I sure hope it is, however I can’t say the worst is over. At least we now have our daughter’s ashes. The modern term is “closure.” Those remains are in a beautifully engraved stainless steel urn which we have brought home. There is a permanent grimness to it but this is much better than the horrible wait for medical reports and finally the cremation itself. For the first time in about thirty-five years we know where she is this night. So much for my attempt at humour for the moment. We have the business of dealing with our daughter’s belongings and clearing out her apartment. That seems like a mercenary thing to do but it needs to be done like it or not. There will also be the random hits of paper work but we’re braced for that.
The little dog we’ve inherited from Rachel is settling in nicely with us and her trauma is slowly fading. What comes in the wake of the last six weeks is a total mystery. There is a defragging period to come I’m sure, but at the moment a heavy numbness is what we are living with. I’ll say it one more time, hug your children and understand that each time you say goodbye to anyone may well the last. There is no rewind button.
Meanwhile we continue to endure a cold and wet spring. The flowers and blossoms are brilliant and intense when they finally burst out. They seem to pass quickly under the battering received from the rain and wind. Better days are ahead I’m sure, soon I’ll hear someone bitching about the heat. I’ll kick them. Many men having been wearing shorts for a while now, I’m bemused at seeing their fluorescent shanks glowing in the gloomy cool weather. My arthritic knees throb like bad toothaches at the sight of these guys and whatever it is they are trying to prove. Surely they are not all retired postmen!
I’ve decided to indulge in another sort of masochism. I’ve bought a tiny motorcycle. The prices of used ones are insane and the dealer’s price on a new unit was amazingly good. It’s an old marketing ploy. Get some product out there and once it’s selling itself, bring the price into line. I’ve wanted a small two-wheel conveyance to explore around campsites and to run to town for supplies instead of breaking camp each time. I’ve acquired a Honda Navi. It’s a new product in North America. I refer to it as my scooter cycle. It has a tiny 109cc engine and a scooter’s cv transmission. There are drum brakes front and back, which I don’t like. I do prefer crunching gears to relying solely on minimal brakes but life’s always about a compromise. I suppose I can crack my skull well enough at 80 kmph as 140.
I don’t expect to get the 100mpg as promised but with gasoline now bouncing at around $2.25 a litre it’s much better than my other vehicles. I have to remember that when wing-dinging along at 75kph feeling like a pig on a roller skate. I brought the wee contraption home from Nanaimo, a distance of about forty km, first through a rain squall and then a hail storm. I found no romance in that ride as I wobbled along back roads most of the way. It has been over thirty years since I last travelled on two wheels. I know that this old fart is not nearly as reflexive nor intrepid as he used to be. As long as I keep that in mind I should be fine.
The problem with “stuff” is that it usually demands more stuff. Now I have to rebuild or replace my home-built “stealth” trailer to accommodate the motor bike. Around and around we go. I built it three years ago with some cheap plywood which has essentially rotted and dissolved in our climate. The price of plywood has become ridiculous and I thought I’d save a few dollars. I knew better. I’m quite proud of my engineering but I’ll concede that having standing headroom the full length inside is a simple feature which I had not considered. “Keep it simple stupid.” The hinged lid has proven to be very hard to lift with the added weight of anything stored on it. Everything is a compromise. I just want to quit messing around and get to southern latitudes.
There’s a lot to be said for a backpack and a thumb.
“Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.” -Martin Amis
Over the past month of shock and emotional devastation after the sudden loss of our daughter, it has occurred to me that grief is simply a massive attack of self-pity. Now then, I am one of those who prefers the company of dogs to people so value my opinions at your own peril. I can certainly tell you that dogs do grieve but they have also found a balance of living in the moment and getting on with simply being. The little dog Ayre which we have inherited from our daughter has endured a massive trauma from the loss of her prime human unit but she has attached herself like a limpet to Rachel’s mom. She is learning to trust me (a male human unit) and allows me now to show her affection without employing her piranha teeth. She possessed a natural dread of men in general and we have climbed a steep and slippery slope in the past weeks.
Each day is a triumph in the development of our relationship and we enjoy long pleasant walks on the wonderful trails here around Ladysmith. I’ve reluctantly allowed her to wander along off-leash and she is proving to be quite trustworthy. I also find myself scanning the sky for eagles, I’m sure she’d make a nice light snack for them. We also have cougar, coyotes and other predators so I’m constantly playing father goose as I allow my wee hound the full parameter of being a dog. I learned long ago that to establish a full and lasting bond with any dog is that you must demonstrate your trust in them. I don’t pick her up whenever another dog approaches so that she can develop confidence in her abilities to socialize with her own kind. I focus on the other dog’s owner and I may pick Ayre up if I can detect any darkness. I’ve watched these creatures in action in their native Mexico and know how well they can fend for themselves. She has to learn that too.
