Word of the Year

I saw an article the other day suggesting we think about a “word of the year” for 2021. It seemed way too early to be thinking about such things, 2021 is ages away! Months! And then I looked at a calendar and it was somehow already December and 2020 is almost over.

I like to have a word of the year and I never did get around to settling on one for last year but that was probably for the best. It was probably going to turn out to be something totally nonsensical like “travel” or something full of irony like “health.” Looking back, with all the craziness and life changes and world changes for 2020, I think a good word of the year might be “survival.” I read another article recently that talked about how surviving 2020 was the major accomplishment of the year, and we did, so that’s good.

I think we’re all hoping for great things in 2021. Perhaps politics will be friendlier and more cooperative and people will learn to value compromise and listening. Perhaps we will find a good vaccine for the virus, and enough people will be willing to take it, that we can go back to normal – or some kind of new normal, at least. Perhaps we will learn something about longstanding social problems like health care for the elderly and the adaptability of school systems and implement exciting new solutions. Perhaps my mother will learn to video chat and we can continue to keep closer in touch with those that are far away, because we’ve had many months of practicing even with those who live next door.

Perhaps.

Like many people, I had dark days back in the fall when the whole shutdown felt too long and bleak and endless. I’m feeling more cautiously optimistic now. I have no idea how the government is going to recover and how we are going to restore people’s faith in the world this coming year, but I believe it could happen.

So for 2021, I wish you peace and love, and good health. But most of all, I wish you JOY.

Scumbags and Maggots

My husband and I love the song Fairytale of New York by the Pogues, featuring Kristy McColl. The Pogues were part of our alternative radio loving days in the early 90s and this song of theirs, a Christmas song, has been a staple of our December playlist for years.

But my kids don’t like it, and that’s because it uses a homophobic slur in the lyrics while the two main characters are having a fight. I myself don’t like that word, but this year their discomfort was obvious and made me think a lot about my position on the matter. I decided I was overdue to take the song out of the rotation.

There’s a lot of debate online as to whether or not this song should be “bleeped” when played on the radio, or outright removed from radio play. Considering it is used in the song as an insult, I come down in favour of bleeping. It’s just not cool to use a word like that as an insult. My kids know it, and I should have known it too.

I missed the song itself, though, and I thought there must be other people who feel the same way – so surely someone must have made a cover version with some reworked lyrics. I went over to Spotify and listened to literally every single version of Fairytale of New York they have. There weren’t many that deviated from the original.

I eventually settled on three versions to add to my playlist:

  • by The Longest Johns – not a great version in terms of music and singing, but substitutes the slur with the word “CARROT” shouted by the entire band, which is so hilarious it is already legend in this house
  • by The Bay Street Bastards – uses another rude word starting with “F” and ending with “head” that fits the vibe of the moment in the song quite well
  • by Saints Analogue – reworks the whole two lines of that stanza to in order to use the word “tosser” in the problem spot and still have it rhyme

All three are not bad. Not quite having the slurry charm of the original or and missing the gorgeous voice of Kristy McColl, but acceptable. I was surprised to find that of dozens of covers, there were so few modified versions. I’d love it if the Pogues would make their own updated cover, but they stand by the original version as, it seems, many other artists do too.

What do you think – should this song in its original form be retired? It’s similar to controversies over “Baby It’s Cold Outside” which, to modern ears, can sound like a pushy man taking advantage of a woman, and that’s a trigger for some people; and the use of the outdated word “Eskimo” in songs like The Christmas Song and Winter Wonderland (recommended: Serena Ryder’s version of The Christmas Song which changes the line to “folks dressed up in ties and bows” which is an absolutely perfect solution).

Charming

Gal Smiley is starting a swim class this coming weekend. It is the second half of part of her lifeguard training process.

They called yesterday to give her a list of things she should bring on the first day. It included a lot of documentation from the first half of the class – apparently she is supposed to have a bunch of signed forms and a workbook proving she completed the first half, which she took over a year ago now due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Last night around 10 p.m., as I was going to bed, I heard Gal Smiley rustling around at the table.

Me: What are you doing?

Her: You don’t want to know.

Me: I really do.

Her: Well, know how I was supposed to have completed that workbook in the first half? I’m doing it now.

Me: I don’t get it. It was supposed to have been signed by your instructor last time when it was done.

Her: Yup! But it isn’t done.

Me: How did you get her to sign it?

Her: Well, I am very charming.

(Yes, yes she is.)

