Empty – NaBloPoMo Day 7

I worked pretty hard this past weekend. I was at a retreat. Had some rewriting to do on a manuscript. Thought it’d be easy. Boy, was I wrong. I mean. I knew I had a lot to rework. I just had no idea that I could actually focus like that. Focusing isn’t really one of my strong suits.

I’m a lateral thinker. I get thoughts in literal bubbles, and they often float away or just out of reach. They’re usually all interconnected, but it’s like the time I looked at my friend and said, excitedly, “hey, you know what’s a great movie?!” and he said “what?!” just as excitedly, and then I said, also with the same level of excitement, “SHIT! I FORGET!” I did eventually remember what the movie was (Leatherheads), but it was during a different conversation quite some time later, and in the middle of a sentence about, I dunno, homemade bread, I said “oh yeah, that movie was Leatherheads, and anyway you have to proof the yeast first”. So being focused for an entire weekend on just one thing was incredible.

Except now I feel empty. It’s like when you’re pregnant for ten months and then all of a sudden you’re not. I don’t know if everyone feels like this when they’re kinda done a project, but I’m not sure it’s pleasant. I’m not sure it’s exactly unpleasant either. But it is different.

Are you more excited at the beginning of a project, in the middle of it, or at the end of it? Are you the sort of person who thinks in straight lines, or do you think-fart? Enquiring minds want to know.

Home – NaBloPoMo Day 6

Pretty sure that in most prairie homes there is someone’s gran’s needlework that says “home is where the heart is”. We never had that on the wall at our house because my grandmother was a nurse and she used to say things like “the thoracic cavity is where the heart is”, and also she hated needlework. Of course, now that I’ve just mentioned this I’ve decided I need to do a needlepoint of a drippy heart with “the thoracic cavity is where the heart is” and hang it on the wall.

“Home” is an interesting concept. Is it a house? A physical place? Is it a state of being? I used to walk out along the dam at the farm and sit on the big lichen-covered boulders under the scraggly trees among the long, whispering grasses and feel like I was home. Unequivocally home. Or watching waves crash on a rocky, unforgiving shoreline. That was home too.

Picked up a traveller on the highway yesterday and he’d just sold his house. Called himself “homeless”, but talked about the place he’s living and the people he cares for and who care for him and I wondered if he were actually homeless or if he was just houseless.

On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (a theory which is over 70 years old, so I’m sure it’s been updated, changed, tweaked, and possibly dismissed; I’m not up on current psychological/behavioural research), physiological security is the base of the pyramid. But is that “home”, or is that “shelter”? Is there a difference?

What is “home” for you? How does “home is where…” end for you?

Snow Sky – NaBloPoMo Day 5

“Winter Fence” by MEJones is a royalty-free image from stock.xchng
I don’t like snow skies. I don’t like grey air and grey skies. Not one bit. I look at the ground a lot when there’s sky-poop happening.

I don’t mind when the sky poop lands and it’s all pretty and sparkly and new and fresh and why the shit did I only wear sandals to this retreat because now it’s snowing and who does that? Who. Does. That.

Anyway, I think I’ve finished the second draft of a novel that, the more I think about it, the more it seems derivative, but then I squint my eyes a bit and it’s not so bad. I think it’ll be okay. I guess you could argue that everything since the very first novel is derivative. Maybe it’s not even all that bad of a thing. At least it’s identifiable.

Probably it isn’t at all. Derivative, I mean. It’s just that I’ve been sitting at this writing desk for three days and I’ve managed to get a novel completely rewritten and I think my eyes might be bleeding. I only sobbed twice. A day.

So I’ll look at the sky poop laying around on the ground and hope my bald tyres get me home today and I guess start on a new book. Maybe it’s time to try to compile a poetry manuscript.

Concern – NaBloPoMo Day 4

My father was asking recently whether any more of my articles might be featured on the CBC website. I mentioned I hadn’t pitched any lately, mostly for REASONS that involve being a) pretty busy; b) kinda brain-dead; c) most likely undernourished since our oven is busted and my slow cooker is pooched and basically all we have to eat is cereal and eggs in a nest. I maybe didn’t mention that last one.

He asked whether I’d had any feedback from the ones that have already been featured and I said yes, people tell me when they see the humour pieces. Sometimes they get shared on social media. It’s fun, I told him. I like to make people smile.

“Well do you get any negative comments?” He asked.

I said no, people are pretty much universally nice about my general dorkiness and smartassitude.

