Archive for April, 2010

Life At The New House

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2010 by moegreeb

As many of my readers are aware, my wife and I bought a new house and had been spending some time getting the place to move in. Well…we’re in there now. It has been an interesting time so far and the place has already shown itself to be a strange and exciting place.

Please don't tell my wife how high up I was when I took this picture. Thanks.

For the record...he tasted awesome.

One of the first things we discovered was the beaver skull. Logically, my first concern was that by taking this skull I had disturbed an ancient beaver burial ground and that I would forever after be haunted by ghost beavers and their gnawing damnations. Turns out their plan of retribution was instead to just attack my dogs. A few days ago I had let the dogs outs and then after a few moments I went to see what the commotion was. The two dogs had found a beaver. Walter was simply spinning on the spot and barking excitedly but poor Corbin was trying to sniff the thing…and this can be tough when about 30lbs of rodent does not wish to be sniffed and would instead prefer lunging at your face repeatedly. They also occasionally knock trees down across my driveway. Bastards. I’m not giving them back their skull.

Our yard is now littered with bird feeders. So far we have seen Blackbirds (Red-winged), Cardinals, Chickadees (Black-capped), Cowbirds, Crows, Doves (Mourning), Goldfinches, Grackles, Blue Jays, Dark-eyed Junco, White-breasted Nuthatches, Robins, Song Sparrows, Wild Turkeys, Woodpeckers (Downy, Hairy, Pileated) and Northern Flickers (Yellow Shafted). This is quite nice and relaxing to watch. Less relaxing is when you open the door of your wood stove and there is a red winged blackbird staring out at you.

There was a bird in my stove. After I put the dogs upstairs I returned to the stove and considered my next move. I started by grabbing a box and returning to the stove. Yeah…that didn’t work. Each of my attempts to snag the bird with the box was thwarted by the bird looking at me smugly and calmly stepping to the side. My next tactic involved grabbing a shirt. I would use the shirt to trap the bird and put him back outside.  So…with a shirt in hand I took another shot at bird wrangling. Fed up with my shenanigans the bird jumped out of the stove and started running across the floor. I followed him until he ran under the bookcase. I moved the bookcase and then remembered the whole under the bookcase. The whole that led to the space that ran under the floorboards. The bird had found it though. The next few minutes were spent filled with clanging noises as the bird ran around and clanged off of vents and occasional appearances of a beak through various gaps in the floor. The ceiling of the basement is a drop one so when I went downstairs I was able to just lift a tile to see if I could see the bird. I could…he was staring at me. Then he turned and ran. There was more clanging. Finally I was able to get him cornered and he jumped out of the ceiling and moved down to the floor. After a few moments of running around the room he jumped up to the window and stood there looking outside. Fortunately, this window has no screen so I was able to slide it open and he was left open to the world. Which he didn’t feel like entering again. I ended up poking him in the back until finally he gave me a dirty look and flew away.

One of the nicest features of the property is the pond. It is home to many nice fishes, all of which like to be fed…

YOU CAN'T HIDE FROM ME!!!

it is now also home to a couple of turtles. Twice now while driving home I’ve stopped to move turtles off of the road (it is a compulsion…I’ve also stopped to move turtles…don’t judge me). Instead of just moving off them to the ditch though I’ve brought them home and put them in the pond. My plan is to eventually breed an army of turtles and use them to re-enact the first four levels of Super Mario Bros.

The wildlife has been interesting enough around the house but I figured that I would start exploring the rest of the land. I started hiking through the wetlands behind the house. I found interesting trails, duck nests, evidence of more beavers…and a van.

I can't wait to show this van to Hurly.

50% of all nightmares are generated here. True fact.

Yup…in the middle of the marshy forest behind my house is a van. A van filled with tires, batteries, a vehicle’s gas tank, animal droppings ,and (though I didn’t see it) the bodies of at least two drifters. Weird huh? This wasn’t all there was back there though. I also found stacks of logs like the one that were used in the construction of this house, pile of bricks, and old cart and wagon, two giant gas tanks and what appears to be a decades old piece of machinery. I can’t wait to see what I find next month.

Just in case you missed the horrifying words printed on the face of that machine

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Francis

Posted in Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 by moegreeb

It was my grandfather’s eighty eighth birthday a few weeks ag. He arrived with my parents at the restaurant, sat down and promptly tried to remove his teeth. I wished him a happy birthday and then asked him why it was that he was taking his teeth out at the table.

“Well, there wasn’t enough room in the car to take them out there.”

I couldn’t really argue this point.

The night went well. My grandfather was in a pretty good mood for the most part. He hadn’t wanted to go out in the first place but he liked the company once he was there. He couldn’t remember why it was that everyone was gathered (we had to keep reminding him that it was his birthday). He enjoyed the cake though, and every single time someone said ‘Happy Birthday’ to him he would beam a huge smile and thank the person. That was a good night.

The other night wasn’t such a good night. Papa got up to go to the washroom and when he got back he was screaming. He was screaming at my parents, the people that he now lives with, about how nobody at that facility took proper care of him, how they were all just taking his money and leaving him unattended. Finally my mother got him to take an anti-psychotic and got him to lay down. The next day he awoke and every thing was fine. All was right in the world of Papa.

