Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Past Deadline: "I Survived the Reconstruction"

On Friday when I picked up the kids after school and commenced the walk home the most astounding thing happened.

For the first time in months my heart didn’t pound in my throat as the short people and I navigated a construction zone and heavy, impatient traffic on Isabella and Gore streets. Why? Because Wilson Street is finished! No more piles of dirt to negotiate! No more traffic jams to endure!

I know the whole process has not been a wonderful experience for all. Construction is much more than a pain in the butt and an inconvenience – it can cause financial hardship for businesses, major stress for homeowners and can pose all sorts of logistical nightmares. That said, though, I can’t help but feel it was a major accomplishment for the town and the contractors to finish the whole street – major underground infrastructure and all – in eight months while keeping at least part of the roadway open to traffic at all times.

Despite the fact it was much harder to get around than we are used to, we survived. Not only that, but many of us got to see places we don’t always frequent, such as Glen Tay, which makes a lovely detour when you just don’t want to travel north on Drummond at 3:30 on a weekday afternoon to get to Hwy. 7.

As much as it was a thrill to drive through the dirt after a heavy rain storm and experience craters and potholes and bumps that would shake your brains out of your ear, I’m pretty sure we’re all glad those days are over.

Because I walk the kids to school, I got a firsthand look at the progress on Wilson Street on a daily basis. Many days I wished this had happened five years earlier because I would have saved heaps o’ cash on the Mighty Machines video series. I’m confident my son and I would have pulled up lawn chairs to street corners to watch the variety of diggers and dozers and rollers. Pack a lunch and you’ve got a day’s entertainment.

Call me a geek (I’ve been called worse), but I felt more and more excited as the weeks passed and holes were finally closed over and dirt was flattened. When the curbs and sidewalks returned along our well-worn section of the street I was gleeful. After all, having to walk down Leslie Street and through the back field to Stewart School added an extra five minutes to our travel time. Not only that, but it restricted how much we could see of what those mighty machines were doing.

When the final paving began in earnest a couple of weeks ago I was jumpy with anticipation. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one grinning as I walked down the street. Even the paving crew looked happy. Speaking of which, I got to thinking it must be kind of crummy for the crews that precede the pavers. They do all the digging and nasty stuff and create all the detours and craters and get all the rude comments from irritated drivers and pedestrians. Then the pavers come along and make it all look pretty and tip their hats to the relieved drivers and walkers who are all smiley and grateful. I wonder if the various crews ever get into shoving matches about this?

Despite the fact I think things are looking darned fine, I met a fair number of people recently who have lots to say about crooked sidewalks, impossible intersections, incomprehensible line-painting jobs, planets out of alignment and so on. Well, I’m no engineer. I’m just going to weave down the sidewalk and follow the arrows when I’m driving.

Speaking of driving, when Friday afternoon rolled around and the lovely new street was finally wide open in both directions for that notorious 3:30 rush hour, lots of people were navigating northbound with smiles on their faces. It kind of reminded me of that part in the movie Cars when they all go cruising down the street after Lightning McQueen finishes the big paving job.

And, yes, it appears that most reference points in my life come back to children’s videos. Sigh.

Congrats to all involved with the Wilson Street reconstruction! Where can I buy the T-shirt?

Published in The Perth Courier, Nov. 24/10

Past Deadline: Wipe Your Feet

On the weekend I saw an article about some of the beautiful local homes that will be featured in the upcoming Canadian Federation of University Women’s Heritage Perth Christmas House Tour. I looked at the pretty pictures and sighed a little wistfully.

This is the inspiration for this week’s column: Top 10 reasons why our house will never be on a house tour.

10. Architecturally speaking, if one may do so, there’s nothing wrong with our house. It is a lovely example of an 1840s Ontario cottage-style structure, typical for the area, ripe with history, full of anecdotes, a family treasure, and so on. Lovingly renovated in the 1980s, unique interior features, etc. The key would be to move all of our stuff out of it in order to make it pretty.

9. Now, by “making it pretty,” I should clarify that, too. It’s not that we don’t have nice stuff; we have many lovely pieces of furniture. Trouble is you can’t always see them for the clutter.

8. Which brings me to that whole clutter issue. Man, could I go on and on about clutter. Sometimes I joke about being featured on an episode of Hoarders, which is a bit of an exaggeration. If there were a show about Clutterers, though (and possibly there is – I just don't have time to watch much TV because I’m too busy accumulating paper), then I could probably play a starring role. Me and the people with whom I live, that is.

