Monday, March 25, 2013

My hat is off to Will!

Our son, Will came home for a few days during spring break. He was a little reluctant since none of his pals had the same week off and because he knew that I wanted him to help me purge some stuff out of the basement. Never one to mince words, he told us that he was basically lazy and really wasn't looking forward to helping!  He can be SUCH a little piss-pot (that was one of my dad's favorite descriptive words - originally I think it meant a 'drunk' but it morphed into meaning a 'little shit' in my dad's lexicon) but Will's joie de vivre is infectious and I love having him home.

One of the best things that happens when Will comes home is that the piano is played. He and Bill set up in the living room and play jazz together. The house fills with music and I can feel my entire body relax. Even as I'm washing up the dinner dishes, the sounds soothe me. I'm not sure if it's the music itself or the fact that it's those two guys playing the music together.

I go to bed much earlier than Will. His sleep schedule is like most other college kids - insane. Even though our rooms are fairly far apart, I can hear him laughing at things he reads on Reddit  - his news agency of choice - and other websites he frequents. His laughter, while not quite contagious, is very hearty and appreciative... and loud.  One night, too tired to get out of bed to tell him to keep the hilarity down, I texted him:

"Either close your door or try to be more miserable".

Will and I do talk seriously. However, we mostly banter with sarcasm and jokes. He loves to bait me - I pretend to have hurt feelings then I try to zing him right back.

We did finally tackle the basement together. It sounds awful (actually it was pretty horrible), but working with Will made it fun. Half way through the hilarity he drove to Dairy Queen  to reward us both with Chocolate milkshakes -- he knows my penchant for chocolate milkshakes! He willing took orders from me while I tried to determine what was garbage, what was for the donation pile and what we should keep. He even loaded up the van and made a quick trip to the Goodwill truck.

We took a break from the basement and the dust (we both have dust allergies and needed some Kleenex) to clean out his closet. We found all kinds of odd things -
including an old sheepskin/leather hat that my dad used to wear. Will didn't know that it  belonged to my dad. The interior of it says "proudly Canadian". Ha! I don't even know why I have the hat. PS - we also found one of my dad's shirts from the laundry - still in the plastic casing - dated 2002. Guess it's time to donate that one!

I suddenly remembered that my Uncle Tom had taken a picture of my dad on Christmas day -wearing said hat. Our family was staying at my Grandpa's farm house in Cobourg, Ontario. Circa 1972.

I rifled through some photo albums and found the photo  - thereby proving to Will that it was indeed the hat of Paul P. Martin!

Will liked the photo so much that he wanted to recreate the look.

In the original, my dad is holding a shepherd's crook - the crook part is just out of view (PS - we lived on a sheep farm so it wasn't entirely insane) wearing  a very colorful housecoat of my mother's and a plaintive expression. He was pretending to be Joseph (as in Joseph's coat of many colors). I'm not sure what the poinsettia is all about.  I don't think our dog, Macushla had a clue either. Needless to say, my dad had an odd sense of humor.

As we didn't have the crook or poinsettia, Will substituted an old paddle and an aloe plant. It's not an exact replica - it is still distinctly "Will" but it has enough Pauly P. in it that my Aunt Janet recognized the recreated picture without seeing the original.

Anyway, Will wore the hat around the house the rest of the day.

So now Will is back at school, the house is quiet, the basement is tidy, and in just a week we will mark the 10th anniversary of my dad's death. My heart is heavy.

I think I'll wear that hat today.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Weighing my options

Since January, Bill and I have been having a 'weight loss' contest. The biggest hurdle for me was writing down my starting weight. I have NEVER told Bill how much I weighed... IN MY ENTIRE MARRIAGE. I can barely acknowledge it to myself. When I get on the scales at the doctor's office I pretend to be distracted with the art work so I can't make eye contact with the nurse (and thus to ownership of the number). You know how some people have to look away when their blood is drawn? That's me on the scale.

But, once I confessed to Bill and wrote the number on the chart, I felt strangely lighter - it was kind of cathartic. Plus, Bill can keep a secret, so I knew I was safe. We've been keeping track each week; weigh-in is on Wednesday morning. We have weekly winners and year to date winners (there are no prizes - just the privilege of lording it over the loser for the week).  So far he is winning the "year to date". But, we both have been see-sawing on the weekly number. One week he was a huge winner - but it was also the week he had his colonoscopy... so, that one really shouldn't have counted.  He gained most of that weight back on the next weigh in.

When I think about it, this "contest" is really just a system to keep track of our weekly weight - rather than tracking our stupendous progress.

Bill has also been obsessive about weighing our dinner portions. He has a lovely little scale and is quite accurate. Today he packed my lunch (leftover Indian food that he made the night before, Trader Joe rice (delicious), and baby asparagus. However, the portion size appeared to be designed for a construction worker not a sedentary office worker. Even though I questioned the amount when I took my seat at the lunch table, I managed to chow down and eat the whole thing.  It didn't click until much later... he heavy loaded my lunch because weigh in is tomorrow!

But, I may have the last laugh. He is at a function tonight and I'm on my own for dinner.

I think tonight it'll be water and celery.