A Fireside Chat?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Another Sleepless Night

Most people do not consider dawn to be an attractive experience - unless they are still up. ~Ellen Goodman

Another more or less sleepless night. I can’t decide if it is sub-conscious angst caused by the many details of the up-coming departure or if it is my new pillows.

Sears is having a sale! What could be more newsworthy eh?

It was Cath who spotted the sale on accessories for my mixer; they had a meat grinder and an ice cream maker listed and although I need or want neither they had a bowl with a lid and a handle that sent out those commercial come hither signals that got us both in the car and headed for the mall.

Of course the accessories that we were shopping for were no where to be found and as we toured the small appliance section we eventually found ourselves in an overlapping lane with chest high boxes that were filled with pillows.

My own pillows are probably about twenty five or more years old. They are still considered “feather pillows” I suppose but frankly they now fold over my forearm like a Butler’s serving cloth when I pick them up to put on clean pillowcases. I doubt that between the two of them that there are enough feathers left to make up one small bird. It is like a death every time I throw them in the dryer with one of those bounce sheets to “freshen” them only to find that during the process more of their life’s blood has become trapped in the lint filter. I’ve gone so far as to stand there and force the quill end back through the fabric but I do recognize the futility of this; my pillows have been living on borrowed time for years. Plain and simple: my pillows are dying and there is nothing that I can do to save them.

Anyway, back to that aisle in Sears. The sale was buy one and get the second one for a penny and who knew that there was so much technology involved in the making of a pillow? The labels made it simple enough: buy this one if you sleep on your back and that one if you sleep on your side, another if you are a stomach sleeper. Not a single brand offers the tossing and turning pillow and thus I eventually settled for the “on your face” type which felt soft enough and was said to contain less fill, making it more like my dying, soon to be featherless pillows.

The same night after I lifted my old pillows from their normal resting place between the mattress and headboard and replaced them with the “in your face pillows” that sat against the headboard looking ever so perky and inviting, I climbed into bed with drooping eyelids and too tired to read I switched out the light.

For an hour or so I flopped around like a fish periodically punching at my pillows to try and get them to conform. I was tempted to retrieve my old friends from the linen closet where I had placed them “just in case” but I knew that down the road I would have to go through this adjustment period all over again so I decided to persevere.

I seem to get to about three thirty A.M. before my usual grip starts loosening and I become increasingly unreasonable as my inner, middle aged child takes over. It was ten to four when I leaped from bed, snapped on the light and drop kicked the first pillow across the room. It hit the ceiling and bounced twice before scampering gleefully down the stairs and landing in the doorway between the family room and kitchen. As I grasped the second pillow and positioned it over my foot to send it sailing after its mate I suddenly realized what a ridiculous, immature and ineffective way this was to deal with change.

I retrieved the exiled pillow from the floor downstairs and tried not to permit the feelings of jealousy over the sonorous yips and trills coming from my sleepy babies in the dog room or of the window pane, rattling snores from Cath as I paused long enough to pour myself a cup of luke warm coffee from the carafe and head back upstairs to read until morning. One thing about my new pillows they offer significantly better back support for reading into the wee hours and maybe that’s the best that I can hope for during this transition period.

Consciousness: that annoying time between naps. ~Author Unknown

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Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!

Ayelish looks disgusted probably because Hadley is snoring!Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

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Ayelish on her big camping trip last weekend

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From Left to Right Hadley, Ayelish & Lizzie in Gertie

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Cayden In Gertie

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Our "Girls"

I suppose I should complete the family profile with the introductions to our four legged “babies”.

Cayden and Lizzie are the oldest at nine years. Cayden, our alpha female, is the ultimate princess. She expects the household to revolve around her and to some degree it does. She is bright and beautiful, she still loves her toys and in every way she lives up to her name which, although we have changed the spelling the root means “Beloved Companion” in parts of the Middle Eastern world. She has the distinction of being a Canadian Champion; maybe that is the edge that she uses for leverage over the rest of the pack. According to our Vet, Sandy, there is snobbery and prejudice amongst canines!

