Saturday, June 11, 2011

tectonic plates

What I bought second-hand today - a real sign, heavy, which says "Parking for Golfers Only - Reserved for the 19th Hole." It's a housewarming present for my son, when he moves into his new place. And a tin painted gecko for my daughter, who has two real ones. They took 10 minutes to find and cost $7.00 for both.

A cloudy Saturday. I spent an hour at 6 a.m. listening to the piercing, buzz-saw-like cries of two sparrow hawks right outside my window, one in a tree and one in the ivy, cawing back and forth to each other. A high-level meeting at dawn on a Saturday morning - this must be Toronto.

Great news - my house's water was tested, and we are over the safe level of lead content! Hooray!

Seriously, it is good news - two parts per million over the acceptable level is not enough to be frantic about, but since it is over, the city has put the house on a priority list to replace the old pipes. The city's new pipes will eventually join my new pipes under the big dirt pile in the front, and I can finally start to put the place to rights.

While he was doing the work, my plumber John - and if you need a great, reliable, quirky plumber, just ask me for his info - saw me eating dinner and remarked that he had the same plates - Adams English ironstone with a folky blue and red pattern called Lancaster painted around the rim. We've used these plates since 1983 or 4. "Mine belonged to my parents," said John. "Of course, I had to get new plates because those aren't microwaveable."
"What?" I croaked.
"You have to have plates that are safe in the microwave," he said.

Oh my. I told this to my son. "I've used those plates all my life, Ma," he said. "Countless dishes of spaghetti heated in the microwave. And Pizza Pockets. Oh the Pizza Pockets!"

I have enough to worry about without wondering what residue lives in our bodies from decades of these plates in the microwave. But I set out immediately to look at replacements. This felt like a grand adventure - buying plates, like a newlywed. I didn't find much at Sear's and was on my way to HomeSense when I dropped into the Bay, assuming their stuff would be too high end. Well, it was, but there was a sale on the most beautiful Villeroy and Boch wildflower pattern - at 25% off, still too expensive. But the saleman checked for me and his jaw dropped. "These plates are regularly $37.99," he said, "and now it says $10 each."
"I'll take six," I replied, "and six bowls and six small plates."
The manager had to be called, then HIS manager; the cash register, somehow, had made a mistake. But they couldn't do anything about it, so I have new microwaveable dishes of wildflowery beauty thanks to a mistake at the Bay. How lucky is that?

It's dusk, and I'm sitting watching the light fade with a leash on my arm - friends Lani and Maurice are here overnight from Stratford for an engagement party, and I am babysitting Bourbon, their beautiful Golden/German shepherd cross. We just went for a walk around the neighbourhood, where Bourbon showed me just how interesting are the bases of the lampposts - I'd not realized before. I have the leash on because he wants to make friends with the crabby cat, who does not, I repeat, NOT, want to make friends with him and might take his face off if he gets too close.

Even here, in this tranquil neck of the woods at dusk, there's potential for violence. Sad. I think I'll just seek comfort with a nice snack on one of my new plates. Or two.

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