Tag Archives: Blog

Into the Heart: Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche

8 Sep

{ Chapter 1 • Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche

“Shit! What’s happening? The car’s moving to fast. We’re going on the wrong side of the road. Shit. We’re going over the bridge. The cars aren’t going to see us. Shit. My legs. I don’t want to be a quadriplegic.

“Hoist them as far into your chest as you can,” says a loud, deliberate and calm voice in my head.

“Shit! My head. My Brain. I don’t want to be a vegetable.”

If I cross my arms in front of my forehead, if there’s any glass, it’s going to have to go through two layers of bone before it gets to my skull. It won’t cut that deep. It won’t. My face. I can’t cover it all with my hands. Did I learn that on Oprah? Oprah’s life saving moments. Check date later.

“Shit.”

I crouched over then, in some kind of contrived crash position trying to protect my face from any flying glass that might come, but then I exposed my skull. Damn, I can’t protect enough of my body! The seat belt in this Porsche 911 was like a race car belt – there were two straps over my shoulders, so I couldn’t crouch all the way forward. I tried covering my head with my arms.

Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…I hear music. Fairground music. Like I’m at the Richmond Fair…On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this stay, our daily bread. There’s my twin. Why can I see Twin brother right now? There is a little movie playing in slow motion in my head. This isn’t movie time! I need to stay alive! Ahh, cute. There’s the two of us. We’re just babies sitting naked in the river among the rocks and the sun is glistening off the water. There we are on a ferris wheel.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (God, would that one ever come in handy after this happened!).  I don’t want to be injured. I don’t want to die. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I don’t think I have ever tried to use everything I have in me to stay alive. Don’t ask me what that was. I just pressed my feet into the floor like mad like I had my own breaks and hugged my body insanely tight and I…prayed. This wasn’t deliberate. The words just seem to come out of me automatically. I remember thinking, there is someone waiting for me. I’ll be good. I’ll be good. Please, I want to stay. He’s waiting for me. I know he is. I’ll find him. I have things to do here. It’s not time. I’ll do anything. I’m too young to die. I haven’t even finished my BA yet…

I glanced from the side of my head over at Alex somehow managing to keep looking forward and look at him in case this was the last time I would see him. “Goodbye Alex, I love you.” Out-loud or under my breath, I can’t remember – as he was trying to do anything to the car to control it, but it really seemed to be driving its own course on the wet asphalt. If this car ever stops spinning I have to get out right away. Stop already stop. My feet are pushing on the passenger breaks with vengeance. It’s not working. I think I am screaming, but I’m not sure, I don’t want to upset Alex or distract him. I can’t see anything. The car comes slowly to a halt. (I would find out later, this was not the case, but my body’s way of dealing with the insane speed, the things coming at us and impact of what we hit). The car is stopped I think I hear in my head. Get out! Get out! I hear in my head. I can hear the music turning over in the car. U2 no less. Probably With or Without You. Why is the radio on? It shouldn’t be working. If it’s on, there’s still a power supply but the lights are out. That means there’s gas. Shit, the cars gonna blow. It’s gonna blow. Cars always blow up in the movies.

Get me the fuck out of here now! I fumble for the door handle on my right. I can’t see anything. Everything is moving so fast I think I’m going to hurl. Why do they make everything pitch black in Porsche 911’s? I think I try to open it, but I can’t tell. I can’t even find the door. Where is the flipp’n door? I can’t find the handle. It’s not where it should be by my minds estimation. I don’t even remember opening a door handle. I feed my right leg out where the door should be. God, is there even ground under me? I felt like I was going to step sky and fall to my death. I try to find ground, I stand up before I am out of the car and immediately my legs give way from under me like a raggedy ann doll and I am falling. I can’t stop it. When I fall I don’t hit the hard ground.

I think somebody has caught me. Who’s there? Alex couldn’t have been there so fast. He’s still in the car. I don’t care.  I can feel my heels being dragged against stone. Must be the road. I can’t see anything. It’s pitch black outside. I feel blind. I’m placed so gently on grass. Why is there grass near the road I wonder? I want to fall asleep. “Don’t fall asleep,” a male voice says. “Stay awake ok?” the voice says. “Who are you?” I ask. “Where’s Alex?” “We were behind you,” he says. “Is that guy your boyfriend? He was driving really fast.” I hear a girls’ voice. There is commotion of voices coming in and out. I want to go to sleep please on the grass. “Is that your girlfriend?” I say to the stranger. I think he smirks or something. “No, we were just the two cars right behind you.” Oh. “Is that your girlfriend?’ I ask again. ‘What’s your name?” the guy asks me. I tell him, Kate Flood. “Do you know where you are?” he says.

I am too scared to look up. I am too scared to look anywhere. I just want to fall asleep on the glass. I remember just trying to look at the ground. The stranger is holding my back up with his legs and keeps pushing my wobbling head up. “Stay awake,” he says. “Oh my God!” I think to myself. I see blood all over my purple Sierra Design jacket. “Why is there blood? I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding!” I say.”Where are you hurt? Tell me where your pain is and I’ll try to see where the blood is coming from.” the guy says.  Then I finally hear Alex’s voice. He is standing right behind me now. He wasn’t before. “I’m going to go now.” What do you mean your going to go now, you just got here.” “They’re just going to take me down to the station.” Before I can say a word, I just see the rear lights of a police cruiser and he’s gone. I don’t remember anything in between except telling the boy he should get together with the girl. Then I am in the back of an ambulance and I think a handsome young paramedic is asking me if I know my name. “Yes, of course I know my name. Why do people keep asking me if I know my name? Do you know your name?” I say to him. He smirks. “Kate Flood.”
“That’s not what your health card says,” he questions. “Seriously? You want my whole name? Geesh! Why you asking me that? I say my whole name -with my middle two names – like the Irish Catholics have. “There. Satisfied?”
Seriously if there was anything I was going to remember don’t you think it would be my name?” I think he’s finding me funny. “Stay awake, ok. You’ve been in a serious car accident. You need to stay awake.”

