Scientology Stress Test with E-meter

Scientology Stress Test E-meter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s heading toward three years since Rob’s “heart event”. At three years past with no further incidences, one is considered “good to go”. Even insurance companies think you are just an average risk for your age again.

A final step before the “all clear” is a stress test. He’s had one every year since the heart attack and treatment.

I can’t say that I don’t worry about these things. Rob’s sister, LW, watched her husband drop dead in the middle of his stress test. Granted, he was a  high-strung type and heavy smoker that had been experiencing problems. A stress test was just asking the universe to do something. But, I worry just the same.

And it’s January. I had a husband die on me in January before. Some months are decidedly better than others to schedule things.

However, he went. He jogged furiously. His heart kept up. He’s once again rewarded for his indifferent regard for cardiovascular exercise and watching his weight.

Instead of sitting anxiously about the house, I went to town to walk at the fitness centre and run a couple of errands. By the time I also squeezed in side trip to Dee’s school to chat with her teacher about a ski trip form I’d apparently filled out incorrectly and arrived home, time enough had passed that if something amiss had occurred during Rob’s stress test – someone would have contacted me already. No reason, therefore, to worry further.

He wasn’t even out of breath when he called to let me know he was already on his way home.

“I’m cleared,” he said. “No reason to make any more follow-up appointments unless there is a problem.”

A relief. I prefer everyone in my life to be healthy.

My own health issues were given the “you’re just old” stamp last week after all the cancer checks came back cancer-less.

The Doctor, who is seriously chagrined that I not only am well-versed in my own anatomy but that I can and actually do read the lab requisitions he gives out, had to do a bit of explaining as to why he ordered blood work to check for ovarian cancer along with assessing my hormone levels.

I had already googled and knew why, but I loathe being treated like just one of the sheeples and now he knows better than to poke and pry without giving me a heads up.

So, we are both good. Old. And not in a fine wine so of way. But okay.

Hopefully, we can put all the worries about health to rest now and concentrate on getting the present uncluttered and start planning the future. Other fish need to be cleaned and prepared because this being old business just keeps getting older by the day. I don’t want us to waste too much of it stressing.

English: Front of black iPad 2.

English: Front of black iPad 2. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mom’s visit shot the whole NaBloMoPo to hell. We put her in the office because Rob was worried about her going up and down stairs from the yoga/guest room. He didn’t want her to fall and break a hip or something.

Mom, it should go without saying, found this a highly annoying assumption because “I can go up and down stairs just fine”. I mollified her somewhat with,

“It’s warmer on the main floor, Mom.”

Which is true and so Rob’s status as adored son-in-law is in no danger, but she gets cranky when it appears that we are factoring her age into any decisions or plans we make regarding her visits. This despite the fact that she readily admits to not really enjoying going out after dark or walking long distances.

Her presence in the office curtailed my blogging simply because she stands behind me, noting and reading. I hate that. Only Rob can get away with reading over my shoulder when I am at the computer and even he is pushing it a bit by doing so.

Do not hover while I am at the keyboard and definitely don’t read over my shoulder. I am uncertain as to why this even needs to be said as it should just be a given.

After Mom left, however, I have no excuse beyond just not feeling well.

Same old aging female shit but wearyingly so this past week. Moved me to even make an appointment with my Family Doc, who is so unhelpful she actually said,

“So what do you think we should do?”

Yes, it has come to that. I must Google and then decide my treatment and she will simply facilitate. Universal care at its finest.

But that’s a tmi post for another day – really.

Today marks the mid way point toward gearing up for Rob’s mother’s extended visit with us and Christmas.

The two things will overlap at some point.

Sometime before they do, we have a wall bed to install in the office, a hardwood floor to lay in the living room, hallway and dining room, the latter-most needing to be gutted and dry-walled first, and a fair bit of stuff shuffling and purging to accomplish. This in between our regularly hectic schedule of yoga, Girl Guides, soccer and general daily maintenance.

No biggie.

Mom’s visit coincided with Dee’s Fall Break. I normally scale back that week by cancelling my community yoga classes and since Dee’s Guides don’t meet – we have a “slow” schedule.

