Ky’s finally sleeping again, and is back to school for her morning classes, which is good. I’m assured by the school that she’ll manage to get those credits without a problem – music class, which is hardly surprising (the principal tells me she’d have passed that one based on her talent, never mind that she doesn’t bother with any assignments – I don’t know whether to be proud or pissed off), and geography. Now, that surprises me.
Two credits is better than no credits, though, I guess, isn’t it? I’ll try to be proud.
My own sleeping is not happening again, now. I’m a little concerned about my job. I’m getting there, but it’s difficult. Luckily, I don’t have to drive to get there, so no lives are in danger – unless I blow the place up, but there are safeguards in place against idiots, so maybe that’s not such a big worry…
I need to finish the latest novel. That’s that “hard” one I mentioned a while back. It’s still got a lot of the same elements that the sitcom had in it, but the entire pilot plot has pretty much disappeared, along with a character or two. I’ve kept the bare bones of what would have been the first season. I tried to change the main characters’ names, but they just will not be renamed. All I’ve managed to do is steal away their last names completely.
I had a lot of false starts trying to pick this project back up again. There was a time that I ate, slept and breathed it. That turned into boozing and smoking it, and I think I just wanted it to go away. Working on it kept bringing up nasty, bad thoughts that I didn’t want to think.
I lamented about this to Ky one day, and she surprised me by telling me I should be getting it done and over with. When I told her I didn’t want to listen/watch/write my main characters anymore, she rolled her eyes.
I told her I’d noticed she wore the one and only promotional t-shirt made for the project all the time, even though she’d once told me she was glad it was dead in the water so what’s up with that, huh?! And then, she made me laugh by paraphrasing Holden McNeil:“They’re fictional characters, Mom. Fictional characters. Am I getting through to you at all…?”
So I’m working on it. And it gets a little easier (and a little closer to done) every time I sit down to it.
My blog is turning back into a place to air my grievances, and although that’s part of what it’s for, I really want to get back to telling the Ruby stories (there’s a ton of them), and The Father Chronicles (there’s a ton of those left, too).
And I talked to my Mom today, and she’s feeling a little lost and lonely without my Dad. She said it’s gotten worse, lately, and she’s been rereading his letters from World War II. At first, they made things worse, but now she finds them a comfort and is glad she saved them…
Wait a minute…. “You have letters from Dad during the War…?”
All his letters…?”
Wow. I didn’t know this….
“Can I read them…?”
“Ummmm…… can I blog them…?”
So as soon as I can get myself down to Teeny-Tiny Town, I will have a new category here: Dear Maude…
Another worry is my imminent move. Far, far away.
I’m not certain how imminent it is, now, considering new and ugly turns of events of legal and financial persuasions that may (shudder) bankrupt me (not if I can possibly avoid it), but I will be moving to Vancouver and will be there for at least a year, once I manage it.
I’m going to be going back to school (yes, again), in an accelerated screenwriting program at the Vancouver Film School. I chose this program, because a Canadian school somehow seems more “doable” than trying to get into one in the States – although I’d rather be in the States. I have more friends there. 🙂
It’s going to cost me a mint, though. I don’t know where the money’s going to come from, yet, but then again, I bought the Prissy-Van with money I didn’t have yet, and so far, so good, she’s still mine. I’ll manage this. Somehow. Gulp…*
I didn’t think I’d be able to convince Kyla to go with me, so was working out an alternative arrangement for her, but when I told her about it (actually, I let it slip in a moment of upset over all this stress), she surprised hell out of me by telling me she would love a change of scenery.
I’m busy. It’s a good busy, that I am, and I’m happy not to have too much idle time on my hands. I’m not so happy that it’s my blog that has to suffer first, but I’m hoping to alleviate that over the rest of the month.
Hope springs eternal. Sigh…*
I’m off the night-shift – that move was not my idea, and it pissed me off, at first, but holy ol’ shit, Blogosphere, did you know there’s a great ball of fire in the sky for a short period of time every day?! I KNOW!!! I’d forgotten all about that! Good to know it’s still there.
Now that I’m actually dancing in the parking lot* in the daylight for eight hours at a time again, I seem to have more energy left over for other stuff… like cleaning house. The Idiot Child (AKA The Evil Hypnotist) was tiring of being the housekeeper all the time, so she prefers me on the day shift, too.
I’m still not cooking, though. Methinks, that will never change. The kid turns out to be a not-too-shabby chef, anyhow. Granted, she hates it as much as I do, but prefers eating to starving, and so continues to make my meals. Life is good. 😀
Sault Ste. Marie has, for the first time in possibly a decade, NOT had a January thaw. There are no complaints about the lack of snowmobiling/skiing/snowshoeing snow among the 5-Minute-Conversationalists in the parking lot – just fears of frostbite.
