daily life

A Winter's Day In "Through the Lens"

A Winter's Day In "Through the Lens"

Today, I had a break from writing. So it was kind of a look-at-life-through-the-lens sort of day. Here are a few things my camera and I saw. Also, I was so honoured to be featured on Mary DeMuth's podcast the Restory Show.

Modern Convenience

Over the last few years, there are several things that go along with modern living that I have willingly given up: pre-packaged food, store-bought veggies (as much as possible) and a street cleaner that takes care of the snow in front of my house being among them.

Others were given up slightly less willingly. For instance, my dishwasher. When we first moved to the country two summers ago, the trailer we bought had a portable dishwasher in it. However, it didn't take long to notice that it was sitting in the location originally intended for the fridge. The fridge had been moved across the room to a very awkward position, stuffed into a coat closet into which it did not fit properly, therefore protruding into the room about 18 inches farther than necessary. This interrupted the flow of traffic through the house, and used valuable space (something that was at a premium).

In fact, it became such an annoyance, and the space I was working in seemed so crowded to me, that it wasn't long before I decided that I would rather return the fridge to its intended location than have a dishwasher. This would improve the efficiency of the kitchen, the traffic flow through the house, and for all I could tell, the dishwasher didn't work properly anyway.

I don't regret that decision. However, I didn't realize how having to do three loads of dishes by hand every day would actually affect our lifestyle, some ways more subtly than others.

For instance, I used to love to experiment with cooking. Experimenting is something that usually takes extra time, and uses extra dishes. With the amount of time already spent on my feet in the kitchen, hands in the dishpan, I had slipped into a "fast-and-tested" menu plan before I had even realized it, all because I had no desire to spend any more time in the kitchen.

Also, the post-supper dishes were usually done by my wonderful husband. This meant that by the time the dishes were done, it was time to put the kids to bed, and they had not had nearly as much time as they wanted to play with him.

After Jude (the kid who thrives on "quality time") found out that our new home would have a dishwasher, he declared that it was the part he was most excited about.

"Why?" I asked, curious. It's not like he usually did the dishes, after all.

"Because then Daddy will have more time to play with us after supper."

My reasons were different, but I, too, was looking forward to having one, so that I would just have more time in general. After a few hiccups working through issues with our extremely hard, iron-laden water (sitting a 1/4-cup of white vinegar on the top rack in every load is essential if we don't want our dishes to look like they are covered in chalk), it has proven to be exactly the reprieve I had hoped it would be from dishpan hands and aching feet and back. And the best part? I have started experimenting again.

Speaking of modern conveniences, I am happy to report that we have had a working furnace for several weeks, now. We also have power in our addition, thanks to a couple of electrician friends who made sure of it. And after a week of having no oven (it shorted out on me Friday before last), Jason brought our other stove over from the "parts trailer"--which has its own issues, but at least the oven works (most of the time.) Which means that finally, we are almost all the way "moved in."

We are thankful for these modern conveniences--the weatherman says the snow is on its way.

Food Critic

My dad says I share the ability of other cooking-minded people to be able to look at an empty fridge, shake it, and have a delicious meal fall out.

Today when we got home from church, there were five rumbling tummies coming in our door--and I had not planned anything for lunch. I opened the fridge and scanned the contents, then started taking a few things here, some leftovers there, and this and that and pulling them out onto the counter. Forty-five minutes later we were enjoying a delicious lunch of Maple-Glazed Turkey Sausages, and Curried Apple and Yam Sauté with the leftover gourmet salad from last night's supper. As we were finishing it off, and Jude was tucking the last bite of his second helping away, Jason asked him, "Did you like this meal, Jude?"

Jude looked at him with a look that said, Don't be silly, Dad. "This isn't a meal," he said. "Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, that's a meal!"

I'm beginning to feel that my talents are under-appreciated by certain members of my household. I can see it in a few years, while Jude is comparing lunches with the other kids at school:

"Jude, d'you wanna trade sandwiches today?"

"Lemme check. Uh...nope. PB & honey today. That's my favourite!"

"Darn. My mom always sends me tuna!"

"Yeah. My mom isn't much of a cook, but she does make a mean peanut butter and honey sandwich!"

Hindsight is 20/20: Part 2

I sat in Exam Room 2 at the local Emergency ward, waiting none-too-anxiously to clap eyes on Dr. DeGratt. I could hear him examining someone in the curtained-off room across the hallway. I had finally succumbed to the nagging of my friends, and most notably, my husband, and came in to get my toe looked at.

Apparently, although the patient across the hall was in there for bronchitis, the doctor felt it necessary to give him a mini-lecture on the old stab wound he had discovered on the patient during the exam. I focused on the citrus-coloured cotton yarn in my hands as the curtain was withdrawn, taking a surreptitious glance at the bronchitis patient while pretending to be extremely interested in the intricacies of seed stitch.

The nurse had mentioned something about a "drill." This did not sound exciting, since I was certain that it was meant to be used on my toe. As badly as my toe already hurt, I could just imagine the high-pitched whirring of a miniature cordless drill being the harbinger of even more pain and suffering.

Dr. DeGratt was very personable. South African, so I found out as I was chatting him up, trying to distract him from the real purpose of my visit and any thoughts of using a drill on my big toe. Unfortunately, he proved infinitely difficult to distract.

"When did you say this happened?" he asked.

"Um...Wednesday," I said. I was eyeing the pointy sticks in my hands, wondering what kind of defense they would offer if I had to make a break for it and hobble out of there. "I just couldn't get in before now."

"Well, it's not fractured." That was the end of the good news. "You've got a lot of blood under the nail. We're going to have to put a hole in there for yeh." His chipper tone of voice told me that this man moonlighted as a torture master--this line of work was right up his alley. My knuckles grew whiter on my knitting needles.

"What would happen, say, if you didn't do that?"

"It would go septic."

I don't exactly know what this means, but I've watched enough Lost to know it's not good. I heaved a sigh, resigning myself to the inevitable. "I'm going to knit while you do it, so I can try not to think about it."

"Do you think it will hurt?"

I nodded, white-lipped.

"I think it will make you feel better," he said, trying to cheer me up.

"I hope you're right," I said.

As he straightened out a paperclip (this was the drill?) and lit the fuse on a little kerosene-like glass candle to heat it with, I decided that knitting was out. I covered my face with my hands, peeking between my fingers occasionally like a child too scared to find out what's really behind the door in that scary movie, and too curious not to know.

Yes, I am a wuss. When I get needles, I have to clench my teeth and look the other way. It seems that the pain you know is coming is always worse than pain that already happened and you are enduring.

A couple of pokes with the hot paperclip, and the only evidence of the deed was the red-stained gauze pad over my toenail, and the acrid scent of singed protein in the air.

"Did it hurt?"

"Yes." I paused. "For like, a second. All in all, much less than childbirth, so I guess it wasn't so bad," I said, glad it was over, and trying to recover some of my lost dignity.

He then went into an explanation of how there was a small chance the nail would take hold of the bed again, but most likely it would fall off.

"Permanently?" I squeaked.

"No, no. It will grow back in about six months or so. If you had come in here on Wednesday, it would have been a lot better."

Well, that definitely gives Jason 'I told you so' fodder, I thought.

For those of you wondering how I am doing, my toe still hurts, although it feels somewhat better. I am still limping, but hopefully not for much longer. My vanity is somewhat alarmed at the idea of a nail-less toe but, Hey. At least it will start to come back in time for sandals weather.

I hope your weekend is going better than mine! Tell me about it. Take my mind off my toe!