Thursday, 22 February 2018

Gold medal game spoilers. If you haven't seen the replay skip this.

Omg. What an amazing game last night. But can we please just stop deciding games with shoot-outs, taking away all of the technical skill and boiling a whole three hours of exciting gameplay and amazing plays and saves into a goaltender competition? Can we just have a tie instead? I would have happily shared our impending gold with the United States in the event of a tie. It would make a lot more sense than this.

But alas, we got silver, I think for the first time in twenty years, and there you have it. See you in 2022 in Beijing and we'll have this discussion all over again.

Now it's up to the men. Semifinals tonight. I'm ready.  I loved the crack in the paper: "there are no NHL players participating in the Olympics, this is the first non-NHL tournament in twenty-four years".  And yet our team has a (combined) score of 2140 NHL points. In contrast, if it comes down to it, the US has half that (1216) so all my hopes are on you guys now.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

This is not a cry for help though it's probably the most pathetic thing I've ever written.

Got nothing against you and surely I'll miss you
This place full of peace and light, and I'd hoped you might
Take me back inside, when the time is right
(Guess what's stuck in my head now? On a loop. Just the chorus. That's the good part.)

Guess who showed up last night with flowers and a care package for Sam, who's fever broke around noon and Lochlan finally let go of him, and we realized I'm not the only one afraid of death around here, but probably the only one who freely admits it? Since my heart exists on my sleeve most of the time it serves as a loudspeaker, broadcasting my feelings to my little corner of the universe and sometimes to strangers too, as it did earlier in the day when the kind pharmacist asked me if I was okay, and I turned and looked up at him and said No, thank you and he frowned with concern as I walked away.

There was nothing in the store that could make Sam better. We've got a well-stocked medicine cabinet but our main uplink to God goes down and we're toast. 

He feels better though. Where my cold and sore throat persists endlessly, his cold turned straight into the flu and after two days of sleep he hit the boredom wall and wants to do things. If I could sleep for more than four hours ever I might be better faster too but I'm not a sleeper, I'm a maniac.

So yeah, guess who gets the orange juice, Nyquil (HA OMG STOP ALREADY) and humidifier and a Lochlan all to herself once again, since Matt is here again and Sam brightened up like a goddamned sunrise?

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


It's dark when I wake up but he is yelling in his sleep, my memory thief unconscious, feverish and pale. His skin is cold but sweating, his hands grasp at nothing and he's calling my name. I put my hands on his face holding his nose to mine.

Wake up, Sam. Please. Wake up.  

His eyes fly open and he startles so hard I hear his elbows crack. It looked like that feeling just as you're falling asleep when you actually feel as though you are falling through space unchecked.

What's wrong?! He is delirious, shaking and confused.

We need to take your temperature.

I'm fine. Go back to sleep and get better, Bridget. I'll stay with you. 

(Lord. Why did you send me this loyal soul?)

Shhhhhhhh. He runs his trembling fingers down my cheek. His skin is almost sizzling and Lochlan gets up, swearing, and heads for the first aid kit. There's an old fashioned thermometer in it, the one we use after a error thrown by a digital one with low batteries. I need all the lights on to read it, however, so having your temperature taken around here is a miserable five minutes of blinding light and people confirming the obvious.

He comes back with a forehead thermal sticker. Use this. Oh, good. But then I got out the mercury thermometer anyway. It just seemed so high.


Okay. Not the end of the world. I give Sam some ibuprofen and a huge glass of cold water and Lochlan wrings out a cold cloth to put against his forehead. No one's been this sick yet. Even I've barely run a fever, still flitting around from one moment to the next like a furious bumblebee. Sam is a wet noodle, draped weakly under the sheets, without strength or sense.

Is there any juice? 

Of course there is. What kind would you like?

Orange, if you have it. 

We do. I'll be right back. 

I tiptoe through the house and return in moments with his juice, his favorite blue hobnail glass in hand.

But when I come back he is already asleep again, spooned in Lochlan's arms with Lochlan's hand around his forehead, holding the cold cloth in place. Lochlan is already asleep too so I drink the juice and crawl back in. We can burn the bed later. Lochlan's an expert on that.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Bray for me.


It's just a cold!

You said that like two weeks ago. I'm calling the doctor. 

