Monday, 30 November 2015

Laundry and the Lint

Off kilter of late, I didn’t post at all last week, seemed to be a bit on the brain dead side. Then I went and did my laundry.

There is one common laundry room for my complex, so you never know who you might meet in the laundry room, or what you might find. Last night I met a neighbour I’d never seen before.

We were pulling our clothes out of the washers at the same time, tossing everything in the dryers. She checked the lint screens before starting the dryer. That’s something I usually do after, not before. I guess I’m more trusting that the person before has been responsible enough to do it. When she found both of the lint screens full in the dryers she was using, I checked mine and found we were 3 out of 4 dryers where the screens had not been cleaned.

As she was leaving she commented that it must have been one of the men. I had to laugh as that had been my thought too, but I hadn’t said it. I don’t mean to be disparaging about men and their ability to do laundry, what has through the ages been thought of as “woman’s work”. I know the men in my family do laundry, dishes, and windows and floors.

I’m not a very good housekeeper, something I learned from my mother. Sorry, Mom. We both had the belief that creativity came before neatness. After all, it’s sometimes hard to be creative and neat at the same time.

My place is a mess, and as this is garbage day, my day to clean up. I have made a start, and then sat to enjoy my coffee. I’ll get back to it, as I’ve put the painting on the back burner until after the holidays. I have too many Christmas projects to finish.

Thinking about my Mom, and laundry, I remembered a funny story. My Mom was living in Florida at the time, and her laundry room was in a small room off the carport, separate from the house. She was having trouble with the dryer; found it wasn’t drying very well.

I was visiting and checked it out. When I pulled the lint screen out, which was very inconveniently located at the back of the machine (out of sight, out of mind) I found the screen full of fluff, matted into layers more than an inch thick.
I had to figure she’s never checked the lint screen in all the time she’d been there, as a woman living alone, she didn’t have that much laundry. How she’s never had a fire I’ll never know.

So, it’s not a gender issue at all. And I apologize for thinking it had to be a man who was negligent in cleaning the lint screens.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Christmas Comes Earlier Every Year

I’m not really a Bah Humbug, Scrooge kind of person, but my Christmas spirit is annoyed.

Why? Because a good portion of my regularly scheduled television shows have been preempted for Christmas movies since November 1st. No sooner was the last Trick or Treat called out then we had a complete switch from orange and black to red and green.

I like to see a bit of a break between holidays, and personally don’t think of any holiday activities like decorating the house and tree, until after the American Thanksgiving. Then the month of December is wide open for any and all celebrations.

None of my usual Christmas movies will be on until closer to the holiday. The old favorites, like White Christmas, The Bells of St Mary’s and Holiday Inn are losing favor in place of Home Alone, Elf and The Grinch.

My Dad’s favorite holiday movie was an old black and white starring Bing Crosby called Going My Way. It was our family tradition. I haven’t seen it in years, and should see if I can find it in a DVD sale bin.

Funny, as I was thinking about this I thought about how different the times were. When I was a kid, in those olden days, there was no way to ‘own’ a copy of your favorite movie. If it didn’t come on TV, you were out of luck.

As I’m the kind of person who likes to watch my favorites over and over again, I’m fortunate to be able to take advantage of DVDs and my DVR.

I may have my presents wrapped, for the most part, but that is only to keep me organized and gave me an opportunity to see what I’ve purchased and to check all the cupboards for what I had hidden.

I’ll wait a few more weeks to go to the mall, to see the decorations, listen to the carols and finish that last minute shopping. Meanwhile my DVR is getting a workout replacing those movies with my favorite shows. I’m just not in the mood yet for all that peace, love and goodwill.

On a scale of 1 to 10 on the Scrooge ‘O Meter, I’m at an eight.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Dream Speak

I woke up early this morning, looked outside, saw another cold and rainy day and decided to go back to bed. I turned the television on and snuggled in, and fell sound asleep.

I sometimes have these weird dreams, confusing because there is a touch of reality mixed in with the unreality of the dream. That happened this morning.

I was dreaming I was in a laundry room. Go figure.

At any rate, I was doing my laundry, stuffing clothes into a second machine. I’m searching for laundry soap, feeling some pressure to add it before the cycle starts. The detergent is on the first machine which belongs to my Mom, and I sort through all the bottles looking for the right one.
My Mom has been gone a long time, and I figure she had a role in this dream because her attitude to laundry was the same as mine. Do it when you run out of clothes. (Thanks for visiting Mom, love you, miss you).
Back to the dream, I add the soap and go to a third machine. In that machine, smaller than the others, I stuff a comforter. Don’t know what color it is as I seem to dream in black and white.

I drop the lid on that third machine and go back to the second, as I left the lid up and there seems to be a problem. That’s when things get really weird. The washing machine spoke to me.

“What do you want to do about it?”

The machine was talking to me, and I look in the tub, trying to find out where the voice is coming from. What the hell is going on? There’s more conversation but I can’t remember as I suddenly wake up.

The conversation was on the television. I’m relieved that my dreams are not totally out of whack. The laundry bit I understand, as that was one of my last thoughts going to bed, that I needed to get the wash done. The laundry basket is sitting on my floor yet to be done, reminding me.

