Thursday, August 26, 2010


Pesky little buggers, that many of us have grown to deal with as a regular and normal part of life. Except me of course.

Did you know that flies cannot eat solid food? They need to consume their food in liquid form. So, when a fly lands on your food, which is most likely in solid form, it will actually vomit on your food, to break down and soften your food in order to eat it.

Me? I'm not a huge fan of vomit. Kid vomit, adult vomit, bug vomit, vomit is vomit. I mean, I'm sorry to be a pain, but vomit, just really isn't my cup of tea. I would much rather eat my food in peace, without there being microscopic fly vomit on it. But hey, that's just me.

God has a funny way of using the strangest things to speak to me through, and most recently, He decided to use a fly.

I was in a counseling meeting last Saturday morning. I was finally sharing some things that had been bubbling up to the surface, that hadn't been shared or spoken of in years, and years, and years. It was a very hard meeting. Facing some of those things was very hard, and very painful, but in the end, there was only one thing I could do to move on, and that was to forgive myself.

During the first half of our meeting, there was a fly, stuck between the window pane and the screen. The window had been left open just enough for him to find his way in, but not quite enough for him to find his way out. For over a half an hour, this fly buzzed and buzzed, only to hit the window over and over. At times he would take a break to rest, only to start up again after a few minutes to try again. My counselor finally at one point, got up to let this loud, noisy and obnoxious fly out.

In that moment I smiled. I smiled because God poured out an amazing picture. I smiled because just like me, that fly did not want to be stuck in that window, and he wasn't choosing to bang his head on the same wall over and over. To him, he couldn't understand why he could see this magical world outside, and no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn't reach it. I smiled because my counselor thought to let him out, and I smiled because even when she opened the window, the fly still didn't fly out. She had to blow him in the right direction, but with that little push, that fly was free. I smiled because in that moment, I felt free.

It made me think of most of the time, I'm my own worst enemy. When I bang my head on the same wall over and over, and beat myself up for not getting something that seems so simple, when in reality, when you're stuck between a screen and a window pane, life is anything but simple, in fact, everything is complicated, and everything is overwhelmingly hard. It made me think about how Jesus has unlocked the doors for me, and how it's my choice to walk through them, but in the times where I'm tired and weary from being stuck for so long, He never ever gets frustrated, instead, He finds ways or people to help blow in the right direction.

I smiled because in that moment, God made things incredibly simple. His love, is incredibly simple. In the times when I'm complex, complicated, confused and overwhelmed, His love for me is still, incredibly simple.

I will still kill my houseflies as soon as they enter my home. I will still be disgusted with them vomiting on my food, to the point of being ridiculously anal as I tend to be. But I think, that maybe.............I'll still smile.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hi, I'm Nin, and I'm a clean freak

Hi, I'm Nin, and I'm a clean freak.

I haven't always been this way, in fact, I used to be one of the people who kept her house in such a way, that the me that is now, would probably feel uncomfortable visiting.

Growing up, I had a mom, who when she was growing up, had no mom. My mom was forced to drop out of school in grade 5, and become the mom to her 5 brothers, and the keeper of the home. My mom had never in her life been tobogganing, until I was 7 years old, and my mom had never been swimming, or even worn a bathing suit until she was on her honeymoon. These are the types of things kids do, and since, my mom was never able to be a kid, she never did them.
So, when my mom had us girls, she decided, come hell or high water, she would never make us do what she had to do growing up. We got to be kids, everyday, all day, period.

This meant, no chores. Yes, you heard me, NO CHORES.

This backfired on my mom, when we grew up to be teenagers, who made various disgusting messes all over the house, who kept our bedrooms as pig sty's, and when asked to lift a finger to help, we refused. My mom would go so long in frustration, only to cave after hounding me over and over, and finally clean my bedroom. Yes, my mom cleaned my bedroom until the day I moved out.

