Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fresh Air?

Ms. T is walking along the avenue, going to pick up lunch and minding her own business. She is basking in the sunshine of one of the first genuinely warm spring day this year. It is glorious out and Ms. T is enjoying her walk until she gets stuck behind some guy who may or may not be homeless but is almost certainly quite a bit crazy. He is dressed head to toe in Montreal Canadiens gear and is pulling one of those crazy people carts along behind him. Ms. T. dodges left then right but there are other people on the sidewalk and her efforts are foiled. If you've read other posts here, you know that at this point, Ms. T. is going a bit crazy and is deeply annoyed that her natural pace is being compromised by all these people who can’t figure out how to use a sidewalk. Ms. T. takes a deep breath and tells herself to calm down. What's a few seconds more? Is she really in such a rush? Can she not just take a moment to slow down and enjoy the beautiful day? Why worry? Be happy. At this very moment, Ms. T. spots an opening and sees that she will shortly have passed the fellow and will be on her merry way. As she steps aside to pass the slow-walking nutter ahead of her, he suddenly unleashes a very loud, unmistakable toot. As she finally scoots past him through the wafting stench of his flatulence, Ms. T. reflects that at least when she is being her natural impatient and aggressive self, she doesn not get farted on by random loons. She promptly decides that is the last time she will try to talk herself out of her personality. The world just smells better at a faster pace.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Times is hard - do you have to make them harder?

Ms. T. has been quiet lo these many years. You may ask yourself if it's because her life is now all sunshine and roses and she therefore has nothing to complain about. If you asked yourself that, then you probably don't know Ms. T.

No, her cynical ways have not been reformed. Ms. T is as bitter as ever. However, this week, Ms. T. is in recruiting mode and has been looking to hire someone and the results of this endeavour have driven Ms. T. back to this site where she may spew her rage into the ether.

Ms. T. was certain that in this economic climate, it would not be difficult to fill the position. Although the role requires specific skills, it isn't terribly senior and those skills don't require an extensive education. So Ms. T. polished off a job description and posted the job to a recruitment website. Within moments of posting the role, the resumes started pouring in and, consequently, Ms. T.'s vitriole started pouring out.

Now Ms. T. recognizes that these are difficult times and that you might be trying to distinguish yourself from the 45 other resumes received within the same hour as yours. However, Ms. T. suggests you spend a bit more time thinking about how you might be doing that. She suggests you not do it by being an ass. Ever helpful, Ms. T. will tell you what not to do based on some of the wonderful submissions she's received in the past few days.

  1. Don't start your email with the line: "Do you have what it takes to be my next employer?" This may prompt your potential employer to think, as Ms. T. did, that they probably don't and to immediately delete your email without actually viewing your resume.
  2. Don't send an email without an attached resume saying "tell me what the salary range is because I don't want to waste my time." Ms. T. doesn't want to either so she deleted your email without responding.
  3. Don't have a ponderous quote at the base of your email expounding on your life philosophy. Ms. T. has "Quote of the Day" on her home page and has already read your sentimental drivel. She feels no more enlightened than she did before she opened your email except that she now knows you are an asshole. Try to remember that you are not better or smarter or kinder or more perceptive because you can quote Gandhi or Buddha. What you are, quite simply, is pretentious. The only helpful information Ms. T. has gleaned from this is that you have sufficient computer skills to cut and paste.
  4. Don't sign your email with "Namaste" - see above - also, Ms. T. may schedule an interview with you simply so she can punch you in the stomach.
  5. Don't submit a resume saying "I could really use the experience." If 3 years of experience is requested, what you need is of little import to Ms. T. or any other potential employer.
  6. Get a professional sounding email address. Don't send your resume from ipeealot@X or mrs.smith@y or lovesex@z. These addresses say too much about you. They tell Ms. T. that you are a freak and that she doesn't want to talk to you once, let alone every day.
  7. Don't send a short email and attach your cover letter forcing me to open a document just to find out why you think you are qualified. Why can't you just paste your brilliant thoughts into your email and save Ms. T. the extra step of opening your letter? Ms. T. thinks it might be because you can't think yourself out of a box and she therefore doesn't want to work with you.
Ms. T. realizes that this is a tough time and that you really want to find a job so she sympathizes. She is not completely immune to the trials of the long and occasionally devastating process of job hunting. She herself went through the process not long ago and the wounds inflicted are still fresh for her. Be assured she has your best interests at heart. Because of her warm feelings towards you, she wants to leave you with this helpful thought:

