The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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Seeing Is Believing

The dog days of summer are almost gone. The Autumn Equinox is only 5 weeks away. Of course, I have no idea what that really means, except that it’s 3 weeks to September and the beginning of some of the Fall Craft Shows I love to attend.

I’m anxious to get out and wander around most of these shows. I love, love, love Craft Shows. Hated them as a youngster but once you get your own home it’s fun to look around for so many different decorating ideas. My husband knows, too, that I love to change things around the house now and again for a change of scenery and to make things feel fresh and new again.

Having said that, I’m in the throws of redecorating the main bathroom. I know what I want to do and have a lot of the wall accessories ready to go. However, the wall colour is giving me a lot of grief (looks silver on the paint sample, but a grey/blue on the walls). Previously I concentrated on the wall decor matching the walls and the towels matching the vanity, trim or floor. I’ve never been totally satisfied. Somehow something was just wrong. I’ve been on a constant hunt for a new area rug to match the walls which is proving to be a really bad idea. The stores and the internet are coming up empty and dear hubby could have painted the walls by now and make my life easier, but I’m trying to make his easier. I’m starting to cave in, though!!!

This afternoon I think I found something close to what I’ve been looking for on Amazon.ca and we’ll see in a couple of days whether it’s a “keeper” or “returner”. God, keep your fingers crossed!!

On another subject, I’ve had a follow-up appointment with my Optometrist. He says it’s now time to have my cataracts removed. Now there’s something I’ve been looking forward to – surgery on my eyeballs. My eyeballs are sacred, but alas age has caught up with me, along with some of my medication and if it’s going to allow me to see without glasses, that’s a bonus. The surgery won’t happen for another 5 to 6 months yet, so I can sit back and relax until after the New Year.

Hubby and I have been living a boring existence for the past several weeks. Not much has been going on except for Nat’s golf games 3 times a week, my on-off baking energy and whatever else I can get into trouble with. I’m still loving this new ultra-short haircut. It’s been a godsend these hot Summer days. No fuss, no muss – just a finger brush in the morning and I’m away. I could kiss my hairdresser for trying it and one of her other clients for giving me the idea. Even our contractor noticed the new look and complimented me – what were the odds in that???

I’ll be glad when the 2016 Olympics are over. I’ve never been one for the Summer Olympics. I find them boring and tedious. Bring on the snow, the cold, the slopes, the speed and heart pumping ski jumps!! I also find that this years’ Olympics are a bit one-sided with the Americans winning so many medals it feels like there hasn’t been any true competition. At least with the Russians in years past there was some real competitiveness, but alas, even that’s been spoiled by modern medicine and other things. I’m glad Canada has accomplished what it has and I’ll root for any Canadian going, but I would prefer it to be knee-high in snow.

Our granddaughter should be home by the end of the week from the Olympics and it sounds so far that she’s been having a pretty good time. Despite her flight delays in the beginning it sounds like she and her other friend have met up with some more friends, and good times are being had. Can’t wait for her to get home and hear her stories.

On another holiday adventure I was following was my step-niece and nephew from England and their 2 week trip to New York and California. Every now and again, she and her brother would post something on Twitter that would make me laugh, but then a bit of disaster befell their father. He ended up losing his phone 3 times, his wallet once and then broke a toe. My niece was declaring that she couldn’t take her father anywhere. One more disaster hit them on the way home, with United Airlines screwing up their connecting flight to Newcastle and the poor family was stuck in the airport for well over 24 hours. They eventually caught a flight to London and then had to arrange for another flight to Newcastle. Needless to say the whole family was exhausted but extremely happy to be home. I wish I was there to hear their stories, which I’m sure they’ve got plenty of.

Bring on the Craft Shows – I’m ready!!


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My Dream Is Now Over – Oh Happy Days!

As much as I was disappointed in our contractor, I’ve forgiven him because all is right with the world again. He emailed last week to say he’ll be coming on Monday the 25th to finish the backsplash, but, in order to save a little  money, asked if we could treat the tiles with a sealer that he would drop by. Yeeeaaahhhhh – no problem, we replied.

