Category Archives: Responsibility

Only Child says my health ate my life

Only Child's garden waiting for her attention

Only Child’s garden waiting for her attention

With apologies to a writing colleague for the twist on the title. Elizabeth Verwy’s book is a self-help book for workaholic entrepreneurs and is called My Business Ate My Life.

With me it’s my health that is interfering with the rest of my life. The health issues keep increasing, but when they are caused by someone else or something else, then I get very angry.

When I was a child back in the 1950s, like many children I fell a lot and scraped my knees. One such fall was a comedy of terrors. My friend Mare and I were chasing after a large rubber ball that went off into the air and landed on the road right by the sidewalk. As we arrived at the side of the road we both grabbed for the ball at the same time and we both fell with Mare landing on top of me. I don’t know about scraped knees – this time I got a deep wound in my head. But Mom took care of me.

Fast forward to last Thursday evening when I was touring the garden of a member of my garden club. No, I didn’t trip in the garden – it was on the way going off the property. I was following the concrete walkway from her house to the sidewalk, got near the sidewalk, stepped out and went flying head first, crashing on my knees. I let out a horrible scream and other gardeners (including the homeowner) came running to help. I was given gauze and baby wipes to clean it somewhat and a couple drove me home (a 10-minute walk) where I thoroughly cleaned the wound, put two kinds of disinfectant – Tea Tree Oil and Hydrogen Peroxide on it, then Polysporin. Then I covered it with the gauze and bandaids to supposedly hold the gauze in place. I hobbled to the drug store for more gauze and bandaids.

This is  an accident that should never have happened. Unknown to me beforehand (I had never been to this place before and when I arrived I walked onto the property from the lawn – well it was a garden tour), there was a steep step at the end of this property walkway. After the fall one of the other gardeners (not the homeowner) pointed out this very steep step. It is twice the size of a curb “step” and there is a big space between it and the only other step. This other step is very tiny. And no railing on either side.

In other words unless you are familiar with the property you wouldn’t know of this accident hazard.

Since then I’ve wasted time, energy and money to wash, disinfect, pile on an anti-bacterial cream  and  re-bandage the deep cut twice daily. And worry, worry if it was getting infected. It appeared maybe on the weekend. The medical walk-in clinic near me I go to is closed Sundays during the summer so I didn’t get there until yesterday. The doctor said it wasn’t infected. Apparently the liquid coming out is something natural that sometimes happens with scrapes and cuts. But he gave me more instructions (and gauze) to take care of it including signs of infection.

I still have the worry until it is better. And this homeowner isn’t getting off scott-free for her negligence. I’m not the only senior who was there that evening or who probably would visit her place. And it is not just seniors who could trip and fall.

So, I’ve decided as long as the cut doesn’t become infected, I won’t sic the city by-law officers on her. But I will give her a strong talk about her homeowner responsibility here –  she really should do something to rectify the situation – at least get railings in so people will know there is a step there. The health experts keep saying we seniors should hang onto the railing when going up and down steps. And I do – when there is a railing.

And just to make this ironic. In the plaza where the medical centre I go to is, there is now a medical supplies store. The steps outside this supplies store are those not close together and they are much smaller than where I fell. But, there is no railing on either side of the steps.

Now, excuse me, while I attend to more of my health issues. I take supplements and put the eyedrops in my eyes when I get to it. That seems to be my motto. And I still have the damn bandage change to do this morning.

My health issues are eating my life. No wonder I’m behind in spending time with family and friends, my writing and my gardening.

I’m too damn busy dealing with health issues.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

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Filed under Health, Health Seniors, Life demands, Only child, Responsibility, Seniors and falls

Only Child on cause and effect with floods, etc.

Only Child and her parents  in another time and world

Only Child and her parents in another time and world

Yet another heavy flash downpour hit southern Ontario late yesterday afternoon. It got me fine-tuning my beliefs and attitudes towards this world we live in. And yes, more water got into my basement. But before I delve into that, more on yesterday’s storm and the unnecessary hardship it caused people. I say “unnecessary” because the storm should never have happened.

Toronto received a record amount of rainfall in one hour . Here’s the beginning of a story in the Globe and Mail by Vidya Kauri and Kaleigh Rogers http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/thunderstorm-knocks-out-power-in-toronto/article13080793/

The Toronto area was drying out Tuesday morning after record rainfall the night before closed transit and roadways, stranded commuters knocked out power in several areas, flooded homes and caused other damage.

Environment Canada said some parts of the GTA had been drenched with more than 100 millimetres of rain, trouncing the previous one-day rainfall record of 29.2 mm in 2008 for Toronto and even beating the 74.4 mm monthly average for July.