More than once, Mom commented on the “slower pace” of our lives. She is used to her own out and about-ness, and the never-ceasing movement of my sister, DNOS’s, life as a working/hockey mom.

Part of the issue is that we live rurally and now that it’s winter, we don’t drive around needlessly. Trips anyway take long enough with good roads.

Mom is not used to be so still and in such quiet conditions though I would say that when Rob and Dee are at work and school during the week, the silence around me rivals that of a monastery. And I like it that way.

Without the constant background noise of tv and “city” life and the ability to jump in her car and toddle out to the grocery or visit friends, Mom was a bit bored.

Facebook helped. Now that Mom has an iPad (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type), she is fast becoming addicted to virtual life. She facebooks, pins and goodreads. Heaven help us if she discovers Twitter. It’s gonna be “shit my mom types”.

The iPad isn’t all bad. With the Facetime feature, she has pretty much given up phoning us and it’s been good for her and for Dee to be able to talk face to face. Mom loves it so much, she is giving DNOS an iPad for Christmas even though they see each other in person nearly every day.

She is even talking about needing a smart phone because she was quite impressed with my ability to take and post pictures to my FB feed using my Android.

Not a sign of the apocalypse but certainly a seismic shift.

With the blackness of Friday encroaching on us here in Canada, I contributed to the Canadian economy yesterday with a few more Christmas purchases. I have a few more yet to make and then I am done but for wrapping.

It’s a scaled back year though that is relative. For us, scaled back means something different from what it does for people in the US for whom money is more of an issue.

I have issued a “please don’t buy me anything” edict again this year. I even turned down the offer of a new iPod from my mom. I have a wish list and I have a want list, but I have no real needs and so can’t justify requesting gifts.

Even Dee, when queried about Christmas, said,

“I don’t really need anything. Isn’t that sad?”

The American holiday spillover feels odd. Thanksgiving is a warmer weather holiday for us. More harvest oriented. Once Halloween is past, it is time for winter preparation and all that that entails. Our early snow this year drove that point home with a bit of force as well.

Lots of things going on in terms of career and future, but today is for updating only.

Happy Black Friday. May you find true bargains and not be trampled, accosted or shot should you find yourself in a Wal-Mart.


Christmas (Photo credit: fixedgear)

My dad bought an 8mm camera sometime within the first year of my arrival. He hauled it out for birthdays, Christmas and Easter for the next five or six years but captured only just a few other sporadic moments of our lives in between the big events. The last time he used it was to record a track meet in 1978 when DNOS and I were in junior high.

We never saw the films growing up because we didn’t own a projector. I think I was in university when Dad stumbled across a projector at a garage sale and we spent one holiday watching those old films – mostly because I was student teaching by then and knew how to thread a projector, a nearly useless skill to have acquired now but at the time was invaluable.

For the most part, those tiny reels sat in a cardboard box in the closet of my parent’s bedroom.

After Dad died in 2008, the films re-emerged during the cleaning and I urged Mom to have them converted to dvd, another dying medium but a step on the road to salvaging them.

Fast forward to our summer visit when I once again prevailed upon Mom to do something with those films.

“I don’t know where they are,” she said.

“They are in the basement,” I told her.

“No, I don’t think so,” she said. “I don’t know where they got to when DNOS and I were cleaning and getting rid of things.”

“They are in the basement, Mom,”

“I think they were in your Dad’s closet, but they aren’t there anymore,” she said.

“Because they are in the basement, Mom,” I said.

“No, I am sure we moved them. Didn’t we, DNOS,” she said.

“I don’t remember, Mom,” DNOS said.

“We did move them, Mom. From the closet to the basement. They are in the back room. Right where we put most of the stuff from Dad’s drawer,” I told her.

“Oh, they weren’t in the drawer,” she said. “They were in the closet and I don’t know where they are now.”

“They haven’t been in the closet for years. They were in Dad’s dresser and all that stuff got moved to the back room. In the basement.”

And so the conversation ended there, and the next day Mom informed me,

“I found that box with the films. It was in the back room of the basement. I don’t know how they got down there.”