“I just got worried that maybe they had comments,” he said. “You know, negative comments. Like maybe someone didn’t like what you had to say and they commented.”

But I understood what he was getting at. The now nearly throw-away acknowledgements you hear every time someone mentions “social media” (which is different from websites, but that’s another post). Oh you know how people can be on social media, they say. I appreciated his concern.

I said, I haven’t, Dad. If people are put out by the articles I’ve written, they’ve not said anything to me. But even if they did, I’ve had my share of trolls and it’s okay.

It’s okay.

What’s the most effective way you’ve found of dealing with trolls? I assume “blocking and muting” will be the top answers, but what else, if anything, do you do when someone comments just to try to get under your skin?

Blinders – NaBloPoMo Day 3

Sometimes I’m positive the dog has the right idea. Probably this is why people started keeping their domesticated animals in their houses with them; they saw reflected in their animal buddies aspects of their own natures that they couldn’t quite talk about for whatever reason. Maybe they couldn’t name it because they were afeared. Maybe they didn’t want to name it because they didn’t want to acknowledge it was a thing. Maybe they were just inventing language and literally didn’t have the words.

It’s difficult to know whether “the world” is actually the burning shitheap it makes itself out to be, and whether it truly is “the worst”. Because you’re living through it. I like to ask my elders, was it ever this bad before? The world, the way people in it treat each other, politics, divisiveness? Has it ever been this bad?

Of course it’s too easy to say the people on the planet have gone to hell in a handbasket because of social media. It’s simply not true, and people have been making those claims since the beginning of society (because of the Internet in general; because of television; because of radio; because of rock music; because of Godlessness; because of dancing; because of the free market; because of the rise of the middle class; because of industrialisation; because of this cultural influence or that one). Maybe it’s a hallmark of “growunuppitude” that you sit back, take a look around, and wonder if you’ve managed to achieve your goal to leave something better than how you found it and then it hits you that you’ve ROYALLY fucked up that goal.

I don’t know.

But there are days, my friend. There are days I’d just like to stick my head in a yogurt container and muddle through as best as I can. What do those days look like for you?

Road Trip – NaBloPoMo Day 2

I was on the road today. I got out early owing to the fact that the weather people said it *probably* wasn’t going to start sky-shiting until later in the afternoon, which means it could go at any time. I’ve always liked driving. When I was an incorrigible teen, my Da would stop me in the middle of whatever snit I was having and he’d say “let’s go for a drive”.

You can talk about anything on a drive. You don’t have to look anyone in the eye; you can just watch the fields and trees and farmyards fly by the window and let the crap that’s weighing on you come out as it sees fit. The distance and closeness together are comfortable.

As I neared the town that lost talented athletes, coaches, staff, and a driver this past spring, I felt a heaviness settle around me. I thought about how cruel it is for the whole world to keep doing things, any things, all things, when so many lives just stop. It’s only cruel to the living, of course; the world doesn’t care – its job is to be and to have been and to keep being. It’s only us who are cruel and who understand cruelty.

“Cruel” and “crude” are related. They’re cousins. They have the same Latin ancestor that meant hard-hearted or rough.

The last thing we should do is harden our hearts. There’s too much of that. It’s probably a reaction to feeling like you’re under attack. Nevertheless, let us not be cruel. A little kindness can go a long way, but a little cruelty can crush a soul.

What is an act of kindness you perform regularly? What acts of kindness do you most enjoy? What is a kindness you remember having experienced?

NaBloPoMo Day 1


I’m going to attempt to do NaBloPoMo, which doesn’t actually have anything to do with blowing anything, no matter how it may look from the weird initialism. Acronym. Word made up of the beginnings of other words what makes up the thingummy. National Blog Posting Month. The idea is you make a post a day for thirty days.

I used to blog a lot more regularly. But with micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, all that kind of fell by the wayside. Plus, one of the things I love about Twitter is the interaction. Yes, yes, people can be dinks on Twitter. People can be dinks no matter where you consume your media, and I still find more engaging content creators on Twitter than I do twits. If you will. It’s still enjoyable so I still do it. But I do miss the long comment threads and back-and-forth we used to have on this humble blog.

(It’s not humble. I suck at humility.)

Therefore, allow me to welcome you to November. I’ve just changed my Merb’ys calendar over to a new month and am happy to see a Merb’y-lumberjack crossover. Today will be a good day.

