Loving Whirlwind

Posted: December 13, 2013 in ADHD, humor, humour, living
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I wasn’t late.

I never really intend to be late anyway, but normally I am, despite my best efforts to plan ahead of time, for traffic, for getting ready.  Despite the understandable outrage of those who are forever punctual, lateness doesn’t represent a lack of respect on my part, nor does it mean I think my time is more important than theirs.

It’s a function of a brain that works in kaleidoscope, rather than lines, the latter of which has starting points and focused destinations.  Didn’t find that out until the diagnosis I received a few years ago.

But I digress.  This was a rare victory, and I was relieved.

I even had time to relax for a bit.  Sit down and watch the automatic doors as they briefly opened, and burped out a few people before closing again.

I could feel my heart starting to race, and found that I could no longer sit.  So I stood up and watched the doors, until my little girl sauntered out, smiling.

She rolled her suitcases to the end of the ramp where I stood waiting.  Both of us dropped our stuff and we grabbed each other for a huge and tearful hug.

I honestly forgot how long it had been since we last saw each other in person.  We keep in contact all the time via phone (and occasionally by Skype) but hadn’t spent time together since, I’m guessing perhaps two years ago, when we went on a camping/canoeing trip together.  And where I learned the importance of only camping with a trailer that features a Craftmatic adjustable bed.  She on the other hand could camp out on the floor and not be affected.  The brat.

After the hug, she stood back and mapped out my face, checking for imperfections.  To her delight (and to my tolerant amusement) she found one.  There was a single hair growing on my cheek, which it had no business doing.  Mind you, there was like, a million of them growing on my chin and beneath my nose.  But I guess those were okay, as they were only following instructions.  So she plucked that one hair, saying “hold still, Dad.  Take a deep breath”

I didn’t. I pluck hairs all the time from errant locations.  I’m used to it, and the performance no longer brings tears or even flinching.  I smiled.  She plucked and missed.

Horrified, she said “oh I’m sorry. Let me try again. Are you okay?”

I nodded, still smiling.  She plucked again and this time she got it.

Grooming all done, we turned and began walking.  “How are you doing?” I asked. “Are you hungry? Did you get a bite to eat on the plane?”

She thought for a moment. “Well I could use a tea, Dad. Is there a coffee shop nearby?”

There was, and so we went, chattering as if we hadn’t spoken in a year.  (Well, she chattered. I added an observation here and there).

Our relationship has always been like that though.  We can not talk on the phone for weeks at a time, and when we connect, it’s as if we just spoke yesterday.  I never realized how rare that was until encountering some folk who feel rejected if you don’t check in with them in scheduled intervals.

Afterward, and after dumping her suitcases into a limo-SUV (I really don’t know what to call those things: it’s a limo service, but our ride took the form of an SUV), I warned her about my place.

“You’re going to hate it” I said. She looked at me, grinning.  We both knew she would be making some changes, even though she would only be there for a few days.

And change it she did.  Prior to her arrival, I had the perfect bachelor setup: big-ass plasma TV, front and center, Lazy-boy chair right in front of it. Dolby surround-sound speakers placed in such a way as to make the chair the “sweet spot” for….well, for pretty much everything.

man_cave.jpg

Not exactly like this, but you get the idea.

The sofa was to my right, along the wall.

As soon as we walked in the door, I braced myself.  This wouldn’t do.  Not at all.  And she confirmed it fairly quickly.

She also didn’t like my office setup, which was situated in the dining room.  It was too closed off for her liking, and “no one can see the beautiful screensavers – all they can see is the back of the monitors and all of the wiring”.

“No problem” I thought.  “It’s just me looking at the stuff, and I really don’t care.”

“Trust me, dad”, she said. “If you don’t like what I do with it, you can put it all back.”

