We had a central air conditioner installed this past weekend. Our furnace died about three years ago. It was a year of failures. We were having a Christmas party at our house. Lots of people generating lots of body heat. No one noticed that the furnaced had ceased functioning. I was not too concerned as long as there were people to heat up the house.

People left. Damn. I had to tell Janet. She would have figured it out anyways. We live in a 100 year old house. There is no insulation in the walls, except on the third floor which we renovated when we bought the house. The temperature started dropping slowly overnight. Winter decided to rear its ugly head with one of the coldest weeks of the season. Diana lent us a space heater which was moved from room to room. The fireplace helped a bit, though fireplaces tend to draw heat out of the house.

We found this guy name Amit who owns a company called NASA Heat and Air Conditioning. I have no idea what NASA has to do with it, and how he gets away with using that name. The furnace was installed within the week restoring heat to a very beleaguered family.

Janet decided that this was the year we would install air conditioning. I am not a big fan of these things. They suck power and give you colds. People tend to keep the temperatures way too low causing a shock the system when you go outdoors. We have promised ourselves to avoid those issues.

We have just had a heat wave in Toronto. Daily temperatures in the low C30′s. The problem has been though, that night temperatures have not dropped making the situation far worse than the daily highs would indicate. The city kept issuing heat alert advising anyone with a chronic condition to stay indoors. That is me this year. We sprung for the AC.

Amit tells us that we may be disappointed with the effect of the AC on the third floor where our bedroom is. Old house, old vents badly installed. We are lucky. The third floor is cooled down sufficiently for us to sleep in peace. We open the windows which might defeat the purpose of the AC. We like open windows in the summer. So much more pleasant to sleep that way. Heat rises, and we are on the third floor. The open windows should not affect the AC any.

We have set the thermostat at C25. We will monitor things and see what the best temperature is for our comfort.

Amit warned us to not react to the heat with a keen jerk reaction. The heat will pass. We have lived in this house for 11 years without AC, why now? The house tends to heat up toward the middle of July. We have fans everywhere to cool us down. We suffer through the months of July and August before things cool down in preparation for the coming winter. So why now, Amit wants to know.

We tell him about the cancer and the need to pacify the chronic sufferer. We have this conversation on Thursday afternoon. The AC is installed on Saturday. He would have installed it on Friday, except it rained making it impossible to do any work. He is a charming and accommodating man.

The installation is done in about four hours, as promised. We sit and chat for a short while. He tells me I should look up Swami Ram Dev who teaches people breathing exercises that have produced miracle results. Do I speak Hindi? The good Swami has a show on television. Among the many languages I speak, Hindi is not one of the preferred. Look him up on the web. He is amazing.

My car wash guy wants to know how I am. Now my furnace and AC guy is trying to help me as best he can. How amazing is this world and the people within it.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. The support from all sides has been amazing. The sources of the support have been amazing as well.

I went to get the car washed the other day. Let me know if I have told this story before. This is one of those drive though joints with surly men who dry your car at the exit. You have to get out of the car and the chain mechanism in the ground drags your car through the wash. Our Mazda 3 has windshield wipers that react to water on the windshield. They come when it starts to rain and turn off by themselves. Wonderful technology. I have to always remember to switch them off.

I got out of the car. Somehow the seatbelt caught my colostomy bag and ripped it off. Needless to say, a mess, on my hands, my shirt, my pants. Pretty much everywhere. There is guy who guides you to drive the car to the chains. He also sprays the car to loosen the grime in preparation for the wash. I am always amused that they only spray the drives side. The passenger side obviously does not get as dirty.

He did not even flinch at the sight of the mess. He immediately pointed his hose to the gutter and told me to wash my hands. No fuss no muss. Much appreciated. I went inside looking for a washroom. There were two reserved for the staff only. The girl at the counter was not much help. Sorry, staff only. I lifted my shirt to show her the damage. She did not hesitate and passed me the key to the washroom. I cleaned up and went back out to talk with her. She had reacted so quickly and again without appeared grossed out by what she had seen.