A Canadian (Thanksgiving) Parable

Once there was a Queen. She reigned over many lands, in the manner of constitutional monarchies with their own parliamentary systems based largely, if not wholly, on the parliament of the Queen’s own land. The Queen had many great powers, not the least of which were Longevity, Great Hats, and Mechanical Aptitude. But one of the powers the Queen did not have was the power to be everywhere at once, so the lands over which she was the titular head of state appointed Governors General to be her Official Representative. In Canada, the Queen is represented by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette.

This is where our story truly begins, because in Canada, everyone is required by law to invite either their grandmother or the Queen to Thanksgiving dinner. If the Queen is not available, it is acceptable for the Governor General to attend in her place. Therefore, every Canadian sets a place at the head of the table for the Queen on the first weekend in October.

The next place setting at every Canadian’s Thanksgiving table is for granddad. Now, if your own granddad is not available, it is acceptable to instead have your granddad represented by the entire Senate. The Governor General sits at the head of the table in place of the Queen, because frankly, the person who’s the best at making turkey should really get the place of honour. The Senate sits to the east of the Governor General. The role of the Senate at Thanksgiving is to basically argue with everything anybody says.

Now this is a bit tricky, because you don’t just want any old Senate sitting at your table. You want to know that the folks inside that weird red bubble are going to make sure that the arguments they bring to the table are well-thought-out and representative of all of the regions of Canada. The Senate is comprised of people appointed by the Governor General. How does the Governor General choose who gets to be in the Senate? This brings us to the place setting to the west of the Queen.

Canadians elect new leaders by throwing big parties. image from https://freepsdfiles.net/backgrounds/free-disco-party-backgrounds

A quirk of the Canadian election system is that we vote for who throws the best party. Every four years, people gather together and serve hot dogs and throw glitter around and have a few brewskis, and then we all vote for whose party was the most rad. The winner of that vote gets to sit next to the Queen and stick knives in meat at Thanksgiving. The Prime Minister, who is basically the parent at the table, is the person Canadians choose to carve their turkeys. Stuffed or unstuffed, brined or roasted, the Prime Minister is the leader of the party which forms government, which in Canada happens when more people vote for your party than for any other party.

The Prime Minister also makes recommendations to the Governor General regarding who should become part of the Senate. It’s not well known that the the way this is done is with the annual Senatorial Bean-Bag Toss, where bean bags* with the names of potential Senators embroidered on them are presented to the Prime Minister in a ritual known as the Presentation of Bags. The Prime Minister will then toss all of the bean bags at a specially constructed plywood structure with a hole in it. The bean bags that make it through the hole get recommended for appointment to the Senate. Well. Actually. The Senators whose names appear on the bean bags get recommended. It’d be weird to have a Senate made up entirely of bean bags.

*It’s important to note that some senatorial bean bags are actually full of wheat berries, lentils, or, in some cases, very small rocks.

The House of Commons and provincial Legislatures have to sit at the kids’ table because they make a lot of noise and there are a lot of mashed potatoes that get flung around. Both the House of Commons and provincial Legislatures have an official Speaker of the House whose job it is to repeat the things elected leaders say in each house that nobody can hear because everyone is yelling. The Speaker gets to wear a fancy hat. Canadian politics is actually 90% all about fancy hats.

Back to the Adults table, you have to have all the aunts and uncles; we call these folks Premiers, and they’re the leaders of the most popular parties in their respective provinces. There are rules, of course, about how you can get people to and from your party, how much casserole each guest is allowed to bring, and what you can and can’t say in the lead-up to your party. Many of these same rules apply to federal parties. If you bring too much casserole, you have to send a lot of casserole back, and sometimes even the police show up and shut your party down.

Generally, Thanksgiving dinner works just fine with the above-mentioned seating arrangement, although food fights aren’t altogether uncommon (especially when the Senate and the Prime Minister start fighting over who gets the stuffing first. This is when the Governor General (or the Queen, if she’s in attendance) basically takes the whole bowl away and slaps stuffing down on everyone’s plate herself). If things get *seriously* out of hand, the Governor General flicks the lights on and off a few times and tells everyone to go home and cool off. This is called “proroguing dinner”. Dinner can only reconvene after the Prime Minister calls up the Governor General and asks *very nicely* if everyone can come back to the table.

It could be argued (and has been argued) that it’s actually the Canadian people who prepare the Thanksgiving dinner, from the bountiful harvests they reap each year from their hard work. The dinner always looks really great before everyone digs in and starts loading up their plates. When dinner is over, Canadians begin the ritual Search For Appropriately Sized Tupperware, otherwise known as the Budget process. Because we’re certainly not going to let all that go to waste so we put it all in the fridge or the freezer in the hope that by the time spring arrives in Canada, there’ll still be some turkey left.

