Wednesday, December 23, 2009

water water everywhere

Have you ever been desperately thirsty? Drink out of a mud puddle thirsty?

My brother in law was visiting. It is a treat, his company, travelling far and sharing his time with us. So with his arrival the celebration began. After an evening sharing many beer and a bottle of wine we tucked in for the night. It is then, that I experienced thirst like no other.

I was travelling, visiting kitchens of folks with no faces, but with a feeling of familiarity and friendship. Other places unknown, new to me. All quite pleasant, and all with one thing in common. Water. As dreams often take you, chopped and pasted together with little continuity, there I was gulping glass after glass of crystal clear water. It sparkled and shined like the sun, magic in my hand.

Then I woke up. My breath like dust in my mouth.

Nothing dries you out like wine. It sucked water from each cell that forms my being. Certain if I were to glimpse my image reflected at me I would see a shrivelled mummified creature. I dared not look when I passed the mirror hung on my bedroom wall. Instead, searched for my robe and traipsed upstairs at 2:00 am. A glass is left on the counter, I grab for it and fill it. Eyes half, closed, brain only functioning with one purpose, screaming WATER at me, I gulp it down. Then realize the off taste is due to the dried milk from the previous user. It was the glass Owen had used at supper.

This has happened to me before. Well, not the dream, but the desperation from thirst. Far from a water source, and not fussy about the ownership of water bottles, I drank what was left of each I could find. Mart's, Reiley's, Owen's. Owen's bottle was last. It wasn't until the last few gulps remained that my brain stopped screaming WATER at me, and I was able to process other things. Unfortunately it was to notice Owen's snack floating in the water that remained.

The next day, the ache in my head reminded me of my dehydrated state, but after the milky drink, my gag reflex won out over my thirst. I had returned to bed to finish the night in a fitful sleep without another drop.

The moral of this story: Make sure you drink plenty of water after wine, and kids backwash.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

there is nothing fast about fasting

It doesn't even cross my mind most evenings. No big deal. But tell me I can't eat, and it's a whole different ball game. I had to get blood taken Monday morning and this required that I fast for at least 12 hours. Twelve whole hours.

My dad had a heart attack when he was 43. Blocked artery due to high cholesterol. He didn't have a high cholesterol diet or anything, was a fit healthy guy. But his body lacked the ability to properly rid itself of excess cholesterol and so the inevitable occurred. He's fine and dandy today and will celebrate his sixtieth birthday next August. This little tidbit into my personal background is why I had to starve myself for twelve hours and get blood taken. To try to avoid the whole heart attack, near death experience and all that. The starving part is the reason I haven't done it sooner.

We are generally late eaters. I only get home around 5:30, so supper isn't on the table until 6:00 at the earliest. You would think that eating a full supper at 6:30 and not eating again until breakfast would be no big deal. You would think that, but you would be wrong. As soon as the clock passed 7:00, the fast began, and regardless of how long ago I ate, my stomach growled. My kids were helpful and oh so kind. They kindly ate their bedtime snacks next to me. Taking their time. (I think they took their time more to avoid bed than to tease me, but still.) I was a dog at their feet, trying not to look, but sneaking a darting glance and swallowing quietly.

The next morning I woke early, dragged my butt out the door and drove the 20 km to the hospital, only to realize as I arrived, my papers were sitting on the side table by the door. Forgotten. So much for getting this done early. I turned around and went home, fetched the papers and drove back. I wasn't fasting again. The idea was to get this done and enjoy a nice breakfast before work. Instead I was waiting in the hospital ready to chew off my arm, certain my stomach was starting to dissolve its own lining, going on hour 14 of my fast. Poor suffering children of Africa, I feel for you, on my pathetic journey of not eating for one whole night. I hadn't even missed a meal yet. But the mind is a powerful thing.

There are good things and bad things about small towns. Bad thing: we have no family doctor. Good thing: there are no people, and therefor, no line ups. I was in and out before Breakfast Television even broke for commercial. Had the best breakfast ever! Only a bagel, but the best bagel on earth I am certain. I even got to work on time. My ordeal was over. Since I no longer had to fast, that evening, after a wonderful supper, I never ate another thing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

let the games begin

I thought it was over at 9:00, but there was no sign of kids leaving so I went in to find my budding teen. I pulled the door and entered another dimension. The semi-formal junior high dance. The air was hot, the music loud and I felt old.

The girls took the opportunity to show off bra straps or lack there of, and more skin than the dress code regularly allows. They floated around in dresses, limping from shoes too big, heels too high. Officially initiated into the world of womanhood where, for some reason I've not yet understood, vanity outranks comfort. Some were beautiful, in dresses well suited to them. Others, I can't believe their parents bought them that getup, let alone allowed them to leave the house. They each had a try practicing their skills for the mating game. Some dared join in, other ran away in swarms of high pitched giggles.

I couldn't help but laugh to myself at the display.

The guys pretended not to care. To not notice. Practicing skills themselves. The brave using the slow dance as prime opportunity to take a turn playing the game. Most boys walked faster when a slow song started. Either searching for, or avoiding a girl. I couldn't tell which. A few brave pairs dared the next level and held hands. The girlfriend taller than the boyfriend. Dragging him along with her throng of friends. I asked Martin why a boy would subject himself to it at that age. "Because you got to hold her hand" was his answer.

Eventually the last song was played and the game was over. The budding teens returned to being just kids and found their parents for a ride home.


I find it interesting. Like a study of social behaviour. To watch from the outside as Reiley enters what will be the most socially challenging years he has yet encountered. To see it all from a different perspective. Sometimes the reality I see now is vastly different from what I remember of that age. I worry for Reiley, but remember that as an adult it will all mean much less.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

dog farts and other foulness

No one needs to even deny it when the smell comes wafting around the room. So heavy is the stench it is slow moving and lingers long. There is no question the source. If a human were ever to create a smell like a dog fart, they best be on the way to the hospital. It could wake us from a deep Saturday afternoon nap on the couch. Clear the room regardless of the activity. Cause everyone and everything to repel, except the dog herself. She sleeps through it. Her own brand I guess. I think I've even witnessed the leaves of the plants curl.

My Shady Lady is the prettiest thing. She trots through her day the epitome of happiness. A glimpse of her makes me smile. Her fluffy feathered tail bobbing this way and that. Never still. But a few days ago she rolled in the nastiest of all nasties. Even after a bath the stench of something dead remains. Not a skunk, that might be pleasant in comparison, more like the intestines of a skunk. Pretty as a picture, all that is missing are the stink lines. She's even rolled in fresh manure patties.

She doesn't stink all the time. Most of the time she's super soft and carries no oily dog smell at all. But when she finds that perfect spot outside, her taste in wonderful smells and mine differ widely. How can such a pretty girl smell so bad?