Have you ever been wondering what to do out of several choices? Like, boxing my 48 litres of wine (I don’t bottle: it’s too labour-intensive); doing a PowerPoint presentation for the following Sunday’s service; vacuuming the house; or getting the guest room ready for our next visitor arriving next Tuesday.
On returning home from a morning unlocking the church for a meeting I was not attending, picking up theatre tickets, going to the bank to make a deposit, then on to Costco to add another grandchild as a family member and finally the Bulk Barn to pick up unshelled peanuts and shelled sunflower seeds for the Blue Jays, squirrels and chipmunks, I had a nice lunch in my recliner followed by an even nicer nap.
So, there I was, right after my nap, faced with having to do something. Other than just staying in my recliner and trying to nod off again.
I decided that boxing my wine was a morning job, definitely not an afternoon one. For your edification, ‘boxing’ is not a term used by real vintners: it is one I coined as a result of deciding that de-labeling, washing and sterilizing 60 or so bottles, filling them, corking them, shrink-wrapping them, labelling them and carrying them down two flights of stairs to the wine room a few at a time was, as I said above, much too labour-intensive. Particularly as I would have to climb back up two flights again. I enjoy my wine – and that of other’s too – too much to waste time which could be used in drinking it. Besides the grape juice concentrate manufacturers provide me with a lovely strong plastic bag container, which holds up to 7 litres, and I re-insert the full bag back into the box they also, thoughtfully, provide. All I have to do is cut a hole in the side of the box so the spout can protrude to which I attach a tap. And there it is, ready to squirt wine into my glass; and yours, if you are here. How easy is that! All I needed was six bags and boxes, not sixty bottles.
The PowerPoint was the next option. However, I had just finished the presentation for this coming Sunday, so I didn’t really feel like jumping straight into another one for the following Sunday. There’s always time for that between now and the arrival of our next visitor.
Vacuuming the house was an option, which had true little appeal after just waking from a nap and having the other option of nodding off again. Besides, I find it takes too much energy to do the entire house in one go, so usually I split the exercise into two smaller efforts. By the time I had decided that I had time to vacuum one floor, it was too late, as I was already considering the fourth option….
….that of getting the guest room ready. Well, it is ready, it’s always ready for whomsoever needs to stay overnight, so all that is needed is to make the bed with clean sheets. And that can be done any time between now and Tuesday morning.
At about that time, I must have nodded off again.
On awakening, I realised that there was no time left to do any of the four options, so I sat down at the computer and wrote this.
I like to think of myself as a Foodie -sometimes a gourmet and sometimes a gourmand, but always a Foodie.
But recently I came across an article in the Oxford English Dictionaries Word of the Day mentioning crossushi, raw water and mouth cooking and I wondered what they were.
Crossushi, it turns out, is manufactured by a bakery in New York and is a cross between a croissant and sushi as we know and love it: a sesame-seed-topped croissant with smoked salmon, wasabi, and nori seaweed. Well, I could certainly handle that as a Foodie.
Raw Water is something quite different: it is unsterilised water taken by those who do not believe there should be chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals in drinking water. Well, I drink that all the time, since we obtain our water from a 200-ft/65-metre well in our property. The only chemical of distinction in our water is arsenic. True. But I have been drinking it for well over thirty years now and I still have quite a head of hair. But others, apparently, simply get their water from streams and open water. Nah, that’s not for me.
Now we get to Mouth Cooking. Oh, my, after I discovered what that was, again, courtesy of OED, “A viral YouTube video called ‘Cooking With Your Mouth’ features a chef preparing a Christmas turkey stuffing entirely with her mouth – from dicing onions by chewing a big bite to zesting lemon by scraping the rind against her teeth to mixing a raw egg by swishing it around her gums” I decided that was distinctly, definitely outside the realm of this Foodie.
Yes, I have often shared a fork, say an escargot from My Beloved’s dish, or a spoon, say a small piece of my grandson’s chocolate torte, but chewed food out of another’s mouth? Not for me.
