Recently I was reminded of my parent’s sheer brilliance. They were often a pain in the neck, granted, but in a decidedly brilliant sort of a way.
Both my parental units were equally adept in household chores, including, but not limited to, food preparation, doing the laundry, ironing, replacing buttons, stripping wood, hanging wall shelving and training female children in the proper use of power tools & household appliances, as well as the loving acceptance of spiders as beneficial housemates.
They balanced these amazing child rearing abilities against a variety of personal quirks, to demonstrate to their offspring that they were by no means benign superheroes, but simply human.
One of our mother’s quirks was her utter conviction of right-handedness as an absolute Necessity-of-Life. Since at least 50% of her children are lefties, this unalterable position caused considerable conflict. And our father had no imagination. None. He wasn’t able to imagine, even for a split second, that any of his children might not be equally intellectually stimulated and fascinated by every random esoteric factoid, as he was.
Above all, our parents were practical people and as such, they taught us that every task requires a three-pronged approach.
Cleverness – First you think it through and consider as many variables and ramifications as possible. Don’t just plunge in willy-nilly and discover you painted yourself in a corner, literally.
Delicacy – Never force anything. If you encounter serious resistance, you’re either using the wrong tool, turning something the wrong way or should ask your much stronger spouse to do it for you, which, of course, falls in the ‘use the proper tool’ category.
Tidiness – Clean up as soon as you’re done. Don’t leave messes for later, because in the interim they will magically spread throughout the house, possibly even the universe. Always store your tools in the same place, or you’ll lose important bits (!). Un-twist and loosely coil electric cords, always from their attached end toward the plug. If you do it too tightly or twisty, the thin wires inside the rubber or plastic sleeve might break. We grew up in a sailor’s house. Every coil-able object, be that rope, electrical cord or garden hose, was coiled properly at all times. Always.
The brilliance in these normal, everyday rules, which indubitably are applied in uncountable households the world over, manifests itself in our parents’ ability to reduce any given workload by weaving point one into point three:
If you think before you do,
you don’t have to work as hard
Within the last ten days, I had two demonstrations of the correctness of my parent’s postulation. In the first instance, a friend broke a key in our front door lock, which he kindly tried to open for us when we arrived from our long and tiring journey back from Vancouver. He used the wrong key and applied force. Bingo! The second instance occurred yesterday. Our handyman had to drill six holes into a concrete wall. I erroneously assumed he would do a different job first, so I left, only to return to a utility room, kitchen and parts of our living room covered in cement dust. Because I didn’t pay attention, I had to spend the next couple of hours on a perfectly avoidable cleaning job. One never ever drills indoors, especially in concrete, without a helper holding a vacuum cleaner hose close to the drill site to suck in the dust before it settles far and wide. And one close all doors, for crying out loud, Julio! Oh well, I needed the exercise.
Now you know the reason, why I haven’t posted any pictures, or told you any stories about our day trip from downtown Vancouver into the coastal mountains, where we intended to visit the famed resort town of Whistler, British Columbia. I’ve been busy inhaling dust. Brilliant excuse, eh?
But let’s catch up, as long as we’re all hanging out here. Retrieving the car from its underground parking spot in our Yaletown neighborhood, we took Beach Ave to Denman St, hanging a left on Georgia. Then we followed the Stanley Park Causeway to Lions Gate Bridge, thus crossing Burrard Inlet.
We continued to drive on the Sea-to-Sky Highway 99 all the way into the mountains.
We followed the coastline from Horseshoe Bay on up the length of Howe Sound to Squamish, past Cypress Provincial Park, Lions Bay and Britannia Beach with its old copper mines.
In Squamish, we settled down for lunch in an outdoor café. Our sandwiches were neither terrible nor delicious, just boring, similar to our perceptions of the town itself. Sorry, guys! We must have missed the funkier quarters.
Soon we set off again for an after-lunch constitutional, a short and very easy hike to the Brandywine Falls. The falls are near Garibaldi, only a short drive from Whistler. The Brandywine Falls Provincial Park provides many more recreational options, than just watching water hurl itself over a lava cliff edge, even though it is quite mesmerizing to keep track of the multiple rainbows shimmering in the bright sunlight. The whole region is geologically highly interesting and was an important player in BC’s early logging and mining economy. We observed the falls and Cheakamus creek from a remarkably steady and solid viewing platform, newly built in 2006, where the disorienting roar of the 70m/230ft falls is quite dizzying.
Daisy Lake is a large reservoir, created in the 1950ies out of a couple of lakes and Cheakamus river. The reservoir is associated with a huge hydroelectric operation, supplying the main BC power grid. In this Whistorical post, you’ll find a little local color about the coming of hydro-power to sleepy Whistler.
Near the parking lot, I used one of the incredibly clean, odor-free and paper-equipped (can you believe it?) Plumpsklosetts (outhouses). From there I meandered over to a display case with information on First Nation Coast Salish Peoples, who populated this area before Europeans moved in with a vengeance.
No doubt you remember my picture of Barry jogging around a landmark in Stanley Park, called “Siwash Rock” (Sunday, July 14, 2013: Random Imaginography). The significance of this rock as a symbol of Coast Salish hardship at the hands of the conqueror was narrated quite eloquently in this “First Nations” publication. I believe it widens one’s horizon to read this. (The Siwash Rock reference is in the 19th & 20th picture down from the top under ‘Coast Salish’)
Coincidentally a Canadian acquaintance, Erla Boyer, from Stratford, ON, who owns two galleries showing art works of indigenous peoples, ‘Indigena‘ in Ontario and ‘Inukshuk‘ in Vancouver, just sent me an announcement today of a new book by Thomas King called ‘The Inconvenient Indian’. The reviews look very worthwhile, I’m simply waiting for the Kindle edition. Check it out!
Yet, in our own storyline, our destination, Whistler, is still some miles to the North, so we’ll continued our journey on the fabulous Sea-to-Sky highway past Daisy Lake reservoir …
[I had to remove the picture originally located here. It showed Green Lake, rather than the Daisy Lake reservoir. You’ll meet it again next post!]
To be continued …