Sunday, March 29, 2015

Secret Places in My Hat

It pains me to admit it here in this semi-public forum but … I am not as put together as I look. (It occurs to me that I may not even look all that put together, but that's a topic for another time)  

I have been known to occasionally let my imagination run a little wild, often in instances when complete calm and level-headedness is better required. 

I chock it all up to the fact that I’m a writer. I have been making up stories in my head since I was old enough to know I was making up stories in my head. My imagination is a wonderfully fantastical place and I’m quite entertaining to myself … usually.

Sometimes, however, it’s best not to let that imagination … OUT.  
It only confuses my family and friends.
And exhausts me.

Case in point #1: 
I drive Babe to her University classes. Because of an incident the day before, she has a possible concussion. I drop her off and decide to do some errands and get groceries while she attends class. Then on my way home, I will pick her up and take her to her job.

I arrive in the designated pick-up spot early. When she is done at 12:50 there will be just enough time to get her to her job by 1 o’clock.

I wait.
And wait.  

It’s not like her to be late for work.
I text her:  Everything ok?
No answer.
More minutes tick by. Maybe the prof went overtime.
Maybe she is waiting for me at a different pick-up spot. 
That must be it.
I text: I’m at the little pick-up spot where I dropped you off.

It is now past 1 o’clock.
She would never be late for work.
Where could she be? Did class finish early and somebody else take her to work? 
Surely she would have texted me. But lately her phone has been crashing for no reason. Maybe she can’t text me.
Maybe she can’t text me because she got dizzy and passed out! 

She passed out because of that concussion.

And had to be taken to hospital.

And nobody got ahold of me.

Why wouldn’t they let me know?


How do I know she even showed up to class this morning? I dropped her off but I didn’t watch her go through the door like I did when she was 5.  I just assumed she was okay. 

That crazy concussion!

She got disoriented when I dropped her off and now she is out wandering somewhere and she doesn’t know where she is! 

And some lowlife took advantage of the situation and snatched her up and now we will never find her!


I take a deep breath. 
Get it together, woman.

I park the car. Go to the administration office.
No answers. Because of privacy laws they can’t even tell me whether or not she is a student there.

I resist the urge to barrel down the halls like a mad gorilla, screaming her name. 

Agitated, I white-knuckle it home. Someone may have left a message on the landline.

No messages on the home phone.
But suddenly there is a text: I’m in class. I work at 2.  

Case in point #2:    

The Cowboy and I are on our cruise vacation. We are getting ready to leave our cabin for the day, for a shore excursion.

But I can’t find the cash.

I have checked the safe. Twice.
The contents of my bag have been dumped on the bed. Books and papers are scattered all over the desk.
I am going through closets and drawers, checking pockets of clothing we haven’t even worn yet.

The Cowboy is annoyingly calm. 
When did you last see it?

I had it with me yesterday when we came home from the beach.
I go through the papers on the desk again. 
I thought I put it right here …

Suddenly it hits me.

They are siphoning money off us!!

Siphoning mo … who is?

Them! The stewards who clean our room. Little by little they are taking money and they think we will never notice. 

What? Why would they do that?

I leave him to ponder answers to that question because I am remembering … my hat. The one Mr. Cowboy calls my "nerd hat".

Oh. Now I remember. It's in here.

I grab it off the hook on the wall and check.
Sure enough, there is the money tucked safely and serenely in that secret place in my hat.

The Cowboy looks absolutely astonished.
Are you kidding me? Only you would have a secret compartment in your hat!

He belly-laughs all the way off the ship.


This week the Cowboy & I attended a play based on a tragic story in Canadian history: the massacre of the Donnelly family by their neighbours and community.


As we leave the theatre I’m feeling vengeful. That poor family! 
I comment, 
It’s a shame those Donnelly’s didn’t know anything about poison. They could have snuck poison into all of their neighbours’ drinking water. Then all of THEM would have died and none of this would have happened.

I look up into the Cowboy’s horrified face, and see him mentally calculating the last time I offered him a glass of water.

Yeah ... sometimes my imagination is best kept in the secret places of my hat.


Top Hat
photo credit: <a href="">Benjamin Harrison-Reid Portrait Top Hat, 1892</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Fossil Nissan Watch Black Square Face</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Child entering school

Mad Gorilla
<a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo Mad-Gorilla.jpg"/></a>
alyk11_2008's photo on Photobucket

Lego head
photo credit: <a href="">lego_head-embarassed</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Cruise ship
photo credit: <a href="">St. George's-Grenada (4)</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Making a Home

Shortly after we moved to our new home from another province, I was called in to our new bank to attend to a document that hadn't been properly completed.

I arrived at the bank expecting that a signature had been missed. Instead, the bank teller informed me that the space to record my occupation had not been properly filled in.

"Oh," I said, looking down at the document and seeing that the blank had already been filled in with exactly what I was about to say.

"I'm a homemaker," I said.

The teller looked at me with confusion in her eyes.

"But what is your job?"

"I'm a homemaker. I work at home."

She decided to try a different tactic. Obviously, I wasn't understanding the question.

"But when you go to work what do you do?"

I could have launched into all the things I did as a homemaker. I considered it.

But in the split second it took for me to mine her eyes, I realized that this gap in our understanding - what a legitimate line of work entails - would never be bridged. Whether the belief was hers alone or something upheld by the banking institution itself, I really didn't want to know at the time. What I did know was that the vocation I had chosen to pursue for over 20 years was considered nothing, and being publicly dismissed.


Another person may have confronted the teller or written the bank a nasty letter. I'm more of a peacemaker on my toes, and a rebel when I've had time to think about it.

So, I said, "Just put down piano instructor."

Having taught piano for many years I figured this would be reasonable (even though I hadn't actually taught piano for over 10 years by then).

I watched conciliation settle on her face. She was happy. I was ... astounded, perplexed, irritated, even a little condemned, but not angry. That came later.

I have thought about this little scenario many times in the years since it happened, and pondered it considerably these past 2 weeks as I looked after our grandson. Caring for him brought back my years as a young mom attending to babies, running after toddlers, teaching at home, making trips to the school for plays and field days and helping in the classroom, and navigating the minefield of teenage daughters ...

And that's just the childcare part of homemaking.

My daughters are now grown and 2/3 on their own. I am able to spend more time writing but I still consider myself a homemaker.

Because, making a home is so much more than housekeeping or taking care of children. It is creating an atmosphere of joy and peace, love and comfort. A safe place to land in a chaotic world.

Making Home.

Something that couldn't be adequately explained to that bank teller.

photo credit: <a href="">Detail from meeting</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="">home is where your wifi connects automatically Throw Pillow by Sara Eshak</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>