Let’s talk about the week, last week that is (a little late)

19 Sep


A review of the week, September 8 to 15, 2013


Sunday, September 8, 2013– just before my night shift at Insite begins it is confirmed that the owner of the cabin I’m renting will indeed not be providing materials for the renovation, which was our original agreement. The implications are that… I’m potentially homeless. Meaning the cabin is not liveable, especially for children and I need to come up with a plan B. I haven’t totally given up on my cabin dreams but…


Monday, September 9, 2013– I gain a new hero in a co-worker, known locally as the Rat Killer but in his civilian life it’s Brandon Yau. While heading down an antediluvian outside stairway leading to our storage area, Brandon stepped on a rat as big as my shoe and killed it clean. I was able to participate by achieving an apprenticeship in rat- handling. (Might be an important skillset for my cabin future).

Downtown Eastside rats are real rats

Rat handler Downtown Eastside rats are real rats

Later in the week, I think it was Saturday, my youngest daughter Imogen questioned my technique by asking, if the rat was already dead and I had gloves on, why didn’t I hold it properly by the body? And did I bury it? And how would I feel if I were dead and someone held me up by my foot? The answer I gave sounded like a sputtering “Honey,.. I didn’t know for sure,… Honey…” What I thought about saying was “I would feel crappy if I were dead and held up by my foot” or “Shut up farthead” or “I was too scared to touch its body so don’t make fun of me” or “That took some guts just to hold its tail” It’s hard living with a mini Buddha who doesn’t suffer bullshit well. That same day she also asked if I could buy a packaged frozen rabbit from a Chinatown meat counter so we could bury it properly. Straight faced.



Also Monday, September 9, 2013– In my workplace I participate in supporting a young man kicked out of a detox. My most significant effort was directed toward the friend who brought him my way, who I deliberately asked to hand off this person’s care to me. The friend and I had a frank discussion about the difficulties of loving and supporting while realizing the necessity of limits and boundaries. The hand-off being official I told her the most important work she can do is the transcendent work, pray if you pray- she said she would light a candle. Well done I says. The young man will find his way, I’m confident.



Wednesday, September 11, 2013– I crossed from Bowen Island to Vancouver by water taxi. Intoxicating.

Ramona's Phone 022 Ramona's Phone 018

We had a workplace meeting, so instead of working my regular shift hours it meant staff meeting, then the real meeting, meaning beer with co-workers. So I stay out too late in Gastown and while outside on the end of the night sidewalk I realized that I hadn’t gone to the washroom in quite a while, and my realization came urgently. I hustled to one of Vancouver’s fetid laneways and began to pee my unstoppable beer river. A kindly passerby interrupted my bliss with a “Cops, buddy!” and I glanced quickly around to see a cruiser stopped at the lane entrance, then turning while I’m trying unsuccessfully to truncate the unstoppable beer river. The cruiser pulled up beside me to the singsong of the young female constable’s voice saying “Busted”. Lecture. Beyond embarrassed. And the male cop says “Don’t I recognize you from somewhere?” Then after a lengthy description of my Insite function, and satisfied with the length of lecture and embarrassment, they didn’t ticket me, saving me some $200 or so I’ve heard. Between living in the Downtown Eastside or a mountainside, I thought the whole world was my urinal. Guess I need to make some adjustments to that understanding.



Friday to Sunday, stayed with such generous friends all weekend. In fact, including the cabin I slept in 6 different places that week. No wait, 7 including the night under the stars at the cabin. I was doing a little side painting job also last week so my cabin visits were unfortunately fleeting. One visit included visiting with Tracy and Zoe for the first time in the 6 weeks since we moved out of that house. Let’s just say it feels so good to feel at home in so many homes. As in, great to see you guys, mind if I just stretch out on your couch for a minute?

Action shot

Action shot



Friday, September 13, 2013– Although there is plenty of work left to be done and much of life left to be lived, and although I feel kinda crazy and unorthodox and constantly misfitted, and although the questioning and self-doubt still have their breeding ground though that ground is increasingly shallow, and although I’m often tempted by the modern myth that I have nothing, this day I received confirmation that I have lived life successfully. This, via my 12 year old daughter Ramona from a grade 7 school project she has been working on describing different aspects of her life.

Action shot of me thinking thoughtfully

Another action shot of me thinking thoughtfully

A reminder that life is indeed a gift



2 Responses to “Let’s talk about the week, last week that is (a little late)”

  1. jobsearchinginvancouver September 20, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    Okay, I sobbed like a baby at that project of Ramona’s. I am extra sensitive these days but still. Sob sob.
    Sometimes I feel vaguely honoured to know you. You do all of the dirty and hard work with rats and needles and peeing in alleys (which is admittedly harder for women) and all I have to do is say, hey, I know some big wigs over there at the safe injection site. In fact, I/m going to FB link this and say, yeah, I know people over at the safe injection site. This is almost as good as my connection to the 90 year old African American community organizer at my wee United church who worked with Martin Luther King Jr. until the Kennedy brothers told King to get rid of him because he was a communist.
    – Karen

    • ironnieg September 26, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

      Thanks. Fortunately, Ramona and I were laughing about her depiction of me or I might have sobbed as well. Thank you for your feedback and I’m honoured to know you as well. Sincerely

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