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ON THE 11th HOUR: when the war went quiet
This is me
This is my introductory column to the daily papers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
The fact that it is actually my third column is just one of those anomalies that make up my life.
As a new columnist to many of you, I will share some of my profound insights about getting through life, such as don’t take yourself too seriously and find some humour in everything.
Human loss and tragedies are exceptions but for everything else, if you can see even a tiny little funny something to laugh at, it will help. Black humour is better than no humour at all.
I’ve had body parts replaced, survived breast cancer, body parts redirected and then redirected again, been on a first name basis with the wolf constantly knocking on my door and now I am even brave enough to joke about having bi-polar 2. When I have a rare spurt of housekeeping I say I’m in my manic phase.
In the depths of depression, having to write this column has kept me going many times. You’d think writing a column would be even harder than making yourself have a shower or answering a phone call but the weekly commitment was often cathartic and forced me to stay connected to the world. If you met me now you wouldn’t know but I was my right mind. Haha. That’s a joke.
As far as the body beautiful goes, I’m very fortunate. My lonely left breast is balanced quite attractively by the hernia on my right abdomen. I can usually get down on my knees in the garden and occasionally even get up on my own. I can see and hear and taste and smell. More often than not, I can find my reading glasses in a few minutes even when they’re hidden on top of my head.
My lifestyle is not particularly healthy, but neither is it particularly bad. While I don’t care to think about Canada’s Food Guide, I don’t eat much junk and I no longer tell myself that three olives in a martini count as a vegetable.
I have two adult daughters who live close by with my two little grandboys, two granddogs, and I have a man called Newman. His name isn’t actually Newman but he was a ‘new man’ in my life when he made his reluctant debut in a column 15 years ago and it was my wish to protect him. Haha again.
My days of entertaining and fancy cooking are over. Newman might say that my days of any kind of cooking are pretty much over but that would not be true. I am simply trying to encourage him to learn to cook. Once you hit 70 if you can’t look after yourself you could be in trouble.
And then there’s housework. Even though I had a cleaning woman, my long-departed mother used to say (when she was trying to be nice), “Janice is a relaxed housekeeper.”
I used to be a bit put out about that but now I consider it a compliment. More insight; relaxed is a good thing to be and anything you can’t see from three feet away doesn’t count.
My mother was not a relaxed housekeeper. When I was a teenage bride and moved into an apartment, I noticed the kitchen window sill looked awful. I don’t know what I thought it was but it honestly didn’t occur to me for months that it could be cleaned. I simply had never seen real dirt in a house.
There’s real dirt and then there’s the byproduct of living and we all have to live. Nowadays I call myself a Commercial Cleaner. I clean during the commercials of my favourite shows.
That’s also a good time to exercise. I find it’s better if you turn your back to the TV. Think about it; all that commercial time going to fitness.
Sometimes I accomplish both by sweeping vigorously.
Janice Wells offers her own unique take on life as a baby boomer, often served up with a twist of humour and a splash of gin. She lives in St. John’s, N.L. and tends a lovely garden there whenever fog, sleet, snow and gale-force winds permit. She can be reached at email@example.com.