7. The short people have a lot of plastic things. It is amazing how much weird plastic junk accumulates over the years. Toy boxes get sorted periodically, but that is a task that could use a bit more frequency. You know it’s been a long time when one of the kids comes along, digs down deep into the toy box and finds an item that he or she hasn’t seen in two years and either a) doesn’t remember it at all or b) remembers it but greets it as a long-lost friend not seen in, well, two years or so.

6. Speaking of those short people, in Kindergarten they learned more about tidying up than they did at home. I am totally at fault for this because I’m too Type A for my own good. It’s faster for me to do it, but I run out of time to do it and then I stress about not doing it and it just doesn’t get done. In Kindergarten, though, the kids learn little songs about tidying up. Clearly life is a musical and we should sing more at home.

5. There must be a song out there about dust. I’m a fan of the “Dust if You Must” poem, which highlights how many other exciting life events you can be doing if you’re not dusting but, really, we do have to dust sometimes. I hate dusting. I also have a trinket sign hanging on the wall that says, “You may touch the dust, but please don't write in it.” Hahaha. Me so funny. Sigh.

4. Speaking of funny, cat hair is hilarious. Gut-splitting stuff, cat hair. I know I could get away with vacuuming less if it weren’t for those darned cats and their tumbleweed hair.

3. What? I’m only on number three? Darn it. I’m starting to run out of things to say about my cluttered house. And I’m also starting to feel a little depressed. Possibly I should hire a housekeeper.

2. You know, I blame my profession for this. For one thing, I would pretty much always rather be writing than cleaning. Secondly, I’m always saving and accumulating books or papers or notes that I think I might be able to use for something later – you know, like the Great Canadian Novel I haven’t quite gotten to writing yet. Of course, by the time I run across all these bits of information later on I can never quite remember why I kept them in the first place.

1. And the number one reason why our house will never be featured on a tour? Well, obviously, I don’t want all those people tracking dirt into the house.

Published in The Perth Courier, Nov. 18/10

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Past Deadline: The Ongoing Food Battle

I need to know. At what point can I expect my children’s palates to diversify enough that they will eat a variety of different foods?

I should clarify this. Perhaps the word should be “re-diversify.” See, when they were really little, both of my little darlings ate everything and anything – particularly in the fruit and vegetable range. Then they developed opinions learned how to speak in full sentences, and such phrases as: “I don’t like this” became frequent utterances.


I am given to understand that this, too, shall pass – that it is perfectly typical for young kids to go from eating everything to eating next to nothing to eating everything again. I am also given to understand that I should be careful what I wish for because once they start to eat again we will be maxing out our credit cards on groceries.

The thing is I am really hoping things start to improve a little before the “eating like a teenager” phase arrives so the whole family can enjoy a wider range of food – not to mention avoiding scurvy. Granted, Girlchild is still pretty game to try everything, but even her range has narrowed.

When I was growing up, we ate what was served or we didn’t eat. I don’t honestly remember there being many arguments about food and I don’t remember walking away from the table hungry. Eventually I even came to an understanding with my parents that no matter how many times they served Brussels sprouts, I still wasn’t going to change my mind about hating them.

I always assumed my mom was fairly uncompromising on the food front. Certainly she tried to serve things that everyone would eat, but there was a wide range of stuff on the table and my brother and I were encouraged to “at least try” something that was new or that we weren’t overly crazy about.

It wasn’t until after I moved away from home that my parents expressed their intense relief that they wouldn’t have to serve corn every other meal, so I guess they made certain palate sacrifices, too. (And I think they avoided corn for years after.)

We’ve tried to adopt the “at least try it” philosophy and I usually make sure there is one part of the meal that everyone likes (kinda like Mom’s corn deal, I suppose), but that can be limiting.
Despite this, I’m not much in favour of the “you can’t leave the table until you clean your plate” deal because I think that can set a kid up for some unhealthy ideas about food in the future.

Another thing I have started to do is to actually “market” the meals. I know, it’s kinda crazy. Lots of parents out there will be shaking their heads and saying, “The kids should eat what’s in front of them or go hungry!” Maybe there’s something to that.

