Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I'm not a lawyer because it's not creative.

This is what I told ma belle earlier today when we got the results of something I've been working on for a month. Her July project was Cirque, mine was a legal battle with my neighbours.

I would have made a good lawyer. I dislike bureaucracy and logistics though. As Aristotle said, "the law is reason unaffected by desire". I have a plethora of emotions - that's the artist in me. For that reason alone I would not have made a good lawyer, however, there does come a time when I'm able to hang up emotion and pursue reason. That's exactly what I have been doing the past month of my life.
I have neighbours, intelligent neighbours I thought. They both have master's degrees. When I found that out I assumed I could reason with them. Long story short we've had problems with them since we moved into this house. Overgrown trees on what we thought was the property line impacting our housing/foundation. Two years passed and they still didn't deal with our requests. Earlier this summer we put our request in writing. That got the ball moving, albeit very slowly. They responded when they wanted and always ended their letters with "we'll keep you updated" for which they didn't. Then again, there was nothing to update since they did nothing. In the meantime I became proficient in my city's by-laws and the law in general. It's amazing how much work it all took, but also amazing that I could do this all from home.
In that time "I" wasn't free from passion. I became upset when I first realized we were held hostage by them and their slow-as-molasses pace. This tactic in itself was upsetting since they know I'm palliative and all I wanted to do was to sit peacefully in my "palliative paradise" (an area that borders on their yard). Many times I thought of calling the media: they are both public figures and one works for a church. I prayed about my situation, made offerings. The entire time both sides kept "nice" but as a friend of mine once told me, nice isn't genuine. It's a cover and not a good one at that.
It was challenging trying to hand it over to the universe.  Somehow I managed to and kept doing the research and making the calls that needed to get done.
Today I received the results of my work: don't f*ck with! My apologies for the expletive however I always had this saying "don't f*ck with the billi*ns" (for anonymity I will only write the pronunciation of my name, not it's spelling). We may be stubborn, but my parents' didn't raise weak, ignorant, stupid people. I love all of us. We are all so bright and know how to get things done. (That's another post: another BBQ with my lovely siblings and in-laws siblings).

Today I stood in what's left of my not-so-private "palliative paradise" with my bitter-sweet victory: a few thousand dollars later, we know where our property is - all done legally and with dignity (no fighting, only requests and niceties, no reporters etc.). I wept because these people wasted a month of my life. Had they not stalled, worked with us, we could have gotten things done. In the beginning we made offers of co-paying, of collaborating knowing these things are always tough. We also knew that they don't have money (not like we have much either, but we could afford $200 for restringing their chain-link)

In the end, the work I did will not go to waste: we are still getting a fence in the next few weeks and we now know where our property is, forever. It's something I'm elated to leave ma belle.

Of course, I have already written a thank you letter to the surveyor's telling him what the line really means, expressing my gratitude for their professionalism. They would have received it regardless of the results. Sometimes people need to know that even though they're "just doing their job" it may mean the world to someone else.

A few months ago my doctor walked us through dealing with pain, and the real possibility of slowly suffocating to death. We didn't want to hear it but her philosophy was "prepare for the worst, hope for the best". That's what we did: prepared that the results of this survey would be costly and take control (ie privacy) out of our hands, or would work for us and give us room to build our own fence. That's exactly what happened in the end. And, we also found out that their fence was illegally constructed on our property by four inches.

Someone in program asked me once: do you want to be right or happy? Today I'm both. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WOW: my sibling family

Where do I even start with the amazing people in my life and on the planet...
Tonight my amazing wife made one of my "dying" wishes come true. She didn't do it alone, but without her logistic expertise it couldn't have been done. Last year I found out Cirque was coming to our town and I had just come from seeing another one of their shows in a larger town a few hours a way. I knew I wanted to go but when I became hospitalized and it was clear that my days are limited and my oxygen requirements are so high that leaving the home is a challenge on the best of days, it became one of my "dying wishes". By hook or by crook I was going to the show. Well, tonight I went! It took 4 months, one logistics officer, one Cirque PR, one awesome Oxygen provider, the local fire department, numerous Cirque security personnel and all of my siblings. "Operation Princess" went off without a hitch.
Two cars took the 5 of us to the Grand Chapiteau for the show. We travelled with all the travel cylinders that were allowable by law and met up with a free standing tank to last me the entire show and then some. Ma belle worked with the team to have it delivered prior to the show, and it will be picked up tomorrow by the oxygen company. While there the PR woman took care of us (let us through the lines etc. since we didn't have much time on the travel-tanks. It was incredible. I felt so honoured to have this done for me and have my entire (sibling) family there with me. In fact, family has been so much on my mind. One scene had a traditional hoop dance performed by a First Nations brother-sister team. I got so teary-eyed thinking of my own brother and sister, and wife and sister (in law) all with me. It really does come down to family in life. I feel sad for those who don't have family and for a while, I was in that boat. I was isolated from and isolated myself from my family. Now, with the exception of select people (you know who you are because I am in contact with you) I don't really want to spend the end of my life with anyone else, in any ridiculous drama or with people I only barely like. It's my time, my space, my life and I can do what I want with what's left. I am so elated to have my sister back in my life. We are still opinionated, strong-willed ladies but the thing I disliked about her for years is the quality I appreciate knowing she is strong, smart, loyal, just like all my family. Ma belle fits right in. I picked the perfect mate - she speaks our language: yesterday she had an operations meeting with m y siblings to make sure "operation princess" was all a go. I thought her super-organized (anal) plan would bother them, only to realize she was speaking their language (especially my brother the engineer).
Love, love, love us all.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A good night's sleep and my cuddly kitty.

Well I'm still not having a good time getting to sleep. I toss and turn when I'm in bed and before I even get to bed I feel the anxiety rush through my body as darkness sets in. The sun is setting a bit earlier as each day passes. Though summer only officially crept in to town 2 weeks ago, it signifies the days getting shorter. Anyway I've had a rough few days - grief spilling out every which way.

Today it seems that my cat Princess seems to be having a rough day. She didn't come for her morning treat (she hasn't for a few days actually) and she is super cuddly. I think I totally understand her and her need for closeness. I have no idea how she is going to cope with me leaving. When I was in the hospital for 17 days, apparently she would howl when ma belle left the house for the hospital. I think she experiences anxiety too. Poor girl, it's going to be especially rough for her as I've been home all of the time every day for the past 6 months.

Cognitively, my fear of the night is completely irrational. Experientialy, the darkness is not comforting.