Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A view from the fridge

This is my fridge. Well, truthfully, it doesn't belong to me: it comes with the apartment. It stands in an alcove in my "eat-in kitchen", which I almost never eat in - I prefer to take my meals in the living room. When Phil comes over, we spread a tablecloth on the living room floor and have a picnic. When my parents come over, I clean off the kitchen table and pull it away from the wall and we crouch between the fridge and the stove.

The ceiling is only that low in that part of the apartment, by the way - there's a duct running through there and it's all boxed in.

Here is my cobalt,blue and amethyst glass collection, which is on top of the fridge, collecting dust. I have about 20 pieces, including Bromo Seltzer bottles, Phillips Milk of Magnesia bottles, Vick's Vapo-Rub jars, a bottle from an old Toronto pharmacy ("Tamblyn"), Tynant, Aqua della Madonna, and Blu Botol mineral water bottles, a Royalty Vodka bottle, and a Arizona Iced Tea bottle that my old boss gave me when I said I liked it.

And here is the fridge door. Yes, that's Phil there on the right-hand side, but that's an old picture of him, from before I knew him even. I need to update that. The cats belong to my sister Andrea - their names are Fimo and Raindrop. The drawings are from Alex - "FROMALEX", see? The orange one is supposed to be me, and the green one is about how much Alex loves me - those "B" shapes are hearts. The drawing on the lower door says, "To Jennifer, Thank you for helping me to prepare for my First Communion" and is from a boy named Stewart. The postcard is for Pure Print Studio and Darkroom - I've not yet been. And the big magnets are from the Dollarama on Ste Catherine Street West at Fort in Montreal, from my undergrad days at Concordia. They've hit the floor more than a few times so they're a little worse for the wear. Aren't they tacky?

OK, so here's what's in the fridge. This is the top of the Door of Shame:

I have a confession to make: apart from the garlic, nothing in the picture above has been used in over a year. The little jar is some homemade salad dressing that I forgot about until literally this minute. The mayo and the two mustards - one just plain Dijon, one Honey Dijon date from August 2003. The sesame oil is from my 2002 Stir Fry Obsession, and I don't even want to think about the salsa.

Moving on: the lower half of the door sees a lot more action, although the butter hasn't been touched in ages because I prefer to dip my bread in and to cook with extra-virgin olive oil. There are two bottles of chardonnay in this picture, one almost-finished Australian (Lindeman's Bin 65) and one as-yet-unopened Italian (Farnese). The Canada Dry dates from my last fighting-a-virus-off-and-feeling-lousy period, in early September. It's probably flat now.

OK, now the piece de resistance, the fridge! Behold!

OK, whadda we got in here? First shelf: President's Choice Pulp-Free Orange Juice - still good. 12 grain bread, almost untouched - going on two weeks old, hopefully still good. Organic milk - good till the fifteenth. Non-organic milk - expired a week ago. Van Houtte coffee hiding behind the milk. Brita water. Somewhere back there is organic smooth peanut butter, garlic dill pickles, and raspberry-wine vinegar.

Second shelf: vanilla yogurt, homemade salad dressing (in the coffee cups), left-over pasta e faglioli soup.

My perfume - that's Crabtree and Evelyn's Nantucket Briar, Guerlain's Shalimar, and a tiny bottle of Nina Ricci's L'Air du Temps, and some random samples from my last visit to the fragrance counter. Perfume keeps better in the fridge. That stuff in the plastic bag? That's left-over Thanksgiving turkey. I think it's time to pitch that now.

The bottom shelf. Oh, mon dieu. Two heads of romaine lettuce, one dead, one dying. German sparkling water. Under the lettuce is a bottle of champagne, unopened, from New Year's Eve 2002. And those sherbet containers hold pasta sauce and pasta - the bowl holds grated romano cheese. All past their use-by date.

Lastly, the vegetable crisper:

An emergency bottle of spring water. You can never have too much.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Blogger Flu, or, the Virus That Would Not Die

So I'm sick again. Although, more accurately, I have probably been sick since my mysterious "Blogger Flu" after Thanksgiving. It's just been lingering - I can't shake it off.

Yesterday, I woke up with a sore throat. Not the scratchy sore throat that announces a cold but the real deal: a tender, swollen throat. But I gamely went about my day because hey, I have a life to live. I managed until about 2.30PM, then I gave up and went home.

This morning I woke up at 4.50 AM. My throat so sore I was having trouble swallowing. I drifted in and out of consciousness until it was a good time to call in sick to work, then gave into sleep.

I had a horrible dream that I was in hospital, that I had been in hospital for months, and that nobody knew what I had. And there was some unpleasantness about a food bill - at this hospital, we had to pay for our food and we were only allowed to spend $3 a day, and I was spending $4 so I was getting better food than everybody else and this wasn't fair to the other patients.

When I woke up, my pillow was soaked. I thought that one of the cats had peed on it. But it didn't smell like pee. It wasn't pee. It was my own sweat. My sheets and duvet were damp too.

It's kind of scary. What's the matter with me? Why am I so sick? I never get sick. I guess I'll drag my sorry hide down to the clinic again - I know my own doctor won't be able to see me until next week, that's just the way it is. So I'll go to the walk-in, wait and wait to see whoever I can see, have my throat swabbed again, maybe some more blood drawn. But I'm feeling kind of cynical about the whole thing. I'll do all this, for what? So that they can not call me when they get the results, like they did last time? To be told that it's a virus, so there's nothing they can do - no drugs they can prescribe, just rest and liquids. Well, rest and liquids are fine for those who can afford them, and thank Christ I have a permanent full-time job with a company that gives me access to things like Short Term Disability and Long Term Disability programs. But I just want this fucking thing GONE. I want it out of my system. I want my life back.

You know, I used to work with this guy. The nicest guy. Sam. 40, married, two kids, a 1920s era house he was restoring, a passion for mid-century modern furniture. One January day, he had this funny feeling in his ear. Like fluid, building up there. He went to the doctor. The doctor ordered a biopsy from another doctor, and when he went to get the results of the biopsy, yet another doctor delievered the results. Which were bad. It was a malignancy. It was cancer.

After that, he was bounced from doctor to doctor to doctor. He never seemed to see the same one more than twice. He worked until about April or May, then he had to go on medical leave. He did come to our summer picnic, very thin, frail, not doing good at all. I had just started dating Phil then - I remember introducing them, at this picnic. He and Phil were the same age, in fact.

By November, Sam was dead.

I know I probably don't have a terminal illness, but stories like that - they scare me. Your health is your wealth, that's for damn sure.

Take care.