Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Near the Top of the Hill, Maybe

For the first time, I think I can see the top of the hill which represents all my friend's needs and wants. I'll never be able to satisfy all his wants, but I'm close to meeting most of his current needs. That's progress. Old skills have come in handy. For example, I've hemmed five pairs of trousers this week. The results are far from professional, but they are good enough. I've coped with weird demands that don't make objective sense, but do make sense to my eccentric and sometimes confused friend. Doing so reminded me of when I ran the Adult Day Program. Sometimes it was easier to fulfill a strange request than to argue about it. It still is.

There's been little time for other things, but I managed to return my overdue library books and take out one forgettable paperback mystery novel. It was soothing to read at night because I knew the culprit would be caught and all would be resolved. Perhaps that's why many middle-aged and older people read mysteries; we crave resolution but we know that real life seldom if ever works that way.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fearless Cave Explorer Plumbs the Depths

The excavation continues. The Viking now refers to me as his dust bunny even though he hasn't seen me wearing the after effects of a cave episode.

However; other people have. On Wednesday, after a five hour shift in the dust palace, I decided to take a short break. I washed my face and hands and walked over to Church and Wellesley. The majority of the natty male people on the street looked askance at my dusty coat and jeans, while others made sure not to stare, lest I accost them for spare change. The proprietor of Baskin Robbins was pleased to serve me ice cream in a dish, and I watched other customers as I sat on a stool and consumed my treat. I noticed that there is a cool way to order ice cream and a non-cool way. You order your scoop of ice cream in a cup, not a cone, and don't refer to it as a dish. That tip is free - you too, can be cool, or bad, or, whatever the saying is today.

When I returned to the cave, it was time to take large garbage bags to the basement garage. The Bear's cave is on the top floor of a large old apartment building and the garbage chutes on each floor have an opening barely large enough for a pair of shoes to pass through, especially if said shoes are size 13. So, I took the elevator to the basement several times with large garbage bags, which I balanced on an old bundle buggy. On my second trip to the big bins, I encountered a garbage picker. He was going through a bag I had just thrown in. I'll admit, he was very polite and said he collected things for garage sales. It was tempting to invite him upstairs, but sanity prevailed and I didn't.

By Thursday evening I had 'had the biscuit' so, after sneaking back into my hotel and enjoying an extremely long hot shower, I treated myself to a salad, a club sandwich and a Rickart's Red in the hotel bar. The food was excellent and I watched some of the Masters Golf tournament while munching. The beer was also good, but, according to the bartender, next time, I should order a half-pint for a half-pint, because I couldn't finish my pint. Meanwhile, the two industrial salesmen at the table next to me both had three drinks, while talking on cell phones, talking to each other, and texting on their Blackberries. One thing is very clear, I do not have a future in sales.

The only other tip I can offer is of the Molly Maid type. I discovered that I could use the green stuff (it used to be called Dustbane and people used it on their garage floors ) and scatter it over places where the dust is the thickest, then very carefully sweep it into a pile. Dust still rose up to choke me, but it was not quite as deadly.

I'd better go and do my own cleaning because, I think I smell dust.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Big Move and the Urban Archeologist

On Monday, my friend the bear, moved from Toronto to Kitchener. I had hired a wheelchair van and we left Kitchener at 7 in the morning and hoped to be in Toronto by 9 or 9:30. Of course it rained and of course the traffic was horrendous. The van driver entertained me with the story of his travel to Alberta for Christmas and the many breakdowns of his motor home. It was 10:30 by the time we arrived at the hospital and just after 11:00 when we loaded the bear and his wheelchair, his walker and his suitcase into the van. We arrived at his new Kitchener living quarters at noon. I did not watch the van's speedometer while we were on the return trip. I did pray that we would not be stopped by the OPP as we sped along the 401.

It's weird to be completely in charge of another person's life and it leaves very little time for leading my own life, at least at present. I'm still winding my way through my friend's very tangled financial affairs. I wonder if the tendency to hoard things is more prevalent in men. Suggestions for things to tear up and throw out, if you haven't yet: ten-year-old paid utilities bills, Olympic lottery tickets from 1976, fifteen-year-old credit card statements, very old bank books from closed accounts, expired insurance policies, stacks of old telephone books, expired drivers licences etc And believe me, there is a hell of a lot of etc..

Other things to get rid of - stacks of very old newspapers, socks that do not match ( it seems to me I've mentioned socks before - I am still finding more of them) clothes that do not and will never fit, or be usable again. That's only a partial list of course and I will be excavating at my friend's apartment again next week. I might even find the floor soon. It's there somewhere under all the stuff; I just know it.

Meanwhile, there is hope for better things. The sun is shining, the weeds are green and my tax refund has arrived. It's not a huge refund, so I don't have to be too practical about how I spend some of it. Besides, I'm so immersed in taking care of the practicalities of my friend's life that I need to do something frivolous, though of course I'll save most of it. Perhaps I'll buy something soft and silky, or some new sheet music (if I ever get to to Music Plus), or a new CD. Before that though, I have to find disposable masks for my next trip.

This is the urban archaeologist, signing out for now.