# Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuesday afternoon my mother called me with a gross and slight horrific story which I am going to share with you now. She lives in a row of 8 little houses in Toronto all connected to each other, 110 years old. For some days or even a week, some of the neighbours have been troubled by a nasty smell, and they were worried that a squirrel or a raccoon had died in their shared attic. Then suddenly on Tuesday two of the houses were infested -- upstairs! -- by worms. And not pink round worms like you would find in your garden. Flat white worms. Eeeeew, right? They called the police. I don't even know the end of the story because she had to leave on a trip (she's teaching a course in Winnipeg) but you know what? It isn't making much on an impact on my life right now.

That's partly because I was headed home to a much fuller house than usual. That same afternoon some neighbours of ours, whose kids are good friends with our kids in that in-and-out-of-each-other's-houses way, took a hard knock. They have rented a tiny shared house to stay while building a new home on land near us, and they lost that rented space in a fire. They also lost, or so it seemed that first afternoon, everything they owned that was not in storage, including all the back-to-school shopping (over $1000) they had just completed. They had no insurance since they were just renting for a few months. Their two children and cat came to our house that day, and have since been joined by a dog and the second cat, who took a while to find. I therefore have four children, two dogs, three cats and a hamster in a 1500 square foot house, and many of the animals can't be in the same room as each other. I spent three hours Tuesday, and Brian spent more like five hours Wednesday, doing things like driving the kids back to the house to look for the cat or to retrieve things, helping the kids run laundry or spray Febreze on things that can't go in the washer, that sort of thing. Now many people have told me that this must be a total disruption and must be driving me to drink. But if anything I am finding it a needed and welcome distraction, and I am actually sleeping better than I have for a week.

And that's because what's really on my mind is my father, in hospital in Halifax.He had major surgery in December, some setbacks in the winter and early spring, but by June was pretty much himself again. However since then he's had some bigger setbacks and has been in and out of the hospital all summer. It's now at the point where the whole family is flying in. My Dad has five kids and we haven't all been in the same room this century so the whole thing is bittersweet. One sister is bringing her infant, another is pregnant. It just doesn't bear thinking about.

And yes, I still have a business. I have clients with mentoring needs, projects going live, new projects starting, Request for Response/Proposal/Services pouring in as the bosses get back from vacation, some very sweet C++ and Vista stuff that I can't wait to tell you about (but will have to) and so much more. I am emailing a lot of those people telling them my sorry tale and that I will talk to them after Labour Day. To my delight they have all said "sure, of course, let's talk then!"

It really is going to be OK, but it's going to be hard work on the way,


Thursday, August 24, 2006 10:22:04 AM (Eastern Daylight Time, UTC-04:00)  #