I need new sheets

I made it to Dawson City. I don’t know if you are aware, but this is a very large country.
Did you know this? It takes a great deal of time and patience, with some chanting and meditation and deep breathing and assuring yourself that you will survive another three or four hours in cramped quarters, to get from one coast to the other coast and almost to a third coast.
There were moments when I was ready to throw open the emergency hatch and jump out, with benefit of parachute or not. Either way seemed a better alternative than to squeeze in between the window and the excessively large man sitting next to me without retractable legs and who wasn’t willing to share the armrest.
Paul Bunyan actually was in my aisle seat but was unwilling to give it up, and I wasn’t sure a scuffle was a good idea over a seating arrangement. I did give him my annoyed face to “learn him real good but he retaliated by removing his shoes. He won the battle and the war.
I pulled my turtleneck over my nose and gave up the fight. I had been travelling for 13 hours and was worn down. I’m not sure I could have taken him down even if I tried, though I am sturdy.
I am tucked into Pierre Berton’s house. I was/am giddy with excitement. I promptly sat at the desk and imagined all the writers who came before; who sat here inspired by Berton’s legacy.
I could see my breath so I turned up the thermostat and unpacked. I turned the thermostat up higher and made a list of what I needed in the food department to sustain myself.
I pulled on another sweatshirt, and I felt the heat registers and stared at the furnace for many minutes looking for a restart button. I squeezed in between the washer and the furnace practising my contortionist manoeuvres and pushed everything that looked pushable.
I read the notes and instructions on the table. Nothing about heat. I checked the breaker panel. Voila. Flipped the breakers and the furnace surged into action and it didn’t stop heating the house until I was stripped to my underwear–despite turning the thermostats down as low as they would go.
I think it is a feast-or-famine sort of system. I’ve lived in houses with hot water heat. I grew up in one. I’ll manage.
I’ve tromped to the store and carried supplies home on my back like a pioneer. I’ve eaten toast for most meals, though today I may add a vegetable. No guarantees.
I’ve read one book from the collection of past writers who graced these walls. I’ve hiked to Crocus Bluff Nature Trail, taking the longest possible route to get there, unintentionally. I’ve watched curling.
I’ve planned to blend in downtown before the tourists leave for the season–exposing me as being an outsider; plans that haven’t seen fruition as of yet.
Today I plan to buy new sheets (or I should rephrase and say I hope to buy new sheets). Along with the desk, the lamp, and the frying pan that were here when Pierre Berton was a child, I think the sheets are of the same vintage.
Time for a change.
wendistewart@live.ca

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