The next memory I have, I am in the KJH bed by myself. No one seems to be around. It ‘s like pulling teeth to talk to anyone. Yo, can I get some service around here please, I think to myself.  I’m being sent for x-rays of my leg I’m told. Gosh, I just realized my parents happen to be in town tonight.  It’s my Dad’s 25th Anniversary for his Queens’ MBA. I try to get anybody’s attention,  “Listen, my parents happen to be here tonight, can you call them? They’re at this hotel.” I say to the nurse. They do, but it seems to take an eternity. “Did you call them?” ‘Yes, we called them they’re on their way.” Ahh Shit. Maybe I shouldn’t have had them called. They’re going to kill me. I don’t think they like Alex. Ahh Great. Ah well, as if I wouldn’t call. I’m taking by wheelchair to get x-rays. I’m still in a droopy fog. The x-ray technician comes out from behind the glass. “Ahh, excuse me.” She seems perplexed. “Did you know you had a screw in your left knee?” Oh my God, I think to myself. Are you frick’n serious? I had an ACL repair in that leg from a soccer injury. ( Another great story. Tell you in a another chapter). “The other leg lady, the other leg.” I say to her.  Geesh! She’s re-does the x-ray of my right leg that was hurting really bad. I had no idea why.  I really need to go to the washroom. Weird. I probably haven’t gone in hours. I come out and I am almost at my bed. There is blood all over the hospitals white sheets.
… { to be continued }
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Overheard at the accident from one of the eventual many people who had formed a crowd on Kingston’s main thoroughfare at 2 in the morning on alumni weekend: I’m not sure if the bystander saw the Porsche fish tale, catch air and take flight towards the bridge or saw the angle at which we hit the hydro pole, but he said to my ex,

“Do you have a pilot’s licence to drive that thing?”

I’d love to hear from you. What did you think…

I’m still standing,
Kate

Leave me your comments below or share…

• By Kate Flood
Locale: In the Autumn forest under a rainbow of trees
On Deck: Angel { In the Arms of an Angel } by Sarah McLachlan
My irish love said whenever he heard this song and the line, “You were pulled from the wreckage” he got sad and thought of me being in the accident. Endearing.

Save

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Shhh…It’s Summertime in Canada…

9 Aug

I’ll have a new blog post coming soon… { when i get off the dock }

Until then, I hope you are soaking in this Summer!
There is no better place to be, then the great outdoors!

• By Kate Flood
Locale: Pool side with a breeze a blow’n…
On Deck:Dog Days Are Over” – Florence & The Machine
Dog days are not over…yet! I swear I pressed shuffle and this
song came up!
Thank God El Nino goes until Thanksgiving now in Canada! Fall is my favorite time of year..

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The Day my Life Flashed Before My Eyes and I Almost Died

25 Mar

{ Chapter 1 • Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

{ The Porsche 911 Accident }

Pilot’s Licence for a Porsche

“Shit! What’s happening? The car’s moving to fast. We’re going on the wrong side of the road. Shit. We’re going up hill over the bridge. The cars coming over the hill aren’t going to see us. God, it’s pouring down rain. I can hardly see in front. The cars aren’t going to see us for certain.”

“Shit. My legs. I don’t want to be a quadriplegic. Hoist them as far into your chest as you can,” says a loud, deliberate and calm voice in my head. “Shit! My head. My Brain. I don’t want to be a vegetable. If I cross my arms in front of my forehead, if there’s any glass, it’s going to have to go through two layers of bone before it gets to my skull. I saw that on Oprah once. How to save your life in certain situations…It won’t cut that deep. It won’t. My face. I can’t cover it all with my hands. Shit.” I crouched over then in some kind of contrived crash position trying to protect my face from any flying glass that might come, but then I exposed my skull. The seat belt in this Porsche 911 was like a race car belt – there were two straps over my shoulders, so I couldn’t crouch all the way forward. I tried covering my head with my arms.

Our father who are in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…I hear music. Fairground music. Like I’m at the Richmond Fair…On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this stay, our daily bread. There’s my twin. Why can I see Twin brother right now? There is a little movie playing in slow motion in my head. This isn’t movie time! I need to stay alive! Ahh, cute. There’s the two of us. We’re just babies sitting naked in the river among the rocks and the sun is glistening off the water. There we are on a ferris wheel.  Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. (God, would that one ever come in handy after this happened!).  I don’t want to be injured. I don’t want to die. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. I don’t think I have ever tried to use everything I have in me to stay alive. Don’t ask me what that was. I just pressed my feet into the floor like mad like I had my own breaks and hugged my body insanely tight and I…prayed. This wasn’t deliberate. The words just seem to come out of me automatically. I remember thinking, there is someone waiting for me. I’ll be good. I’ll be good. Please, I want to stay. He’s waiting for me. I know he is. I’ll find him. I have things to do here. It’s not time. I’ll do anything. I’m too young to die. I haven’t even finished my BA yet.

I glanced from the side of my head over at Alex somehow managing to keep looking forward and look at him in case this was the last time I would see him. “Goodbye Alex, I love you.” Out-loud or under my breath, I can’t remember – as he was trying to do anything to the car to control it, but it really seemed to be driving its own course on the wet asphalt. If this car ever stops spinning I have to get out right away. Stop already stop. My feet are pushing on the passenger breaks with vengeance. It’s not working. I think I am screaming, but I’m not sure, I don’t want to upset Alex or distract him. I can’t see anything. The car comes slowly to a halt. (I would find out later, this was not the case, but my body’s way of dealing with the insane speed, the things coming at us and impact of what we hit). The car is stopped I think I hear in my head. Get out! Get out! I hear in my head. I can hear the music turning over in the car. U2 no less. Probably With or Without You. Why is the radio on? It shouldn’t be working. If it’s on, there’s still a power supply but the lights are out. That means there’s gas. Shit, the cars gonna blow. It’s gonna blow. Cars always blow up in the movies.

Get me the fuck out of here now! I fumble for the door handle on my right. I can’t see anything. Everything is moving so fast I think I’m going to hurl. Why do they make everything pitch black in Porsche 911’s? I think I try to open it, but I can’t tell. I can’t even find the door. Where is the flipp’n door? I can’t find the handle. It’s not where it should be by my minds estimation. I don’t even remember opening a door handle. I feed my right leg out where the door should be. God, is there even ground under me? I felt like I was going to step sky and fall to my death. I try to find ground, I stand up before I am out of the car and immediately my legs give way from under me like a raggedy ann doll and I am falling. I can’t stop it. When I fall I don’t hit the hard ground.