Two Stories That Sum Me Up Pretty Well

Story Number One:

I send around a Christmas newsletter with our cards and I always have it printed at Staples, because we don’t have a colour printer.

This year I uploaded the file and sent it in to be printed and after I clicked to pay and everything, I realized it had been more expensive than it should have been. So I double checked my receipt and it turned out I had paid extra for “rush, same day print” service.

I totally did not need rush service, but I did not want to have to call and cancel, or talk to people on the phone, and it seemed like such a hassle to change it, so I just went with it, because a few dollars extra to avoid any kind of confrontation seemed worth it.

But then, several days passed by and I didn’t get my email saying the print order was ready, and then I was mad, because I’d PAID for rush service, and even though I cared not one whit for rush service, it was the PRINCIPLE of the thing.

So I called the Staples, and they apologized profusely. It turned out a trainee had printed my order on the same day I ordered it, but hadn’t realized she had to mark it as “complete” in the system to trigger the email, and so I hadn’t been notifed.

And because they were so sorry that I had missed my RUSH deadline, they refunded the cost of the printing.

So I call this a nice little gift from the universe – I got a great deal on printing through my own incompetence. The only drawback is that I felt obligated to drop everything and head over there to pick it up right away, because I had to maintain the fiction that I was desperate for those printouts immediately, rush rush, in order to justify my refund.

Still a win, though.

Story Number Two:

Several years ago I decided to stop having regular dental checkups because I did not like the hygienist in my dentist’s office.

My dentist actually had several hygienists and we had a system going where I’d take all three kids at once, and all four of us would go in for a cleaning simultaneously, which each of us getting a different hygienist. They would then re-book us for six months out with everyone with the same person they had had.

So I got into this locked down situation where I always got the same woman and I really disliked her. She was very aggressive with the cleanings and I always left her chair bloodied and bruised, with soreness for days afterwards.

But I didn’t know what to do about it. It felt so awkward to ask at the desk to please book me in with someone else. Plus, then, I’d either have to come back on my own at some point, or I’d run the risk of one of my kids getting her instead, which I did not want.

It just seemed completely insurmountable to complain about her work, or go behind her back to transfer to someone else. It was an IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION.

So I decided to just quit going to the dentist.

(Side story: the very first appointment we had after I quit, they gave Gal Smiley to the woman, as I had feared, and when Gal Smiley came out, she said, “That woman was…aggressive,” and I was like, “VINDICATION.” And also, “Oh shit, now I have to complain about her,” but that turned into a non-issue as we changed the day of the week we were going and then none of my kids ever had her again.)

Anyway, I was happy not going to the dentist and I took super good care of my teeth in terms of cleaning and all seemed well.

Then this year, we missed a set of appointments for the kids due to the virus, and I started having a weird feeling in one tooth, and I actually had to have another tooth extracted, so when our office reopened, I decided to make an appointment for all of us, myself included.

For the first time in ages, I was booking over the phone, instead of in-person at the desk with the hygienists hovering, so I was able to find the strength to (very quietly) ask the receptionist if I could be booked in but with a different hygienist from last time.

And then she checked the records – she had to go pull my paper records, because the last time I was there was before patient records were computerized, that’s how long it has been – and it turns out Aggressive Hygienist doesn’t even work there anymore!

So, WIN. Through total inaction and avoidance of conflict! My whole existence is now justified.

I was telling this whole story to Little Miss Sunshine after my appointment this week, which was 2.5 hours long because they had to update all my records, and also revealed that I have a cracked crown that needs replacing, two new cavities, a chipped filling, and three other older fillings that are pulling away from the teeth and need replacing, and now I have like, 10 dentist appointments over the next three months.

“But the hygienist was so nice,” I said. “So I WON.”

“Hmmmm….did you though?” she said.

YES I DID SHUT UP.

More Joy

I totally forgot to mention in my joy post a couple of days ago the thing that is bringing me the MOST joy, and that is my laundry room light switch.

The laundry room is actually a very tiny laundry/mud room combination that opens to the outside, and the house, and the garage, and has no windows. It’s where we keep all the coats and shoes, as well as the washer and dryer, and it’s the place you go whenever you have recycling or garbage to chuck out.

So between the five of us, we go in there probably a few dozen times a day, and so the light switch takes a beating (although Sir Monkeypants would like it if it got used to turn the light OFF a little more often).

After 16 years of living in this house it has died a slow death, and a couple of months ago it just completely gave up and refused to turn off. It’s a weird three-way switch because of all the entrances, so we were able to turn the light off using one of the outdoor switches but that made it dark in there all the time, which was annoying and inconvenient.