No! But it came out strangled, squeaked through a sore throat that only hurts when I stop moving and don't you know, I refuse to do that because then I'll be admitting weakness and no one does that around here. I have to keep up with the boys even though I'm half their size, half their weights and clearly one-quarter portion of their immune systems.

Bridget, plea-

Unless I can get those Hollywood vitamin-shot things then nevermind. They just give me those giant disgusting antibiotics and then I feel worse. 

I'm bouncing up and down as I explain myself. This is why they give me Nyquil with my dinner though I made it through all of the Olympic coverage and watched all five flights of the dance short program last night. See if I can do it again. I had a glass of ginger-ale, a glass of orange juice, a mug of hot chocolate and then a glass of whiskey and ginger-ale. Then a bowl of cereal at ten pm. My dreams were incredibly weird.

Must be the Rice Crispies, I told Lochlan sagely as he tried to pin me down long enough to take my temperature. We were naked, and going to see this play, only instead of seats they had bunkbeds and they wouldn't let men and women sit together-

Fever dream. He laughed. You should go back to bed. 

Instead I went grocery-shopping with PJ and when we got home Ben yelled at PJ for letting me outside and then at me for going outside. I muttered At least I had clothes on, considering in my dream I stripped down pretty fast. I really wanted to see that play.

PJ gave Ben a hearty middle finger and laughed. PJ knows you've got to get out the tranquilizer dart out to slow me down because some creatures move too fast and I'm one of them.

Ben frowned his scowly, scary frown and asked if I would take it easy this afternoon so now he and I are lying on the big sectional couch in the kitchen (great room combo, hard to explain) watching bobsleigh replays and I'm painting my nails with Sally Hansen polish in 'Expresso'. Ben said it was tongue-colored and has been making sick jokes all afternoon since. He put on my leg warmers. He said he was going to become a figure skater next winter but it's simply too late to start training now because the Olympics will be over by the time he's ready.

And I sound like a donkey when I laugh.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Just fangirling, look away if you must.

Not in church today. Damn. Too sick, too tired, too fucking GOBSMACKED from last night to make the effort. Ruth even drove Henry to work today. I don't know how he's doing it since he rocked his FACE off last night with his friends and I'm so proud.

Bullet for my Valentine was tight. Very incredible musicianship, great drumming (holy cow) and they seemed so surprised the crowd was ready in place to receive them. A good show all round.
I was actually crying with excitement though by the time they turned on the little Breaking Benjamin logos on the big steel boxes with two songs by BFMV to go.  I was wearing the hoodie I bought at merch (no giant eyeballs! HUZZAH!) since they didn't have the shirt I wanted. Wings! Jesus! I wanted that shirt so bad but the sizing was all fucked up. The hoodie fits perfectly.

And then Breaking Benjamin came on and ripped through eleven songs and yes they are indeed heavier live though they skipped playing anything off the new album that is upcoming because Benjamin Burnley was sick too (imagine that. The flu in Canada in February is like a rite of passage and then a regular curse, I'm afraid) so I think he had a hell of a lot of help from the band. The guitar player  (Keith! Not my Keith) sounds a lot like him, carrying one whole song on his own! He's also handed off the dirty vocals to Aaron on bass. And Damnnnnnnnnnnnn.

They were so good.

The Star Wars bit in the middle was so good. The nerdiness and heavy rock and then at the end the lights went up and Benjamin (not my Benjamin!) thanked the crowds and talked a little about being so thrilled and thankful to promote music in general and he charmed the everloving shit out of everyone with his humble awe and yeah, I was done.

They played Breath. Second only to Deathbed by Relient K for songs I've always wanted to hear live and now I have.

God, it was so good. Only missing Red Cold River off the setlists I've seen floating about it really was something I'm glad I crawled my way too because it was so worth it. So, so worth it.

Kudos to the VPD for crowd monitoring and the crowd for the lack of meaningful weed smoke and orderly lineups and fun chats in merch lines. Bathrooms with no lineups and White Spot for food! And some of Henry's friends going back for more t-shirts. We treated them all to one each, but only if it was BB.

Kudos to Avenged Sevenfold for bringing Breaking Benjamin along. And for playing Afterlife super early, before we left. Because we left pretty early and we don't do that often but we made it home before the snow got heavy and I'm really glad we did, since half the kids weren't ours but we were responsible for them.

