Slice of life

It’s 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Thanksgiving morning.
I’ve moved my battle with the forces of writer’s block into the bedroom, where I’ve shut the door and set up my stab at quality word soup for the “View from Here” on my bed; pillows at my back.
I surround myself with the usual inspirations; trusty philosophical quote collection, my daily journal of word ditties and funnies, Oprah’s magazine of the month—and food.
Gotta have food for thought.
This morning, it’s my second, big helping of a homemade pumpkin pie sent home with us by my mom after a meal of great proportion at my parents’ home Sunday night.
I should have had oatmeal for breakfast, but when I woke up this morning, it was all I could do not to peek in the fridge at the yet untouched pie tucked gingerly atop my husband’s “doggie bag” fourth helping of mom’s turkey dinner.
I cut my pie slices in triangles, one eye closed, the other gauging how wide a piece I could get away with while still maintaining the three-cornered shape.
By now, half the pie is gone.
I plug in my headphones to my laptop’s music department and hit repeat on Silverchair’s “Straight Lines,” followed by three recaps of Feist’s “1234,” James Blunt’s “1973,” plus a dolop of Irish drinking songs and an injection of calypso with Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line.”
Still, 1,000 little jobs are flashing neon warnings at me from my “to do” list and, at points in this struggle to write something worth reading, I’d rather be cleaning the bathroom, doing dishes, or shovelling moldy, old hay out the hayloft.
Maybe one more slice of pumpkin pie would jumpstart my creativity?
I think about that for 10 seconds until I look down and see the laptop resting comfortably on my “Buddha” and then get angry with myself for not paying attention—for the hundred-thousandth time—to what I’m eating.
The phone rings, but this time it is not a silent party that precedes a tele-marketer. Nope. This time it’s the “G-Man,” casing for my husband’s wallet and the next payment of income tax he owes.
The G-Man speaks in quiet tones of deep, dark intonation and makes me pinkie-swear to have Pete call him back within the next eight seconds or he will be forced to take other methods of collection.
A sudden vision of an old Mafia movie ensues, complete with horse’s head and a guy named “Tony Two Toes.”
Pete, who currently is unavailable to the common man’s wife and telephone calls from anyone except Cohort #1, his favourite Music Man, or the lottery corporation announcing that he’s $15 million richer, is busy with Project #45 in the barn, where an amazing transformation has begun.
This undertaking, though supported by the Mrs., faces the same stalled fate as the rest of the great undertakings strewn about the farmyard—when Pete makes his departure next week to far horizons and a four-week stint at his new job in the northwest corner of this great country.
His change in job from one end of the north to the other wasn’t planned, but then given the incidences of coincidence that have spackled his neck of the woods in the last 10 weeks, comes as no surprise.
The only real surprises of late seem to be in my corner.
They come screaming in when I look in the mirror at my bad perm and the hindsight that shakes its finger at me and shouts “You shouldn’t have!”
Surprises also came to me with dropped jaw in the big city, where a recent trip with Daughter #1 revealed to two country bumpkins that there are such things as paved back alleys, taxi cabs that take Visa, and automatic paper towel dispensers in mall bathrooms.
More surprises appear to a wide-eyed me in the shapes of skunks, raccoons, and enough deer to populate Toronto, that wait to cross the road in the dark, just as I am about to drive by in my new and sporty little truck, the colour of which is a grabber blend of orange that mixes a Ministry of Transport vehicle with a school bus.
Like most people who see it for the first time and are rendered speechless, perhaps the skunk, raccoon, and deer just don’t know what to make of it.
But that’s no surprise.
Neither does my nay-saying teenager, who would rather I drove up to meet her at work on horseback eating pumpkin pie.

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