Bonfire Life
September 18, 2018

Stubbed toes and other crash test dummies

It's funny how things go. You can plan until the cows come home and execute with military precision but success often requires adapting to mistakes and oversights.

Take my big show the other night. It wasn't really MY big show, although it was a big show for me. Family and friends were coming from far and wide. Lot's of people I've known for a long time had bought tickets in support.

As organizer of the Look, Listen and Laugh (Because Dementia Sucks) at the Grande Event Centre Sept. 14, I had huge expectations to meet (most of them self-imposed, others the kind where people depended on me). And there was so many people contributing to increase respite care service hours available through the North Bay Alzheimer Society.

The event was three months in the making and it was coming down to about noon the day it was taking place. There was nothing Hollywood-like going on though. I was cleaning the shower tub upstairs after sweeping the upper floor, steps and basement (a big part of it anyway). The tub was stained with more iron than a pick-up truck made with cheap Chinese steel.

In just five hours, I was going to be in a suit and tie doing my best impression of a music, art and stand-up comedy MC while preparing to perform the mid-evening routine. Instead of rehearsing or organizing last-minute errands, I was on hands and knees scrubbing away with a scouring pad.

Multi-tasking as usual, I was taking my shower at the same time. I thought it would be nice (greatly appreciated) to have the hacienda spic-and-span so Mom wouldn't get too grossed out or feel obligated to clean this time around. I had already mopped out the entire fridge and removed several year's worth of out-dated and long-forgotten  groceries.

The shower was a bigger job and the water, unfortunately, kept running off my head and into in my eyes so I stood up for a break. To save a few seconds, I put my right foot on the soapy pad and tried scrubbing with a forward and backward kicking motion. It was working pretty good and thinking about trademark potential for a cleaning sandal until I hit a slick spot and my foot rammed hard into the tub wall.

Friends had wished me luck, telling me to break a leg all week. I decided to fracture my phalange instead.

No bother, I figured it was not broken too badly. Nothing was pointed in an odd way. And I can endure a measure of pain better than most. 

Still dripping and with a throbbing toe, my first task after the shower set-back was one more upload to the online art auction. Got a text with multiple bids and was hoping to get them up before taking off early to pick up colour bid sheets and then rustle up the paintings.

The website, however, was down and out. I had exceeded my bandwidth. Dreaded error notice 509. The photos I was posting for each donated piece proved too large of digital files. And with 35 of them in the same file, it was more than I was allotted. The realization my website host was in Europe for vacation came with a cold sweat.

A double dose of trouble was coming at me like a de-railed freight train.

I didn't panic, although I swore loudly to vent a bit of steam building up. I counted to 10 very slowly. Things can certainly get worse than this, I thought.

And the next test was going to be moving $5,000 in art across town to set up the silent auction tables. The worst thing to do was get side-tracked with frustration and carry a dark cloud into the event.

Bad things can happen quickly when you're daydreaming about nightmares. Reach for the cellphone or run a stop sign at an intersection and your whole day is ruined. Break a ceramic plate or crack a large piece of museum glass and see what people think of you then.

Within four hours, though, things were looking up again. The art was moved with no damage. The website band width issue was resolved in a very timely fashion. And the toe didn't swell up to a point it was a bother.

Happily, nothing else that scary and painful happened for the rest of the night. It went like clockwork with only a shade of orange. 

The worst thing to happen was me putting my foot in my mouth a few times. But that's another story.


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