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one more adventure

Electricity! Light, power sockets that function, hot water, what grand luxuries awaited me when I got home.

I’m in bed with computer, phone, newspapers, and my latest library book, Atul Gawande’s “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” about how we treat end of life in our society, which is very relevant at this moment. I’m feeling dreadful and have to teach the big Ryerson class tonight, so today is about trying to get better.

Forgot to tell you one other cataclysm on my trip to Ottawa – after wrestling suitcase and groceries through the high winds to Do’s apartment building, I got to the 18th floor and put my key in her door, and it didn’t work. The locks had been changed and I was sure I had the new key, but obviously not. It was 4.20 on Friday afternoon; the management office closes at 4.30 for the weekend and sometimes they leave early. By the greatest good luck, I had the number and the manager was still there. I explained my dilemma, could she please let me in? She said, Do you have power of attorney? I said yes, and she said, We need to see it in order to open the door.

I don’t usually travel with my aunt’s will in my pocket, I said. My brother has it, in the Gatineau.
That’s not far away, she said. Tell him to come in.

I nearly wept. The thought of my brother having to come in at rush hour on Friday in the wind and rain – it wasn’t going to happen. I begged her to do something, that I was sick and here to visit my dying aunt, and sat down in the hall. A call back – she’d phoned my brother, who also by some miracle was available as he often is not; he’d confirmed my identity, and she was going to have her assistant cut me a key.

I sat on the hall floor for half an hour until my key arrived.

If the office had been closed, or if she’d insisted on actually seeing the documents, or if my brother had turned off his phone, or if the tornado had killed the power then instead of a bit later, I would have had to go out in the chaos of the storm looking for a hotel. There are always adventures when travelling, but everything feels more difficult when sick. After many months without a bug, I can’t believe I caught one at such a ridiculously inconvenient time. But there you go.

Now – the joy of home, the coffee machine that works, my own bed on a cold gloomy day, my nice cold fridge empty except for three cucumbers, but the freezer is full. Went into the garden yesterday – the last cucumbers and tomatoes, but the time for gazpacho is over. What to do with four big cucumbers? Any ideas?

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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.

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