We spent most of her second day there, going to town.  I was assigned the task of sorting out the bookcase.  I have no idea why I still have a bookcase, actually, since I buy all of my books in e-book format, and have no need of physical books anymore.  Right now the bookcase serves as a drop-off point for stuff that lacks a home. Receipts that I haven’t shredded, the odd flyer, pennies and pens that I pick up off of the floor.

My apartment isn’t nearly as bric-a-brac as I’m making it sound.  It’s just that when I have something in my hand, and no time to figure out where it goes, the bookcase is my instant repository.  I put stuff there, knowing that I’ll get around to sorting it someday.

“Someday” is right.  When I started sorting, I found a lot of outdated stuff that belonged in the trash.  Stuff I hadn’t seen in a couple of years actually. It was a little embarrassing, particularly since I’ve made it my life’s goal to de-clutter.  The protocol is: if you don’t see or use it within a year, you don’t need it.

I had a lot of stuff there that qualified for the green bin.  Still do, actually, since I didn’t make that much of a dent in it.

Daughter however did just fine with her tasks – which was pretty much everything else.  She shoved everything around, made it all tidy, grabbed whatever twist ties she could to make the entertainment center and desk wiring all serene, if not beautiful.  When she ran out of twist ties, I became the scotch tape caddy, doling it out as she needed.

When she was done, my place looked presentable again.  The big chair was kitty-corner to the TV set, with the couch forming the other part of the scene.  The TV itself was in a corner.  And my office space was transformed such that any visitors could clearly see everything I was working on. I don’t plan to have many visitors.

“What do you think, Dad?”

I stood in front of my office desk, looked up at her and gave her a small wave and a smile.

She laughed out loud and went to grab her camera.  So I had to hold that pose for a while. Such jocularity loses its pizzazz when you have to pose for it.  I think we both knew that.

Our time together ended way too soon.  I saw her off the next day, when she left me to go visit her mother for the other two days she would spend in Ontario.  And now she’s off to western Canada, there to provide massage treatments for tired skiers.

I miss her already.

Comments
  1. Karen Milliorn says:

    Could we “borrow” your daughter for an unspecified amount of time? We only have approximately 20 bookcases, give or take, which REALLY need attention. In fact, some day, there will be a horror movie about our house–“The House That Dripped Books”. Perhaps Wes Craven would be interested in the project? There are, of course, books in bookcases, but there are also books in boxes in the closets & under some of the beds, as well as in a bookcase in the garage (forgot to count THAT one!). There are books stacked 2 & 3 deep on some shelves, & stacked here & there on tables… & night stands & the piano & the floor & a chair & on top of a bookcase…).
    And then, as you mentioned, there’s the as-yet-unfiled non-book material that gravitates to the open space in front of (& on top of) the books in the bookcases. Wow!–What paraphernalia!–Everything from travel souvenirs to long-forgotten video cameras to photos to antique toys. (We actually DID find a 5 year-old video camera that we had forgotten about buying!). When we had kittens around the house, we occasionally found one of them up among the books, too! (The adult cats are too “dignified” to do that kind of exploring.).
    We are fortunate in that this is not a major earthquake zone or we’d be at serious risk for being crushed by a falling bookcase–unless we take refuge in the bathroom (which DID have a half-height case briefly during some home repairs recently.).
    I think, since my husband refuses to move elsewhere (to a larger house in which we could have a designated library space), that only solution is to buy the house next door & turn it into a private library.

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    • wolfshades says:

      Karen: you and hubby need to consider a move to the Dark Side. Where there are no physical books anymore, just e-books that collect dust in your e-reader. I used to be as you, with books piling up everywhere. At first, prior to the advent of e-book readers, the only way I could make room for new books was to take my old ones either to a bookseller – where I could sell them for a fraction of their original purchase price; or to a library, which received them gratefully. (If by grateful, one means someone with a sullen mien, grabbing one’s bag of books away resentfully).

      I still have a few hardcovers though, so all is not as rosy as I’d like it to be, in my literary depot. Books that I’ve yet to read, books that I am loathe to discard just yet.

