Twenty Five

All right, Mandy thinks I should sit down and think of twenty five random facts you might not know about me.  I'm not sure it can be done. Oh me of little faith.

Here's the deal. If my computer crashes before I'm through, it wasn't meant to be. I anticipate getting to about 8 on my list, if luck holds out. Don't let anyone convince you that wiping the hard drive and restoring your computer to its purchased state is going to fix chronic crashing. NOT TRUE.

But the following is:

1. I am Canadian. I know, I know, I swore all that away when I took American citizenship, but somewhere in my glowing heart beneath all the sunbaked summers and gritty wet winters, blue lakes still reflect the mountains and pristine snow falls.

2.  I may have lost my accent but you cannot take touque away from me. I refuse to use two vague words (winter hat) where a perfectly concise one word (touque) exists. 
3. I went on food stamps once. Well, not really. There's this program in Washington State called WIC. Women, Infants and Children. They give you coupons each month for cheese, milk, carrots, peanut butter and cereal for pregnant/nursing women and young children. With our household size, we always qualified, but we didn't really need it. And then, within the span of three days, M fell off a roof, I'd given birth, and had abdominal surgery. The self-employed cannot collect unemployment.  Hunger slammed itself up against pride, and together with my under-five-year-old children I went down to the clinic and endured the finger pokes and the weighing in. I took my coupons to the store and stood there in line with my six children and my pathetic cart of essentials and I burned with humiliation. Pride won. I stuffed the rest of the coupons in the glove compartment of my van and never went back. We survived. Obviously.
4. I've never admitted that before.
5. I can diagnose gallbladder disease–you're welcome, Nena. Comes from having gallstones and complications therefrom for over a decade before anyone would believe I wasn't imagining my own agony. I hope you feel better soon. If you contract any other crippling diseases, you're on your own.
6. Three of my children are bigger than me.
7. My computer has crashed three times since I started this. But after the first crash, I got smart and started writing in my email program because it auto-saves every few seconds, so all is not lost. Cut and paste, here we come. I guess I'm more interesting than I thought, because I feel like continuing anyway.
8. My Christmas tree is still standing. Fully decorated. Minus that one strand of blown lights on the lower left. Anyone know how to replace lights on a pre-lit tree?
9. I bought new appliances nine months ago, and they are still crated in my kitchen. By the time I get the right cords/outlets etc installed, my five year warranties will expire. Not that it really matters, since I hear Sears isn't supposed to last the year, anyway. Do you know how much five-year-warranties on five appliances cost me? Can I return a warranty?
6. Apparently I think 6 comes after 9.
11. My brother is ten years younger than me minus eight days. I can figure out how old I am when I remember this fact.
12. I am the valedictorian who never was. I had the highest grades, but my 4.0 paled in comparison to the fact that Solomon Bessire had lived in the town his entire life, and I had been there less than a year. Ditto the gal that took Salutatorian. I didn't mind, because a) I agreed with the tenure thing b) I didn't have to speak and c) see #13.
13. I totally didn't deserve my 4.0.  Speaking of things I have never confessed. Back home, I wouldn't have been at the top of my class. By some bizarre translation error, the grading system took respectable Canadian percentages and translated them into nearly perfect American grades.  And that French class I was doing by correspondence? I don't think I ever actually finished it. . . I find it strange that in America, you are accepted into college before you ever finish highschool, so that last semester or so really doesn't matter much. 
14. I dream about beating my children. Not all the time, and I find it very disturbing, but there it is. Sometimes I wind up and smack 'em. Only it isn't very satisfying, because they don't seem to feel it. That confession is likely even more disturbing.
15. I have 67 cans of spaghetti sauce and 164 pounds of peanut butter in my pantry. FD, you need one of these. Nothing ever goes bad because the oldest food is always at the front of the shelf. Of course, unless you are feeding thirty+ people a day like I am, you probably don't need one as big as mine.  I have two.
16. I have never broken a bone or been seriously injured. (Not counting childbirth.) I'm way too cautious.
17. I can't swim. Okay, okay, "can't is a sluggard, too lazy to try", I know. Fine, I don't swim. I'm Canadian, remember?
18. I, like Mandy, have come to enjoy public speaking in my old age. It used to terrify me into trembling, whimpering silence. I still cannot hold any sort of paper in my hands or the trembling would interfere with acoustics, but it's a good terror–middle aged adrenaline junkies, we.
19. I won't remember 99% of anything you call to tell me. A storyline, I'll probably remember that. Dates, times, places, reminders. Gone. The minute you hang up. When I make appointments for people to come see me, I make them for times I know I will be home, doing something anyway. I won't remember you're coming, but I'll be here.
20.  Come to think of it, I probably can't hear 99% of what you tell me.
21.  I would rather throw something away than figure out where to store it. Thank you, Keri, for wanting the picture frames. Now I only have to feel guilty about the ones I threw away last week. 
22.Sometimes, when my children tell me about their day or a movie they saw, I swear, they start speaking a foreign language. I reeeeeeaaaallllllly try to concentrate, but then my eyes start to glaze over and I want to bang my head against the floor.  
23. I totally believe in the honest cheat–Mandy, what did you write about? Ooh. Employment history, let's see. When I was sixteen I worked in the OT department at Lethbridge Regional Hospital. Main reason I went into Audiology in college. Switched majors after the class where I had to find an obliging three year old child, spend two hours interacting with them, and then transcribe our conversation phonetically.
24. Worked at a plant nursery after the hospital. You've seen the documentaries about the women who stack newspapers and boxes everywhere until just a small path remains from their front door to their bed? Yeah. I worked for that lady. There was also a path to the linen cabinet in her bathroom. This is where she kept the cash box. Under her wedding towels.  She never threw anything away. Ever. She would have me deadhead every bachelor button on the property and keep all the seeds. Just in case some kind of natural disaster wiped out the ten billion that had taken over the back forty.
25. Left there to work at Willow Drive Nursery weeding around saplings–do you know the male crew got to use long handled hoes and the girls, well, they gave us these things that looked a little like spackle knives, if I remember right. One of the gals got smart and shoved the handle up under the laces of her boot so she could kick the weeds to death. Supervisor had a fit. We went back to bending over.  Maybe they thought it'd go to our heads if they entrusted us with real tools. The boys also got to walk for fire-blight. This entailed walking up and down the (shady) rows of more mature pear trees looking at the leaves. In an upright position. We were weeding or pushing sawdust down around rootballs in the trenches. Froze our fingers until the sun came out, then burnt our aching backs. Best summer of my life, no kidding.

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3 responses to “Twenty Five

  • Jayne Crook

    I also have very fond memories of willow drive nursery. I accredit some of my growing up to that place. I also realize it only had to do with the people we were working with and not the actual job itself. Those were good times. But, you couldn't have convinced me of that back then. I wonder if Ruby is still working there? Wouldn't surprise me one bit. She was a go-getter.

  • Kimber

    Ruby! I was trying to remember her name. How do you people do that? Just pull these names out of nowhere?

  • Jayne Crook

    You'd think I was a name genius. I only remember the names of random people. I often forget the names of my children. I guess I remember Ruby because I actually worked there for 3 summers—and she reminded me of my granny.

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