The article went on to posit whether Shakespeare was a gourmet or gourmand. Perhaps we will never know for sure, but judging from the many times food is mentioned in his thirty-nine plays one might consider he was, like me, a Foodie. Consider some of his lines:
Eight wild boars roasted whole for breakfast, and but twelve persons there. (Antony and Cleopatra)
Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers (Romeo and Juliet)
Do you think because you are virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale? (Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night)
Then again, Drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things………nose painting, sleep and urine. Lechery, sir, it provokes, and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but takes away the performance. (Macbeth) [Nose painting, by the way, is the reddening of one’s nose through drinking.]
I cannot end, of course, without recognising that we have had two of our daughters here over the past two months, both providing a huge help in the weeding and planting of flowers. One grandson has also been here helping with some of the heavier chores, such as chopping and stacking wood. They all will be gone towards the end of next week, but shortly after in August, another daughter and her two daughters will be arriving from California. It is possible, hopefully, that a fourth daughter will be arriving by herself (children all grown up and husband cannot get away from work) for a week or two just before the other daughter and granddaughters leave. Too bad our son will not be able to make a trip here from Victoria, BC, but, in September a dear friend from England arrives for three weeks. And, obviously, we will have more adventures for Foodies over the next two or three months.
Last night, one daughter, one grandson, My Beloved and I each had a more than 2-pound
lobster and My Beloved’s fresh-out-of-the-oven bread. Oh, that makes me, with good wine to slosh it all down, like the printers, an all-in-one gourmet, gourmand and Foodie. And if you know our family, you always leave a last slice of new bread to the very end, when it is smothered in butter and Marmite. Oh, yummmmmmy!
And I leave you with some words from this Foodie:
I go to the market to buy me some bacon
but when I get there, my tummy starts achein’,
for I see all the goodies lined up on the shelves
and to them my eyes are drawn all by themselves:
Hershey dark choc’late and Breyer’s ice cream
and things that I love and not just in a dream
like peaches and crumpets and jams with great flavour
and spices which I in my curries can savour.
As I pass by the shelves I select this and that
much more than I came for – and that’s a true fact.
I’ve seen so much choice that my will’s got forsaken
and I choose so much more than the one slab of bacon;
my cart is so laden with peanuts and Ruffles
to get to the car I can barely do shuffles.
It’s not till next morning as I stand on the scales
the neighbours for far sure can all hear my wails.
So, gourmand or gourmet or plain simple Foodie
fill up my tummy and I’ll never be moody.
Every year it seems, My Beloved and I host family or friends guests from about the third week of June, for all of July, most of August, and well into September.
And we enjoy every day of that time!
And, more to the point, THEY enjoy every moment of every day!
Why wouldn’t you when you can wake up in the Guest room to this scene:
So, what does food have to do with our guests?
When they have awoken, some like breakfast; some nothing to eat, but maybe a cup of coffee or tea. If they like breakfast, they may well like a British breakfast with my special extra-creamy scrambled eggs, such as these two Atlanta, GA, friends of ours, J and C, at the far end of the table:
Others, like N and J from Palm Springs, California, like cereal. (Note to self: make sure the Best Before date is more recent than two years ago.) And/or fruit.
Some, like T and S from Cleveland, bring a trailer and prefer to have breakfast in their abode before emerging for the rest of the day with us.
One of our daughters, Jenny, and her 13-year old son, Jack, come in June every year and stay for all of July, as Jack takes sailing lessons at St. Margaret’s Bay Sailing Club. Last year, the day after their arrival, they were up early,
joined us at our church for morning service,
followed by lots of fun at the Parish barbecue.
Hamburgers and hot dogs for all. Including young Jack
trying to stuff a complete hamburger in his mouth.
Some breakfast! But his teenage appetite is something else!
Lunches are very variable. Some like almonds, yogourt and fruit. We tend to eat those items for lunch, so apples, grapes, bananas, pears or plums are always in the larder or either the kitchen or downstairs fridge. Or there’s always White Sails down Peggy’s Cove road for mountainous Montreal smoked meat sandwiches on rye with sauerkraut and French fries with poutine on the side. Some lunch!
There are some whose digestive system will take any punishment and they need new (preferably) bread, lots of butter, loads of salami or ham slices and mustard and pickles.
Again, some lunch!
I must admit that I have been known at least once in the past decade to have a new bread thickly-spread peanut butter and tomato or banana sandwich. And there has to be a good layer of butter under the peanut butter.
Well, maybe more than one in a decade.