Speaking of darkness, my website designer, in whom I had placed my trust, suddenly announced that she would go no further with my account. She had put together a proposal of how to develop my talents and provided a quote. The quote seemed reasonable and the proposal was exciting. I did mention to her that I had no money pit and operate on a very tight budget but accepted her terms. I also asked to meet her for a few minutes, just to hang a face on the voice. Our working relationship has been amiable and complimentary. I know that I have a social skill-set of a badger at times but I don’t know what brought on this prompt flush. Strange! Folks these days develop intimate relationships with each other although they are on opposite sides of the planet. Someone five minutes down the road wants to have an arm’s length interaction. I am one confused bog-trotter on this one.
WANTED One local web designer.
So suddenly, my little home-made stealth/transformer trailer needs some major attention. I was quite proud of my clever fold-up design and it has impressed many people. However, I made it with bargain-priced plywood from Chile. It was beautiful but after a couple of our winters it’s falling apart like old cardboard. To complicate my Fredondrum I’ve just bought a tiny motorcycle which requires a partial dismantle and a full set-up of the trailer every time I want to load or unload. Yep, here I go again, rip and rebuild. I’ve decided that maybe always being to stand up inside, the full length of the trailer is a good thing. Not having to erect and assemble my contraction is a good thing too! Some sniffing about turned up a few old truck canopies, for FREE, and so here I go again. Now I have a solid top with sides and windows and all (yeah right) I have to do is fit it to the trailer base and make it look like something which did not come from Clem’s garage. Stay tuned as once again I try to reinvent the wheel.
More on the new motorcycle next blog. I drove it home from Nanaimo to Ladysmith today through and hail. Yet I live. I just can’t feel anything. Thank goodness for the face mask I just bought. I was worried about catching bugs in my teeth. “Haar Billy, back before global warming we used to have insects. They were all crusty on the outside and gooey in the middle. Some didn’t taste so good.”
“Every morning I wake up to perform my one and only character. A Rising Phoenix in spite of it all.”
― Michele Bell,
I’ve never heard that term until recently. I’m told it’s common but although it’s new to me I’ll run with it. I like it. These days exactly describes the state of mind for both me and the dog. That wee Chihuahua/ MinPin employs these responses with no apparent regard to present details and damn; it does have some teeth! As previously mentioned, we have inherited her from our daughter and we had no idea what traumas the little beast has developed before we brought her home. We still don’t. These are known to be a one-person dog and this little critter is all teeth and arsehole on four nuclear-powered legs. She can operate at the speed of light. Time and tenderness will tame the beast and in the meantime if Ayre the wonder rat doesn’t rip off my fingers I’ll continue to write.
I’ve smirked when I’ve seen old codgers walking a rodent-sized dog, sometimes even wearing a silly costume, and now I am one. I’ve seen these mini-mutts in action as Mexican strays. They have my deep respect, they are indeed real dogs but thank God they don’t come any bigger! However once you’ve had one nestle into the crook of your arm, I’ll confess they are heart-breakers who can win anyone over, even a half-hearted old crank like me.
Lizard Response is also an excellent term for how we are operating at the moment. Thank God for instinct. I’ll confess to spontaneous tears as waves of emotion still break liker towering waves of surf. There are swells of anger, grief, self-pity, then moments of peace before the cycles wash past again. Even funeral arrangements for our daughter seem overwhelming and there are all sorts of details we haven’t even thought of yet. Thank you to all of those who have offered their sympathy, empathy, tears and broad shoulders. Times like these certainly sort your friends from those who are not. Life goes on and elephants never forget. Meanwhile my life as a zombie shuffles slowly along in a vaguely consistent direction.
One of my distractions is a determination to rebuild my website to something new and improved which will allow me to monetize all my years of writing and photographing. This is probably going to require putting up yet another new url. Seafire Chronicles has become Driftword.ca which I thought was dead clever. Unfortunately lots of people hear Drift wood instead of word so it is clear that I have outsmarted myself. I’d love to hear any interesting ideas for another new name. It must be simple, be a real grabber which is easy to remember and spell as well as having some sort of PNW/ocean connotation. Your homework is due by Monday. Seriously, it sounds simple, but after each idea ferments a while, I reach for another one.
The image is one I conjured up for a tattoo which hasn’t happened yet. Maybe there’s something in it for a blog heading. Meanwhile I continue to search for a snappy url which hasn’t been taken. fred.com and fredwrites.com are taken. The brassmonkeymagazine.com is dedicated to pole dancing and I love this one, numnuts.com is the site of a company which markets rubber rings used for castrating sheep. Now there’s something I’ll bet you didn’t know! The day is not lost, we’ve learned something.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” — Albert Einstein