Nat laid out the tiles Sunday on every available surface in his workshop and began to seal away. We were thrilled and grinning from ear to ear when Simon and his side-kick, Dale, showed up 8:30 on the dot Monday morning. We had cleared everything from the countertops the night before, set up a little kitchen in the dining room and were off and running. As the tiles were being laid, Nat and I hung out in the living room talked back and forth to the fellas and had two very nice days as the kitchen was finally getting its last touches.

When finished, Nat and I were still grinning from ear to ear as it looked fabulous. For the first time in our lives we had a brand spanking new kitchen that was built to suit our needs, our habits and in our design style. The interior of the house was now finished (with the exception of two rugs that need to be replaced). We may never see Simon and Dale again, except perhaps in passing, plus our bank account can now rest easy as it won’t be ripped apart anytime too soon. Of course, as soon as I post this, Nat will find some more landscaping he would like to do. He, of course, is more than entitled. I now have everything in life I’ve ever wanted – loving husband, cute little home (avec the kitchen I’ve always wanted, of course) and a feeling fabulous moi!!!!

Really worth the wait:

 

On another front, I’ve been thrilled with my blood test results – they’ve been staying down below the 6.0 mark for quite a long time now. I’m still watching what I eat, exercising and doing what I can to maintain this fabulous feeling I’ve been having. No complaints at all. My stamina is much longer, my attitude is up there-“If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”. Well, clap, clap, clap, clap baby!!!! The fact I’m feeling on top of the world in my declining years is of no consequences, I’m grateful for anything that comes my way. Damn, long may it reign.

My sister, Michele, and I have finally finished her web site – michelerouse.com. This was a huge experience for me and a much needed reminder on web design. I love this little sister immensely, but working for her was a challenge. She managed to find a Web hosting program that I had never heard of before, and I was able to learn a few things myself. As this is a Virtual Assistant site it posed a few challenges in what was required if you’re a member of the Canadian Virtual Assistants. This gave me the opportunity to work with a logo, which I’ve not done before, along with other requirements that will draw clientele to her site and make them want to hire her as a virtual assistant. I wish her every success in the world.

As for me, I’m getting back to my baking. The new baking area of our kitchen is working out better than expected, and I’ve recipes stacked up and ready to go. Poor Nat, maintaining his dream weight may not last forever. Thank God for freezers.


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Keeping Calm And Carrying On

I really don’t know what is happening to my brain lately. Yes, I know I’m getting older. Yes, I know my brain cells are deteriorating, but this is now getting a bit scary. My brain just isn’t kicking into gear even during the most mundane of things.

Our lives haven’t been exceptionally busy. My annual doctor’s appointment was the biggest one this past month. A granddaughter’s birthday and a Father’s Day luncheon were among the more pleasurable events, but again, not a whole lot of thinking going on.

The Father’s Day luncheon was a bit of a piss-off (pardon the language) as we were charged the price for a full supper, when we were, in fact, having lunch. The Mandarin policy for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is full price supper meals and I tweeted them to express my disappointment. Even with the Senior’s discount we paid $65.00 for two people, one of which (moi) eats like a bird. Plus this time, the Chicken Chow Mein wasn’t up to snuff.

The Mandarin tweeted back that they were sorry and that they would keep this in mind for next time. What that entails, who knows??

Nat and I attended our oldest granddaughter’s 23rd birthday a week after Father’s Day. Again, not one of my better days as my step-daughter, Laura, sat right across the table from me. At least Nat was sitting beside me and I was able to keep my eyes averted each time she spoke. Not one to let up easy, I still get evil chills when she’s in the same room knowing she came as close as my hand on a door knob to breaking up my marriage. She’ll never know, or even get it, her ego and selfish ways get the better of her and it pains me not to shout it right to her face. All for nothing, she’ll turn it around right back at me. It was all I could do at the birthday party to keep my mouth shut, my eyes averted and my brain from exploding. Thankfully, her ex-Stepmother and I were at least able to talk back and forth for a minute or two, which calmed me down – an intelligent conversation and not full of angry opinions or self-righteous indignation.