What a great night.

That was a better bucket list item checked off than the naked midnight motorcycle ride and making it rain combined.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

89, 90, 91.


So remember the story I've told a few times of how going to a concert when you're deathly ill is one of life's finer ironies, since you buy tickets so far in advance God only knows what shape you'll be in by the time it rolls around? (AKA We saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2006 and I was so sick I leaned against some strange boy the whole time because he was on my side facing the stage? But that's still not as gross a story as the one about the strange boy beside me with the copious nosebleed through the entire Tool show or the story about the very drunk man behind me at Roger Waters last summer that poured his entire new ice cold beer down my back and Jesus, maybe I should stay home from now on?

No, thank you. I was raised in Halifax. Concerts were like Catholic visions. They hardly ever happened. Here we're turning shit down left and right for lack of time, if you can believe it.)

And also the story of the irony of how I really don't like Avenged Sevenfold at all?

So guess what I'm doing tonight!

Yeah. I'm going to see Avenged Sevenfold's The Stage world tour, having seen them a little over six months ago when they opened for Metallica!


Oh I dunno.


BREAKING BENJAMIN is opening. And that has been a fifteen-year bucket-list band for me and I don't care if I have to lie down in my seat, I will be there with bells on and my smudged eyeliner since it's raining/snowing quite hard now and I'm taking Henry and his friends but I'm going to quiz them on the drive in (they're all HUGE Breaking Benjamin fans) and if no one wants to stay for Avenged we can leave early.

Cross your fingers that I don't die because so far I feel like I might.

Also cross your fingers that BB have merch other than the new giant-eyeball Ember album cover designs. I don't think I'll look good with a huge third eye on my chest. Then again, maybe I will.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Sons of anergy.

Caleb isn't going to meetings, naw. He told Ben he's near perfect, but sometimes he slides and he'll just stop drinking but be nice too because some people have willpower.

Ben said good luck with that, ducking out from under the shade thrown like a dagger and came home unscathed. Caleb later messaged Ben to apologize and as far as I know it's still unread. That's one of the great tics of the Devil that we've discovered. If you don't open his messages he gets crazy. Ben said he must be hitting the bottle again already to be so sweet and then Ben left his phone on the dresser and hasn't touched it since.

They both said brunch and company were great though. So there's that. There's just a little love lost between them, both of them harboring some slick grudges that sometimes skid away under the furniture and sometimes set it on fire but they get along honestly and without very much posturing, if you can believe it.

I know. It doesn't sound like it, does it?

I'm getting better today. This was a long week of illness and not feeling up to anything at all. I still did as much as I could, and I'll probably pay for that, but the day is looking up already. The sun came out and so PJ served lunch outside. Lemonade, hot chocolate and Hawaiian-flavored pizza pops because we eat like orphaned fifteen-year-olds if left to our own devices, and now I'm back inside with my runny nose and freshly-burned tongue to kill time until Henry gets home from school.

You can tell when he's coming up the stairs, all six-foot-one of him, ducking to get through the door, throwing his backpack on the floor. He'll ask what the smell is.

Burned cheese and the candle I got last week (Coal & Canary's 'Wood Stoves and Fine Merlots' scented one that has a wooden wick that pops and crackles while it burns and I love it. It's like a fire in my pocket though I can't burn it while it's in there because that would be mighty hazardous). Pizza pops for lunch.

Are there any left? Even though he ate lunch two hours ago. He'll always come back for a second meal of equal size. Just like his father.

Sure. Go find PJ. He'll start them for you. 

Thanks, mom. And I smile at him and think, wow. He needs a shave.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Of course I still love you.

And after this world is out of reach
Sober and silent, faded and violent
Hopeless, I fight to fall between
Never surrender, out of the embers
So save a space inside for me
Maybe I didn't say this because it wasn't my place but everyone seems hellbent on trying find out why Caleb went back to being himself instead of the jovial, agreeable man he somehow became over the summer last year, into the fall with very little hint of who he was before that.

It's his nature, his innate self, muted smooth by alcohol, quashed by an endless buzz and once again this is somehow my fault because I didn't blow the whistle on him either.

Would you have?