Lizzie is Cayden’s littermate. There are hundreds of little idiosyncrasies that make up one little Miss Elizabeth Talbot. She has the face of an imp and yet the wisdom of an old sage exists in her eyes. Like most canines she is a master manipulator and knows just how to get what she wants by beguiling me with her dancing, her leaping and her general dressage moves as she pulls out all of the stops for an extra treat. But, to her great credit, Lizzie Dizz also recognizes when her “people” are in need of a little TLC and she is always happy to oblige with some quiet snuggling and some doggy hugs and kisses.

Six year old Ayelish is Lizzie’s daughter. She was “the pick” of two litters. Ayelish is so very beautiful and loveable but she is the most neurotic canine that I have ever met. We have no idea what causes her neurosis; she would make a good case study for the nature/nurture debate as she was born and raised in our home and has had the same degree of spoiling that they all have. I wish that she could just be afraid of storms and vacuum cleaners and leave it at that but no . . . away from her own back yard she is afraid of everything. But we love her and probably encourage her neurosis by “protecting” her from all forms of the bogyman. Last year she had her first litter of puppies and as her mother and aunt before her she was a perfect mother!

And finally there is Hadley. Haddy will turn four in September; she is Cayden’s granddaughter. She is a great big ball of affection. I think that Hadley must have taken Ayelish’s portion of easy and added it to her own which makes her the most laid back animal in the kingdom! When it comes to play time and toys, Hadley is like her Granny; although they all like their toys from time to time, it is Cayden and Hadley who are the most likely to unpack the toys that I have set aside in boxes.

They all love the motor home and on some really superficial level they seem to understand that they are going to Mexico in Gertie. Now, mind you, it is impossible to know what they think but I do believe they have linked Gertie and Mexico as we have been telling them for the last two years that that is the plan. “If you can be really good there will be no more snowsuits, no more snowballs between your toes . . . you are going to Mexico”. It is a mantra that we have repeated over and over. Now when we head out in the motor home to go park at the river and have dinner, some scrabble or read, they are very well behaved. I think that in their minds the river and Mexico are one and the same!

The Kissing Booth. Ayelish Gives Kisses While Hadley Waits in Line.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Morning Coffee

This morning, while I was multi tasking my way through the house with thoughts of more packing and organizing, my coffee went cold and as is my custom I put it in the microwave. I had punched in twenty seconds and hit the on button before I noticed that I had actually put an additional zero on the timer and my coffee was set to cook on high for two minutes. But what the heck; I was standing right there I would just turn it off when twenty or so seconds had passed. In the meantime I threw some towels in the washing machine and decided that I had time to scurry into the downstairs bathroom to check for more towels.

While passing the bedroom I noticed that Cath had not opened the drapes which is irritating because the only way that I can reach to pull them open is to take my shoes off and stand in the window seat and tug them into position. With the drapes open and the towels collected for the wash I headed back to the pantry to put the laundry soap in the washer and close the lid before proceeding into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher.

I’m sure that most have us have experienced walking into a room with such purpose only to discover that we cannot remember what the plan was. That’s exactly what happed when I went back into the pantry and found myself standing there blankly looking around for a minute until it came to me: “my coffee”. The pain was instantaneous as I first grabbed the cup and then quickly released it, or tried to. My fingers seemed to have become welded to the handle and I managed to spill coffee over my hand, in the microwave and on the floor.

Back in the kitchen, while running my hand under the stream of cold water, I tried to assess the damage. Not bad, the thumb and the accusatory, pointy finger were a little red and sore as were the ring finger and the pinky. What was really obvious though was the FINGER finger, hence known as the ff.

The ff was already starting to blister and each time I took my hand from under the running water searing messages of FIRE were transmitted to the epi center of my brain to be converted and returned as episodic, turret like volleys of swear words. After about ten minutes of this it was apparent that the only way that I was going to accomplish anything today was if I could somehow keep my ff underwater.

I started with a cereal bowl. Filling it with icy water, I grabbed what was left of my coffee, which by the way was still steaming after twenty minutes, and headed in here to my office to read my mail. So far so good. I could type short replies with one hand; anything that required longer bouts of typing would have to wait until I was back up to ten fingers. In the meantime there was no reason not to try and do a little tidying of the house and some more packing.