Before we left for home, I made Mom promise to call the guy at Family Video about converting the reels. He is the only person in my hometown who does this sort of thing.

A month later, she still hadn’t gotten around to it, but I can be annoying and eventually, she took the box to have the contents evaluated for fitness. They were pronounced “good enough” and she was told it would take a week or so.

Neither Mom nor DNOS were terribly interested in the final product. But I harangued Mom via Facetime to hurry up and report back, so one evening they sat down and assessed it.

“Your dad wasn’t much of a photographer,” I was told. The lighting was uneven and there were places that were hard or impossible to make out.

“Don’t forget to bring it with you when you come to visit,” I said.

Mom had revealed that both my grandmothers, my long dead uncles, Jimmy and Red, and a host of other people who have either died or aged out of my life were characters in these long unseen movies, so I was anxious to see them myself.

Because the flat screen and blue-ray are still in our bedroom and not in the living room, Mom, Dee and I crowded round my Mac to watch the dvd the night she arrived.

“You are in every scene, Mom,” Dee remarked after.

Indeed I was. A side-effect of being the oldest that runs hand in hand with the fact that photo albums are stuffed with photo evidence of my every move and milestone while my younger siblings appear to be extras in the story of my life.

The first thing I saw was my very young mother opening the front door of their first house on Euclid street on the north end of my hometown. That house is still there. I’ve driven by it now and again over the years, but I have never been inside.

In through the door walks my Auntie, Grandma R., Grandma C. and Uncle Jimmy. Three of the four of them are long dead. My grandmothers died when I was in university. Jimmy has been dead forty years. I can barely recall him and when I try, he is just this lanky blur whose voice and laugh are just out of reach. It was odd to see him alive. Still photos do no justice at all to the dead.

The event was my first birthday. I am the lone child in a room of adults clustered around a tiny kitchen table with Dad unseen and filming. There is no sound. I would have loved  to hear what my uncle was saying to me.

Then it is Christmas. My cousins are small again. Their father, who died when I was 9, is there. All the men are in dress pants, white shirts and skinny black ties. Even my cousin, who is barely two years older than I am at the time is dressed for the office.

And it goes on. Mostly me in the first 15 minutes or so. Birthdays. First snow. First swimming pool.

“You must have driven your mom nuts,” Rob commented when I watched it again with him. “Every time she introduces you to something new, you hang back with this expression of ‘I don’t know whether I like this or not’. You can’t have been an easy child.”

“Dee was the same,” I told him. “Every time she’d get something new, it took her days or weeks to decide if she liked it or not, It was almost pointless to get her anything she hadn’t expressed interest in first.”

The most disappointing thing is that my dad only appears once and early on. He is playing with me on the floor.

“He was the one always taking the pictures,” Mom explained. “He really wasn’t comfortable having his picture taken.”

There is no footage of him with my siblings or even Mom though he is clearly there because we kids acknowledge him and at one point Uncle Jimmy grins off in his direction, making it clear they were sharing some sort of joke.

I don’t know how I feel about having these moving images back. I don’t like watching myself grow into a fat teen. That I am sure of, and I am reminded at one point that there are people taking up space in these images who I came to dislike intensely – for good reasons – when I was older. Like a neighbor boy who bullied me for years and ended up physically attacking me when I was about 12, and a cousin whose dislike of my existence resulted in verbal abuse until I was a teen and simply began to avoid events where he was likely to be. The latter is my co-star in minutes worth of swing set play and all I could think was, “Why you? Why not Uncle Jimmy, who meant more to me or Dad even?”

Very odd to watch little me and little DNOS, CB and Baby.

“Where is Baby?” Dee complained at one point when my youngest sister had yet to make an appearance.

“Sweets, she is five years younger than I am. Look CB is only a baby here. There is another two years to go before Baby shows up.”

The memories are nice to have again. Things I had forgotten, and that still photos don’t easily bring to mind, came right back to me. Such is the power of motion.

And it reminded me that I should do more filming than photographing myself. Lest now one day is hard to remember as well.