Love and other things

“We ourselves shall be loved and then forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder

I haven’t been blogging for a very, very long time. I have quite a few drafts, but never post them because they aren’t complete. I HAVE been writing the work-in-progress. And doing basic housekeeping.

But I can barely discuss life with my closest friends. I’m in a sort of waiting-hoping-fearing-waiting cycle. You see, my parents were both diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the summer.

I’ve been back and forth to see my parents. It’s all very normal, like a regular visit. We’ve talked over treatments and such, but it’s all a bit unreal to me. At odd moments, it strikes.

My mother commented that she’d given the “good” gold-rimmed dishes to my brother who hosts the holidays. It occurred to me that when I was a child, everyone gathered at my grandparents’ house. Then the holidays shifted to an uncle, my parents, an aunt… Now they shift again.

I very much want to tell them “I love you.” However, that would be maudlin, at best, and admitting defeat, at worst.

My parents are not demonstrative. I can count on one hand the times they’ve told me, “I love you.” (And a memorable time, when I thought I’d failed a final exam at college, when I called them in tears because they were paying my very-expensive tuition. My mother said, “You know that we love you; that won’t change. Just do your best.”)

Yet they’ve always demonstrated their love. When I had to rise early for a 90-minute drive to my job in the city, my father got up at an ungodly hour to scrape the frost (or snow) off my car and brew coffee. My mother works – paints baseboards, helps me move garden stones, and digs up their flowers to transplant to my garden.

And they give me things. Rhubarb. Zucchini. A hambone they set aside because it’s the starter for my favorite: split pea soup. This summer, my father put together a fishing tackle box and dug out my favorite fishing rod as a gift. Then, last week, my mother gave me a set of old dishes they had sitting in the outer hallway. I’d admired them. My younger brother told me later that they’d planned to have them as a “good” set to replace the old. It brought me to tears.

The weekend after their diagnosis, my best friend’s mother died suddenly. She was rather young – a teenaged bride – and beautiful. It was a shock. I couldn’t attend the funeral, but last week I visited my friend. We talked, walked, and laughed. A few times we cried. It seemed unreal. She catches herself ready to text or call the familiar number. Even I thought, early one morning, that it was a good day to pop over to her mother’s apartment.

The Old Man aka my father, joked, “My doctor told me that I won’t live another twenty years. What a relief!” I laughed because it’s not funny. It’s not funny because it’s true. He’s an octogenarian.

See? Here’s another post that has no proper ending. I’ll post it all the same.

The Accidental Stockpiler

One of my brothers joked about people stockpiling toilet paper because of coronavirus. It’s absurd because TP is produced in the US and Canada, not overseas. It’s even less understandable than buying up all the dust masks in the land.

I laughed, then I thought about it: how much toilet paper do I have?  Chain pharmacies offer me limited-time discounts and use-as-cash coupons. Whenever they do,  I buy staples like laundry soap, bleach, toothpaste….

Also, when the regional Kmart went out of business this fall and I had to use my “points,” I bought a package…. or was it two?

Well, I checked. I have three unopened 12-roll packs in the linen closet!

Good grief.

I am rich… in masks.

Because of the Coronavirus epidemic in China, masks are selling out everywhere. I heard that news and supposed that surgical masks were in demand.

This weekend BabyBro visited for his Christmas present: a ticket to a musical in  nearby theatre. Before he arrived, he asked if I happened to have any dust-filtering masks he could have. He needs them for spring gardening due to high pollen.

“Sure! How many do you need?”

“Two. I can’t find them anywhere.” Continue reading

Memories like an Action Film

I tend to dislike social media because of their time-wasting, click-baiting aspects. However, they make it a lot easier to share information among widespread family (eight countries!). And sometimes they bring back good memories, like that of January 2014.

I recorded it thus:

I wish there was enough room to tell the Epic Story of My Dad. Here’s the highlight version. Last night I decided to finish grading papers and re-doing lesson plans, but my backpack was missing! Could I have left it at M&D’s? I called Dad; he arranged a drop-off point. Despite weather, Operation Students-Need-Exams was ON. A blizzard descended, my route was blocked, a new drop-off was arranged closer to where I was stuck in traffic (over an hour), a tanker exploded, a bladder nearly exploded, there was a pregnant woman… a rendevous… and coffee… and when I tried to thank him, all he said was “That’s what Dads are for.” Cut. Roll credits. (Dad was played by shaved-head Chuck Norris AND Jason Statham, sometimes simultaneously because Awesome.)

And yes, there really was an explosion following the rollover of a tanker carrying dangerous chemicals!

Jerkface MacGuyver defeated again

As long-time readers may recall, La Casa de Tontería (aka The House of Nonsense) suffers from the evil machinations of a builder known only as Jerkface MacGuyver. He’s the mastermind behind an unlicensed electrical line to the shed of doom, collapsible shelves, and other adventures in homeownership.

The toilet in the powder room wasn’t holding its alcohol water, so I bought a new toilet flapper valve for the powder room. Unfortunately, the overflow tube looked nothing like a normal tube. In fact, it had a long pointy plastic “tower” rising through the center. (For a normal view, see here and click on the image to the right.)

I returned the flapper and bought a complete replacement kit.

Baby Bro was planning a visit and our father (aka The Old Man) insisted I get his help moving the tank.   He quickly took over the project when it became clear that MacGuyver had struck again.  How? The tank had an extra hole plugged with caulk which Baby Bro easily removed.

Baby Bro took photos and sent them to The Old Man. The consultation was lengthy only because they were amazed by MacGuyver’s handiwork. (And not in an admiring way.) Honestly, is there any other licensed builder who consistently finds factory rejects and second-hand parts and says, “Oh, this will do nicely”?!?

Even the handle needed replacing because the flush lever had no holes for the pull-chain.

Happily I can reveal that the toilet flushes and fills properly. Now I am one step closer to a functioning home.