As you can guess, moving out was a massive slap of reality smack dab in the face. My apartment was a BOMB, and I had NO idea how to clean it. I didn't have a dishwasher, and I would use literally every single dish in the entire kitchen (even soup ladles as spoons, and baking mixing bowls for cereal) was dirty. This meant, that when it was finally time to wash dishes, instead of it taking me 10 minutes, it took me 2 hours. I didn't know simple things like, you need to actually wash your kitchen sink because bacteria grows in there, or, you need to wash the grime off your tub otherwise your bathing in your own filth. I had never washed a floor, I had never cleaned a fridge or an oven, I had never organized a linen closet. In my first year on my own, I was on the phone with my mom and sis almost everyday, with the silliest of questions: "How do I wash my tub? How long do I let the oven cleaner sit? Can I use bleach on the inside of my fridge?"

It was a sad and painful journey, but eventually, I learned, I got it, and I loved it.

Through our years of marriage, I've learned that, the person who kept her apartment in complete chaos, mess and uncleanliness, just isn't me. The me I've come to know, likes clean, and likes it an awful lot. This last year of marriage, parenting, womanhood, Christianity, friendship and general life, has been hard, and verrrrrry slow moving. Many things in my life got completely put on hold, my housekeeping passion being just one of them. These last couple of months, for the first time in a year, I've felt like me again. I've been keeping my house in tiptop shape, just as I once loved. I've been having supper ready when if not before my husband gets home from work. I've been grocery shopping. I've been organizing. I've been me.

So, if you and this me that I speak of, have never actually met, please, allow me to introduce myself. Hi, I'm Nin, and I'm a clean freak. I like my house clean, and I like it an awful lot. I love finding little specks of dirt or grime on my white cupboards, specks that no one would ever notice except me, and I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I wipe them away. I love washing my tub, and cleaning all the taps until they're all shiny and sparkly. I love the peace that I hope people feel when they walk into my living room, when there isn't crap laying all over the place and they don't know where to sit. I also love the beach and red wine. I'm pleased to meet you.

Even more than all that, I love that this is me. I love that I'm ok that this is me. I love that I'm free to break free from the mold that was set out for me. It's time to come out of the closet. That I'm anal, meticulous and very picky. That I don't like pet hair, dirt, mysterious sticky substances, and I hate the smell of moldy dishcloths. I also love the smell of Windex a little more than I should, but that's neither here nor there.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Super Mario and all his goodness.

Growing up, we had very little money. We didn't have fancy toys and brand new bikes. Most of our clothes were hand-me-downs from some stranger somewhere else in the city who'd bought the clothes new, wore them until they had holes, and sent them to the second-hand store. We were never those kids who would walk to the store with their friends to buy treats, or stop the dickee dee man when he heard him coming down our street with popsicles. It was the norm to not have money, it was what we were used to, and before you go feeling sorry for us, we actually had a pretty fun childhood, and were raised to be thankful, grateful people.

This one Christmas, my parents were feeling anxious, as I'm sure they did every year, about what on earth they could possibly afford to buy for us. They entered their name in a draw at the local video store to win a brand new Super Nintendo. And yes, you guessed it, they won! :)
That Christmas, was the most glorious Christmas in the whole wide world. We for the first time ever, had a super cool thing of our very own, that we didn't have to borrow from someone else, or send back because we couldn't afford it, it was ours, to keep.

My sister and I became obsessed with Super Mario World. We became obsessed with passing the entire game, finding all the secrets, getting the most lives, and generally, becoming Super Mario pro's, that no one could measure up to.

For me, along with this obsession for Mario, came an unhealthy outlook on life. I had become, an addict. Priorities were out of whack. Life stopped. Nothing mattered anymore, if it didn't involve passing a level, winning or playing. I started viewing Mario as a real person, who was my friend. I'd become angry with my friend if he chose to not jump quite high enough to reach the last coin, and fall down a hole and die. I'd also be elated, and thankful for his friendship when he decided to win the level, find that secret we'd been so desperately trying to find, or kill that last boss that took us 10 tries.

