspberry leaf tea, and having what seemed like copious amounts of sex for a huge pregnant person (looking back it was probably just once or twice, it just seemed like a lot because I was massive AND exhausted) hoping to induce labour.  I was ready.  And then I heard this song.

It came on the radio.  I stopped, walked into the beautifully lit living space.  I sat down and I started to cry.    If I close my eyes and listen right now, I am overcome by the same feeling I had that day.  I can hear myself singing a little harmony on the chorus, as I’m want to do even when I’ve never heard the song before.  Somehow, in short six minutes, Justin Vernon of Bon Iver has me questioning everything I’ve ever done in my life, and my ability to do anything in the future.  And suddenly I know that things are never going to be the same.  Suddenly, Peattie herself is never going to be the same.  And it’s like suddenly I’m not ready, not ready for any of this.  And then suddenly it doesn’t matter.  This new addition to my life is going to share something with me that no other two people on earth are going to have, or ever even going to understand.

I’m not really sure what the song is about, and I might be disappointed one day to find out. And it doesn’t really matter because I love the words, the story, the strumming pattern, the melody, the chord progression, I love his voice.  But what I love the absolute most is the last line.  It is a promise, no, it is our promise.

I know there will be plenty of times in my life where I hear this song and it will have other powerful impressions to leave on my heart.  And as time goes on, Stacks will always be about reminding me of where I was, acknowledging where I am now, and dreaming about wherever I’ll be in the future.  But mostly how in all of this, I never want her to forget that her love will always be safe with me.

Work-a-hol, not nearly as good as Alch-o-hol


I guess the first step is admitting it. I’m a workaholic.

And, I’m exhausted.

Over the last few months, I have been spending my days watching Marigold learn to grab things with her hands, learn to roll over, and learn to stick out her tongue. Not high in stress levels to be sure. Don’t get me wrong, staying at home and looking after a baby is very tough, but not incredibly challenging. At least not for me. I love my little baby so much and think she is the most amazing thing in the world, but spending every day all day with her (at this age at least) probably just wasn’t in the cards for me.

Leaving her to go back to work was heartbreaking, because I knew I’d miss her. I’ve spent 24 hours a day for the last 150 days with her, save for a few hours here and there. She’s my best friend. I’m her best friend, of course it was going to be hard. Fortunately, she’s staying home with her other best friend, her daddy, who loves her just as much as I do. Thank god.

The transition for all of us wasn’t as difficult as I thought, or at least not in the way I anticipated it to be. I thought I would spend the first day crying in my office because I missed her so much, and that she would be wailing and whining all day waiting for me to come home. Not so much.

I was also worried (and I can say this, because I know Martin doesn’t read my blog) that I would come home to a disaster house everyday. That I would be the one to walk in the door, clean the house, make dinner, do the laundry, look after the baby etc etc and then fall into a nervous exhausted mess and end up locked up somewhere. I have been surprised everyday, that this has not been the case in the slightest. And in reality, it would’ve been impossible, because I just don’t have the energy.

Of course I have high expectations for my home, and men often just don’t get it when it comes to having a tidy house. But that’s ok…I knew I couldn’t expect things to be done my way any more than I could expect Margiold to be dressed clothes that match. Let’s be serious.

He’s doing an excellent job. Accomplishing more than I thought any stay-at-home-dude ever could! And she loves being with her daddy, and he’s great with her. The dishes might not always be done, and she might be wearing a yellow striped onesie with pink polkadot pants, but the house is still standing. And frankly, I’m so happy to walk in the door when I get home, that I really don’t care that much that things are not done the way I would do them.

You see, this is a really big step. I am a boss, a manager, a director. Not just in my job, but in my home life too. To let this go is an amazing accomplishment for me.

So that being said, the whole transition was more difficult for me than I thought be in a way that’s different than I thought it would be. Does that even make sense? Let me explain.