Keep the faith - Jon Bon Jovi

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sleep Study

It’s pretty clear that Baby T has not read any sleep books. If she had, she’d know that she’s supposed to wake up in the morning between 6AM and 7AM. That she’s supposed to take a nice long nap at 9AM and then another nice long one at 1PM and then go to sleep without protest between 6PM and 8PM. To be fair to Baby T, she’s only five months old and I’m pretty certain she can’t read yet. But still, if the sleep book says that’s what is supposed to happen, then who am I, a mother for only five months, to question it?

And yet, I question it. The sleep book says not to be distracted by crying - to let the baby cry for up to an hour in protest over a nap. Have you ever heard a baby cry for an hour? To be honest, I haven’t. I can’t let it happen. Baby T doesn't cry that often, but when she does, it makes me jump. Sometimes, I fear I’m ruining my child. After all, the book says that if good sleep habits aren’t established early, that bad sleep habits like insomnia could persist throughout the child’s life and into adulthood. Babies who don’t sleep well can’t learn. Toddlers who don’t sleep well won’t be as intelligent as those who do. And so on and so on and so on goes the guilt of motherhood.

The other day, I heard a story about a mother who climbs into her daughter’s crib to help her fall asleep. Every night, she hands her daughter a special pillow and a special blanket and then climbs into bed with her. Her daughter is more than a year older than Baby T. The hardest part, the mom says, is getting back out.

So, while I may occasionally feel like I’m not doing the right thing when it comes to Baby T’s sleep schedule (or anything else for that matter), I try to remind myself that there are worse things I could do. And, the simple truth is, although I haven’t tried climbing into her crib, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t fit.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bad Luck Clothes

Before baby T was born, my sister, whose daughter is ten-months older than mine, gave me bags upon bags of baby clothes. There were girl clothes and boy clothes and either/or clothes. There were hats and shoes and sleepers and tights and dresses and overalls and diaper shirts and grobags and things I’d never even heard of. There were so many cute little things that it was a bit overwhelming. It didn’t seem possible that a baby could ever wear that many clothes. It didn’t seem possible until I actually had a baby and realized how many sleepers and diaper shirts a baby can dirty in one day. It didn’t seem possible until I discovered how often a new parent does laundry even with so many baby clothes to choose from.

One day, when Sasha was about eight weeks old, I put her in a sweet green sleeper and told my sister what baby T was wearing. Her response was “ah, yes, that was a bad luck outfit.” A what? What on earth is a bad luck outfit? I thought she was crazy.

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that there is indeed such a thing as a bad luck outfit. Baby T’s bad luck outfit is the cutest little one piece shorts and t-shirt. It’s pale yellow and blue and has a green frog, a green turtle and a few butterflies on it. It’s adorable. The first time she wore it, she woke up from a nap covered from the edge of her diaper up to her neck. Mr. T was the one who went in to get her and he needed to call in reinforcements. It was a disaster. I soaked it and washed it and miraculously, the stains came out and the frog and turtle lived to see another day. The next time she wore it, she was sitting in her Bumbo looking super-cute while I put away the groceries. It occurred to me that it had been a while since I’d changed her diaper so I picked her up and went to the change table. When I got there, I realized that something awful had happened – something that can only be described as a shit storm. The change table was covered in the stuff, and the Bumbo was too, within seconds her foot was contaminated and before I could do anything to stop her, she’d grabbed her foot and then put her hand to her face. She had it on her chin, her hands, her thigh, and both feet. I used up a record number of wipes and wet face cloths to get her clean. I briefly considered throwing the whole change table in the garbage but stopped myself. I soaked and washed and, once more, the outfit was saved.

