The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

The Tube’s In The Tank

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Finally, we’ve made some headway into our Christmas shopping. Not that we have a lot to buy for this year; the ‘adults’ have decided to forego gifts and we’ll concentrate on the four grandkids. Certainly makes our shopping trips lighter, but you can’t help but still feel something is missing. I’m one of those people that love to wrap gifts and to watch as they get opened, so not being able to wrap an extra 4 more gifts somehow makes me feel a little regretful. Money seems to be the main obstruction this year – or the lack of it, but we all agreed and we’re going to try this new system out for a couple of years to see how it goes.

We trekked into Niagara Falls on the 2nd as I wanted to visit a somewhat infamous landmark shop. I wasn’t disappointed and found something I hope will be liked by a certain sports fan in the family. Nat always seems to light up a bit when we go to this particular store. He gets a big kick out of the owner and was pleased to see he was there and as always had a nice chat.

Friday saw us mucking about the house. Nat took a few minutes to go into Fort Erie. Our local Sobey’s had a sale on Butterball turkeys, but alas came home empty handed. What was on sale wasn’t the size we needed. As we’re having my side of the family over for Christmas dinner we wanted to get a good-sized one. Leftovers are very much appreciated. So while Nat was out, I finished off making our Christmas cards for Britain. Nat’s sister has been keeping each and every one that I’ve made over the years and each and every year the pressure is on to top what’s been done previously. This year I surprised myself at the idea that popped into the old brain, and I hope Jenny gets a giggle out of it. The rest of the day was, as usual, quiet and uneventful.

With another quiet weekend under our belts, we started off the new week watching the snow fall. Nat retrieved the snow shovels from his new little shed and did his usual clean-up of the drive and back patio. I put some bread in the oven and made major gains in completing Liz’s recipe project. This is one of those projects where I have to tell myself to “stop”. I keep coming up with better ways of doing her recipes, but as I’ve already got them typed and printed, I can’t go back now. It would cost too much in time and supplies. Maybe down the road if she ever wants improvement, then she knows where I can be reached.

By mid-week we decided to head into St. Catharines. Nat had an early Doctor’s appointment and we thought we’d get some Christmas errands done at the same time. After his appointment, we headed over to our favourite bakery and stocked up on Kaisers and dinner rolls. We then stopped at the Pen Centre for a gift card and back across town to Costco to stock-up on groceries and whatever else we could find that would keep us well fed and happy over the holidays. Despite the fact that it was a zoo – everyone had the same idea as us – we managed to find everything we wanted and the shock at check-out wasn’t quite as bad as last time (when we purchased that new Foodsaver system). On the way home Nat wanted to top up the van’s gas tank while the prices were down by a few cents, so we headed to our usual gas station in Niagara Falls.

Our day so far wasn’t too bad, until we reached the gas station. Nat was struggling – and I do mean struggling – to get gas into the tank. Somehow the pump nozzle kept stopping, thinking that the tank was full. Nat kept squeezing, jiggling, squeezing some more, jiggling some more, rocking the van some more and getting madder by the minute. I turned around to see what was going on and the look on Nat’s face wasn’t one of his best. Frustrated to say the least, and not knowing exactly what was going on, he had the attendant come out to see if something was wrong with the pump. As always, it wasn’t someone else’s problem, it was ours’. The pumps were working just fine and after managing to get about $20.00 worth into the tank, we drove home wondering what in hell was going on. Nat’s brain was now working overtime. It wasn’t exactly that time of year where we needed van repairs and naturally, he was thinking of every scenario going, especially involving a vehicle’s gas tank! Once we arrived home he drove down to Jack Shaw’s in Fort Erie and was told to bring the van in on Friday and they’d have a look at it.

With the arrival of Friday morning, Nat was up, dressed, had breakfast and headed down the road for 8:00 AM. The garage loaned him a car for the morning and they would call as soon as they knew anything. Once he arrived home there wasn’t much we could do except to sit and wait. But the wait wasn’t long. The garage called within the hour. They began their usual diagnostics, and soon thereafter discovered there was something obstructing the gas intake area. With flashlights in hand, and just barely seeing this thing, they had to use a long stick to pull this thing out and soon discovered it was an old piece of rubber tubing. When Nat arrived to pick up the van, it was felt that maybe someone had tampered with the vehicle while we were out shopping. Despite the fact that the van is always in our garage and that we’ve never had any vandalism done, we’re still just as vulnerable as everyone else that parks in a mall or big city parking lot. We can only assume that’s where it happened, and we counted our blessings that it turned out to be a minor repair costing under $100.00. With our past luck, we were both thinking that it would be a major repair, cost us a few bucks right before Christmas and we’d have no choice. Afterall if the gas tank ain’t right, you’re not going anywhere!!!! With a huge sigh of relief we were now able to concentrate on other ways of spending what little money we’ve got left this month! An early Merry Christmas to us, I suppose!!

As an aside – I’m having great luck using Amazon.ca this year. With a couple of the grandkids wanting DVDs or games, it’s certainly been a breeze ordering everything online and having it come right to our door. I’ve been doing so well, that our UPS guy keeps asking “Is this the last of it??” What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him – and besides, it’s keeping him in a job!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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