The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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Feeling Great, Then The Bottom Falls Out

The days following our Stratford Trip were good. My body was co-operating and not acting up in any mind-blowing way. The legs were steady. The mind was clear and calm. I continued feeling the love for a few weeks and it was wonderful. Could not believe my luck.

We were invited to Claudia’s for Thanksgiving dinner. No one in the family could rattle my chains, I was feeling that great. The entire afternoon was filled with catching up on family affairs, a lot of laughter and joking around. My nephew, Zach, has a very quick-witted, clever sense of humour and he was in top shape, as usual. The dinner was fabulous, albeit a tad late, but enjoyed by everyone. There’s always a game or two between courses and this time was no exception. A crossword puzzle that had everyone stumped, including myself (a half-decent crossword player). One of the desserts was Claudia’s usual chocolate cake and I confess to sneaking a couple of pieces to take home for my enjoyment over the rest of the holiday weekend.

The following weekend Nat’s golf group, The Rangers Golf Club, had its’ annual banquet and dance. This year they were having a live band (a trio – 2 guitarists and a drummer) which we were looking forward to. Over the last several years a DJ was hired and the banquet became a little quieter than usual. The meal was great – the usual salad course, pasta course, chicken course and dessert. The band was really rockin’ and the ladies confirmed it by their constant dancing with or without a male partner. I was envious I couldn’t join them (a bit about that later). Nat and I did manage to get in one slow dance, as we do every year. Nat, however, didn’t wear his best shoes and opted for comfort. His feet didn’t exactly glide around the floor as the soles of his loafers were the non-skid kind. We managed at least to “step” through our one soiree. All-in-all we really had a great time and the turn out of golfers was exceptional this year.

My dancing days were limited as I somehow woke up one morning after Thanksgiving and couldn’t straighten up. Tremendous pain was emanating from my right hip. I couldn’t stand straight, was hunched over almost touching my toes. I hobbled around as best I could during the day but the more I walked around the more painful my hip became.

Nat and I soon surmised I had a pinched nerve. I have had this before but not to this severity. Research indicated that rest would ease the pain and, it began to ease up enough during the week that I was at least able to attend the Rangers’ Banquet. Sunday morning after the Banquet was spent quietly with Nat enjoying the peace and quiet. That was soon followed by another painful twitch Monday afternoon. As I went to take a wee, I arose from the throne to more agonizing pain in the same area. For some ungodly reason, I pinched that bloody nerve again. I only took a wee!!!! So today (Tuesday) I’m back to where I was after Thanksgiving. I have a couple of appointments this week and I’ll have to really take care not to do anything stupid between then and now or I’ll be hobbling around places looking like an old lady walking around looking for loose change on the ground. God forbid!!!!

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The Plays The Thing

Not having been away for quite a long time, Nat and I decided to take a trip to Stratford, Ontario, see a play and check out all of the quaint shops downtown. We booked a bed and breakfast – The Blue Spruce B&B on Erie Street for 3 nights and purchased matinee tickets for a Shakespearan play – Romeo & Juliet. Nat’s never been to a Shakespearan play and I thought Romeo & Juliet would be a fairly easy one to understand.

We left home Friday mid-morning for our 2-1/2 hour journey. Believe it or not, we also came to the conclusion to completely rely on Garmin GPS. Her way or no way!! As we approached Hamilton, traffic was starting to get heavy and what to our surprise the GPS also recognized that fact as it re-routed us around the Burlington Bay Skyway telling us traffic was at a standstill. We were directed up Red Hill Valley Expressway to Highway 403 and beyond. The trip was pleasurable and what to our surprise, we arrived almost an hour earlier than check-in.

The Blue Spruce B&B is a quaint red brick house filled with Victorian furnishing and collectibles. You can stay in The Writer’s Room, The Music Room, Violet Penny – with appropriate decor. We chose The Writer’s Room filled with autographed books by authors from around the world, and a couple of framed pictures with attached hand-written notes.  Nat and I both enjoyed great nights sleeping in the mile-high queen-sized bed. We were also able to lounge on the day-bed whenever our hearts’ desired. It was wonderful.

