The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Home For The Holidays

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The week before Christmas was relatively quiet, We delivered the last of the Irwin gifts to their house on Saturday the 21st, had a wee visit, grabbed something to eat at Tim Hortons, and then headed over to our good friends and former neighbours for our usual pre-Christmas visit.

We don’t see our friends as often as we’d like so when we do, we try to make the best of it. Like me, Floris had a bit of a scare with a trip to the hospital via ambulance. She found it hard to breath in the night and discovered she had developed a chest or lung infection. After a night or two in hospital, she returned home and was getting better as each day progressed. The two of them were both in great spirits and we all had our usual laughs with gossip and stories, which we always enjoy.

Christmas Eve arrived all too quickly and we headed into Niagara Falls for what looks to be a traditional trip to Laura’s for her “Christmas Eve” Christmas with her two children, before they go to their Father’s to spend Christmas morning. We enjoyed pizza, wings, cookies and other treats along with Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget. We all headed for home around 7:00 pm so Laura, Karly and Lucas could get on with opening their gifts before their father arrived to pick them up. A good time was had by all and I soon discovered that the new cookies I had added to my repertoire (Empire Biscuits) was a great hit and now looks to be a regular.

Nat and I finished off our Christmas Eve by watching a couple of episodes on DVD of “Hustle” before I headed to bed while Nat stayed up to catch the news. I was exhausted and didn’t even play my usual game on the iPad!!

Christmas morning saw me waking up maybe a half hour earlier than usual, but I had a good gift to give Nat and I was anxious to see his reaction. I donned some comfy clothes, grabbed my gift and handed it to Nat as he sat in his recliner trying to finish off the previous day’s crossword puzzle – his way of killing time waiting for me to get out of bed. He was really pleased with the Bose Sound Dock Series II  I gave him so he can now play his iPod as it’s docked and listen to his music without any headphones. He loves his music so much and it seems like he doesn’t get a chance anymore since our mini stereo system gave up the ghost. It was a great little unit we had purchased from Sharper Image in Florida but once the CD part stopped opening and closing properly we felt it wasn’t worth repairing as we had gotten our use out of it. While we’re deciding what kind of music player to purchase in the future this little docking speaker will do in a pinch and besides, like anything “Bose“, it sounds fabulous.

My gift from Nat was Chanel No. 5 perfume which I love and am too bloody cheap to go out and buy for myself. I’ve always managed to get stocked up while travelling and going through Duty Free Shops, but we haven’t exactly travelled too far of late, so I ran out and really missed it, so I’m glad Nat remembered!!

With our little “opening” over, we soon got cleaned up and drove into Thorold to spend a couple of hours visiting with Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget to see how good Santa was to them. When we arrived it turns out they had just finished opening themselves and were in the process of prepping their traditional bacon on a bun, so we had a chance to join in and they were delicious as usual. I knew my diet and exercise were going on leave over the holidays so I thought what the hell, and had half of one!!

Nat and I were soon headed home for a couple of hours peace and quiet and by 3:00 packed up the gifts to my sisters, along with a tin of cookies for each and were headed back into St. Catharines to Tam and Daryl’s for a fabulous turkey dinner. This year Tam and Daryl ended up with two turkeys – one of which they cooked the usual way (after brining) and the other one was deep-fried in Daryl’s new Christmas gift – an electric turkey deep fryer. Both birds were absolutely delicious, along with the veggies and rolls and I surprised myself by not going back for seconds. Somehow I kind of knew that Claudia would bring one of her fabulous chocolate cakes and I wasn’t disappointed – she brought my favourite (chocolate cake with white frosting) and I really cheated by having two slices.

I had decided this year to give each sister a small and relatively inexpensive gift because I miss shopping for them, and there have been times that I’ve received a gift I didn’t know was coming, so I decided to do something myself. Nat and I had found some beautiful warm neck scarves at By The Lake in Niagara-on-the-Lake which I couldn’t resist. We’re all at the age now where a good warm scarf is always handy to have on these cold winter days and handy to have a second choice if you already have one.

During our visit I had a chance to see Zach and Zoe’s bedrooms, which I haven’t seen since they each moved to different rooms – Zach downstairs and Zoe in Zach’s former larger room. I was really surprised to see the great collection of sports – especially hockey – memorabilia collected by Zach. He’s done such a great job and is quickly running out of room to store it all. He’s even had to give up collecting hockey cards as his collection now is enormous, but I’m sure he’ll find that gem one day in the future that he won’t be able to resist.

Zoe’s room is a typical young girl’s – walls covered in posters and pictures of her favourite group (“One Direction“), along with other famous people, and her dresser loaded up with make-up items, jewellery and anything else she needs to make herself more beautiful. Too bad she thinks that way, as with any young girl, she’s already perfect just the way she is. I do understand, however, as I felt the same way at her age.

After such a delicious meal, groups of us sat around each of the small dining tables and talked amongst ourselves and then back and forth to each other. I really miss seeing every one of my sisters and really didn’t want to leave, but Tam was in the kitchen cleaning up, Gail’s eyes were fighting hard to stay open and I think Bonnie was ready for her bed too. Plus, Nat and I had the longest drive, so we left the festivities around 7:00 and arrived home to sit some more and watch DVDs to fill the rest of the evening before heading to bed ourselves. So, good night to all and to all a good night!!

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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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