It’s Not All Mary Poppins


…savouring my last few days of holiday. I start back next Thursday.

I’ve had a varied morning: down to Home Hardware for paint. Such helpful salespeople in there, and for some unknown reason, half of them seem to be from Ohio. Or thereabouts. Sure sounds like it. How’d they end up here? Why are they all working for the Home Hardware? Nice folk, though. Helpful.

A client (Alice’s mother) informed me that she’s expecting, and will be removing Alice from care in January, when the new baby is due. No, she isn’t showing yet. She has some health problems, and it shows in her almost-emaciated frame. I hope all goes well for her. She seems quite confident it will.

Then coffee with a friend, who found out only a couple of days ago that her ex is dying. She’d lived with this man for 10 years, he’d helped raise her two children, but she eventually kicked him out five years ago because of his chronic and continuing alcoholism. She always said, though, that if he could ever give it up and stay dry, she’d take him back. Even though her life moved on and she’s seeing someone else now, I think some secret part of her psyche always kept hoping. She loves him. He is dying, at the age of 40, because his liver has ceased to function. Such a waste!

Tears ensued, hers staunchly choked back, followed – or perhaps precipitated – by an unprecedented PDA (my friend’s a Brit, and not given to allowing such things), and a promise on my part to go to the funeral with her. I never met the man: he was before my time in her life, though not by much, but she needs the support. Not only is she genuinely grieving, but I know no one who hates funerals as she does. So we’ll go together, I’ll hold her hand, and tell her fiercely that it’s all right to cry!

We chatted of other things, too, comforting, normal things. We laughed.

Then home to finish painting my youngest’s new room. It’s been in construction all month, but the nice young man who we’d hired has now hammered his last nail, and it’s almost ready for use. We primed and painted the walls before he put up the trim. We painted the door today – it matches the switchplate she bought, with her own money, at a craft fair last fall. (This child’s favourite shows are Trading Spaces and While You Were Out. No kidding. Pictures will follow when my sweetie gets back with the camera.) She ordered the hammock, which will be suspended over her bed like a bunk bed, last night from “”. I’ll let you know if they’re reputable…

My son is home with a couple of friends,lounging about the living room, eating pizzas which they bought themselves and listening to “The Arrogant Worms”. Now, the son hasn’t listened to them in quite some time – clearly he likes the girl who requested them…

Me, I sit on the porch, listening to the sound of the Ex, a mere kilometre away, in the background, watching the construction workers replace the decorative stone that had to be ripped up for the temporary water mains – which have now been removed! We’re now back on city water, with our brand spankin’new water and sewer lines. How exciting.

This is summer in Ottawa. Just the usual: life, death, and construction.

August 23, 2005 - Posted by | random and odd


  1. Funerals are sad, but a good friend always helps.

    Worked out this blogging lark now (sort of) & put a link to you on mine

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  2. This is such a lovely post–it sounds (with the exception of your friend’s sad news) like a peaceful day.

    But no margarita?

    Comment by Susan | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  3. Mrs. A: True. I’ve only been to a couple of funerals in my life, mind you, so my experience is limited. It will help that I won’t be doing any grieving, myself, as I’d never met the man.

    Susan: nope, but a couple of Mike’s on ice on the front porch!

    Comment by Mary P. | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  4. The Arrogant Worms. How many times have I heard the Cow song in my head.

    So sorry to hear what your friend is going though. If there is a silver lining, its that she can lean on good friends

    Comment by Heather | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  5. That last line was awesome! You really know how to pull it together.

    You are a true friend for what you offered her. Sometimes we all need somebody like that. No words, just actions. Hold my hand and let me cry.

    The girl has got some awesome taste. Does she like the show “neat?”

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | August 23, 2005 | Reply

  6. Heather: one of my stepdaughters loves the Worms, and that one’s a favourite of hers. *sigh* I’m rather partial to “Jesus’ Brother Bob”, myself.

    Crayonz: Thank you. I was rather wondering, as I typed away in a stream of consciousness way, how I was going to pull those disparate bits together. Glad it worked!

    I think when you’re comforting a grieving person, there are no words. What is left is merely your presence. There is comfort in the simple physical presence of a caring person.

    “Does she like the show ‘neat’?” Is “neat” a show, or do you mean she takes her shows straight up, no ice? She’s never heard of a show by that name.

    Comment by Mary P. | August 24, 2005 | Reply

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