There’s never any turkey left.

Much Ado

There’s little doubt that cannabis and cannabinoids (not an alien race of green-skinned interstellar travellers, but the compounds that comprise the active ingredients in cannabis, like THC (which makes you loopy) and CBD (which does not)) will be big business in the coming years, although it’s uncertain whether legal weed will be the revenue-generating panacea it’s hyped to be. Watching governments and fear mongers wrestle over this whole thing has been like watching a couple of pugs try to find a hot dog under a blanket.

Cannabis, aka the devil’s lettuce, aka mary jane, aka marijuana, aka weed, aka reefer, aka green…will become legal in Canada on 17 October. This was one of the campaign platforms that supposedly propelled Justin Trudeau from “serious contender with truly great hair and sick yoga moves” to “Canada’s first not-lame Prime Minister since …uh. Since. Well Mulroney had that voice…John Turner? Maybe Arthur Meighen?” (No, I do not actually know this much about Canadian Prime Ministers. I just looked at some photos and picked out the ones who looked the least lame.)

Ever since that platform was unleashed upon an unsuspecting Canadian populace, we have, collectively, as an entire country, vacillated between two reactions: “DUUUUUDE! WEEEED!” and “WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?”

It should be mentioned that Canada has *never* advocated selling cannabis to children, but for some reason, that’s what folks afraid of the colour green have taken to heart over this legislation.

Even the government’s surveys about legalisation were couched in pearl-clutching terror. Questions like “do you agree that cannabis should not be sold near schools?” inspired knee-jerk reactions. Who the heck would say “no” to that question? Black market dealers, that’s who. People who wear “hoodies”. These questions were designed to make even the stoutest-hearted among us to fear the reefer.

If you want to buy the jazz cabbage right now, your best bet is to head on over to your local high school (ha!) and look for the kids with the goofy grins. Regulation will, at least in theory, make it more difficult for local teens to be able to sell the blazin’ experience. It won’t be impossible for kids to get kush, just like it’s not impossible for kids to get cigarettes or booze.

Where were the questions we all desperately wanted answered? Questions like:
How far will snacks be located from pot shops?
Will it still be legal to wear tie-dye?
Does anyone know where the roach landed?
No, seriously, what?

Governments may as well have prefaced every one of those public consultation surveys with a mandatory viewing of “Reefer Madness”, which one hundred percent accurately* portrays cannabis users as violent, psychotic people who lock each other in closets and make scary faces. This isn’t to say there aren’t real fears surrounding cannabis use; like any substance that causes perception- or mind-altering effects, there is the chance of addiction and of overuse and/or abuse. There’s the very real and valid fear that people under the influence of cannabis will decide to pilot vehicles, putting themselves and everyone else around them at huge risk. But the terror quotient was more than a little overblown, and made it sound like the second bud hits the streets legally, kindergarten children will be going to the sandbox high as kites.

To be fair, some of the surveys that went around did ask whether revenues from cannabis sales should be used to fund anti-addiction programs and/or addictions treatment programs. There were questions about what to do with those who choose to drive under the influence and whether the punitive measures for doing so should be more or less severe than current driving while under the influence punishments.

Bringing a formerly controlled substance into fully legal status (unless it’s part of a candy bar, in which case, there are STUDIES that must be done) isn’t easy. There have to be studies. Studies of the studies. Analyses. Regulations. Rules about what you can and can’t name a waccy baccy shop and what you can and can’t sell for cheeba-adjacent materials. But the biggest obstacle to overcome is fear.

“I just don’t know what’s going to happen when that marijuana is legal,” is a common refrain on coffee row.

The answer is: probably not a lot other than couch surfing and giggling. Maybe some loud music. Ganja has been around for decades; it’s not like legalisation means the dope police are going to break down your door, shove a doobie in your mouth, hold your nose, and force you to inhale. There aren’t going to be roving gangs of red-eyed snickerers ambling through your neighbourhoods asking if you have any gum. The world, civilisation – as we know it – isn’t going to end. It might get a little goofier.

In fact, there will probably be a lot of people who head out to their local head shops the second they open on October 17, and they’ll buy their thirty grams (which is apparently equivalent to one seed) and they’ll spark up and there will be a lot of glassy-eyed stares for a few months. Then, once folks remember that 80% of getting high is deciding when to go to bed, it’ll settle down. It will be the same as it ever was, with some people taking a case of beer to a party and some people taking a joint. We’ll look back on these days of dithering as, as the Bard put it, “much ado about nothing”.