My father speaks to me in the middle of my head at some point during every shift: “Stamp your feet so your toes don’t fall off!” – his mantra during the winter Cockburn Island treks of my youth. I’ve taken to saying that to “my boys” – the young fellas with whom I dance every day – some of whom The Conversationalists mistake for my children, which I’m trying to find funny. I’m failing at that, but the boys think it’s right hilarious. If they were my kids, they’d be grounded for laughing at their mother.
Back to the snow, though…
The photo above was taken in March of last year, but that snowbank was even higher the other night – I know because I took a photo on my way home from Ruby’s, having forgotten I’d already done so last year. Thankfully, I don’t have to shovel (except that J.O.B. parking lot, but getting paid for something makes it less of a chore, doesn’t it) – my wonderful landlord has the Prissy-Van’s security parking area plowed every day, and Prissy has no trouble getting over the build-up the plow leaves around her, so I see no need to do much of anything about it other than gun through it in reverse and try not to hit the fence behind me.
Nine times out of ten, I hit the fence. Hitting fences in reverse at high speed is nothing for Prissy – another plus to having purchased an “All Plastic Vehicle” circa 1992, which, I understand, they don’t make anymore. I did see a similar mini-van marked “MPV” the other day… what’s that stand for, do you think? “Mostly Plastic Vehicle”?!
But, I’m spending too much of this post talking about snow, when I wanted to create my own January Thaw with a story from a late summer event that I wasn’t even in existence to witness. So on with it…
In 1962, my father tried to kill the entire family.How’s that grab ya?
The only reason I’m here to write about it is because everybody lived, and nobody called the cops.
No, he wasn’t trying to kill them all on purpose – it was one of those moments of brilliance-turned-stupid. He tried to asphyxiate the family, himself included, at the family cottage.
This was the Before I Was Born Camp – I wasn’t around, then. My parents bought a camp on Basswood Lake down the line, right next door to my dad’s nephew’s lot. Dad’s nephew, Lorne, was a good buddy – his dad, Marvin (yes, that Marvin), was a lot of years older than my dad, so Lorne and Dad were good pals. Their closeness in age confused many people into thinking they were brothers – and there’s a whole ‘nother story about a town-wide misunderstanding that had my father dead before his time, and my mother labeled as a nutcase because of that confusion. I shall have to tell it here, sometime.
Late one summer, probably in ’62, based on the age of My Brother the Trespasser, who was about two, Dad took the brood to the camp for the weekend, and Lorne took his, as well. As was the routine, the two families ate most meals together, supper being cooked by the men on the barbecue.
Now, this wasn’t the Hibachi of my experience, but one of those round, tri-legged thingies – state-of-the-art in the early 60’s, fueled with charcoal.
Also routine, was the marshmallow roast on the BBQ embers after supper, just before the kids went to bed. Apparently, juicing the kids up on pure sugar and sending them to “sleep” actually worked in 1962.
This marshmallow roast, though, was more exciting than usual.
The evening was cold. It was late August, and my dad said there was a cold snap – frost in the mornings and everything, which isn’t uncommon in Northern Ontario, but it sure can put a damper on a marshmallow roast. The kids’ hands were warm enough, holding their sticks over the barbecue, but their little feet were freezing (“Stamp your feet so your toes don’t fall off!”).
My father was a problem-solver extraordinaire, though, and of course he had himself a bright idea.
Which is how he and Lorne came to drag the the barbecue inside the camp.
The kids thought that was right cool. They had their marshmallow roast, and the only dark spot on the occasion was when Big Sis, who would have been around six at the time, started to feel a little, ummmm, unwell.
My mother tucked her into bed, wondering what bug was about to flit from one kid to another until she had four sick children to sit up with all night.
Thankfully, Mom always said, when she and my dad told this story in tandem (oh, the duets between those two, when they told a story – it’s a shame those days are over, now), the rest of the kids seemed more sleepy than usual, so she was able to get them all into bed and sleeping with none of the usual arguments or cajoling to stay up later. Un-Brother Ken, the oldest, was surprisingly willing to go to sleep without a fight, so my mom was pretty sure he was already nursing that nasty bug, whatever it was…
Kids tucked in, the grown-ups sat around the barbecue with a beer each, set to enjoy the rest of the evening. Lorne’s wife, Kay, was the one exception, having gone over to her own camp to put her kids to bed. My parents and Lorne began to chat about the day, and one after another, they started to yawn…
By the time Kay came back, my mother had decided she was going to turn in early. Kay noticed Lorne was a little loopy, which aggravated her somewhat, and she told him they’d better get themselves home. He reluctantly agreed.
