Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Yesterday did not start out well at all.

I had planned to create a post about our weekend - the kind of weekend I love. It snowed a lot, I shoveled the drive and walked the dog - my mini poodle loves snow, and snow storms. He chases blowing snow, and buries his head in snowdrifts just for fun. We have a neighbour with a doggy pal, and when we walk together, the dogs go nuts in the snow.

Later on Saturday afternoon Meg and her boyfriend and I went grocery shopping and picked out a tree.

In many ways my eldest has shown great maturity lately. But underneath it all, she's still sometimes the little girl I nurtured and loved. In Christmases past, when she picked the tree, she would manage to pick the most unsuitable tree possible. The one with the needles falling off, or the one with the great big gaps. The tree with two tops, or missing crucial limbs. We adjusted. Once they're decorated, you can't tell the difference anyways.

I paid for the tree, and I went to get the car, to bring it to the tree yard. Meg is still using a wheelchair to get around outside the house, so we needed to load wheelchair and tree in the back of an 06 Focus. Fortunately, the trees in the Zehr's lot were pretty small. I pulled the car up to the lot, and there they were, standing proudly with one of the biggest trees I'd ever seen. Tallest, anyways, and it was wrapped, so I couldn't gauge how big it was. It fit in the trunk, barely, with the trunk open, and we drove home slowly through a typical SW Ontario squall - big wet flakes and driving winds, with paranoid me thinking that the tree was going to fall out any minute.

Once we were home, we left the tree outside. Emily was with her dad until Sunday, and we weren't putting the tree up without her. The next morning, I looked outside and noticed that the tree had rolled across the porch and was covered in snow. I went outside to prop it up against the wall - I'd rather not have all that snow indoors, thanks.

I couldn't lift it.

Now I am not small, nor am I feeble. I occasionally lift my 5 year old, who weighs about 55 pounds. I've never had a problem lifting up a Christmas tree before. Even when N was around, I was the tree person - he does not have much affinity for Christmas at all. But this darn tree was so heavy that I could barely drag it across the porch.

Meg's boyfriend put the tree up while I was out walking the dog. It is huge - it's the kind of tree that belongs in a hotel lobby somewhere, or in someone's great big vestibule in their expansive suburban house. Not in the tiny corner that we have for a tree. But we managed to make it fit, even though we can barely fit through the living room doorway.

We had a wonderful afternoon. We decorated - Meg sat in my desk chair and rolled around the living room, putting up "her" ornaments, that her uncle has been buying for her since she was a baby. The tree looked very much like the tree in the commercial, where only the lower half of the tree was decorated, because neither one of the girls could reach the top of the tree. I pitched in a bit and moved a few things. But the poor tree, it looked rather - empty. I've never had that problem before. Megan has her own ornaments, and I've been a preschool teacher for 16 years. There are three kinds of gifts that are favoured for teachers, at least preschool teachers. Candles, chocolates and Christmas tree ornaments. I usually have more than enough to fill the tree.

But it was a beautiful tree, especially after the ribbons and garland went up.

We spent the rest of the afternoon baking cookies - gingersnaps and haystacks. Meg wheeled around in the desk chair,stirring and mixing, doing everything she could. Emily sugared the tops of the gingersnaps, sang a lot, and started to become her usual overexcited self around bedtime.

Monday was a typical Monday. Nobody wanted to get up.

Tuesday morning I was lying in bed. I'd turned the alarm off already, and it was about 5:45 am. I was doing a good job of pretending that I really didn't need to get up when I heard a sound. It was a slide and a gentle tinkle, like a sheet of ice sliding off the roof. I went to the bathroom and looked outside - no freezing rain, so no ice. What could it be?

I walked downstairs. Meg was sitting in the recliner, cats at play around her feet. And there was our glorious tree.

Lying in the middle of the floor.

Okay, I'm late for work, the tree's on the floor and I can't lift the damn thing up by myself. I tried, but I accidentally put the tree in Megan's lap, which did not please her. Emily was upstairs crying and telling us that the ornaments had to go right back on the same branches she put them, and I'm swearing and sweating, and not very happy at all. Damn cats! I thought, but Megan pointed out to me that the cats had been downstairs with her when the tree fell.

I had to leave the tree, and my crying child, because it was snowing hard and I needed to get to work. I fed them breakfast, and brushed all the snow off the car. I turned my key in the ignition, and turned on the windshield wipers, which went up, down, up, and then...stopped.

You can't drive without wipers in Ontario in December. Particularly when it's snowing heavily and the forecast is calling for freezing rain.

Back inside. I call my supervisor, and tell her I'll be in as soon as I can. When you work in preschool, you can't just take a day off- you need to be replaced.

Whew! At least I was able to go back inside and calm Emily down, and try to clean the tree up a bit. I also got to walk her to school, which I'm not able to do these days because of my work schedule. I took the car into the garage, and walked home. By the time I arrived home, the mechanic had called.

There is a small part in the wiper that needs to be replaced. A fifty-cent component. Ford will not sell the piece on it's own. Instead you have to buy and replace the entire wiper motor.

Total cost, including labour: about three hundred and fifty fucking dollars. Excuse my language but I'm still pissed off. And the part won't arrive until sometime the next day.

I got a day off, and after I de-stressed a bit, it wasn't too bad. my sister came to visit. I baked more cookies (my christmas cookies are rapidly disappearing from the freezer, almost as fast as I can make them. I must speak to Megan about that)

And I applied for membership here:

This housing co-op is about a 25 minute walk from where I live now. They have a three bedroom townhouse available for a nice, low rate. I've lived in a co-op before, and I like the principles of joint ownership, and joint responsibility. I could rent an apartment for the same amount of money or a little bit less, but I wouldn't get the same benefits;
-an on-site playground
-a community garden (important for me, my hands need dirt sometimes)
-fenced in yards
- a walking trail beside a creek, adjacent to the units
-a few blocks from uptown waterloo
-walking distance to groceries, and a really good school district
- a bit further from the old neighbourhood than is comfortable for walking, but I think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

I'm going to arrange a viewing tonight. I walked around the outside on my way home from the garage and I really liked what I saw. It's exciting to find something that I like, something I can see myself comfortable with for the foreseeable future. I'm not really big on "owning" a house anyways. And co-op members are joint owners of the property. Good co-ops are amazing places to live, if you don't mind putting in the time and effort to benefit the community as a whole.

So my not-so-good day turned out to be not-so-bad after all.


Earth Muffin said...

Good luck with the coop. Sounds great!

Janet said...

Oh goodness that tree story is funny and sorry to laugh at your expense.


Camlin said...

Well it is

I forgot to mention that the first thing I did after I got the car back was run out to Canadian Tire and buy a new tree stand. it cost almost as much as the tree. The tree is now standing, but as yet undecorated. I'll get to it eventually.

Earth Muffin said...

You've been tagged. Stop by the Land of Earth Muffin to see the rules. Hope you participate!

Sinnerviewer said...

The c-op sounds fantastic! I wish there was something like that near me.

I wonder if there is ever a time that us moms see our children as anything but the little babies that we raised. I still call mine "babies" and they are 15 and 17. Glad they don't mind!

Camlin said...

My oldest hates it when I call her my baby. But I sometimes forget and do it anyways.