However, I’m a word girl, so when I pitched shepherd’s pie to a reluctant Girlchild as “Comfort Food Just Like Nanny Used to Make for Mommy,” and added that the macaroni and cheese dish I make is also in the “comfort food” category, she totally bought it and it disappeared off her plate.

Go figure.

Previous efforts to serve shepherd’s pie were seriously hampered by her brother’s exclamations of hatred for the meal (which, I might add, he used to really like). She refused to even try it based on his critique.

Sometimes it’s not so much about the words as it is the presentation. Take chilli for example. Previous efforts to serve this classic dish (also of the “comfort food” tradition), have failed. Then one night I put the chilli in big bowls and lined the edge with nacho chips. Well. Using the chips as scoops was the coolest thing ever. It all disappeared.

Now I need to focus my campaign on diversifying the range of vegetables we eat. Our “corn” is raw carrots, and I’m getting a bit weary of them. Sneaking pureed veggies into sauces isn’t as reliable as it used to be. I have had some success, though, with melted cheese on broccoli.

Do you suppose lining a chilli bowl with asparagus spears would work?
Published in The Perth Courier, Nov. 11/10

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Past Deadline: Poster Girl

I am the poster girl for work-life balance.

Oh, yeah. Didn’t you know?

It’s the same sort of deal as that really ugly guy (I think it was a guy – I can’t be sure) who was on the poster for smoking when I was in high school. The poster was in study hall, which gave us minor niners lots of time to stare at it during spares. It featured possibly the world’s ugliest person – scary hair, sunken eyes, wrinkles – with a cigarette dangling from his lips.
The text on the poster read: “Smoking is so glamorous.” (That poster taught us about irony, too.)

Well, here it is 2010 and I don’t smoke. Yay! The poster worked!

Given the obvious success of that other poster, perhaps I should express my gratitude by making it my life’s work to help other folks to avoid my work-life balance plight. I should pose for a poster to convince people they don’t want to end up like me.

So let’s imagine it.

Well, there I’d be – with my typically scary hair, sunken eyes (bloodshot and with dark circles, too), wrinkled brow/worry frown and with a chewed pen dangling from my lips. And, possibly, there would be a mouse cord around my neck and a sheath of papers trailing behind me. The text on the poster would read, “Working all the time is so glamorous.” Possibly in the background of this poster you would see two little blurs to represent my kids and their fleeting childhoods.

The thing is, I like to be busy. In fact, I sometimes don’t know what to do with myself if I’m not busy.

That’s probably not such a good thing, though, and there are definitely limits to busyness. In my world that’s when I run into those work-life balance issues – when I don’t know how to turn off the work part and enjoy the life part.

I know lots of people who are so busy it makes my head spin. They have two or three jobs that carry a lot of responsibility, not to mention having spouses and children and lives beyond that. Sometimes those people even go out and have fun! I suspect they either a) only sleep once a week or b) are robots.

Maybe the whole thing comes down to the definition of busy.

There is actually a fairly long list of definitions for this word in the dictionary – enough to keep one occupied for a good long time, or at least for many, many seconds. First off, it is defined as being “occupied in work etc. with the attention concentrated.” Makes sense. I’m curious to know what the “etc.” is, though.

Busy can also be defined as “full of activity,” “having heavy traffic” and “excess of detail.”

Then we get into “employed continuously; unresting,” which seems to hit the nail on the head for me. I’ve been feeling a tad unrested lately.

Okay. I know that I’m taking that last definition just a little too literally. “Employed” doesn’t necessarily mean “paid to do work,” it can just mean, well, busy doing something (“occupied in work, etc. with the attention concentrated,” perhaps?). And “unresting” doesn’t necessarily mean you never get any sleep – it could just refer to doing anything that isn’t sleeping.

So, I guess this means I could be busy, say, reading a book. Or going for a run (yeah, ’cause that’s been going really well) or having a bubble bath or playing with the children or going out with friends or eating brownies.

Whoa. I could be busy having fun!

So it would seem the possibilities for being busy are endless and they don’t have to be exhausting. (We’ll just ignore the whole “who has time for fun” aspect of this issue for the moment so we don’t spoil the fantasy.)

You know, with that kind of busy, I truly should strive to be the poster girl for work-life balance. I might even like it. I could feed my need to be occupied without having to be a robot.

So the picture on the poster would morph into me with great hair, sparkly eyes, wrinkle-free skin – with a brownie hanging from my mouth.