At the first of July rolled in, Nat and I spent a very, very quiet weekend getting caught up on some little things. We took a drive out to Gail’s for a visit to pick-up the two birdhouses I had asked Bonnie to paint for me. What a fabulous job she had done. They’re adorable and I’ll cherish them always. Bonnie looked to be doing so much better in spirit and hopefully in mind. She’s getting thinner by the minute which seems to be something she has to work on (don’t I wish I was in that positiongaining weight instead of losing). I’m glad she’s doing so much better as I still really miss my shopping buddy – not necessarily for the shopping (although that doesn’t hurt) but for our lunches. It just felt good to bitch back and forth and get our pent-up anger out at whatever was bothering us for the last little while.

On another matter, I’m starting to get very disappointed in our contractor. He keeps promising to come by to finish off the backsplash for the kitchen, but, alas, other jobs have kept him from doing so. He at least gave us the name of another tiling company in town and I’m going to try and convince Nat to let our contractor off the hook, and get on with our lives and another tiler that can do the job. Tired of having unfinished work. Tired of waiting for other people. I just want to get on with our summer and enjoy my good health for as long as I can.


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What Stays And What Goes

 

At long last Nat and I have cleared the spare basement room from items that have piled up over these past several months and were strewn all over. It all started once we were clearing out the kitchen to get ready for the renovations. There’s always that hidden dish, glass ware or mugs in the back of a cupboard, junk drawer items (extra slot spoons and unknown objects from God knows where) that pile up, a couple of area rugs no longer needed and even a double bed frame and headboard that was replaced a couple of years ago. Once you decide to have a good “clear out”, you always end up checking other cupboards or drawers in other rooms in order to make it worth the while. I made the decision to get rid of a lot of fancy dishes we’ll no longer use. No one comes to a fancy dinner any more as it’s a lot of work for the two of us and we’d rather just make it casual so as to enjoy company that does come for a meal.

By the time we were finished, we managed to collect quite a few boxes and left them piled up in the basement until the kitchen was finished. That came a few weeks back, and it was time I faced reality and got these items priced and ready for a garage sale, which I swore I would never have again – they’re so much work! There was enough items I could not ignore and day after day I would carry up a box of stuff after doing my morning workout. In time, everything was gathered all around the dining table and every few days I would price some items to get things done. With everything ready I held my sale this past Saturday.

Despite the fact I advertised the sale would start at 8:00 AM, quite a few early birds were showing up by 7:00 AM as we were still setting up. The weather gave us a bit of pause, as it was threatening rain as soon as we opened the garage door. Really not sure what to do, Nat and I decided to at least set up the tables inside the garage, close to the door, to wait and see what was going to happen. As it turned out, the sun began to shine and by now our customers were wandering around the garage just fine, so we left things as they were.

With every garage sale, we were surprised at what sold. The tools Nat had for sale were a no brainer – they’re always popular and he ended up selling them all, including one as we were closing up. We had an Ikea Bookcase that no one even touched, along with a microwave stand and a double bed frame. Everyone was buying all the little doodads, glassware, pots & pans, shoes and purses, books, frames, small BBQ grill, along with two boxes of 1950’s tea cups & saucers (never used).

For the first time, Nat stayed for the sale. Normally he would go golfing or stay clear of the house until the sale was over, but this time as he had a vested interest (his tools) he hung around. He absolutely hates this. He can’t understand why people would want to buy other peoples’ used items, and he’s surprised every time I have a sale. I appreciated the company, but once in awhile he shook his head at me as he felt I was giving this stuff away. A lot of my family also think the same thing, but everyone will cut you in half and for what it’s worth I at least sold the damn stuff. Some people would dicker, some won’t, but, again, I sold the damn stuff – including the 2 boxes of tea cups, saucers and desert plates that have been in Nat’s possession ever since he was first married. They were a wedding gift and he’s kept them around for over 40 years and had no idea what to do with them. We tried to sell them to some antique dealers, but even they wouldn’t take them. So when someone finally offers me enough money to take them off my hands – my hand is out there taking their money, baby,  whether it’s enough or not. They were at least sold and I wasn’t taking any chances that someone else would come along afterward and buy them – that never happens!

