The thing about the career of a minor professional hockey player is that in most cases you never really know for sure when it is over. Most of the time you just end one season with a vaguely unsatisfying feeling of ‘We’ll maybe possibly could be doing this again next year? Or never again? See ya later!’ And as time goes on and Dave gets older and our family gets bigger (and therefore less desirable to teams) and our feet get less itchy and his shoulder gets more achy and Ves starts asking more ‘when are we going HOME?’…the end is in sight. I don’t know if it’s here. I don’t know when it’s coming. And once it has arrived I’m sure we’ll feel surprised to see it here so soon. And while this career always had an expiration date, we c an definitely feel that we are closer to it than ever.
So just in case I’ve been trying to take it all in. To watch and enjoy. And by watch I mean actually look at the ice while the game is on. To contain (some of) my complaints and enjoy the games despite cold toes and support Dave’s love of hockey despite my general ambivalence for sport-watching. In the past I’ve been known to forgo one of Dave’s games for yoga class. To read a book at the games I do attend. To pretend to have seen him score a goal even though I was staring off into space thinking about what size my feet would be if I didn’t have my big toe. In case you want to know, I estimate a size 4.
I made this resolution to enjoy it and watch it despite the fact that I have two young children with me at the game. One who goes between watching the game and screaming ‘slow down you guys!’ (safety first, most important rule of hockey) and then running wildly along the concourse pushing strangers of her way (safety is no longer an issue) while I shuffle behind apologetically saying ‘Sumimasen! Gomenesai!’ on a loop. The other sleeps soundly until, quite out of nowhere, she starts screaming like a banshee. A banshee who can only be quieted by sweet sweet milky. So it’s a challenge. But I’ve been trying. Just in case.
I’ve been trying so hard that agreed to go to Dave’s last game of the season in Tokyo. On the train. With two kids. And I had to pay for the ticket to the game you guys. The indignity of it all. But I did it anyway. I walked to the train station in the sleet with a toddler stopping to analyze every puddle and a newborn squirming in protest of the carrier. I rode to the next biggest city, rushed through the crowd to make our connecting train with only 4 minutes between arrival and departure, sweated profusely every step of the way. Things went smoothly all morning, relatively speaking, and we arrived in Shinjuku. We went to a coffee shop and ate pain au chocolat for lunch. I ate two, because you know, chocolate. And then there was the incident in the public restroom at the subway station where V started screaming bloody murder about needing privacy and O started screaming about baby things and they were both making sounds you only usually hear from animals being tortured and everyone in the bathroom stared unabashedly. That was the peak of the sweating. And I kept asking myself…why am I doing this? But I knew the answer. Just in case.
But we made it to the game. And watched Dave play the game he loves so much. Ves reveled in the glory of her father tossing her a puck during warm-up. She ran madly around the rink with another miniature Canadian child of the hockey life. We ate french fries and chanted I-ee-su-buck-u! I watched Dave joke with his teammates between whistles. Saw the way he inspects the tape on his stick like it contains the answer to the mysteries of the universe. I took a mental picture of the way he pounds his stick on the ice to call for a pass. The way he chews his mouth guard in that way so that it is certainly not doing it’s job. The way he looks as he skates. We cheered extra loudly when he scored. I looked at V’s face as she screamed ‘Go Daddy Go!’ I took it in. Took it all in. Just in case.
You guys. After that post about a snow day, Dave went on the road to Shanghai. And the day he left he called to tell me had the stomach flu. Oh and remember how we shared a dish at the restaurant last night? In other words, your flu is in the mail. And remember how the restaurant is Indian food? Not the best meal to eat right before your body starts violently ejecting everything.
Dave got struck by the flu while traveling. Via bus then plane he had to use public and airplane restrooms and suffer through the indecency of flu symptoms in those environs. Then he had to have the stomach flu and recover from it in China, not the best place to start out with intestinal problems. In any normal scenario, I would have felt SO bad for him. And really, I did feel bad. For about 10 minutes before my own flu began. Do you know who has no time for sympathy? A woman with stomach flu in a foreign country caring for an infant and a toddler. AIN’T GOT NO TIME FOR THAT. In fact I started having thoughts like ‘having the stomach flu isn’t even HARD for him, he’s in a HOTEL! with HBO! and silence! and sleeping pills! and zero children!’ Meanwhile I was vomiting in the kitchen sink while V stood behind me saying things like ‘that sounds like a waterfall!’ Yes, he had it easy. Rat bastard with his luxurious stomach flu.