Yeah, I don’t believe it either. Except maybe the brownie part.
Published in The Perth Courier, Nov. 4/10

Past Deadline: Imagine! It's Cold in Canada!

On Sunday, I spent a good three hours marinating in a cold rain. Even though I dressed for it, by the end of it all my toes and fingers were tingly and I felt as if I needed to soak in a big tub of hot chocolate. (Yum!)

It wasn’t the nicest day to be outside, but I hate to complain. “Yeah, right,” you’re saying. Don’t worry, I have some complaining to do. I won’t let you down.

Here’s the thing. We are becoming weather weenies. Come on, people, we’re Canadian! We are all about weather. We know that if we don’t like the weather at this moment we should wait 10 minutes because it will probably change. We know that around this time of year it gets cold and it rains and, yes, it might even snow. We mutter and gripe about it and, as Canadians, we are entitled to do so with a hint of smugness. Our nation is about weather – and some other stuff, too – but weather is a biggie.

That said, there are two things that really stick in my craw. First, I loathe watching the national news and seeing a lead story about it being a cold day in Canada. This is especially true in the winter. When the lead story is that people in Canada were cold because the temperature dipped in January to -25 with a wind chill of -30, I get really cross. I have even been known to say bad words to the television.

I take news too seriously sometimes.

I mean really, people, that is just another day in our Canadian national identity. A real news story would be that it was plus 25 in January with a Humidex of 35.

The second thing that makes me grumble is when people abuse our right to smugly complain about the weather by doing so while wearing inappropriate clothing – and I’m not talking about T-shirts bearing lewd statements.

I find it utterly ridiculous (and I’ve mentioned this before) when someone being interviewed for the aforementioned lead story about cold weather in the winter (imagine!) is wearing a thin spring jacket, no hat or gloves and is trying to navigate an ice storm in stilettos.

If you’re standing on a street corner wearing a parka, a toque, a scarf and heavy mittens and there is an icicle hanging from your nose and what little exposed skin you have is blue, then you’re in the groove. You can complain freely.

The result of all this regular viewing of overexcited reporters (who are probably dressed inappropriately for the weather) interviewing similarly under-dressed people is that we are becoming soft. We are surprised and startled by cold, rainy weather.

Just the other day Groom-boy suggested to me that maybe the kids should get a ride to school because it was cold.

It was plus 4.

I, ever supportive, gave him my best nutbar look. “This is Canada,” I said. “They’re going to be walking to school all winter when it’s really cold, so they might as well ease into it. We’ll dress for it.”

Now, granted, it’s easier said than done when certain children decide they don’t like certain coats or refuse to wear hats and so on. And, of course, we always tell them “they will catch their death of cold” because that’s what parents are supposed to say, even though we all know you don’t catch colds from cold, but from germs. And, yes, I know that being cold can make you more susceptible to germs, so depending on which particular battles I choose to fight on any given day, I am apt to bring on the heavier science and make sure that if someone doesn’t wear his or her heavier jacket, it’s at least tucked into his or her backpack in case he or she changes his or her mind when he or she sees other warmly dressed kids.

I’m one to talk, though. It took me until third-year university, as I walked two kilometres across open, blustery fields to get to school, to realize just how awesome hats and scarves really are. Did you know hats actually keep your head warm?

Amazing stuff. Truly remarkable. It’s great to be Canadian.
Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 28/10

Past Deadline: How's the Running Going? Part II

You may have noticed I have been oddly silent about running these days.

About that....

When people ask, “How’s the running going?” I would love to say “Great!” or “I’m up to 22K each time,” but the truth is more like “Sporadic at best.”

I have learned a lot in this running journey. My most recent discovery is the line between running enough and not running enough.

It took months for me to build up my strength and endurance to the point it felt good to do 5K each time. I’m not one for races or for going vastly long distances, but doing 5K without feeling breathlessness or pain and without needing ice, ibuprofen or A535 was a victory. I felt great when I finished, and that was success.

I discovered that even if you get off your routine a bit, it takes a long time for all the strength you’ve built up to diminish. In fact, sometimes running was even better after a rest period. I was amazed how when I missed running for three weeks in the summer due to holidays and various other things, my body could still go that distance without any trouble.

You can only push your luck for so long, though.

