The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

The Birthday Bashes

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My nephew, Zach, turned 15 this Friday past, and one step-granddaughter turned 21 yesterday. Plus this October, will see the two of us celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Now I ask you where in hell did THAT time go???  Even Nat and I can’t believe it. That 21 year-old attended our wedding and was running around like any youngster would, having a great time getting all of the attention she wanted. My nephew was born 4 months before I received my transplant and was coming for a visit with his Mom and another sister when I got the call to come to St. Joe’s. The poor little guy laying in his car seat didn’t know what was going on as his Mom and Aunt stood in the door listening while I rambled on in excitement.

We attended Zach’s BBQ birthday party on the weekend and had a great time. He’s grown so much (there’d be something major wrong if he hadn’t!!) and what frightens me is he’ll be off to college or whatever before I blink an eye. His sister, Zoe, is maturing just as fast and between the two of them, can make my head spin each time I see them. So much more actively involved in life than I was at their ages.

Nat and I enjoyed the festivities and food. I had a great time getting caught up with each of my sisters and their busy lives. After a delicious meal of cheeseburgers and salads, I tried to join in a game of Bocci Ball but alas the old body only holds out so long. I had to give it up after about 4 ends. Along with the heat hanging around my head, the old hip started to give me a jab or two. I felt bad, as I love playing that game. I keep telling myself with all of the exercise on the treadmill that one of these days I’ll be able to keep up with some people younger than me, after all my head says “yes” but the old body says “no”.

Despite the fact Mom had told family “best wishes only” for Zach, I had already ordered and received his gift – a Toronto Maple Leaf hoodie from the NHL Store. I had seen an even better Hoodie with the draw-strings being earbuds for your MP3 player (which was way cool!). You could plug in your player to the “draw-strings”, slip the player in the special inside pocket, whip the hoodie over your head, and off you go – music and warmth all in one. However, I discovered this item too late for Zach’s birthday, but will have to give it another try next year. After all what young lad isn’t always in need of a good hoodie!

With one BBQ under our belts, Nat and I attended another one for Karly’s 21st on the following Tuesday (last night). This one was held at her second Grandma’s house on the back patio. The evening was threatening rain but the guests soldiered on with another burger BBQ which was also delicious. We had finished just in time and were chit chatting when the ominous clouds moved in whereupon everyone gathered up what they could hold, headed to the dining room and watched Karly open her presents. She had requested only an iPad Mini which she received from three of us collectively (her Mom and her 3 Grandparents). To say the least, she was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to get it set up. With the rain now pouring down and the humidity in Marilyn’s home building up, I had to pull out the little fan from my purse. I knew it was time Nat and I thought about heading home. Living alone and on a single income, Marilyn tries to keep costs down by turning off the central air whenever possible, but when her little home is full of family and guests in a small dining room with no air, it begins to get a bit stifling. Even Nat began to feel it and that was our cue to head home.

This was one BBQ, however, where I had a great time talking one-on-one with my granddaughter, Felicia. Her and some friends now have to set up a residence while attending University and she was explaining what was going on, how they were setting their rooms up and some shopping ideas. I told Felicia that I had some spare linens and maybe a couple pieces of furniture if she needed it, but we were in agreement that Ikea was the perfect place to go for some great inexpensive furnishings and household items. As it happens we both really love that store and thought it might be a nice idea if the two of use went along one day on a shopping trip. Now that’s one trip I’d love to do – especially with a granddaughter I don’t get to see much of. It would be so neat to go “girl” shopping for a residence. She’s going to save her pennies and maybe one day we’ll get there.

Felicia and the rest of her family had just returned from a five day trip to New York City and apparently had a blast. Felicia’s sister, Bridget, is a huge fan of the group Block B (a Korean Pop band) and had purchased tickets to one of their 3 concerts in the U.S. From the pictures she posted on her Facebook page she had a fabulous time and managed to really snap some great close-ups of each member, including a small video clip. It also happened she ran into a few of the members while out walking the streets of downtown New York. Apparently a few of the members had some time on their hands and decided to do the tourist thing themselves. Bridget was thrilled to death to have her picture taken with each of the boys and you can tell when she talks about it, she’s beside herself with glee!! How great is that – you run into an idol and have your picture taken together. Never happened to me as a teenager and I can certainly understand her excitement. She’s one lucky girl that her Mom and Dad decided to let her go to this concert and make it a short family holiday where everyone had a great time and certainly saw a lot of the regular tourist spots. Her Mom, Susan, knew they didn’t have enough time to see everything but they managed to see the main highlights and had an experience of a life time. Kudos to Mom!!

When Nat and I returned home last evening, we were both exhausted. I suppose the heat can drag you down, but neither one of us could get to our recliners fast enough. We had had two great meals, visited both families and stood amongst some noisy conversations which we weren’t use to. Plus there were two dogs at Marilyn’s (hers and Laura’s) which can also take a lot out of you as they run around amongst everyone as shouts of disciplinary orders ring in your ears. We admit it – we’re getting too old for some of this!!

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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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