The merciful part about this flu was that the violent parts didn’t last long. Within 12 hours of it beginning I was able to, with the aid of inadvisable amounts of ibuprofen, take over raising my kids where the TV and my breast had left off. Within 24 hours I was feeling almost normal, only slightly more tired than the normal amount of tired. To say I was grateful for this is a gross understatement.
The thing is, during my flu a record setting snowstorm had settled in over all of Honshu. It started on Friday and didn’t stop until late Sunday. It was snow. And snow and snow. It made that last snowstorm look like a handful of flurries. Then, just in case we weren’t sure about Mother Nature being in complete and total control of us, it sort of sleeted on top of all that snow and then froze in to a charming ice layer.
Finally, finally, finally, it stopped. And we bundled up and marched around for a while and breathed outside air. And I started an hourly countdown until Dave’s return. Because 6 days with two kids is one thing. Not the easiest, but doable. Six days with 2 kids plus a stomach flu plus being shut in by a storm is almost too much. Almost. Too much.
We survived though. The following is a pictorial of our days in captivity.
It’s Valentine’s Day. And it seems like this holiday with a rather grotesque back story, a overwhelmingly hetero-normative message, and a commercialization that knows no bounds gets some people’s back up. They boycott the day and disparage the celebration. And while I get what can be annoying about such holidays for people who are single or don’t like clutter or do not enjoy chocolate, in my opinion it’s a case of if you can’t beat them, join them. Take from what’s good and run with it. Not only am I in love with my husband, we are in love with our girls. With life. And living.
Dave is in China this year for Valentine’s Day. And I honestly don’t remember where he was last year. I remember we made a craft with Vesper using cut outs of our hand prints to spell I Love You in sign and her footprints to make a heart. We celebrated with chocolate, I’m sure, because we celebrate like that daily. And that’s it.
This year V has been doing some crafts this week leading up to V-Day. We read a Valentine themed book about a dragon. And then she asked if we could do a Valentine photo shoot. Of course, I’ve got nothing but time.
She currently LOVES looking at images of herself. Preferably with her mouth open and all her teeth exposed. She thinks it’s hilarious. And isn’t it? And with sneaking mom skills I’ve acquired, I got a few shots of her not looking insane.
Then we edited the pictures. She’d say ‘make it brighter! make me bigger! shine us up!’ Why can’t Valentine’s Day be as simple as this? Loving my girls, doing what we love, watching them fall in love together.
After the enchanting snowfall of early February, last weekend brought a suffocating blizzard. The kind that makes going out nearly impossible and braving the roads inadvisable. And the mild winter that has spoiled me so came down heavy on my head as we were trapped inside.
There’s only so much one can do in a space like this. Housework, for sure. Keeping a small space tidy is crucial!
I found these pine cones in the cupboard. Storing them for the long winter, perhaps?
Reminder: looked like this outside for 30 hours. That great white space is where the mountains should be. And people are clearing the sidewalks with old brooms and, get this one, kettle of hot water. Not a joke.
Butcher paper and glue and markers and sequins and any other random thing that might occupy 30 seconds of time. A day stucin this box with a 3 year and a newborn is measured in 30 second increments, for your information.
Then what? More utcher paper. And fingerpaints. In the bathroom because honestly I checked my email for a few minutes. THERE! I SAID IT!
Finger painting usually requires a bath afterwards. And having a Popsicle in the bath is normal. And hygienic. Sidenote: notice the size of the Popsicle, that is the full size. Can we say portion control!?
After that it’s pajamas and Ponyo with chocolate of some kind of another. And yes we keep multiple kinds of chocolate spread in our house. It’s a survival technique.
Baby O mostly did this. Smart girl.
Lots of our day is spent lounging on blankets. We should go to the park. Or playgroup. I should wash the floor. Or get to the store. Make a meal more elaborate than one-pot soups or quesadillas. But there are blankets. Welcoming us to just lay here.
A toddler scowl and a newborn grin. Also known as Thursday.