Tuesday, 8 October 2013

"Let Me Find My Datebook"

Janet has been asked recently, by not just 1, but 2 people, when she would start to write again.  She knew she hadn't posted much, but Janet never thought anyone would notice.  As a glutton for flattery, she has jumped back in.  

Last time I wrote I was reflecting on the joys and sorrows of the return to school. For me this sequence of events marked the beginning of  life in what I feel is a true empty nest. Last year, when the 3 kiddlings were out and about living their little lives, Derek and I were living in a portion of our home, which included primarily out basement. While renting out the majority of the house I had the financial freedom to join My Beloved in his Barbados home away from home, for the better part of the winter. 

Now this year, as the 3 little sticky offspring do their own things in Toronto (from which I beg them to shelter me ) we are now spending our days in the whole house. This is now referred to as "The Castle". Although this means that I will be knee deep in our Canadian winter this year, it also gives Derek and me some breathing room. We no longer sit together nightly pretending to enjoy the other's tv choices. We no longer enter our home through the garage. We no longer have en suite laundry. We are not "The Honeymooners" as Derek's mom referred to us. We are again an old married couple who value the privacy afforded by 2 bathrooms. 

As Derek tends to travel for work, much of the time, I am experiencing a large empty nest these days. I have been working to improve my social calendar and to develop hobbies and interests to make my weeks full.  I like to bake.  I finished reading my book.  I write.  However these are solitary sports.  Although I am a closet introvert, I need something social.  
I have no shame.  I want to do more than watch TV and drink wine.  Not much more, but something.  I have solicited friends, old and new, to "hang out".  I have been taking the expression "we should get together" as a very literal invitation. I think I need to warn any and all of my friends and acquaintances "don't say it if you don't mean it, because I will be there".  I show up at every event with my date book in hand (yes, I actually still carry an old fashioned date book.  I "pencil" people in. My phone I use primarily for phoning.  Go figure?).   I could call it an Agenda.  I could describe it as a "time management tool", but really it is just where I write down the place and time of anything I am hoping to do, or that I am expected to attend.  Call me "old-fashioned" but I appear at the correct place of work, routinely.

In an attempt to add something to my datebook, I am reaching out.  I do not want to plague my BFFs with the sole responsibility of filling my social calendar.  I have, however, been enticed to be at the gym at 6am, on the pretense of "working out".  I am actually stalking my dear friend.

Now family has  to keep me company.  They have no choice.  Such is the beauty of sisters.  They were my first friends.
My First Friends - Julie, Karen, Terry, Janet
Getting together was written in pen this week, as it was my mother, Pierrette's birthday.  I think she is almost 60 now.  3 out of 4 Wells girls gathered to celebrate.  There was food and there was wine flowing.  Nothing like a good birthday binge.  I found myself waking up during the night wondering what hit me.  I  have had this here before.   I call it "the 2900 Yonge Street flu".  

Sunday afternoon was spent with some old friends. This is not to say that they are old, just that our relationships are old.  Ok, I guess that means we are old.  I have rediscovered some lovely women.  I spent many days and nights with these women in Richmond Hill.  I remember often 
suffering at that time with what I called "the 314 Mill Street flu", to which many of them might attest.  Over the years, we have all experienced profound joy and we have all persevered through heart-breaking struggles. Each has her own stories and the support is beautiful to see.  I am touched to see the bonds that have stood the test of time.  My light empty-nest schedule has its perks.  I was pulling out my archaic date book and sharpening my pencil again.

I have tried to avoid a guilt trip for my children.  My solitude cannot be their concern.  We talk and we text and we get together in Toronto when we can.  Selflessly, however, Bridget decided to come home a few days ago and keep me company.  She is so so sweet.  To be honest though, she was really so so sick.  The child called me pathetically.  I found myself trying to cure a sore throat by text.  Given that I can't even use my calendar app, there was no way I was going to treat her on my cell.  I tried.  I asked typical motherly questions.  "Are you drinking lots of clear fluids?".  I gave typical motherly advice. "Drink lots of clear fluids".  I also gave her the benefit of my vast medical knowledge and experience.  "No, I don't think you should take Percocet for your sore throat". All these conversations were  just not cutting it, so, while I was in Toronto, I asked if she would like to come home.  Much to my pleasure and my dismay, she agreed that I could care for her in person.  
While treating a sick child by cell phone is frustrating and somewhat ineffective, treating a sick child directly is gross and unhealthy.  The minute the kid got in the car there was spit and gob everywhere.  It was disgusting.  I almost withdrew my offer, but if her mother doesn't take care of her, who will.  We have spent the last several days waiting for this cold to run its course without running over to me.  Bridget is on her way back to Toronto with her Buckley's and a dozen banana muffins in her backpack.   I have bleached the remotes.  This is actually true.   

My 2 week stint at being a single lady in a married woman's world draws to a close.  I have found many ways to keep engaged.  The gym helps.  The wine helps.  Mostly family and friends help.  I look forward to Derek's return to The Castle just in time for Thanksgiving.  On his next trip my datebook will reappear with more relationships to foster.  When I reach out to  all of my LinkedIn contacts I will know that perhaps I have gone too far.  

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