Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Five months

I just clicked on the calendar and realized today is five months since Mum died. Before I did that, I was staring at the grey sky, swearing internally, and trying to figure out where to take the kids today so they can run around without being in the (quite likely) rain. It's been five months. That means, um, I should really find out where my grandparents are interred, and have Mum's ashes interred as well, so the urn is no longer in Dad's basement. And it means it would have been good if we had the paperwork for Dad's survivorship benefits done some time ago. But they're nearly ready to mail in! Sigh.

We still haven't gotten the autopsy report back.

We know what she died of- she was no longer able to eat or drink, and became comatose. So we had no extraordinary measures and let her die. But we still don't know if it was Alzheimer's (which is generally very slow) or a different kind of horrible dementia. It will be good to know, whenever the results come back.

Whenever we discussed having an autopsy, my aunt and I would leave the hospital room and stand in the corridor. We didn't want to talk about it near Mum. I was even uncomfortable discussing funeral plans in the room. Mostly I sat, and read, or spun, or prayed.

I'm starting to get to the point that I am, emotionally and unreasonably, wanting her back. That was something I really didn't want before, and I think it means that my horrible and frightening memories of her in her last year are fading a little, and I am remembering her the way she was. That's good. It means that even though I am really, very relieved that my mother is no longer suffering, that I am missing going out for falafel, and trips to the odd foreign supermarkets I fell in love with, and seeing her and Nat both light up with joy when she came over to take him to the park. I am missing her reserve, and her quiet centredness, and her Bible with most of the pages loose.

I will always remember how she takes her tea. And which kind of cookies.

Woke with a jolt

Woke up with a sudden jolt at six, dreaming that my father fell down the stairs. Since I'm up, I might as well start the laundry and try to figure out what to do with the kids today. It's a farmers' market day but it's supposed to rain on and off, so that seems like a non-fantastic idea.

Anyone who prays, please pray- Geoff is going in for a second interview today at eleven. Thanks.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I should totally do homeschool planning, shouldn't I?

Yesterday Nat asked if school was over for him for the summer, since kids in school are done. Nope, I told him. You will continue to do your fifteen whole minutes of math per day, and you're going to keep doing read alouds and we'll probably have spontaneous messy science projects. I'll try not to scream too loudly when I discover them in progress. ("Mommy! We weren't being bad! I wanted to make super bubbles with the ketchup and the dish soap!")

But I realized that I haven't actually done much planning. We'll move up to the Grade 2 math book, probably revisit Khan Academy, and blaze through the Narnia series, but I haven't done much thinking about other parts. I'll use some of Ambleside, although I don't think Nat needs reading instruction anymore, just encouragement to read. We have a bunch of excellent poetry books, we're talking about navigation and the solar system generally a lot, I don't know whether to do science as a separate planned unit, or just let it slide, since so far we've talked about molecules and atoms, mass, celullar respiration, the digestive process, the circulatory system, the role of the brain and nerves, the different classifications of living things, and the structure of a cell, Plus all the stuff they've picked up through the museum, Bill Nye, and Magic School Bus.

For Thomas, we'll keep practising letters and doing occasional copywork, and we'll spend lots of time outdoors. That will mean, outdoors with Thomas and the girls coated in mud. We're washing towels a whole lot, but they're getting Acquainted with Nature, and sometimes they come in tired, which is very important to me. I'm still casting around for a good chapter book to read aloud to him. I might start with some Gordon Korman or another funny, unserious one. I don't think he's ready for Little House yet, but you never know. He's a much less patient listener than Nat, so it has to hook him.

And now it's time to go shout at all of them to wake up, so we can head down to the beach with sandwiches.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Couldn't remember the plankton

I could remember phytoplankton, but not the other type. So I asked Nat. "Zooplankton, Mommy". Thanks. I almost forgive you for all the random tantrums yesterday because I wouldn't let you make a Minecraft aquarium way after your computer time was finished.

 Yesterday I bribed him to read a whole pile of books aloud to Thomas and the girls by promising more computer time. If we got an iPad, I bet I could get him to clean whole rooms really thoroughly for just an hour of play. Using any and all leverage possible: that's homeschooling!
Now I must arise and go from the computer, and try to figure out what to make out of leftover butter chicken and leftover cheese sauce, that will be okay to feed Dad tonight. While I try to sneeze without clacking my still-annoyingly-painful teeth together. And then head out for a lovely appointment with another dentist who will pull out yet another of my teeth. But this is just the consult, so I will go forth from this appointment and locate some lovely poutine, in order to build up a protective layer of stored nutrients before I can't eat again.

Monday, June 22, 2015


It's Monday, and I just finished Ellen Kushner's novel Swordpoint, which was fun, and I'm making tea and sitting around waiting for children to arise from their beds and scream at me.

I have to tidy this morning, because, in huge First World Entitled Brat Problems, the nice lady who cleans our house every couple of months is coming. I flinch when I interiorly complain about how hard it is to pick up all the Legos or whatever. Because I know what a wretched entitled person those thoughts make me. Still, our house is such a general wreck right now that it's hard to know even where to begin, especially since as I clean the children are merrily running past throwing paper scraps and garden dirt on the floor. That's very bad for holding on to any patience, especially when I ask them to NOT DO THAT, AND CLEAN IT UP, and they cry and shout back at me that it's not their job!!! Whine, whine. And that cues Mommy's eternal rant about how I am Not Their Maid, and there is general unhappiness.

