by Jinryu

I think I often complain to myself at the end of a long day, especially at about 3AM, when it’s time to go home.  If I’m thinking of going home at 3AM it’s probably because I’m downtown, and more than likely, I have my bike.  That means another half hour of pedaling before I can throw myself in a shower or in my bed.  Yesterday was one such case.

I complain all the time about the prospect of biking home distance, but really, I shouldn’t– I mean, as much as I hate the idea out of laziness when the idea of a night’s close comes up, the fact is that more often than not I enjoy the ride home, even if I’m wearing dress shoes and cufflinks.

The ride home, especially at the wee hours of the morning, is nice and quiet.  All the roads are yours, while the world sleeps you pedal, you move where you want to move and nobody gets in your way.

Yesterday was another one of those days where I was just awake too long.  The sleep deprivation is getting to me, but I made up for it by sleeping a solid 7 hours just now.  But, more than that, I think that the little things in life were getting to me, which is why this Monday night out was more important than ever.

There are a number of changes that are going to happen in my family, or are in the process of happening, or have already happened.

The first is that my sister’s back in town.  That’s great– I missed having her around.

The second is that that problem tenant in our duplex in LaSalle, we’re going to evict him.  By law, the leaser is not allowed to evict the leaseee before the end of a contract.  One of the few exceptions the landlord needs the property for use by a family member.  So, the trick to getting rid of the bad tenant, really, is as simple finding a family member to move in.

Our first choice actually was my grandparents.  They live in the house that I was originally raised in. Basement, groundfloor and an upstairs floor.  Problem is that with their declining health, all those strairs aren’t good for them. Even if they don’t fall, the amount of exertion it takes to navigate them is just colossal– it’s not a problem for you or me perhaps, but for them, it’s a strain on their hearts.

Of course, the reaction from my grandfather was that he’d rather die in his own house than some apartment.  He had plenty of rathole apartments in China to live in; that’s not why he came to Canada.  (Mind you, that’s an exaggeration, since the duplex that we own is actually quite nice.)

Later today I have to make a run down to the hospital so I can fax a form to the Jewish General– it’s a requisition for geriatric psychiatric care for my grandmother.  I’ve been mentioning my grandmother’s mental condition lately, for years really.  She’s simply not all there, but for the most part it’s harmless.  She can be a terrible terrible woman at times– she favors her banker daughter and doesn’t talk a word respectfully to one of her others who is a seamstress, despite that they both do equal services to take care of her– but it’s just annoying to see her mind decaying.

She’s been diagnosed with slight dementia.  How she’s gone this far without it being pointed out is no surprise– neither of my grandparents ever want to cooperate whenever we suggest checkups.  They have few if any friends and don’t intereact with the world outside of their daily routines.  They ignore health problems in the  hopes that they’ll go away, and, it’s a morally grey area to suggest that we the children and grandchildren are in any place to force them to do ‘what’s best for them.’

It’s a complicated topic and I don’t really know how to describe it.  Basically, my grandparents are getting old.  As the founders of our clan here in Canada, that has a huge impact on our family’s dynamics.

There’s also two conflicting motivations in all my my grandparents’ children, most of the time existing simultaneously in each one of them: on one hand, they want my grandparents to be healthy and well; on the other hand, they want my grandparents to just die already.

And that sounds terrible, I know.  But I cannot reiterate how badly my grandparents treat people.  They make it very difficult to care for them.  Not only that, but they make it very difficult to want to care for them.