Visiting My Father

Today I woke up while it was still pitch-dark out and went to get on the bus that would take me to the bus that would take me to the bus that would take me to the ferry.

The first bus came late, so I missed the last bus, the one to take me to the ferry.

Guess how much a cab costs from Airport Station to the ferry. If you guessed fifty bucks, congratulations. You either take more cabs than I do, or you, too, have missed the bus and Had To Be On The Ferry. I am thinking of invoicing Translink for the cab bill.

Anyhow. My aunt picked me up, and she was full of a lot of advice, as she always is. Luckily, I was content to listen, having little energy for anything other than seeing my dad.

He looks awful, but Sue, his girlfriend, says he looks much better than he did two days ago, and the doctors are pleased with his condition. He’s still morphened-out and in a lot of pain, but he seemed pleased to see me. I brought him a model of a ship to put together when he’s feeling better, and a DVD. The physiotherapist came in while I was there and made him get up and shuffle down the hall with a walker. He has to clutch a pillow to his chest when he gets up so he doesn’t break his chest open again.

I realized something watching him struggle to get out of bed: I do not like to see my father in pain. I hate it. I would rather have the pain myself than see him in it.

I also think that this might be the event that crumbles the wall he’s built in his head between me and his girlfriend. She and I chatted for quite a while today. If he can figure it out that I’m okay with her, and she’s okay with me, it’ll be easier for him.

My aunt drove me to the ferry with an admonition to take the coach bus. I did.

And then I was back in Vancouver and it was all normal, except that there was a trio of viking wizard bluegrass buskers outside the Beer and Wine store, because it’s Hallowe’en.

Dad is Okay.

He won’t wake up today, but his vitals are all good and he’s in the recovery room.

Thank you all for your kind thoughts.

Displacement.

My father goes under the knife tomorrow morning. I probably won’t be awake at that time, but when I wake, I will know his chest is open. They will have cut an incision more than a foot long from gullet to navel and sailed right in there to fix him.

Lucky for me, I am the Queen of Displacement Activity. To take my mind off things, I went over to Arwen’s today and washed the fir dust off all her dishes and pots and pans, and a lot of furniture as well. Then I came home and washed all the bedding, made a full roast beef dinner, and gave my landlord’s daughter E’s old cell phone. E is catching the displacement bug. He hung hooks for coats and towels, folded all his laundry and cleaned the catbox.

Good thoughts, please, people. Good thoughts, please.

WP Themes Snit.

Why are there no themes with monkeys? This is a big oversight on their part.

Of course, that supposes I could figure out how to change my theme at all.

Friday Confessions.

We’ve had more sun than rain this week, so my Vitamin D levels remain stable. My belly dancing class may start as early as next week. Everything’s happy over here. However (there’s always a however) I do have to confess some stuff.

1) Way too much processed food at work. No microwave or fridge makes meals a little challenging, and I got lazy. I don’t usually eat so poorly, and I’ve noticed my energy flagging. So I’m declaring a moratorium on cup-a-soup, rice cakes with fake cheese powder on them, and just-add-water hot chocolate. More salads for me, more roughage, more fruit.

2) Too many nights of noodles and butter at 10PM. Not even belly dancing can save this podge, if this keeps up.

3) The library is back! I’ve ignored housework, marking, and even E in favour of the new JD Robb thriller.

4) I sort of like the gnomes my landlord put in the garden. At first, their empty-eyed vacant smiles creeped me right out, but now I think they’re sort of cute.

5) I am so PMSsey I’m crying at TV ads. Even the car ads I normally mock.

Enough outta me. Anyone else do anything this week?

Living Will.

My father has certainly been getting his ducks in a row since this heart attack happened.

I now have power of attorney over him (I told him I was buying monkeys with his money), as well as being one of the executors of his living will. So. Pretty much, I own him.

Also, he’s been getting the safety deposit box at the bank organized. I don’t even know what’s in there. A copy of his regular will, I guess. Some other stuff. Now, there’s a letter in there in an envelope that says, READ ME FIRST on it. I don’t know what that’s about.

It’s morbid, sure. But I’m glad he’s getting organized. Just in case.

