Absence of children

My children have been gone for almost two weeks now. My mother took them to visit extended family in Victoria and they’ll be gone for another week.

I have to say, I am in a weird place. It is not until they are gone that I realize how much time is spent just hanging out with them, or cleaning up after them or figuring out the logistics of all their activities. School is another blackhole of time, with lunches, chauffeuring, etc. But have I done anything useful with that time? Do I feel any less rushed? I always wondered what I did before I had children, what could I have possibly done to fill in the vasts expanses of time that were mine to command? The answer, of course, is nothing special. Whatever I am doing seems to expand to fit the time.

Of course, I have still been working, which is my own little blackhole in the time-space continuum, as well as training for a new job, which filled in a few other spaces of time.Here are a few other things that I have done since they were gone:

June 23rd: Worked at 2 jobs.

June 24th (St-Jean Baptiste Day): Went for a two hour long run to Parc de la visitation with J, a picnic in Parc Lafontaine with friends and to a barbecue at some other friend’s house (where J ate a walnut and subsequently puffed up to look a little bit like John Malkovich. Seriously, it was a weird resemblence.)

June 26th: Nomeansno Concert. I said it once and I’ll say it again. Along with the Muppets (eat drums!!!)

and Holden Caulfield (everybody is soooo phony!), Nomeansno had had the greatest influence on me (Everyday I start to ooze. Words to live by. Truly.) And now I have some positive role models for my golden years.

June 27th: Worked. Opened the library for a bunch of teens where I made them play stupid games, stuffed pizza down their throat and forced books on them. Lots of fun. No, really.

June 28th: Went for a run and then a four hour bike ride down the Lachine canal. We made it down to the René-Levesque Park. The a couple of beers with some friends and a couple of episodes of the Sopranos.

June 29th: Worked.

June 30th: Went to new job and to their end of the year lunch. Very fancy and bodes well. Rode my bike everywhere which made me very happy.

July 1rst: New York City! Drove to New York and then spent a few hours walking around in the lower East Side. When in New York, we stay at the Carlton Arms, a crazy hotel with affordable rooms on 25th and 3rd. Every room is painted in a different way. I think J should paint a room with a graffiti/urban decrepitude/ bicycle theme.

July 2nd: New York City! Once again, a day of walking, with a pause for the MoMa. They had 2 special exhibits on when we went: one of James Ensor, a flemish expressionist freak who leaned toward the horrific in my opinion (see below)
And an oddly moving installation by Chinese artist Song Dong called Waste Not. If you laid your life out on a gallery floor, what would it look like?

It is good to see art.

It is also good to walk around a city for hours, watching people, looking at buildings and generally just being a fly on the wall of the world.

July 3rd: New York City! Because we are cheap, we parked in the lower East Side so that we wouldn’t have to pay an exorbitant amount for parking. But that meant that we had to go switch the car spaces, sort of like what we have to do in Montreal. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, imagine several posts with about 3 signs each. Each sign has an arrow pointing in a certain direction, or sometimes, just for fun, in both directions. Each sign is a directive for who can park there and when not to park. So you will have a sign for permit holders with hours saying when only permit holders can park there. Then you will have the sign that will say when to park during the months of December to November. And then a sign that says you cannot park during the full moon because these spaces are reserved for Beelzebub and his hell hounds. (I just made that last one up. Really.) So, just like that. Before coffee, before food, we walked the 17 blocks down to the car and shifted it pretty much across the street. As luck would have it, we found a diner right by our optimum parking spot called 7A, on, you guessed it, the corner of 7th and Avenue A. This is notable because the food was cheap, they offered a salad option instead of home fries and they had one of the most delicious salad dressings I have ever tasted ( a ginger scallion concoction that I will be dreaming about for years to come.) After a filling breakfast we walked for ten hours. I tried to go to the New York Public Library but it wasn’t open until 11:00 the day before and completely closed on the other two days we were there. Damn librarians. Always faffing off. We did go to the Met and saw a great Francis Bacon exhibition. Once again, another master of horror with his gaping maws and his flesh puddles. After that, we went in search of Hell’s Kitchen (which it isn’t called that anymore) and found it. It was, well, not that exciting. I mean with a name like Hell’s Kitchen, you expect to at least see one beast with horns and a tattoo saying Mona 4ever on their upper right bicep. But noooo. Only restaurants, a lot of tourists and some fancy people.

July 4th: New York City! Last day. But before we went, we had to visit the Guggenheim. We just had to. And I’m glad we did because now I know a lot more about Frank Lloyd Wright,’cause there was this exhibition, see. And now I know that he was enamoured with the automobile and thought that the rise of the automobile would mean the death of the city as they knew it (which turned out to be true, but probably not in the way he thought). And it made me think about how ideas shape our world. Seeing his drawings with the futuristic taxicopters and pod-like mobiles also made me think about how you have to have a bit of crazy to be an innovator.

Then we went home.

July 6th: Went for a long run. Wandered around the house aimlessly wondering where my children were at and what the hell to do with myself.

July 7th: Today. Went to work. Wrote this blog. Am waiting to talk to my children.

I can’t wait until they come home.

4 thoughts on “Absence of children

  1. “Have I done anything useful with that time?”
    Carlton Arms AND NoMeansNo?
    Whaddaya want?
    “Look honeys, I won the Nobel Prize while you were away!”
    You're doing enough, I think.

  2. i can't keep my yawper shut, even though that guy who sometimes sleeps in the same bed as me advised me not to comment.

    But the Anonymous person above kind of echoed what I wanted to say.

    Also makes me curious to know what you were like before you had children, what with those vast expanses of time doing nothing special ….. very, very curious.

  3. I recall lounging a lot, but that just might be my mind playing tricks on me. No wait. When J and I first started going out, I was working graveyard shifts at an anorexic clinic and going to school full time. That sure sucked.I did that for about a year and a half. Okay, maybe the vast expanses of time are only in my mind. Because honestly, even without children the days seem to go by before I can get anything done.

  4. She posted anyway.

    Thanks for posting the muppets. It made me laugh and several bored firefighters also watched it… up here in Swan Hills in the rain… with a cancelled day of fire fighting…. no work makes for a bored bunch.


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