Monthly Archives: January 2012

Sunday January 1, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

One of the concerns my husband had at the dental clinic was well meaning moms wanting to be in the operatory to “help calm their children”. Typically, the child would be fine with the dental staff and the doctor but mom would insist on being there – that’s when the problems began. I remember him telling me about a mother who watched the procedure in silence until he was ready to inject the anesthetic. Then she said to her son in a sing-song voice; “Here comes the needle!!” The child immediately started to howl and the process was delayed until he settled down. Just knowing that mom was listening in might be enough for a nervous or high maintenance kid to start a row. So the farther the parent was separated from the patient the better.

I did this strip a few months after this actual incident occurred. The characters were changed to protect the identities of the patient and his mom. As far as I know, they never did see the connection!

Monday January 2, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I really was mad about that party. I wanted to make a good impression on people we were meeting socially for the first time. I needn’t have worried. After a year of living there, we knew the best and the worst about everyone and they knew as much about us. Nobody remembered anything about the party – other than my snit and the guys following us home.

I was contacted by several anti-drinking groups who thought my story was irresponsible. I had to admit they were right- but, on the other hand…aren’t we all from time to time?

Thursday January 5, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I knew the kids suffered any time we fought. We didn’t disagree too often, but when we did, Kate and Aaron felt it was somehow their fault. We usually don’t talk to them about the issues, we don’t explain what’s happening and why we’re mad, so kids try and unravel the puzzle the best way they know how. To a child, the world revolves around them – and if this is the case, it must be their fault if the world leaves it’s axis and gets wobbly sometimes! I tried to show that here.

Saturday January 7, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The times my brother and I were the closest were when something wasn’t right at home. Our folks never fought out loud- they hid their disagreements as much as possible. We knew when things weren’t “normal” however and I remember the two of us holding hands in the hallway watching mom and dad pace the living room, upset and trying to work things out. As children, all we wanted was to be safe and happy. Conflict was frightening, no matter how silent it was.

Sunday January 8, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Settling disputes between the offspring usually fell to me and there were times when I had no patience left to work with. I was so tired of the constant, petty squabbles to care. If the kids could go outside, they’d be too occupied to start a row, but inside, the tug-of-war waged on and I would often be at the “end of my rope”.

I would envy the guys who disappeared into their workshops to “get stuff done”. It was hard to deny them the time they spent over an oily valve or a piece of lumber or a broken pipe. This was, after all, essential to the household maintenance. The cool, quiet ambience of the workshop was a perfect place to spend an afternoon. Guys dropping by to give advice or lend a hand were welcome. They’d lean comfortably against the doorframe, chewing the fat, and hoping for a beer to materialize. Sometimes they even got sandwiches and cake! It might take a day to fix a gadget or repair a hose – time well spent according to the men folk, but… an entire day?!!

Some of my friends had hunter/fishermen in the family and when the weekend came, their men folk would go off to the call of the wild. The women kept the home fires burning and the small fry in line. When we came into contact with each other, we’d compare notes about the absent spouses. What did the guys REALLY do while we held down the fort? Mystery loves company. So, while I went along with the social flow, I resented it as well. Situations like this found their way into For Better or For Worse and I was always comforted by the responses from other moms who said, “That happens at OUR house, too!” It was wonderful to know I wasn’t alone.

Monday January 9, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

The worst thing about having a kid in hockey is the gear. The odd hours of practice, the driving and the butt-numbing seats in the stands were a pleasure compared to the fitting, loading, dressing and stench of the required gear. Hockey moms go unappreciated until a kid grows up and becomes a hockey parent themselves!

Tuesday January 10, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Again, let’s hear it for the men and women who coach junior hockey- or any sport for that matter. Competition is something a kid has to learn about and what better way to experience the infinite skills of sportsmanship than from adults who treat children like the bright, responsible and sensitive people they are.

Thursday January 12, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Being part of a team meant a lot to Aaron. He loved the camaraderie, the excitement and getting together with all the participants after a game. The kids felt a real kinship. Being in “uniform” gave them status and worth. It was important, therefore, to teach them that no matter how padded and colourful, the uniform does not make the man!

We had to make sure the kids maintained their good manners, even though they imagined themselves hitting the big leagues, then hitting the bars, and hitting each other! The contrast between the confident team player and the immature little boy was enormous – it was hard not to “parent” a youngster who was trying so hard to be a man.