And then Sir Monkeypants fixed it! We are not handy people but he watched some YouTube videos about three-way switches, and two trips to Home Depot and a whole Saturday later, we have a new, functional switch!

Every time I go in the laundry room now, which is several times a day, I feel a little PING of joy just from turning on the switch and having it work.

It’s so fascinating to me how such a small thing can be so huge, and how such a minor inconvenience resolved can feel so incredibly satisfying. It’s like a Christmas miracle!

Finding the Joy

I know a lot of people who find November to be the saddest month, as everything turns cold and grey.

But I love November! It’s actually my favourite month. It’s my birthday month, which always feels exciting and fun and leads me to reflect on my life and the past year, usually with positivity. There’s tons of leftover Halloween candy to get through, plus birthday treats, and Diwali usually falls in November too (it was this past weekend), so the food is good. Christmas season officially opens after my birthday but I can usually sneak in a bit of shopping and card writing before that, so the whole month starts to feel festive.

Plus, I have a lot of very cute jackets and adorable ankle boots that are only suitable to wear in Ottawa in November and April, so it’s officially Cute Jacket and Little Leather Boots month, which is awesome.

So I’ve been in a cheerful mood, and I wanted to blog about all my favourite November things that are making me super happy right now.

Like…

Christmas Advent Calendar Boxes

My kids like an advent calendar but due to food allergies they can’t really have a chocolate or treats based one. Up until now I’ve bought them a toy-based one like a Lego one or a Funko Pop one. These were a hit when they were young but now they are older and less enchanted with getting more stuff every day.

So I wanted to do a food one for them, and I wanted it to be cute, so I downloaded these three adorable printable box sets from the Etsy shop Little Llama Shop (bonus: she’s Canadian!).

My friend Sheila (hi Sheila!!) wanted the link after seeing them in Instagram so I have shared it here, but I warn you – the assembly time on these is crazy. After printing them onto cardstock at Staples, each set probably took 5-6 hours to cut out, score, fold, and then glue together.

So it’s not really a project I would recommend unless you really, really want to do it. But I’m super happy with them, they are so cute, and it kept me busy and cheerful for several evenings at home. Hopefully they will be reusable for a few years to come, at least.

Watching Star Wars with Captain Jelly Belly

I love Star Wars, and that is an enormous understatement.

The oldest kid, Captain Jelly Belly, loves Star Wars too, maybe even more than I do. He paid, with his own money, to get a couple of months of Disney+ so he could binge watch all the Star Wars content.

This led to a lengthy debate between us on how to rank all the Star Wars movies, and to settle our disagreement, we agreed to watch all 9 of the central story films and then discuss each, and it has been SO MUCH FUN. It’s one of those things where you experience the true joy of having had children. We are about halfway through and I can’t wait to watch more.

(He still believes that Revenge of the Sith is the best movie. He is very wrong, but he has at least managed to convince me it belongs at the #4 spot, behind A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and the super-divisive The Last Jedi. Please do feel free to debate us in the comments.)

Reading Poetry in the Bathroom

I’ve gotten really into poetry lately and I’ve bought a few books of modern poetry, pretty much exclusively by women but I think that is a coincidence. I leave these books in the bathroom and a few times a day I go in there and read a poem and then think about it until my next visit.

Hopefully that was not too much information. Really I want to convey the fact that a few poems a day has brought me a lot of joy, and I find it to be really fun, and I recommend.

(Titles I thought were awesome include New American Best Friend by Olivia Gatwood; Tell Me by Kim Addonizio; How to Avoid Huge Ships by Julie Bruck; Good Bones by Maggie Smith; Devotions by Mary Oliver.)

Holiday Programming

Netflix has already started with holiday-themed romantic comedies and I am salivating. Little Miss Sunshine (my rom-com partner in crime) says I have to wait until after my birthday on Wednesday to dig in.

But I plan on watching every cheesy one I can get my hands on. They are, for the most part, pretty awful. But does that stop me from watching and enjoying, with a hot chocolate in hand, next to my gas fireplace? No, it does not.

Scented Foaming Hand Soaps

We went to the mall on the weekend to do some Christmas shopping, and I went into the Bath and Body Works which is a place I usually never go. But I had remembered that a few years ago, someone gifted us a foaming hand soap from there in a Christmas scent, and we all loved it.

