Tag Archives: water

Running In The Rain

3 Aug

This morning I woke up to the gentle pitter-patter of rain against the window.

Actually, that’s a lie. I woke up to the alarm on my phone going off, making a blaring, raucous noise that set every single one of my nerve endings on edge.

Once my central nervous system had gotten over the initial shock of being awake, then I heard the gentle pitter-patter of rain against the window.

Damn.

I wanted to go running, and I wasn’t entirely sure that I wanted to run in the rain. Thanks to all of the dental goings-on of the last few days, it had been about a week since I had run at all. I was not in the mood for dodging puddles and having rain drip into my eyes. I was in the mood for a nice, uncomplicated run that didn’t require any actual thinking.

Who’s in any fit state to think at five in the morning, anyway?

I had a choice to make. Don’t run at all, run in the rain, or run on the treadmill.

I knew that not running at all would lead to a day filled with angst and guilt, and I had no desire to see the inside of a gym (almost a month of showering in the gym due to our dearth of hot water at home has left me a little gym-weary). So that left me with no choice but to run in the rain.

I threw on my running clothes and added a hat as a measure against the rain. Music cued, training watch set, and off I went. Following the logic that the faster I went, the sooner I’d have this over and done with, I set off at a hearty pace.

The run went surprisingly well. Not only did I find the rain to be refreshing and soothing, I actually managed to maintain the pace that I set at the beginning. Usually when I charge out of the starting blocks like a racehorse on steroids, I kind of peter out after three kilometres or so. Today, though, I finished my 5.65km in just a touch over 31 minutes, at a very respectable pace of around 5:42 minutes per kilometre.

I really should wake up more often feeling half-hearted about running. These runs always turn out to be the best ones.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/angee09/2264408983/. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.)

Getting Into Hot Water

22 Jul

Just over two weeks ago, our water heater broke.

For reasons that I will not bore you with because it’s a long story, we are still living without hot water. A family of four plus a mother-in-law. The family of four includes two children who have a close one-on-one relationship with mud.

Bath time takes twice as long as it used to. Instead of simply running the bath for the kids, we have to dump buckets of cold water into the tub, and boil huge pots of water on the stovetop that then get added to the cold water so that the kids won’t go into shock when they get in.

What’s that you’re asking? Oh, why don’t we just run cold water from the tap? Because for whatever reason, the lack of water in the hot water tank has completely messed up the water pressure on the tap in the bathroom.

On the one hand, I am glad this did not happen in the middle of winter. Because then, heating the bath water to a bearable level would take three times as long. On the other hand, though, in winter you can get away with taking fewer baths. During the dog days of summer, however, when the temperatures are well over a hundred degrees, regular baths are kind of important.

The baths just take care of the kids. Gerard has a shower in his shop, and I have to traipse off the gym in order to avoid being one of The Unwashed. My mother-in-law goes to her sister’s house.

Once everyone is clean, we then have to deal with the dishes. Running the dishwasher is out of the question because it wouldn’t do the job very well, and because it’s not even connected to the cold water anyway. So dishes have to be washed by hand, and kettles full of boiling water keep having to be added to the water in the kitchen sink. Instead of taking ten minutes to clear the dishwasher and reload it, I am now having to spend up to an hour on this nonsense.

How on earth did people five hundred years ago get anything done?

Well. While the men were out conquering whatever they were conquering, the women were staying home and taking care of it all. It’s not like they had to spend two hours a day on the subway getting to and from a full-time job at the office. And besides, avoiding body odour wasn’t such an issue with them. They had annual baths every July, and the entire village shared a single tub of water for the occasion.

Apparently – apparently – our hot water will be reinstated within two or three days. I’ll believe it when I see it.

In the meantime, I just have to make the most of what I have. And drink wine to stop myself from going completely round the bend.

(Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dustpuppy/5371295/)

Being Sick Is Crap

26 Jan

I have a confession to make: I’m not a nice sick person.  Some people take being sick in their stride.  They get their blankets and their cups of tea, and they curl up on the couch and enjoy the opportunity to watch a bit of guilt-free television.  I turn into a pathetic cry-baby and start whining about the fact that I can’t go for a run.

I have a thing about needing control over my body, and in this respect I’m probably no different from anyone else.   Where I might differ, however, is in the level of anxiety I feel when my body lets me down.  I don’t like the fact that I am always overwhelmed by all of the stuff I have to do on a daily basis, but I need to know that I can.  If I am not able to get up in the morning, go for a run, go to work, and do everything associated with parenting my kids, I get very stressed and anxious, almost afraid.  I don’t like the feeling of being physically weak and unable to do things.

