Monthly Archives: June 2013

Only Child – as I see it with many more crises

Only Child's sanctuary - again threatened by negative destructive curses

Only Child’s sanctuary – again threatened by negative destructive curses

The list of crises keeps growing – some repeats and some new. Another world, another life looks awfully tempting. It is not fun having to deal with all the crap coming your way when you have to do it on your own. At least the old air conditioner seems to be working at this point.

So here we go again with more negative destructive curses (not challenges as others might see them).

Repeat: a bit of water in the basement – not to see but the floor in a couple of areas by the same outside wall was damp this morning. So I called the a****** who did the excavation, sealing, etc. two years ago (again – he didn’t return my last call last week.) He’s supposed to continue doing testing – heavy hosing of various parts of that outside wall – one area at a time, but has only done the window and that’s not it. He called me back this morning but refuses to come until I get the city and some private professional to check the drains from the city end and the house end. He went on and on about problems the drains could cause if that is it until I interjected with I’m tired of dealing with all this crap coming at me and reminded him that it is only me who is stuck doing so. I finally said I’d call the city. But I haven’t yet because…

I had to call Direct Energy – I rent my water heater (gas) from them and I had no hot water coming out of the tap this moenin. True, I had run the bathroom hot water taps for a bit to clear a hunk of soap that got down the drain (the idiot handyman had not put a catch at the top of the new drain setup) but that shouldn’t be enough to finish the hot water in the tank. The Pilot light is still on; I turned the water heater thermostat up to high and there appears to be some noise indication that it might be working. I still booked an appointment with them to check it out tomorrow if the hot water doesn’t come back in a few hours. Couldn’t get an appointment for later today but that’s partly because…

My sinuses are acting up – I get periods of sinusitis for various reasons – allergies and a compromised immune system and the big factor – too much stress in my life. This time it’s bothering my left eye – with odd periods of some blurriness when at the computer. The sinus stuff started on Saturday when I felt extremely tired and just wanted to crawl into a hole. A nap helped here but my eye was still sore. However, it was getting much better until I woke up this a.m. Now it seems to be somewhat better again but I made an appointment with my optometrist for this afternoon and hope all that will be needed is some anti-biotic eye drops. Because of my compromised immune system and digestive-gastro medical condition, I can’t take oral anti-biotics.

And the weird one. Last evening when watching TV, the screen suddenly went to that black and white snow static. I figured it was the digital cable adapter – the cable company had already been in a couple of months ago to fix some worn-out cables. But the TV came back a few minutes later and provided it doesn’t occur again I can only conclude it was something at “their” end.

I think I mentioned in previous posts that these are negative destructive curses – not positive challenges. Had quite a discussion with a friend who believes even the bad things happening are challenges. She says that if I got very sick I wouldn’t make it with my attitude. Not quite. Just because I see something as a negative destructive curse doesn’t mean I just sit back, moan and let it destroy me. No. The bottom line for me is when a challenge or a curse arrives inside my doorstep, the problem or challenge has to be solved – either by me or experts – and the sooner the better. But it is all very scary when you have to go it alone.

However, except for the Sears guys for the blinds installations (one even sent me a thank you note. Very good and heart-warming), some help from some friends and family, and (grudgingly said here) even the incompetent new handyman for doing a few things right (fixing air conditioner – so far – and the eavestrough and tree branch stuff), it’s me I have to depend on.

So I reserve my right to be cranky. And when all these off and on rainstorms/thunderstorms are done for a bit, I will get back out in the garden and yank more weeds. Guess whose names will be invisibly on the weeds?

That is if I can – Bell Canada is doing conduit work underground at the end of the property – if I’m lucky it will only be part of the driveway and not part of my rose garden at the end of my property by the driveway (see photo at top) . I’m still waiting to hear back from my city councillor’s office on that situation. Meantime, I have been slowly cutting back the overhanging rose bush branches so the “conduit” workers can do their job – as long as they stay out of the garden.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Family and Friends, Gardening, Health, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Only child, Problems, Stress

Only Child says life isn’t what we’re taught

Only Child's  rose garden by end of driveway

Only Child’s rose garden by end of driveway

In April, when the first tulip showed its face in the flowerbed under the living room window, Mom had to get out in her garden and do her vegetable, fruit and flower business. In the beginning, Mom and I moved in tandem with the garden and religion like we found parallels in them – both had beauty, filled us with awe, seemed to bring some order and ritual to our lives: plant seeds in spring and be rewarded with beautiful flowers and bountiful vegetables and fruit in summer; go to Mass and communion on Sunday and be rewarded in life with only good. (excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford).

