July 05, 2006
it's not the heat, it's the prolonged dependency

I'm trying to take advantage of the clearest head I've had since we left Canso on Monday. Life in the Valley has been a struggle to stay awake, thanks to the punishing pace of the last few weeks and the heavy humidity. It's taken me till today to wash my clothes, tho' those of the boys have been washed long since. And I was punished for my apathy.

To whit: I had to share washer space with a big burgundy wool blanket that had gone the distance in a gas station diaper change on the trunk of the Purple Lassitude. This diaper recalled Lovecraft's most impassioned (and yet strangely inarticulate) prose, and the blanket performed heroically under pressure. Sullied in this engagement, this blanket's character degenerated once it was out of the line of fire. I suppose that many veterans are troublingly complex in this way.

To make a long story short, the fucking blanket dyed everything pink. We inherited this turncoat from the Boy's grandparents; as far as we know it may never have been washed before. All I know for sure is that my blue & white pj's & white underwear (shut up) were not improved by the tint adjustment.

[ed. Note: the following blue text should not be read by Preacher or anyone else who is easily grossed out. See you after the fish.]

As we were about to leave for Wolfvegas and as these think-pink pairs represented all of my vacation undawear, I decided to do the Fast Eddie/Kat thing and go regimental while my delicates underwent a second wash. We needed to haul ass (no pun intended) to Wolfvegas if we were to see Rev. Robyn during office hours, and I figured I'd just buy some new undapants somewhere. After all, I successfully covered my butt for two years in this town. How hard could it be for an afternoon?

I didn't count on my femininity asserting itself, and we were leaving the church disappointed when I noticed blood dripping down my calf. Thank heaven I forgot to pack shorts, and have had to rely on black skirts that don't show dark stains. And thank heaven my Grade 9 gym teacher told us that it was ok to use toilet paper as a temporary solution. As weird and gross and unnerving as it all was, part of me enjoyed the feeling of living as my foremothers had before underwear was invented and popularized.

(It all turned out ok. I found tampons after a 5-minute walk (head held high, walking carefully) and there was even a hoity-toity apparel shop that sold overpriced Hanes undawear. I bought one pair - all I could afford with the cash I had on hand - and I stopped short of announcing that I would be wearing it out of the store.)

By the time we retired to the Coffee Merchant for lunch, a clammy, humid afternoon had commenced the work of squeezing the life out of both myself and the Boy. We managed to get food into Blake with much effort and tried a quick visit to the Odd Book (my world-favourite used bookstore) & the cat sanctuary, and were only partly successful. The bookstore was open, and I read to Blake from a poster of the Gashleycrumb Tinies while the Boy meandered around upstairs. I found a knitting guide with lots of stitch patterns and the two of us adults found some children's books we needed to own. But the animal shelter was closed, and we were all fading and getting cranky.

On the way home, the Boy & I got into a screaming fight about house buying (why, God, why?) and I wasn't speaking to him by the time he laid Blake down for a much-needed afternoon nap. The internet didn't help my mood. A beer didn't help my mood. It wasn't until I picked up my sock, neglected since StanFest, that my mood lifted. I've been too lethargic to knit, despite the excellent splurging at Gaspereau Valley Fibres yesterday & the aforementioned stitch guide that has me dreaming of shawls. The best I can do lately is stare at lace patterns and wonder if I can make anything decent out of my single skein of SeaSilk in order to justify the insane price tag. (As if such a yarn needs justification. It's made from the sea, people!) Knitting my sock calmed me right down, long enough to listen to the Boy and get a caravan on the road for dinner groceries. (I planned the whole dinner meal and it turned out great - a triumph after 2 1/2 years of almost no cooking.)

And now I'm here. I have new underwear; I have old underwear that's now slightly pink; I have a full, happy stomach; I have a family who loves me; I have a great view of the valley from this deck; and I'm being eaten to death by insects too small to identify. Life is good.