There were several other sales in the area, so we had a pretty good crowd every 15 to 20 minutes. It seems garage sale people travel in packs and they come in spurts. They’re a tough crowd at times, but others that are just out looking around are always fun to talk to. This is always a great way to get to know a couple more neighbours and this time was no exception. We met a wonderful neighbour who bought the Sony Stereo System for his nieces and nephews so they can get to know more about music systems and play some old records. He also bought the DVD/VHS combo for his aging father who loves to watch old VHS movies and has already warn out a couple of machines. He was thrilled with his purchases and we were thrilled to meet him.

We finally gave up the ghost around noon. No one had come by in some time, but there were one or two as we were packing up. It was difficult having to find room to store the Bookcase and Microwave Stand until we knew what to do with them, but we piled the balance of unsold items in boxes to be delivered to our local Thrift Store and Salvation Army.

After a very quiet weekend – one of which Nat was sick – we were well rested and decided to take our cash to the bank and our unsold items into Fort Erie. The Thrift Shop received the unsold household items and kitchenware and the Salvation Army took the double bed frame. We decided to ask any family members if they wanted the bookcase or microwave stand – one of which has been snatched up already. I’m afraid the bookcase may see the scrap heap, but we’ll hang onto it for a day or two – no takers so far.

I swear on any Gods above – this is my absolute last garage sale – I’m getting way too old!!

As Nat was still a little “iffy” from his sickness bout on Sunday, we took the rest of the afternoon off. We’ve got a few appointments coming up next week and the week after so we’ll take advantage of our free week and do what we feel like.


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A Pinch of Salt and An Ounce of Energy

My whole daily routine has somehow gotten out of kilter ever since the kitchen renovations were complete. Rising from my warm cuddly bed at 8:30 am, I’d kiss dear hubby good morning, get my pills and drink, run off the crossword for Nat, sit with him and do our little morning chat before taking my pills at 9:00 am. With the niceties out of the way, I would then head downstairs, turn on the treadmill, don the headphones and do my exercises for 45 minutes – the length of time for the show I’ve been watching.

Once I return upstairs, I take a seat to cool down, get cleaned up and then make our lunches before I’d have another seat and answer any questions by Nat for his crossword. By the time 11:30 rolls around, Nat and I are having our lunch, watching a cooking show I usually have recorded and then decide what to do for the rest of the day (unless we had pre-planned something the day before).

It’s a nice quiet day for the two of us, but the two-week long kitchen renovations kind of turned our little routine world upside down. I was able to exercise only once or twice during this time as Nat and I had a lot of shopping to do for items needed, or hang around the house to answer any questions by our contractor on what goes where and how do you want this? It was a nice distraction but its now taken its toll. I can’t seem to get back into the world I once knew.

I’ve made myself do the exercises (to me, that’s an imperative), but it’s still difficult to get my energy level back up. It also didn’t help that I fell off the kitchen chair and hurt my backside to such an extent it was difficult to sit for a couple of weeks let alone do the treadmill for 45 minutes. It’s funny how your ass can jiggle that much when you walk!!

Today I have no excuses at all – my foot is back to normal, my ass is no longer sore – but my energy level has still fallen off to where I’m finding it difficult to get up from the recliner and get going. The Energizer Bunny did make an appearance one or two days inbetween and I managed to get a couple batches of cookies made, along with some rolls for the freezer and even designed a WordPress web site – michelerouse.com – designed for a sister who is breaking out to work independently as a personal/virtual assistant. I will admit this is one thing I love to do and used it a couple of days as an excuse not to leave the office and delve into the world of computers and graphics.