My day goes like this…times are approximate
630-wake up feed the baby from one side, then pump the other
7-745 shower and get ready
745-8:30 Drive to Richmond Hill
830-12ish go go go go work work work work
12-1230 pump
1230-4 go go go go go work work work work
4-430 pump
430-5 clean up any last bit of work before I leave
5-6 Drive home
6-7 Feed the baby and spend time with her while Martin preps dinner
7-8 have dinner and mind the baby
8-10 try to relax and spend time with Marigold and Martin
10-1030 Nurse the baby to bed
Sometime after 1030–go to bed.

There is not one second in my day that is for me, except for maybe when I go to the bathroom. And before you jump on me and tell me to get used to it, fuck you. I’m sick of people telling me it’s only going to get worse. I know this is the way it is when you have kids, but I’m just telling you how it has been for me, ok?

Furthermore, my maternity leave Employment Insurance deposits were screwed up, so I haven’t received the proper payment in close to a month, and we made an error in budgeting for Martin’s last pay, so we are incredibly broke. Which, if you’ve been broke before, know that it’s one of the most stressful things in life. I don’t know how people do it regularly. We’ll be fine and it will all work out, but it’s just one more thing to add to the list.

On top of that, my job is pretty demanding, so when I’m not working or doing anything, I’m thinking about work. The problems, the solutions and how we’re all going to get through all the bullshit that goes on are always on my mind. My day is filled to the brim with things that need attention immediately, which leaves little time for planning, evaluation and staff development….and in my opinion, these should be the key functions of my position. So, that is how I spend my free time. Thinking about work.

I was anticipating that I was coming back to a changed workplace–that things were different now. This is what I was told. Unfortunately, the differences are small and the issues that I felt needed to be addressed, hadn’t in my departure. In fact, in some ways, things are worse, since neither of the two people that were hired to replace me, worked out.

That being said, I have a team of 5. Three of those teammates were there prior to my departure, and have made me very proud. They have worked so hard in the face of adversity, surrounded by crazies and lazies and have managed to come out on top. The amount of effort, time and dedication that I see in my employees, I think, is unparalleled. This is the most rewarding part of any job that I have ever had, and this is why I am a boss. Seeing people change and grow with my guidance is more pleasing than any other accomplishment in my life and it is so worth the investment of my effort and time. And the fact that they were able to keep the ship afloat in my absence is thoroughly impressive. More than anyone else could ever know.

I find it difficult to leave the office every night. I am almost exasperated because in order for the necessary changes to take place to improve our workplace, I feel as though I need to put in the hours like I used to. I can’t do that anymore. I have a life, in fact, an excellent one. And I need to enjoy it…and staying at work till all hours of the night will not allow me to do that.

I’m not bragging here, but I have a fucking awesome position at a rapidly growing company, I have a nice home, and I have a handsome soul mate who is perfect for me in every way who loves me and our little family more than anything. He is faithful and loyal and committed to me and our family in a way I’ve never seen from a man in my life ever. I have a beautiful, healthy and hilarious daughter with a super rad name. I have my health, and I am pretty and sexy (though, a little flabby), and I’m funny, nice and generous and smart and successful and people like me (I think). I have what so many people want in life. I am so lucky. And I don’t take it for granted.

But I am a workaholic. And fighting that addiction is pretty tough. It’s not like heroin or anything, like I’m not going to die from shooting some bad dope into my veins, and the risks are not nearly as bad. But, hurting my little family is too high of a price to pay to see someone else’s company succeed. I’m not giving up on my job by any means, I’m just working at making work priority #2. Martin and Marigold need to be #1. And that’s the part that I’m struggling with inside. My job defined me. My success and dedication have been who I am for the last 10 years, and especially the last 3. The party Peattie that everyone knew and loved in my personal life is gone now too.

The hardest part of any of this is figuring out who I am now and who I want to be. The non stop party days are over. The work till you drop days are over. I have to find the right life/work/party balance that works for my new life….a balance that Marigold will love, admire and respect when she’s old enough to figure it out.