*This statistic is overblown by about 100%. The scariest thing most people do while using cannabis is to become unsure whether they still have feet.

Back to Back to School

A Story of Parenting, Told in School Supplies

Kindergarten, First Child:

I purchased these school supplies over a year ago, have been awake since Friday labelling every pencil, every marker, every individual crayon, every eraser, and every individual tissue in the box. I have labelled every article of my child’s clothing, and moved on to labelling my partner’s clothing and the dogs’ collars, just in case. I have a prepared list of every lunch I will make for the next 280 days. I have alphabetised and colour coded my child’s hairs. I have double-checked and triple-checked the school supply list. This will be good. This will be fine.

Grade one, First Child:

Every. Item. Is. Individually. Labelled.

Received a copy of the school supply list for Grade One last spring, and the very next day went out and bought everything my child would need for this day. Spent the last week labelling crayons, pencils, duotangs, and the box of tissues. Also labelled my child’s shoes and outerwear.Hand-wrote jokes and stuff on little slips of paper that I tuck in to each lunch bag every day. Have baked cookies for lunches for the year, and none of the cookies include nuts, gluten, or dairy, just in case sharing happens.

Grade Two, First Child:

We bought school supplies in late June and it just occurred to me now that we could probably reuse some of the supplies from the last two years. I mean. Who needs that many crayons? But I caved and bought the 64-pack *with an included sharpener* because if anyone understands why you need silver, gold, AND bronze crayons, it’s me. Apparently every kid’s parents shops at the same place because one of the shoes that came home last year has some other kid’s name in it and I didn’t notice until now. I’ve labelled everything according to instructions but have already lost the erasers. TWO boxes of tissues labelled this year, but I’m still not “allowed” to buy a label maker. Fascists.

Grade Three, First Child:

Remembered to shop for school supplies mid-July, managed to catch most things still on sale. A tantrum happened. It was me having the tantrum. Labelled the boxes, not individual crayons. HOW MANY GLUE STICKS DOES ONE CHILD NEED? Rainbow duotangs, dividers, looseleaf. Don’t students use scribblers anymore? Oh. They WERE on the list. Went out last night to try to find scribblers. All pink. But they’re labelled. Screw the fascists, I’m getting a label maker. Don’t know where the dog collars are.

Grade Four, First Child:

Bought school supplies beginning of August; “back to school sale” is a bloody joke. Paid TOP DOLLAR for off-brand erasers and pencil crayons. Will most likely have to resupply halfway through the year. Got kid to label stuff. Kid was Not Pleased. Claimed they “didn’t even like crayons anyway” and so shouldn’t have to label them. I suggested reusing school supplies from previous years. Suggestion was met with defiance. Somehow all last year’s school supplies have disappeared in the last 24 hours. Glue was likely all dried out anyway. Do kids still sniff glue, or was that an 80s thing?

Grade Five, First Child; Kindergarten, Second Child:

Ordered school supplies online at the end of May. Paid extra to have everything labelled by the school supply company. They even deliver to the school. This will be fine. Sat down with fresh coffee and a good book after children were off.

Grade Six, First Child; Grade One, Second Child:

Child the Eldest lost all three calculators last year and just thought today to mention it. Said didn’t need any new school supplies and would reuse last year’s supplies. Chose to believe them; made sure to pack everything required in Child the Eldest’s backpack while they were in bed. Child the Younger kept their school supplies in such good condition through Kindergarten I’m not sure they even ever used them. Bought new anyway; labelled shoes. Forgot to make lunches. School serves hot lunches. Children will both get pizza or hot dogs, once a week at most. Baked cookies for both classes (nut free, gluten free). Am running out of jokes for lunch boxes. May start on limericks.

Grade Seven, First Child; Grade Two, Second Child:

Who the hell loses just one shoe? Child the Eldest stole all Child the Youngest’s new school supplies, peeled off or scribbled out labels with Youngest’s name saying “you just don’t understand what it’s like to be poor”. Will resupply Youngest today. Will also re-label. Child the Eldest is requesting dirty limericks in lunch kits. Child the Younger is crying because dogs cannot come to school. School supply store is out of label-makers. Sent bags of chips from forgotten box of last year’s Hallowe’en treats to school for class. Remember: limericks were NOT appropriate for lunch box jokes last year. Consider pithy haiku. Have opened a box of wine.