My wife and I arrived later that day for Easter dinner. Like most times, I introduced Papa to my wife. Like most times, he said that he didn’t know that I was married and he would have liked to have gone to the wedding. He did.

My grandfather suffers from a form of dementia known as Dementia with Lewy Bodies. What happens is within the areas of the brain that control motor functions and memory there is a build up of Lewy bodies (alpha-synuclein protein) in the nuclei of neurons. When this happens symptoms that can resemble both Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s are triggered.

For the most part, my grandfather seems to act as if it is about 25 years ago. He still tries to get up and get ready for work almost every day and can get very agitated when someone tries to explain to him that he is retired. I’ve tried to understand this. I’ve tried to put myself in his shoes.

Imagine that you are just going about your routine…getting yourself ready for your day just the same way that you always do….and then someone tells you that you don’t work anymore (ok…maybe this would be a bit of a pleasant dream for some of us). Not only do you not work, but you haven’t worked in decades. You wouldn’t believe them…not for one second. You would know that you have to go to work. Anything other would be ridiculous.

This is the world for my grandfather now. He is rarely in the same moment as the people that he spends his time with now. Now he keeps company with people that argue with him and are constantly correcting him about things that he knows to be true. These people are constantly moving around on him. One moment a chair will be occupied by his son and the next it will be his son-in-law…or his grandson.

I miss my grandfather. I miss the man that used to spend hours playing checkers with me. The man that would take me to the park or take me fishing. I miss my Papa. I miss him taking me to visit his brothers. His brothers who are all now long dead, but he still seems to think he just saw yesterday. I see little glimpses of him every once in awhile, but it gets harder each time. More and more he is being replaced with a doddering old man and it breaks my heart.

I hope he isn’t aware of what is happening. I hope that he doesn’t know how much it hurts all off us to see him that way. The man that I remember and love would hate to know how hard it is for all of us.

Whenever he gets argumentative, whenever he gets difficult…I try to remind myself all of this. He is like a child now…he needs patience. He needs care.

I just want my Papa back and I know that I’m never going to get him back again.

I Will Destroy My Nose

Posted in Uncategorized on April 1, 2010 by moegreeb

So…I broke my nose the other day. This isn’t a new experience. This has happened before. I’m also sad to say…that it will probably happen again. I wish it wouldn’t, but there you have it. I have to face the facts. I subconsciously hate my nose and wish to destroy it. It has been a long and bloody history.

Grade 7 was when it all began. It was lunch time recess and I was playing road hockey with some of the other guys (I’m Canadian…it is actually illegal to NOT play road hockey when you are a young male. It is true. I don’t even really like hockey and I still played it.). I can’t recall the exact circumstances leading up to the moment when Garrett turned around and punched me in the face. I assume it had something to do with the fact that he was a loser and I had tried to point it out to him (If you are reading this, Garrett, I’m sure that you are no longer a raging douchebag. It was probably just a youth thing. A lot of people grow out of the ‘I’m a huge fucking dick’ phase of their lives.
All I really remember of that day was the brief flash of stars and my once perfect nose being forever changed (seriously…I could have been a nose model. I think that is a real career).

After about a year of getting used to the new crooked look of my nasal features I had decided that more punishment was needed. So I set an elaborate plan into motion. I arranged circumstances so that my friend Adam would be bullied by Jason. This wasn’t too tough since Jason is a dick (unlike Garrett, I’m pretty sure that Jason is still a dick). After Jason had thrown Adam until a garbage can I stepped in and attacked him with my nose.
Crunch.
Mission accomplished. Nose was rebroken.

After this was a series of nose related injuries. I was tackled during high school and slammed my nose against a block of ice. Broken. I fell down a flight of stairs and stopped myself against a wall…with my face. Broken. Got drunk and jumped by a bunch of guys in university (I think…there is also a chance that I was hit by a car….I never really figured out what happened that night). Broken.

Perhaps the most embarrassing time that I broke my nose was about 10 years back my friend Willy (he prefers to be called William. This is why I call him Willy) and I were driving at night and spotted a hitch-hiker along the side of the road. I then recognized the hiker as being Adam (the guy from broken nose #2). I threw my head out the window to taunt him as we sped past. I really should have checked to ensure that the window was open first. It wasn’t. Well…it was partially open. It was rolled down enough that if someone were to throw their head quickly out the window the top of the window would hit the bridge of their nose REALLY FUCKING HARD. This is what I did. My nose had been made crooked over the years but that was the time that it got noticeable wider. Ah…take that nose. You smug bastard you.

All of this brings us up to last Monday. Last Monday when I am at the house that my wife and I were moving out of. Last Monday, when I am standing in the pouring rain trying to take apart a gazeebo all by myself. Not my best plan. I hadn’t realized that it wasn’t my best plan until I unscrewed a beam and lacked a third hand to catch it as it fell across my face. After awhile you come to recognize that cracking sound that you feel echo through your entire skull for what it is. A broken nose.

So now I sit and I prod at my tender facial features and explore the new contours of it and the new bumps and ridges that can be found there.

Next time needs to be spectacular I think.