I thanked her for the keys and her lack of reaction. Oh, she say, I volunteer in an old people’s home, see this all the time. How are you, she continues, looking just a bit concerned.

As I said, support comes from the most unlikely sources.

Thanks to all.

As you may or may not know by now, we spent a weekend at the Fraser farm in Caledon, about an hour north of Toronto. They were not there. They gave us the key to the house. We have been there many times and are not strangers to the house.

This is not your typical farm, more of a gentleman’s farm. Nice large property, some of which has been leased to a local farmer who is raising cows. The house is spectacular, decorated with great taste. It is divided in two sections, the old original farmhouse, and the new addition that was there before the Frasers took over. The brickwork between the two section almost match. The new ones being, well, new, while the old show the ravages of time.

We have always stayed in the new section, in what is ostensibly the TV room. This is very practical, specially now, because we have our very own bathroom, a must for my condition.

I was incredibly tired for the whole weekend. Janet surmised that my white blood cell count was probably low. We had our last chemo session just 10 days after the previous one. We moved up the date of the sessions by a couple of days. I do not know why I ever doubt her judgment.  I did not think two days would make that much of a difference.

I pushed myself as I always appear to be doing. We went into Orangeville, which is a strange town, even for a country setting. A mixture of good and atrocious. Their main street is called Broadway, and it is that. Very broad. They have built a median in the middle that effectively separates one side from the other. The only places to cross is at intersections. They really should get rid of the median and let the two sides communicate. There are all kinds of possibilities there. All that is required is a little bit of vision.

We walked around town a bit. Found a delightful store selling household decorations, and jewelery and other stuff. A real mish-mash as you usually find in the country.  We were looking around and purchased a couple of items. I was flirting with the very young sales ladies. What else am I supposed to do while Janet is shopping?  I usually take pictures, but these girls flirted back.

One of them asked where we are from, and more specifically where in Toronto. Oh my, says one, I teach at the Riverdale Pilates once in a while. Good friends with one of the trainers there. Turns out the trainer is Janet’s personal trainer. Small world.

We went into town several times for groceries, or to just look around a bit more. I drove around looking for picture taking opportunities. None to be had. I also dove around the Fraser’s neighbourhood to see what there was. Lots of pictures there. Also took pictures of their barn which is going to be repaired before it collapses. Can’t have that, the cows live in the basement. You will see some of the pictures once I have looked at them a couple of thousand times.

We rested a lot. Talked, they cooked, I ate, talked some more. Watched a bit of TV, slept a lot. I am waking up really early these days, around 6:30. Not sure why, don’t really care. I can always sleep later. I wrote a couple of poems, the first of which I put on the blog. Designed a camera bag that I hope to produce. Going out this week to buy a sewing machine. Yes, I know how to use one. Watched my mother over so many years.

The weather was almost perfect. Hot in the day, specially in the sun, cool at nights. Stormy on our last day there. It was good.

My exhaustion was tiring to say the least. I was looking forward to walking a lot more. They have a large pond on the property. Always a good walk around. But not this time.

No weekend would be complete without an accident with the bag. I emptied it at around 3:00AM. Fell back asleep around 6. Woke up with start at 8:00 when my hand drifted into something gooey and wet and stinky. The bag had filled to capacity and burst at he seams. Stuff everywhere. Could not be controlled. All over the floor. All the way to the washroom where I started cleaning up while Janet cleaned up the sheets and floor and everything else. Embarrassing to have her do that. I know, that is what marriage is all about. Still, it is a messy proposition.

I tried to not let that ruin the weekend, difficult as it is. It just helps remind me of the fragility of the situation.

Overall, a good weekend. A good dry run for our trip to New York on the 20th.

© 2010 I Have Cancer Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha