Anjulie does not.
Try not to hum this song during meetings when you are supposed to be paying attention. It’s not very professional; makes it look like you aren’t paying attention.
Hot humid weather surrounds me like a blanket. Cup in my hand – hot tea boiled until the colour of coffee. I take a sip and grimace. I try to subtly add another teaspoon of sugar but I don’t want anyone to see – this table drinks it black. To do anything but is practically blasphemy.
We’re sitting in the kitchen – the most important room of the house. Food, warmth and conversation are always flowing. Dishes have already been cleared away from the large wooden table. Dinner (which is actually lunch) consisted of the old Nova Scotian standbys – fresh vegetables boiled in cream and butter; meat piled high from the barbeque; salads loaded with mayonnaise and salt. We’re onto tea now with blueberry cake baked this morning.
Kids – today they are mostly tweens and teenagers – run around. In and out of the house, down to the beach and across the street to visit summer friends. They have already finished eating. They get to eat first but are always shooed away quickly since they aren’t old enough to sit and gossip. I’m not sure at what age you are old enough – 19, 20? Maybe once you have a baby or a fiancé? I only know that you get invited to tea and that is your signal that you are allowed to stay.
My grandmother surveys her table. She may be physically aging but her mind, energy and wit are still in tact. She always has a handle on what is going on. Today, she has only four of her seven children here. When I was little and Germans were described I’d picture mother’s family – tall, blonde, pinked skin and blue-green eyes. Twenty-one of my twenty-five cousins also fit this description. Twenty-one of my cousins can pass as brothers and sisters. Somehow, my sister, myself and two other cousins missed out on these genes. We, thanks to our fathers, have dark hair. Only my sister and young cousin have brown eyes. My brother however, fits the german description perfectly. This, genetically speaking, has always seemed impossible to me, but it’s what happened.
We’re in a small town. This town once had industry – fishing, pulp, shipbuilding – now it has few ways to make money. Somehow, people survive. Most move away and send money home to support their families. There isn’t much to do in this town. From what I’ve gathered, people mostly gossip; as my family is doing right now. I listen to the conversation – names and information being batted back and forth – and try to keep up.
“Mary Jo Smith, who’s Jimmy Jones’ daughter, works at the bank, and she told me she saw Suzie McDonald, who lives in the Sampson’s old place, cash a cheque from Bob Smith. They say those two are running around but they claim they just work together”
My grandmother interrupts my aunt
“Not even being discreet, it’s a disgrace and shame”
My aunt doens’t skip a beat
“Ann Smith is threatening to leave him, now you know she has no money, she comes from the McLellans and their business hasn’t been so good lately, I mean just the other day Mrs. was using coupons in the co-op, but to leave such a good provider is a shame. If only he could be more discreet.”
A breath of air while everyone sips on their tea. More details about the affairs of everyone in town. My mind starts wondering. I could never live in a small town, too much business is known. You can’t bank, shop or breathe without someone taking note and passing it on over tea. I was brought up in the city (if Halifax does qualify as one) and thus have what is deemed as “modern ideas”. My sister will get talked about for not having dinner prepared for her man every night. Or for how strange it is that her husband will look after their children. I once got into trouble for calling out women (in general) for staying with their cheating husbands; completely forgetting that my aunt (specifically) was doing just that. I also am considered strange because I’m currently the bread winner in my household – probably always will be. I also have no immediate plans to have children, and am getting married without a) existing children or b) being knocked up. That just isn’t how it’s done in this town.
For now, I stay silent. I don’t comment on the ridiculousness of staying with someone who cheating on you; of refusing to let your children go to the city to attend university because they will be hooked on drugs and waste your money. Today, I’ll take it all in. Enjoy my cake and just listen to a way of life that will disappear when the last business moves out of town. That and I try to sneak more sugar into my tea.
OR: How to keep the love alive.
OR: No wonder the neighbours think we are crazy. Part 200
Last night CJ was telling me a story involving our friends. To emphasize a point – of which has no relevance to this story but was a mean jab at someone he added an evil “Ah-ha-ha”.
This triggered some happy memory in my head of The Count from Sesame St. I told him so and then he told me he could do The Count! Information, surprisingly enough, that had never come up in a previous conversation.
“Von! Ah-Ha-Ha! Two! Ah-Ha-Ha! Tree! Ah-Ha-Ha!”
Giggling, I tried to imitate him. With poor results. This launched an accent contest of sorts with us going back in forth with every possible foolish accent we could muster. It’s been long known that my dear boyfriend thinks he can do certain accents and can not. A good example is his Aussie which mostly sounds like Yogi Bear. However his German is spot on, along with the Count from Sesame Street and his mother.
I, for what it’s worth, can do a great southern accent (of the US variety), my Minnesotan isn’t shabby and my Northern Canadian accent is pretty good. Neither of us can do the Nova Scotian regional dialect. We both got em’ city accents. Of the East Coast Variety. It’s like a vague all-American accent with a few twangs of “not how you pronouce that word” thrown in. We also say zee and not zed.
What can I say? We can’t do anything else. CJ is crippled. Little things amuse us.
A little unnecessary censorship to make your day:
Ok, perhaps not make your day, but it should mildly amuse you for two minutes and then get stuck in your head until you find yourself singing it standing in line at the grocery store. What? That doesn’t happen to other people?
Sat in an emergency room for 8 hours today. In those 8 hours CJ had two xrays, one cat scan, a chat with one emerg doctor, a resident surgeon, an on call orthopedic surgeon and at least four RNs who all told him what I’ve told him all along:
He should not drink rum. Ever.
