Monday, July 26, 2010


I'm a nut case.
You could eat dinner in my shed.
Of course, why would you want to?
But if you ran out of dinner-eating-place options, my shed could be on your list of locations to consider. Because it's THAT clean.

My next house swap will be with total strangers not with the (Global) Alliance Leader of the organization I work for because the self-applied pressure to have a showcase home is burdensome. I have spent an enormous amount of time cleaning obscure corners in my home in preparation for their arrival because we all know that within minutes of them walking through my front door they're going to look in the cupboard above the fridge or sort through the boxes on the top shelf in the linen closet. And my children long for a holiday that simply involves us sitting at an all inclusive for a week and Not Do Anything to prepare the vacation (like sterilize their home).


Always with the drama before a holiday.

After a frantic week of purging and disinfecting, I gave myself permission to take some time off for fun this weekend. Because, embarrassingly enough, I am a little bit jealous of all the relaxing, enjoyable summer things people are doing whilst I clean my oven and fix broken faucets.

On Friday I got my hair done.
Cut and colored (highlighted).
And then, because I was meeting dad and mom immediately after that, I used Jule's bathroom to reapply my makeup and dry my hair. Because I'm appliance-handicapped, I couldn't figure out how to use her curling iron, so I sat on her toilet and she curled it for me and when I looked in the mirror I was gob-smacked. My hair looked so good. So. Very. Awesome. I felt different about myself, you know? Like, a little bit confident. Like I was having the Best Hair Day ever in the history of Hair Days.

I chided myself (whoa. Chided. Lookit me use old, almost forgotten words) for letting myself fall into disrepair. Why did I wait til the end of July to spend some time on myself? Surely there is no excuse for this? Why can't I make it a priority to look after myself more regularly? The world is a nicer place when I don't start the day cringing in front of the mirror.

Know what else? It's been forever (or maybe even never) that I've sat on my sister's toilet and had her curl my hair. That which is a hardship for me (holding a curling iron, twisting it this way, choosing another chunk of hair, rolling it that way) she did effortlessly. Professionally. Easily. Perfectly. Confidently.

I kept sneaking glimpses of my head during the rest of the day. Amazing. Absolutely amazing what a person can do if they know what they're doing.

I left Jule's place at 11:30 and got out to the Abbotsford Community Center at 11:45. My mom said they'd meet me at the door, and as I rounded the corner, I saw my dad sitting on the chair in the hallway. His back was straight and his feet were flat on the ground and his head was turned in my direction. Just waiting.

"Hey dad! Are you waiting for me?"
"Yes. I'm going to pay for you with this."
He is holding a $20 bill in his hand.
"Thanks, dad. You're spoiling me... Can I help you get up?"
"No. I can do it."
Slowly he gets to his feet and stands behind the other couple who are paying for their meals.
When it's his turn, he hands the money over to the cashier and says proudly, "One. I'm paying for my daughter."

Dementia is a terrible thing. It robs you of your personality. It makes you slow. Repetitive. Ignorable. Dull.
Watching my dad hand over the $20 that my mom gave to him so that he could do the thing that brought him so much joy for so many years reminded me again of all that has been lost because of his brain not working right.

We walked into the dining room amidst a sea of pastel colored clothes and heads of grey or no hair. A very soothing, monochrome pallet.
"Do you know where mom is?" I ask.
"Yes. This way."
I follow him through the maze of tables where conversations are in both English and German, to the table where mom and Uncle John and Aunt Mary are sitting. Uncle John prays as soon as my plate of farmer sausage and perogies is set before me, and afterwards as we eat, mom and I talk. About my upcoming trip, my kids, my job, my house, my weekend plans... Then Uncle John and I talk about blogs vs facebook and before you know it, our table has been cleared and the dining room is empty. I look at dad and thank him for buying me lunch.
"It's my pleasure," he says with a big smile, then when he looks at mom for reassurance, he starts to cry.
"Are you happy, dad? Tears of joy?"
He nods, unable to speak.
"This is a good day, right? I'm glad I could have lunch with you."

I walk out with them, and we part at the elevator.
I give my dad a hug, and with my arms around him I say, "I love you, you know."
He stands there, slightly stooped, with his arms hanging limply at his side, and whispers "I love you too."
His days of giving bear hugs, inappropriate pinches, or tight squeezes are over.

I miss my dad.

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. My mom. And dad.
2. My sister.
3. My kids.
4. My friends.
5. Sunshine.
6. Books.
7. The beach.
8. My camera.
9. My truck.
10. My God.

Fav shot of the day:




Random cute baby:

Isn't she precious?

There was this young woman in a dress who came down off the beach and into the water while I was taking pics of the kids playing frisbee.
And she wanted her photo taken.... her boyfriend had a camera.
She was quite animated:

See what I mean?
Weird eh?


Unknown said...

i shouldn't read your blog as i start the day at work.

i miss my dad too, but for completely different reasons - and posts like these make me appreciate that every few months i can still go home and get those bear hugs.

and now i'm crying so i can't see my computer screen. jane, i can't work when i can't see my screen!!

Anonymous said...

Well Jane, I totally get it about the housecleaning thing. I did exactly the same thing just over a week ago when we were leaving on vacation, except it was just my son and daughter-in-law who were house-sitting for us, not the head of an international organization. I think that makes me goofier than you are.

Even though I am goofy, I still almost cried at the bit about your Dad.