The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Only The Lonely

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The dog days of summer are now gone and the cool, rainy days of Fall are upon us.

Halloween was the only day of the year where so many rang our door bell all in one day. Sad, but true. This was a banner year – we actually had 10 children come to our door. Nat even had to convince me to buy something for the little trick or treaters (*@&%*) as past years have been dismal. One year we had 3 kids, in 2011 we had one and in 2012 we turned off the lights (only one knocked on the door). When Nat brought up the subject this year I told him if he wanted to celebrate, then he had to answer the door himself. I had enough from past years. While living in St. Catharines it was always me that trotted up the six steps from the family room to answer the door to the over twenty children that knocked, and I soon learned to just sit on the steps and do crosswords in-between each little group that came by. Suburbs with semis were popular – double doses!!

With the first knock on our door this year, Nat did try to pop up out of his recliner, but since I was three steps closer I beat him to it, and ended up answering the door myself. Pleasantly surprised, it was 3 little boys with Santa Claus-size sacks and thinking this would be it, I handed them 3 small candy bars (hoping to keep what was left for ourselves). A few minutes later, another 3 girls arrived and what to our surprise they were looking for donations for Community Care. Threw Nat and myself for a major loop. Suddenly we’re scrambling though the cupboards trying to pick up some canned goods to drop in their bags, along with some treats for themselves. Well, that was nice, I thought! Finally I was opening the door for a good cause. It wasn’t much longer before we greeted a few more kids before things began to die down. The rainy miserable night kept most of the children closer to home we surmised, as the street across from our house wasn’t as busy as past years. Yes, I ended up answering the door only because by the time Nat popped out of that recliner of his, the kids would think there was nobody home! Don’t get me wrong, he really did “rise up” and help. It wasn’t that bad of a night as I thought!

With the crappy weather now upon us, my emotions have been running a bit wild. I’m spending more days inside than out and my depression comes back now and again at bed time, just long enough to bring tears to my eyes. My mind races and my thoughts turn to missing certain things in my life. Things I can’t control, things I can’t change and “escaping” means going to a mall to shop for a short-term “fix”.

During the summer I could at least escape to the patio, play with the iPad, listen to music or even watch a downloaded show. Alas, the canopy has been taken down for the summer and stored away. That task was easy. It was harder putting the damn thing up than it was taking it down. We truly enjoyed our back patio for most of the summer. The weather was so much better than past years and the canopy really helped prevent the sun from beaming down on the old wrinkled face and making me look even more like an Apple Doll. My escapism during the winter months may well be to outer space – the internet. Nat tries his best to understand but unless you’ve been there, done that, you’ll never get it. So many things flying in and out of your brain, so many thoughts, perceptions, emotions and ideas float around in what seems an empty shell that only houses thoughts and egotistical loneliness. Suddenly, however, the morning arrives and something takes a hold of you. That pill you popped before bed time somehow kicked in and your emotions have calmed down. Despite the slight lingering anger, you take on the day as if nothing had happened and no one is the wiser. That therapy you thought about can wait for now.

Baking is my therapy and I’ve been having a lot of sessions these past few weeks. Three batches of cookie dough in the freezer, along with 4 different kinds of already baked cookies ready for the Christmas tins and Nat’s lunch. After being asked by my loving hubby, I found and baked really great Empire Biscuits, which he loves and practically has to take out a mortgage on the house whenever he buys them at the bakery in Niagara-on-the-Lake!! Looking like they take a lot of effort in the bakery cabinet, I was taken aback at how easy they were. The dough comes together so quickly and the only time-consuming part is the assembly – jam in the centre and a almond icing and cherry on top. One disappointment with this recipe is that it only makes 12 actual cookies (24 before assembly). Feeling pretty proud of myself I decided to make another batch a couple of days later for Christmas (if they last that long with Nat in the house).

Nat and I were also extremely pleased to finally see our landscaper start the front walkway. We’ve both been anxious to get this project done and were beginning to worry if it wouldn’t happen until the Spring. The rain delays set our landscaper and his other projects back a few weeks and the poor guy is still trying to play catch-up. He had a lot of plantings to do and it was a struggle to get them in the gardens before the first frost. Our little project looks like it will only take a few days and Nat is also pleased that we were able to have our guy lower the drainage pipe from the eaves to the ditch. Once the old concrete tiles were removed it was quite apparent that the drainage pipe was a little too close to the surface and when the frost did come it would certainly raise up any new patio bricks that were laid with care and expense! The first of the week should see the arrival of the new patio bricks, along with a new step for the front stoop. The one thing I’m very anxious to see done, so I won’t have to feel like I’m climbing up and down Mount Everest to go and get the mail. I felt sorry for those Halloween trick or treaters for making the climb, but at least now they’ll have a “step up” next year. (Good one, eh??)

On a high note, we’ve now received one good payment from the solar panels that lay atop our south-facing roof. Nat and I were surprised, a little more than anticipated but we know the winter months won’t be as lucrative. The paper work can be a bit of a draw back and we haven’t even begun to deal with Revenue Canada yet. I know we’ll soon get into some sort of routine and be thankful for small mercies – that we at least have some sort of additional income for the next twenty years. Only God knows what can fall out of the sky and rain on your parade!!

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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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