I think somebody has caught me. Who’s there? Alex couldn’t have been there so fast. He’s still in the car. I don’t care.  I can feel my heels being dragged against stone. Must be the road. I can’t see anything. It’s pitch black outside. I feel blind. I’m placed so gently on grass. Why is there grass near the road I wonder? I want to fall asleep. “Don’t fall asleep,” a male voice says. “Stay awake ok?” the voice says. “Who are you?” I ask. “Where’s Alex?” “We were behind you,” he says. “Is that guy your boyfriend? He was driving really fast.” I hear a girls’ voice. There is commotion of voices coming in and out. I want to go to sleep please on the grass. “Is that your girlfriend?” I say to the stranger. I think he smirks or something. “No, we were just the two cars right behind you.” Oh. “Is that your girlfriend?’ I ask again. ‘What’s your name?” the guy asks me. I tell him, Kate Flood. “Do you know where you are?” he says.

I am too scared to look up. I am too scared to look anywhere. I just want to fall asleep on the glass. I remember just trying to look at the ground. The stranger is holding my back up with his legs and keeps pushing my wobbling head up. “Stay awake,” he says. “Oh my God!” I think to myself. I see blood all over my purple Sierra Design jacket. “Why is there blood? I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding!” I say.”Where are you hurt? Tell me where your pain is and I’ll try to see where the blood is coming from.” the guy says.  Then I finally hear Alex’s voice. He is standing right behind me now. He wasn’t before. “I’m going to go now.” What do you mean your going to go now, you just got here.” “They’re just going to take me down to the station.” Before I can say a word, I just see the rear lights of a police cruiser and he’s gone. I don’t remember anything in between except telling the boy he should get together with the girl. Then I am in the back of an ambulance and I think a handsome young paramedic is asking me if I know my name. “Yes, of course I know my name. Why do people keep asking me if I know my name? Do you know your name?” I say to him. He smirks. “Kate Flood.”
“That’s not what your health card says,” he questions. “Seriously? You want my whole name? Geesh! Why you asking me that? I say my whole name -with my middle two names – like the Irish Catholics have. “There. Satisfied?”
Seriously if there was anything I was going to remember don’t you think it would be my name?” I think he’s finding me funny. “Stay awake, ok. You’ve been in a serious car accident. You need to stay awake.”

The next memory I have, I am in the KJH bed by myself. No one seems to be around. It ‘s like pulling teeth to talk to anyone. Yo, can I get some service around here please, I think to myself.  I’m being sent for x-rays of my leg I’m told. Gosh, I just realized my parents happen to be in town tonight.  It’s my Dad’s 25th Anniversary for his Queens’ MBA. I try to get anybody’s attention,  “Listen, my parents happen to be here tonight, can you call them? They’re at this hotel.” I say to the nurse. They do, but it seems to take an eternity. “Did you call them?” ‘Yes, we called them they’re on their way.” Ahh Shit. Maybe I shouldn’t have had them called. They’re going to kill me. I don’t think they like Alex. Ahh Great. Ah well, as if I wouldn’t call. I’m taking by wheelchair to get x-rays. I’m still in a droopy fog. The x-ray technician comes out from behind the glass. “Ahh, excuse me.” She seems perplexed. “Did you know you had a screw in your left knee?” Oh my God, I think to myself. Are you frick’n serious? I had an ACL repair in that leg from a soccer injury. ( Another great story. Tell you in a another chapter). “The other leg lady, the other leg.” I say to her.  Geesh! She’s re-does the x-ray of my right leg that was hurting really bad. I had no idea why.  I really need to go to the washroom. Weird. I probably haven’t gone in hours. I come out and I am almost at my bed. There is blood all over the hospitals white sheets.
… { to be continued }
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Overheard at the accident from one of the eventual many people who had formed a crowd on Kingston’s main thoroughfare at 2 in the morning on alumni weekend: I’m not sure if the bystander saw the Porsche fish tale, catch air and take flight towards the bridge or saw the angle at which we hit the hydro pole, but he said to my ex,

“Do you have a pilot’s licence to drive that thing?”

I’d love to hear from you. What did you think…

I’m still standing,
Kate

Leave me your comments below or share…

• By Kate Flood
Locale: By the Canal, Canada’s Capital
On Deck: Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
My irish love said whenever he heard Sarah McLachlan ‘s song  “Angel” and the line, “You were pulled from the wreckage” he got sad and thought of me being in the accident. I always thought that sweet…

After the Accident

6 Oct

It is normally about a 25 minute drive into the nearest town on a sunny day. I have no idea how long it took the ambulance, but it felt like forever and not quick enough to be off the road. I entered the ER department and was brought into my own area. I stayed suctioned into the backboard contraption for hours. Felt safe yes, but also not. I couldn’t move anything  or scratch an itch. The ER doctor tended to me and I was admitted. The doctor suspected I had a closed head trauma. I had big bumps on my right for head and on the side of my head. I must have hit something although I have no memory of hitting anything. It was something hard, so from where I was found in my seat belt, my head could have hit my side window or the dashboard. Although, I think my driver’s side window was shattered and blown out, so I could have also hit the hard snow bank.

I was admitted for over a week. There was no Christmas this year. Definitely this was a downer Christmas. I spent it alone in a faded yellow painted room with no roommates, no family and grouchy nursing staff. The roads were much to bad for anyone to venture back into see me. I think my older brother from out west sent me a bouquet of flowers which meant something to me. I was eventually sent home in a neck brace and advised to get physiotherapy.

When I got back to Toronto I was still in quite a bit of discomfort and not able to do much. Killer for an A-type personality always on the go. I always in contact with my job keeping them abridged of my situation and my plans to return to work. I tried physiotherapy but was still in such an acute state that they could not move me so advised me to just keep icing and resting. The insurance company was making the task of paying difficult for reasons I didn’t know. An aunt called me up and advised me to see an osteopath. I had never heard of an osteopath before. I began to see this lovely woman and she advised me that I had a closed head trauma. The insurer was still not paying and I was headed into my second month. This woman called them and gave them proper well and they began to listen for a bit and at least start to pay her a portion.