Now that the kitchen is done – except, of course, for the backsplash (this week, we hope), I’m getting back to some sort of routine, day-by-day. I still get easily distracted by staring out of the office window, sitting on the back patio for some sun rays and a little thinking or even running an errand but taking my time by walking about a few extra aisles I didn’t really need to go down.

As for the Garage Sale, I’ve made progress on that, too. Each day I’m on the treadmill, I’ll bring up a box of stuff and get it marked and stored upstairs for the big day. I only have about 4 boxes left, but then have to deal with Nat’s tools he wants to sell, along with a couple of furniture items. Soooo Close!!!! This long weekend would have been a great time to have a sale, but then my gumption got the better of me and walked away leaving me energy-less.


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Being Such A Sore Ass

The kitchen is now pretty much done. We’re still waiting for our contractor to put up the backsplash tiles, but being a busy, busy boy, we’re not expecting him any time too soon.

With all the doodads, what-ja-ma-callits and decorative accessories I’ve ordered for the kitchen and dining room, I’m now getting a bit impatient with some of these vendors. I came across the perfect small wall shelf for the kitchen – butcherblock top with a white drawer – and as I just had to have it, I clicked on the Buy button and before you knew it, I received confirmation of my order. Without realizing it, however, I discovered that this thing was going to be hand-made just for me! How nice!! It’s still exactly what I want, but it’s not going to arrive from England until the end of the month.  My love of product got the better of me, but Damn I’m ready to hang this thing, now.  Today I received the rug for the patio doors – half-round yellow and green and looks perfect. The dining room area rug – cream with shades of green and burgundy – also arrived earlier than expected and it, too, looks perfect underneath the dining room table. So now, I sit and wait anxiously for a bloody little shelf so I can clear my baking counter space of the phone, house keys, etc.

As things go, I’m extremely pleased with how I set up my baking area. Having baked bread and cookies already, I can tell that the number of steps I take back and from from certain cupboards and drawers has been reduced dramatically. I’m back to enjoying baking, again.

As I’m waiting for deliveries to still arrive, I’ve been organizing items for (hopefully) a good-sized garage sale the Spring. There’s so much little stuff scattered in the spare room downstairs that I’m dreading having to pack it all up and bring it upstairs where I can sort and price everything. Little by little it’s been getting done and I’ve been storing the boxes in the dining room. On my travels I noticed one of the hooks was lose from the window curtain rod and we know that bothers the hell out of me. Despite the fact Nat was sitting on his lonesome in the living room, I figured this would just take a second, grabbed one of our kitchen chairs and began to climb. A step up with my left leg, and as I took my last step up with my right leg, things somehow went wrong. My body began to sway, my left leg caved in, my right leg lost its footing, I grabbed a corner of the dining room table, and my ass took the rest of my backside down to the floor. BOOM, BANG, my rear end hit the floor, my head bounced off the floor and my left foot hit the dining room table on my way down. What a bloody sound as Nat came running into the room and gave me such a look!! He knows I know better – that I’ve sworn to call him whenever such things are needed. “I’m alright, I’m alright”, I said as I’m holding the back of my head from the bloody pounding I can feel inside.

It was one of those little things I knew I could fix before he even left his recliner chair. To prove it, I returned to the pantry, grabbed the proper little kitchen step stool and rehung the hook putting the curtains right again. Nat watched me the whole time but knew in his heart I was going to suffer for this and he’s right. For the past several days my left foot has swollen to double its size, my head has been pounding like a hockey player’s and my ass is so sore I can feel it trying to get up, bend down or even laying on my backside at night. I know my balance is off (and my mind, at times) but I’m stubbornly independent, not in a wheelchair yet and will continue to do the odd job around the house that I feel I can do without calling dear hubby. My pride got the better of me, as did laziness (not to walk 10 steps to the pantry for the step stool) so hopefully I’ll remember this for a long time and do the right thing – call dear hubby!!