It turns out you can get 5 foaming hand soaps for $25 so I did, in fun festive scents like Candy Cane and Sweater Weather and Vanilla Snowflake, and I placed them all around the house at various sinks so you can go through the house on a Scent Adventure now. It is fun! And our hands smell really good!

New Books

For some reason, I have not really felt like reading during the pandemic. But I bought myself a new I Spy book for Halloween – this one – and it was so fun. Little Miss Sunshine and I used to do these all the time when she was younger, especially in the afternoons after school or while waiting for a doctor’s appointment, and we both loved them. We still do the Christmas one we have ever year. I think I might buy more.

I also got this awesome book for myself for no reason – Timeline of World History by Matt Baker. I watch his YouTube channel faithfully – it’s called Useful Charts – where he puts together timelines of history and family trees of famous historical figures. (Bonus: he’s Canadian, so there’s even some Canadian content on there!)

You can buy his charts as posters but this is the first time he has bundled several into a gorgeous hardcover book. It has four big fold-out poster-charts along with a bunch of associated stories about people and times on the charts and if you have a history lover in your house, GET THEM ONE.

Christmas Shopping and Card Writing

Lastly, it is officially Christmas Gift Shopping time and that always makes me so happy. I love the gift giving! Mostly I love the gift-picking-out. I went to the mall this past weekend and got pretty much everything for my nephews and nieces, and looking at the items and thinking about bringing up my Huge Bin Of Wrapping Paper and digging in is making me happy.

Plus I think I Christmas Cards might see a resurgence this year. I love sending cards and I bought some pretty ones and I am cheerfully singing Christmas songs as I think about filling them out and posting them and people getting them in the mail and smiling. And maybe we will get a few, too.

November, man. It feels hopeful, and happy, and joyful, don’t you think?

Fantasy 50th Birthday

It’s funny how the current lockdown situation makes you want the things you can’t have, even when you maybe never wanted them much before.

For example, all my life I’ve been a poor traveller. I don’t enjoy travel; I tend to panic in new and unusual situations. I am not comfortable when I don’t know the language, or where to get food, or how the public transit works.

When we go on a family trip, I spend hours and hours planning in advance so I feel okay about it, and I have reams of paper detailing backup plans should anything go wrong. During the trip I’m like a drill sergeant keeping us to a strict schedule and freaking out if someone wants to deviate.

And yet now that we are trapped at home, unable to travel, I find myself dreaming of trip planning and new and exotic locations as if they are FUN and EXCITING. I wonder if this will be a lasting change in my attitude? Or will I go back to panicking as soon as the government announces the all-clear on travel again? HM.

Anyway, dreaming of taking a trip has led me to think about my 50th birthday, which is coming up in just two weeks. I am not someone who likes surprise parties AT ALL, they are a firm no (to both the throwing and being the guest of honour). I definitely did not want a big celebration, and one of the hidden blessings of coronavirus is that it stopped anyone who thought they’d plan a birthday-fest from planning such a thing, WHEW.

But now that it is finally here, and I am actually giving it some thought, I have been thinking it would have been so nice, as a first choice celebration thing, to take a trip with Sir Monkeypants to a romantic urban location. Maybe Paris, or London, or both. How lovely that sounds (in my head, when it’s not at all a potential real thing I would probably be panicking about).

As a backup, I would have loved to take a train ride to New York City, and take in at least two Broadway shows, again with Sir Monkeypants but possibly also with my sisters and their significant others. It would have been so easy, in the Before Times, and so much fun. Alas.

So now I’m on the backup-backup plan, which I think is this: wake up to my favourite breakfast of coffee and muffins; visit the new L.L. Bean store in town where I will definitely be buying PJs, slippers, new sheets, and cozy sweaters, assuming I did not get any of these as gifts; return home to do one of my favourite puzzles while drinking a lot of tea and perhaps watching a marathon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Downton Abbey.

Even in regular times, I think such a day fits me to a tee – full of Spoiling Treats, but nothing too fancy, and nothing involving the need to dress up. So although I still wistfully dream of Paris and New York, it’ll probably be a pretty good day, after all.

Are We All Depressed?

We are just two days from the United States election and I have adopted a very much Fingers In Ears, Na na na, Can’t Hear You kind of attitude towards it all. I have enjoyed, in the past, avidly following along with American politics, and I love to watch people like Seth Meyers and John Oliver tear into Trump. But I remember how sad I was when Hillary Clinton lost, and it’s not even my country, and I’m not sure I really want to go through that again in real time.