I would love to share with you what would take over my life, add stress and become the next 6 years of my life, however it would chapters and chapters in itself. The insurance company made my life a living hell. The insurance system had changes and car accident victims have to jump through impossible hoops just to get what they are entitled to when they pay their insurance and a car accident happens. I became a semi expert in the system, navigating piles of paperwork, medical reports, DAC (Designated Assessment Centers), rebuttal of claims, the insurance tribunal, ombudsman. It was a fulltime job at a time I was unable to work. All the while trying to heal my body. I was doing this completely all on my own. It was terrible. Guilty before proven innocent always. All the people who take advantage of the insurance system make the innocent and legitimate cases pay. It was a long, drawn out stressful time full of phone calls and paperwork and caseworkers that would come and go. Practitioners so frustrating with the system and additional paperwork that they do not want to treat MVA’s (motor vehicle accident clients). A complete mess.

My dad came and tried to help. We met with the insurer to discuss what was going on. Their hands our tied. They employ pencil pushers just above minimum wage doing what they’re told and no one on any decision level basis. I was advised that I would need a lawyer just to retrieve the medical benefits I was entitled to. I did my research and hired a lawyer. He was a complete waste of time and hardly did anything for me. I had to constantly chase him down to make phone calls and send paperwork. He got little accomplished. I was still filing my own rebuttals etc. This would carry on for 5 years. I lost my job shortly after the accident and was sent a letter that said little except that if i were to return my job would not be there. My father and I visited a labour lawyer and he advised that yes, while it wasn’t the right thing to do, in the end there would have been little we could have done, as they employer needed to fill the position. I think I should have got a second opinion. There is so much I could share about this time, but honestly, it was just the biggest headache. Instead of helping a person to heal, they make it worse. Here is an example of the system. I saw an optometrist who specialised in mild traumatic brain injury. This man was a very, sweet honest man. He wrote out a prescription for what I would need. He did not inflate the price as some practitioners do when an insurance company is involved. He was asking for covering the cost of two new pair of glasses and his appointment. It was $800. The insurance company refused it. I was sent to a DAC to be assessed by a supposed BIAST medical doctor. This is a crock on most accounts.

One day the insurance company called me. It was awful dealing with them. They constantly try to cut you off from your claim. If you miss a deadline, or don’t call or fax the wrong number or don’t pick up the phone or miss an appointment. This one day, this insurer says to me,

“You know, you’re not going to get a cent out of us.”

“Pardon me?”

“You heard me.”

“Why are you saying that to me? Why would you say that to me.”

There was a pause.

“Your boyfriend never paid us.”

“What!? What are you talking about?”

“Your last car accident. Your boyfriend still owes us $30,000.”

“The accident from 8 years ago? What does that have to do with this? He’s not my boyfriend by the way. Not now and wasn’t at the time. Why are you bringing that into this. That has nothing to do with this.”

“I’m just letting you know.” and she hung up the phone. I still have no idea who that was that called me that day.

I had no idea. I had sued my ex after I couldn’t get rid of the pain in my athletic 24 yearold body, scared for my future. He had not insured the car for the road, taken my money, lied to everyone and did not help me pay for physiotherapy. Even though I won, the person really doesn’t have to pay, There is just a lean against them.

You have got to be kidding me. One for them even saying that. Two, you mean to tell me that they have been giving me a hard time all this time because their drawing a connection between two accidents and holding that on me? OMG.

Trying to get the basics covered became most of my life. I was not a happy camper. I could not believe I was in this situation again having never rid my body of the chronic pain from the accident I had in university and that is all I wanted to do. I finally had a salaried position, my health benefits had just kicked in and I would be able to get massage etc….and then this car accident happens and throws everything out of whack. Or did it?

What happened next was extraordinary and scared the shit out of me and changed my life.

••••

Glad that part of my life is over,
Kate

Red Fingerprint Mood: Firing out the story
• Locale: 24 hr Starbucks, Young & KIng
• Music: Hang on to your Love by Sade

Chapter 4 } Bikes, Shotguns and White Rabbits

11 Dec

{ Being held at Gunpoint at 15 years of age }

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

“Shit. There’s rapids below me anyways. I think. Which bridge am I on? Fuck. Are those rapids at the mill or here? I can’t look over to see. I’d die anyways at that height. Wait. I’ve jumped off the highest diving board at Sawmill creek swimming pool. How high is that? Is that the same height? Would I make it? Fuck. I gotta run. And then my worst nightmare came true. Both. You know the nightmare where you have to run and your feet are frozen to the ground?”

Victoria Day Fireworks weekend –  1988. This was it. I mean, this was the highlight of Manotick’s social events for the year. All right, maybe Dickinson Day, but that was a whole other kind of water gun mania event. Victoria Day was a long weekend of freedom. A weekend for summer romances, confessing summer crushes and being a well a teenager . I wanted to go. I grew up outside of Manotick – on the fringe really – near Ottawa. I lived in a large beautiful home that my father designed and built himself with his father, his cousins and the contracted professionals. As a kid, it felt like it was in the middle of butt farg Idaho though. I wasn’t any different then most of my schoolmates mind you living in the outskirts of Ottawa.  Anytime I had the chance to ride into town with my parents for errands, I would. “What? There’s more people that exist outside of my 280 acres of field existence?”  There was a plus side to living out here. I couldn’t really be grounded. Really. This didn’t stop my parents from yelling it though.

“Katie, you’re grounded.”

“Uhuh.”

“Don’t you uhuh me child. You’re grounded.”

“Okay ma. I’m grounded.”

I’d go back up to my room where I spent most of my free time staring out the window and the hay fields that went on forever into eternity. I used to think if I followed the creek it would lead me to the Sahara Desert. “Grounded from what”?” I’d say out loud to myself. The non-existent store around the corner? My next-door neighbors 5 miles down the road? There was nowhere to go. Nowhere to get into mischief. It all required a vehicle and an adult to get you there. My parents did a lot of driving. I have a twin brother. There was always soccer, hockey, gymnastics etc. A friend of mine who lived even further out then I did was over visiting. We decided we wanted to bike into Manotick for the Victoria Day ballgame and fireworks. My older brother had bought my brother and I real purdy matching blue 10 speed bikes. We planned to ride them the 5 country roads it would take us to get into town. I asked my mother if we could go.