Michael and Helen were fabulous hosts. At Saturday morning breakfast we were surprised by an exquisite breakfast of garlic toast, arugula leaves, goat’s cheese, gorgeous fried egg and 2 pieces of crispy bacon. Naturally, the whole thing (except eggs and bacon) were wasted on little miss fuss pot (moi) but Nat enjoyed the whole thing. Apparently, Michael is a great cook and will even host a pre-theatre dinner if booked in advance. His imagination is full of fabulous surprises and ideas.

We enjoyed our meal with another group of couples, one of which had done repetoire theatre and we had to tear ourselves away to get on with our day. The whole group, including Michael, amazed us at who they knew, where they lived in Stratford and the places they’ve been to. Naturally, they all sounded like regular Stratford Theatre goers (if not members).

Saturday afternoon Nat and I drove down to the theatre for the 2:00 PM showing. We thankfully found a parking spot down along the Avon River and made our slow ascent up the grounds to the top of the Stratford Theatre. I struggled with my weak legs, but managed to make it in time and upon entering the theatre were glad to be hit with a huge gust of air-conditioning. We picked an extremely hot weekend to go away, and Stratford was feeling the heat, exactly like Ridgeway. The theatre was  much bigger than I remembered almost 32 years ago when two sisters, a family member from Britain and I went to see The Merchant of Venince. Nat and I had first row centre balcony seats which were fabulous as we could see the entire stage.

At long last, the play began. Having seen a Shakespearean play before and studied the Bard in high school, my heart was pounding. I was ready to be lifted to another era, another time and place so long ago the English language wasn’t butchered as it is now. Nat was a good sport and tried as best he could to listen to what was being said. I had previously explained the story line and whispered a few scenarios in his ear, but it was obvious he wasn’t catching anything and lost in a fog. The sword fights were about as exciting as it got, along with the tragic ending, but he endured as best he could. At least now he can say he’s seen a play by Shakespeare.

To be brutally honest, I was a tad disappointed. The Artistic Director and others had somewhat “modernized” parts of the play. Certain words were updated – eg. days of the week, some use of modern day slang, and certain “asides” as the actors departed the stage. The actor playing Mercutio (a close friend of Romeo’s) a character with imagination, wit, biting satire, loves wordplay and a lot of sexual double entendres, emphasized a few sexual motions a little bit over the top for me. I understood the reasoning as the audience consisted of a lot of younger people and the actors did manage to garner quite a few laughs. I suppose I’m just a purist at heart, but it was still great to see a proper well-written play.

We were surprised upon arrival that if you did NOT book reservations at ANY of the restaurants in town, you were out of luck and the local McDonald‘s would be the only place to get something to eat. Finding out we had no idea when we checked in, our host, Michael, was extremely nice in booking us a table for Saturday at 7:00 PM at Rene’s with the promise that they had the best Beef Tenderloin he has ever eaten. He was so right. Nat and I both ordered the Beef Tenderloin with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables.  We returned to our room with smiles on our faces. Our evening was complete, and Nat was still able to catch his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs play a pre-season game.

Nat had been sick during the night, so Sunday morning, Michael had fixed the two of us (after letting him know) a smaller breakfast of tea and toast. Nat was still a little wonky and I’m just bloody picky. We had another great morning talking to Michael and hearing his stories. Apparently he was a journalist at one time and while running his business he’s writing a biography of one of Janis Joplin’s guitarists. He regailed us with stories of certain celebrities he’s met along the way and how he’s seen Gordon Lightfoot at least 20 times during his life. I was jealous – I’ve only seen him twice. His jokes were brilliant and we soon discovered we were kindred spirits in our love of all things British TV. We had seen the same mysteries, loved the same actors and felt that any American Imitation was just crappy. We all felt the Americans cannot do comedy or mystery like the Brits.

We soon tore ourselves away and decided to go to the Stratford Festival Shoppe which we had missed after the play on Saturday. Upon arrival, the shop was quiet and we both enjoyed browsing through the book section, the souvenir section and even the t-shirts. I was lucky and came upon a great t-shirt I think would befit my neice for her birthday in November. I bought a little Shakespeare figurine for myself and we were off to the grocery store to pick up a few sandwich-making items for lunch back at the B&B. We were in no mood for another restaurant meal.

