Sea of Poverty

– The well has gone dry.

He says.

After decades of water shortages and city council meetings to plead for a waterline, we are mere weeks away from a victorious hook up to city water. Apparently, our well, intuiting it’s pending redundancy, has decided to bail on us for good in our final months of need.

We have resorted to transporting buckets of pond water to flush what is not yellow, filling water jugs down at the church graveyard, and renting an expensive cistern full of city water that would carry us through a week and a half if we were miserly.

Dad has taken to using his morning egg boiling water for multiple purposes including shaving and suddenly rinsing soap off dishes feels like a tragic waste. Not to mention, the deepening bond of friendships when you show up unexpectedly with a smile and a towel, skipping the tea for a shower.

– I’m drowning in the sea of poverty.

He has said for as long as I can remember.

Taking control of my father’s bank account is the most stressful responsibility I have ever had. It was up to him to live within his means and for many years, he was successful. But after so long retired, his ever-hungry desire to be generous has crippled him. He has given what he doesn’t have and made promises he can’t keep. He knows it but he can’t say it.

– You’re the girl for the job.

He tells me.

– Numbers aren’t personal.

I hear myself saying.

I feel like a right-wing Conservative telling the NDP that we have to cut social programs.

The thing is, I believe in social programs.

But the well has gone dry.




About Morbid Optimist

My name is Katryna Mary Brooke Ormiston. I am 35 years old and after living in Vancouver for a decade, I am returning home to my 81 year old father’s hobby farm on Vancouver Island to care for him in the final stages of his life. This blog is to document my journey, process my experiences along the way and hopefully share and feel connected to a community beyond the three and a half acres I find myself on. A message in a bottle in the cyber-sea.
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10 Responses to Sea of Poverty

  1. Karen says:

    Wow. My father, when I was a child, instead of singing me children’s songs, sang to us the Depression ode (and only this part) – ‘once i built a railroad, made it run, made it race against time. Now the railroad’s finished, brother can you spare a dime.” The thing is, they had (have) money. While they are often generous to my sister and me, they are (sadly me thinks) not as generous to others as your father. I learned from that and hence can be unemployed for startling long periods and still have savings and yet I am not generous with my money. that is a shame.
    Stressful times for you taking on this huge responsibility and I admire you for it.

  2. I worry my post might convey a more desperate situation than is true. We have property but not cash. Most people are living with a heavy load of debt. Up until now, I have lived a simple life without much debt or investments. Transitioning into property ownership, debt and financial responsibility for my parent is an intimidating experience. I only shared this because I’d like this blog to honestly express the obstacles I am facing during this time of my life. I in no way think I have it harder than others. On the contrary, due to my father’s wise financial moves in the past, I have a farm to call home. Without him, I would not.
    As for generosity, I too would like to learn to give more. I think my Dad giving so much to others, sometimes at our expense, has made me protective of providing for myself first. Balance, I guess.
    Thank you for your comment Karen.

    • Mary (Bagnall) Stairs says:

      Dear lady..this “journsy” you are taking and writing about re your dad is wonderful….you are taking those to read it on the jouney with you.I have never met your dad;yet.we are cousins and I have heard re the Ormiston boys from my grandmother…once her parents moved “west” ghrandmother nver saw them again …Harry came to visit her after 59 years(with Sarah).It was wonderful for all of them.I thought it was gun to have cousins named Tom….Dick…..and Harry.Charles I met when his ship was in Hfx. during the “war” and he came to visit Grandma.Tom and I used to write each other.after I wrote to tell the “boys” they ahd a “half sister” Sybil.I also had some letters from Charles’ wife Kay.
      any of the western relatives are welcome to visit the eastern realtives.I am 80 years on the planet…hate to say OLD!!hugs to all Mary

      • We have an intriguing family history. I would love to come to Halifax one day and hear some of the stories from your branch of our tree. I promise to visit as soon as I’m able!
        I look forward to meeting you in person, though I feel like I know you already dear cousin.

  3. Mary (Bagnall) Stairs says:

    WOW the spelling is horrible…not a typist….and did not edit .Sorry re the mistakes!!!

  4. lorraine says:

    love reading your blogs!! the hard & beautiful reality of parenting parents!! sounds like you are doing a great job!!

  5. Dangus says:

    Hey do you have $20 I could borrow? No. Really!

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