And there is an alternative, such as today’s lunch of lovely crunchy bread, butter, but because the kitchen was quite cool today, it was impossible to spread the butter thinly – sort of sliced butter – and a reasonable slice of Velveeta. Yes, I have always loved Velveeta, so what, you critics!
New bread with cold butter that won’t spread, so it has to go on rather thickly, and Marmite is a delight My Beloved, some of our five kids and I relish. Marmite? Ah, go to the British section of the supermarket. Or World Market in Palm Springs. Yes, it’s a British thing, I’m told, and if you have not been brought up with Marmite, you may not, at a mature age as is Robb, like it. But give it a try – Robb does time and time again: new bread, thickly spread butter and Marmite very lightly spread – you don’t need much. You can also use it in gravies. I think it could be used as a spy test: if you don’t like Marmite, you must be a Russian spy.
Then there are the dinner choices for our guests. Some may have allergies, such as shellfish like K, or Garlic – yes garlic – like J, or onions like D. And there are those like R who are steak people. Or roast beef like Tanis – oh, but wait a minute, she likes Greek and sushi, too.
Take them to a restaurant and see what they order. Do they select the escargots or a chowder? Do they choose salmon or lamb chops? And do they eat desserts? It’s a way of finding out our friends’ preferences.
My Beloved and I rarely eat desserts – virtually never at home – and, if we do choose one at a restaurant, we are likely to share a chocolate mousse. But watch C, he will have the most luscious strawberry Charlotte Russe the house can offer – not this house though, it takes too long to prepare.
However, if I can find plantains, I will flambé them for guests.
Let them get black as the ace of spades, the plantains, not the guests – some people see them on the top of our fridge and think they are rotting bananas. The blacker they are, the better. Carefully run a sharp-pointed knife down the inside curve of the plantain, trying to penetrate only the skin, not the fruit itself, and the skin will peel off. Slice them into 1cm disks. Heat a cast iron fry pan and when medium hot, add a good chunk of butter and some brown sugar. When the butter and sugar have melted, add the plantain disks. Sauté until they are nicely browned, then flip them and do the other side. Just when they are ready to serve, pour in a good splash of brandy or Grand Marnier or liqueur of your choice, remove the pan well away from the stove keeping your head well away, too, and ignite the spirit with a long match. Your guests will be amazed at the result! Serve and pour the pan juices over the plantains.
That appears as if I do the cooking: no way, My Beloved is the best cook in the world and she it is at the heart of our home-made gastronomic experiences. But we work well together at helping our guests.
Some guests, of course, are omnivores. They are very easy to please. They’ll eat anything and everything.
Which brings up the fact that, while all our guests may prefer a certain food or type of food, they are all wonderful people and all are accommodating, willing, allergies aside, to eat, or at least try, what we put in front of them.
If you come and stay with us, you have been warned: your choice at a restaurant doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what you will get at Chez Nous. But we will get to know you by your food choices and you will get love and food prepared lovingly.
Over the past five months, I have subjected my friends and two of our daughters have subjected their FB friends to episodes in my life regarding health.
Ofttimes, I have thought, I wonder if this is TMI – Too Much Information – and whether I should not ask for prayers and positive thoughts. I have wondered whether my friends and all those hundreds on FB, most of whom I do not know, have just discarded the emails or FB posts.
Today, after church, one person came up to me and said, “Mel, thank you so much for sharing. Many people do not have the courage to ask for support. Perhaps your sharing will help them share.”
I had never thought about my emails in that light. It was quite a revelation to me. But on thinking about it, I realised that very often I know friends who are suffering from health or other difficulties of life and, yet, they do not broadcast their woes or seek opinions of others. In my case, I also realised that by telling hundreds of people about myself, hundreds of people, most of whom I do not even know since they are friends of our daughters, gave me huge support with prayers and, equally stimulating for me, words of encouragement, stories of their spouses’ or friends’ experiences. So many people supporting me: me, whom they, too, did not know, but nevertheless took time to let me know they were thinking of me.
