Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I’d forgotten to bring a wash cloth, so I simply used the bar of soap. It worked. Then about halfway through my shower I realized I had also forgotten my towel. This is not like forgetting a towel in the en suite at home. Forgetting a towel at a campground shower is troublesome. I pictured myself streaking back to the campsite—not a Christian picture.
I’ll drip dry, I thought. After about four minutes I realized all this wetness wouldn’t be dripping off or evaporating away anytime soon. If I waited long enough my family would be posting ‘Lost Mom’ notes, “last seen carrying a plastic bag without a towel in it.”
I could put my clothes on over my wet body—yuck. Or, I could turn the denim shorts I had been wearing inside-out and dry myself with the clean parts. That’s what I did. It worked.
One of the best things about camping is the fresh appreciation a person gains for the conveniences of home.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
In May Amanda not only landed us the most enviable site in all of Killarney, she landed herself a nasty flu and a doctor’s certificate when she wanted to be writing her calculus exam. Her only opportunity to write a deferred exam fell right in the middle of our Killarney vacation.
We wanted to change the time and/or the location of the exam. “Could she write it earlier or later? Could she write it in Sudbury?”
“Sorry, no. Just drop the course and take it over.” advised Amanda’s student advisor at McGill.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Claiming the site was not so easy. At exactly 7 a.m. three months before the date of the camping holiday we had to be the first to register our booking. This requires method. I certainly didn't have it. Marty, who is more astute than I in the ways of computer programs, didn’t have it either. Several times throughout April and early May he missed making the booking by mere seconds. Our holidays plans were being pushed from July into the third week in August. If we messed around much longer, they'd be pushed right off the summer calendar.
Amanda, our university student, came to the rescue, “Give me the MasterCard, I’ll book it from Montreal.” She’s the one with the method. She called home several minutes after seven, one fine May morning, “We got the site!” Oh, the joy on our household.
Photos taken with a simple camera. The real view was way better.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The above quote on the Killarney 2009 Information Guide contains the key to recognizing a million dollar site. Camping is simplicity.
No electricity, dirt everywhere. The nearest washroom is a pit toilet, and if we want flush toilets and showers we walk almost half a kilometre and then might have to stand in line and wait our turn. Or if we time it wrong, we might have to wait an hour while the cleaning crew hoses down the facilities. Why are we so excited about camping?
How could you carry problems to such a place?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By the time lunch is over, the freezer had firmed up the ice-cream which actually becomes the delightful surprise it was meant to be.
At three that afternoon Rina and I decide it’s time to call it a day. Volunteers generally aren’t required to do long days. I wonder where I put my keys. They aren’t in my pocket or with my sandals (I like to volunteer bare-foot). Maybe I left them in the van.
The puddle of milky ice-cream on the roof of the van and a pattern of rivulets down the side are baked into lumpy white goop.
When I open the sticking door I discover the key in the ignition where I had left it. But, the joy of discovering a lost item evaporates when I detect the soft purr of an engine. This engine must have been running at least three hours. I check the gas gauge which is down a fraction—my donation to the hole in the ozone layer. What is my net community contribution for the day?
When I get home I don’t mention the running van to my husband. You see these are the sort of experiences Marty never lives firsthand. He gets them vicariously.
So I only tell him about the forgotten lunch, the white goop, and the sticking door—enough for one day. I don’t want him to think I’m a scatterbrain.
That computer holds the end of the melted ice cream story.
Everything is supposed to be back up and running later today. Until then, I hope you will consider the ending of the story worth the wait.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
I get out of the van, put the sopping carton of leaking ice cream on the roof, and clean the floor using the thoughtful McDonalds girl’s stack of napkins.
During those few moments a white stream of creamy milk begins pouring down the side of my vehicle—white on red (possible nursery room colours?).
I clutch the muffin bag between my teeth, grab the ice-cap with one hand and the flimsy leaking carton of three reduced ice-creams with the other. At the church door I place my Tim Horton’s purchases on the cement step and run the ice cream into the kitchen freezer.
Then I clean my trail of ice-cream droplets from the recently steam-cleaned carpet. Then we have lunch.
Lesson #7 Whims have hidden costs
(to be continued)
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I carefully place the paper carton on the floor between the front seats of the van. As I turn out of the parking lot, the carton flips sideways. I quickly straighten it making a mental note to clean off the passenger seat.
I drive the five long kilometers back to the church leaning sideways with my right hand on the ice cream holder. It’s a good thing I’m left-handed.
The inside of the van is rather warm. I should have put on the air-conditioner, but now I didn’t have a free hand to do that. I am traveling behind a very slow-moving car driven by someone who is obviously looking for a place to turn. She finally does turn—onto the 6th Concession, the very road I have to use.
By the time I’m at the church, the ice cream is dripping vigorously onto the carpet.
Lesson #4 Turn on the air conditioner if you plan to transport soft ice cream
Lesson #5 Slowly moving cars are more aggravating if you are transporting soft ice cream
Lesson #6 Soft ice cream melts quickly in a warm vehicle
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
At about lunchtime, I realize I should have brought a lunch. A true leader, Rina offers to share her lunch with me, but I figure she shouldn’t pay for my lack of preparedness. Did the wise virgins share their oil with the foolish virgins?
So, while Rina continues painting trim, I run out to pick up a lunch at the nearest Tim Horton’s drive through. “An ice-cap and everything muffin,” I order.
“You mean everything bagel?” says the voice.
“No, an everything muffin.”
“We don’t carry those.”
I search my brain…“fruit explosion.”
On a whim I pull into the McDonalds drive through to buy ice cream cones for everyone.
“Three small ice cream cones, please.”
The girl pours the ice cream into the cones from the special machine. Then she whips together a paper carton in which to perch the cones. She smiles as she cautiously hands out the flimsy arrangement along with a handful of napkins, “I hope you don’t have too far to go.”
Lesson # 1 Don't forget your lunch
Lesson # 2 Remember the name of your muffin
Lesson #3 Watch out for whims
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
On the arranged morning I arrive at the church a little late. Only Rina, our project leader and the church secretary (who is busy being the church secretary) are there. Hopefully other volunteers will be joining in later.
Rina gives me a rundown of everything to be done. We’re planning to freshen up the white trim, and paint the kitchen and nursery walls. She shows me the trendy yellow for the kitchen and the soft ice-cream colours for the nursery, a pink, a yellow and two greens—a different colour for each wall.
In preparation for this delicious makeover, I choose to strip the wide teddy-bear border off the nursery wall. This border extends around the whole room, at a height just above a toddler’s head (kind of like big teddy bears in the sky). I think the kids will definitely miss it—the border has been there for at least a decade. It has been glued down.
I spend the morning soaking paper bears, tearing little strips away, chatting with Rina (who is painting trim), listening to a Brownsville CD, and planning my next book.
Monday, August 3, 2009
I’m not the one in charge of this project so the details aren’t my concern. I show up and do what I’m told or rather pick from the list offered. People who run these projects know that it’s best to let volunteers pick—every little enticement helps.
My incentive for volunteering is the camaraderie, and (if I’m honest) the recognition…to do something to be appreciated. Also it gives me something to write about.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
"I solemnly promise never to send another flood to kill all living creatures and destroy the earth." And God said, "I am giving you a sign as evidence of my eternal covenant with you and all living creatures." Genesis 9:11,12 NLT