The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Oh, God, Not Another One!

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The last couple of weeks in June have been more eventful than Nat and I had expected. Even our new neighbours have had their own excitement, too. This is the final year of high school for two of our grandchildren and a niece of mine, along with two birthdays in one week. For the first time in ages this was one of our busiest months.

The first birthday was for Zach, who turned 16 this past Sunday. Family members were treated with pizza, turkey on a bun, salads and delicious chocolate cake. Who could refuse anything! This was also the week that Zach’s little sister, Zoe, would be graduating Grade 8. My youngest niece has now grown up and is no longer that cuddly little rascal we all knew and loved. She showed me her gorgeous sequined, backless dress, beige high heels and explained how her hair was going to be done. Her Mom said Zoe was hesitant to go to the prom, but from my eyes I could see the twinkle in her eyes and I’m sure she’d have a great time. By way of birthday and graduation gifts, Nat and I popped some money in envelopes for the two kids to spend as they wanted. Naturally we all had a great time, but we had to leave earlier than usual, as I had my annual check-up at 9:00 am the next morning in Hamilton. Coming from Fort Erie it would take Nat and I over an hours drive to arrive at St. Joseph’s Hospitalget parked and walk the length of the building to the Transplant Clinic. I would have to be crawling out of bed by 6:00 am to get dressed and ready. What an ungodly time, at least for me!!

Arriving in Hamilton Tuesday morning, Nat and I got lucky and managed to park in the front parking lot, right next door to the Transplant Clinic which we’ve never been able to manage before. Parking in the back tiered parking garage is a nuisance and very difficult to find good spots. I guess early risers are rewarded!

During my appointment it was again emphasized that I need to lose at least 10 pounds, that my blood sugar levels should be maintained at 6, and Doc informed me that I did, in fact, have diabetesThis was a big surprise to me, as my blood sugar levels have remained in the 6 – 8 ranges. Not good enough apparently. Plus I emphasized to Doc that the weight loss has been extremely difficult despite the fact I continue to exercise. He then told me I couldn’t blame the Prednisone any more and he was going to prescribe another pill for diabetics along with the one I’m presently taking. This one, however, he advised may help me loose a little weight, but not to rely on it. At least this was a tiny bit of positive news and with that Nat and I drove home discussing how we would have to get back into a proper diet and exercise routine again. I admit to having fallen off the wagon somewhat this past year, but between an extremely long, cold, snowy winter, my depression episodes and other dramatic events, I found my “normal” life style going out the window. Ergo, we shall go forward in a more determined fashion this time. I’m going to hang my new dress in close view for Dalton’s wedding in September as an incentive to lose the weight. A couple pounds lighter will make it look even more spectacular (I hope).

After that early morning rise, Nat and I arrived home exhausted and spent the rest of Monday doing bloody nothing. Tuesday morning arrived and we were still somewhat lackadaisical so we just did whatever it was that had to be done and then back to those good old recliner chairs we so dearly love!! Seriously, I’m now getting concerned how attached we are to these things!!

Wednesday evening we were invited to Karly’s 22nd birthday get together at Marilyn’s. This was going to be the first time I would face my beloved stepdaughter, Laura, since those dark and stormy emails that were exchanged. Nat knew I was nervous and supported me the entire night. We had a great time and finally met Karly’s live-in beau, Mitch. An extremely nice looking young man and we knew he would be good for Karly. He has a good head on his shoulders and is into every kind of sport going, including fishing, camping, golfing and skiing. He was taking Karly on her first camping trip this weekend and we can’t wait to hear how things went!! The rest of the evening I kept Marilyn’s mother (aged 91 +/-) company while the rest of the cousins and adults mingled amongst themselves. We had a great meal of beef-on-a-bun, potato chips, veggie and fruit trays, along with good conversation between Marilyn, Shawn (Laura’s ex), his girlfriend, Linda, myself and Nat. I was able to avoid Laura for most of the evening and couldn’t look her in the face. Nat and I were joking how we were napping for an hour or so in the afternoons and Laura tried to inject her opinions, but I managed to stay clear while laughing along with the other adults. All in all the evening went well and I was pleased to get caught up on family matters with Shawn, Linda and Marilyn. Nat was able to talk to the grandkids on his own and get caught up on their news, and true to form he stood by me whenever possible. I felt positive about the whole affair.

