Thursday, January 05, 2006
what a difference a year makes...ok maybe not so much.
About a year ago, we were stranded in Florida. No, stranded sounds too desperate. We simply couldn't go home because our house had no indoor plumbing. A funny thing happens when your only bathroom is rotten...it ends up with the chimney gone, the basement floor ripped open, oh dear god I still can't talk about it. ANYWAYS we had to hang at the pool with my in-laws.
Luckily they're awesome. In the mid-60s they ended up in Toronto, got married, started having babies and eventually moved to a small town about 5 minutes away from the farm I grew up on. Again, luckily! My husband's parents were the token small town eccentric Brits. Why, I wonder, does the word "eccentric" keep popping up when describing the English? Feel free to comment (you know who you are, tee hee!) So being from a land of green summers and wet gloomy winters, the folks had no desire to spend Christmas holidays, with no relatives to celebrate with, in the frigid Canadian winter. Being a teacher with 2 weeks off he packed up the fam in the Ford Econoline and hightailed it south.
Now let's compare:
Last year-unexplained panic attacks complete with shortness of breath, insistence that the end is near, crying fits and gripping chest pains, while lolling poolside in a trailer park.
This year-fully explained discomfort due to weaning off of the drugs that were supposed to help with above conditions, occasional crying fits, dull ache in chest, while lolling in recently finished basement in a subdivision.
Wow. It's almost like it's a whole new life. (That was sarcasm.)
This morning my old man came to pick up the kids and take them out to the farm so they can have some fun while I finish dryingout. It's been grey skied here for two weeks. Today it's cold and wet. Believe it or not, I find myself wondering what the other set of parents are doing...
From my total country bumpkin perspective, Florider is the weirdest place on earth. Considering the 5 states I had to drive through to get there, you know, there it is. Florida is both beautiful and tacky. They have houseplants growing in their flowerbeds! They have palm trees that look like evergreens, only not, sort of. They have these gorgeous white sand beaches. But there's a big ugly Wal-Mart on every corner. Honestly, I wish I could show us walking through the Delano Hotel grounds, or whatever cool art deco pastel coloured place in Miami Beach we wandered into on our way to the beach. There we are, Jethro and Daisy Mae and the kids, loaded up with towels and yes, sadly, a Wal-Mart bag (there is nowhere else to shop) and wearing baseball caps and cut off jeans over the swimsuits. I'm craning my short neck to see if I recognize anybody once I realize we've stumbled into Fancy Wealthy World, while the nice man in the white outfit is explaining to us that this is only for the registered guests, and basically, normal people get to the beach way over there. It was worth the giggles. Felt good to laugh.
My favourite example of The Florida Dichotomy came from our first family trip there in '01. We stopped by the Ringling Museum in Sarasota on the way home, and got an eyeful of a black replica of Michelangelo's David, standing magnicificently among the potted fuschias, framed by a courtyard of pink stucco arches. I was speechless. I still don't know what to make of it. At least I got to see David's bum, that was worth it. Mind you, the in-laws' trailer park (mostly a semi-retirement resort) is quite nice. If you can get past the garden gnomes...
But hey, a year later, I have medical help (for what it's worth) (not much apparently) and I have two nicely finished bathrooms in my house. Today is the first day this week that I'm down to 70% wretched. And I feel, in general, like writing again. Things could be changing after all?