Left alone, my dad checked the barbecue and decided it would be okay for the night, and yawningly got himself ready for bed.
He wasn’t sure why he decided to check on the kids – it’s not something he normally would have done, that being my mother’s habit. He checked on them, though, and all were sleeping deeply. He checked on The Trespasser – “The Baby”, as he was called until I came along four years later to usurp his position – last of all.
This is when he noticed something odd…
There was something… ucky… on The Baby’s pillow… on closer inspection he realized he’d been sick in his sleep. Dad couldn’t see leaving him like that all night, so he gently removed the pillow from under The Baby’s head and set it on a chair where my mother would be sure to see it in the morning and take care of it.
Yeah. It was 1962…
And then Un-Brother woke up, complaining of thirst. Dad brought him water to find he’d gone back to sleep already. He rechecked Big Sis and Tootie, to find that they had an odd tinge to their complexions…
Hmmm… whatever was ailing these kids, it wasn’t something he’d ever seen before… He thought he’d have to make sure to mention it to Maude in the morning.
And then My Brother the Trespasser upchucked all over his bed.
That did it for my dad. When the baby starts barfing up BBQ, it’s time to wake up my mother.
Except my mother wouldn’t wake up.
And that scared hell out of my dad.
He flew out the door and over to Lorne and Kay’s camp. They were still awake, having mysteriously become less loopy shortly after they left my parents’ place, and Kay went over to see what was what. Lorne got into the car to go fetch the doctor.
Dad went back to wring his hands and nervously wait for the doctor to arrive with Lorne, and in a fit of “keep busy-ness”, he decided he’d better put the barbecue back outside so the doctor wouldn’t accidentally bump it over…
The doctor arrived. Slapped my mom around a little in an attempt to wake her, and finally frowned and asked my dad how she’d been feeling before bed. Dad told him about the Mysterious Bug that seemed to be traveling among the kids, and the doctor went into their room.
Checked The Baby. Fine, if a little vomity.
Woke up the rest of them, one by one. Sleepy, they were, but that was kind of to be expected. No sign of a strange pallor with either of the girls, either.
The doctor was a little pissed at being called out into the middle of nowhere for nothing, and told my dad so. And then, as he was going grumpily out the door, he heard my dad tell Lorne he thought he’d bring that barbecue back inside, since it was still so chilly….
Whereupon, my father got a loud lesson in charcoal fumes, asphyxiation, poisoning, smothering one’s family, and how-can-you-possibly-not-know-that-are-you-stupid?!
My father conceded that he just might be. About charcoal fumes, anyhow.
After Lorne left with the doctor, Dad opened all the windows, and threw more blankets on the beds. My mother slept the night through, waking up to a slight headache and a good story, thankful that the kids were bug-free.
Thankful that she woke up at all.
– – –
* I say “dancing in the parking lot” because it sounds way fancier than “pumping gas for a living”. So, uh, no: I’m not a stripper.
That’s about the only word I can use to describe how I feel right now. It’s not a bad “blah”, so much as a really, really tired one. It’s also not really a bad “tired” – just… ah. No words for it.
It’s been a busy last little while. We have made The Hummingbird’s sojourn here a little more “official”, which has required a few meetings and several thousand forms to fill out. I have not yet got all the forms filled out, in fact. Once I have it all done, I think I might own the kid. If that turns out to be true, I’m going to sell her on eBay, just to pay for all the miles I’ve walked and all the “signaturing” I’ve had to do.
Tonight is the first chance I’ve had to work on a post – The Turkey made supper… cuz she’s a good kid, and I’m a bad mom. Actually, I probably would have remembered to make it myself, if I hadn’t spent three hours dancing around the living room with her, so it’s all her fault anyway.
But, I’m full of rice (She made rice. Just. Rice.), and so I’m now powered up enough to tell you all what Ruby has to say about Leap years…
Is this year really a Leap year?!
Well, now – here’s your chance!
Me: My chance for what…?
For a man!!!! (And she cackles long and loud, clapping her hands.)
Me: Ruby! I don’t want a man!
Me: I don’t!!! Besides, if I did want a man, why could I only get one on a Leap year?!
Because on a Leap year, the girl gets to do the askin’! Haven’t you ever heard of a Sadie Hawkins?!
