When you talk, all I hear is, "Blah, blah, blah."
How do you know when your brakes are bad? I think it's when your dad shows up on your doorstep with with new pads and rotors and says, "Murray's fixing your brakes tonight."
So Murray and Mika and my dad hung around and talked car stuff, fixed my front brakes and did other manly things and I was left to do girly things with the kids. Oh well, I guess I AM a girl. But I will be damned if I will play hide and seek! Taylor is into skipping right now and wanted to know all my "cool rhymes". Unfortunately, I could not remember any* so she sang hers, something about Cinderella and a bunch of doctors? Wtf? In my day ...
I had to make up some friggen bullshit about why we couldn't walk through a creepy wooded area and go look at an abandoned house. Actually, it wasn't really bullshit, the place was totally scary. That's when Mackenzie told me that there used to be a sign there that said, "You're Allowed To Go In" but somebody must have came and stolen it. Mmm hmmm.
Five gold stars for creativity! I employed one of my grandmother's sayings, "Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?"
We played at the park for a bit and when we got back to my cousin's place, not only were my brakes fixed, they had washed my car! Those guys are such total studs.
* This is where I appeal to you to send some to me!
It felt weird being back at work today. People were definitely treating me tenderly which was nice [I want a better word here but "nice" is the best I can do right now] and creepy in about equal amounts. A lot of people wanted to hug me. I'm not a huge fan of the hug, unless we're tight, but it makes people feel better so it's easiest just to let them. It was interesting to note who said something, who sent an email, who called. Where loyalties lie. For example, one clerk I've known for about a year, but not the other, who I've worked with for five. Partners I've never worked with, but not one in my own department. No malice here, just interesting.
At the end of the day my Aunt called me and I went upstairs to her office. She was having a similar experience. By then, I think we both just wanted people to leave us alone. You feel like shit saying that though, when people are only being kind and trying to love you.
My Dad and Mackenzie came over this morning and we went on an adventure to find a Garden Claw and some plants.
At the store I let Mackenzie pick out most of the plants. I picked my plants so carefully last year and watched everything wither within a couple weeks. It can't possibly turn out any worse even in the hands of a five year old. Dad picked some verbena and some pink flowers that didn't have a tag but were too pretty to leave. Mackenzie picked some "pretty beautfiul" white and red petunias. I picked marigolds because they seemed cheerful. Everything for full sun this year, I learned that much at least.
Chloe and I spent the afternoon amending soil, digging homes for the flats of plants and sowing seeds - morning glories against the front of the house, some cosmos ("so easy to grow, they virtually thrive on neglect!") and wildflowers in the patch that I mulched over last year in frustration. The sky was sunny and oddly cracking with thunder when my neighbour (the nice one, not the crazy one) came over to chat for a bit while I transplanted some ground creepers.
I'll leave to imagination the part where the rain and hail pummelled the delicatelittle plants to within a millimetre of their lives and water gushed into my basement from all possible directions, the worst flood we've had. In the scheme of things it's trivial and at least I was home to deal with it.
It seems I'm destined to write a gardening post every spring until I
either determine that I like gardening or give up on it entirely. I can see why people get into it. It does
seem therapeutic, the tending of the little plants and also the shear
toil. Still a tight race for me though.
Yesterday was a very long day. We gathered in the early afternoon at my grandma's church for a memorial service for my Uncle. I saw a lot of love yesterday, and too, over the last few days in a family that has always seemed somewhat cold. We're not big on the grand gestures on that side but it was definitely there in the little things like my Aunt ensuring the documentation she sent to our work be used for both our absences, in the way my Dad arranged photos on sheets of foam-core to be placed at the front of the church in lieu of a casket, in getting hugs from my Uncle Garnet where otherwise I would have received a poke in the rib.
My mom had asked me Saturday night what I think of when I think of my Uncle. I'd already been working on my answer for awhile (I knew it was only a matter of time before the guardian of the family history asked me this) but all I could come up with was a disappointing, "I don't know Mom." We didn't have the kind of relationship that gives up those great anecdotes. We were always there together at family functions exchanging a few words and a kiss on the cheek. We had a shared mutual admiration, I think, but neither of us could have been said to really know much about the other. I've always been a bit in awe of him really, and therefore, shy. Not the best combination for conversation.
All I seemed to be able to think about were the inane things we talked about last Sunday: John Walsh, Dog the Bounty Hunter and some drag racing car he'd seen auctioned off on TV for an obscene amount of money. "Wasn't even like it was a driver you'd ever heard of either," he'd said. If I'd known that was going to be the last time I would see him I would have come up with something better to say. I told my parents this over dinner. My Dad said, "But that's what he wanted."