“No”

“Please?”

“No.”

“Come onnnn Mom. Please”

“Pretty please?”

“Nooo. I said No and that’s it.”

“Why not? Why can’t we go?”

“I just don’t want you go there.”

“Why not. You don’t trust us?”

“I said No and that’s my final answer.”

“Mom! Why not? We’ll be fine.” I interrupted her.

“It’s not you I don’t trust Katie.”

I was relentless. “Mom!”

“It’s everyone else out there I don’t trust Katie.” She yelled over me.

“Come on! It’s Manotick!”

“Alright fine. Go. But take the sidewalks. Don’t talk to anyone and you’re calling me from the payphone when you get there…and you’re home before dark.”

“Mom! The fireworks don’t start until it gets dark.”

“You’ll come home and I will drive you back in then. The road are not lit and there is no chance in H- – I am letting you ride back alone in the dark on those roads.”

We agreed and ran off giggling in 15 yearold hysterics and got ready to go. This was a big deal. First time out of the house on my own and on bikes! I had walked 5 fields down for tobogganing and summers with some childhood friends, but never this kind of distance. It was the summer of ’88. Cut off jean shorts were in. There is an undercurrent of how significant this event in my life was and what it would mean for me down the road. We were in the beginning prime of our teenage years, our puberty, our sexuality, our freedom. My parents were always protective. They had almost lost me once and I don’t think they ever wanted to take chances with me again. They were finally letting me go out on my own. This was a big deal. I was so excited.

We took off on our bikes. Thank God helmets weren’t a thing yet. Yuck. Would have cost extra anyways. ‘Would have ruined our meticulously combed hair. Jackie and I were still incredibly innocent girls. Jackie was a gorgeous girl. A spotlight of the high school fashion show and leggier then me. I’m sure my mother wished our cut-off jean shorts were bermudas. How could she complain? They came from her generation and have never gone out of fashion since. We took off. Our biggest challenge was the big hill right close to my home on Limebank Rd. The hill seemed so much bigger on bike I learned. We biked our way up, chatting and goofing around on the way. Rideau road was windy and we were having fun swaying our back tires back and forth and tracing figure eights on the roadway. No traffic to speak of. When we got to Regional Road eight we had to be careful. It was a main thoroughfare and really busy with cars speeding most of the time. I’m sure it took as a small lifetime to get there. We arrived at the grounds and hung out with our friends from school who all lived a short walk away to the Manotick Arena. There was a big ballgame going on and a few concession stands to get lost in cotton candy at. I’m sure we dug into some french fries from the fry truck and flirted our innocent way around the swing set where the preteens were hanging out. We laughed, goofed around and had a ball. Dusk was setting in and I knew it was time to make the trek back. Never quite the same on the way home is it?

We headed home. We were still right in the middle of “downtown” Manotick and riding over the Main Street bridge that first brings traffic into the center of town. We had been riding the sidewalks as my mom instructed and I was just as happy to oblige being away from the cars. The sidewalk ended halfway over the bridge. Riding in tow I was in front of Jackie. I slowed down and threw my leg over and hopped off my bike. She did the same. We were waiting on the edge of the sidewalk watching the flow of traffic waiting for it to stop so we could hop back on our bikes and ride the road until the sidewalk would start up again. We thought.

In the flash of a second I was staring down the barrel of a shotgun. I had never done this before. It is bloody terrifying.

There was no warning, no before, just this moment. There is a man coming at me and intently pointing a big gun right at my face and he’s screaming bloody murder loud at the top of his lungs.

“Jump off of the bridge!”

I want to run hard! I want to run fast! I want to get out of here! My mind is racing a million miles a minute. Tons of bits of information is coming into my head clearly and quickly. I’m on a bridge. There is steel bridge rail behind me that is at least 41/2 feet high. I’d have to turn around and hoist my leg over the bridge and jump. That means my back would be to him. I don’t know what he’s going to do if I move. I won’t be able to see the gun. He’s now waving the gun up and down at me frantically in fits and spurts. There is no rhythm to it. There is no way to monitor his next move. He screams even louder at me,

“Jump off of the fucking bridge!”

Every time he said “fucking” he waved his gun eve more angrily just on that word. You don’t have to accentuate it buddy. I’m scared shitless already. The “F-word” isn’t gonna wanna make me jump any more or less! Shit. There’s rapids below me anyways. I think. Which bridge am I on? Fuck. Are those rapids at the mill bridge or here? I can’t look over to see. I’d die anyways at that height. Wait. I’ve jumped off the highest diving board at Sawmill creek swimming pool. How high is that? Is that the same height? Would I make it? Fuck. I gotta run. And then my worst nightmare came true. Both. You know the nightmare where you have to run and your feet are frozen to the ground? Where you want to scream but you can’t?

I try to move my feet. Maybe if I shuffle slow to the side, I can duck and dive under the car that is stopped there. Why is there a car stopped there? This guy stopped his car in the middle of the road? Of all the negative influences movies have, they do provide reference points in times of unbelievable events. Yah, I’ll dive 5 feet under a car like a Charlie’s Angel and the hard concrete will soften my fall. Well, still better then a bullet through my head. Cue Drew Barrymore’s produced Charlie’s Angels slow motion image of Kate flying through the air music now! { I met her once. Zaphods, Valentines Day with Tom Green. But that’s another story } I can’t move my feet. I am telling them to move and they’re not moving. Why aren’t the moving now of all times? He seems to be getting angrier that I’m not jumping of the bridge. He’s got a gun pointed at my face. Does he realize the predicament I’m in? Seriously. He yells furiously loud at me again,

“I told you. Jump off of the fucking bridge right now!”

I think I need to scream back. I need to scream. I want to scream. Will it shock him away? I try to scream. My mouth drops and nothing is coming out. No sound. Nothing. I can’t scream. Inside I am screaming and nothing is coming out. I was terrified. Fuck. What is going to happen? How am I going to get out of here? How do I get him to back away? However long these minutes lasted I was initially cognizant of Jackie, but then everything around me disappeared. Of all the things going on in these moments, this man’s screams, his waving shotgun, my desire to run or jump and scream, feeling the hot summer concrete below my converse sneakers, the only single thought in my head was, “I’m going to die. I want to live.”

