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July 8, 2014
by Erin B

It’s 5:42 am and I want to blog, but I have to leave for work now.  Shift work kind of wrecks your personal life.

New Bathroom!

June 28, 2014
by Erin B

The construction people have come to measure my bathroom.  That was really exciting but also kind of weird.  They ended up asking me about all kinds of things I would not have considered.  Like tub height.

We have a standard tub now.  I was expecting a standard tub after.  The bathroom is tiny and the tub has to fit in the same spot, so the same tub size, right?  Nope!  They come in a bunch of different heights.  How high can a 5 year old or a guy with CP get into without hurting themselves?  We don’t know.  More research required.

Now, I have to figure out how to pay for it.

There have been some changes at all three of my jobs and I am now working every day that isn’t Wednesday in July.

Little Girl starts day care this coming week.

She starts Grade one in the fall.  Now we just have to teach her the whole bag of flash cards for the sight words she didn’t learn this year.  Yup.  Remember that thing I was worried about?  T and I have to teach the whole Kindergarten curriculum this summer.

It makes me tired just thinking about it.

Knit In Public Week

June 18, 2014
by Erin B

It’s Knit in Public Week and I shamelessly made my daughter pose with my knitting for a photo op.

Little Girl Knitting In The Park


When she gave it back she had knit five stitches on it.  I knit a couple of more before I thought to take a picture.  Can you tell which are her stitches?

Five of these Stitches are Little Girl's

Crippling Garden Build

June 17, 2014
by Erin B





CPR Recertification

May 25, 2014
by Erin B

This weekend was my annual CPR recertification.  Some approximate counting on my fingers suggest that since I was first trained in 1994, this make 20 year of being CPR certified.

I have had to use it a couple of times.  Once in a bar in the late 90′s when someone went down on the dance floor and everyone thought he was just drunk, but a quick once over as every one rolled their eyes at me revealed no pulse and no breathing.  I performed single person CPR until the ambulance arrived and took him away.  I never heard what happened after that.

The other time was a few years later in a health centre when a guy pushed past me as I was leaving.  We were closed for the night so I turned around to chase him out of the building and he coded half way to the emergency room.  The nurse was still in the building and she did chest compressions while I ran the bag mask and the janitor called an ambulance.  It was a small town, so that one I learned didn’t make it.

CPR alone is only successful 5% of the time.  Early defibrillation helps.

For people who are choking… well, I have a pretty good success rate for helping with that.  I here the term “Heimlich manoeuvre” is now copyrighted, but I can’t get used to calling it the “abdominal thrust manoeuvre.”   What ever you call it, I have used it to successfully help a few people.  The first was a guy who looked like a line backer in a restaurant.  He blew past me on his was to the bathroom making a weird choking whistling noise.  I followed him right into the men’s room and asked if he was choking.  The other guys in there looked shocked and I need him to kneel because he was too tall for me, but it worked the second time and he was immediately better.

The second time was a pre-teen eating a hotdog at a ball game.  His mom tried slapping him on the back.  Don’t do that.  It doesn’t help.  Even if you dislodge it, gravity works and it is only going to go deeper.  He went from choking but able to talk to choking and not being able to talk.  It took me a minute to talk his mom into letting me help.  Pointing out that his lips were turning blue was what finally convinced her.  Some one called an ambulance but he was fine by the time they got there.  They got to tell the crowd not to slap a choking victim.  I wasn’t going to tell her she made it worse.  No mom needs to hear that from a random stranger.  It’s only slightly better hearing it from a stranger in a EMS uniform.

The third one was Little Girl.  She was under a year.  I was the least calm at that one.  I panicked and flipped her into the newborn choking position and the piece of uncooked pasta she had found fell out before I even got to the back blows.  That’s where people get confused.  In infants under a year, you can dangle them upside down so that gravity helps and give them a back blow.  But it only works if you have the patient with there airway pointing down.

If you aren’t certified in first aid and CRP, I always encourage people to get certified. If you notice, only one of those stories was in a health care setting, and even then, only barely. If he had been a minute earlier or later, it would have been someone finding him in the parking lot. Have a look at your family, they are the people it is mostly likely you will use your skills on. Everyone has heart disease in the family. Choking can happen to anyone.

Since we last talked…

May 24, 2014
by Erin B

Let’s see, I put my car in the ditch during a blizzard at the end of April that I am blaming firmly on climate change.  I was stuck there for an hour until the tow truck found me and I ended up missing the day of work at the out of town hospital.  However, just up the road that day there was a head on collision between a pick up and a semi that slid into each other and end up with someone in the hospital, so I was lucky that there wasn’t anyone else on the road at 5:30 am.

Our bathroom had issues that we spent a lot of time fixing.  Then promptly had even more issues and we are now on a wait list for a contractor, because there is a housing boom where I live.  We can’t really afford a new bathroom, but since we need to be able to shower we are having to make arrangements to be able to afford one.