Holding on to the bowl of water by keeping the pointy finger and the ff in the water with the other fingers outside the bowl worked for a few minutes until the cramp in my hand turned into a mini convulsion causing me to throw water all over the family room. That was when it occurred to me that a freezer bag would do the trick and be more portable. So back into the kitchen to get one of the No Name Brand freezer bags (the cheap ones that Cath says are just as good) and fill it with cold water.

While looking in the office for an elastic band to hold my water bag in place, I felt a few drops of water slosh on my feet; I looked down just in time to see the dripping turn into a steady stream poring out of the ever widening seam at the bottom of the just as good bag. I tried to pinch it closed as I dashed back into the kitchen but before I left the office I managed to hose down some files and Cath’s ergonomically correct chair.

This time I went for the name brand freezer bag, and wrapped some duct tape around my wrist and was ready to have at it. Before I go further, a word of caution: if you should find yourself in a similar predicament and are forced to walk around with one hand in a bag of water DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT try plugging in a vacuum cleaner, or any other electrical appliance for that matter. I should think it unnecessary to go into further detail.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Introducing Cath

Time for More Introductions

This is Cath’s blog too but I realize that she will never get around to introducing herself and even if she did she couldn’t come close to explaining herself. She is a complex mix of: kindness, conscientiousness (except when it comes to timekeeping) fun, joy, spirituality, fairness, civic mindedness and absolutely anal when it comes to obedience. She is morally tough to live up to so I don’t really try and she is probably one of the most honest, ethical individuals that I have ever met. You can be sure that if Cath is telling you a lie it is because she has forgotten the details of the truth!

She has accused me of being stubborn and I suppose I am a bit but I couldn’t hold a candle to Cath’s persistence. I will have long given up on something that Cath will eventually accomplish via her absolute unflinching desire to accomplish the task (usually something mechanical) BUT can she change the toilet paper roll when it is empty or figure out how to get her laundry to the hamper in the pantry? I think not!

Cath has the meticulous habits of an accountant and the spirit of a bag lady.

It is Cath who gives my life ballast; makes me laugh til I cry and cry til I laugh. She is the soft surface that I bounce my lunatic ideas off of (some of my ideas stick while others fall away with a single look). It is her strength that allows me to make the tough decisions in life and it is her unfailing love that makes me stronger than I am naturally.

She has the old fashioned (another term for crazy) values that tempt her to throw her coat on the muddy surface for others to walk on lest they get their feet wet. She stops at this extreme example of love and hospitality probably because I am in charge of the laundry.

She lets me away with murder but holds my feet to the fire over a misspelled or an “inappropriate” word in a game of scrabble (it’s still a word Cath!). She does cross word puzzles in ink and hates it when I draw a few extra boxes on the puzzles to accommodate a word where no space existed before my artistry.

She is as necessary to me as is breathing. I don’t pretend to understand the dynamics of our thirty odd year relationship nor do I completely understand the outrageousness of my blessings when it comes to Cath, but I long ago realized that some things in life just are and for me Cath just is!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Price of Leaving

Packing is more than it seems. It isn’t only the physical act of putting things in boxes for transport; it is an emotional activity that balances the heavy melancholy of leaving with the giddy anticipation of going..

As I have removed pictures of family and friends from frames to place in an envelope until I can re-frame them I have paused to look at the many faces that I will be leaving behind.

Perhaps . . . NO! . . . There is no perhaps. The truth is that the images of my Mother and Father cause the longest pauses as I consider saying goodbye. How can I? It is true that I will be back next summer but so much can happen so quickly. I dream of scooping them up and putting them in Gertie’s best seats and taking them with me to Mexico so that I can make sure that they are OK. But all I can do is wrap their images in tissue, and carefully place them in the envelope.

In the words of Harry Browne: “Everything you want in life has a price connected to it. There is a price to pay if you want to make things better, a price to pay just for leaving things as they are, a price for everything”. My price for leaving will be the eventual distance that will lie between me and my parents, my sisters, two of my childhood friends, my crazy aunt and others who have added to my life in one way or another.

Yes. These are the unavoidable expenses. But I must pay them as surely as I must leave. I do not want to leave room for regrets that I might have in my old age if I were to look back and lament over the things that I should have done, wish that I had done but did not.


This is MY Giraffe and I don't want it Packed!


Soon to be Our Home on Wheels