Like Miriam, I run briskly away from responsibility

But today it will be cleaner (at least for a few minutes), and knowing that the floors are clean and things have been vacuumed frees up enough of my brain to do stuff like organize all the food that I hoard, and possibly shelve some of the books. Not all, because that's just ridiculous, especially since Cynthia just found another lovely pile of free books on someone's front lawn, and gave them to us.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Twins fighting briskly

Right behind me, there is a battle for a blue, six-legged plastic horse which Geoff and I call Fafnir although I think the thing is actually from a set of Avatar toys. There is rage and despair and it is very loud. I'm grateful that I have coffee and the internet, because it assists in ignoring. I have learned through vast, three-year experience that solving this sort of fight between the twins is impossible. It's a Gordian knot, like the story Nat was asking about a couple of days ago, which he knows about because of Phineas and Ferb.

I was pointing out how the ancient Chinese sculpture was similar to the stuff in The Last Airbender, because we are trying Historical Education Through Heavy Exposure to Cartoons. It sort of works if your kids watch things with lots and lots of historical references.

Still, that's probably bad.

We had our friend Stephen the architect over yesterday to talk over the plans for the house, and in consequence I dreamed of different types of windows and things all night, in between dreaming that my children were being destructive at a museum. Oh wait! That actually happened! Memory, not dream. I have to see if I can book a.... a.... meeting? thing? Design meeting with an Ikea person so I can cost out the kitchen and find out how many tens of thousands it will be. Those numbers make me feel faint. It's mildly funny to me that I will head up to Ikea in my completely thrift-store clothes and cheap glasses and sit around designing something this expensive.

This reminds me that I also have to contact the March of Dimes. Since we're making an accessible bedroom and bathroom for Dad, we can possibly get funding for part of it.

I hope Dad survives 1. the building process, and 2. living with us. He's in pretty good physical shape for someone who's going to be 84 in a couple of months, but he's also very frail and tiny and I know he has osteoporosis as well as the Parkinson's and probably effects of malnutrition during Mum's last year. So every time we talk to him, or Geoff goes and picks him up to come for dinner, there's a tense back-of-the-mind feeling until we find out that he's still alive and okay. It's the Oh-God-What-If-Dad-Tried-To-Repair-The-Roof-On-His-Own feeling.

His brother cut his own hand off while working on the roof. True story. He was alone, my aunt was out, and he was working on the roof with a circular saw. Cut his hand off by accident, and then climbed down, found the hand, stuck it in the freezer, and called 911.

The paramedics were very impressed.

I come from a very tough family, I guess.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Six Quick Takes: face still hurts

1. So I am still on a porridge and other food that doesn't require chewing diet. I am morose about this. On one side I have a molar that is basically gone, and the filling fell out when they yanked my wisdom tooth. On the other, I have lots of pain and pressure sensitivity. So I really can't eat anything much. On the bright side, because I can't eat, all my clothes are getting looser. I am heavily reliant on awful miserable meal replacement shakes.

I am pretending I am a python or something else that doesn't chew.

2. We have been on an inordinate number of trips in the last week.

Children spinning rapidly

Nat explores gears

Day at the beach

The beach, the science centre, playgrounds, and yesterday we went to see the Pompeii exhibit at the ROM. We went through with great rapidity because Nat was having a blood sugar low, and started declaring that Pompeii was boring, while I surreptitiously force fed him sugar tablets. And then the kids wanted to climb on a plinth to touch a sculpture while I hyperventilated and wrangled them all down.

But security didn't throw us out, and we didn't break anything.
Pompeeiian necklace of gold and emerald

Rock from Vesuvius
They put the bodies last, which was haunting. The children were much less interested than I was, which isn't surprising. I want to take Nat back when we've read more about the explosion and when his blood sugar is okay. And I want to take him alone.
Selling in the marketplace

Blurry photos while chasing children

DIY mosaics

One of the information pieces on the wall said that they think people were flash cooked, which caused the twisting and tension you can see in the poses. It was very sad, and horrifying. You could sort of see some of the bodies' expressions.

3. I dreamed of Mum and Dad last night. I was at their house, telling someone about how we're moving in with Dad and building an extension on the house, and then I noticed Mum was there, and I patted her leg, and said, "Don't worry, it would be until..." and then my dream self spent a minute trying to figure out a tactful way of saying, "Until after you die". But then I was mercifully woken by Elizabeth trotting up and down the stairs.

4. The problem with all the trips, even though they're great, is that I get very tired after, and come home and collapse. And sadly we haven't gotten any house elves or anything, so the cooking and cleaning an organizing has just not gotten done much. Also complicated by the semi-constant pain and the way I can't eat much. So we have gone out a whole lot, and while we're home the children have enjoyed watching the whole Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Which is excellent, and I enjoy, but I've noticed that when I'm sitting down under children watching it I am not, for instance, making dinner. I have yet to find a solution beside a) ignoring the mess, and b) ordering takeout. There's been a lot of scrambled eggs/frozen pizza sort of dinners.

We've found a new storage place for the girls. It's working out pretty well. We still have to haul them out and hose them down at intervals, but it's very compact.

6. Speaking of dinner, I should probably go find out what the children have poured on the floor while getting their breakfasts. I hope it's, oh, marshmallows, and not jam or something. And probably locate my own breakfast and throw on clothes and finish the breadmaking. Cheerio, and have a lovely day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

It would be nice to be off porridge

Surely by next week? On the bright side, I am getting really, really good at eating without chewing.