Friday, October 28, 2011

Mighty Neighbourly

My neighbours asked me to watch their baby so Mr. Neighbour could take Mrs. Neighbour out for her [undisclosed]th birthday - their first date night since Neighbour Baby was born.

Oh. My. Gawd. It's so cute to see couples who actually like each other! I said yes.

Thursday night I put on my most spit-up friendly outfit, tucked my laptop under my arm, and headed across the lawn to my first babysitting job in nigh on fifteen years.

Huh. New job. Fifteen years. Small human life. Man, that's... that's kindof intimidating... I knocked on the door.

Mr. Neighbour said, "Hello."

I said, "I brought my homework," and sortof flailed my laptop at him.

Mr. Neighbour gave me an odd look, conducted a brief risk assessment, then invited me in anyway. "Thanks so much for coming over, we really appreciate it."

I felt... strangely compelled to state my credentials. "Both my kids are still alive."

Somehow, in the seven metres from my door to the Neighbourses, I had regressed from being a competent, decidedly grown-up, thirty-something woman who had just finished feeding and bathing and tucking in her own two children, to a timid, tongue-tied, tit of a teenager.

Sensing a possible upside to the situation, I looked down.

Dang. Couldn't I have at least gotten my old body back while we were regressing my shit? Worst of both worlds.

The Neighbourses toured me around the house, demonstrating how to warm bottles and latch baby gates; describing Neighbour Baby's routine; setting up monitors in case he cried. All very standard items, yet somehow the spiel only succeeded in shoving me further back down my personal evolutionary progression:

"Then you test it on the inside of your elbow." ...17...
"Here's a sanitized soother in case you drop the other one." ...16...
"I'll put it right by the couch so you're sure to hear him." ...15...

The final blow came as they were walking out the door: "Help yourself to some snacks!"

Boom. Rock bottom. 

Oh my gawd, I thought. I feel twelve years old. This is terrifying. What am I going to do if that kid actually wakes up?

Okay. Ridiculous. You're thirty-three. You've done this before. For Pete's sake, they just showed you how to work the baby gate that you gave to them after Small Fry outsmarted it. 

Yep. You're right. I'm just feeling like this because I'm associating a new babysitting job with the way I used to feel with all my new babysitting jobs. This is all in my head. Maybe.

Hmm, I wonder what else is left over in my head from when I used to do lots of babysitting? I'll bet some snacks would help you remember. Oh yeah, that's right. You loooooove snacks. Too bad I don't have a boyfriend I could call to come over... hey, let's see if there's anything on TV that I'm not allowed to watch at home...

Just as I was getting settled in with some solid PG-13 viewing and all seven varieties of available snack food, Neighbour Baby woke up. 

Ohmygod. Ohmygod. Shit. Okay, think. Think. What should I do now? I can't just ignore him for four hours until his parents come home... I can't call DH, 'cause then he'd want a cut of the snacks... I can't call the Neighbourses because then they'd know that I don't know what I'm doing and I really need this job so I can buy a new t-shirt for that party tomorrow night. Okay, that settles it. I'm just going to have to go in there and deal with Neighbour Baby by myself.

I went in.

I looked at Neighbour Baby. He looked at me. I said, "Luke, I am not your father." He vocalized his lack of amusement. I picked him up. He went totally berserkers. And then - ah. Suddenly, all my trepidation was washed away in a surge of oxytocin and muscle memory, and I was once again the world champion baby bouncer and shusher I had become in real time.

Five minutes later, Neighbour Baby was asleep again. Success.

Yet another still-alive child to add to my babysitting resume. I'm going to need a raise.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Cozmo Guide to Coffee

Coffee. Everybody's drinking it, but it seems like no one's really talking about what it can do to a gal. You can't get enough of the smell of it; the taste of it; the heat of it spreading through your body until the caffeine hits your bloodstream and suddenly - ooohhhhhh yeaahhhhhh. Your heart races, your eyes roll back in unabashed pleasure, and you're pretty sure you're making one hell of a C-face but damned if you can stop yourself now! 

We asked our readers for your deepest, most top-secret fears about coffee, caffeine, and that crazy C-face we all love to hate, and you delivered! Here, Cozmo dishes - uncensored! - on everything you wanted to know about coffee but were afraid to ask.

* * *

Dear Cozmo,
The first time I had coffee with my new boyfriend, he totally LOLed at my C-face! He says that it was just that he had never seen such a "cute" C-face and it took him by surprise how much it looked like I was enjoying our coffee. He is the sort of guy who laughs a lot, but now I'm super embarrassed about it! I'm afraid to drink coffee with him anymore. Please help me get my mojo (and caffeine!) back! 
~Cute C Pie, Age 24~

Dear Cute C,
If you looked like you were really enjoying yourself, that probably means you were - and who wouldn't be, drinking coffee with a fun-loving dude like your BF? He's likely telling the truth - that he was really digging your obvious enjoyment of the coffee. So relax. It's no fun having all your coffee in the dark! Besides, his C-face is probably just as adorkable - relish these intimate moments together!

Dear Cozmo,
I've had quite a bit of coffee in my life, but I don't think I've ever made a C-face. Is there something wrong with me?
~C-Minus, Age 19~

Dear C-Minus,
Everyone is capable of having a C-face - you can't help it when it's that good! - and rest assured you will know a C-face when it happens. Often, not having achieved a C-face is a function of just not having experimented enough with drinking coffee. First off, make sure you're not drinking decaf (taking the C out of coffee since, like, forever!). Second, there are countless ways to enjoy coffee - try yours sweet or strong; fine or coarse grind; morning or night; every which way until you find the combo or combos that work best for you. And third, have coffee every day - even several times a day! You can never have too much coffee. We're certain that it won't be long until you experience your first C-face, and we're positive you'll enjoy yourself having all that coffee along the way!

Dear Cozmo,
I'm only able to get my C-face on when we're perking it and my BF always wants instant! I love having coffee with him however we do it, but it just doesn't seem fair that he gets a C-face every time while I'm left wanting more. How can I convince him to put a little more time and effort into our daily grind?
~Percolatin' Maiden, Age 22~

Dear Percolatin',
It's easy for your guy to achieve his C-face, but it sounds like he's not feeling any real incentive to wait for your pot to boil. If he's not willing to invest a little extra effort to ensure his lady love is satisfied, what else is he taking for granted in your relationship? Have a heart-to-heart to him about this, but go into it knowing that you can have excellent coffee by yourself, too, and be 100% in charge of creating your own C-face instead of relying on some inconsiderate fella. If he's unwilling to change, ditch him and treat yourself to some state-of-the-art equipment to help you get the quality coffee you deserve.

Dear Cozmo,
Sometimes I'm just not in the mood for coffee, or I don't have enough time for it. I've heard that some people take "wake up pills" to get their C-face on. I'm considering trying it - what do you think?
~Impatient, Age 20~ 

Dear Impatient,
Experiencing a C-face is a worthwhile destination, but it's only one stop along what should also be a pleasurable journey. From grinding the beans to plunging the French press to melting the sugar lumps into a mug of hot, creamy goodness, coffee is a sensual cornucopia that shouldn't be rushed. Sure, "wake-ups" might ultimately land you a C-face, but it will inevitably pale in comparison with the real deal. Make time in your schedule for some quality coffee. You're worth it!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Liver of Steel

I have a tendency to over-think things. As a result, my decision tree probably looks more like a decision heavily-browsed-riparian-shrub: where other people might have a 'yes' branch and a 'no' branch, I have countless numbers of 'maybes' and 'yes, buts' and 'if I only had a little more information to work withs'... all of which conclusions I tend to arrive at simultaneously, culminating in endless mental gridlock.

On my more euphemistic days, I prefer to think of it as quantum superdecisioning. Sounds more like a superpower that way.

Whitewashed flaws aside, I do happen to be blessed with a great many superpowers. Not all of them are fit for publication in a family-friendly blog such as this, but I can tell you that one of my personal favourites - I used it just today! - is that I don't get hangovers. Ever.

And so, in absence of any perceivable disincentive, the decision whether to imbibe is one of the few I can reliably make in life without an awful lot of hand-wringing or second-guessing. In fact, my decision shrub for whether or not to drink is more like a decision... stick. With 'yes' being the foregone conclusion.

And there might not even have been a question.

Here's a recent example:

"Ooo, I'm so excited about this party, I'll grab a glass of this nice chardonnay and mingle a bit."
"M'mm, that first glass went down pretty easy. Better grab another just to be sociable."
"Oh my goodness, what a delightful time for a refill!"
"You know what this cheese would go well with..."
"Shit, my glass got all empty again."
"Now onto the reds!"
"Don't mind if I do!"
"I love you, man!"
"More = YES."
"YES = YES."

I lost track after the first twelve glasses or so, but you can see how the Decision Stick works: the fact that wine was present in the vicinity functioned as an implicit question, to which the answer was, invariably, 'yes'.  

Okay, so it's a bit of a blunt stick, but what the heck.

DH gave my Decision Stick a try at the wine party we hosted last night, and his trajectory more or less paralleled mine throughout the evening (see above). Unfortunately, the results of his experiment seem to indicate that he doesn't appear to possess quite the same degree of hepatic fortitude as myself.

But don't worry - I was able to force the bathroom door open wide enough to get a blanket more or less on top of him and check his pulse every couple of hours throughout the night. I'm sure he'll be back to normal in a couple of days.