As I’ve posted before something’s not right in this world. And it looks like another story by Rita Silvan at http://www.theloop.ca/living/house-and-home/realty-check/article/-/a/2559094/There-will-be-flood-here-s-how-to-stay-above-water  is at least acknowledging the flooding to the end of the world belief – even the title. The story begins:

There will be flood… here’s how to stay above water

According to the biblical Book of Exodus, plagues come in ten different flavours, including frogs, locusts and flood. Bad-ass floods have been appearing with increasing frequency across the globe. Whether the cause is global warming or the wrath of the Gods, or both, it’s mighty inconvenient. We expect coastal habitats to get water-logged from time-to-time but Calgary and Manhattan underwater?

Not only has the frequency of flooding increased but so has the damage they inflict. Economists estimate that the floods in Alberta will cost the province billions of dollars and lower Canada’s GDP by $2 billion. That’s just the meta-view. Down at street level, shopkeepers are going out of business, workers are getting laid-off, and hippos are on the loose.

Well it’s more than hippos on the loose and they aren’t causing the floods. Although the article goes on about global warming and where houses should and should not be built, it is the first part of this story that resonates with me.

In the GTA alone, there were rampant floods around, including the big shopping mall in Mississauga just west of Toronto; power outages inside and outside Toronto (about 80 per cent of Mississauga at one point), Toronto’s subways were halted due to flooding and one portion in the west end of a subway line was still closed this morning. Highways were flooded with motorists stranded. And are you ready for this one? A GO commuter train with 1400 passengers got stuck in a flood of water in Toronto when the Don River overflowed. The water flooded the train’s lower level and passengers had to go to the upper level. The train couldn’t go either way and it was seven hours before all passengers could be removed because the police marine unit had to remove them a few at a time in their four water rafts.

Ridiculous and not acceptable. Excluding the flood part, why did the police use or have only a small number of rafts? Couldn’t other organizations’ boats come to the scene to help? There certainly was enough water for their travel.

And my basement got some water in yet again, mostly in the laundry room, including in a place where it hadn’t gotten in before. However, so far all laundry room water entries are on the side of the house and in the area where N. did the excavation and sealing two years ago. That was supposed to stop any flooding from over there. Obviously not. N. has not been doing his due diligence and fixing his error – which it is now clear is the cause of that (not the actual rainstorm/GTA flooding itself, though). The City of Toronto water people have been in and done the drain testing – my property’s part and the city’s part and it showed clear. Repeated calls to N. (with this drain result, a test he kept harping on for me to get done) about it’s not the drains and he needs to finish testing the areas of the wall to find the source have gone unanswered. I may have to take legal action. Next week I have an appointment with my lawyer to update something in my will and I’m going to ask George what my legal options here are. Not that I can afford any.

In the immediate aftermath of the rain and thunderstorm, I realized two things.

1.      You can do your best to protect yourself and your family, your property, etc. but something from “out there” will shove itself in and cause problems, even disasters.

2.      This one more a firming up – all those responsible for doing harm to people, their pets and their property, to any piece of land etc. should acknowledge their responsibility and make amends to all those they harm. That’s everybody. The insurance companies don’t call floods, earthquakes, etc. “Acts of God” for nothing. Not that humans aren’t to blame for many of the world’s disasters, such as that recent airplane crash landing at San Francisco airport and possibly the running train carrying oil that crashed into a Quebec town. I don’t see the hand of God in either of these.

I really like the physicians’ motto – “Do No Harm.”

Too bad it isn’t the modus operandi for all others.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawforf

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Home and Garden, Learning Experience, Only child, Problems, Rain and wind storm, Responsibility, Sharon A. Crawford, Toronto, Water, Weather

Only Child faces more worries and snafus

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 she grew up

Last Saturday was wasted dealing with worries and snafus, including a new one – the cable part of the cable TV not working. Late Thursday evening the picture started breaking up on four channels but not on the rest. One program showed fine on the US station but not on the Canadian station doing simultaneous airing. The cable TV tech department booked an appointment for Saturday between 4 and 6 p.m. but put me on a waiting list for anything sooner.