Little girl is still struggling in school.  It’s gotten a little better, but she is still having problems.  We went to a kindergarten meet and greet at the other school we are considering for her.  She blends in with the four year olds who are getting ready to start school more than her class of kids almost done kindergarten.  Based purely on height and speech patterns, she shouldn’t have started yet.  But….

The parents followed the kids to the library and the librarian read a story.  We all went to the kindergarten room and the kids did a craft.  She has great scissor and colouring skills. Then the parents met with the principal and the kids went to the gym.

The principal explained about the school district having a policy where they don’t hold kids back and said “If you aren’t sure your child is ready, it is OK to wait a year.”  I wish some one had said that last year.  She also talked about bussing and acceptable food to send.  They have a fruit only snack policy, with just a refillable water bottle to drink.  They want “waste free” snacks. That was what we had last year for pre-school.  This year, in kindergarten, it has been a no-mans land of packaged snacks.  It has been really hard on Little Girl, because I still only send fruit.

After we were done listen to the principal, we went to the gym to collect our kids.  The kids were sitting in a circle drinking from juice boxes and eating chocolate cupcakes with enough icing that more of them were going to need a bath.  So much for the healthy, waste free snack policy.

There was Little Girl, neatly drinking a box of OJ.  She explained to me that she refused the apple juice because she gets a rash and didn’t take a cupcake because they were too sticky and she wasn’t hungry yet because she had a good breakfast.  I was so proud of her!  It also maybe speaks to a maturity level of someone who is ready for Grade one.  It wasn’t quite the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, but I was still really impressed.

Lots to think about.

I signed up for a knitting retreat MONTHS ago, before we knew that we were going to need a new bathroom.  I went and it was lovely and I hope to do it again….  but not until we finish paying for the bathroom.

The garden is finally going in, but this is the latest I have still had snow on the ground since I have lived in this house.

Aside from the four regular garden beds, we are building two more, which will take us to the property line and save us from having to mow a crappy little six foot wide strip of grass and tree stumps.  However to get there, I have had to dig up a 6 x 20 foot chunk of grass and we had to rent a stump grinder to take out the stumps.  Since we had the stump grinder, we help the nice family a couple of blocks away and a friend of the family that live halfway across town.  In the over night rental, we took out our four, the neighbours one that was kind of a cluster of four with a rock hidden in the centre and five at the lady’s place across town.

It has been a hard working month.  Plus it’s a busy time for my volunteer position on the board of directors for my professional association.

Work your fingers to the bone and all you will have is boney fingers.

When I get stressed, I knit and find ways to keep busy.  When I get really stressed, I stop.  I knit all last weekend.  Thursday, I stopped.  Between frantically trying to put in the garden and trying to do as much of the hardscaping as I can without spending any money, I am physically, emotionally and mentally drained at the end of the day.

It has been a crazy month.

C has a blog!

May 3, 2014
by Erin B

Check it out here!

What’s new?

April 17, 2014
by Erin B

Well, new socks:





And another Mother/Daughter pair in progress.  I had enough yarn left over from a ball, that Little girl called “Easter Egg Socks” and she wanted a pair, so I am frantically knitting to get them done by Sunday.

I managed to crack one of my cast iron pans.  I’m not sure how.  I feel a little sick about it.



And….  I have come to terms with having made a mistake as a mom.  The problem with mom mistakes is that they are easy to make and hard to fix.  In this case, it was about kindergarten.   Little Girl wasn’t ready to go in the fall.  I knew it.  T knew it.  The school told us she would catch up in a month or so and be on track for the rest of the year.  I had my doubts, but they were the experts.

So we enrolled her this fall.

The last report card came out about a month ago and Little Girl is “Beginning to Meet Expectations.”    Which basically means this is the point where she is ready to start kindergarten.   The thing is I agree.  She is ready to start now.  Except that we are now seven months through kindergarten and she is only starting to be able to do the things she should have been doing in the fall.

Easy fix, right?  She basically missed (or at least missed out on) seven months of school because she couldn’t hold still and learn to read.  Yes, whole language reading starts in kindergarten now. So, we just call this year pre-k and do kindergarten twice, right?


The principal has told us that the “social implications” of holding kids back are so terrible, that they never do it.  Basically, that Little Girl will be so bullied if we hold her back it will be WORSE than moving up a grade when everyone else has beginning reading skills and she doesn’t.  She’ll catch up, they say.

Fool me once, shame on you!  I’m not happy that the school seems to be trying to fool me twice.  Is this how people get out of school and still can’t read?  If the reading program they are using starts in kindergarten, and Little Girl can’t recognize the minimum number of words they need to go into Grade one, how is she supposed to do two years of work in one year next year?  At the very least, that seems like a recipe to raise a kid that hates school and learning.

Honestly, at this point, I’m not sure what to do.  T has spoken to the superintendent, who seems supportive of the idea of a second year of K…. but at this point, do I want to send her to a school where the principal has said there will be “social implications” of a repeat year?

And that is why I am spending some time looking for another school.  There is a Catholic school just up the road, but it is over crowded and I’m pretty sure I am too heathen to send my kid there.  I’m certainly too heathen to be allowed vote in their school board elections.  There is a french immersion program that  Little Girl could ride a school bus to attend.  It is conveniently just up the road from T’s parents’ house.