The start of the big trouble was mid-September. I was still running, but not two or three times per week as before. Even so, I wasn’t intimidated by the 5K I planned to do for the Terry Fox Run. In fact, I was really looking forward to it because I had pledged that this year I would run the whole thing for the first time ever.

A few days before the big day I was a little sniffly, which I attributed to some mild allergies I sometimes encounter in the fall. I didn’t think it would affect my run in any great way.

Can you guess where this is going?

Run day arrived. I was part of a team and we congregated and set off.

Right off the start I was in trouble. Weird trouble. I couldn’t catch my breath. That hadn’t happened since the early, building-up days. What the heck?

By the time I reached the halfway point I was really struggling. I wanted to stop and walk, but I was too stubborn. There was an argument in my head:
“Walk for a bit – catch your breath,” said the sensible one.
“No! I am running this route!” said the psychobananahead runner.
“You’re wheezing.”
“Shut up, wimp. It’s the wind.”
“Your chest hurts like it is on fire.”
“Run through the pain! It’s not a heart attack, just a fire.”
(Sometimes runners are idiots.)
“You feel awful. Stop running, moron.”
“It’s only 5K! My usual 5K! I can do this. I want to run with the team.”

At about the 3K mark the Voice of Reason broke into my head, which turned out to be one of my running mates announcing she was going to walk for a bit.

I nearly hugged her. Possibly she was alarmed by my wheezing and realized I was too stubborn to stop on my own accord. Whatever the reason, it was a good thing.

We walked a good while and ran the last few hundred metres. Then I spent the next several hours coughing in an I-think-I-might-be-dying kind of way before I realized the sniffles I had been experiencing were, in fact, the start of a chest cold that afflicted me for nearly two weeks. I didn’t run again in September and I’ve only run two or three times so far this month.

And that, apparently, is the line. I have officially crossed from building up and maintaining my running strength into regressing and having to rebuild.

Now when I run I breathe like a freight train. (It’s so glamorous.) My legs feel lead-like. My knees and some small angry muscles sometimes voice their opinions, which hasn’t happened since the early days. Worst of all, 3K is about all I can muster.


A key component to the rebuilding is to turn up the music so I can’t hear the discouraging sound of my own breathing. Ibuprofen is on standby.

Maybe NEXT year I’ll finally run the whole Terry Fox route.
Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 21/10

Past Deadline: Increments of 20

I seem to have trouble with increments of 20 – at least when it comes to age.

I remember struggling with the concept of turning 20: O’ woe and pity! O’ tumultuous time! O’ dreaded decade that no longer ends in “teen.”

“Ends in teen,” you might observe, rhymes with “Drama Queen.”

The 20 years between then and now have made a big difference in perspective. When turning 30 I felt slightly cross, but not nearly so melodramatic. At 40, instead of lamenting out loud, my approach was to try to pretend it wasn’t happening and to quietly mope.

At least there was less wailing and bemoaning and such. Quite an accomplishment, I suppose. (Yes, except now I’m writing about it in the newspaper.)

The Big Day was a few weeks ago amid of flurry of other 40-year birthdays that provided acknowledgment strategies ranging from ignoring it completely to moderate celebrations to full-blown rent-a-hall type of parties.

I celebrated by eating a lot of food at various locations. It worked out well – unless you ask the scale.

So what IS the big deal? I know, I know – “It’s just a number.” I also know that 40 is a mere half of 80 and two-thirds of 60 – I’ve been told by many people who have already reached those increments. (They were, I think, diplomatically trying to tell me to “Suck it up, buttercup.”)

Maybe 40 feels weird because it’s on the edge of something.

For example, by now I figure I should know what I’m doing, but sometimes I don’t. I keep trying to tell myself that life is always about learning, but I lack conviction.

Another example is the whole biological thing. It’s not that I actually want to add another short person to the family compound, but if I were to change my mind my body might not necessarily cooperate as well as it once (or twice) did.

I think one of the really big things about turning 40 is the feeling that you darned well better be doing what you want to do with your life because it is now “officially” (at least in my mind) much more difficult to change gears. So if I want to finally pursue that latent dream of become a brain surgeon or a talk show host in Australia, I darned well better get started – and now!

Yes, 40 is just one more reminder that I’m a grown-up, and that makes me feel a tad uncomfortable. For a long time I have been fairly content in the notion I am about 17. Now I think I will officially have to change that to 29 or thereabouts.