H&M: Hyped & Mediocre.

We were so excited! The mecca of cheap and cheerful clothing had finally come to a Mall Near Us! Women who had lived in other cities told tales of six-dollar shirts and ten-dollar handbags scored at H&M. Someone pointed to her cute pants, remarking that they had been a bargainous fifteen dollars. Reflecting that I might finally get away from my usual thrift-shop sensibilities, I made the plan, a month ago, to trek out to the H&M in Coquitlam with a carload of women.

What a disappointment! First, the fashion looked like it was designed by people from Iowa who had read about Goth culture, but never witnessed it firsthand. You know, they get the general idea, but don’t have the specifics dialed: Racks and racks of black smock-front shirts were crammed together with hot-pink and mustard-striped sweaters. Bins of vinyl wristlets vied for space against racks of gold-plate hoop earrings. Boring black blazers abounded.

Second, nothing was on sale. Prices kind of hovered between Gap and Old Navy: Twenty dollars for a William Morris smock top, thirty dollars for a sweater. Twenty four for polyester pants. No bargains there. So much for the miracle of H&M.

We trooped back into the city disappointed, but a little wiser: If a store seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Ben’s Wedding.

Tonight I was at the wedding of one of the children of my parents’ closest friends. Growing up, these kids were like cousins to me. We shared books and opinions and rolled-eyes-moments. I stayed with Ben’s parents when I was in teacher training. They are family, even though we come from different family trees.

This was not a Society Thing. It was a real do-it-yourself wedding, food, vows, music and all. That was wonderful. However, there were several times when my Inner Cynic (she always comes to weddings, even when she isn’t invited) curled her lip. I can’t help her. Maybe she’d go away if I bothered to get married;I don’t know. However, I must say, if you have an inner cynic, the best thing to do at a wedding is sit beside a prominent divorce lawyer.

Inner Cynic didn’t doubt Ben and Tammy. No, she was just there to bitch. She likes that. But I held her in check, because I loved how much in love Ben and Tammy are.

Best moment by far: Ben and Tammy are in the midst of the Civil Ceremony. JOP pauses for breath, and Ben leans forward, to kiss his almost-but-not-quite wife. Catches and rights himself in a second, to much laughter. His focus is so much on Tammy that it’s natural for him to just kiss her. Wherever the hell they are in the ceremony, whatever the hell they’re doing. It’s the most important ceremony of his life, and he forgets what’s going on because he has an impulse to kiss her? That’s some love, people. That is some love.

Congratulations, Ben and Tammy. May you always regard ceremony as second to emotion.

Friday Confessions

1) I had way too much fun last weekend. Thank you all.

2) I ate leftover lasagna for lunch every day this week.

3) I hit the ‘refresh’ button on my Scrabulous games list about a million times. I am an addict, I tell you!

4) I’m tired of the rain, and it’s only October.

How about you?

Scent and Memory.

I turn suddenly and the scent grabs me like a meathook, tugging my heart and stomach both backwards, back into memory: The woman beside me is wearing my mother’s perfume. Joy, by Jean Patou.

My mother did not wear it often, or apply much of it, and almost never after I was twelve. But when I was a child and she came home, I knew when she had been shopping, because she always put Joy on to shop. I could smell the Joy as well as the subtly clinging scent of the environments she had spent time in, and the smoke of her cigarettes, clinging to her hair and the material of her ‘good’ coat. Often, I was able to discern which stores she’d been to. I would cuddle in her lap and tell her as I sniffed.

“You went to The Bay.” The Bay smelled to me like rich people: Starch and cotton and wool, with leather underpinning.
She would laugh. “You smelled that? Gumdrop, you have an amazing sense of smell!”

I would just sniff her some more, intent on impressing her with my ability. “And you were at Woodward’s Food Floor. Before that.” Woodward’s Food Floor smelled a little like plastic and tin cans, refrigeration and a little like brick, a somehow flatter smell than carried by clothes and sheets.
“I was!” she’d admit, and then cuddle me close and tell me what she’d bought.

It all cut through me today as I stood there, smelling my mother’s perfume.

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