The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue

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No postings for the past several weeks due to some pretty heady depression. It’s taking a toll on my marriage, my emotional state and my stamina, but I’ve now been called out and hopefully will get back to a normal reality soon.

This past Tuesday my clever sister, Claudia, dropped by in  between insurance calls. I was just returning from a follow-up eye doctor appointment and as I went whizzing by the house on my way to Valu-Mart for some pick-up items, I noticed her car in the drive, did an immediate U turn back home to see her. Her and Nat seemed to be having a nice chat as I waltzed in the room to see what was up. We had a great visit and she up-dated us on the lives of her two children, Darby and Tyler. Darby is now in the works of completing her Masters in Emergency Planning, Prevention and Disaster Relief.  She’s one of only a handful of women who will be qualified for FEMA in the U.S. and she has so much to be proud of. Her brother, Tyler, has landed a vehicle appraising job in Toronto and from all accounts is having a good time and will soon be living in an extremely well-known area of the City. Otherwise, he’s landed on his feet after his management job at Target was dissolved. I, along with their mom, am very proud of both, mainly because of the emotional hurdles they had to jump after their parents’ divorce and the work they’ve done to achieve their successes.

We also began to talk about the garden party wedding for our nephew, Dalton and his fiance´, Kate, we’ve been invited to this September. Both of us agreed that it was going to take some time to find dresses, mainly because of our “womanly” sizes and the lack of choice in St. Catharines. As her and Darby have always enjoyed shopping in Toronto, and various other U.S. States on some of their trips, she invited me to go shopping with her and Michele at The Bay (Eaton Centre) that following Sunday. I took one look at Nat and jumped at the chance. He knew, too, it was a no brainer!! I was soooo looking forward to Sunday.

Trying to find things to do for the rest of the week was somewhat fruitless. Nat’s back has been a bit more liveable with the new slow-release pain killers he was prescribed but we’ve both been a bit lacking in energy of late. I know why his energy level is down, but mine was just plain laziness. Everything between us seemed to be going pretty good until Saturday afternoon when we received another email from Laura. As I had de-activated my Facebook account Wednesday afternoon because of her and because I truly have no interest in anything that goes on within that program, she found a way to let Nat know that I had done so. Suddenly she was going to post the time for Karly’s get-together in a couple of weeks on Facebook so she could do just one posting for Susan’s family and for us. This somehow seemed very odd to me, as she’s never done any such postings of the like in the past. Besides posting dates and times of any get-together on Facebook is frowned upon due to security issues, and I’m pretty sure Laura knows this. But she had found a way to let her Dad know what I had done. It also seemed funny as Susan did not get the same email as us “Hey there…was going to use Facebook but saw that the account is deactivated again – figure this way I can tell you both about the details.”  Everyone also knows that you can send one email to multiple people!!! So, naturally Nat asked me about it and again, I got defensive and another argument broke out. Back and forth about Laura’s methods and choice of words and trying to explain that I’ve always hated Facebook, and that I have no interest in any postings about philosophical messages, party goers and misinterpreted news items. I further explained how I felt like I was being spied on by Laura and how anything I “Liked” or commented on was being judged. Deactivating the account was my only way of not being tempted.

Nat was now, I’m sure, at his wits end on why I was being so obsessive about this whole “Laura” affair and supper was eaten in silence. As Saturday wore on we were still in the mix of arguing when Claudia called to tell me when I should be at her place on Sunday. As we were talking I began to break out in tears and would apologize to Claudia on Sunday.

Sunday arrived with great anticipation. The trip to Toronto was certainly eventful as the discussion soon turned to me and my emotional state and obsession about Laura and how my depressions over the years have only been about Laura and her need for attention. Without fail, both Michele and Claudia, tried to get through to my thick little brain that I had to see their therapist, Mary, so she could teach me coping skills for my depression and how to deal with people like Laura. They passed on their words of wisdom of what they had both learned from their sessions and everything they said seemed to hit the nail right on the head for me. Every word that came out of my mouth seemed to tell them that I was, in fact, in a depression. They explained why I kept taking the blame for everything, why I kept putting myself down and why I just had to rise above Laura and her snide remarks or comments. They pushed the fact that everything was not my fault, that there was fault on everyone’s side and that I had to take care of my emotional state and not try to please everyone. It was also drummed into me that I had to stop taking everything so personal. My God, they were good. Each one of them could be therapists by now, as they both knew just how to handle me. I was now beginning to wonder if this whole trip was some sort of plot between Gail, Nat and Claudia as some sort of “intervention” and Michele was brought along for support.

Naturally, we arrived at the Eaton Centre in no time, as our talking had passed the time so quickly. Within minutes we were headed up the escalators to our section of The Bay and we were in shopping heaven. I couldn’t believe the amount of inventory for dresses, blouses, pants, shirts, Tshirts, shorts, and whatever else in women’s clothing. Within half an hour Claudia and I had picked out a couple of dresses to try on but they were dismissed for some reason or another. Then Michele soon walked over from the Toni + department with a gorgeous red, lavender, white sleeveless dress to die for. It was just what I had envisioned for a garden party wedding. Alas, the size was too small and we hung it back on the rack and began to look some more. We soon came up with a couple more dresses – black and white, navy floral print to try on. Meanwhile, Michele had slipped back to Toni to ask the clerk if they had any more sizes in the dress I dearly loved. What were the odds, they did, and in my size!! I just had to try it on. It was perfect, except for the sleeveless part. Claudia and Michele soon told me about Shrugs and how these little goodies would be perfect as a short cover-up. One problem, however, the price of this dress was a bit beyond what we mere mortals would pay for a summer dress. We had the clerk hold it for an hour while we tried to search for a lesser priced alternative.

I tried on the other two dresses we had picked out, neither one of which were bad, but my mind kept going back to the one Michele had found – she knows me all too well. Back we went – it was a done deal. Plus as luck would have it, the price of the dress would validate Claudia’s parking pass. Two birds with one stone – couldn’t get better than that. My spirits were now lifted. I’d go home, find a Shrug, matching sandals and I’ll be set for September without any further worry or hustle bustle at the last minute.

The three of us then found a small lunch counter, grabbed some sandwiches and had a nice chatty lunch. Claudia had also mentioned that she could take us by Darby’s apartment in Oakville on the way home. Another event I was looking forward to, as most of the family have seen it, except for me and Michele. I wasn’t disappointed, her apartment was beautiful and in a gorgeous setting down a side street but still close to all amenities and her job. She had landed a good one. It’s still difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that “little Darby” was now a professional working woman, with the world at her feet. How great is that!!!

I woke up Monday morning on an emotional high, but just a bit tired from soooo much walking. I did keep up with Claudia and was proud of that fact – the treadmill was working. I could see the happiness for me in Nat’s eyes and when I showed him the dress he went “Wow” which is a compliment Nat has never expressed since our wedding day. My feet went even higher off the ground. This was going to be a great day and God willing a new beginning.

Claudia and Michele’s words of wisdom are still ringing in my ears and I’m forever grateful to each of them for their time, effort and support – and I still think this was a set-up job. No matter what it was, it was needed – they knew it and I know it now.

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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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