I am not a narcissist, nor do I have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am a person who likes to talk to people. My Beloved knows that I am just as likely to start a conversation with that nice couple at the next table as not. Maybe more likely, particularly if I detect a different accent. I have also been told on many occasions that I am funny. And that is how I tried to write those emails relating to my health issues: not heavy-handed or sorrowful, but with a touch of lightness. To many I related my issues to an old car: you take it in for an oil change and the mechanic says, the radiator has a slight leak – I can really associate myself with that – and, having fixed the leak, I find my brakes are squealing, so I have to get new pads. Having got that fixed, the weather stripping around the driver’s door needs replacing – it actually did need that. After all that, I say my car has had its Spring Tune-up. That’s me.
Pacemaker in Nov-Dec.
One eye cataract in Jan and the second in Feb.
In March, a CAT scan (because I cannot have an MRI with a pacemaker) discovered two “things” in the bladder, so this month, I have had them scraped off the wall.
The following day, I had two basal cell cancers snipped off the tip and the side of my nose – I look like I had a great fight or, as one friend at church put it, “Looks like your wife bit the end off in a moment of real passion!” Yes, in church, yet.
I still have to get a hernia fixed in May, but after that, I will be able to say, my Spring Tune-up was successful and I am ready to run or walk as in the past. Walk, anyway, as I don’t like running. I mean, what’s the point of trying to get from one point back to where you came from in the least amount of time? I like to cover the same ground looking at the hedgerows, the flowers and keeping watch out for the hungry coyote.
Without humour, where would we be and what would our lives be like? (The subject of another post on this Blog, I think.) Life is what we get dealt by genes, fate, and nothing you or I can do will change those factors. However, our own way of life can be a serious factor by what we eat, believe and how we act. And in how we deal with what we have been dealt and relate that to others, if we feel like doing so, is quite probably the way that others come back to us. As yet another person in church this morning said, “These last few months, you have had one thing after another, but you always come bouncing back cheerfully!”
Life may not be what you make it, but you can sure help to shape the results. And it may be that if you share your issues with others, as I have done, the rewards can be overwhelming, often making me cry.
Cry? Is that a good or happy thing? You betcha, it made me feel one heck of a lot better!
And, so, I share all this with you, dear reader. May you be blessed with good health and a sense of humour.
For years I have wanted something that would tell me how far I have walked, or how many steps I have taken.
Once years ago, I bought a pedometer which strapped on my wrist. After a while, it seemed not to be very accurate and I lost interest in what it was telling me. I think it broke: or I broke it. I can’t remember.
So, just recently, I informed My Beloved of 63 years (plus those nine courting years, including 6 in the teen years) that for my birthday I would like a pedometer. OK, she responded, but you will have to choose one. Now this was different, because for the past umpteen years, we have not given birthday or Christmas gifts to each other – oh, occasionally, I might have given in and surprised her.
Now some of our friends have Fitbits. And everyone to whom I talked never mentioned the word pedometer. I thought I must be a dinosaur asking for a pedometer: so was the name Fitbit being adopted like Kleenex as a generic word meaning what I used to call a pedometer? This thought had me starting to search Google for Fitbits.
Oh, they come for your wrist, for your ankle, as a pendant or as an attachment to your belt. Or as a clip-on to your pocket. I had had no idea how many of these Fitbits there are. But then I discovered that there are many fitbits (with a small f), but that they are not called fitbits with a small f, but Fitness Trackers. Oh.
But my friends all had Fitbits, or they said they did. Oh, my! I quickly came to the conclusion that all our Fitbit friends were wealthier than My Beloved and me. The price of Fitbits seemed astronomic: over $300 Canadian. To count my steps?
But wait, the ad said, all the things that a Fitbit can do:
Tracks steps, distance and calories burned
Syncs automatically to your computer or select bluetooth 4.0 smartphones or tablets
Set goals, view progress and earn badges
Share and compete with friends throughout the day
Free iphone and android application
Sync stats wirelessly and automatically to your computer and over 150 leading smartphones
No, no, no! I do not want to sync to my computer; I do not want to earn badges – I have enough; I do not want to share and compete with friends. I JUST WANT TO COUNT STEPS.
So, next was the Omron at little over half the price of a Fitbit. However, in Canada we work in metric and I found one review which told me that it could not be changed to metric. Throw the Omron out!
After looking at a number of similarly expensive machines – and it seemed to me that the smaller the machine, the more costly it is – I concluded that I could not have a birthday present.
