cottage country, family, home, nerds, real life, small towns, teenagers, weirdness
The world seems to think I should write a blog, so I thought I’d introduce myself. My name is Karen, I’m 40 years old (No, I don’t know how that happened.) and I’m a wife and mom (Okay, I know how that happened). I’ve been married to the same man for nearly 21 years, which sounds like a long time, but most days it seems to have gone by in a flash. Most days. I mean, he is human, after all. All in all, hubby is a good man. He’s a good father, and a good provider. He’s also my very best friend.
My kids are all taller than me. My oldest son is 20, my daughter is 17 going on 30, and my youngest son is 14. They’re all good kids, not without their challenges, though. I’m positive that you and I will have lots of chances to discuss my adventures in Momming, both past and present. There’s never a dull moment! It should be noted that we have a house full of nerds. Sports activities are rarely participated in, with the exception of the occasional game of 21 in the driveway or bicycle riding, but we will marathon entire seasons of fandoms together. Really, anything with its own line of action figures or fan art is our thing. If you were hoping to read about a hockey family, this is not the blog you are looking for.
We have a Lab/Shepard mutt named Shiloh who is eight years old and who, I’m fairly confident, could successfully break out of Alcatraz itself. We have two nameless goldfish that moved with us eight years ago and They. Just. Won’t. Die. One’s been on the brink for three years. I’m pretty sure it has dementia or OCD because it keeps trying to jump out of the water. Over and over and over again. All day. We also have two birds; a verbally incontinent red factor canary named Chirp, and Alphie the zebra finch who sounds like a squeaky toy that’s been dropped down the stairs.
Eight years ago, we moved from uptight Southwestern Ontario to the outskirts of a village on the western shore of Rice Lake, south of Peterborough, Ontario. It’s an interesting village, to be sure. Unless you own a fishing boat, snowmobile, ATV, and ice fishing hut, you don’t fit in. We own none of those things. I’m okay not fitting in.
Another unique identifier of this village is the trend to race your souped-up lawn tractor up and down the main drag. I kid you not. Neighbours line the street to watch, with extra bragging rights going to the tractor that can pull the most cases of beer up the main street hill because, next to racing, hooking up your garden trailer and driving it to the local LCBO is the best use for a lawn tractor. Bonus points if you’ve made your trailer from the disembodied back end of a pick-up truck. Again, not joking.
Every weekend, the street closest to the lake is flooded with vehicles; motorcycles and ATVs in summer, snowmobiles in winter. Folks are fed at the local watering hole, a landmark by the name of Rhino’s, and wander in the water-side park while watching the people come and go at the marina. The freezing-over of the lake provides even more entertainment as ice fishing huts pop up like weeds and people race their pick-up trucks across the surface of the lake. Or motorbikes. Sometimes ATVs. And, of course, lawn tractors.
All in all, it’s been an interesting place for our kids to grow up. The area is considerably more laid-back than where we lived before and I love the prevalent attitude that making art is an acceptable way to earn a living. Disenchanted Torontonians tend to move to the nearby Northumberland Hills, creating a hybrid sophisticated-but-trying-really-hard-to-relax vibe, realizing that it’s more important to make a life than a high-pressure living. And that’s a truth I can really go for.
So, that’s us. A family of acknowledged weirdoes who, most days, get along best by giving each other space. We live in the bittersweet tension of knowing that we only have a few more precious months of having all of us under the same roof, while simultaneously looking forward to having the house to ourselves. Really, really, really looking forward. We live in a village of proud-to-be-hicks but don’t fit in, and we’re surrounded by snobs who have heard that there’s a better way…even though it just might involve souping-up your lawn tractor.
This is our life. Join me in living it.