So, today is laundry day. I think my Mom was telling me to get my ass out of bed and get my chores done.

It started my day with a laugh and a loving memory, can’t ask for more than that.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

On the Highway of Heroes

On this Remembrance Day, I want to share something I wrote a few years ago.

The Highway of Heroes, you really had to experience it first hand to fully understand the impact, I'm glad I was fortunate to have the opportunity to pay my respects.


            I went and stood on a bridge one night.
I stood, one person, part of a crowd and yet alone. All of us watching the ebb and flow of traffic from a Highway 401 overpass. We were facing east, the sky a summer blue becoming more pink and gold as day faded to evening. No one interested in the panorama of nature’s beauty behind us.
            I stood alone and waited, listening to the sounds about me. Some people spoke in quiet conversation, some stood silent and serious, alone with their feelings.
            I could hear the traffic as it passed beneath the bridge. Drivers on the highway acknowledged those standing on the bridge by flashing their lights and honking their horns. Those standing vigilance on the bridge are there to recognize the fallen soldiers and are in turn recognized by the drivers as they motored on their way.
            The 172 kilometer stretch of the 401 Highway in Ontario, from CFB Trenton to Toronto, has officially been renamed the Highway of Heroes in remembrance of Canada’s fallen soldiers. In their long and final journey home the bodies of soldiers killed in the line of duty are expatriated to CFB Trenton and then transferred to the Toronto Centre for Forensic Sciences.  Each and every one of these soldiers, killed in Afghanistan since Canada’s mission began there in 2002, have traveled along that same route, along that same highway.
            This has created a unique opportunity for those of us who live along that route, along that
highway. The opportunity to show our support for the troops and to pay our respects to the soldiers who lost their lives in service to their country. It is an opportunity and a responsibility, for it’s as if those of us who live in this small portion of Ontario are standing for all Canadians, from all corners of the country.
            Residents, police officials and firefighters gather on 401 overpasses along the route, as the motorcade carrying the bodies of the soldiers killed in Afghanistan, makes its way to the coroner’s office in Toronto.
            I don’t know how long we stood in wait that day but suddenly I could sense a change in the mood of the crowd. There was no further conversation as the highway seemed to empty. All I could see was a long line of headlights led by Ontario Police vehicles, their lights flashing but their sirens silent until they reached the overpass. The motorcade drove on in eerie silence. As it passed we all turned to watch it continue on its way west until it disappeared into the setting sun.
            The crowd silently dispersed, heading north and south off the bridge, to cars parked along the road. As I walked the distance to my car I noticed the number of license plates with the red poppy veteran’s insignia. Soldiers from a different time, survivors from a different war, come to pay their respects to fallen soldiers from this time and this battle.
            I fight back tears, as did many, in the walk from the bridge, thinking of the families of these brave soldiers. I wonder if they can feel the outpouring of respect and support from all the people lined up, bridge after bridge along the highway. I hope they feel some sense of comfort from these strangers and hope they feel a little less alone along their journey.
            I have stood on that bridge in a winter storm when the air was so cold, the wind so harsh that I could no longer feel my hands or feet. The repatriation ceremony was delayed and our wait became painfully long but no one left the bridge, no one gave up to seek shelter and warmth because we had not yet done what we had come there to do.
            I have stood on that bridge and cried, the procession passing under the overpass, as a piper played Amazing Grace.
            I stood on that bridge and watched as a military vehicle, traveling east to CFB Trenton, pulled off the highway and three soldiers made their way up to the bridge. They shook the hand of every person, thanking us on behalf of all the military personnel.
            I have stood on that bridge with the mother, sister and friends of soldiers stationed overseas, all of them there to pay their respects…and hoping never to see the view of the bridge from a military motorcade.
            And on one cold winter day I stood and watched as the procession approached, and saw a hand, covered in a red mitten,  extend out the window of the limousine to wave in acknowledgment to those of us on the bridge.
            There is always some small occurrence to make each time on the bridge unique and yet the feelings of sadness, of respect and of pride are always the same.

Monday, 2 November 2015

By Male Design

I think there are certain things in this world that men design, for their personal pleasure or without thought for others.

Take stiletto heels. Only a man could design such a thing. And why, because they like how the heels make a woman’s legs look, and how they make her ass jiggle when she walks. I didn’t think of that by myself, but read it in some work of fiction, and thought it fit.

There is this other thing that I believe had to be designed by a man, that would look and function so much different...if a man had to routinely clean it. Of course, I mean the toilet.

Who would design such a thing and make it so hard to clean? Why has no one ever looked at this and made it easier. Vacuums have undergone a lot of design changes to make cleaning floors easier, why not toilets? Maybe we should ask that Dyson guy to turn his attention to toilets.

I come at this rant because I got hurt cleaning my toilet. I usually make do with a simple sweep, but the other day I needed to do better. I don’t do this as often as I should because getting down on my hands and knees is difficult with my bad back and wrecked knee. But I tried.

I got down on my knees, leaned down to clean at that space under the tank, and smashed my head into the corner of the cabinet door. Goose egg, bruise and cut. And I hadn’t even gotten to the floor yet.

I hate housework, I hate housework, I hate housework.

And apparently housework is dangerous to my well being.