I never moved a foot. I never managed a sound from my mouth. My body was frozen. If I don’t move, maybe I will not disturb this man anymore then he already is. Then, out of nowhere, as fast as he was in front of us pointing his shotgun, something happened. Everything became very still and silent. All the sounds of summer I did here we gone. The background noise of a small town faded. It was clear I wasn’t budging or listening to his orders. Not that I was making decisions. It seemed like something was controlling me. If I jumped, I’d surely die. If I stayed, he’s going to blow my head off.  I tried running and couldn’t move. I guess I’ll just stay put then. Out of nowhere it seemed as though the air got lighter and brighter. I couldn’t see anything around us except for an isolated vision of this lunatic. A soft ball of light with no distinctive edges, just a fade disappearance into the atmosphere appeared around us, between him and I. He went from being frantic loud and crazy lunatic waving a shotgun at me in the middle of the busiest street in town, to slowly lowering his gun as though someone had gently laid their hand on his barrel and it lowered slowly to his side and he walked calmly in a daze back to his car, got into the driver’s side, started the car and began to drive off like nothing had ever happened. All in light of day in the one of the most charming rural towns on the Main street. My eyes seemed to follow him, protected by an imaginary shield and there on the side of the road closest to me was a longhaired blond woman sitting in the passenger seat. It was a small white rabbit car and there was a woman in the passenger seat the whole time this was happening?

Jackie and I turned our heads slowly and looked at one another for the first time in the minutes that seemed like hours that this holdup took place. We began to sheepishly laugh in the rhythm of a stalled stick shift car.

“Jackie…that, that, that was a gun!”

Jackie was still laughing, and managed, “I know.”

Our moods were interchanging between laughter and dead straight seriousness simultaneously. We needed to do something constructive now right? Unbeknownst to us. We were in shock.

“Jackie, we gotta get the license plate!” We both dropped our bikes, tires spinning, ran onto the road and ran down main street after this little white rabbit car. After thought: What’s a guy with a shotgun driving a rinky-dink shitbox like a white rabbit for anyhow? ‘Not a particularly masculating car now is it? Shouldn’t he have been driving a Chevy or Ford pick-up truck or something?

There weren’t any cars behind us so we were running in the middle of the bridge after this car. I squinted my eyes zoning in on the small plates and tried to read all 6 digits. I got the last 3 digits of the license place thinking Jackie had got the first 3. We ran as far as we could before the speed of the car had taken it far enough that we could not see it anymore. We both bent over and were panting in the middle of the road trying to catch our breath.

‘Did you get it?” we asked each other out of breath.

“U4N” we said gasping for air at the same time.

“Did you get the first three?” we said again under our breaths at the same time.

“No.” I thought you would.

“No.” I thought you would.

We laughed.

“Shit. Holy Shitttt! What the fuck just happened?”

Dusk was setting in.“Oh my God. It’s getting darker. We have to get home before dark or my mother is going to kill us.” We rode hard back the busy road, up the long side country roads, up Spratt to Rideau back to Limebank. Thank God the last part was all downhill this time. We slowed down near the driveway and turned into together.

“You going to tell your mom?” Jackie asked.

“Uh uh. No way! Are you kidding?”

“Yah, I guess she’d never let you out of the house again.”

“And how.”

We threw down our bikes, walked by the pool gate and tried to quietly walk into the house all sugar and spice like. My mother was most likely in the gazebo lounging where she spent most of the summer.

“Katie? Hi girls. Did you have a nice time?”

“Uhuh” we said in unison and closed the screen door behind us.


{ Cue theme music: It’s a toss up between 2 top hits for the summer of ‘ 88: “Good Thing” by Fine Young Cannibals for the bike ride in and my favorite at the time, “Sweet Child of Mine” buy Guns and Roses. How appropriate. }

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Where’s the holiday snow in Ottawa anyhow?
Kate
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By Kate Flood
• 5:17pm • Starbucks
State of Being: Whatever.
• Listening to : Dave Mathews, “Space Between”

Chapter 2/2 } A $3000 Hydro Pole and an Abscess

12 Nov

{ Chapter 2 – Excerpt #2}

{ "This pole cost $3000 to replace." }


A $3000 Hydro-Pole and an Abscess

“I couldn’t afford physiotherapy on top of school. I was scrounging as it was. Living bare minimally. It was the standard middle-class student life. There was no extra cash flow. I already paid extra to go to the nicer gym downtown. The University gym was always packed, stank-rank and the fluorescent lighting made me crazy.”

After I was discharged from the ER, the doctor told me to visit my GP. I asked him why. He just informed me to please do it. I went to the student clinic on campus.  The doctor there examined me and asked how my neck was. I said fine. I said I felt sore in the rest of my body, especially my legs. He asked me to come back and see him in a month. I asked him why. He told me that sometimes things can come up a month after someone has had an accident. He was right. A month to the day, my neck was hurting. Every way I turned seem to aggravate it. What I noticed the most was the pain during my classes. Of all the degrees I could have been taking, of all the subjects I could have been majoring, I think I must have been in the very worst when it came to having neck pain. Communications. Film Studies to be exact. Do you know what one does in Film Studies? I had two to three and sometimes four, four-hour labs a day. What does one do in a film lab you ask? Why they watch movies of course. Sounds like fun right? Not so much. I was sitting in those uncomfortable half-desk, half  chair contraptions that a lot of lecture classes are in. Hard seat. No neck support. I was having the hardest time holding my neck up and I had no idea why. I didn’t think I had injured it. After all, it didn’t hurt when I got out of the car. I tired putting my hands behind my head to told it up. I tried stuffing my sweaters behind my neck to support it if I could find seat against a back wall. Nothing seemed to help for very long. I went back to the campus medical clinic to see the doctor.

“You have whiplash,” the doctor said.

“How could that be?” I asked.

“You were in a significant car accident. It’s very common.” He said.

“But, but, it didn’t hurt when it happened. And how come it just started to hurt now then?” I said.

He explained what typically happens in a car accidents. The amount of force pushes the neck back and forth and in my case all directions. In order to protect itself the person’s body the muscles tense up. He explained that records show that most of the time almost exactly one month after the accident the muscles try to relax and cannot anymore. Inflammation begins and then pain.