I would wallow in my rightness if this didn’t suck so much.
Last night CJ broke his foot. While drinking rum. While wrestling. The details of how seem to be fuzzy for him and those involved but when I arrived at the party at 10:30pm he was hobbling around complaining of a sprained ankle. I called him an old man. We went home. I got him some ice. I got a little angry because of the rum and wrestling. We went to bed.
I should take a minute to explain why I’m angry and have no sympathy:
I’m an awesome girlfriend. No really, I kick ass in being supportive, loving and giving. I’m only occasionally crazy and mostly I’m fun. I’m not controlling and generally don’t care what CJ does as long as it doesn’t violate my three basic rules:
- Don’t lie to me.
- Don’t do anything to harm yourself, and therefore our relationship.
- Don’t drink rum.
What? That last one seems out of place? It wouldn’t if you knew the dumb CJ becomes after such a little amount of rum. Normally quiet, well mannered and thoughtful he starts thinking he is a god and nothing can harm him. This causes all sorts of trouble; enough that I’ve banned rum.
But does anyone listen to me? No. Instead CJ manages to sneak rum by me every so often, then he does something stupid, then he’ll lie to me about it. This makes me all sorts of angry, causing a fight. Then the neighbours, who don’t like me as is, start thinking I’m crazy because I’m yelling at the top of my lungs and CJ talks back to me in a calm, rationale voice. This causes more yelling from me. It’s not a good scene and one of the few things we fight about.
Back to the foot:
So we wake up this morning and CJ can’t stand on the “strained” ankle. We go to the hospital. We wait for 8 hours, seeing various specialists. They tell us he has a broken foot.
This has a lot of implications in our world – CJ works in a trade; therefore if he can’t walk, he can’t work. Immediately off work for 8 weeks. We had lots of fun plans in August including trips to beaches, sailing, cabins and such. A cast means he can no longer partake in any fun activities, so summer is essentially ruined.
I’m currently wallowing in anger and can barley see straight. I’m trying not to take it out on the cripple, trying to have sympathy for him and his broken foot and our ruined summer.
I’m trying. Really, really hard.
I’m not the first to observe the craziness of sitting in an Emergency Room. I’m not going to be the last.
In Canada, we have a glorious wonderful FREE health care. Ok, actually we pay a higher tax rate which funds about 70% of services; then most people have additional coverage for the remaining 30% – dental, vision, prescription drugs – but it is FREE in the moment and that’s what counts right? Also, we Canadians are evil socialists. That’s what happens when you have health care. This means that we don’t pay to visit a doctor. We don’t pay to visit the ER. We don’t pay for X-rays. And although we do technically pay for prescription drugs most doctors will do whatever they can to give you samples of free drugs if you don’t have additional health care coverage to cover it. In university when my health care lapsed because I was too poor to pay the $110 yearly premium my doctor just gave me samples of birth control. Birth control that at full cost is still only $15/month. And I get the expensive brand name stuff. But the trade off to my free drugs is the evil socialism. Ya know, like how we have … um … and we do … yah. Why is universal health care bad again?* But I digress…
Due to this wonderful freeness; it is not uncommon to go to the ER and see people sitting in the waiting room with clearly non emergency symptoms. Why these people go to the hospital when we have free clinics all over the place mystifies me. It is these people that are clogging up our wait times.
Right now, looking around, I see few people who look like they should be here. Now you never know why people are at the hospital, I’m sure CJ and I look normal enough until you see CJ hobble to the bathroom on a clearly sprained ankle. Possibly broken. We’re not sure yet. However there are some people who I’ve heard describing their problems and I’ve deemed them not eligible to be here. This includes:
– A woman who is lying down on a bench of chairs. She is complaining she doesn’t feel well and just asked the doctor to give her some pain pills. This, she claims, will make her feel better so she can go home.
– A street kid who has a scratch on his forehead from a fight. Besides asking for band aids, he also wants some food.
– And finally a woman who came into contact with someone who had swine flu. She has no symptoms but is demanding to be tested.
This is going to be a very long day for us due to these people who should have gone to a clinic and I’m getting a little upset by it.
This is on top of the anger bubbling of why I’m at the hospital. But that’s a story for later. Once I find out what’s wrong with my boyfriend.
*Come on kids, I’m not an idiot. Long wait times, doctor brain drain, less fancy procedures. However, I will get treated if I have no money. I will also not die in medical debt. Unlike in the US where it’s a too bad, so sad type of deal. There are benefits to both, but I think this claim that there is no middle ground is dumb.
Standing in the kitchen, I’m holding a bottle of Lysol in one hand and a paper towel in the other. I am waiting. Soon, very soon, one of them will move and I’ll squirt. They’ll drop and then I’ll mush them with the paper towel.
Fruit flies. Everywhere.
Apparently we’ve had a problem with them for about a month now. I don’t do the dishes; I don’t deal with garbage. This is CJ’s job. He keeps a very clean kitchen; so every night while preparing dinner I had no idea about the little insects. However, two weeks ago, CJ broke his foot. All cooking and cleaning has fallen to me and being a very poor housekeeper it took only one week for these little monsters to invade my space.
This is one of the many, many problems of having one half of a duo out of commission. I’ve actually been writing for the past two weeks but never at the computer – in the ER, at the doctor’s, in between meetings at the coffee shop – I now have time to go on a posting spree of all my emotions. Excuse me while I retype from these little pieces of paper I’ve been throwing in my purse. Also, please ignore the Lysol smell. It’s actually enjoyable once you get used to it.