Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Covid, Christmas, and Other Tales

1. Royal Flush: Nothing like a clogged toilet and no plunger in the Great White North to invoke total panic in just about anyone.

2. And Now a Word About Covid. Maybe Two: The vaccine hesitant and the anti vaxxers are getting on my last frazzled nerve. As I shipped one sufferer out possibly to their death from said disease, they asked for the vaccine. I hope they survive to get it. The safety and efficacy have been proven. Get the damned shot already. This has been a public service announcement. 

 3. Riding Into the Sunset: Forgot how long show days are for budding equstrians. Up at the crack of dawn, home hopefully before sunset, rinse and repeat. And a whole lot of hurry up and wait in between classes. Good thing parents, Grandmas and ponies are patient. Most of the time.

4. Colour Me Confused: During my extended stays at home, I have become increasingly mindful of my condo’s interior deficits. Which issue to tackle first, so I thought that painting would be a good place to start. Ever been to a paint store recently? The choices are phenomenal. Dizzying even. Walked into a Benjamin Moore store, almost had a seizure looking at the wall of thin stripes of every colour under the Benjamin Moore sun. Came away with colour strips I don’t like. Refusing to venture back in there. I wish Samantha from “Bewitched” was available for a nose job and instant colour gratification for me. If you don’t get the reference, you are too young.

5. RIP. Keurig number 2. Yes, my newest second Keurig, a mini, would not brew today. Cleaned everything, reset (a word for unplugging and replugging), “spanked” gently and swore up and down the counter. Looked for my Melitta cone. As if. Tried making pour over with no cone. Good thing my counters are brown granite. And that no grannies other than myself, or young children reside here with the blue air. I keep Starbucks instant single cup packets for baking. Coffee instead of plain water when making anything chocolate is divine. But sadly,  instant coffee outside of a brownie sucks lemons. A very poor morning indeed.

6. Ding Dong Bell: Back in January, my building switched TV and internet services to Bell. At no extra charges for us residents. And every single month, I have been getting a charge. Every single month, they reverse it and say it will never happen again. Late summer, they finally made some progress. The usual twenty something bill they was reduced to $0.68. Ignored it for two months. The second month I was  charged $0.02 interest on top of the $.68. Necessitating another call. I was so very tempted to scrounge up seventy pennies and mail it to them, but it is the principle, you understand. Sorted it out for the ninth time, with a promise that it is permanently fixed. At least until next month. We will see….

7. JalapeƱo Peepers: Well. Fresh jalapeƱos to add to a frittata. Diced so carefully, handled so carefully, hands washed throughly after. And then I rubbed my eyes.The rest is history.
Explosive in more ways than one.

8. Two Ringy Dingys: A  Bell bill for $.02…Is there no justice in this world? Needless to say I will be putting in my two cents’ worth, and it won’t be by credit card or cheque…

9. The Resurrection: Called Keurig on a crazy whim, after exhausting all thing Google and Duck Duck No. Other than cleaning the needle that pierces your cup, no other easily found fixes. The secret fix from the Keurig dude is the button behind the the cup slot that doesn’t take look like a button. Jiggle that up and down until you hear some clicking. Keurig fixed. You’re welcome.

10. A Very Merry Covid: Her we go again. Christmas with Covid. We have believers, non-believers, and everything else in between. This year, I went back to my birth parish for Christmas Mass, after two years of attending a more local parish. It felt good to be home again. A quieter Christmas celebration, both spiritually and physically. We have to be grateful for the lives we have, for the kick in the pants to truly appreciate what we do have, who we love through out this pandemic. What rights do we truly have if we do not love, or are not loved? By the very miracle of that birth so many years ago, we are reminded of that one constant, of a love that transcends our very beings, that fills us with hope, joy, a humble appreciation of who we are, and what is important. May the peace and love of the Christ Child find its way into all of our hearts this Christmas of what many consider to be a poverty of rights, but is truly an opportunity to find the richness in our humanity and spirt we have buried so deeply during this stage in our history. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Covid Chronicles 2

 Well here we are, in year two of our pandemic, and I thought it might be about time to post something here, since I have been so remiss in doing something that I really love, which is writing. Right up there with nursing. So without further adieu, here are some musings.

1. Apple/Tree: It is easiest to start with the most recent story. My mind is readily filled with cobwebs these days in light of my own self imposed post-covid exposure isolation, being that I work in the thick of it in the North. I was recently diagnosed with H. Pylori, a lovely wee bug that can wreak havoc on your eating sensibilities...life without caffeine, at least temporarily, booze (yikes), and all things spicy because right now those things cause me grief. I will spare you the treatment details, all I can tell you is that I was best friends with my bathroom. However, I have reacted badly to both regimens, and the one thing you find out living on your own, is how alone you can feel. Thank goodness, I have the most amazing family and friends, I have been managing everything pretty much by phone, and by email. Technology is wonderful

Which brings me to the point of all of this. It will be 10 years ago next month that my Ma died from cancer. She lived alone for most of her latter years, stating that although she was alone, she was never lonely. I question that now. For years I was an almost daily visitor, then when my career took me in a different direction, I was only able to visit when I was home, phone from work, if not on call or late in the day. And those visits and calls became somewhat cumbersome to me at the time. The litany of symptoms over again. The inability to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, to try and manage her health care. Some days or evenings, I was just too self absorbed with my own life to make the call, I found them draining. But she did not have the benefit of technology, an email, a text. Those phone calls were the window with which she could connect with the world, and sadly, I dropped the ball in a lot of instances. I did what I thought was the best at the time. Only now do I realize that it could have been better, for her. Her world had shrunk, a lot of it self imposed by her, but that doesn’t remove the obligation of listening. That is all she wanted.