I started to cry. I don’t want this. I don’t need this. It hurt something awful. “What do I do doctor?”

“Well, you need to go to physiotherapy for your neck. I will also give you some muscle relaxants.”

He referred me to a physiotherapist and gave me the prescription for the muscle relaxants. I hobbled back home. I went to my appointment at the KJH Hospital and saw a physiotherapist there. It was one of these crowded places with hospital gurny’s lined up side by side, privatized only by a blue hospital curtain. It was claustrophobic and I felt like a number. I thought the physio would be covered by OHIP. A part of it was and a part of it wasn’t. I couldn’t afford physiotherapy ontop of school. I was scrounging as it was. It was the standard middle-class student life. Living bare minimally. There was no extra cash flow you know? I already paid extra to go to the nicer gym in downtown Kingston. The University gym was always packed, stank-rank and the fluorescent lighting made crazy. I made meals at home (Full 4 food group meals – this would prove to be an excellent source of procrastination from studying while I made complete dinners!). Subway was a treat out, and of course money for the pub on the weekend! Student standard no?

I called Alex and told him I needed my money to pay for physiotherapy. It seems he would have a more pressing manner. He was angry at something. “My father knows about the accident.”

“So. What’s the big deal?” I asked him.

“I didn’t want them knowing.” he quipped.

“Well how did he find out?”

“He must have opened my mail. We have the same initial.” Alex lived at home with his parents still. “I got sent a bill from the City of Kingston.”

“For what?”

“The hydro-pole.”

“Oh.” I think I laughed. It sounded kind of funny. That’s odd I thought. “Why did the city of Kingston send you a bill for a hydro pole? How much was it for?”

“I guess because I damaged it or broke it or whatever. They sent me  a bill for $3000.00 dollars!”

“Oh.”

There was silence on the phone for a while. I felt bad for Alex, but frankly had other things on my mind. It all sounded rather hilarious. I told him about how my neck had been hurting and I needed to take Physiotherapy for it.

He sounded surprised I needed physiotherapy. Yes I said. “Are you sure you really need it Kate?”

“What are you talking about? Yes, I’m sure I really need it. God, I wouldn’t want to traipse over to the physio two to three times a week for the hell of it!”

He said ok and that he would repay some more of my money into my account. It didn’t appear. I tried calling him. No answer. Cell phones weren’t as hot as they are today in 1995 so I could only call and leave messages. I got tired of waiting. I called home and told my Dad about physio not being covered. He said he would pay, “But didn’t Alex have insurance?” That it should be covering the cost.” he said. I didn’t understand. I never owned a car (long enough to drive) and didn’t understand the workings of being in a car accident.

I remember trying to call Alex over and over again. He was never home. I hated hearing his mother’s wretched high-pitched voice on a good day, now it was driving me looney. “Alex” she would shrill hardly taking the phone from her ear. He’s not in the phone lady I can remember saying to myself. It never stopped. I could never find him. He didn’t return my phone calls. We had a mutual couple in common. My best friend at the time and her boyfriend. We had all met as counselors at summer camp. My best friend went off to University after camp and the guys stayed in Ottawa and worked. I would find out through my friend that Alex would be there on the weekends partying. So at least I knew he hadn’t fallen of the face of the earth. I would tell my best friend about the nightmares and how I was feeling and that I still kept going.  “Did she know where Alex was?” I would ask. I don’t remember receiving much sympathy. And pretty soon it seemed like she questioned my concerns over the accident and trying ot track Alex down.  Alex told them the accident wasn’t that bad. That it was a fender-bender. A fender-bender? Are you fucking serious? She was seeing Alex more then I was. All three of them would party on the weekends in her University town and in Ottawa. I was getting angrier. Why wasn’t he returning my phone calls? I needed my money to pay for my physiotherapy now. When I finally did get a hold of him I told him my father was going to help pay for the physiotherapy. Alex said he would look into paying for the physio. I think he paid a couple of times and it was like pulling teeth to arrange the money transfer. I think he thought that’s all it would take. And what I found out next, I could not believe. I cannot remember now how I found out.

Alex did not have insurance. Not just liability insurance to cover my physiotherapy. He also did not even have the car insured to be on the road at all. That’s right, for the road. Smooth move ex-lax. Colours a far larger graver picture doesn’t it for crashing your dream car that you put your own time and money on only to crash it on your first long test drive. He worked on that car all summer. He had it parked at camp. Everyone at camp knew that car. And that drive to city hall? He was charged for not having insurance and his license was revoked. That’s why he wanted me to drive him out of the lot. He wasn’t legally supposed to be driving. So he dumped a wad of cash into first buying this Porsche 911 Targa. He lost that money in a heartbeat. He was charged by the city of Kingston for the hydro pole $3000.00. Gone. And now I needed money to pay for my physiotherapy. The picture was getting so much better no?

{ to be continued… }

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Write what you want { kind words } by clicking  in the “comments” text~box below.
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Aways to go yet!
Kate

By Kate Flood
• 4:13pm, Starbucks
State of Being: Hot and cold at the Starbucks. Listening to best dance song and essay writing on a deadline song: “Silence” Delerium and Sarah McLachlan.

Chapter 2 } A $3000 Hydro Pole and an Abscess

12 Nov

{ Chapter 2 – Excerpt #1}

A $3000 Hydro-Pole and an Abscess

“The tears were running down my face and I could still hardly speak a clear sentence. And then he did the unthinkable. He put his knee up on my shoulder and pulled hard on my tooth with whatever tool he had.”

Alex did end up flipping that tacky Porsche quite quickly. He didn’t however; return the money I loaned him in the same manner. He said he still needed it for the Porsche. The one he had picked me up in. I told him as long as when each month comes he pays me what I need to pay rent, for my groceries and bills. He said, “No Problem.” He stuck around for a week or two. I returned to my classes at Queens. Aside from being on my crutches for my right leg, I thought I was doing pretty ok. It was a nuisance getting around a big campus on which I’m sure anyone who’s had the experience would share. I didn’t have wheels, so I walked everywhere. The old buildings don’t have escalators or elevators so I had to go up flights of stairs. It’s also next to impossible to carry a knapsack full of books when you’re on crutches. This it turns, would  be the least of my concerns.

