Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What I Wore to Work on Monday

Several months ago I switched my hours at work. I started coming into work somewhere between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning. I had tried for the more traditional 9 o'clock arrival but I was always late. I take WheelTrans to work and the demand for arrivals at 9 is very high, traffic is incredibly heavy and the number of stops between home and work is formidable. So I always got in late. Going in really early means little traffic, few delays and usually a solitary ride north.

Monday, I had an incredibly early pick up time. Incredibly. Now I'm normally up early anyways but yesterday I struggled to get up, struggled to be ready on time. After showering I reached and grabbed a comfortable old shirt, I had no appointments scheduled so I was working on projects and didn't need to wear a spiffy shirt, and the nearest pair of jeans. Shortly thereafter I was in my chair, jacket on, and heading down to the bus.

The ride was smooth, the driver nice, unusually we had one pick up - a lovely woman. After she was dropped off I arrived at the office at just before 6:30. I locked the door behind me and went up to my office (I love my office) and pulled the chair in place. I pulled off my sweater, headed to the washroom, turned on the light ...

and saw myself ...



The old shirt I'd grabbed should have been put into the laundry, not left on the chair beside the bed. It was the shirt that I'd worn when we were making Joe's birthday cake:

(photo description: Dave in his manual wheelchair in the kitchen with Ruby standing beside him holding a bowl of cake batter and Sadie sitting on the counter stirring the batter.)

My shirt was covered in splatters of batter. There was a fine spray of droplets across my chest, a result of a stir going wrong. There were a couple big drops on the bottom of the shirt that I remembered having happened when the cake made it's perilous way from bowl to pan. But not only that, there was:

(photo description: Ruby who is seven and Sadie who is four each enjoying icing. Ruby is holding a spatula and Sadie a wooden spoon.)

I had a four inch line of chocolate icing right in the middle of my chest. It looked like it had been drawn there, I don't remember how it got there, but get there it did. My shirt was a mess!

Then, I looked down. The pants I was wearing didn't fare much better. They were covered in:

(photo description: Sadie standing at a potter's wheel with her hands covered in wet clay, her clothes turning from purple to grey as they become more covered in mud.)

Grey dust that came from:

 (photo description: Dave in his power wheelchair carrying Ruby and Sadie walking along beside the chair holding on to the armrest.)

Giving rides to the girls on my chair when they were still covered with the remnants of the pottery class they'd taken at the Gardiner museum. I hadn't realised how easily the mud would jump from them to me. So my shirt was covered in batter and chocolate from baking Joe's Popcorn Snake cake:

(photo description: Ruby and Sadie holding a cake in a glass pan, the cake is iced with chocolate icing and popcorn is placed in the form of a snake on the top. Two candles are the eyes of the snake.)

So I had started my week with an early Monday morning ride to work, wearing clothes that hadn't made it into the laundry basket. I sat looking at clothing that was marked with memories. I decided on the spot that I'd chosen my clothing quite correctly. I smiled every time I noticed a splatter of cake, a line of chocolate or a patch or mud.

I always park my wheelchair right at the door. It's folded up and rests there for the day while I use my office wheelchair. At one point in the day I made the connection between the mess on my clothes and the happy memories that came with them and my chair. My lovely, lovely chair. The one that gets me from one place to another. The one that can be in my kitchen making cakes with kids and the one that gets me from home to work and back. Then there's my power wheel chair that turns me into kind of a RoboDave who can carry kids for blocks and blocks and blocks.

I had always realised that the chairs were liberators, that they freed me to move. They carry me from place to place. But they are more than that, they are part of the relationships that I have in my life. Relationships made possible by the chair, by the things it lets me do with others. As I was thinking about all this, looking at my home chair, folded up neatly and napping against the wall, when I noticed that on the left armrest was a huge streak of chocolate.

I guess the kids and I weren't the only one's to lick the bowl.


Anonymous said...

Love it Dave! I have memories of arriving with clothing on inside out, backwards etc....but this is special :) Thanks for sharing how you turned this around, have a great day!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the wonderful pictures - and words. I've had my day started with a good laugh and a big smile.


PS Laundry is overrated.

Princeton Posse said...

Lovely, great pictures! Imagine, wearing the residual of such a happy day!

Deb said...

And just think, you could have licked your shirt and had a snack! :)

You're not the only one. My husband, legally blind, at times thinks he's ready to go out, with a dirty shirt, or with it inside out, back to front, buttons done up wrong. And I've gone all day with my T-shirt on backwards.

No humans were harmed in these fashion mishaps, unless someone with fashion sense fainted at the sight of us. LOL

Ruby and Sadie are cuties, you're awful lucky to belong to them. :)

Anonymous said...

Personally, I find the photograph descriptions distracting and they take away from the reading pleasure. I know they are supposed to be of assistance to blind people but do you know if you have any readers that actually need them? Can you do a poll and see? I'd appreciate it if you stopped doing this. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Such gleeful faces (yours too, Dave)!
It's pretty apparent that love was the primary ingredient in that FABULOUS birthday cake.


Belinda said...

I think you went to work in your play clothes! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm being facetious here...
Re comment by anon at 17.06...
'If you make the blog inaccessible to people who can't see the pictures and thus render the blog unusable for them then they will stop following it and you won't need to take away from my reading pleasure by providing the photo captions.'
I'm thinking this must be troll well versed in discussion on disability blogs? But I should know, not least from reading Dave's blogs, that such views get expressed FOR REAL. Argh.
Anon at 17.06, you have the option to skip the photo description captions. Without them, someone who doesn't see the photos doesn't have the option of following Dave's blog, particularly not this story where the punchlines are in the photos.

BargainMoose Canada said...

Hi Dave, just wanted to say I read your post and it brought a smile to my face. As a mom to a 3 year old and a 4 month old, I regularly have almost inexpicable stains on clothing too :) They're not stains any more though - they're memories :)
- Anna