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      • Karen Milliorn says:

        Aaah, but a life with just books in the ether seems so…sterile. Curling up with an…e-reader? No scribbling in the margins? No dedications in the front from owners long-gone? No notes to self in the back cover? And some books are decidedly very much like very old, very good friends. When my granddaughter was born, I gave her a copy of my long-since-lost “Better Homes And Gardens Story Book” that I spent so many happy hours with when growing up. It will, I admit, be a few years before she’s ready to appreciate it, but is she ever in for a treat! (“Never walk on the lines, Only walk in the squares, Or you’ll be eaten by the bears!”)
        A book is so much more than just the sight of what is on the page–the color & texture of the cover, the sound when you open it & close it, the feel & scent of the pages & how the edges are cut, the condition of the spine. A book is a whole experience–& if it’s an old one that has belonged to someone you know–or even someone you don’t–there’s history there! There’s no real history like that in e-reader books. There’s no sensory input other than visual & certainly–other than intrinsic to the story–little or no “emotional baggage”.
        We bought a used book the other day & discovered a Christmas dedication to someone from his dad from many years ago–there’s a story there, that we’ll likely never know. What happened to them that the gift ended up in a used bookstore some 40 years later?
        The only advantage that I can see to e-readers is that you can read them at night without a flashlight. But, of course, real books, never, ever need their batteries charged–day or night!

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        • wolfshades says:

          Honestly – I see several other advantages to ebook readers. The chiefest involves price. I have compared the pricing between hardcover and paperback books versus e-books: the latter are uniformly cheaper.

          Second: you can do online comparison shopping. I have three different ebook apps on my iPad, all of which cater to their own stores: Apple has its own bookstore, Amazon has its own, and Chapters has its own as well. I have shopped for the same book between them all, and have ended up paying less at one of them, than at another. The kicker is: even though I pay less per book, I’m actually spending a lot more on books than I ever did before.

          Browsing a bookstore is so much easier, and quicker.

          The weight of those books is no longer an issue. Typically, I used to go to bookstores and buy upwards of 6-10 books, hoping they would last me awhile. Depending upon the size involved, I had a limit to what I could carry home. Quite often I bought hardcovers, and those get *very* weighty if you buy more than two.

          You can bookmark ebooks; you can add notes; you can highlight them.

          What you can’t do is hand down books you’ve purchased to someone else. You can’t share them – unless you opt to download books from your library. (Toronto allows this).

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  2. It always makes me smile to hear about time spent with your daughter. She’s such a bright, happy soul from what I’ve experienced of her, and your delight in her is just beautiful. I always envied girls who had adoring dads. It’s something I’ll never know.

    I do exactly the same thing when it comes to organizing people I’m close to. I have one friend that I see only every few years or so but every time I land in her living room I find myself moving things about and organizing her house. One time I was barely in the door and hugging her when my foot shot out and moved the love seat that was sitting just inside and at an odd angle to the TV. We both laughed hysterically.

    As for books, I collect them lovingly. I couldn’t possibly part with my hardbacks. They’re nostalgic and pretty and I tend to read them over and over, gleaning new bits every time I do. I just get can’t into the e-reader thing. I like the heft and smell of books. It’s so much more than that but you get the gist.

    Anyway, it’s good to see you writing, my friend. Thank you for sharing this glimpse of your world.

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    • wolfshades says:

      As you’ll see from Karen’s notes above, you’re in good company when it comes to books.

      It’s funny: I told my daughter when she was hear that I mentally prepared myself for two full days of constant non-stop activity – and I was right. She laughed, of course. I also knew that as soon as she saw me, she’d begin “fixing me up” – starting with my face and hair. The last time we met in person, she carefully re-arranged my hair, after which I messed it all up again on purpose. Part of the “fixing” I knew would involve my apartment. Honestly, we’re like that dog and cat cartoon, where the big bulldog puts up with the antics of the kitten, chuckling all the while.

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