Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What we've been up to

I am very grateful for my job today.  Not only can I sit outside on the deck and enjoy lovely fresh air while I work, I also don’t have to stick my head into someone else’s disgusting, horrid-smelling dishwasher.  That’s what our poor appliance repair man had to do today.  I bet when he was at the Career Day expo, the recruiters told him happy stories about high end fridges needing light bulbs changed or new fuses needed on a fancy range.  I’m sure they never mentioned the food-and-grease-clogged hoses and the cloudy sludge on the bottom of aging, low-end dishwashers.  But he was still cheerful and friendly and competent and prompt.  I read about a guy (I think on Corinna’s Facebook?) who keeps extra bills in his wallet every month to give as a surprise, generous tip when he feels someone deserves it: $100 and $50 bills if I remember correctly.  That’s something I want to do one day, and if that day was today, I would have emptied out my wallet and given him signed cheque blanks as well.  As it turns out, he didn’t even charge me anything yet because he still needs to come back and change a hose.  That gives me time to stockpile some cash for him.  I thought he’d say we needed a new dishwasher, but he was quite confident from the start that he could fix it.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit sad about that; Dale’s brother and sister-in-law have a new dishwasher that’s the quietest thing ever, and I covet it.

What else have we been up to, you ask?  Actually, you’re probably afraid to ask since I just wrote an entire paragraph about our dishwasher.  I’ll tell you anyway.

Yesterday was Dale’s mom’s 80th birthday, so we put on a party at Dale’s brother’s house.  It was a good turnout, delicious food, perfect weather, and a happy birthday girl/woman.  She is so active and has so many interests and passions that she makes 80 look very good.  Dale’s sister and niece from Florida were here for the party and left to go home this morning.  Chloe and her cousin are very close, so it’s always hard to say goodbye.

Spencer was at camp last week.  I don’t think he’s much of a camp kid but he continues to try to be, which I give him much credit for.  This year’s camp was a rustic, outdoor kind of camp; sleeping in teepees and cooking food over an open fire.  He was with three of his friends and he definitely enjoyed parts of it, but I don’t think his counsellors were a good fit for him.  That’s a polite way of saying they didn’t seem very fun or dynamic.  Spencer was very happy to see me and is so thankful to be home that he’s been exceptionally pleasant to all of us.  Neve was overjoyed that he was being so kind to her, so I guess we’ll send him back to camp again next year.  On the way to pick him up, I was dreading the pile of dirty clothes and bedding I’d have to deal with and thought about how I’d gladly tack on a few bucks to the camp fee if they sent the campers home with a suitcase full of freshly laundered clothes.  Alas, not only did he come home with lots of dirty laundry, the boy himself was in need of a pressure-wash.  Five days … zero showers.  They had shower time on the last day, but it was right before swim time (in the man-made lake that is susceptible to swimmer’s itch) and, well, my kid takes after his dad and hates showering in public showers that are less than pristine.  I wished I’d brought a drop sheet to cover the seat of the car with.  After a long, hot shower, clean pyjamas, and the washing machine running, he was like a new boy.
The stop at Syl's on the way home is probably the primary reason for going to this camp

Tonight I took the kids to Folklorama.  We went to the Japanese pavilion so that Yumi could experience something familiar.  I don’t know how this transpired, but while we were looking around the cultural displays, I turned to see a middle-aged Caucasian man teaching Yumi how to make an origami bird.  The bird was much less complex than any origami she’s done for my kids, so I don’t know if she was just humouring him?  We got some rice and noodles and sushi; even though the hall was packed, Spencer scored us some seats in the VIP section.  One of his talents is finding good seats in a crowded room.  Seriously, I don’t know how he does it.  Okay, this time it was because he ignored the Reserved sign, but still.  Yumi didn’t seem captivated by the food or show; I’m thinking maybe it would be the same for us if we’d go to a Canadian show in a foreign country, and they’d portray Canadians as pemmican-eating lumberjacks.  Sometimes things get lost in translation.  But she seemed to enjoy having a conversation with another Japanese girl who was always just visiting Winnipeg.  I would be curious to know what was said – it could have been “Please, please rescue me from this crazy family and their nasty-smelling dishwasher.”  Maybe that’s just my paranoia.  It was probably, “Tell my family I’m never coming home because I love this family and their typical Canadian life.”

Then we went to the Portuguese pavilion, where they featured the cutest dancer ever: my niece Bella.  She was so adorable in her dance costume, which used to be her mom’s.  She did great, and the whole show was fun and lively.  My sister-in-law Sabrina’s parents are very involved in the cultural centre, so we were treated like VIPs with free food and drinks: shrimp, shrimp perogies, and Portuguese beer and pop.  It was a good night.

We’re now more than halfway through our month with Yumi.  We’re running out of time to show her all the things we’ve planned.  Some things we’ve done recently include an outdoor movie at Assiniboine Park, a tour of the Mint, gelato at Eva’s, and shopping.  She’s slowly breaking out of her shell by trying more English, although she’s still pretty timid.  She’s understanding much more of what we say, and relaxing and giggling more.  She’s such a good sport about everything and never complains.  We’re growing quite fond of her.  We’re going camping later this week, so she’ll get to see me in my frustrating, disorganized, packing fury.  I wonder what she’ll write in her journal about that.


Anonymous said...

did the dishwasher guy know you were behind him taking photos while he worked??

MY adorable niece is dancing at the Irish pavilion. Bella looks so cute in her outfit!

it's 1 am and I am wide awake so I am glad there was a new post for me to read. Never drink green tea at 9 pm.


L said...

haha the dishwasher guy knew I was behind him, but not that I was taking a photo! I made sure the sound was off on my phone. Hope you eventually fell asleep!

Anonymous said...

That was exactly the question I was going to ask about the repair man picture, Sio. :)

Ellen, I want to be a foreign exchange student at your house.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for coming to watch Bella, she was very excited that you guys came!!