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I come from a long line of seashell collectors and hoarders, so it should come as no surprise that hidden amongst the boxes I have in residence at The Mom’s, are several excellent specimens. The water, admittedly, is a bit harder to explain.

That being said…

As anyone who has weathered a Canadian winter will understand, there comes a point in time when you realise you haven’t smelled anything outside for a long while. This is because all the outside things are frozen, obviously. Sometimes, I would go to the greenhouses on Carlton Street in Toronto, to breathe in the humid air and fecundant aroma. When L’il Sis lived in Toronto, I brought her along. It was great, and an easy way to cope with winter as you could sort of pretend that things were growing, and that it wasn’t the next ice age just yet.

But the thing is, living several hours by plane from the nearest ocean, I needed something to tide me over until next I was able to frolic in the sea. So I arrived at what seems to me to be the very height of reasonableness: I simply gathered up a small pop bottle’s worth of ocean water and took it home with me, whereupon, in my darker moments, I would open the lid and take a whiff.

The unfortunate thing is, for my purposes only, that the sea is filled with living things and they don’t take kindly to living in an old jam jar. I’m not talking about fishes or sea creatures, I’m talking about the little organisms you can’t see, but that had essentially rotted in my jars. I stopped opening them and instead gazed upon them with desperate longing.

So when I packed up my things and headed to the UK, as these funny jars with ocean water were amongst my most prized possessions, I packed them up too.

Problem is, my memory is terrible and I completely forgot about them.

Until we went into the basement. And discovered them again. And all the lids had rusted and I was reminded of one of my key on-going slightly irrational fears: botulism. The Mom frequently reminds me that to get this horrible ailment, I would have to eat food from a tin that had gone off (which is why I refuse to eat things that come from a tin, also I can’t get them open as I’m rubbish with a tin opener, I’m left-handed and generally useless). Never mind. Once reassured, somewhat as The Mom’s track record with kitchen-related hygienie is checkered, I decided that, for safety reasons, the jars ought to go.

I was deeply saddened, but knew it was for the best. I was also instantly cheered to find my photographs of feet! This is yet another on-going fascination/obsession/twitch I have. I figure that if you go to a place, you ought to take a picture of your feet in the place, to show you stood on that ground. Pedantic? Obviously. But it makes a certain amount of sense in my mind.

The Mom was truly amazed when I was able to recall the person (just by their feet and shoes), the location (just by the feet and shoes), and the time it was taken. This is an impressive feat for someone who struggles to remember other, more salient details, like where we parked the car, where I left my keys, bag, toque, tea, etc etc.

I swear, I have never before seen The Mom so impressed by my skills of recollection. Though, I don’t think she’s ever seen them displayed in such a… creative fashion?

Never mind. The trip to the basement was good, and in many ways I feel each trip honours the place the basement holds in our hearts, and in the wider community. It has, and always will be, a place of sanctuary. To mice, wayward teenagers, bands, and my belongings.

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