But wait! What if I changed my term of reference for Google? How about simply asking if there were such a thing as a Pedometer. And, suddenly, there burst on my screen a zillion pedometers – including my friends’ Fitbit.
And there, alongside the Fitbits were much less costly gizmos. Including one called a
The One Tweak does a few simple, but one particularly essential one for me: it counts steps. Yes, it also stores a daily and up to a monthly total. And a total memory mode. It also counts calories (which I ignore in more ways than one), the distance in kilometres (yes, it does US standard, too), and exercise time. It does not sync with my computer; it does not share and compete with friends; it does not earn badges! It does what I wanted a pedometer to do: count steps and tell me how far I have walked.
And it clips to my trouser pocket – facing inside the pocket. Or, when I’m doing exercises first thing in the morning, to my underpants. That’s probably too much info. Imagining me in my underpants and a shirt doing exercises. One Tweak doesn’t care – it works anyway.
The photo shows that today, Easter Sunday 2018, by just about 3 minutes to 5pm when I took the photo and put it in this post, I had walked 1,652 steps – most of them at church this morning. Yes, we had a Sunrise Service at 5.30am starting with fire in the parking lot, then candle-light in the church, following which we men’s group provided breakfast of fried eggs (three at least for most), sausages (two for most, but three or four for some), one pancake each, tea, coffee and OJ or apple juice. And then, after an hour and a half break during which My Beloved and I went home, set the alarm for 9am, woke to the alarm, we returned for a more traditional Anglican (C of E or Episcopalian, depending on your country) service at 9.30am.
Oh, yes, my One Tweak tells the time – and in metric! Or 12-hour AM/PM if you prefer. I don’t.
How can you refuse to buy and keep something from Amazon Prime when it arrives with the enclosed card:
I have now had my One Tweak for about a week and how much did it cost? Canadian $80. And I am totally satisfied with it – well, almost: the numbers are rather slow at getting towards my first target of 5,000 steps. I wonder how I can get it to speed up!
10th day of March this year of 2018 marked my 85th birthday. And did a year make a difference? No, and but for a few minor health issues dealt with or about to be dealt with, I still feel as fit as last year – or the year before.
So, what made the 10th special were three great happenings? A great hotel, a great theatre, and a great dinner.
First, I had found a good weekend rate and we checked into the Prince George Hotel last Saturday afternoon. Right on check-in time of 3pm.
We didn’t have more time than to dump our belongings, few though they were for a one-night stay, open the bottle of wine in the room and have a glass each, before we had to leave and go to the Neptune theatre for what turned out to be a totally brilliant performance of The Mountaintop. This short, only one hour-twenty-minute drama was a tour de force for the two actors comprising the cast: Tristan D. Lalla as Martin Luther King, Jr. on the evening before assassination day, and Letitia Brookes, as Camae, the flirtatious and temptress room-service waitress. They held us spellbound for the entire eighty minutes with lots of humour and leaving us with a vital message that we, as human beings, still have a long way to go to get racial integration.
Lalla was the mainstay of the entire evening although both of them received three call-backs for their intense and often humourous rendition of their parts. The playwright is a Memphis, Tennessee woman, Katori Hall, the director was Jamaican-born Torontonian, Ahdri Mandiela, and the cast were Canadians.
From Neptune, we returned to the Prince George only to discover, in the shortened version of this tale, that Atlanta daughter, Jenny, had found out where we were and had had us upgraded to the most luxurious suite in the hotel, the Prince Suite. Mind, you, I later discovered that she, as only she can, wangled and wrought wonders with the staff to reduce the cost astonishingly. Not that that mattered to us, as she had taken care of the stay and thrown in dinner for us, which My Beloved and I had previously reserved in the very good hotel restaurant, Gio. I had been particularly careful not to tell any of our family and only one friend, and she not until around our check-in time, where we were going to stay and eat. But the wiles of Jennifer Anne are hyperacute. The following day, we walked out with zero on our credit card. Oh, she does something like this every year on our birthdays, for she can do a two-for-one, My Beloved’s birthday being eight days later, tomorrow, in fact. My Beloved and I believe it is wonderful that she is able to do this for us and we are annually very, very grateful.