In the middle of the car accident mess, I had just had braces put on. Yup. 21 in University with braces. Nice. I was not a happy camper. I’m not even sure where the idea came from. My mother insisted I have braces. My teeth weren’t that bad. I was so worried. First official time away from home and boy crazy. “No one’s going to like me. I’m going to look like a kid with braces on in University. Nobody has braces in University!” I love how our teenage minds can be all-inclusive sometimes! Turns out, yes it was a nuisance, but I found out later that the guys actually dug the braces because I looked like a 16 year old. Nice.

Two weeks after the accident I was scheduled to have 4 teeth removed from my mouth. The four teeth just a couple over from my front on both sides. Now I want you to remember what my orthodontist said next. “We’ll remove these and you will still have plenty of room for your wisdom teeth to come in.”
I went to the dental specialist’s office in Kingston. Alex was still with me so he came with me for support and to drive me home after. The dentist froze my mouth. Great, I need to go through this again? At least the needles weren’t going through my face. I asked how long it would take. “Less then ½ hour per tooth. We’ll just do 2 today though and then you can come back for the other two.” he told me.

“And I won’t feel a thing doc?” I asked.

“Nope. Not a thing. I do this everyday. You’ll be fine.”

His words would soon be eaten. The dentist proceeded to try to remove one of my teeth. I could feel my head been yanked on, but it wasn’t really painful. It was ok that it wasn’t too painful, after-all my mouth was frozen. What was uncomfortable was having to provide a counter force to the dentist trying to yank a tooth out of my mouth. It’s not exactly relaxing. One cannot really let go. Kind of like when you get your haircut. You don’t just ‘let’ the hair stylist pull our head along with them pulling the hair up to cut it, you provide a counter force by keeping your head still.  I was getting tired of doing that for the dentist. A ½ hour had come and past. Still no tooth. Of course, I couldn’t really talk because my mouth was frozen. I attempted to, but I just sounded like a dribbling unrecognizable drunk person. Great. I can’t even ask this guy what’s taking so long I was thinking to myself. Tears began to seep gingerly from my eyes. My neck was killing me from pulling back against him. I motioned them to my neck. They put something behind my neck for more support. 45 minutes past. Still no tooth. I was getting frustrated. Why weren’t my teeth coming out? He kept going back and forth to other patient’s in-between this as well. There were maybe five little dental areas separated by a half wall that did not go to the ceiling so you could hear each person the side of you. He seemed to be getting frustrated although I know he was trying to act like everything was ok and it was no big thing. I think the freezing started to ware off because my mouth was getting sore and so was my neck. No doubt. He kept shouting over the various cubicles,

“Diane, Can you get me this other tool?”

They tried a new tool. Nothing. My teeth were not budging.  He yelled again across the cubicles,

“Lets try this tool. It’s got to work. Can you get me this tool please?”

He was getting more and more frustrated. As was I. The tears were running down my face and I could still hardly speak a clear sentence. And then he did the unthinkable. He put his knee up on my shoulder pulled hard on my tooth with whatever tool he had.

I screamed out loud from the back of my throat. He yanked again. I yelled again. I heard a child in the waiting room outside scream in response. Then I heard the per kid say, “Mommy, I’m scared. I don’t want to go in there!” Then he started to ball. The dental hygienists looked at one another wide-eyed. I would find out later from Alex who was waiting for me in the waiting room that the whole waiting room had jumped up when I screamed and all looked at each other no doubt wondering what was going on.

“More freezing.” The dentist told his dental assistant.

They gave me more freezing. Holy shit already can my mouth having any more freezing already?

“I’m sorry Katherine. I am not sure why this is taking so long. You’ve got stubborn teeth.”

The dentist finally got one tooth out. He then proceeded to take the next. He then told me that because it was taking so long he did not want to put me through this again so he was going to go ahead and take the other remaining two teeth totaling four. Gee Thanks. What do you want me to say here in the chair when I can’t speak because my mouth is so frozen? They never gave me laughing gas. I found out about that later. They could have given me that to help you know? I sat in the chair until it was all over. My neck had pulled against the force of his hands and his shoulders and I swear he had is boot on my shoulder at one point for a total of 4 hours. When it was all over he disappeared and came back with x-rays and a satisfied looking grin on his face.

“I know why it took so long Katherine. I hadn’t looked at these since you were booked. The x-rays your Orthodontist had sent over from Ottawa. Your teeth. Katherine, in my eleven years of dentistry I have never in all my life, seen someone with roots as big as yours. He took at a rule measure and measured them in from of me. See? Why they are almost 5 cm in length!” At this point I didn’t give a rats ass. Seriously. I was exhausted. I just wanted to get out of there and into my bed. I didn’t want to set foot inside another dentist office again. I walked out to a waiting room of curious and scared looking patients. Alex took me home and I went to bed.

I had a routine to follow when I returned home. I had to clean out my mouth and the holes where the tooth was every day to make sure they remained sterile. Hard to do balanced on one leg, but I did. Two weeks later I had the worst pain in my lower right side. God-awful pain. God bloody awful I tell you. I couldn’t fathom what was going on. It became unbearable and I wasn’t sleeping and eating. I was on the prescribed antibiotics and anti-inflammatory to reduce the pain and ward of infection so what was happening? I called the dentist and they told me that was abnormal and to come in right away.

“You have an abscess Katherine.”

“An ab what? What is an abscess and how did I get it? I don’t understand.”

“I gather it’s because your roots were so big. One of the areas in your gum where we removed your tooth has become infected. I can tell you’ve done a good job of cleaning, it’s pretty far down there and food can get stuck.” He gave me a different antibiotic and removed the debris and sent me home. Great. I’m having such a good time. Anything else you want to throw my way Universe?

{ to be continued… }

Love to Hear From You • I would love to hear what you think.
Write what you want { kind words } by clicking  in the “comments” text~box below.
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This is the official link to my novel blog:

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Aways to go yet!
Kate

By Kate Flood
• 1:52pm • First “Write-In” at “Cafe Oh So Good”, Ottawa, ON
State of Being: Pretty flipp’n angry at a current life situation. Listening to “Dead Can Dance” which is excellent for flow writing I might add.

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