Grade Eight, First Child; Grade Three, Second Child:

At Child the Eldest’s insistence, bought all new school supplies online. Didn’t check to see if they’re labelled, just dumped them all in Eldest’s backpack when they arrived. This morning, massive fight over weight of backpack. “First day of school” pictures should be *charming*. Youngest doesn’t care about new supplies; is still taking everything usable from last two years, which is most things. Apparently Youngest doesn’t eat erasers like Eldest does. Eldest has informed us they will not eat any lunch from home unless it’s Subway because of the southwest sauce. Have made southwest sauce. Several recipes. Found one most like Subway’s. Youngest doesn’t care; prefers to have lunch at school. Youngest has requested cupcakes rather than cookies and more jokes in lunch kit. Labelled both children’s jackets and ALL EIGHT SHOES.

Grade Nine, First Child (first day of high school); Grade Four, Second Child:

Who loses just one shoe!?

All new school supplies for Eldest, including new scientific calculator. Perhaps Eldest will get out of bed before the bell rings. Remembered to order school supplies online for Youngest; they no longer arrive at school, and they no longer arrive pre-labelled. Youngest and I spent all afternoon yesterday labelling individual pencil crayons. “This is silly,” Youngest said. “If I lose a pencil crayon we literally have a thousand more in the art centre at home.” This child is wise. Made cupcakes for Youngest’s class; Eldest informed me “legit nobody does that anymore in high school, MOM. But I’ll have some when I get home.” Eldest then proceeded to eat six cupcakes.

Grade Ten, First Child; Grade Five, Second Child:

Bought school supplies last week. Everything was picked over like so many grocery store turkeys at Thanksgiving. Eldest may have burned last year’s school supplies so as not to be forced to reuse them. Also, needs a *new* scientific calculator (because “Jeff borrowed mine, or whatever; it’s gone”). Informed me five minutes before the bell. How does someone lose an entire *trombone*? Youngest dutifully labelled boxes of pencils and erasers and collected reusable materials from last year. Noticed several markers and pencil crayons have some other kid’s name on them. This child will go far. Cannot find dogs. Have opened a bottle of whiskey.

Grade Eleven, First Child, Grade Six, Second Child:

Bought school supplies over the weekend. Eldest is on their own for everything other than the NEW two hundred dollar new scientific calculator with graphing features. Had to be colour display. Also, hot pink. Also rechargeable. Labelled calculator. Included return address. Youngest only wanted new markers, duotangs, and highlighters. Labelled Youngest’s shoes, jacket, bunnyhug, cap, lunch kit, band instrument, and favourite dog. Who loses an entire winter jacket before the end of winter? Current winter jacket has some other kid’s name in it. May pick up new wardrobe at school’s Lost and Found during open house. Am surprised Eldest is even wearing shoes. Baked cake. Ate it. Drank.

Grade Twelve, First Child, Grade Seven, Second Child:

Are you kidding me? School? Today? Crap. School supplies purchased at the dollar store yesterday, still in shopping bags. Labelled the shopping bags; stuffed them in Youngest’s backpack. Eldest may or may not have a spare first thing in the morning. Reported not needing any school supplies because “screw school, man”. Slipped some paper, pens, and pencils in Eldest’s binder just in case. Did we even get a school supply list last year? Well *I* don’t know where it ended up. Probably at the bottom of a locker. Gave kids each five bucks to buy lunch at school. “Don’t get the chicken fingers. BECAUSE CHICKENS DO NOT HAVE FINGERS, THAT’S WHY”. “How can your shoes not fit? You’ve been wearing them for three months. Just today they don’t fit. Okay, well, we’ll put that on the list”. Made a sandwich, Eldest forgot it on counter. Will probably still be there tonight since Eldest “no longer eats lunch”. Am on chesterfield, weeping with bottle of scotch.

Grade Eight, Second Child:

There’s, like, a bag? Of school supplies? From the past twelve years? Somewhere? Maybe in the games room? Check the garage. Hey, here’s a pencil. And a pen. Probably that’s all you need. We can get whatever else you need next week. Stuff goes on sale after the first week. Ask Dad about shoes – you can probably wear Eldest’s shoes if you need to. You want some of my shoes? Try not to lose your jacket this year. What do you mean, you don’t know where your backpack is? It’s literally right beside you right now. I made you a lunch; it’s in the – where the hell is the lunch I made last night? Oh. You ate it for a snack after supper last night. Okay. Well. Come home for lunch, I guess. Here, take the dog.

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