Today, it’s warm out and it’s the perfect day for shorts and a t-shirt. It’s the perfect day for the frog and turtle. So, this morning, after her first nap, I got ready to change her diaper and put her in the bad luck outfit. It turns out that the baby doesn’t even need to have the clothes on her body for the bad luck to rub off. As I removed the diaper and reached up to grab a new one, baby T started to poop, and poop and poop some more. The diaper shirt she’d been wearing was under her so it caught the mother load. The damage caused in those ten seconds was surreal. I had to stop and strategize. Clearly, something had to be done but it had to be the right thing. The wrong thing would only make things worse. I cleaned Baby T and threw all of the wipes into the diaper shirt. I wrapped it in a bundle and placed it on the edge of the change table. I then used some wet face cloths to make sure Baby T was decontaminated. I put her in a new diaper and then put her in her crib while I dealt with the rest of the mess. As I left the room, gingerly holding the offensive bundle in my hand and heading straight for the garbage, I swear I saw that frog wink at me. That's it, unless I can get myself a matching HazMat suit, she’s not wearing it again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Noises Everywhere

“Good night moon. Good night air. Good night noises everywhere.”

If only it were that simple. Having a baby is a magical, beautiful thing. Their cuteness is boundless and a new parent can spend hours on end staring into their baby’s eyes marveling at their perfection. But as much as you love your baby and as much as you treasure the time you spend with her, I can’t imagine any parent who doesn’t breathe a little sigh of relief when their baby is sleeping peacefully. Those precious moments when baby is sleeping and you can pee, brush your teeth, do laundry, or just sit and stare at the wall provide much needed rejuvenation. It takes a lot of energy to roll around on the floor, sing a million songs and play the same simple games over and over and over again.

So, you’ll understand why I’m a bit crazy about the naps. Baby T is a happy baby. She doesn’t cry very often and is generally a good-natured funny little girl. I like for her to stay that way. I like to respect her need to sleep and my need to stare at the wall. So why does the world want to screw with my peace? Why is it that as soon as I put her down for a nap, three ambulances and two fire trucks must drive by my window sirens wailing? Why does someone tie their dog up to a post outside my door while they go do their shopping? Their yippy, yapping dog who will bark incessantly until they return? Why do the hardwood floors outside her bedroom creak and squeak so loudly? I never noticed that we had the world’s loudest floor until she was born. How can we live in a home with such loud floors? Why are people having their roof re-shingled? Why so many nails? Why all the hammering, horn honking, dog-yapping, loud-laughing, chatting, music blaring, car alarm wailing, door slamming, phone ringing, interruptions? Why can’t everyone just shut up and let the baby sleep?!?!

I used to walk around the world oblivious to many of the noises that surrounded me. I’ll admit that I would get annoyed with loud talkers (as I’ve already discussed here) or with a noisy dog but for the most part, I just didn’t notice how loud the city is. It just was and I was a part of it. Now, whenever I hear a siren, or a particularly loud bang, I think that someone somewhere is trying to get their baby to sleep. So maybe the next time you are stuck on a busy street and someone is holding you up trying to parallel park, don’t honk your horn, don’t shout out the window. Just wait. Just be patient. Just be quiet.

Just. Don’t. Wake. The Baby.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

On the Road

Close to the end of Ms. T’s first trimester, a conference she’s organized forces her to travel to Santa Barbara. Ms. T has always found that a business trip is hugely facilitated by the consumption of alcohol. However, on this trip, Ms. T, in deference to the small person growing inside her, abstains.

The flight to Santa Barbara is relatively uneventful. Ms T is now well practiced in the art of not throwing up in public. She has packed snacks, water, mints and a good book and handles the 7 hour trip with relative ease pausing to gag discreetly only a few times. On the first evening of the conference, Ms. T encounters her first challenge. Seated at a table of computer engineers, she engages in a stimulating conversation about various movies featuring superheroes, spaceships and/or monsters. However, when one of the dinner guests decides that he will spend the remainder of the meal speaking like Jar Jar Binks, Ms. T wonders if one or six drinks can really harm the baby. Despite the very dire circumstances, she refrains and makes an early exit claiming the need to catch up on some work.

