We got some things done over the last couple of days, but I’m not quite sure there has been progress on some of them! 😀
Yesterday afternoon, I too, my mother’s car in to the garage to get the differential flushed.
I dropped the car off earlier than my appointment, then went out to a couple of hardware stores within easy walking distance. I’m happy to say I have now acquired a set of calipers, finally, and even picked up a miter box and saw. We do have both, but they are so damaged and rusted out, and new ones are so inexpensive, it was worth it to just buy new. I also asked about some cutting attachments for my new Dremel, but it looks like I’ll either have to go online to find what I need, or maybe the city. I went looking for a moisture meter, which will come in handy when we are ready to build our cordwood outhouse (the moisture content in the wood needs to be very low). One hardware store had one, but it was well out of budget. I was also asking about glass bottle cutters (something like this), to use to make bottle bricks later on, but that looks like something I’ll need to buy online, too. I have a glass cutter, but the kits are inexpensive and would make the job much easier. Also, they’re much less expensive than the tile cutter I’d seen used and recommended in one YouTube video I found, showing how to make bottle bricks.
I took my time with all this, coming back to the garage more than an hour later
He hadn’t even been able to bring the car in!
The person booked before me came in late, and it turned out to be a bigger than expected job. He was finishing up with the customers in the office when I came in, and once their vehicle was out, he could bring in my mom’s car.
Which I was fine with. I just stayed and got to see the whole process!
This picture was taken after it was allowed to drain for quite some time. The lubricant used goes in clear and almost colourless. It does quickly go black, he explained to me, but over time, it starts to get thinner and stinks to high heaven. The fluid was still thick, but did smell pretty bad!
While it was draining, he took the time to clean the pieces he took out to be able to drain it. It was pretty clear they had never come out, probably since the car came off the lot!
He was nice about letting me watch and ask questions and explaining things to me. In regards to the noise, when I asked if it would go away after this, he said that it won’t go away right away, but should become quieter as it’s driven.
In the end, it ended up costing quite a bit less than I thought it would; the lubricant was less expensive than he thought it might be when I first talked to him about it. He’d brought up the possibility of using an additive that would extend the life of the lubricant, but it turned out to not be something for this car. All together, it was less than $100!
Then, since it was just across the road, I did a quick stop at the grocery store before heading home.
The noise was still there.
Not just still there, but I’m sure it’s actually louder!
It also didn’t get quieter the more I drove.
I’ll talk to the mechanic again when I get the chance, but for today, I used our own van to drive my mother to her doctor’s appointment.
After picking her up, I made sure to update my mother on the status of her car. She was rather upset, because she is totally convinced that mechanics are deliberately damaging her vehicle. She started talking about how she’d never had so many problems with a car before (this is the first car she’s been completely responsible for herself, rather than having my dad or brothers taking care of things for her), and how she kept having to take it back for the same things, over and over again. Now, there was only one thing she had to go back for multiple times, and it was an electrical problem they had great difficulty finding the source of – and my brother was helping her every step of the way on this. All the other times she’d had to bring the car in, it was for different things. Most of them, damage she’d done to the vehicle herself. I had to tell her, several times over, that what I’m dealing with now is completely different from all the other stuff that gone done on the vehicle recently.
I don’t think she believed me.
She says she’s good with using my van instead of her car, though. I’m less good with it, because she really struggles to climb up into it.
Ah, well. It’ll work out.
The drive in, however, got very alarming.
If you’ve following Canadian news right now, you’ve probably heard of blockades by some First Nations groups that are causing a lot of problems. The blockaders claim to be protesting against pipelines going across their territory. The problem is, the news is the only place my mother is getting her information, in 30 second sensationalist clips. What she’s not getting is the information that 20 FN groups that live along where this proposed pipeline is to be built have all signed benefit agreements with the company. Of those 20 bands, three are part of one Nation. They all want the pipeline, because it means jobs and long term benefits for their communities, and will give them opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty. This is a project that has had years of negotiations and massive grassroots support. The elected councils all voted to accept these benefit agreements. Among the elected council members are also a number of hereditary house chiefs. They aren’t being heard. Of one Nation that has 3 bands along the route, there are 13 hereditary house chiefs. Four of those positions are currently vacant, and 8 voted in favour of the benefit contracts. The remaining 3 hereditary house chiefs (two of whom, it turns out, are not actually hereditary house chiefs, but have somehow claimed names they don’t have rights to) disagreed with the elected council, to the point of making threats against their own people. (A matriarch that is one of the elected council members described how disruptive one family in particular was, to the point that the elected council had to leave the meeting to hold their final vote in camera, for their own safety.) When they didn’t get their way and the bands approved the pipeline, this tiny group started creating barricades on railways and highways – none of which are on FN territory – by brining in people from outside, and the media has been lapping it up. A lot of the protestors are not members of any of the bands along the routes. Many aren’t even FN, either. One band member went public about how a special interest anti-oil group (the proposed pipeline isn’t even for oil) came into his community and offered people $300 a day if they would take part in the protests – $500 if they wore a headdress. This organization deliberately went for the most vulnerable members of his community; the homeless, the jobless and the addicted.