Me: You mean, as in a “Sadie Hawkins dance?”
Yes, a dance! And the girl does the askin’! We only had them on February 29th… Leap years. A girl could ask a man to the dance, and she’d go pick him up and the whole nine yards. They were lots of fun! And they worked, too, you know… there’s more old maids married during Leap years than any other. Or there used to be, anyway. Times have sure changed. (sighs)
Me: I’ll say…! We used to have Sadie Hawkins dances in high school, but we had them every Hallowe’en, not just on Leap years…
Well, you cheated, then. They’re supposed to be on February 29th, not Hallowe’en.
Me: So, why not take your Leap-year-given right, Ruby, and go out and get yourself a man this year? You’ve still got a few weeks to pick one out.
Me?! What am I gonna do with a man?!
Actually, every now and again, I sometimes wish I did have a man. You know, to take me out to dinner and then out for a drive. Then he’d have to go home.
You know, after Roy died, I had a friend who kept trying to tell me how to get a man. She used to say I should go to the grocery store and look for some poor confused-looking fella and help him tap a melon or something. She’d say men are so grateful over stuff like that that they’ll up and ask you out next thing you know! (laughs) Or she’d say, “Ruby, go to the laundromat. Help some poor idjit fold his clothes. He’ll follow you right home, you’ll see!”
Me: So did you go to the laundromat, then?
Of course not! I’ve got my own washing machine! I should have maybe done just that back then, though, now I think it over.
Me: Well, it’s not too late, is it? And it’s a Leap year!
No… I should’ve gone twenty years ago. I wasn’t so buggered up then as I am now.
I’m …. tired. The last couple of weeks have been draining. I didn’t realize how tense things were getting, what with the good things, like gearing up for NaNoWriMo, the bad things, which I will get to in a sec, and the confusing things – mostly just trying to find “my place” at the J.O.B., which is difficult, as I was sort of dropped down into the middle of the project, and I feel like I’m just sitting around picking my nose most of the time. I don’t feel very useful there, truthfully.
I’ve outlined a couple of freelance magazine article ideas – another good thing. One, I actually wrote a proposal for, because it’s about an organization that I want to write about, but needs “interviews” with staff, and I thought it best to get the blessing of the head honcho. I got an immediate ‘yes’, and I’m excited about the project, which I already have a publication in mind for. And now (Sigh…*), I have to break it down into manageable chunks that can be dealt with on my lunch hour, since I kind of want to be face to face with the people I need to speak with.
My father is getting better. This was one of the “bad” things that I thought I might be jumping ship for, and I didn’t want to post about it, because we didn’t really know how things were going to turn out. He had a stroke, and then a heart attack, interspersed with several gushing nosebleeds just to make it all interesting. Even more interesting, he made friends with an imaginary bug that lives in the ceiling above his bed in the Critical Care Unit. He spent his whole first day there watching it dig a hole in the plaster and run around the curtain rail.
Yesterday, his 87th birthday, they let him out of Critical Care and he’s now in a general ward. A Co-Ed ward. With two “chicks”. He was a little put out with this at first, because he says he has enough trouble with women hitting on him, and he couldn’t see how he’d get any rest with two more hanging around his bed all day… turns out, he and my mom know the grandmother of one of them, so now it’s all good. I guess you don’t hit on the guy in the next bed if he’s a friend of Grandma. Or maybe you do but he doesn’t mind so much – I’ll have to ask.
My novel, now… I’m off to a slow start. Somehow, I’m not worried, though – I’m not sure why I’m not worried, but it may be that my main character, Emma, is very very solid in my mind, and I love her to pieces already.
I’m having trouble getting to the “getting it down part”, though, and that’s entirely because too many of the new things are still too new, and damn it, there’s too many of them. I want to go back to the more laid-back schedule of school and Ruby, J.O.B. and Ruby, Mom and Dad and Ruby, and rum on the weekends. Routine, please. The writing is more likely to happen then.
I won’t be going back to that routine anymore now, though, because I’ve gone and changed things and started a few things up that are designed to force me out of this place and into the Great Unknown, which, in my case is anything beyond 50 miles of here.
What, me – scared?! Pah!
I find the picture at the top of this post very calming. It reminds me to breathe, and to learn to take things as they come and actually do something with them. I’m learning how to recognize opportunities and yes, create some that weren’t there before, and Ta-DA! A life away from here is now “seeable”. The last thing I want to do right now is what I’ve been doing my whole life: hide from the things I want, and make up reasons to let them float by. I can’t dive at them though, either, because I’m likely to get myself run over. They are bigger than me.