The Great Flood of 2013

It’s really weird living in a city devastated by a major natural disaster, and being personally almost completely unaffected.  I mean, sure, I’m working from home with a baby at my feet because my building downtown is still powerless, and D’s been temporarily relocated to an office in the deep south, but that’s about it.  The house flooded 2 years ago, but that was due to the saturated ground and constant rain, not due to river flooding.  We discovered that our roof leaks, which isn’t awesome, but is a mere trifle compared to the fact that 100,000 people were evacuated (including my mother, trapped on the other side of multiple closed bridges) and actual houses were swept away.

So.  City’s in chaos, region is devastated, industry shut down, houses ruined (and did I ever mention that flooding isn’t covered by insurance in Canada anymore?), transit a mess, Stampede grounds flooded weeks before the city’s huge moneymaking Stampede…  And we hung out at home, carefully positioning water barrels and listening to the sump pump turn on briefly perhaps a dozen times.

D's spiritual home, flooded

D’s spiritual home, flooded

It’s been heartwarming to watch the city pull together, and amazing how great our mayor’s been, and astonishing at how fast things are getting back to normal.

I mean, sure, I don’t know how I’m going to get to work when it finally opens back up – the c-train’s down for weeks, and the bus I would otherwise take follows the Elbow River – where the worst of the flooding was.  But we’ll figure something out, and I’ll still be grateful that everyone I know is safe, and that I live in a place that really comes together in times of crisis.

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Dad

My dad died three years ago.  Three and a half now, really.  At the end of January, although I couldn’t swear on the date.  My memories of how it felt are vivid, but a calendar is conspicuously absent when I talk about his illness and death.  He was diagnosed in May, I think?  Or maybe June?  He did three rounds of chemo, I think, but maybe just two, or four.  Was it the same number of rounds of radiation as chemo, or not?  I think they just did radiation on the brain, but couldn’t swear to that.

But I remember how fucking terrible that Christmas was, so clearly.  I remember the hospital bed in the living room that he wasn’t quite in, yet.  Not for a few more days, so we covered it in presents to make up for the lack of tree, or any other festive trappings.  I remember the night he died with achingly clarity, and the taste of cold McDonald fries eaten in the emergency ward.  I remember most of all the horrible feeling of waiting.  Death was waiting in the wings, but we didn’t know if we had hours or days left, and so we went home to sleep for a few hours.  And that is, of course, when he died.  (I don’t know yet how to feel about that.  Mainly I don’t.  Can’t.  Wont.)

On Father’s Day, everyone on my whole fucking facebook feed (hyperbole) put a picture of them dancing with their daddies at their weddings.  And I refused to have any of the feelings.  Or to address Father’s Day on social media in any way.  (David got a card and a book and some booze.  Low key for sure.)  We were never big on Hallmark holidays growing up, so they day doesn’t actually carry that much emotional punch for me, but clearly it does a bit, because I’m typing this out.  It certainly carries more punch than his actual day of death, considering I only remember that a week later this year.  I don’t have any pictures of my dad at my wedding, obviously.  I don’t have any pictures I can bear to look at from the year before that, either.  (Jesus.  I just found a single picture on FB from a family wedding in July of 2009, at least two chemo rounds in, and I can’t even look at it.  Skeletal is the only word for it, and it got nothing but worse from there.)

You know, it’s not that I miss my dad more on some randomly assigned Sunday in June.  It’s that on this one, randomly assigned Sunday in June that I am more acutely aware of the big alive-father-shaped-hole in my life.  And it fucking sucks.

Don’t smoke, kids.  That shit will kill you in a terrible way, and leave behind a person-shaped-hole behind that will haunt your family for the rest of their lives.

Fuck.

Eat, baby, eat

I’m sure I’ll jinx this by mentioning it on the internet, but it’s too cute for me not to want to preserve it for posterity.

Baby J is a phenomenal eater.  Yes, we’re still having trouble with her weight, but it’s certainly not because she’s a picky eater. In fact, she’s less of a fussier eater than my husband, and certainly has a more advanced taste in cheese. (D: the cheap Parmesan powder my mom uses smells bad and I will therefore eat no expensive imported Italian Parmesan because transference!  J: *nom nom nom* more please!)