Not really sure what to do.

Life is Messy

April 9, 2014
by Erin B

In the next couple of weeks I need to work on:

Organizing Electrolysis tank Mark II

- Giving T time to build it

- Digging out those garage sale cast iron pans from last year to run through it

- Deciding which pans to cut from my collection.

Knitting more socks

Finishing knitting the grey sweater without end

Visiting my Mom

Building the Ana White Laundry bin three wide, not six

Organizing for Easter

Having Easter

Crocheting a blanket (or two)

Building Garden Beds


Parenting Goals

April 1, 2014
by Erin B

I have some weird parenting goals.  Or at least they aren’t the kind of goals that I hear other moms talking about.  I want all of my girls be grow up to be the kind of person who:

-  has empathy

- has a sense of honour and a strong, personal moral code.

- have a sense of humour

- can take responsibility and admit they are wrong.  I struggle with this, everyone struggles with this, but it is an important skill.

- can cook a meal or seven

- can clean up after they cook a meal.  Actually, properly clean up.  My mom went away for a month when my sister and I were grow up and self sufficient and the day before she came home, I spent three hours washing every dish, every pot every cup that my dad had used that month then left growing mould in the sink.  And the other sink and on every flat surface in the kitchen.  I work in health care, I deal with bodily fluids on a regular basis, I have run the 72 hour fecal fat test where you test everything EVERYTHING a person has pooped out in three days.

Washing those dishes is still number one on my list of most disgusting things I have ever done.

I love you, mom.

- will put the dishes into the dishwasher, not just near the dishwasher and will unload the dishwasher when it is clean

- will clean up their spills

- will walk, bike or take the bus when it is the most reasonable option

- can do their own laundry

- can find something productive to do instead of just expecting the world to entertain them.  Don’t turn on the TV, play with or clean up your toys, ride your bike, go for a walk, knit, sew, bake cookies, fold your laundry, unload the dishwasher, wash the floor, anything!  There is always something that needs to be done.  “I’m bored” is an invitation for me to pick a job for you instead of you figuring it out on your own.

- I want my kids to grow up self supporting but to also understand that there is always more to  buy then you have money to spend.  No matter how much income you have, you can always spend more than you make.  With care, you can live quite comfortably with not as much as you would think.

I have worked a lot of jobs I wasn’t happy in or that weren’t ideal.  I have been a night phelbotomist, a bar waitress in a very short skirt, a sushi production like worker, I have worked multiple jobs with long drives and short time between them, I have gone more than 200 days without a day off while working three jobs that translated to be more hours than two full time positions to pay off my student and car loans. I want my girls to know that if they need to, really need to, it’s ok to take what job you can get to pay the bills.

I want them to be able to support themselves, but also know that it is ok to occasionally be underemployed to balance money and time and family.  I could take one of those 10 days on, 4 days off jobs or go back to nights.  Either would pay a lot better than my current one, but I would be out sourcing the raising of Little Girl at that point.  Money is tight, but there is always home made dinner on the table and someone to help with homework.

We don’t have much money and we don’t try to hide that from the kids.  Right there, that seems to have prevented a sense of entitlement.  Family budget night is open to anyone who is interested in attending around here.

Yes, we have a budget. I want them to learn how.  We live close enough to the line that we need one.  A major car repair could have serious implications around here.  We would deal, but if we didn’t watch our money, we wouldn’t be able to handle something unexpected like that.  I want my girls to understand credit cards and how banking works and why credit is like mining the future.

- I want them to be respectful to people who are doing necessary but unpleasant jobs.  Calling me a phlebotomist, well, that’s my job, or part of it.  Calling me a vampire is completely unoriginal and not funny and now I still have to not hurt you as I poke you with a 2  inch needle that I could very easily hit bone with, but I didn’t, so don’t complain about that either.  You have the right to refuse.  Either refuse or let me do my job.  I am good at it, I care about not missing.

- I would like my girls, if they are medically able, to be blood donors.  Only 3.5 percent of the eligible population give blood and there are so, so many people who aren’t even eligible.  If you have a chromic disease that requires regular medication, you likely aren’t eligible.  Men who have sex with men are still not eligible to donate in Canada, even though they are 10% of the population and that the HIV risk in their population has pretty much evened out with the risk to anyone who is sexually active.  To have a comfortable supply of blood products we would need to increase that to at least 6% of eligible donors.  As it is, sometimes we have to triage who gets blood when two or more major events come in at the same time.  I am very happy to have a job where I no longer have to watch that decision being made.  I can’t image what it is like to have to make it.

For a long time now, our family has been just trying to get past the next hurdle on the horizon.  The current one is getting V through the last couple of months of high school with out her breaking under the stress.  When I look at the long term list above, so far, we are doing pretty well.

In the long run, being able to budget and cook for herself will be more valuable than getting an extra 3%  in high school physics.

You are going to be OK, V.  This is just one hurdle in the long track of life.