Sunday, February 05, 2006

slow saturday

We had a bit of a strange day yesterday. It started routinely enough and I had plans to get a lot done. But at 9:15 the electricity went out as a result of a windstorm that blew in overnight. So we went to Mom’s where everything was bright and warm.

She was still basking in the glow of a visit from her brother and sis-in-law and a friend on Friday. The activities coordinator of her building (M.) had organized quite an afternoon celebration for Chinese New Year complete with a dragon dance. "But they had a bar," Mom said, her voice full of disgust.

Yes, the secular atmosphere in her building is a first for my sheltered 91-year-old mum who has lived her whole life to this point in a Mennonite enclave of one kind or another.

"Did you see this, though?" She showed us the Villa’s monthly newsletter that serves as a communication between residents and staff. There in the news item about exercise classes was Mom’s name - twice - as part of the team that set the record for the most volleys and again on the one that broke that record in balloon volleyball. (Mom does these exercise classes sitting down - don’t ask me how it works). She is also on the February schedule to teach the craft of quilling one morning a week.

Another item on the monthly schedule is church – and a Bible study. There is a Protestant service every Sunday afternoon, and now one of the pastors is going to head up an evening Bible study as well. (If you ask me, M. is doing a great job of trying to keep everyone happy - the bar notwithstanding.)

On the way home we detoured past Future Shop where E. wanted to browse for something. But when we got to Whalley it was a tangle of traffic because the lights were out there too (four-way stop procedure at every eight-lane intersection - let’s get out of here! - FS was closed anyway.)

Back at home the lights were still out. We had cold bagels and cheese for lunch with lukewarm coffee from the thermos. I willingly tidied the kitchen glad to have an excuse to pour a sinkful of warm water.

Then E. put on his jacket and pulled his armchair next to the window while I wrapped myself in couch throws and afghans and, with just the feeble light from the window, read and read and read while the wind whistled, scolded and moaned through the trees and around the house.

Finally at 3:25 - flick! The lights came on and all over the house electric motors (fridge, printer, ceiling fan) swung into motion. Somehow I never regained my morning ambition though. Instead I stayed on the couch, dozing in and out of the "American Justice" enjoying the warmth, but also feeling a bit demoralized to think what a little thing it takes to bring my life to a grinding stop.


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