Category Archives: Wonder Woman

Hanging out on the corner

Like most schools in Canada, every September my school does what is known as the Terry Fox run to raise money for cancer research. The run takes place during that month because when Terry Fox had to stop his own run in September 1980 because his cancer had returned, he said that although he had to stop, he expected all Canadians to pick up where he left off and to continue raising money.

This past September, however, BC schools were closed most of the month due to the teachers’ strike, so there was no run. However, my school made the decision to do our run this month, because Terry began his run back in April 1980, so we thought it made just as much sense to do it in April as it does to do it in September.

There are a large number of new people working at my school this year, including our administrators, so we had a staff meeting to talk about how we would do our run. We ended up deciding to run our usual route along the streets of our neighbourhood, inviting parents and caregivers to come along with us. Non-enrolling staff members (like me) and teachers who can’t run or even walk with their students for various reasons (like the late stages of pregnancy) are asked to stand at a few corners along the route, ensuring that everybody goes where they are supposed to go.

I was actually the person who brought that last point up.

“And any staff members who can’t run, plus us non-enrolling teachers, we’re stationed at various corners along the way, to direct the kids and make sure they run along the side of the road and not on peoples’ lawns,” I said. “We’re the – the corner workers!”

The room erupted into laughter. I didn’t get it right away.

One of our teachers with a VERY quick wit then clarified it for me: “And you’ll be wearing your mini-skirt and stilettos?”

Ah. THAT’S why everyone was laughing.

“No, no,” I sputtered. “It’s an auto racing term! You know, corner workers! The guys who stand at the corners of the race track with the flags! The guys who come running out if there’s a crash or a car needs a push or something!”

imagesNo one seemed to believe me.

Don’t ANY of my colleagues know ANYTHING about auto racing?!

Apparently not.

So, the afternoon of my school’s Terry Fox run, there I was, standing at my corner in my yoga pants, hoodie, and ever-so-stylish fluorescent orange vest, directing and encouraging the kids as they ran or, in the case of many of the younger ones, walked by. And when that teacher with the VERY quick wit came past, there was another comment tossed my way: “Getting any business there?”

Uh – no.

I guess I wasn’t showing enough leg.


Delayed reaction

I did have one small bit of excitement during my recent days of sickness.

Remember my eye thing in January, where the gel in my right eye detached from my retina quite abruptly, causing floaters and flashes in that eye? Remember how I had to visit a retinal specialist to determine whether or not my retina had actually been torn, because my regular eye doctor wasn’t quite sure? The specialist didn’t find any sign of a tear, but wanted me to come in for a follow-up appointment six weeks later anyway. That appointment was scheduled for one of those days that I was home sick, so I dosed myself up on cold meds, packed a bunch of tissues, and made my appearance.

The drill was the same: lots of eye drops and the accompanying blurry vision, lots of machines thoroughly checking my eye, lots of additional poking and prodding and examining by the doctor. I’d been expecting all that, so I was quite serene about the whole thing this time … in between coughing into my elbow and blowing my nose, of course.

However, this time the doctor informed me that I did actually have a small horseshoe-shaped tear at the bottom left of the retina in my right eye. I didn’t even know how to respond! I think I just sat there, stunned, and he blithely carried on to explain that if we left it, there was a 50% chance that the entire retina would detach and then I’d probably lose the vision in that eye. So the best option was laser surgery to zap together the edges of that little tear.


That’s what I was thinking.

But what I said was, “Um, that kinda creeps me out. I’m really very nervous about that.” Meekly. Quietly.

The doctor was just smiling reassuringly at me. I thought of another important question. “And when will this be done?” Again, meekly and quietly.

“Oh, I’ll do it right now,” he answered. “That way you won’t have time to get all nervous about it.”

So I signed some papers, questioned his assistant (who assured me that it was no big deal, that it wouldn’t hurt, that all I’d see would be flashes of bright light, that I’d be seeing normally maybe 20 minutes later), texted PG what was going on (he was my transportation for the afternoon), then sat in the laser room to wait. Yes, there was a laser room. There were three machines in there. The assistant plugged in and turned on one of them.

When the doctor returned, I asked him how long it would take. Depending upon how still I could keep my eye, between 20 and 30 seconds, was the reply. I let out my breath. I could do that! I could stand anything for 20 or 30 seconds … couldn’t I? Could I?

Turned out, I could. It truly didn’t hurt (I did have numbing drops in my eye, after all), though I did briefly feel like he was trying to pop my eye out of my head! There was a lot of poking and pressing, which was a bit uncomfortable, but nothing awful. The laser light was super-bright, but yeah, 20 or 30 seconds, in three separate blasts, and it was done. I told the doctor that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had been thinking, and he told me that I’d done very very well, a lot better than he had thought I would do.

I had two final questions before I headed out to PG in the waiting room: “Is this unusual, that you would see no tear at first, then you find a tear six weeks later?” and “What are the chances of all this happening to my other eye now?”

And the doctor’s answers were: “It does happen, but only in 3-5% of the population. That’s why we always do a recheck six weeks later.” and “It’s pretty much a certainty that this will happen again, likely within three to five years. Just come back and see us when it does occur.”

Oh. Thanks, Doctor.

At least now I know for sure that I’m rather unusual in the eye department.

Ya don’t ask, ya don’t get

Remember that tree of mine that came down in the windstorm last December? The one that I really, really, really wanted to keep? The one that my strata council decided couldn’t be saved and so they sent a company in to cut it down and remove it, but they left the stump?

Yeah, that tree.

I was upset, so I emailed the strata council and told them so. I requested that they get someone in to remove the stump, because that’s just stupid and half-assed to take down a tree and leave the stump. Who wants a bloody stump in their garden, taking up space so nothing else can be planted there? I also asked them to pony up and replace the tree, since it was original to this place when it was built in 1998. I didn’t plant it nor did the previous owners, it was the original developers who had their landscapers put it in, so I reasoned that it was the responsibility of the council to replace it, not mine. In fact, I also asked them to replace another tree that they had removed from my garden a few years ago, a tree that was doing just fine till one day it was just gone and I never knew why. The stump was left in the dirt then, too, so I asked for that one to be taken out along with this latest one.

I finally got a response from the strata council:


Although this letter isn’t explicitly definitive (“arrangements will be made to have the tree stump removed” and “possible tree replacement”), it does look very much like I’m going to get what I want.

I’m okay with that for now. They’d just better follow through on this in the spring, because if they don’t, I will NOT be okay with THAT.