Tuesday January 17, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I don’t remember having class outings at all when I was in elementary school, and the Lynn Lake environment didn’t provide much in the way of field trips unless one toured the mine. I imagined, then, what it would be like to take a group of children to an average city gallery and see how they’d react to the experience.

Wednesday January 18, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I do remember going to the Vancouver Art Gallery when I was very young, with my mother and her sister. Aunt Unity was a prolific painter and well known in western Canada for her landscapes and portraiture- especially of West Coast First Nations people. The first thing that impressed me was how vigilant and humourless the docents were. They followed me like hawks- ready to intercept me, should I launch myself at a piece of art and destroy it. These people continue to haunt museums and galleries and I wonder how many young people they keep from going there again!

Friday January 20, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

When there was enough snow to build something, my dad would be outside with a shovel and a trowel, ready to make anything we wanted. He built us forts and snowmen, which, in temperate North Vancouver, lasted too short a time. He built us toboggan runs and pulled us in sleighs- it was all part of his own winter upbringing in Collingwood Ontario- where winter was white from November ’til March!

Sunday January 22, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Here is another word for word exchange between my husband and me. The punch line was exactly as written. I didn’t toss a measuring cup – but I sure wanted to. This resulted in his taking over the pressing of his own shirts and clinic gowns – until we hired a housekeeper who came once a week and actually enjoyed ironing!

Thursday January 26, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Looking out the front room window requires a face print. There’s no way around it. Combine a check on the neighborhood with a greasy facial negative and you have accomplished two things at once. Forcing one’s nose and lips onto a glass surface is a satisfying form of artistic expression which I’d continue to do today if I didn’t personally have to clean it off.

Saturday January 28, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

It was my brother who played Atari until his legs fell asleep. The TV was on a stand, too far from the couch to allow for serious and intense interaction, so players sat on the floor in reverent communion with the screen. After a marathon of gaming, Alan couldn’t walk and Aaron had forgotten to go to the bathroom. Both staggered up the stairs in search of relief and I took advantage. Another strip was in the bag!

Sunday January 29, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

After looking for the bathtub plug for some time, I once settled on a spud that fit right into the hole. I’ll do anything to have a nice, hot bath! Years later, I was visiting friends in Cuba. A neighbour kindly invited us to her house for dinner and when we went to do the dishes afterwards, there was no plug in the sink. She was about to use a soup pot to wash up in when I saw a basket of fresh potatoes under the counter. I selected one the right size and popped it into the hole.

Potato is “papa” in Spanish and the word for plug is “tapa”. So, I said, “Look! You have a papa for a tapa!” She laughed and I promised her that I would bring her a plug the next day. My friends and I went to every hardware store in Havana and could not find a simple rubber stopper for a sink! There were a number of things we couldn’t find: a large garbage pail with a lid, a good pair of scissors, and masking tape – these things are found everywhere back home. I couldn’t believe that these small, useful items that we all take for granted were so hard to find.

The following year, I went back to Cuba. I took our friend a plug for her sink and a number of other things. She was more than pleased – she was grateful. Circumstances there are different now. Cuba has opened up and stores are able to carry more products. I still visit my friends and we always recall the time I used a papa for a tapa… a little trick I brought from home.

Monday January 30, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

I did do all the packing when we went on trips. It seemed to make sense then. We could get away with one huge suitcase and two carry-ons. My willingness to pack for conventions quickly ended when I forgot important items- such as socks and underwear…and I once packed a “joke” tux by mistake- (a crazy thing I’d found at a flea market, with long tails and a stripe down the pants. It fit ME!) when we went to NY for a formal event. We had to rent one for my husband in a hurry from a place in Manhattan- and almost missed the cocktail party. Next time, he packed his own bag!

Tuesday January 31, 2012

Lynn’s Notes:

Rod was away often, as he worked in the isolated villages in Northern Manitoba one week out of every month, so it was a treat to be able to go to a convention once in awhile and stay in a nice hotel. On one occasion, Aaron was told that his dad’s absence made him the MAN of the household which was a serious position with a lot of responsibility. As Rod left, he asked Aaron if he had any questions. Aaron thought it over and said, seriously; “What will you bring me?” I used this punchline instead!