Friday, May 25, 2007

School Mom

I am declaring myself an official School Mom, based on what happened in the wee hours yesterday.

At 2:00 a.m. yesterday, Jim rolled over, nudged me with his elbow, and said, "Playdough!" To which statement, I responded, "Oh, shit!!" Yesterday morning was to be our turn to bring playdough to the cooperative preschool that Sprout goes to - and I went to sleep with Sprout at 8:30 p.m. and never got up again to make the playdough.

So, at 2:30 a.m., I found myself sifting through playdough recipes to find one that was peanut-butter free and had no exotic, fishy ingredients like alum (who would want their child working with stuff that has alum in it anyway?!?). At 6:30 a.m., I was up again, making said playdough. And kneading in the food colouring. And wrapping it in plastic. In order to disappoint no short people.

I've arrived.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Aunt Frieda and the Fall of Rome

Much, much stress in our family unit these days, because Aunt Frieda's real estate empire is crumbling around her.

Frieda likes to buy things, but does not like/does not know how to get rid of things. Like crappy little houses in small towns that no one wants to buy, and no one wants to rent for more than a month at a time once a year. She spreads herself way thin, paying tax on these empty properties, mowing their lawns, fixing their broken windows, installing sump pumps when the basements flood, and sprucing them up for new renters - who stay a month or two and then abscond without paying the remainder of their fees. And then it's not done: she'll track them down and garnishee their wages for her $250.00 owing. It drives me crazy.

In the last few years, Frieda has been using a wheelchair more and more to get around, and so can't do the mowing or glazing or wall-washing that she used to do herself (and in the early years with child labour (me and Auntie Bean)(no wonder I can replace and putty broken windows like a damn)). Beans and I have stepped back, because we can't be part of the craziness. It's too soul-destroying. Now she has to hire people she knows to do all of this for her. And yet the results are the same. Empty houses. Lots of work for naught. Needless stress.

Now, I don't think that seniors should sit at home and have nothing to do, but it might be nice if Aunt Frieda could see that she could be travelling more, visiting people more, etc. if she didn't spend all her time and money keeping her crack-house empire running. But she doesn't see it this way.

And now it's starting to affect me, Beans, and the family too. A number of years ago, when I was young and stupid, Aunt Frieda talked me and Beans into putting our names on all her properties as joint owners. Her reasoning was that when she dies someday, we will immediately own these properties and can bypass probate fees. Sounds great, until Frieda ages and starts to run out of money to pay all her bills.

That's where we're at. Her heat just got cut off recently because she owes a significant amount of money to the utility, and if she doesn't pay it soon, they will be sending the bill to a collection agency. And my name and Beans's name are on the property title. So whom do you think the collection agency will start to pester for that cash? Yup, anyone on the title. Like me.

Frieda says not to worry. It will all get taken care of very soon and will not come to that. My lawyer says it's a good idea to get my name and Beans's name off the titles of Frieda's properties. The catch: all the joint owners have to agree to make this change - Frieda needs to agree.

And she doesn't agree. So here we sit. Waiting for the sword of Damocles to kong us on the bean. Or the fates to decide.

It's a cautionary tale.

No Time, No Time

I can barely find the time to blog anymore, and now I've been invited to join in the frolic of Facebook! So glad to be invited, but when I get into the interface, I have only vague ideas about what's going on. Must spend some time figuring it out, but have no time.

May switch from blogging loser to Facebook loser! Sigh... The future does not look bright for the Gwendochicken...

Ah well, day off today! Garden planted. Laundry drying out on the line. The day stretches ahead of me with such exciting prospects.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

All Volunteered Out

I just finished running 70 volunteers at the Sask. Library Assn conference this weekend. It was a smashing success all around. Last time I worked on this conference, there were many little disasters to work out, but this time it was like clockwork. And in terms of my area of responsibility - volunteer recruitment and coordination - it was fantastic.

I've been working on it like a crazy woman for probably the last six weeks, in between my other work responsibilities, but it was so rewarding. People were awesome volunteers. Whatever I asked for, someone would take on.

Saskatchewan libraries are known for their collaboration and cooperative ventures for the benefit of all. I really saw this on a close and personal level this weekend, from all the individuals involved.

I'm proud of us.

(And I'm ready to sleep for a week.)