People say different things about 40. Some say it’s all downhill from here and that my body is going to slowly fall apart. Others say these will be the best years of my life. Still others say 50 is better because after that you no longer care what other people think about the things you do. Perhaps 50 is when you finally grow into your own skin – or does that ever happen?

Of course there are some huge perks to turning 40. The biggest one, near as I can figure, is that this year it will be so much easier to remember how old I am. Sometimes in my 30s I would lose track. Am I 37 or 38? What the heck year is it, anyway? So, yeah, since that big ol’ four and zero are hovering in my subconscious, it should be pretty easy to remember my age – at least this year.

Another advantage is the joy you can get when you spring your age on an older person who’s not expecting it. For example, I was at an event recently where I encountered one of my elementary school teachers, who doesn’t look a day over 50, I might add. The subject of this silly milestone birthday arose. Her mouth fell open. “You are not!” she said. Of course that probably has less to do with how I appear and is more about how young she feels.

Other advantages to turning 40

I might have to get back to you on that. I’m sure in another 20 years turning 40 will have seemed like a breeze.
Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 14/10

Past Deadline: Gotta Go, My Mom's Waiting

Some women turn to medicine cabinets, beauty parlours or spas when they feel the passage of time taking its toll.

Fancy lotions, anti-wrinkle regimes, diet and exercise plans, even psychotherapy – there are lots of things we can do to help us feel younger.

I have a different plan. It’s a little complicated, but it might save you a few dollars.

Here’s how it works.

First you make arrangements for your husband to get a new full-time job in the city that requires him to commute every day. (Hurray! He’s not working from home any more!)

The next step is to stop, scratch your chin and say, “Hm. We only have one vehicle and we aren’t quite sure whether we are prepared to buy a second car.”

Then you hoof it all over town as much as you can. You get blisters when necessary, just to remind yourself about how good you are being by walking everywhere – even when not wearing appropriate footwear.

Here’s the clincher, though. The thing that truly makes you feel young again is bumming rides from your parents.

Yes, it has come to this.

My mommy and daddy give me rides to and from Algonquin College (where I teach part-time) a few times a week. I bum a ride home from a friend on one of those days. I figure it gives my parents a little break so they don’t disown me.

Sometimes I borrow their van or my in-laws’ car and sometimes even my friend’s van for far-off appointments or errands requiring copious amounts of baggage or to transport children longer distances. Occasionally I beg rides from other friends (once to get my licence plates renewed – which was kind of ironic).

This bumming of rides and borrowing of cars makes me feel like a high-school student again. It’s awesome in a this-is-kind-of-a-huge-pain-in-the-butt-for-me-and-a-buncha-other-people sort of way.

I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to utter, after so many years, that timeless refrain: “I gotta go. My mom’s picking me up and she’ll be mad if she has to wait.” Only these days instead of two friends piling into the vehicle with me, my two kids are strapped into the back.

Yeah. This is NOT my 1980s.

Okay, so let’s just say this sure-fire anti-aging plan doesn’t always make a person feel young and carefree. In fact, sometimes the additional planning it requires actually seems terribly grown-up and not-so-high-schoolish.

I know people who have firmly rejected the idea of car ownership – and I don’t just mean two cars but ANY cars. They have thrown off the chains of monthly payments, insurance and maintenance costs and the need for a bigger driveway. (Anyone who has seen our driveway knows there is barely room for one vehicle, let alone two. Vertical parking, anyone?)

I really would like to be one of those people who doesn’t rely on a car. Sometimes I think it might be possible.

I also want to be stricter about screen time for my children, eat nothing but a 100-mile diet, use only all-natural cleaners, never use my dryer, become a role model for exercise and, of course, save the world, but I seem to be much better at preaching than practising.

Every time I gather up two or three heavy bags of things on a rainy day when I have to be many kilometres away from home, I realize I might be losing the battle against owning a second car.

Fortunately my parents, who bore the brunt of my chronic wheel-lessness during one or two particularly busy weeks in September, have been really good about it. For one thing it gives us the chance to assess and discuss progress at various construction zones around town and contemplate the best routes when we hear a train coming.

Mom had a good laugh when I told her she could depend on me to return these favours by giving her a ride any time she needed one – as long as it was on a weekend or any time after 7 p.m. on a weeknight.

So, I’m going to focus on the positive: not only does bumming rides keep me dry and blister free, I’m also saving heaps on anti-aging potions. Yay!
Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 7/10