Friday, 13 June 2008

Parental Appreciation Week

I'm home today - with a wicked migraine (and staring at a computer screen - smart) I had it yesterday, and it was building up all week. My only conclusion is that it was brought on by constant barometric pressure changes. It's been raining for weeks!!!!! Today, the day I have the wicked migraine, it's lovely and sunny outside. I guess it's the change in pressure more than anything else. I'm inside. Typical. I have been facing a fair bit of stress lately, perhaps that's a contributor as well. Work has been extra busy. (have no idea why) We felt like we were running a telethon last week. The phone was hot. Plus, we were short of staff for various parts of the week. It was a bit strained. That, plus the banking stresses, and well - my parents have added to the stress level. Perhaps it's the weather, and stress - causing lack of sleep, etc.

So, now that I've gotten to the bottom of my pain, I'll tell you what's been going on with my parents. Mum has a cardiac history, and well last Saturday she and Dad were out shopping at the co-op when she had some serious chest pain. She described it as the worst pain she's ever had. Apparently Dad asked her if he could take her to Emerg, but she refused. Later on that day, as she was wincing and complaining about being tired, I asked her what was wrong. She said - "Oh, I think I had a heart attack earlier" Well, I have learned to never take this statement lightly, because my younger brother who was 29 at the time, ignored pain for a day and a half, and it actually was a heart attack; and really we're lucky we still have him around. Anyway, I was all - "Mum, get Dad to take you to Urgent Care", she stated, and I quote - "Oh, I haven't showered yet, I don't feel like it". Sigh, what to do with these crazy parents of mine. I told my sister about it the next day, at Dinner, and Mum complained and said "Dad didn't insist enough that I went to the Hospital, he should have insisted." Yeesh. Suffice it to say - my parents are getting worse and worse in every aspect as they get older.

So, with that in mind, I felt it was time that I undertook a project - pronto - that I've been meaning to do for quite a while. In fact, it has been on my to-do list for approximately 3 or 4 years every single day. It was listed as "Work on Q's" Meaning - work on questions to ask Mum and Dad in an interview about their lives. So, Sunday night, I did that. Tuesday night, I recorded Mum's interview on my computer onto MP3 format. It took about 3 hours to interview her. Then the next day, I started to interview Dad. I say started, because - being a Yorkshireman, and full of banter, he takes a lot longer to tell a story, and it's considerably more interesting and colorful than average. But that's Dad - and really I did want to capture them in their actual personalities telling stories as they come out of their mouth. I did about 3 hours of Dad's interview on Wednesday night, and Thursday for another 3 hours. Doing this actually made me feel a lot closer to both of them. They are really interesting people, and before they were my parents, they were themselves, and they had interesting lives with interesting stories. Especially interesting was both of their stories about growing up during World War 2; and Dad's stories about serving in Her Majesty's Royal Navy.

Dad in Japan - 1951 - on the right with the ukelele and cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

Dad remembers every house address he ever lived in, and every job he ever had. He can tell you exactly how every machine he ever used or maintained works. His memory is pretty sharp. Mum's isn't as sharp as it used to be. But, I got what I could out of them, and now I have that record for future generations. It also prompted me to go on a hunt through the house for old tapes of relatives and Grandparents speaking on similar subjects. I found a number (but I think there's still more yet to be found) of them. I found one of Mum's Dad (the scoundrel) playing the accordian with his girlfriend Em back in '83 and singing away. He used to do that all the time. He often went to nursing homes, and hospitals and sang to the other old folks here in Calgary. He was really an interesting character - even if he was a complete scoundrel. He actually ran the Terry Fox run - all the way through at 83. Active until the day he died (and I mean active). He had a heart attack, and died at the Foothills Hospital in 1987. Also found various tapes mailed to us from Dad's family. I'm pretty excited to hear his Mum's voice, as she's one who I never really knew, and she was quite a character whom I think I get most of my spunk and independence from. So, in order to keep those records for a considerably long time, I'm turning them digital so that we can. Tape deteriorates after a while. If you want to hear some of Mum and Dad's stories, let me know, and I'll get you a copy. The files are too big to email, so, it'll have to be hard copy. So, yeah - that's what I've been up to this week.

The Four Yorkshiremen - Monty Python

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