This beginning of Chapter Two, Practising Gardening and Religion, in my memoir serves as a contrast between the beliefs of a child and the non-beliefs of an adult past middle-age. As mentioned in last week’s post, my garden is my spiritual nourishment and faith and religion of any kind – Christian, New Age, etc. doesn’t do it for me. Many friends, colleagues and acquaintances in my age bracket have “come home” to some religion and faith. Heck, some even have kept the faith and religion of their childhood. Great for them but not for me as I’ve found from experience. I’ve tried different religions –from Christian to New Age and found all lacking. The common denominator seems that they don’t live up to their preachings and I’m not referring to the people involved, some committing horrible crimes such as sexual abuse. I mean their “truths” when put into practice.

I still believe in God – it’s my take on God that has changed due to life circumstances. A friend calls what happens to us “challenges” and I go along with that in part. To me challenges are positive things that happen to you. For example, the editor at my book publisher finally gave me his feedback on my pre-quel novel (prequel to four linked short stories in my mystery collection Beyond the Tripping Point published October 2012. See http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html). Instead of cursing and getting angry, I welcome having to do a major rewrite as a positive challenge. Also fixing up my garden, planting and digging up the weeds encroaching on the perennials and taking up space in my vegetable garden, trying to grow vegetables in the ground or in pots – all this is hard work with lots of well, challenges. And that’s how I look on it – a challenge to work through.

But the negatives coming at me aren’t positive challenge; they are destructive curses. This stuff is bad and the criteria seems to be twofold: it comes from outside me (i.e. I don’t cause it) and it reeks havoc on my health, finances, or property, and time, or maybe some of each. True the novel rewrite and the garden may partly come from outside me (I wrote the novel and I work the garden – but I don’t plant the weeds for example) and true they take time, but both are a joy and engage me in a positive and constructive way.

Maybe the lack of “joy” is the key to what constitutes negative. For example, in the past couple of months, among other things, I’ve had to deal with and/or am still dealing with the following:

  1. Financial – The Canada Revenue Agency messing up my tax returns which until fixed can leave me not receiving GST rebates and provincial tax credits (see last week’s post at the beginning); the bank officer messing up my RRSPs. The latter has hopefully been fixed and the first, let’s just say I’m waiting for them to fix their mistake.
  2. House and Property – where to start: just a few – the water still sometimes getting into the basement during strong storms despite the big excavation outside two years ago to fix; the bathroom leaking taps which lead to three (so far) visits from the new handyman – he doesn’t look at the big picture and is very disorganized, and now a surveyor was drawing the tell-tale orange lines across people’s front property and the roads – the phone company is doing digging for “conduit”  this summer. They just did something like this five or six years ago and then dug the corner at the end of my driveway. After grilling the surveyor with questions (old journalist here), he thought it might skim the corner of my rose garden. Didn’t last time, so now I’m busy trimming back the rose bush and the bush juniper hanging over the driveway. It appears that some of my neighbours’ front perennial and vegetable gardens are going to get dug up – again for the same thing.
  3. Computer problems. Enough said here.
  4. The incompetence of so-called professionals and their unreliability. A partial “list” is included in the diatribe above.

So when I get a professional doing a job well I have to speak up. I had two window blinds that needed replacing – the bedroom mini blind was falling apart in phases for years –no spare cash to get fixed and the blind in the kitchen fell on me last summer (it’s spring is broken). This year, armed with a 10% Sears discount from the Home Show in Toronto, I signed up to get the blinds replaced. They measured the space correctly and delivered (and hung correctly) the blinds – the latter three weeks earlier than promised. That’s the way it should be.

Where does this all fit in with trust, faith, religions, etc.? For me, just putting it out there to be protected from a lot of this negative stuff and when it happens to get it fixed quickly, professionally and send me the money to do so – often doesn’t happen. More likely I run into incompetence, screw-ups, spending too much money, and my time wasted dealing with it all.

Bottom line: have faith in yourself and caveat with anyone else, except a few trusted friends and family. No one gets a free ride – life is full of bumps and putting it out there for otherwise doesn’t guarantee that is what you will get.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Home and Garden, Life demands, Only child memoir, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child finds solace in her garden

Part of Only Child's rose garden in front by the sidewalk

Part of Only Child’s rose garden in front by the sidewalk

I’ve been seeking solace in my garden to get away from all the crap that has been shoved my way the last month or so. That is when one of these stressors – weather, i.e., heavy rain and winds – hasn’t gotten in the way. And the crap keeps piling up. Now the CRA messed up my tax returns on the notice of assessment and when I called they admitted their mistake and it will be fixed. Meantime, “the system”  won’t know this and so unless it is fixed before early July, the amount the Notice of Assessment says I still owe (but don’t) will come off my GST rebate for July and I won’t get my provincial tax credits (also July) until the situation is fixed. All for some clerical error at CRA. Not fair. I need that little extra to survive, or once the property tax and utility bills are paid, I do without somewhere (read health expenses for one).

My garden is my lifeline to comfort and some food. When I walk out into my garden and see they symmetry of the perennials, the shrubs, the raspberries starting to form, the onions and other vegetables coming up – even the ground where recent seeds were planted – I get some solace. The blend of colours – some white, red, yellow, blue, greens, silvers, and lots of shades of purple – the only spiritual nourishment in my life as I get no spiritual nourishment and help elsewhere such as traditional or non-traditional religion and faith. Faith and trust don’t seem to be in my vocabulary these days and it’s not by choice but from what’s been happening.

So I go out into my garden and absorb – sight, sound (birds), fragrance. I literally smell the roses which are now just beginning to bloom.

But there is a dark side to when I’m in the garden. Pulling weeds and digging are good ways to vent your anger and frustration. Each weed I dig up or yank out symbolizes the people, etc. who make my world worse. The pulled weeds are placed in the yard waste bins for city “garbage” collection to be dumped somewhere to go back to the earth. Appropriate. When we die our bodies disintegrate (if not done for us with cremation) back into the earth. A fit place for my stressors.

Sitting out in the garden in the sun or shade, reading a book, eating meals on the patio, or just taking in all the garden or collecting flowers are (along with writing) how I cling to sanity. Whatever sanity means these days.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Gardening, Gardening health benefits, Healing through gardening, Income Taxes, Life demands, Only child, Rain and wind storm, Roses, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child lives in fear of severe weather conditions

Only Child and her late dad on the veranda of 139 where Only Child grew up

Only Child and her late dad on the veranda of 139 where Only Child grew up

June 4 – today – is my late father’s birthday and it has me thinking. Especially in connection with all the house repairs and the water leaking into the basement again. See last week’s post where I wrote that with Dad in charge, house repairs got done –if he couldn’t do them, his cronies could or recommended someone who could. I also don’t remember any leaks from rain getting into our basement. That includes Hurricane Hazel which hit Toronto the fall of 1954. My family lived near the Don River which overflowed during the hurricane. But Mom always said we didn’t get water in the basement because we lived on a hill.

Today, my house is on a hill and a block from the Don Valley Ravine (but farther from the river itself) and I get basement leaks. The City of Toronto powers that be have declared this area one of the 34 basement flooding areas in Toronto, There is an open house this Thursday evening to get information at a school two blocks from me. I hope to be there.

Flooding from the big increase in severe weather conditions is not just here but world-wide. I’m glued to the weathernetwork.com – on TV and on the Internet and I am appalled at what is happening. Last fall it was the east coast of the USA (in particular New York and New Jersey) from Hurricane Sandy; now it’s in Poland, Germany and  Oklahoma – twice in two weeks for the latter. Is this somebody’s idea of a bad joke or – and I’m leaning more towards this one – do the Bible thumpers have something about their end-of-the-world from flooding predictions? Maybe they got it right but were wrong about the date (sometime in October last year I believe) and instead of one big flood, it is a series of big floods over a period of time that will kill earth and us. I know , I know – there is this business called climate change and the greenhouse effect from all the gases hurled into the air. But did you know that water vapor enters into the cause equation? See http://climate.nasa.gov/causes

But I really think more than that is going on here. Could it be that God or the universe or whatever people believe in is so angry at us for the way we live, that he/she/it is hurling all this extreme weather at us in well, anger? I know I am jaded where anything about religion, faith, hope and trust are concerned – and that’s from personal experience and from what I see and hear about it going on, but I can’t help but wonder. Praying to be spared this extreme weather doesn’t seem to help. And I know that this world isn’t perfect and isn’t meant to be perfect. But enough is enough and we’ve crossed over that line big time.

However, something is really off with the world’s weather and it’s getting worse. So much so that I am now living in fear. It doesn’t matter where you live – someday you are going to get hit.

No wonder I can’t watch the TV series Revolution any more – even though the cause there was a world-wide permanent electrical blackout. It still is a wakeup call of what is really happening.

So is the weather.

I want to go back to times (weather-wise) when I was growing up. This world’s weather – I wouldn’t even demean the birds by comparing the weather to “for the birds.” Birds deserve better too.

Meantime, happy birthday to my late dad – he would be 114 if he were living.

Not much chance of many of us getting near that age with the weather these days.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Floods, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Rain and wind storm, Sharon A. Crawford, Uncategorized, Weather