A Cozy Getaway: Winnipeg in January! (Uxbridge Cosmos Jan. 2013)

I write to you from the Prairies this week! This past Sunday I landed in Winnipeg with the cast of Birdland Theatre’s “Assassins” for a three-week engagement with the Manitoba Theatre Centre. I brought with me my 21-month-old son, Coen (okay, you can stop laughing at me now) and an over-blown sense of confidence as a super mom. This past week was our tech week (the intense week running up to opening) and to say the least, it was stressful… as in, pull-out-your-eye-lashes-as-you-ugly-cry-and-rock-yourself stressful. I’m not sure how to better illustrate the hell that was last week better than simply letting you read the delightful email I sent to my poor mother, after having been here 4 days:

Hey Mama,

Well, it's been a struggle. Everything has been trying as Coen got a cold, then I did, then his caregiver has been trying to stage and sell her house and now her daughters have the stomach flu so everything is a bit crazy (I don’t know who was in a more stressful situation, she or I.) So Coen's schedule is really off. He's not eating properly and his sleep is ferped up (I actually dropped an F-bomb here.) I rented a car from the jerks at blah-dee-blah (I shall not divulge the real company name, lest they hunt me down and sucker punch me), a car which I'm returning tomorrow because I hate it AND them and I refuse to pay $$$$ for it (enough dough to choke a dozen rented donkeys.) There are NO snow tires and it's been really treacherous here (hi Winnipeg rental company, remember how it’s icy and snowy and freezing here six months of the year?) It takes forever to get anywhere as Coen is cranky and I'm on my own and can't drive over 50 lest I plow into someone - which has almost happened once or twice (or five times.) Then I got a parking ticket today worth 150 bucks because I didn't realize - as I was running in late to rehearsal after dropping Coen off – that I was part way into a handicap zone (and part way into a loading zone as well… IDIOT!) My hands are so chapped that my knuckles won't stop bleeding and they swell at night (I have longshoreman sausage hands… beeeeautiful.) I go get Coen after the show (at around 11pm), which wakes him up, and then I have to put him down again at the hotel at midnight, which just is wrong. He's been waking up every morning at 3:30, mad at me and asking for something - no idea what - by pleading with me "Peas? Peas?" (He doesn’t want peas, I think he wants those damn Goldfish crackers as he’d be more than happy to simply live on them and cups of milk for the rest of his life.)
The show is great, but I feel like I'm phoning it in because I'm so upset by everything else. Everything is just so difficult on my own, Mom. It seems like anything I try to do, there are obstacles. Little things, like the stupid car I rented (we’ll call it a “Fork Siesta”), the parking lot at the hotel (which is under construction and I’m fairly certain might be the set of a horror movie), the elevators (where Coen dropped his boot one night at 11:30, which we only realized was missing when we arrived at the apartment), the groceries (nine bucks for a carton of juice?! Are you KIDDING me?!)... It's just endless.
Certainly gives me a better understanding of what single parents go through.
Anyhoo, there ya go. Me ranting. I don't really have anyone to rant at, so… sorry about that? Tech week has been dismal and the days have been long (mostly 12-hour days, not including boot hunting), but it'll get better after today, I hope.
But, again, the show is great (amazing and miraculous in fact, I wish you all could see it) and Coen's caregiver - though helter skelter with the house stuff - is just lovely and very caring. So, I guess that's good. I just feel like a bad mama because he's so out of his element and I've done that to him.
I just keep telling myself that it'll get better. But I fear telling myself that, (and tempting the fickle Fork Siesta of fate) because there always seems to be SOMETHING here. Just one more obstacle. Just one more ferp you from Winnipeg (I may have uttered another F-bomb here, but who’s counting?)
And here ends the poor me rant of Whitney Ross-Barris.
Love you lots and I'll talk to you when I'm not so crazy.
Wish me luck!

Well, after a successful show opening and promising start to the run, a relaxing day off today and a very appreciated and tender butt-kissing by the car rental company, I can honestly - and without fear of the repercussions of fate – tell you that I’m feeling very optimistic about the rest of my stay here. Winnipeggers are lovely people, welcoming people, hardy people and – dare I say – true Canadians. Though it was a tough week, I feel better for having struggled and found my way through it on my own. And to all you single parents out there, for what it’s worth, I have a newly-discovered deep and profound respect for you from the bottom of my whiny, minus-26-enduring, grocery-skimping heart. And hey, if you see my mom around town, tell her, I’m going to be just fine.

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