We dressed differently for dinner, discarding our casual theatre garb for more formal dress. Except that I had intended to wear a navy blazer, grey trousers, blue shirt and red tie. Only I forget to put the blazer in the car. What did I say at the beginning of this post – I was that day 85, so we will ascribe the forgetfulness to a sense of joyful achievement. So, I was left with a red cashmere sweater and a red tie. It worked, sort of.
Chantel, with whom Jenny had worked regarding the restaurant, was not our server, but came over to the table and welcomed us and told us she had enjoyed working with Jenny. Our server was Hannah and she was just wonderful, hiding our wine, Trapiche Iscay, and suddenly appearing with it just as the glasses were getting low.
While we were sipping our wine, Hannah brought some lovely soft bread with oil and balsamic vinegar – always a winner for both of us.
My Beloved started with a squash soup, roasted and pickled squash, chili oil (only a dash, please asked My Beloved), cinnamon, and crème fraîche all of
which was truly tasty and filling, so that when it came to her main course, she opted for another appetiser of Pork and Beans. Yes, you may well smile, but when they arrived, the plate had three strips of caramelized pork shoulder, navy beans, molasses and pickled Brussels sprouts (which neither of us had seen before). Very, very good, she declared!
Between the appetisers and the mains, Hannah arrived with what I can only describe as a very tasty amuse-guelle in a porcelain Chinese soup spoon. Although Hannah explained what it was, I have no recollection of her description.
My appetiser was something I had not seen on a menu for years, although it had always been a favourite of mine: sweetbreads. No, that is not a form of sourdough bread; it is – usually – either the thymus or the pancreas of a calf or lamb. Mine were described on the menu as breaded sweet breads, focaccia, mushrooms, pickled egg and tempura enoki mushrooms. Oh, how these sweetbreads brought back so many far-off memories of delicious ones, especially creamed, eaten with my parents during or after the war (WWII, not WWI), as during the war meat was scarce or unobtainable, but you ate every part of an animal. When creamed, they are soft and tender and these at Gio, although soft in the middle, were spoiled a little by the fried breading. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them immensely. I have had them since the war, certainly dining somewhere in North America with My Beloved, but it was a long time ago and neither of us can remember where or when.
Back to my main, which was three delicious large Digby scallops with rye spätzle, corned beef, chestnuts, kale, brown butter cream, capers, squash purée and crispy sauerkraut. Wow! What an aggregation! But it can be described as par excellence.
As my family all know, I am very partial to the large local Nova Scotian scallops from around the town of Digby.
Following this wonderful dinner, we ordered our digestifs, Cointreau on the rocks for My Beloved and a Chocolate Coffee, consisting of kahlúa, bailey’s, crème de cacao, grand marnier and chocolate with whipped cream on top for me, the Birthday Kid.
Suddenly out of the somewhere, Hannah appeared with a chocolate dessert.
As could be expected after such a sumptuous course, we retired to our Prince Suite and just sat, relaxed, sipping the last of the previous room’s bottle of wine, when, lo and behold, a doorbell rang and who should appear but a room service server with a plateful of our favourite Stilton and glasses of Port. Oh, and a few grapes, but who cared about them.
So, what a difference a meal makes? Yes, yesterday, I undertook to create a cauliflower crusted pizza It was a lot of work cooking and shredding the cauliflower, grating Parmesan and Mozzarella, lots and lots of it, chopping salami, pepperoni, ham, mushrooms, cooking bacon and chopping it, cooking the base, then assembling it all with store-bought pizza sauce and a layer of cheese, then layer upon layer of meat, mushrooms and bacon, separated with even more cheese.
Well, we had a very good appetiser of shrimp in avocados, but the pizza left a lot to be desired. Could it really be called pizza?
Could it be compared to Gio’s dinner? Yes – it was edible, but will not be repeated.
Of course, neither may the Prince George adventure and experience!
You know how your old car develops little maintenance problems and you have to get them fixed before it will run properly again?
First, you have a rear right turn light out, so I, being totally car illiterate, have to take it to the service garage.
You get it fixed, only to hear squeaks coming from somewhere under the hood (or bonnet). Back to the fixer of everything cars. It needs a new belt, he says. OK, what’s that? It’s the belt, he replies, that you don’t want to get your fingers anywhere near when you are filling up the windshield washer.