The rest of the conference passes and Ms. T’s biggest challenge is brushing her teeth in the morning. She does her job and when the attendees are in session, she naps in her lovely room with an ocean view. Three days pass relatively quickly and she is thrilled when she heads off to the airport for her red eye flight after a very successful conference.

This time, she is traveling with a colleague – a well-meaning but neurotic engineer with very few social skills. Ms. T is tired and is feeling very sick. Her flight is delayed and lands in Vegas at midnight, exactly five minutes past the departure time of her flight to Toronto. She heads to the counter, engineer in tow to find out what her options are. The engineer is nervous; his wife is going to be upset because he will be late. What should they do now? What’s going to happen to them? Ms. T listens to his many complaints as she not-so-patiently waits her turn in line. She arrives at the counter to be told that she has been rescheduled on a flight leaving Vegas the following morning at 10AM - a flight that will go to Chicago and then Washington DC before arriving in Toronto, a flight that will land at 9PM the following night. Ms. T first argues, and then pleads with the attendants. She would like to play the pregnancy card for sympathy to see where that takes her but the engineer is hanging on her every word, standing at her shoulder and whimpering softly. She asks about a hotel room. They explain that they are not obligated to look after them because this was a weather delay. Ms T calmly shoots daggers out of her eyes at them and wishes them ill. After performing CPR on the engineer, she barks at him to stay calm and follow her. She finds a hotel, checks them in (to separate rooms on her credit card because the engineer is now catatonic with panic) and sends him off to bed. She tries to sleep but does not.

The next morning, the engineer calls her to ask what they should do. Ms. T explains that her breakfast has just been delivered and when she is done, they can head to the airport. The engineer was too afraid to order breakfast. He sounds forlorn. Ms. T invites him to share her breakfast. He does. They head to the airport and Ms. T gags every step of the way. She is exhausted and frustrated. The engineer walks two paces behind her asking questions about whether or not she thinks there will be further delays. Ms. T longs to burst into tears and tell him to leave her alone. Instead, she smiles and says she doesn’t know. More than 35 hours after she first arrived at the Santa Barbara airport, Ms. T arrives in Toronto. As she rides the final few kilometres home, she decides she deserves a very big raise.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Forty Weeks - Part I

Ms. Titswiggle has had a busy year and hasn't had time to write. What has she been up to, you ask? Many, many things and in order to tell them all to you, I’m going to have to go back almost a year to the beginning of Ms. T’s latest adventure: Motherhood. Now, clearly, in order to tell this story, I can’t simply start by sharing with you the magical stories of the giggling, spit bubble-blowing baby that I now know and love. I have to start at the beginning of the journey (well, maybe not the very beginning because, that, quite frankly, is none of your business). But I feel you must travel, as I did, through the many months of preparation to arrive at where I happily am today. So, without further ado, we must flashback to a period of time I now fondly think of as the days of whine and woe-ses.

One Saturday morning, about two weeks after a vacation Mr. T and I had taken up to the great white North to visit family, we saw a little pink line appear on a plastic stick and so begins our story. The first two weeks of my pregnancy were glorious. I walked around smiling with my little secret growing inside me. Then, at about week six, something terrible started to happen. I discovered that morning sickness is a lie. That it does not confine itself to morning and can hit at any time of the day or night. And when it would hit, I would gag. Here are some of the things that could stop me in my tracks, turn my face cold and clammy, force saliva to gather in my mouth and start my chest heaving:

Brushing my teeth.
The smell of coffee.
The taste of coffee.
Someone spitting on the sidewalk.
A dog doing his business.
A dog’s owner picking up said business.
Garbage day.
An old piece of discarded food.
Someone asking me: “how are you doing?”
Cigarette smoke.
The colour brown.
The television.
The radio.

Just about anything could set me off and, thankfully, most of the time I would just gag helplessly for a while and then regain control. Other times, actually, it’s better if I don’t talk about those other times. At about this point, it occurred to me that forty weeks is an awfully long time.