Sometimes I want to use bad words when we fly back into Doha from Canada. Not because Doha's such a bad place, but because it's at the back end of a 13-hour flight. Because it's so far from family. Because it's hot and humid. Because the traffic's insane. Because it's crowded. Because even though it's home, it'll never be HOME.
But a 9-year-old is good enough reason to keep my potty mouth to myself. At the very least, any toilet talk takes place in my head. Any expletives that might want to leap off my tongue are drowned out by enthusiastic claims of ''isn't it great to be home?'' and ''can't wait to sleep in my own bed.'' Kiddo's joy at coming back to her kitty cat, friends and toys is always reason enough for me to keep my disenchantment firmly buried.
Our maid is a wonderful woman who always puts up balloons and ''welcome home'' signs for our return home. I'm slightly ashamed that I can't muster up more enthusiasm when I see those signs as we walk through the front door.
I wish I weren't so disappointed that it's still so darned hot and humid. How quickly I've relegated to the back of my mind the 45C heat and 85% humidity of August. How quickly I've forgotten the frigid winds and 8C temps on that one afternoon in Callabogie, Ontario last week. 34C and 54% humidity isn't good enough for spoiled me today; I was hoping for a perfect 25C, with big white puffy clouds, a gentle dust-free breeze, and no humidity - oh, and maybe a light shower lasting no more than 30 minutes at some point in the afternoon. I'm nothing if not demanding.
Even the a/c is a major disappointment. I go to bed just knowing that the frigid forced air will have me clogged up like an old sink come morning.
After a 14-hour sleep to rid me of jet lag caused by a 7-hour time difference and 13-hour sleepless red-eye flight, I drag my stiff back out of bed, try to brush away the fur in my mouth, wash the grit from my eyes, and set about trying to re-adjust to life in Doha. Too lazy to go out for groceries, I set about thawing some bread for toast, crack open a few eggs, and sit down to 'breakfast' at 2:00 p.m.
Then I head up to unpack. Always my least favourite part of the return home. And I see that Smilin' Vic has already started undoing his luggage. And I'm brought to tears. This is what he's taken out of his suitcase.
It's a toilet paper holder. A toilet paper holder made for me by my Dad. All those years ago, when he first started scavenging for little pieces of discarded wood to indulge his newfound love of woodworking. I think this is one of the first pieces he carved out successfully. He made one for each of his kids, and probably for each of his friends. I wouldn't be surprised if there are dozens of my Dad's little toilets scattered around the world. I'm sure he's getting a good laugh up there in heaven, knowing that he's catching people at that one moment they're sure to be alone, when he's guaranteed to get their undivided attention.
This one had been left behind in our little summer cottage over 8 years ago. Given that the cottage has been rented out to a number of tenants who would have had no idea that a wooden toilet paper holder shaped like a toilet could hold precious memories, I figured it would have been used for firewood ages ago.
But on our very short trip to Canada last week, Smilin' Vic had to fly out to the East Coast to sort out the cottage for some new tenants. And while there he found the little wooden toilet paper holder hidden away in the damp recesses of a basement closet. And decided to secretly fly it back to Qatar to surprise me with it on the return 'home'.
And all of a sudden, toilet talk has taken on a positive twist. Smilin' Vic is upstairs working out, Kiddo's watching a movie on Mac TV, I'm sitting outside blogging, and it's actually cool enough that I'm not sweating. Our kitty cat is sitting at the screen door, preening as she watches me type. I'm catching up on pictures my nieces have posted of my nephew's wedding, the one we flew back to Canada for. I don't feel so groggy, and life doesn't seem so bad at all.
And in an instant it hits me. We're back 'home'. With all our quirky little mementos, our sweet little cat, our comfy couches, our own frames on the walls, a few more memories of another great trip to Canada, and 'us'. That's all we'd ever need anywhere I guess.
I guess a little toilet talk was all I really needed to figure that out.