Things that I’ve neglected to mention: we are loving our time here at Sister Silver’s house. S. Silver (who left after a day and a half on her own vacation) is an awesome host; very relaxed and calm about everything that happens in her house, so we can take her cue and relax ourselves. Blake decided that he was utterly in love with S. Silver shortly after they met, and spent our brief days together hugging and kissing her with uncharacteristic abandon. He’s a friendly kid normally, but this was wild. We were all sad to see her go on to PEI.

And yet, there are benefits to being allowed to rattle around in her house on our lonesome. This is the first time since well before we moved in with my parents that the Boy & I have been able to run a house to our liking. And since I crashed into a huge wall of depression when we moved to Gomorrah in August 2002 and didn’t emerge until late in my pregnancy, we’re talking about a very long time for me to be a dependant. Buying food at our beloved farmer’s markets and cooking it on a little propane grill, eating at our favourite restaurants, and running around with Blake on our own schedule: it all fills me up with something I dimly recognize as happiness and satisfaction. Tonight I cooked chicken and hodgepodge veg, and it made me happier than any dinner since we left Nova Gothic.

The one strange aspect to our house-sitting is that S. Silver is adamant about her housekeeping “system,” which means that we are strictly forbidden from giving everything a good clean. It’s not dirty here, we’re just used to a different level of clutter, and we spend a lot of time & energy in our basement encouraging Blake at regular intervals to help us shovel away the accumulated detritus from our lives. All of which is to say, it can be even harder to keep things intact when the order is not apparent to you. But this is an extremely small price to pay for a lovely, fortifying experience. It just figures that S. Silver, a social worker by trade, could somehow manage to offer us a psychological holiday as well as a physical one. She’s that good.

Before she left, we dragged her to Acton’s (THE Wolfvegas restaurant, where we celebrated every milestone from anniversary to graduation to birthdays to the end of my hellish practicum). We did this last time we stayed at her house, and when she told us that she hadn’t been to Acton’s since that date, we knew we had to go. I love it there. It’s not just the food (which is first rate), it’s the service that’s consistently excellent. When we took our little monkey out to dine, the waitstaff didn’t bat an eye. Instead, our waiter (who immediately confessed to having a similar toddler at home), suggested a pasta especially for Blake and brought him a big glass of milk with a straw. “Both hands,” he cautioned, as Blake tried to take shortcuts. You just don’t get that kind of care in a lesser establishment.

I have to say that I didn’t quite taste the food as much as I usually do, what with wrangling Blake. I was also a little preoccupied by the fact that on our way in, Blake started across the busy main street without me, so I was haunted by morbid visions of what his death would have been like if he hadn’t stopped immediately when I shouted at him. He’s so little and the cars are so big and it’s all just so scary. For the rest of the vacation, I checked on him a little more than usual.

We visited Gaspereau Valley Yarns yesterday, and I was absolutely blown away by this shop. It’s about 10 minutes down the road from where we used to live in Wolfvegas, and you get there by driving my favourite country roads (the ones that offer tantalizing glimpses of Blomidon.) It’s lucky that they didn’t exist when we were there and it’s lucky that I didn’t knit then, for the temptation to blow out the budget is intense even now, and I have a steady job these days. Back in the Wolfvegas days, it was the Boy’s wide travels as a video account manager that kept us in plain rice, and there was no room left over for SeaSilk.

I came home with two different colours of Blue Sky Alpaca, some cheap tweed, two skeins of the shop’s grey homespun, and a skein of the SeaSilk I smelled as soon as I walked in the door. (I think I freaked the owners out when I walked in sniffing rapturously, and asked to be pointed to the SeaSilk. What can I say, I loved smelling Amy’s yarn at Stephanie’s b-day party. Like most mammals, I can be led by the nose if the smell is right.)

The scary thing is that I might go back. One hundred(mumble) dollars and I still don’t think I’m done. Crazy!

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- Rocketbride's adventure of 7/05/2006 01:18:00 p.m.

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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*