There are only a few things that J’s refused.  Millet was one, and I couldn’t blame her – I didn’t like it either.  She refused peach puree last summer, while still eating nectarine puree, which seemed weird.  We’ll try peaches again as soon as they’re in season, because I love them, and not liking a good juicy ripe peach just seems wrong to me.  She also doesn’t like peppers, but I don’t know if that’s because of the taste, or because she only has 4 teeth, and can’t bite through them with her gums.  She’s not much of a meat eater, again probably due to lack of chewing teeth – she’s fine if it’s really soft or minced.

And that’s it.

Oh, sure.  She went off fruit for a couple of weeks, but she’s back to scarfing down strawberries and raspberries and kiwis and plums and bananas.  On a given day, maybe she doesn’t like something.  But over all?  She’s eat fucking everything and I love it.  Notable foods: sashimi, deconstructed sushi rolls, pickles, olives, cooked spinach, lemon rinds, baba ganoush, humus, any kind of veggies + mayonnaise dip, tomato/eggplant/almond pasta sauce, caramelized onions, chili, Indian chickpea curry, green Thai chicken curry, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, very aged cheddar, and so on.  In fact, she’s so cheerfully omnivorous, my slightly insane mother has expressed fear that the kid has no taste buds.  To which I just laugh – if you’d ever seen her gleefully scarfing down an entire plate of veggies sauteed in olive oil and a lot of garlic, you’d know that’s just wrong – her thrill at the taste in her mouth is just so clear.

Yes, she's eating the rind and pith of a lemon.  On purpose.  And went back for more.

Yes, she’s eating the rind and pith of a lemon. On purpose. And went back for more.

I would like to say that I don’t take full credit here or anything silly.  I think I did good at offering a wide variety of foods, early and often.  I made my own baby food, so there was an infinitely better variety than the store-bought stuff.  (Fennel and white bean puree, orange mango coconut sauce with yogurt, roasted pork and leek and sweet potato mush, curried carrot soup…  I had fun in the kitchen.)  I make sure that my fussy husband isn’t allowed to say negative things about any food around the baby, ever.  I’ve been offering her food off my plate since early in J’s relationship with solid food.  We praise her for trying new things, and make an effort for most dinners to include fruit, veg, protein, starch and cheese.  (Not, like, always getting there by any stretch, but trying, most of the time.  And yes, cheese at basically every single meal for her, in our constant attempt to fend off weight loss.)  Her daycare is great – they serve 3 meals a day, and sometimes I’m jealous of how good it sounds.  Ricotta pancakes with blueberry coulis, lemon salmon with brown rice and mixed veg, mini turkey burgers, and chicken noodle soup are just a few things I’ve seen on her report cards lately.But really, it’s just that my kid’s an adventurous eater, all on her own, and I think that’s neat, so will do my best to continue to encourage her.

Fancy baby "coffee".

Fancy baby “coffee”

Although, I will grant you that it’s likely she’s growing up to be a food snob like her mother.  (Okay, snob’s the wrong word, but I hate the term foodie.  I just, you know, like to eat food, and think about food, and talk about food, and try new food wherever we go.)  J didn’t take quickly or easily to cow’s milk, which makes sense.  I was still nursing 3 times a day, and she’d never taken to either bottles or formula.  I finally figured out the (pretentious) serving method guaranteed to make her scarf down milk: heat it in a coffee cup, froth it up nice and stiff, and serve it with a spoon.  Yeah, “baby coffee, just like mommy”.  You know, minus the espresso that keeps me going.   Actually, I think that’s one of the keys for her right now – she’d prefer to eat what I’m eating – we’re in that fun mimic age.  Also, frothed warm milk is delightful.

I’m sure that as she becomes more firmly a toddler, her tastes will narrow.  Neophobia will rear it’s annoying head, and we’ll deal with that as it comes.  I just hope that by having a 15 month old who eats hundreds of things helps when the narrowing of acceptable food stage happens.  If she refuses half what she eats these days, that still leaves us with a hundred things to feed her.  Much easier than if she only ate dozen of things, and it narrowes to a handful.  At least, that’s my hope.  I am more than aware I have very limited control over it!  Which means, I guess, I should probably serve her some of my childhood favourite pickled herring while I still can…