Hoping to Dry Off Soon

Well, how do I describe this month in Manitoba? Let’s see…3 1/2 weeks of rain and cold in a small cottage, two weeks of the worst cold I’ve had in a long time, and I tried to kill my father. Too negative? Let me try again.

I’ll start with the positive. Annie had an absolutely wonderful time with her family. She had hours of screaming laughter with Winnipeg relatives Uncle Bruce, Aunt Sylvia and cousins Paige and Devon, as well as Uncle Ian and Evan who flew in for a few days from Vancouver. Lorraine, my step-sister, was visiting from Ottawa as well and Annie was thrilled to play with her “friend”. As in, saying very loudly in the main room of the small cottage every morning, “Where is my friend Morraine (sic)? Sleeping? Can I play with my friend?”

Annie is an expert at sitting calmly in a canoe and watching the wonders on the shore. She loved splashing in the water at the beach (on those 6 sunny days), and made progress in her bravery at swimming off the dock into the cold, dark lake. Nana and Grandpa Drew spent hours reading, tickling and baking delicious blueberry muffins together with her. Grandpa and Grandma Samson had good visits with Annie including a big boat ride across The Lake of the Woods. Since I had such a grim time, I’ve decided to think of myself as a cardboard cut-out Mommy whose only role was to make sure her daughter enjoyed her summer and got to spend time bonding with family. Mission accomplished.

So what am I complaining about? Well, first of all, my own faulty decision making. My lowest times this year were when Markus was out of town, as I just am not a person who can happily manage a toddler by herself, even though Annie is quite an easy child. (Some genetic deficiency couple with advanced age I think.) And then I go and apparently take some crazy drug that makes me think I’ll be fine being alone with Annie for 6 weeks. Not fine. Even though Mom, Drew and Lorraine were very helpful and willing to lend a hand, it just isn’t the same as switching off with Markus.

As well, I’m just a wee bit stressed around any family member (Pavlovian response from days gone by.) And it rained. And rained. And rained. In our 29 days in Manitoba, we had 6 sort-of sunny days. The insane amount of mosquitoes who made my daughter’s fair skin welt up like she had been beaten didn’t help much either.

Oh and then I caught a monster cold that lasted 10 days and then morphed into a excruciatingly painful sinus infection which, as I write, is starting to feel better after 3 days of antibiotics. So I had to cancel many plans to see  friends, not feeling up to visiting, nor wanting to pass on my germs.

Except I didn’t make that decision when my dad asked us to come for dinner. He even suggested that Annie and I come another day, but not wanting Annie to miss out on spending time with her cousins, I thought we could make it. But then (because apparently I am an idiot) I went out on the boat with them where it, of course, started to rain. By dinner time I had a fever and thought for sure that H1N1 was upon me. (This is the trying-to-kill-my-father part.) My dad had stage-4 cancer about 5 years ago, and so has a depressed immune system. Even a mild cold for others can turn into pneumonia for him. And here I am spreading swine flu around. Not really very bright. Or kind, for that matter. I ended up getting my very sweet brother Bruce to drive me to the Kenora hospital, where they informed me that they don’t test for H1N1 anymore because the wait is too long, and that they wouldn’t do anything for me anyway so I should just go home. O.K. then. So much for detailed flu protocol. My fever broke the next morning, once I dried off and warmed up, so there was never any flu anyway.

Luckily, to date, my dad is fine. I can’t imagine how much therapy would be required to get over causing one’s father’s demise, but I’m guessing more than our health plan would cover.

On the plus side, I had one dinner with friends Lori and Shawna, and their gorgeous new baby Matheson. I saw Dawn and Tracey, two friends from grade school, with their children. I had lunch with Leslie, who I have known since Kindergarten and keep in close touch with. And another lunch with Mara-Lee, a friend from high-school, who hopefully will come to visit me in Austria this fall. I had short visits with some lake pals, Shannon and Jennifer, but most of the plans for longer get-togethers were cancelled due to illness. I did attend a beautiful 50th wedding anniversary of  Jennifer Hayden’s parents, and so got a chance to chat with lots of people for a few minutes. Yesterday my aunt let me come to her place despite the sniffles, so I saw her and my uncle and cousins briefly. Aunt Jean has some great old pictures; I am putting a longer visit with her on my life wish-list to gather pictures for a heritage scrapbook. So there, not all was lost.

I’m off to Victoria for a week on Wednesday, and then a week in Vancouver with my brother and his family. Hopefully the weather will be fine and I’ll get a lot more visiting in. Knowing that there is a chance I won’t be back to this part of the world for at least a year makes me feel more frantic to fit things in. This is absolutely one of those times when I am going to need a vacation from my vacation.

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