Home Sick

This morning, I woke up with a runny nose and a big lump in my throat. After about ten minutes of trying to remember what day it was, I realized I couldn’t face a full day of using my brain. So I called in sick. And then I did what I’m sure every 29-year-old woman does on a sick day; I called my mom.

At this moment, my mother is making what she calls and “immune-boosting” soup with kale and about a dozen onions. I am sitting in front of her fireplace, curled up on her comfiest chair. I look like shit and there’s a big pile of used Kleenex next to me, but it sure beats sitting at home.

A view of the fireplace

Sitting comfortably at my mom’s

Why would I rather be here? Well aside from the obvious nice company, toasty fire and great food, being at my mom’s means not doing housework.

Sitting on my own couch, I can’t help constantly contemplating what task most needs doing in our clunker of a home. There’s the everyday stuff like laundry, raking leaves and cooking. But it’s the once-in-awhile jobs that get me – stuff like sharpening my garden shears and repainting trim. Together, they make my to do list gargantuan.

I have a theory that the constant housework (and stressing about housework yet to be done) has made me ill. I’m literally home sick.

I really don’t know how grownups do the whole homeownership thing and still find time to exercise, go on dates, or call friends. Either they are better, faster and stronger human beings, or I am way more anal than I thought I was. It might be the latter, since JF has actually said the words “you have to lower your standards.”

Perhaps this illness is my body’s way of saying: “slow down – I am going to implode!” or maybe “you should eat better and exercise more!” or even “your house will never look like Elle Décor anyway!” Or maybe it’s just that the flu is going around. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m going to eat some of my mom’s soup.

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My mom’s immune-boosting soup

I believe in little things

Prairie Dawn (yes, the one from Sesame Street) sings a song I’ve always loved about her belief in the power of little things. Her examples are honeycomb, spiderwebs, and starfish.

The pace of our lives remains blistering. It’s JF’s busy time at work and he’s exhausted from travelling to head office in Toronto and back. I’m trying to get used to this whole nine to five thing. And we can’t seem to keep ourselves from chipping away at house renos every night.

But, optimist that I am, I continue to find heaps of joy in things like perfect donuts from the Elmvale bakery, clean sheets out of the dryer, and colourful tea towels.

One of the best compliments I ever got was from my childhood taxi driver, Carol. She drove my sister Alicia and I to elementary school every day. Not because we had money (I wore hand-me-downs from my cousin Anne-Marie until I was 14) but because we lived so far in the boonies there was no reason to send a bus.

Anyway, Carol was obese, wrinkly, and had platinum blonde hair of dubious authenticity in with neon pink curly ribbons coming out of it. She was also, I thought, one of the kindest people in the universe. When I was 11, she told me I had the greatest capacity for seeing beauty of anyone she had ever met. I guess that’s kind of questionable coming from a woman with plastic hair, but I felt pretty special.

At that age, I collected purple rocks, walked through woods alone to admire fall colours, and sighed with pleasure at the sight of an open peony. I also did dumb things like keep dead leaves I’d seen twirling in the wind and practice making perfect impressions of lipstick on Kleenex. I was pretty cool.

Things haven't changed much. I picked these around Elise and Roger's house a few weeks ago.

Things haven’t changed much. I picked these around Elise & Roger’s house a few weeks ago.

I have been using all my powers for admiring loveliness lately. I’ve needed them to spot the potential in my patchy bathroom walls and see through the stained carpet on my 2nd floor.  I’ve also used them to remember and appreciate the many small blessings in my life.

Sunflowers + fresh picked apples + sunrises over canola fields = happiness.