Coffee Break: The best intentions
by Tory Bonenfant, Managing Editor
Jun 07, 2012 | 294 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
June 6 edition - So ... this was my plan for the Memorial Day weekend. Bring youngest daughter to Woodstock, N.B. for a student art workshop. Simple enough. Then fill out financial aid forms for oldest daughter’s college. Slightly higher up on the “ayoye” factor list, but doable, I said. Thirdly, yank out every big weed in that garden of mine, add rich soil, and plant a few rows. That one is a red alert on the achy-scale, but not so much of a problem, I told myself.

Ha. Sometimes I wonder if I’m a little bit shy of normal. Or, at the least, if I have a reality denial issue.

Off we went, the daughter, a friend, and I, happily heading off onto the highway on a 2 1/2 hour (each way) road trip. We arrived at the lovely rustic wood carver’s gallery for the workshop, to find it locked ... how odd, we thought. Another student’s family arrived as well. Since there is only so much standing around I can do, I headed over to a neighbor’s house, got the phone number for the gallery, and called the owner. Long story short and after much apologizing from the gallery owner, we learned we’d never received a message that the workshop was cancelled. So we headed back on the road again, looking for some sort of historically significant stop to make the trip worthwhile (malls don’t count, but we did walk over the world’s longest covered bridge in Hartland, N.B).

Next day I yanked weeds out of the little patch of dirt I like to call Dandelion Farm, behind my house, but made very little progress and spent a good part of the day reading a book. It was, after all, a holiday weekend.

Monday arrived and I pulled up the old bootstraps and told eldest kiddo that we were doing those financial aid forms in the morning, quick, so I could finish weeding and planting my garden.

Oh, boy. Ever filled those forms out? I had no idea. I should have brought a week’s ration of granola bars and a coffee Thermos and a sleeping bag and tent to the kitchen table, for the love of Pete, for the time it took to fill those things out.

They wanted to know how much money each person makes; OK, fair enough, but then 12 pages of forms later, I think we were beginning to hallucinate. It seemed like they wanted to know details that I’d have to dredge up from deep in the mental files. How many people live in your house? What is line 150 minus line 310 minus line 485 minus 15 percent of your EPP or QPP based on line 140 of your tax return? Have you ever ridden a giraffe? How do you prefer your toast? What is the combined shoe size of every person on your street? How many miles to Tibet?

So having finished that, my daughter’s eyes glazing over and somehow both of us having lost about six hours of the day, we called it done and I headed out to finish the garden job.

Well.

Let me put it this way - I pulled weeds that evening for what felt like seven weeks, then headed in on wobbly legs for a glass of water. Went back out and raked over the soil, and heard my back protest that we were done for the day, no arguments. And besides, pretty sure we have some kind of ice cream in the freezer, my aching back said. But wait, I thought, I didn’t plant anything yet! My back would not hear another word. It joined forces with my legs and walked me across the kitchen, at which point I gave in and surrendered to a big bowl of chocolate frozen yogurt, and sat down for the night. Bliss.

The bad news is that tomorrow I have to plant everything, and in the fall we need to go back to the art workshop. Well, that is sort of good news.

The very good news is that I don’t have to see another financial aid form until next year. I should have time to brush up on my trivia knowledge by then.