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It’s The Little Touches

As anxious as we were to get our kitchen back in order, we took our time. We continued to putter about putting the food back and deciding what went where in the new order of things. Nat discovered a small leak under the kitchen sink and luckily it was just a lose fitting which was soon fixed. He also replaced the recycle drawer front that got damaged somehow. We weren’t able to put back any appliances as we were still waiting for the Electricians to do the under-cabinet lighting, so we were in limbo until Monday when they were due to arrive.

Friday was pretty much a day where little things got done around the rest of the house. Nat worked away cleaning up sawdust and other small debris that floated in, out and around all of his tools, workbench and other areas in the garage while I went for a hair appointment. We decided to take the rest of the afternoon off, do nothing and rest our weary souls.

With Saturday looking good, we trekked our way to Ikea Burlington to return the two unused cabinets, door fronts and a few other small accessories, got our refund and headed straight to the kitchen department to shop’til we (or at least I) dropped. Nat just pushed the shopping cart and watched as things went flying into it. I had my Refund Card in hand and I picked up everything on the list I had prepared the night before – kitchen drawer organizers, bins, utensil holders, drawer dividers and even a floor rug for the patio door. Nat knew enough to keep to the side and let me do my work – Bless his loving heart – but did help with a few suggestions. Once we were checking out we discovered we were going to have money left over – bonus!!!!

Sunday saw me organizing the cabinets and drawers with the organizers I bought the day before. God, they now look like something straight out of the Ikea Catalogue – and with room to spare in the pantry now, I’m floating on Cloud 9.  You can tell I’m in my element when I end up taping my favourite Sunday morning show – Sunday MorningI had things to do and I wanted to get them done – no rest for the wicked.

The Electricians were due Monday morning and as Nat was going to be around to make sure everything went as planned, I headed to Winners at Niagara Square looking for a small kitchen clock – despite the digital time on the oven, I still need an actual clock. I had done extensive research on the internet looking for something a little different than the norm, but there it was looking straight at me at Winners and bonus, it came with a matching mirror. I knew exactly where both would go. Just because I was at The Square I had to drop in at TanJay/Alia to see what was new for Spring. What were the odds I would find a “little” something that jumped into a bag for me to take home. I also headed over to Michael’s but didn’t have a whole lot of luck in getting anything funky for the two wall shelves, but I’ll keep looking.

Having returned from shopping, Nat headed off to his golf game and I took over watching the Electricians finish their job. Once they were gone, I was now able to oil the Butcher Block Countertop, as called for to protect the surface from stains and blots. As I had to leave things alone for several hours, I headed to the office and got caught up on paper work – sorting through a mass of invoices, etc.

What a fabulous difference  having under-cabinet lighting. We can now light up underneath all of the cabinets at once, or by the flick of a switch we can just light up one or two or three, etc. On those dark and stormy days Nat and I will be able to actually see what we’re doing on the countertop without cutting ourselves and using the more hydro-sucking ceiling lights. When Nat returned from his golf game he handed me the Home Hardware Spin Mop & Bucket. It’s not what you think. We had both talked about a better system of getting up to the baseboards and wouldn’t be sticky (as with the other “spray” mop we have). Again, we paid careful attention to the ads on TV and then double checked online. Pleased with what we saw, it was agreed. This would be our new floor caring system – a non-abrasive and quick way to wash floors.

As the Kitchen was now back in shape – the appliances plugged in, the cabinets and drawers super organized, I washed floors on Tuesday and actually loved it. This mop and bucket thing was pretty damned good. The mop itself had a lot of looped edges to get up and around any baseboard, underneath a good portion of the fridge and stove, and maneuvered easily enough. Plus the :spinning” feature of the bucket was a blessing, along with the fact that the mop portion was removable and when finished I just tossed it in the washing machine. Back to the good old days but with a modern twist.

Tuesday evening was our first meal in our new kitchen. Nat and I looked around and liked what we saw. Once the backsplash is done, we’ll be even happier. But for now, we have our lives back to normal and only have to pay the piper for the damage we’ve done to our pocketbooks.

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