While browsing downtown Stratford Saturday morning we wandered into the Indigena Art Shop. I couldn’t believe my eyes. All around me were paintings, prints and other small items done by a former co-worker I worked with in Edmonton, Alberta. She eventually left to pursue other things in life, including her artwork and has since become a very accomplished Sioux Artist – Maxine Noel (Ioyan Mani – her native name). I recall great times working with Maxine in a large law firm, including baseball games, skiing, double dating and even trying to teach me to play tennis. I’ve followed Maxine’s career from the last time we ran into each other coincidentally in Stratford a long time back when Nat and I had taken a two-day trip to check the little town out. I spotted her in a bar and grill having a drink while Nat and I were being seated for a meal. She’s accomplished such amazing things since then and her career has skyrocketed. If I had enough money I’d buy one of everything she does. I adore her work and now realize being a legal secretary once-upon-a-time was so lost on her.

Nat knows how I feel about Maxine and knew it was a done deal that I had to buy something of hers. I came upon a limited edition print on canvas that I loved. The price was within our range so the print “Lover’s” and a couple of her Note Cards was being wrapped and paid for. I had a smile on my face all the way home. It now hangs in our hallway where I see it everyday.

With our long weekend now at a close, Nat and I went downstairs for our final breakfast. Michael fixed Nat some tea and me a gorgeous fried egg. We talked some more with just the three of us at the table. Michael was gracious in joining us and more jokes and stories were told. I could talk to this man all day.

With breakfast done, we returned to our luggage now at the front door and said our goodbyes. I complimented Michael on his hosting and he replied we’d have a great time sitting around with a bottle of wine and talking about anything and everything. I couldn’t have agreed more. He’s only 2-1/2 hours away and nothing is stopping us from returning again one day.

We arrived home after hitting some horrendous traffic around Burlington. The police were just cleaning up after a tragic accident at the base of the Burlington Skyway Bridge where a motorcyclist was killed. The body covered with tarp still lay on the road with shards of glass spread everywhere. My heart sank – having only seen dead bodies on T.V. We eventually arrived home and were glad to be there. At least we both felt we had been away from our mundane lives and had a great experience at least for 4 days.

Avon River, Stratford, On

Swans along the Avon – Stratford, On

Swan on Avon River - Stratford, On

Swan on Avon River, Stratford, On

Lovers by Ioyan Mani (Maxine Noel)

“Lovers” by Maxine Noel (Ioyan Mani)


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I’ve Quit Cheating

After my eye surgery I slowly became frustrated that I had to use glasses to read. Everything from recipes, labels, computer screen, iPad screen, etc. Not wanting to pay a great amount of money I purchased some binocular-style eye glasses. I soon realized the Optometrist community calls them “Cheaters”. These glasses worked really well and I had purchased as many as I needed – one pair for the: kitchen, office, TV side chair, night stand and my purse. I figured I wouldn’t have to search around the house to find a pair whenever I needed them. The scheme worked for quite some time, but each pair of Cheaters was different in style and intensity. (I just picked up a pair wherever and if they worked, they worked).

With time I soon began to wonder if I should actually upgrade my old prescription and get a proper pair of reading glasses. I was soon reminded by the mailman when she dropped an appointment check-up in the mailbox. The card sat on the office desk for a week or two, as I tried to justify any extra expense we may incur. With Nat’s nagging, I soon picked up the phone and made the appointment.

When I admitted to my Optometrist what I was using, he didn’t really chastize me and he certainly understood the expense. Turns out the price wasn’t so bad, as our health insurance would cover all but $40.00 and I was getting a bifocal upgrade where I’d have a wider area of view, with a good computer screen portion. I’ll see in a day or two when they arrive how better my daily life will be without putting glasses on-and-off, on-and-off, on-and-off. A frustrating routine to say the least. AND No, I’m not ready for that fancy little chain that hangs around my neck. It will be like wearing a necklace which I can no longer do because of my sensitive skin. Another frustrating scenario.