Saturday I had to go out to deal with another house repair/replacement issue, so called the cable company and they sent someone right away. He fixed it but it took him over two hours because he couldn’t find one end of the cable in the basement (I didn’t even know a TV cable was down there as previous cable tech visits had concentrated outside or with the TV in the living room). So this clown decided he would have to drill holes in the inside wall (living room) and the outside brick wall to set up the new cable there. He got the permission form which I signed but he didn’t and got to work. After he drilled four close-together holes in the inside wall, he had another look downstairs and found the other end of the cable. He told me and when I asked about the holes he’d drilled he said he put an electric outlet cover there. He also made a mess with the foam insulation in the basement laundry room but did vacuum upstairs in the living room. I seldom fill out surveys but filled out the automatic one that comes when you phone the call centre – the comments section was where I “blasted” the technician’s work – but I kept it factual and polite (although I threw in the “senior’s card”).

The errand to deal with the other issue – replacing the defunct window air conditioner turned into a customer service mess. I had done some online research but I like to see the air conditioner up front. I had already checked out Home Depot but wanted to see what else was available before buying one. So off to Canadian Tire as they are supposed to carry one brand of vertical window air conditioners. Also there was some indication they do installations.

It was like a civilian version of Keystone cops or Keystone-like service snafus. I talked to four employees (when I found them). The first staffer said “oh we don’t do installations” and gave me the wrong aisle for air conditioners – at least none were there – the ones on sale (not vertical) were at the front and I finally found them with a note for installation to call an 800 number or speak to staff. I was there so staff it was. Canadian Tire’s customer service is both for returns and product information with one clerk handling a long line up of customers with returns. I asked a couple of other staffers who were up at the counter for other things. Both phoned the person responsible for the air conditioning section. No one arrived. Then I nagged another clerk, explained the situation and asked to speak to the manager. He looked for him, returning a couple of times with a progress report. Eighteen minutes later (he counted) he returned and said he hadn’t found the manager, this wasn’t acceptable, gave me his first name and an 800 number to complain about the manager. Of course, you can probably only get someone on weekdays. News flash. I work weekdays, albeit from home and resent any house-related problems I have to dealt with then. But I’ll call sometime this week. Guess where I won’t buy my air conditioner.

A friend said that nothing is perfect in this world. But I know there are too many screw-ups caused by too many people. And if you mess up – at least where it concerns others – you should be held accountable – one way or the other.

I certainly don’t remember my parents having to deal with all this nonsense but maybe that’s my child’s view and remembrance. I do remember for plumbing problems that Ken, a friend of dad’s from his work area (geographically), would come and fix the situation, although Mom, Dad and I had to listen to Ken sing opera. That might be why I’m not a fan of opera. But Ken recommended a carpenter to build our rec room and he did a good job. One shoddy job – after Dad died (he had been the house painter and was so good he is still the benchmark for excellence here), Mom hired a painter who did a so-so job… and spilled paint on the front lawn which killed that spot of lawn. But whenever the TV needed fixing we called in a repairman and he came in and fixed it.

One good thing – the friend mentioned above – removed all three of my old computer and printer equipment (she rolled them up the stairs; I helped her carry out the heaviest one into her van’s trunk). She hauled them away to the recycling depot.

At least the water meter installers/retrofitters can’t complain about space to get to the water meter. They better not.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Consumerism, Family and Friends, Help and Support, Home and Garden, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Problems, Responsibility, Sharon A. Crawford, Uncategorized, Worrying

Only Child Remembers Mom

Only Child's Mother

My mom’s birthday is November 9. If she was still alive she would be 104. But she died at 63. Too young to die. Of course, I’m going to say that because I’m heading into that age territory later this year, so…

But the age and the date have got me thinking more about Mom. A psychic friend once told me she could sense her spirit’s presence in my house. And I have felt it, not inside the house I grew up in when I re-visited it, but afterwards at the nearby park where my friends and I used to play. I remember Mom’s weird  sense of honesty. In my memoir I have a chapter called “Mom’s Ten Rules of Honesty.” The chapter begins with

“Eat your dessert or the police will come and get you,” Mom says. She points to the front door and nods her head like I better do it or else the Black Maria will roll up the driveway and scoop me up into its dark interior.

I stare down at my bowl. Stewed huckleberries and apples. Black smashed berries and their dark juice seep through the apples. Yuck. Smothering the stew in vanilla ice cream can’t hide the taste of huckleberries, a taste that sits in the middle between sweet and bitter. But Mom insists on growing these strange berries in her garden.

“Sharon, did you hear me?” Mom gets up from the kitchen table, scurries into the living room and stares out the front window. “Oh, I can see a police car coming up the street; it’s turning into the driveway.”

I start to shovel the mixture down my throat. Then I jump up and take my turn at the living room window. Down the street, Mare’s father cuts his front lawn; Mrs. Armstrong sits on her front veranda, with her collie dog at her feet, and a couple of finned cars cruise up the road towards the dead-end street. Our driveway at 139 lolls in its usual empty state. When I finally get the nerve to look straight down at the veranda outside the window, all I see are the two Muskoka chairs – vacant.