I didn't think so.

I like him half-lit, honestly. I like him slow and silly and a little bit more enthusiastic, a little more loveable. I like him kind and soft and friendly. I like that fact that his bright intensity was visible without needing something to shield your eyes with before looking.

He decided somewhere at the end of last week to quit, to teetotal, to go dry in order to smarten up, He's very disciplined, very dedicated, very healthy save for that endless drunk and it's more like him to stop then it was to start, frankly. It's not a sustainable existence as we learn over and over again.

I didn't know he stopped cold. He just didn't say or do anything except revert back to being Mr. Intensity, as I said and I thought I had done something wrong. Why do I take the blame for his moods? Years and years of conditioning, grooming to want to please him, that's why.

Ben made the observation before the rest of us saw a thing. Ben's good at this. Ben's taken Caleb out for brunch this morning so they can talk. Would I ever love to be a fly on the wall today. I don't think Ben is in a position to sponsor Caleb of all people but we have to do something to help Caleb as that's what you do when someone asks for it.

Even when they're being a jerk to you.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Blackened fingerprints and Valentine's Day.

A little peptalk from Lochlan and Benjamin and Caleb already made his apologies and joined us for the service this morning so Sam could paint ashes on our foreheads, a reminder that we need to live our lives the best way we know how. We get one chance, use it well and wisely. I rolled my eyes a little in the line as Sam drew a filthy cross on my face, sticking my tongue out at him. He wiped his fingers on it as payback, leaving me coughing and sputtering and licking the arm of Lochlan's peacoat to get the taste out of my mouth for the remainder of the service.

Can't take me anywhere except right to the brink of death and then and only then am I more alive than I've ever been.

Caleb accepted his ashes with a stern look from Sam and was appropriately serious, this time actually repentant, heavy. Jealousy cancels out every ounce of common sense he has. It's always been this way for the two brothers only Caleb is the only one left to carry out this legacy of misery as Cole checked out so spectacularly already.

Sam attempts not to let his amusement distract the congregation from this very major Wednesday service. The room isn't even half-full but he's in his season here and we need to let him bloom. And bloom he has, weirdly pleased, surprised and curious to see Caleb sitting on the other side of Ben. The story they told is that Ben saved Caleb from going over the railing in a fit of desperation but what that means is that as usual, Lochlan did all the talking while Ben held Caleb over that rail threatening to let go.

Because he (Caleb) won't let go.

And I'm fine with that because the brain damage was actually in place a long time ago and I wasn't worried. Love through violence, decades of conditioning, threats and promises and he's done more hurt than any lack of oxygen would ever create. He's done all of this and instead of figuring out how to help me live with it he barges in with his own issues. He wanted to run the world. Lochlan isn't about to let him. In his listening moments he understands the arrangement we made to keep the peace; on days such as yesterday he can't remember shit and runs on fear and feelings.

We're more alike than most people realize, I guess.

But I don't want to live with those threats. I can live with him physically getting out of hand when he's riled up but if he comes to me wearing the vestiges of his former self I can't deal with it. I'm afraid I might blink and when I open my eyes Cole will be behind him. Or be there instead of him. As if Caleb can't be frightening enough on his own.

Instead today I'm surrounded by love. It's Valentine's Day and Lochlan is determined to celebrate love and I'll be right there with him. Ben celebrates love every day, somehow aware of how fleeting life is in a way only I can understand, and I love him for that too. I just can't seem to get any kisses now, as they all saw Sam wipe his fingers on my tongue.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Pancakes and death.

Bury me in this cold light
That line reminds me of Cole. So does this man, shifting from a fury in which he pushed my head underwater yesterday to this repentant, grief-filled and rueful man, average in every way except for any of them, thanks to his good looks and greater fortune which give him a pass far too often, honestly.

When your killer becomes your savior before your very eyes there isn't much left that you're going to trust throughout the run of that day, is there?

Give me up for Lent and I'll make sure I finish the job, Neamhchiontach.

I look at his medium blues. I know you won't.

I can ensure enough brain damage that they wouldn't want you anymore and then you'd wish I had.

Oh. You're back. I was wondering where you went. 

Ruefulness is not Caleb's strong suit, nor does he ever play the sympathy card long enough for me to feel it at all.