Late last night, as we walked Chloe home from the park Kevin said, "I hate going to funerals - they make you think. Your uncle was one year younger than my Dad." It seems trite to say that death makes you think, but it does. Kevin thought about his dad being a year older than my Uncle and I thought about my Dad being just four years younger. You can't help but think about that.
A guy named Dave Franks gave the eulogy, which he really struggled with, poor guy. He said something great though, that helped me figure out how to think of my Uncle:
"Whether you thought he was right, or whether you thought he was wrong, he did it his way."
My mom called around 6:30 this morning to stop me from going to work. She told me my uncle had left us early this morning. Right now I'm thinking back to the conversation I had with my dad about a week ago in which he said, "You had better go see your uncle on Sunday." My dad never says things in anger or in a bossy way, he just states the facts. When he says you better do something, you had better do it. That's the way it's always been. I expressed some fears about it to Leeanne last Friday and she said, "you better do it." I'm fortunate to have wise people around.
I didn't really know what to do after I hung up so I kind of just proceeded to get ready as if I was going to work. I made some coffee and looked out the back door. I tried to read. Finally I thought I'd take the dog for a long walk. We actually ended up just walking our usual route but we poked along and I let her smell everything she wanted to so it took a long time. What are you supposed to do on a bereavement day? I've never figured it out. I always feel better when I'm working so I work through this stuff and I have only just discovered the predicament that's gotten me into.
At the park I sat on a rock and Chloe secured the perimeter. After awhile we both got bored and I let her play on the slide, which is completely inappropriate, but good fun. It was from atop the slide that Chloe spotted the mail carrier all the way on the other side of the street and took off full throttle towards her. Apparently that stereotype about dogs and mail carriers isn't just a stereotype after all. I ran after her in utter stupefaction, watching my dog bolt across the street, plant herself in the middle of the sidewalk before the mail carrier and fix the woman with her most menacing bark. It's not a menacing bark at all if you know even a little bit about dogs. In fact, everything about it says, "I'm petrified of you yet for some reason I feel obliged to protect the weak female human who accompanies me." But I can see how if you were on the receiving end of it you might not appreciate it for what it really is.
It all seemed to be taking place in a kind of slow motion and I had time to think to myself that mail carriers should really have to take some kind of dog training as I looked on, horrified, while the woman did everything wrong, convincing the dog even more that she was a threat. I literally had my left hand holding Chloe's haltie and my right hand hooking her up to the lead when the mail carrier spat, "Hurry up and get your dog!"
I honestly should have been more kind as we were clearly in the wrong but I spat back, "What do you think I'm doing? She's not going to hurt you." Afterward I wished I had said, "What the fuck do you think I'm doing?" Usually I wish that I hadn't sworn. She sort of shrieked, "Yeah well you never know!" and I shrieked back, "ACTUALLY I DO!"
I'm going to go hang around with my mom and dad in a few minutes and Mack will be there which is great because that kid is the magic smile machine. I still don't really know what to do on a bereavement day but something tells me that my Uncle Evan would think it was really funny that I got into an altercation with a mail carrier this morning. Sorta in his honour.
I left my class at the break and fled towards the nearest soulless Starbucks. I could not abide the temperature of the room. Tonight it was much too hot. A pretty older woman with curly grey hair gave me a pamphlet as I waited for the streetlight to change. I just thanked her and let her press it into my palm. I wandered aimlessly for a bit before hitting the market and the Starbucks then bringing everything back to a bench outside the school where I waited for Kev. I sat in the wind and contemplated "the world's most asked question*" according to the Pentacostal Church.
I made some drawings tonight that I'm reasonably okay with. The teacher and I have a difference of opinion about what is important in terms of drawing. He wants me to use more tone but I don't give a shit about tone. I just want to improve my grasp of proportion so I can apply what I learn to painting and mosaics. I do not think this is inappropriate, but I am the only one who feels this way.
We had a female model tonight, a thin one this time. Not perfect but, I thought, very beautiful. I looked at her and I felt sorry for all of the women struggling with their body image. I know why we have these issues now. We don't know what other women look like. If we knew we would not be ashamed. This has to be why almost every guy I've ever dated has been frustrated with my shyness. Men know what women really look like - and - they think it's fine. I wish I hadn't had to wait until a month before my thirtieth birthday to figure this out.
Tonight I sat, I valued my escape and I enjoyed the dwindling light.
* If God made the world, who made God?