He fixes that, but the very next day you hear more squeaks, but not from the belt. (Oh, I am now an expert with auto terms and I can say belt, sort of knowing what it is.) So back to Mr Fixer. Oh, he says, that sounds like rotors. Hey, my car is not a helicopter: it doesn’t have any rotors. No, he says, a rotor is the thing in the wheel that the brake pads grab to slow you down.
So you get new rotors: they never come one at a time, always in pairs. At least that’s what Mr. Fixer says. After paying him a minor fortune, you drive off feeling happy.
A week later, I see water under the front of the car. I open the hood and, now I am an expert, even I can see there is a hose (yes, I know that term – I have several in the garden that spout water in various places leading to a little spurt at the end instead of a good jet) and I see water dripping from the hose that leads to the radiator (I know that term, too, for in olden days, My Beloved and I had an apartment in Winnipeg equipped with something that looked like the thing under the hood, which I broke by leaving the window open at night, only to have the minus thirty degree air come in and bust it, thereby flooding the apartment below). So, Mr. Fix-it fixed that.
All of that cost some dollars, but more to my point, they were all minor maintenance issues, which many an old car has.
And that is how I am feeling these days.
Back in November (2017), the fainting, going unconscious, episodes about which I had written and many of you knew about as long ago as five years were getting closer together. Short story: my pulse would drop to 30 beats per minute and leave those funny little billions of cells in my head with very little blood, so they shut me down and these episodes became a daily event. That’s when the cardiac specialist inserted a pacemaker in me. Great! Now I do not pass out. Well, not because of low pulse rate. So, I checked off No. 1 maintenance.
Second maintenance was a cataract operation to my left eye, which left me able to see half of you, as the other eye had not had an operation – until two weeks ago. Now I see you properly and you all look beautiful – or handsome, if you are a male.
Third maintenance issue: last fall, I arranged with a plastic surgeon, who also, fortunately, specialises in removal of basil cell cancers and the like, to have the one on the tip of my nose cut off. Some say, a smaller nose would have been better seven decades ago. So, that takes place March 21st.
Fourth maintenance issue started yesterday with a CAT scan of my abdomen. Over the past couple of months, I had been having teeny-weeny pains sometimes in my left lower abdomen and I could feel the odd lump, which, when I massaged it, would move along and disappear. At least, until it appeared later as, to put it politely, gas or poop. Now, I may not be a car expert, but I am a pretty good quack, so I figured it could be a hernia. So, also, after poking me around quite a bit, agreed my real doctor, the lovely Dr. Eve (name changed to hide the innocent), but I’d better get a CAT scan. As I have a pacemaker, I cannot have an MRI or I will disintegrate in flames.
However, before I was able to get it, another issue arose, which required a CAT scan also. I chose to get it at an out-of-town hospital, as I knew it would take longer to get it in the main hospital in town. And yesterday, My Beloved and I had a lovely drive in the country with +8C and sunny skies to get my two-for-one CAT scan. I can’t tell you the results yet, but I’m sure my Dr. Eve will let me know next week.
On our return drive, we picked up our mail at the boxes, or as Canada Post tenderly calls them, a nest of boxes. In one of the envelopes was a demand for me to appear at a down-town hospital, where a urologist will give me a cystoscopy. Now, my quack knowledge did not encompass that technical medical word, but it didn’t sound or look like anything frightening. I mean, after all, cyto comes from Greek meaning a cell and I have zillions of them, so why would he need to copy one of my cells? But, if that’s what he wants, then he can copy as many as he wants.
But, curiosity, as they say, killed the cat. I looked up cystoscopy and it didn’t mean copying any of my cells. It meant this doctor, who from his name is obviously an Irish immigrant right out of the University of Limerick, is a newly born surgeon looking to further his experience and to take a camera right up my – yes, very private part – and have a good look around at several of my organs. When I have had my colonoscopies I have rather enjoyed watching on the TV in the op room the camera creep up my other private part looking for nasties, but I’m not sure I will be able to have the satisfaction of that in this next invasion of my innards, as they probably don’t have a TV set up in the same way. Or, maybe they do.
Well, remember the car and its maintenance? That’s how I feel I am these days, just getting maintained. But, when all has been fixed, just like the car, I will be as fit as I feel now, only knowing that there is nothing further that can go wrong — trust me, I’m a pretty good quack!