Yo Yo Ma was in Montreal recently with his new Bach project, playing Bach’s Unaccompanied – how I would love to have been there. And then he played in a Montreal subway station. When asked why he’d included Canada on his very busy itinerary, he said something like, “Are you kidding? Canada is one of the only liberal democracies left!” Chrystia Freeland was interviewed recently by the NYTimes in Toronto; she rode her bicycle to the interview, and she also said, “I would argue — and I don’t think this is gloating at all — I think Canada is the strongest liberal democracy in the world right now. And if you guys disagree with me, name me one that’s stronger. Right? Truly. We’re standing pretty strong, and that’s great.”
Another weekend – no men in my house. Though today, I put an emergency call through to Kevin at noon, when I found water dripping from the third floor to the second. AAAHG – the angry water gods again! Luckily, Kevin lives a few houses away and came right away; not a hole in the roof, it was a problem with the plumbing he installed yesterday, fixed in an hour.
But as I sat in the sauna at the Y, breathing in the hot still air, I realized one reason this reno has been so difficult for me: yes, of course, it’s my house being ripped apart and partially demolished as I live in it, with resulting disruption, dust, and chaos, terrible ripping, crashing sounds of destruction. And yes, it’s money, tons of money floating up the chimney, to the great merriment of the Royal Bank of Canada.
But also – I am a woman who lives alone. There are days I talk to almost no-one, as I sit in my house, my sanctuary of peace and solitude. And now my sanctuary is flooded with people daily – Kevin and Ed arrive at 8.30 a.m., JM not long after, the electrician, the termite guys, the roofer, the others, a long procession, all needing to be dealt with. A thousand decisions have to be made, all costing me money and the men time.
So – a tiny bit of stress. A tich of anxiety. JM is very kind and says I’m dealing with it well. You could have fooled me.
Fun yesterday – we need lighting fixtures, and he discovered a high end lighting showroom that has – be still my beating heart – a remainder table with quality stuff vastly reduced. So we went yesterday to check out all the boxes piled on their table. It’s a wonderful place: Dark Tools.
https://www.darktools.com/. The owner, Glen, a most personable man, took time from a company lunch he was hosting to show us his wares; he’s passionate about lights, and we fell for his honeyed words, and also his offer of sometimes 90% off. I bought an extravagant something that’s totally not me, and yet I hope will work in a new very tall space we’re creating by taking out a bit of third floor floor, and also a pendant orb for my bedroom. I woke at 4 a.m. in a sweat, wondering if they’re ridiculous. You be the judge.
We have the raw materials; that’s the finished product. We’ll hang individual maple leaves all over the frame and suspend it in a very tall passageway.
I’ve never bought anything at a high end design store before – but that remainder table made these a possibility. And then Glen drove us back here in his truck and I learned all about his love life. Now that’s a great experience in a store!
Today, like last Saturday, I’ve spent recovering from the week, and from the leak. This mild afternoon, rode my bike to my favourite cinema, the Carlton, to see “Will you ever forgive me?” There seem to be lots of movies about writers these days, this one about Lee Israel, a biographer who fell on hard times, ended up forging author letters fashioned in the voices of famous writers and making very good money selling to dealers – until she was apprehended. And then, of course, she wrote a memoir about her life of crime. It features superb performances by Melissa McCarthy – only a little bit of milking going on – and the always fabulous Richard Grant, doing another version of his dissolute but adorable “Withnail and I” character. Well done and very entertaining.
As in “The Wife,” in this film, the writer’s life is not enviable. And yet here we are. With our new twinkly lights and our smashed house and a glass of wine in our hand.