Onto the next event – Thursday evening. Bridget’s Grade 12 graduation. Lucas’ graduation was the same night, but it was decided that Nat and I attend Bridget’s evening as Lucas’ other grandmother would be at his. We are now the only living grandparents of Felicia and Bridget and we were proud to attend her final days of school. The ceremony was nice (albeit a bit boring for two oldies!). I was never one that got excited about Valedictorian speeches, even at my own graduation, but Nat and I managed to make it through the entire evening. I will admit, however, to being a bit peeved at some family members in the audience. It became quite apparent who the favoured graduates were by their family and parents’ vocal loud hoots, holler, whistles, and clapping while watching a video summary of the graduates’ year.  They remained true to form during the awards ceremonies and I began to feel sorry for those graduates who had only one parent in the audience. I was a beneficiary of some of those loud excruciating whistles that came from behind me, entering through my left ear sounding like two tom cats fighting and whaling over some female cat in heat. God, the lungs on that woman! I quickly glanced over my left shoulder and couldn’t believe my eyes. There sat two youngsters, tattooed to the nines from shoulders to ankles, pierced ears, noses, lips and God knows what else, wearing apparel that suited an afternoon of ditch digging. Just to make things more morbid for me – they had a baby in tow. God can only look down and hope like hell their child will survive whatever life brings him.

With the frivolity over, we gathered in the huge hallway of the Americana Hotel, in Niagara Falls, found a spot for picture taking and snapped away. God bless Susan. She’s so good in recording everything her two girls do by taking pictures galore. Bridget’s boyfriend, Michael (another cutie) was also included in the mix, along with most of Bridget’s teachers. Nat and I felt like midgets standing next to Bridget, her dad and her boyfriend – all 6′ or over. I swear I was the Munchkin of the bunch. Nat and I soon said our goodbyes with hugs and kisses all around. By way of another mention – Felicia is flying to Italy & Greece this Sunday to meet up with some girlfriends, tour the sights and have some well deserved fun. Bridget will be going to Dominican later on this summer, so we wished both of the girls Bon Voyage, safe trip and instructions to snap away all they can and to Twitter us if they get a chance. We’ll be looking forward to seeing them as soon as they get home. Mom and Dad are worried, of course, but when you get a chance to travel like that it adds to your life experiences, your maturity and memories. This is also a good time to travel before the two girls get busy again in September with University and possible jobs.

Friday morning, again, found the two of us exhausted. We really are not night owls. There wasn’t even much to get by way of groceries – just a couple of items. Only because Nat had to go for gas we managed to scribble a few more items on the list to make it worth a trip to Sobey’s. I stayed home to organize next week’s pill container, do some month-end bookkeeping and maybe, just maybe, get some housework done. Once Nat arrived home we were certain we now had the day to ourselves. This was not to be! Mid-afternoon we received an email from dear sister, Gail, inviting us out for cake and ice cream to celebrate her son’s 50th birthday. Another night out, but what could be do. It’s only moments like this – special celebrations or holidays – that I get to see most of my sisters during the year. So, for me, it was a done deal.

Just prior to our lunch on Friday, we noticed the ambulance was parked in front of Richard and Helen’s home. We had just seen them drive down the road minutes prior, but suddenly they had returned with Helen now driving the car. The EMS guys were tending to Richard for quite a few minutes as he remained in the front seat.  Naturally, Nat and I began to speculate, and couldn’t help but continue to watch the scenario playing out. After some time, the ambulance attendants were helping Richard out of the car with his left hand supported by a board and bandaged up. Helen soon started up the car and followed the Ambulance down the road to the hospital. We felt so bad for the two of them. This was all they needed. As things turned out, Richard had fallen and broken his wrist. They were at the hospital for nearly six hours. We could only imagine Richard’s frustration with his left lower arm now in a cast – from elbows to fingers. I’m sure they’ll be glad to see the month of July arrive with hopefully better luck.

Assuming everyone would be at Gail’s we headed down the road for 7:00 PM. It soon became apparent we were the only family members that could make it. The two other households had made previous arrangements for that evening, so Nat and I were glad we, at least were there for our nephew.  Nice quiet conversations were had by all and naturally the cake and ice cream were fabulous. I had to cheat on the new diet, naturally, by having a nice-sized piece of cake. There was plenty to go around and besides I didn’t want to come across as being rude. Poor Gail had gone through all of this trouble and despite the last minute notice we managed to make a somewhat dent in the goodies.

We were fortunate enough to also have some unexpected entertainment. The volunteer Firemen had arrived in their shiny red firetruck at the house two doors down. Gail and her family became concerned as they knew the couple that lived there and suddenly the living room was empty as each one of them were seen scurrying across their front lawn to see what the fuss was all about. Nat and I remained indoors with Gail’s daughter, Liz, and it wasn’t long before the gang returned home. Turns out some kids were toasting marshmallows and some tell-tale neighbour called it in. There seems to be a bylaw in place that fires are not allowed in this rural area, but most locals usually look the other way. There seems to be some new goody-two-shoes that have moved in nearby. This proves why no one actually knew who had made the 9-1-1 call!!

Nat and I arrived home around 9:45 AM and I was ready for my bed. I mustered up some energy to watch TV for an hour, but then I had to hit the shower and my bed. God, where is this exhaustion coming from?? Seriously? I suppose we’ll have to start retraining ourselves for evenings out – Nah, I don’t think so!!

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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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