Diary, Photo, Prince Edward Island

At the Laundromat

I arrive at 7:50 a.m. in my shorts and flipflops. The front door is open and I pop my head inside. Can I come in? I ask D, who is counting her till for the morning shift which begins at 8:00. Sure she says. People are already washing. She nods in the direction of an older gentleman by a machine on the far side; he must own the car with the veteran plate out front. I bring my laundry inside in my big purple trug from Veseys. I put two loads in the front loaders and one load in a conventional top load machine. D is complaining that J didn’t roll the change on the night shift. She’s having trouble reconciling her till to get going. When she has a moment, I get change for 3 toonies and start the machines. Two other guys come in, both middle-aged. Are you the fresh air inspector? D calls to the taller one. They talk about the weather. The tv has not been turned on yet. D is fretting about the pile of dimes so I help her roll them. I head home while my machines are washing and as I drive by her house, I see a colleague in her yard painting her deck dark brown.

When I return to the laundromat, the tv is blaring and there are 3 or 4 men there, none young, taking care of laundry. I give D several coin rolling papers, since she was short this morning. She says thanks and seems pleased. The gas drier No. 6 is free, so I load up my sheets and towels and throw in 4 spikey blue balls. I put 8 quarters in the slot and it starts going. I put the other two loads in smaller electric driers and select permanent press. I take out The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis and sit on the bench by the counter, reading. The men joke with D. I feel somewhat depressed by a story called The House Behind, in which the narrator observes and comments on an apparently senseless murder of a woman from the front house, by a man of lower class living in the house behind. I notice drier No. 6 has stopped. I put in another 2 quarters and read 2 more very short stories. When the electric driers are finished, I take out the clothes and fold them loosely. Some are still damp, but I plan to hang them up at home. I take the sheets, towels, underwear, and socks out of driver No. 6. I am pleased by their level of dryness. I shake out the fitted blue sheet before folding it and a black sweatsock, turned inside out, falls out. I wonder to myself about its journey – did it join my laundry in the washer, the drier, did one of the men mistakenly throw it in Drier No. 6 instead of drier No. 7 or 5? I gather my folded laundry together in the purple trug. I put the clean black sweatsock on the front counter for D. She is just outside the front door, talking with a smoking man. They are laughing. The atmosphere, even with the blaring tv, is congenial. Goodbye, I say. Have a good week.

Dryer Ball

Diary, Photo, Prince Edward Island


Coming slowly awake this morning, I perceived that it wasn’t a sunny morning, a morning still humid and somewhat warm, but overcast. When I checked the Environment Canada weather on the net oh horror of horrors! the beautiful warm string of 5 sunny days predicted yesterday for Charlottetown had disappeared, almost entirely. A little rain cloud settled over my own head. Like a child, I found myself pouting: you promised! I imagine someone pelting eggs and rotten tomatoes at a weather forecaster somewhere.

The weather on Prince Edward Island is… well, there is no way to sum it up in one word or phrase. Winters are long. Springs are delayed, wet, and quick. Summers are…. Summers can be glorious or they can be awful. Awful because we keep hoping for sunshine and warm temperature and we get cool temperatures and rain. And a precious sunny day here and there. Is it REALLY that bad? I spent the first half of my childhood in the Southern U.S. and the second half in Southern Ontario. Even after all these years living elsewhere I must have some residual benchmark internalized so that every year I can hear a voice saying: you call this a summer?!?! 

But the truth is, I love Prince Edward Island. I love the sun glittering on the snow in winter. I love the muddy spring. I love the beach on a hot windy day. I love the lush green leaves and the hummingbirds on an overcast summer day. I love seeing foxes no matter what the season. I love the different shades and rhythms of the ceaseless and powerful ocean. I love falling asleep listening to the rain on the roof. I love the red and yellow leaves in the autumn and the invigorating fall aromas.

Lots of wise people advise us not to sweat the small stuff or waste our energies trying to change things that are outside of our control. The weather is probably at the top of the list of THINGS I CANNOT CONTROL. And is the weather so bad right now, right at this very moment? Or is it the anticipation of the days ahead – that they will disappoint? Staying in the present moment, as much as possible, is something I will try to do to combat The PEI Weather Blues.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a workshop with Mike Scott, on storytelling. He sang a song that had these words in the chorus:

You get just one day

to have a good day:

the kind of day you have

is mostly up to you.

Walking around Charlottetown last week, I noticed that the flowers were budding and blooming even though June’s temperatures were cool. I can do that too. And I will.

Joe's Peonies

Diary, Photo, Prince Edward Island, Writing Exercises

Today, Wildlife, Prince Edward Island, North Shore

Canada goose and goslings

A hawk hovering over a field; two red foxes, separately, the second bounding above the long grass, then disappearing at a trot; cormorants, flying low to the water, and one drying its cape-like wings on a buoy; eight great herons in flight, and others motionless, contemplative, near the shore; a small dead skunk on the highway; a bald eagle in the sky; and gulls everywhere, in air, in water, on the sand, one of them chuckling like a mallard as we walk by on the boardwalk; two Canada geese and their goslings, nibbling greenery; a quick little wading bird with no name; one feral wharf cat, royal and free, amidst the Rustico lobster traps. 

Diary, Photo, Prince Edward Island

Introducing Sir John A.

When I first noticed John A. MacDonald on a bench at the entrance to Victoria Row in the spring of 2009, I was startled to notice that he wasn’t real. That is to say, I was fooled by him repeatedly that year, walking up Queen Street thinking there was a real person sitting on the bench; when I got closer, I was surprised to note that it was “only” a statue. John A. was a huge hit with tourists that summer (and last summer too). Every hot, blue-sky day that I walked by there was someone sitting with him getting a picture snapped by a travelling companion. Sometimes a whole family squeezed onto the bench. On a summer evening, a glamorous woman might be sitting on his knee laughing as someone took a picture. Sometimes he had 3 pretty girls draped over him and at other times, a grinning man in sandals and brightly coloured shorts. He’s also popular outside the tourist season with everyday citizens. A couple of times last week I saw someone (a different person each time!) sitting on the bench talking to him, having a good ol’ chat. He’s not “only” a statue to many. Last night, walking up Queen St. with my boyfriend after a delicious dinner at The Delta, I couldn’t help but stop and take some pictures of John A. in the snow. His visage was quite transformed, grown old in a day, poor man. Doesn’t he look like he’s living through some ordeal? I must remember to sit down the next time I walk by and have a good chat.

John A. MacDonald Bench Charlottetown

John A. MacDonald in the Snow, Charlottetown