Such was my mother’s twist of the truth. My legacy is rich with the fallout from my mother’s Rules of Honesty. She had a skewed sense of right and wrong. According to Mom, I had to tell it all as it actually happened, but she could tailor her honesty according to what she thought suitable for little ears to hear or what she wanted little people to do. Or she could stretch the truth by throwing in a little imagination. I compare it to a ruler, each inch (or centimetre, depending on your generation) from one to 10 being the equivalent of one of Mom’s Rules of Honesty to live life. The higher the rule or ruler number doesn’t necessarily mean the more significant the rule.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford).

To this day a strong sense of honesty, integrity and even justice stays with me. It is important that everyone is treated fairly and that covers the good and bad of each person. I’ve been taken to task for going after someone who has treated me wrongly or unfairly but I believe that if someone messes up they need to be held responsible. Often this means I confront the person – and that’s what I get the flak for. However, I also do the flip side of the coin and try to show my gratitude for someone who has helped me or is doing something good. An example of the latter is one of the members of my East End Writers’ Group who decided to help me with the publicity for our 10th anniversary celebration and did. Now, she is having a book launch for her memoir and I am doing my part to promote it and work it out so I can get to it (and the other book launch a few hours earlier the same day).

In case you are interested her name is Susan Siddeley and her book Home First: a memoir in voices is being launched Sunday, November 13, 4.30 p.m. at at The Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament Street,  (just north of Carlton St. and south of Aberdeen). in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. For more information on Susan and the wonderful writers’ retreats she holds in Chile check out her blog at http://losparronales.blogspot.com/.

Do I follow my ethical criteria all of the time? No. Was my mother perfect? No. But as I write near the end of this same chapter in my memoir…

Mother’s honesty didn’t just encompass telling the truth; it covered people’s basic integrity and how they dealt with the screw-ups, bad times and bad luck that always pop up in life. Nothing is certain except taxes and death, but the trick is to wind yourself through the days, months and years until you die – without falling into the muddy waters.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford).

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Book launch, Death and Dying, East End Writers' Group, Home first memoir, Honesty, Integrity, Life learning, Mother dying, Only child, Only child memoir, Responsibility, Sharon Crawford, Susan Siddeley

Only child looks at responsibility and integrity

Only Child's late mom who taught her honesty and integrity.

Lately I’ve been whacked by people’s irresponsibility. Friends, colleagues promise something and then back out without telling me or let me know way after the fact. For example, I just held my annual Open House Christmas Party – most of those I invited let me know if they were coming or not (those who kept silent either way are another story); a few had to cancel at the last minute due to illness and one because her flight got her back home too late – but they all called me. That is the courteous thing to do. But some  of those who promised to attend were no-shows. Okay, so you’re thinking, it’s only a party. True, but it makes me wonder if this is their usual modus operandi for everything. What does that say about them? Wouldn’t it be better to be honest here? What ever happened to honesty and integrity and common courtesy?

My late mother had an honesty and integrity code. I call it her Ten Rules of Honesty. Some of them were a bit weird but she sure taught me the importance of  having ethical and moral codes. The one that fits the closest for my current situation would be show your truth by your actions, or perhaps you show your truth by your actions or inactions.

Civility has taken a drastic nosedive the past 15, maybe 20 or even 25 years. I’m not referring to kids and teens here. The “culprits” (for want of a better word) in my situation are over 30, in some cases well over 30.  So, I can’t blame it on a generation-raising factor or a society gone lax in its attitude or outlook. In fact, one of the most polite children I know is my nearly-seven-year old neighbour next door. He is thoughtful (even brought flowers for me when he came to my party with his mom) and came up to me at the end to thank me for inviting him to my party. Even another friend noticed his politeness and acknowledged him for it.

So, maybe we (and I’ve been guilty a few times, too) “big people” need to step back from our over-busy world, take a deep breath, pull up our socks (or stockings or leotards) and try to be more considerate of others. Not RSVPing to a party may be minor in itself. But what if the situation were more serious – perhaps a business commitment or in the personal vein, promising to take your elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment and then not only not showing up but not bothering to call and tell him or her.

Are we turning into a bunch of uncivil uncaring louts? Maybe we need to not just get a life but get back the integrity  in our life.

For what it’s worth.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only child writes

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Filed under Betrayal, Christmas, Civility, Consideration, Integrity, Life learning, Only child, Parenting, Responsibility