There is a certain healing to being listened to. What I have found is, that by accessing my friends whether by message or email or phone, I am able to be heard, and frequently calm myself down (I am NOT dying, when I re-read something I have typed), my self care plans are credible and doable, and the empathetic and sympathetic ears are a God send, even if my friends may be secretly screaming “Get on with it!”And here is the rub. I am suffering some of the same crummy complaints that my Ma had for years, and I can tell you, I have been feeling quite miserable, thank you very much. Karma. Always looking out for you.

Call your folks. Or your kids. Or whomever is special to you. Sure you might get an earful. But the solace that you will provide is priceless. 

2. Fear of Flying: Certainly not improved when the emergency row exit doors both have duct tape on them, and caulking jobs that a grade two student could do better. Confidence building at its best.

Red Green was here.

 3. The Worst Item To Clean: Is your Pepto  Bismol cup if you forget to    rinse it right after you chug it. Nasty.

 4. Christmas: Is everyday with on line ordering. By the time your order arrives, you have forgotten what it was and when you ordered it. Back at the beginning of Covid, I ordered a bunch of bandanas, in March, to make my own makeshift cloth masks. Was told a month. they arrived in September. By then I owned every triple layer quilter’s cloth face mask known to man kind. And medical masks to boot. Thanks for the speedy delivery, Amazon. After Christmas was even better, with daily deliveries of things I had ordered before Christmas, for Christmas.

6. This Bookcase Will Self Destruct in 5...4...: Imagine my surprise finding my solid Ikea bookcase quite askew, books everywhere, upon return from a contract. Shelves had fallen upon each other, wood was splintered. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Apparently had been recalled years ago, saying the shelf supports were inadequate. I never received the notice, and since I didn’t have the bill to prove that I had bought the thing seven years ago, could not get a refund or credit. Lesson learned. I replaced it, with a Mennonite solid wood unit from St. Jacob’s. I can assure you, that when WW 3 hits and my building is vaporized, my bookcase et al will be intact in the rubble. See below.

Ikea practice piece
Need a redo?

7. Things That Go Bump In The Night: The new bookcase inhabits my bedroom. Going to St. Jacob’s to buy furniture is like going to the Amazon warehouse of the wood trade. Things you might also like. Folks who bought the bookcase also bought these items. Well, at least I did....a chest of drawers. And a night side stand. All to match of course. I have no real use for head boards, they are something you have to dust. But wait, there’s more! If you buy it, we will knock an extra whole 5% off your total order. On top of the 15% already taken off. Well who can resist that? So now I have a head and foot board, and two matching bruises on my thighs. Because I bang into the corners of that foot board. Every. Single. Time.

8. Just Where is the Stairway to Heaven: During a recent visit to my folks’ and others’ graves, I decided to complete my daily walk in the cemetery. Now hear me out. Wherever I generally walk near my house, there is traffic. There are bikes, skateboards, roller blades, and assorted aged kids commandeering them, some mindful of where they are going, others basking in the joyful exuberance of just being a kid with no parental guidance. So a few peaceful laps among the dead and their visitors seemed like a great idea.

As I was strolling the back forty, lost in thought and prayer, a vehicle slowly pulled up to me, and the driver shyly asked me where lot 310 was. In my white shirt, black pants, and a rosary in my hands, she thought I worked there. In this cemetery, there is no lot 310, that I knew. However the lots are well into the 30s. I did my best to help her. Lot three, plot 10? There is no ground zero. It couldn’t be lot 31 plot zero....the office was the open for her to find out. 

May we all look this good once buried.

This had me remembering of all the times I have been mistaken as an employee. Many times in Loblaws/Superstore, when one of their employee sort of uniform colours used to be green. I wore (and still wear) a green fleece polar vest in the winter, that with a white shirt just sang that I knew where to find light bulbs and parsley, and that I may have even known the price of Comet cleanser.

Or how about Lee Valley Tools? Same vest, and was able to help someone find a tool they were looking for in a show case, and then helped them to fill out the order form to take to the desk.

What reminded me of all this today is the t-shirt I pulled out to wear while cooking for the North. It is a fire fighter’s t-shirt from Playa del Carmen in Mexico. A Canadian expat I met there was selling them as a fund raiser for the local fire department. Lord knows they are not paid the way our Canadian counterparts are, and the equipment does not smack of the most advanced technology we are privy to here. Being short on clean clothes post medical mission, I bought a shirt, and sported it the next day while my dirties were at the laundry. I figured the shirt had been made up just for us tourists. Until several locals paused to thank me for every thing that I did. I was a bit perplexed until I found out that the firefighters actually wore these shirts. And that there had been an explosion on a nearby resort early that morning requiring said services. Having denied being the one to thank, I was then thanked profusely for supporting their firefighters. A truly humbling experience. 

And after all these years, the shirt still fits.

If the dog fits...