The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

A Disagreement of Gigantic Proportions

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For so long Nat and I have been getting along. Our marriage has certainly had its ups and downs, and they’re usually because of something I’ve done or said. There have been times when my depression gets the better of me and I start to dwell on things and can’t let them go. They fester like a bad sore and come back to haunt me time after time. Always the same thoughts and yes, we’ve had a few “discussions” about one or two of these “thoughts”, along with some tears at night after which we usually come to some sort of re-assurance or settlement. I’ve always been one to want to argue or discuss things in a back-and-forth manner, but Nat is not one to argue at all. Frustrating to say the least and with my memory being what it  is, it’s been hard for me to give him “examples” of my frustrations at times. While still working and my mind a lot sharper, I would always have a come-back whenever we went head to head and during our honeymoon years I didn’t need that old sharp wit, after all it was love!!

Tonight we had a doozer and it was all about the bloody sticker for your licence plate!!!! Last year I (and I’m sure Nat) decided to get the sticker and licence renewal notices online. The Government has set up a decent and easy to understand site and I (we??) felt it was a good idea to get notices and reminders online. A saving of time on our part and on the Governments – no mail, no trip downtown in the snow and muck in December. And so it was, I (we??) received the notice (via email) back in November and I placed the same in our calendar for the month of December so I (we??) would be reminded to renew before Nat’s birthday on January 2nd. Having received the Reminder yesterday via email I reminded Nat this afternoon that maybe I (we??) could complete the form together so he could see how it went.

Now, if anyone out there has been reading these writings faithfully, they’ll know that Nat and I don’t always “do” things together well. No difference this afternoon, when I (we??) started to complete the renewal form online and came to the Drive Clean Emissions section. Nat wasn’t sure whether the van required the test this time and I proceeded to try and by-pass that section. Naturally it didn’t work, as there were asterisks beside each question, and the form was rejected until that portion was completed.

First of all Nat, was convinced that he had no part in signing up to do the renewals online. He consistently stated that he could have done this all downtown if he had just received the Renewal Notice in the mail. The Renewal Notice in the mail would also have stated whether the Driver Emission Test was required – plain and simple, in writing, in red ink. He didn’t understand why he would want to do this online. He had no recollection of having any part of this, and, naturally my memory was just as foggy, but I was convinced I would NOT have done this alone. Our voices began to get a little louder and Nat was becoming more frustrated and started asking questions that I had no answers to. How was I suppose to know, when this was my first time doing this online, too. He then began going through the filing cabinet looking for past sticker renewal forms. Again, more frustration because he claims he doesn’t know where anything is. As for me, it all made sense: “Car-Maintenance”, “Car-Insurance”, “Licences-Vehicle & Driver”, “Medical-Nat”, “Medical-Twila”, “Bank Statements”, “Bank-Mortgage”, etc, etc. What was not to understand?? Nat, however, was getting more frustrated as time went by and when he gets to that stage he doesn’t even want to think about things and just wants to drop the whole matter. I was getting just as frustrated as I explained to him in a firm voice:  “Car- Maintenance” meant “Car-Maintenance”, “Licences-Vehicle & Driver” meant “Licences-Driver & Vehicle”, and if he had a better way then go to it and re-organize however he wanted. WELL, this topped things off quite nicely!!

My blood pressure was getting higher as we continued on. He was so concerned about the Driver Emission Test and whether it was required or not, and I was trying my best at this point to try and do a little research to see if, in fact, it was required for 2014 or not. He finally came across the “Licence-Vehicle & Driver” file and found the previous renewal forms. Again, after some more heated discussions I (we??) finally came to the conclusion that the Drive Emission Test is/or has been done every other year. Previous to this, Nat kept saying he didn’t know if things had changed or not and that this was how it use to be. Again, I continued with some research and concluded by dialling the 1-800 number and discovered that if he did NOT want to renew online that he could attend at the Service Ontario offices in Fort Erie, that they would print him out another form and he could complete it there and get his sticker at the same time. No, he kept insisting that since we had started this whole online thing that we should finish it. Seriously! He had his chance but for some reason we were both too hot-headed to work it through.

With each passing loud and louder remark, Nat kept saying he didn’t want to raise my blood pressure. In heated argument I replied “it’s too late!!”. After a couple of these remarks he finally admitted that “my blood pressures gone up, too”. BANG, I came back with “Welcome to my world!!!!” That was it. We were now officially pissed at each other. Frustrated, (and  I’m sure wanting to get out of the house), Nat began to get his coat and shoes on, along with riffling through the filing cabinet for whatever it was he wanted and declared that he was driving down to Canadian Tire to book the van in for that bloody “Driver Emission Test“. With my usual aplomb I replied “Fine”. He had now noticed that I was in tears. Well, I would be, wouldn’t I? Frustrated, angry, couldn’t keep my emotions in tact, the tears begin to flow whenever I make Nat mad and we talk at cross swords. So it was, he noticed and stopped in his tracks, turned to me and (what I felt was in more anger) asked if the matter was now dropped because he was going to book the test. Again, Nat just wanted to get on with it – no discussions, no explanations – he was going for the test and that was that. Matter settled. When my reply was “Fine” he felt it was said in a sarcastic manner. He was right, I was pissed, crying and had felt that this whole matter came down to me. After all, it was my fault for signing up for the sticker and licence renewal forms online. He was convinced he had no recollection of the whole affair and that a he wouldn’t have done it in the first place. Almost 350 days had past and his memory was that sharp????

Once I assured Nat that I wasn’t being sarcastic (I lied!!) and for some unknown reason apologized for being sarcastic, he left for Canadian Tire and I continued to sit in the living room thinking and steaming. That was it, my mind was now whirling, my pulse racing and my blood pressure was rising as fast as a geyser in Yellowstone National Park. I got up, wrote a quick note and took off out the door. I had to go for a walk to at least clear my head, get some fresh air and see if I could calm myself. I ended up on the Friendship Trail sitting on a bench, watching people walk their dogs, the school kids getting off the bus and trying to think. I came to the conclusion that the whole matter wasn’t worth a bloody nickel. Nat wouldn’t remember this whole affair another year from now and unless I wrote it down I probably wouldn’t remember the severity of it either.

When I returned home Nat was back and had set the table and lit the barbecue for supper. Chicken and a salad – whoop!! As I was getting the extras set up he tried to grab my arm and asked if everything was alright. “Yes”, I replied and took my arm away. Again, I lied. He has no idea how this will take me a day or two to get over. I’ll have to repeat to myself again and again and again, that it’s not worth the trouble. This whole thing will be blown over tomorrow – at least for Nat. As for me, I’m a little more stubborn and will have to convince the old brain that next time I (we???) have a good idea that I write the whole scenario down – date, time, participants involved, etc. – and then there will be no dispute as to who was right and who was wrong. For some bizarre reason that really matters.

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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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