The reality is, FN groups want this pipeline. They want the jobs. They’ve been satisfied, though some with a few reservations, over their environmental concerns. This project has had approval at all levels, and massive community support.
My mother, of course, doesn’t know any of this. Plus, she’s racist and thinks all FN people are lazy, don’t want jobs, etc. Somewhere, in the middle of a different conversation, she started on about these protests.
It culminated in her yelling at me as I’ve never heard her yelling at me before, in all my life, about these horrible, evil people doing this stuff, making racist comments. When I asked why she was yelling at me, it was because she assumed I was in support of these blockades because my husband is an Indian (he’s Metis). I kept telling her she had to stop shouting, but somehow she instead heard me saying something in defense of these groups, and I had to point out that the ONLY thing I’d said, was that she had to stop shouting. Then I asked her if she was going to be acting like this with the doctor. “If I have to,” she yelled. I tried to distract her by saying that, with the doctor, she needs to talk about her prescriptions, because that’s the reason she’s there. Nothing else. Just that. And she really needed to stop shouting!
Then it stopped.
As abruptly as it started.
The whole thing lasted maybe a minute or two, but felt so much longer!
After dead silence for a while, she started acting like nothing had happened.
Once at the clinic, I had to drop her off at the door, then find parking. She was settled in the waiting room when I came in, so I went to the reception desk to let them know she was there. I deliberately got us there early, so I could get the paperwork I needed to transfer my own and my husband’s medical files over. Then, once I had the opportunity, I very quietly warned the receptionist about my mother’s racism, telling her very briefly what happened in the drive over, adding that my mom might be just fine, but I’d never seen her like this before. The receptionist thanked me and quietly passed it on while I went to wait with my mother.
We were still quite early, so I expected to wait a while, but my mother got called in almost right away – about 15-20 minutes early! Then, as we went into the room, the doctor was already coming in behind us, so no extra waiting.
Thankfully, my mother’s only reaction to seeing him was to ask, “so are you my doctor now?” He just smiled and said, we’ll see if we like each other!
He was an absolute dream.
I love this doctor.
He handled my mother so incredibly well! He first made sure it was okay for me to be there and hear everything we talked about, and my mom was quite amusing about me being her “boss”. Then she started talking to him about a “new” prescription she was being given that is making her not feel well. Four different people have tried to explain to her that there is no new prescription; it’s just that she now has it in a dose she doesn’t have to split a pill for anymore. He walked her through all her prescriptions, telling her what they were and asking if she knew why she was taking them (half she did, half she didn’t), then explaining them some more, in a way she could grasp. He was perfect in distracting away from some potentially problematic questions she asked about him personally, and had the laser-focus attention on her that struck me so much when I had my own first appointment with him. He even asked her if she was happy – a question she sort of sidestepped because she was already thinking of something else. Then he asked her if she got angry. She said sometimes, depending on what’s going on. I could see she was ready to get into that, but he immediately started to tell her that it wasn’t good for her to be angry, because of the effect it would have on her heart. Then he demonstrated what he wanted her to do if she started to feel angry, to help protect her heart.
He was absolutely perfect.
I just love this doctor!!!
When we were done and I had my mother’s updated prescription refills, I even was able to give him an extra thank you as we went out the door.
As we were driving away, my mother started saying positive things about him, adding that he was a good doctor – even though he’s dark.
Yes, Mom. He’s a very good doctor!
The rest of our time together went really well. We had lunch together and I helped her get some groceries. I even got her home early enough that she could go for bingo, while I went to the pharmacy to drop off her updated prescriptions.
I’m still blown away by my mother’s outburst.
So while I had hoped to get more work done in the basement this evening, I just didn’t have the energy left for it.
Oh, that reminds me. I did get a chance to show my mother some pictures of progress in the basement – and of those containers labelled “poison for trees.”
She had no idea what they were about. She thinks my dad must have done this, but to me, it looks like her handwriting, not his.
I showed her the rusted pick ax head with my nephew’s name on it, and she didn’t remember about that, either, but if it was meant for him, then it should go to him!
Oh, and all those old Polish newspapers? She wants me to keep them. Well, not to much the ones in the basement, but there are more in the storage house, and she really wants those ones kept.
From the few times I’ve been in the storage house, I don’t remember seeing more of those papers there. It could be that I just didn’t notice them, buried under some of the other junk in there.
No reason given as to why she wants them kept. She was just really excited to see them. And when I asked why there were so many copies of the same papers, she seemed to not understand what I was saying. Like she didn’t know there were duplicates, so why was I asking her this?
She does make cleaning things up more complicated.
It’ll probably take me a few days to recover from this particular day with my mother, even if it did end on a positive note!