Monday, October 12, 2009

Maid of the Mist and Canadian Coffee Cream

This weekend was bittersweet, they all are these days, a quick break from a hectic week, and then back to it - it being whatever I am doing these days to earn a living, where ever I happen to be earning it. The work is good, it is consistent, there is no shortage of it, and I like it - the weekends are the opposite - they are good, they are not consistent, there are never enough of them, and it seems that time and money always put constraints on those days. It was a weekend to savor - the weather was unseasonably warm, and I had good company on Sunday to drive the 90 kilometers from my suburbia in Toronto down into the kitsch and glamour of Niagara Falls - everyone told me to go to Niagara on the Lake - that is was SOOO much more sophisticated, but that sort or ruled me out, I was more in line for the standard touristy stuff, and thought that I should take advantage of it. Add to that a welcome visit from Cadence to the Greater Toronto Area, and it made the weekend that much better. She had just come down from a long several months of budgeting, and the forty-eight hours made things better - once again, the weekends are always too short, but there is enough time to make the best of them.

We walked at least six miles yesterday, we went behind the Falls clad in our Yellow Trash Bag Ponchos, we watched the show "Fury of Niagara" and we laughed and giggled about the tourists - the best part of the trip was the Maid of the Mist. The uneasiness that I felt as I was on the Stern of the ship looking down over into the water, challenging the Mist - it was fun, controlled, but still powerful and a reminder that I am temporary - and fragile - the boat lurched and moved and the mist blew hard, with every spray an Asian Tinged "ORRRRRRRR" would come from the tour groups crammed in around me - it was a beautiful place to be - and for a few moments, I was immersed in nothing more than the sound of the waterfall, and really, the cold spray was more soothing than a good scotch.

Canadians have an affinity for Dairy Products. I don't know why this is, but this weekend, I received a short lecture on how dairy products in Canada are much more different (and better) than those in the States. I would agree, although I am slightly confused between the varying degrees of Coffee Cream that is out there. This weekend I ran into five levels of cream, and I suppose, it is sort of like skiing - you can pick the green, the blue, or any number of black diamond course - it just depends on your experience level. Granted, I have been using cream that says "10%" and then some french stuff after it from the lobby in the hotel - but I learned that it goes much deeper than that - you can get no less than six variants on cream (I counted six, there may be more) - and each one provides a different drinking experience. For me, it was sort of like comparing different types of toilet paper, one was a little smoother, one left my ass raw, one was pleasantly scented - you get the picture - they all did the job, but each had different affects. Humorous to me, maybe not to you, but when in Canada, you must experiment with the cream.

This week marks my fourteenth anniversary - the last of the anniversary holidays for me - and perhaps the best and the worst one all wrapped into one day. That in itself has created a reason for pause and reflection - I don't know what to think or write about it, I just do, from time to time, try to think or even meditate on some sort of virtue or good that has come out of this whole thing, this entire 14 years of marriage and part-time comradery - it is cold and unnerving to think in those terms - but it is necessary sometimes, to wipe the glaze off of window to see clearly. I have two beautiful children, and would like to think that I have been educated, evenif slightly more, to the types of people we are, and the types of people we can become. There is not much I miss, aside from a backyard, I don't really see the need to go back there again - the uneasiness, the lack of passion, the dying sense of there always being a problem, and only solutions presented in times of dire need. Fourteen years is a very long time, and for those folks who chose right the first time, who decided to stay away from other desires, or who just found what they were looking for, I appluade them - some married couples learn to live with each other, I see it, some grow away from each other, and some, well, they just never were meant to be married - I would hate to place myself in the latter, but the more I think about the lost dreams and hopes, the stifled emotion, and the sense that I did things for someone else, without question - that leads me to believe that I should be classified there. Even now, in the pleasant legal dysfunction that surrounds the myth of an amicable divorce, I get asked, and with little or no fight, I surrender - that dynamic has always been present - that there was nothing really worth fighting for - because everything was a fight. There was always that need to please or place someone else on a platform, and that, was at the detriment of placing what really needed to be first - in first. It is a tough recovery spell - things don't happen overnight - and for me, this is the same. I still struggle with thoughts of failure, and anger, and sadness even as I wonder what could have made a difference - and the only conclusion that makes any sense is that I chose poorly, lived worse, and grew away. At some point in time, we give up - and the silver lining, the small hope through all of this process, is that I don't owe the in-laws or even her an explanation - I owe them nothing, and now I have other debts to pay - the energy required to get to that conclusion for me was immense, almost as hard mentally to think of going through that again as it would be to swim against the Niagara Falls - the entire process, the entire investment of time, and the emotional drain just was not worth it. It was not her, it was not our children, it was not her parents - it was me, the investment, that risk/retun trade off, that was not for me - and the end result is the same, I am back in the position to make choices, and now, they are simpler and serene - they are mine.

Solace and quiet are rewards, loneliness is hard, but the reality is, that choices make life better in most cases - and this week, is about two - the choice to be married and the choice to not be married - and recently, that has made a considerable difference.

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