Plus, lately I find the democratic pundits that I prefer have gotten really sad, themselves. They are no longer lighthearted in their approach; and I get that, I really do, but there’s only so many times I can hear that Evil is on our Doorstep before I start to really spiral about how there’s nothing anyone can do about it, all is lost, etc.

Plus, this is probably the Canadian in me, but when people start talking in extremes like EVIL, even when it comes to Trump, I always feel like maybe there is more to the big picture. I mean, there MUST be more to the big picture, isn’t there?

In any case, I am on a severe politics diet for all this week, and I’m hoping it will turn things around, at least for me, because my whole house is sad at the moment.

I am guessing that most of the country, if not the world, is sad too, but this is the first time I have really begun to wonder how sad is Too Sad, and to google things like “symptoms of depression.” Because all of us have been so blah. It’s like we have an absence of personality. We all lack a sparkle, a bounce.

I am guessing that the root of the problem is that it is darker and colder and we are all feeling like we have very little to look forward to. No trips, no visits with family. We have ALL the streaming services (literally: ALL) plus endless video game machines and board games and sports equipment, and yet we are all so bored. Bored of each other, bored of life, with a long winter looming.

(Thought to myself: Perhaps it is time for a family re-reading of the Little House series, especially The Long Winter. Hm.)

It is because my poor children have been looking at me with sad, dead eyes that can no longer perk up even with the promise of Iced Capps, that I made a Super Big Deal out of Halloween. And it worked! At least for me, hopefully for the kids too.

It was a Saturday and everything else including Trick or Treating was cancelled so what we did was a) put on costumes and b) put out a massive spread of candy, along with other snacky type foods and c) watched scary movies until our eyeballs bled. I let the kids know in advance I was planning an all-day Halloween movie fest and attendance was not optional and they were surprisingly okay with that (or at least, did not have the energy to resist).

I dressed up as a yeti, which if you know me is funny, because I have a stuffed yeti and he is like my fourth child. I am seriously weird about the yeti. But is he is my boo.

Me and Yetz

Captain Jelly Belly had scoffed at other movies I consider “scary,” because I am a wimp, so I wanted to watch some seriously spooky stuff. But on the other hand, the girls, especially middle child Gal Smiley, get very nervous at scary movies so I had to walk a fine line.

The schedule was:

10 a.m. Beetlejuice. The kids had never seen it. It was a great way to start the day – very fun, dated effects but the story and the legendary Day-O scene still hold up. Scary rating: 2/10, entertainment rating 7/10.

12 noon. Happy Death Day. My sister FameThrowa, who LOVES scary movies, told me this one was “good but not scary” and she was right. But it was SO good! The girls and I just loved its twisty plot and its very satisfying ending. Although the main character dies over and over, only a few of them have the traditional “hunted by a killer” feel – some of them are actually pretty funny. Recommended. Scary rating: 4/10, entertainment rating 8/10.

2 p.m. Lights Out. This is my sister’s all-time favourite scary movie and she warned me it was pretty scary so we deliberately watched it in the middle of the afternoon to lessen its power. She was 100% correct. Although we all felt okay about it at the time – on top of it being daylight, we also ate dinner during this time frame and did a bunch of chatting, which made it a lot less scary – this is the one that kept both me and Gal Smiley from falling asleep. I had to sleep with a light on, in the end. SHUDDER. Especially good for watching with your teens as there’s almost no sexy stuff, and everyone you really really like lives, so that’s good. Scary rating: 9/10, entertainment rating: 8/10.

4:30 p.m. Unfortunately the Captain had to go to work for a while. I gave the girls the option of a “scare break” but they wanted to continue, so we watched The Cabin in the Woods. SO MUCH BLOOD. Also, brief boobies shot, which got a lot of discussion and caused some discomfort around here. But overall this movie is a balance between horror and humour which keeps it from getting too intense. Scary rating: 6/10, entertainment rating: 7/10.

6:30 p.m. The Conjuring. By now it was dark, and this movie scared the crap out of me. I am a pretty easy scare, though. The girls found it scary but were more scared by my random screaming than anything else. Like Lights Out, this was a great family choice because there’s no sexy stuff and, in fact, no one actually dies so there’s very little violence – it’s a lot of spooky atmosphere and scary ghosts and freaky jump scares. I’ll probably watch it again when my heart returns to a normal rate. Scary rating: 8/10, entertainment rating: 7/10.

And then I had to go pick up the Captain from work. We were going to watch one more when he got home – Don’t Breathe – because I really wanted him to have the true late night, scary-as-hell experience. But by the time he got home and showered and ate, it was pretty late, and the youngest kid and I were nodding off on the couch, so we called it a day.

