Last week has not been a good one. My boyfriend injured his back at work and I had to pick up the slack on the homefront. You would think that with only two of us and a few cats there wouldn’t be THAT much work to do, but you’d be wrong. We had oodles of gardening chores planned and the brunt of them fell on me. I promptly did what any person with such options would do, and recruited my currently unemployed brother to do the heavy lifting.
Together we mowed and raked the grass, aerated (the manual way, read HARD), overseeded with Eco-Lawn (a grass that promises to be wonderful, can’t wait to find out), and dug a huge trench. All of the above translated to about six hours of backbreaking labor between the TWO of us. And I work out pretty consistently, people. I pay my dues in countless push-ups, partial chin-ups and many curls, dips and squats. And *I* almost threw my back out after raking for less than an hour. Yes we have a corner lot, so a bit more square footage to cover, but much of my backyard is also a concrete pad which you’d think would offset the grass a bit. And we’re not even done yet – there’s still weeding to be done, and raspberries to plant, and tomatoes to take outside as they’re ready to be hardened off now, and all of this is suddenly my sole responsibility. Now, if we were talking laundry or vacuuming or something, I’d just do the bare minimum required to keep us afloat and wait for life to settle down before catching up, but gardening waits for nobody, so done it got. Of course the laundry, vacuuming and cooking also didn’t magically take a vacation, and the fact that I can’t handle some plants, cats, and a house is precisely the reason why the thought of having children terrifies me.
Oh and did I mention the BUGS? The first bugs of the season are always a unique and special thrill. I seem to become a bit desensitized by the end of each summer, to the point where seeing the odd wee insect no longer elicits terrified screams that scare the neighborhood children, but the first few times I see a spider, all bets are off. They might be good for my yard, but they’re certainly bad for my adrenal glands and vocal cords. And I have no idea what they’re eating in my organic (read: disorganized with weeds) yard, but whatever it is it’s doing their body good. That sucker below is about the size of my palm.
Work has been its own set of pleasures this week what with the new IT department handily installing some new anti-virus software that’s making all our programs run like a turtle on valium. Again, normally I’d take this with a grain of salt and wait for someone louder than me to complain until it got resolved (the office is FULL of candidates), but wasting half my life waiting for some app to open for a half an hour has been just adding to my joie de vivre. On that note, I keep hearing about all these ‘trends’ in the workplace, like lessee, working from home and getting compensated for the value delivered rather than the hours put in, but do I see any of them here? Nope. All I see is if I finish my work early, I get more work. Not leaving early, not more money to stay, but more work. Guess what that motivates me to do? If you guessed something along surfing the net, congratulations. I’ll save this rant for another day though, lots more to say on this subject.
Warning: If you’re squeamish, stop reading now….
The only cool thing that’s come out of the last few days involves me spending three hours browsing the Body Worlds Exhibit that’s currently in Calgary at the Science Centre. It was interesting and disturbing in equal measures, and has given me much food for thought. I’ve always had a strong interest in how our bodies work, but am incredibly not competent at handling actual injury and blood so have never wanted to pursue a medical career. The thought of seeing the inner workings of the body was fascinating to me, and off I went to spend a pleasant afternoon looking at skinned bodies and medical slices of organs. I have never had any fear of death or dying (provided it’s not cruel and unusual of course), so I didn’t expect the odd mix of reverence and vague disgust I felt while being surrounded by flayed bodies. I will certainly tell you that a career as a pathologist would be out. (Actually I’ve often wondered about people who work as pathologists. No matter how much you like to solve the mystery of someone’s death it’s a disturbing and often disgusting profession to be in. How do you get the smell out of your skin and hair at the end of the day? But I digress.)
The exhibit is an odd mixture of posed bodies with anatomical diagrams, slices and samples of various organs and their functions and pseudo-philosophical posters on the walls ruminating on everything from consciousness to the existence of a soul. It definitely has some great points, the crystal clear workings of the organs, muscles, tendons and nerves that make up our bodies, the amazing depictions of what cancer actually looks like, or what smoking does to a lung (not as much as coal mining), and something that I found very impactful – a slice of an obese man. The visual of the layer of fat that surrounds his midsection is vivid enough, but it’s seeing how his internal organs are displaced and overtaken by body fat that was the strong visual to process. The artistic and voyeuristic aspect of the exhibit is the part that’s harder to swallow. On one hand you have documented, consenting donors that offered their bodies for education. On the other hand you’re looking at human bodies, skinned, whimsically posed, often with odd bits of skin intact – the eyebrows, belly buttons, hair and there is some discomfort with that, no doubt about it.
I was surprised at how many young kids were there with their parents. Of course they handled it better than the adults did, showing true fascination for everything and asking pretty intelligent questions. Still I figured there was a minimum age in most parent’s head below which the exhibit would simply not be productive but tiring, like eight or something. I was wrong. In fact the cross-section of Calgary that made it there was pretty impressive – all ages, all genders, all types of people made their way to check out the workings of our bodies and ponder the contradiction between a dissection and a work of art. If you think you can handle it – I’d recommend it.