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in which she whines

Later that same day … I do not know what else this house can throw at me, I really do not. Because I swear, every *#$@ inch has screwed up at some point in my nearly 27 years here. The windows wiring floors ceilings flooded basement leaking skylights furnace every goddamn thing.

John my most wonderful handyman came. He opened up more of the ceiling above my bed. What was his cheery diagnosis? “Much worse than I’d thought. It’s a miracle it didn’t fall in on you.” It’s rotten right to the roof, the wood still wet and chewed through by termites or carpenter ants. Which means that not only the ceiling and beams need to be ripped out and rebuilt, but the roof itself, too, needs to be ripped out and rebuilt. And you know what? My roofer was just here a few weeks ago, and what part of the roof did he completely redo? THAT PART! YES!

So John and I spent some time hauling garbage bags of rotten wood and plaster outside. My room is a debacle.

But! I do not have breast cancer. My family and friends are healthy. In the middle of all this, I called my mother, and she told me that she walked without her walker from the bathroom to the phone by her bed. When I last saw her, this woman could barely stand up with two nurses on either side.

So – good news. My mother can walk, and I do not have breast cancer. And I haven’t heard the dog howl for at least two hours. Mind you, I’ve been busy. And – wow! – the bedroom ceiling did NOT fall in on me as I slept! How lucky can you get?

As I sit writing to you, my cat just puked all over the kitchen floor. The garden is shrivelled and needs desperately to be watered. I need to find clean clothes and pack for my flight to Ottawa early tomorrow, sort out the fridge, take out the garbage, water the indoor plants, make lists for the catsitter and the garden waterer. It’s 30 degrees but feels, they say on the radio, like 36. Yesterday I spent the entire day on the phone to Ottawa, dealing with lawyers, accountants, Mum’s bills and where she’ll go next. Somewhere, on the backest of back burners, is my work.

Is it time to move into a nice simple tiny clean new condo? Tell me what you think.

Later. This is one of those times when the single woman feels really alone. The fantasy is of a big strong man to whom I can say, Problems in the ceiling, dear. I have writing to do. Ta da.

I know big strong men come with complications of their own. Still, today I am feeling swamped. Not sorry for myself, because this is exactly the life I want (minus, of course, ceiling rot). But swamped.

P.S. And I haven’t even mentioned that fine writer Maeve Binchy, RIP. I have a wonderful article by her before she was famous, which I’ll share with you. As soon as I can dig it out from beneath the dropcloth.



2 Responses to “in which she whines”

  1. Juliet says:

    "If you can keep your head when all about you…"

    No! Don't move into a clean new condo; you're good for another 20 years in that house. You'd miss your beautiful backyard if you were in a condo. Get the ceiling fixed and next year it'll be history.

    If it's any consolation, it's cold and raining in Paris.

    Bon courage!

  2. beth says:

    Juliet, how wonderful that you know me so well, considering that we've never met … You are right about the garden. My friend Chris, though, who did sell his house and move into a clean new very small condo, now gets amazing amounts of creative stuff done. I do not. He says that maybe one of my life's greatest accomplishments is managing to make the house work. And maybe he's right. On my tombstone: Beth Kaplan, 1950-2053. Survived Her House.

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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.