I would often get in trouble, for yelling at the tv screen or throwing the controller if Mario wasn't listening. My parents would ask me to go play outside, or for the love of God, do something, anything else. But on that spot on the carpet, I stayed. It was my home.

One night, when my dad was working the graveyard shift at Mac's, he said his goodbyes to me, as I sat on my claimed section of carpet, around 10 pm, only to find me in the exact same spot, the next morning at 8 am. He asked if I'd slept, I said no. In his tired state, he went off to bed, and I carried on, taking over the world one level at a time.

Then came the ever embarrassing day, that no one in my family has ever let me live down. Sitting in my claimed section of carpet, obsessed with one particular level that I'd tried to pass but failed, over a million times, I just knew, I was about to pass it, I could feel it. Around the same time of feeling uber confident in my skills, and knowing that my friendship with Mario was on good terms, was the same time that nature started calling me towards, the bathroom.

Now, I can't fully say what went through my mind. I was sick. I had a problem, a disease, I was an addict. I was almost done the level, I knew I could do it, I couldn't let anything stand in my way, I just couldn't. I couldn't let Mario down like that, after all he'd done, so, I went. My little claimed section of carpet, now became a big wet circle of shame. My parents obviously gave me all kinds of shit, and my sister obviously pointed and laughed until she was blue in the face, but it was worth it. I passed that level, and I felt better.

Years later, I still have an addictive personality. When I find a new favorite food, I eat it, until I overdose on it, and never want to see it again. When I buy a new favorite shirt, I wear it, like as if it's the only shirt I own. I wear it until there are stains and it gets discolored. I wear it until I can't stand to look at it, and hide in the back of my closet like a dirty secret. When I find a new song, I listen to it, until I know all the words like the back of my hand. I listen to it all day every day, until it's the most annoying song in the world, then I move it off my play list and pretend it never existed. And finally, when I got a Facebook account, my real world came to a crashing halt.
I've learned that getting angry at video game characters and peeing on the carpet is not socially acceptable. I've learned to keep a tight lid on my real thoughts when it comes to things I'm addicted to, in fear of being judged as a freak. I'm still an addict. I've learned to stick to more socially acceptable accictions such as smoking, shopping, eating, changing my hair, all as ways to get a fix for the addict inside me. I've gotten better at becoming a functioning member of society, where the world continues to spin, whether Mario is a part of it or not.

Now I bring myself to today's point.

My son.

My son has become a world renowned vidiot.

Vidiot: (vih-dee-it) video game + idiot. Noun. Origin: Nin

My son is obsessed with playing video games. He'd blow you away with his Donkey Kong skills, his Mario Kart ability, his hand-eye coordination with a mouse and a keyboard on a computer, his Playstation skills, his know-how for his sister's Nintendo DS, and recently, his passion for good old Super Nintendo.

Some days I wonder if I'm raising a monster. A carpet-peeing, control throwing addict. I wonder if I should just bite the bullet now, and cover my couch and carpet in plastic. I wonder if he'll grow up to be a weirdo, who's friends want to go bike riding and run through a sprinkler outside but can't seem to drag Daniel out of the house to play. I wonder these things, and wonder if maybe, just maybe, I should take away his video games, to at least give him a chance at a normal life.

But then, I remember how fun it was to become a Super Mario pro. I remember how amazing I felt when no one could beat me at Mario Kart. I remember that even though I was once that little girl who peed on the carpet, that I've grown up to be not such a bad person.

I also remember, that my son is a freak, who's obsessed with constantly moving, talking, yelling, singing, throwing, goofing off, bugging, touching, breaking, and generally being the busiest and craziest person I've ever met in my entire life.

And when I think about those things, I give him his Gameboy, I smile, and I thank God.