We were camping at Fish Creek Lake in Utah, an idyllic place under the pines with a cool mountain stream wandering by our campsite.
I played with my favorite troll doll, the one with pink hair. My sisters and I had many of the little trolls, all with the characteristic long, fuzzy hair in unnatural colors. I played with all of them.
But I loved the girl doll with the bright fuschia hair.
That day, I tied her to a supple branch that hung over the creek, and bounced the branch with my foot so she dipped into the water briefly.
In my big imagination, it was an amusement park ride, the precursor to a bungee cord jump over water. In my mind, I was the doll tied to the stick, taking great swoops through the air that ended in a brief plunge into the snow-melt water.
It was thrilling.
Right up to the moment when I glanced at the stick and saw nothing there.
Yesterday someone called me a housewife. Someone who, I thought, knows me quite well.
I didn’t handle it well, and I’ve probably lost a good friend. But this isn’t that story.
The thing is … I think of myself as a writer. Heck, the reason I was willing to move to Canada is because “I can work anywhere.”
But I have struggled to write here in Canada. Heck, I’ve struggled to read here in Canada! I’ve always been a voracious reader, but the last couple of years, I find I cannot concentrate on a book except when I’m traveling.
And I’m losing my identity. If I’m not a writer, I don’t know who I am.
I told you yesterday about the latest wrinkle in our immigration to Canada. But I didn’t tell you the most painful part.
I made the supreme mistake of posting about it on a social media platform I occasionally use to vent.
The responses — all from Edmonton, I believe — were body blows.
The mildest ones suggested we opt out of health care, which sounds benign until you realize they’re suggesting that 1) we not receive the services for which we pay very high taxes; and 2) our daughter should do without services she might need that we might not be able to afford.
I have spent the past month in Washington. One of my sisters was quite ill, so I went to be with her.
That left Mars to run the house on his own. He did a great job, but a couple of times he struggled to get Girly Girl to and from school. (Junior and senior high school students in Edmonton ride the metropolitan bus, but we aren’t quite ready to let GG loose in the city.)
One afternoon, he had her come home by taxi. It went fairly smoothly — the school put her in the taxi, and she paid with cash — except she forgot to tip the driver.
That day, she sent Mars this text:
“Hey, Dad. I am in the cab. See you at home, or not if you’re gonna be at work until 8:00 or 9:00.
But I want to say that whenever Mom gets back, I want her to pick me up after school.
“I am done with you and taking cabs. I hate it. Please stop it. Whatever day Mom will be back, I want her to pick me up after school, not you.
Today I got a lesson in why people hate cops so much.
I’m in Washington, and this time, just for fun, I drove my little red sports car. The thing you need to know about this car is that every time I pass a policeman*, he pulls out behind me and follows for several miles.
Every. Single. Time.
Every. Single. Cop.
I’ve never been ticketed in the Mazda because I very rarely speed, but I’ve spent countless miles dutifully driving the speed limit on the front bumper of a cop.
So … I’m driving on the Olympic peninsula — on a winding, two-lane road — and I pass a policeman sitting by the side of the road with his radar.
Quick quiz: you’re driving a bright red sports car, and you see a policeman … what do you do?
Yep. You check your speed (fifty-seven in a fifty-five zone). Then if you’re speeding (which I was, but barely), you slow down.
Right? That’s what anybody would do, not just someone in a sexy red sports car.
That’s exactly what I did. I slowed to fifty-five and set my cruise control.
Girly Girly loves Maroon 5. I mean, she loves them!
So when we heard several months ago that they were coming to Edmonton, we made sure we got tickets the day they went on sale.
She’s been sooo looking forward to the concert. She’s had the date marked in her calendar for months, and she’s announced it to everyone. She even announced in church Sunday that she was going to the Maroon 5 concert.
As she left for school today, she said she was going to tell everyone that she was going to see Maroon 5 tonight.
Today, Mars logged onto his Ticketmaster account to print out the e-tickets, and he was greeted with the message, “How did you like the Maroon 5 concert?”