But we’ve decided to make Scary Movie Night a semi-regular thing around here, so feel free to share your recommendations – it’ll give us something to look forward to, and something to feel, and something to distract us from the state of the world, and I feel like we all need a LOT more of that kind of thing, and stat.

Sitcoms and Breaking Points

The other day my husband and I were watching one of Trump’s speeches, intercut with a similar speech given by Obama for comparison, which was pretty funny.

But also sad. I am a bit of an American Politics Junkie but lately I have had to pull back a bit on watching pundits and debates, because it is alarming and scary and sad. I have vowed to watch no coverage until after the election, and also to spend this time learning more about Canadian politics instead, which has actually been pretty interesting.

I did say to my husband, though, that whether you are pro or against Trump, everyone is going to miss the horribly entertaining reality show that his presidency has brought to television. It’s like a car crash that we can’t look away from, and when he leaves office, whether this year or in four more years, there will be a void for sure.

I propose that he be given his own half-hour sitcom/reality show after he’s done. We can build a set that is like a copy of the White House (perhaps the one used by The West Wing is still around). We can tell him he’s still the president and Truman Show him into the set with a fake staff.

Then we’ll tell him the (more or less) real news of the day, and have him do a daily half-hour briefing sharing his thoughts on the matter and his declarations of how he’s going to magically solve it all, and we can all watch and laugh, and feel light about knowing that he no longer has any real power, instead of the way we do now, with black pits of fear in our stomach.

I predict several Emmy wins for him and that should make him very happy indeed.


In other news, COVID cases in Ottawa continue to climb and we are now in a weird place where no one really wants to go back to full on lockdown, and no one wants the schools to close, but it is perhaps the only solution, so we are all dithering about and putting off any hard decisions.

I for one would love to see the schools stay open because our kids are so much happier there. Since school started just a few weeks ago, we’ve seen all three of our kids perk right up. They’re happier and they’re interacting more with their friends, both in person but online too, having lots of video and Discord calls in the evenings to play games and talk about assignments and generally hang out. They’re enjoying the work they do on their in-person days much more, as well. It has made a huge difference.

So this led to a conversation I had with a friend of mine on the weekend about your School Breaking Point. She was saying that when her kids went back to school, she had it in the back of her mind that they could always pull them out if “things got bad,” and I think most parents probably felt the same way.

But now things ARE bad, arguably. There’s more daily cases here than there were back in March and April. Some schools have had to close classrooms or even the whole school due to breakouts.

The school my friend’s kids go to has had one case, announced last week. It wasn’t in their specific classrooms. As far as they know, it has just been the one case. So their kids continue to go, but we are now all wondering When. When will things be bad enough that we would actually pull our kids out? When there’s a case in your own kid’s class? When there’s an outbreak of several cases in your school? When a close friend or family member tests positive?

Well. Of course we are all hoping not to have to hit that point. But I am trying to give it some thought so we can be prepared, and take action if need be. For now, we are just keeping our fingers crossed and hoping the kids can stay in school for as long as possible, keeping all of us happier, if not healthier.

A Narrow Range of Comfort

Every year in the fall, I swear I am not going to turn on the heat until it gets unbearably cold in the house, until we’re all shivering under multiple blankets at our various workstations.

But every year I cave. As soon as I get up one morning and it’s below 20 degrees in the house, I start feeling unhappy and then I always go straight to the thermostat and turn it over to heat.

And then, every year, after I turn it to heat I swear I will not put the A/C back on no matter how much of a summer throwback we might get, that it’s well into September now and I can certainly celebrate and enjoy any of the few warm days we might have left.

And then, like last night, I give up the minute I have to try to fall asleep in a house that is 25 degrees, wondering how anyone could ever be comfortable in such terrible tropic surroundings. I always get up and turn the A/C back on.

Then I always flit back and forth between heat, A/C, heat, A/C for a couple of weeks before fall really settles in.

Isn’t Ottawa the world capital with the largest temperature range? It’s easily possible for us to see temperatures here of +30 degrees Celsius in the summer, and -30 degrees Celsius in the winter, within a single year.

Given that I live in a place with crazy extremes of weather, how is it that I have become someone who is basically only comfortable in a narrow two degree range between 21 and 23?

It makes me feel like quite a little princess. But it doesn’t look like I’m adapting any time soon, so best to put aside my annual vows and just accept that I’ll be visiting the thermostat twice daily from mid-September to mid-October, QED.