There’s Beauty in the Breakdown


The days seem to be going by so fast and yet I do nothing. I accomplish nothing. Our dishwasher broke a couple of weeks ago, so I guess doing the dishes accounts for more of my time now, but I think it’s a bit outrageous to think that it makes up about 50% of my time. But then there’s laundry, feeding the baby, feeding myself and changing the baby one hundred times a day.

Being a stay at home mom/housewife really isn’t what I thought it would be. I’m sure that will change once Marigold gets older, but really–years ago when I imagined being a housewife I figured I’d be smoking pot all day doing crafts and cooking, mixed in with sunny day trips to the park and settling down to cocktails in the evening by candlelight. Not so, my friends, not so.
The weather has been horrible, and I get it, April Showers bring May flowers, but really…this has been ridiculous. Who really wants to go out in the rain, especially with a baby? So I’ve been pretty much stuck inside, getting out when I can, which hasn’t been often. And yet, I’m spending all this time at home and there is still laundry piled on the table downstairs waiting to be put away, the floors still need washing, and the bathroom sink is disgusting. I did, however, manage to wax my eyebrows this morning.
This is so frustrating for me because I’m used to accomplishing so much in a day’s time. And I suppose I could try harder in the evenings when Martin’s home to get all this shit done, but the truth is that Marigold needs to eat almost every hour after 4 o’clock, leaving me drained, literally and figuratively.
I know I AM accomplishing something so great, it just can’t be quantified right now. I have to wait to reap the rewards of a healthy, happy and secure child once she’s older, but for fuck sakes, I just want to cross something off a list!
I have to learn to let go. I have to let go of my daydreams of becoming an excellent seamstress while I’m off on mat leave. I have to let go of my idealistic picture of a gourmet meal on the table waiting for Martin when he gets home each night. I have to let go of the fact that I will not be scrap-booking these baby memories for a couple of hours a day. I have to let go of the idea that I will have it all done by noon and being able to relax for the rest of the day. Oh, and I want to have a beautiful garden, by June. Jesus H, the list keeps growing, and it’s just not going to happen, is it?
AND relationships! God, the only relationship that I maintain with fervour these days aside from Martin and Marigold is my relationship with the internet. Sometimes it’s my only portal to the outside world. My good friends are all still there, but it’s difficult to keep in touch, since most people work during the day–the time when I am available to communicate, since after five I’ve mostly got one hand on the baby and the other on my boob to keep her from getting a black eye.
I fucking hate speaker phone, but now it’s almost the only option. The guilt that I feel for neglecting people is unspeakable! I really just have to accept that I can’t be everything to everybody, and really I can’t guarantee that I can be anything to anyone, since I’m the only thing this tiny little person has for 18 hours a day! My dear friends, don’t take it personally, I’m doing the best I can, and I still love you, and I hope you will be there again when I re-emerge from this lovely pit of baby barf and gummy smiles.
It seems that my priorities have to change, I have to refocus and modify my goals. Short term and long term. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I realize how lucky I am to have such a happy and healthy little girl and a partner who is incredibly supportive who tries to understand how hard this is on me and my body. I write simply to remind myself of this and to keep myself from going crazy. The negativity that I was once so accustomed to sometimes seems like heroin in it’s draw, especially since I’m alone all day.
And it’s all going to change again when I go back to work in approximately two months. Part of me is desperate to get back to it, but the other part of me is wondering how on earth I’m going leave this gorgeous child. Back when I was pregnant Martin and I decided to split the parental leave offered by the government, hoping that it would lead him into being a “stay at home dude” keeping his current position with “work from home” status. Progressive, I know. We figured it was the best option for us, since I’d likely go a bit nuts staying at home all the time. I never once thought about how difficult it would be or how much I’d miss my little girl until now…..
But that’s later. Much later.
Priority One: Let go and enjoy the beauty of it all. Live now, and don’t fret about it until the time comes.
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