So when I suddenly started feeling ill yesterday I was not pleased.  What started as a sore throat yesterday afternoon progressed into a full-blown cold by bedtime.  The kind of cold that comes complete with aches and pains, and ice-cold chills.  I was lying on the couch watching TV with Gerard last night, wearing about four layers and with three blankets piled on top of me.  By the time I woke up this morning, my voice was a thing of the past and both of the kids had a cold as well.

I had to stay home today.  Not only to be with the kids, but to try and rest a little and shake the cold myself.

The chaos started when James appeared by my side at about 11:00 a.m. telling me that he had made a swimming pool.  When I went to investigate I found that there was indeed a swimming pool – right in the middle of my mattress.

An hour later, James told me that he had made a water factory on his Dad’s desk.  Against my better judgment, I went to take a look: there were several bowls on the desk, precariously balanced and filled to the brim with water.

Later in the day, the two kids worked in collaboration to empty a dump-truck full of water all over the living room floor.

Dear Lord in heaven…

There was the upended stationery drawer, the melted Popsicle on the bedroom floor, the melted Popsicle on the couch, and the milk spilled in the kitchen.

Is it any wonder I don’t like being sick?  Look what happens!

I am exhausted, and mysteriously feeling well enough to go to work tomorrow.

Just another kid

30 Jun

One summer’s day about two years ago, I watched a group of children participate in a race. It was in the outdoor play area at the daycare George was attending at the time: it was the end of the day and I had gone to pick him up.  As was my custom, I stayed out of sight for a minute, to watch my child without him seeing me. Lined up against the far fence were five or six kids.  A makeshift finish line had been etched in the sand. At the daycare teachers “GO!” the kids darted away from the fence and scrambled to the finish line.  George was standing apart, shyly watching the action from a short distance away. He looked as if he wanted to join in but did not know how to.

I remember the feeling of immense sadness that came over me. This was such a perfect illustration of George’s autism.  The pool of isolation that he was standing in was almost physically tangible.  It was as if he was trapped in his own little bubble, unable to be a part of the world around him.  Even at the age of four, George was a fast runner: he probably would have won that impromptu little race.

I was reminded of this incident a few days ago, when we were all in Elkhart, Indiana for a long weekend. While out for a walk in downtown Elkhart we stumbled upon a water park. In front of the water park there is a circular paved area: there is a large sprinkler set in the centre of the paving, with a number of smaller sprinklers in a ring around it. When we got there at a few minutes to noon, the sprinklers were turned off but there were a number of people milling around the area with their kids. We had been walking for a while, so we sat down on a bench and allowed the kids to wander around.

At precisely noon, the sprinklers suddenly came to life.  It was like a show of fountains: each of the sprinklers made the water spray in a different pattern.  They were not synchornized: some of them would turn off while others came on, sometimes the water would only spray up to waist-height, other times it would go high in the sky. About fifteen children left the sides of their parents and started playing in the water. The unpredictable nature of the fountains made it a delight for the squealing, laughing children.

James removed his shoes and socks and whipped off his shirt.  He ran straight through the middle of the large central fountain and was soaked within about three seconds.  George was initially more hesitant.  He slowly and deliberately took of his shoes and socks.  We took off his shirt for him, and had a brief moment where he thought this was a cue to strip off completely. He tentatively approached the circle just as the sprinkler closest to him came on, spraying him lightly on the arm. He jumped back in alarm, and for about a minute he simply stood on the perimeter, watching intently. I have no way of knowing for sure, but I have a strong feeling that he was deciphering the sequence of the sprinklers. He’s that kind of kid.  He sees patterns where the rest of us might not even know they exist.

Suddenly George darted into the middle, deftly running between sprinklers rather than right into them. He clearly did not have any interest in getting completely wet like his brother, but he seemed to be OK with a light drizzling. At times he ran around the outer part of the circle with his brother; at times he would stop, stick his hand into a fountain of water, and run away giggling.

George (blue shorts) and James (black shorts)

George in all his water fun glory

It was a magical half hour or so.  For that brief period of time, George was not an autistic child trapped in a bubble of isolation, not knowing how to be a part of the world around him.  He was a regular almost-seven-year-old kid running around having fun with a bunch of other kids. No-one stared at him; no-one noticed anything different about him.  Not once did I have to shoot indignant looks at strangers or launch into my he-can’t-help-it-he-has-autism explanations.

Two brothers, just being kids

For that picture-perfect moment in time, in stark contrast to that long-ago race that he could not participate in, George was just a kid, in perfect harmony with the world around him.