I had another appointment with the old law firm I worked for. One of the secretaries had called to have me sign an “Affidavit of Execution”. I was a witness to a Will back in 1982 and would I come in for 5 minutes to sign the affidavit. Nat and I also had a couple of other errands in the big City that day.

As I walked in the door, I recognized the Receptionist, but any other secretary or lawyer walking through the lounge were complete strangers. I was suppose to meet a secretary, but her boss came into the lounge to greet me and turned out it was one of the lawyers I had known and, in fact, a son of the founding father of that firm. I remembered him as a a pull no punchesvery conservative, old school kind of man and I only got along with him because I absolutely adored his father, and his father liked me (he had told my boss one day who past it along). I had also done some secretarial work whenever his secretary was on holiday and he made it a point to tell me what good work I did.

As we sat in the small “signing office” the first thing out of his mouth was “how could your boss allow a Codicial to a Will be signed and witnessed out of the office and with two strangers as witnesses? I politely replied my long term memory has faded from my brain after my transplant (a bit of a fib – it’s actually my short-term memory). I signed what I had to and tried to leave the office, when another secretary I knew and liked, asked me to stay a bit longer, as her boss also had a Will that I had witnessed. She was going to call me in a week or so, but since I was already there – why not? So Nat and I waited as the Affidavit of Execution was being drawn up and printed out.

Thinking I’d see the secretary to sign, I was completely surprised when her boss came out and was immediately up to his old tricks of trying to “get my goat”. I’ve known this lawyer from the first day he started at the firm and we’ve always gotten along famously. He was one of a few lawyers in the firm I could actually say “go to hell” to. We were verbal jousters and enjoyed the challenge. We reminisced for a minute or two, I signed where required, and he asked me if I’d return. “Honestly?“, I asked. As he shook his head I told him I now had a bit of a sour taste in my mouth from how my sister was treated. He understood and with a big grin on my face, I told him of my wedded bliss in a small village with peace, quiet and tranquility. We hugged each other and with that I departed.

Nat and I were then on our way to Costco for our regular trip of groceries and once we arrived, we had no idea how busy this place would be late afternoon on Tuesdays. We bobbed and weaved our way through hordes of customers, got what we needed and then got the hell out of there. We’re at that stage in our lives where too many people in one place can no longer be tolerated. We’ve been spoiled by our peaceful little corner of the world.

This past week my last parcel from Land’s End arrived. For years, I’ve been searching to replace my favourite all-around short-sleeved Oxford Shirt. I’ve never shopped at Land’s End before because of their limited sizes. So when I was googling for “Oxford Shirts” and landsend.com showed up, I gave them a look-see. They had finally up-dated their sizes and what to my surprise they had the exact Oxford Shirts I had been looking for. I ordered one to try it out – perfect. I ordered two more in different colours – more perfection. What the hell, I then ordered the balance of colours and now have one shirt for every short or pair of pants I own. I also have a reserve shirt for my day-to-day housework. It’s going to be my workaholic top. Just to be totally anal about the whole thing, I went to WalMart and purchased a wooden hanger for every article of clothing in my wardrobe and that of Nat’s. We’re both pleased now that our clothes hang in an orderly fashion and not igglety, pigglety in our closet.

I must add that the month of September has been really great physically and emotionally. Long may it continue!!


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This Is The Short and Long Of It.

The days are long, the nights fall away too fast. So there sit hubby and myself as the Summer months decrease without much ado.

We’ve had a few activities of late. The party for my nephew’s 18th birthday was great. As usual the family frivolity was raucous and up-lifting. I, again, had a chance to get caught up with my other sisters, nieces and nephew on their comings and goings. I truly have to admit that at this stage in my life I’m jealous. When someone asks us “So, what’s new with you guys?”, my brain goes to mush to try and think of something exciting we’ve been up to. Alas, we can’t even come close to the others. Their travels, adventures and resulting stories are beyond what Nat and I could ever get up to, being the boring old sods we’ve become. I still enjoy listening and laughing along immensely.

Our one big event this past month came by way of an invitation to one of Nat’s golfing buddies 50th Wedding Anniversary. Nat golfs with the husband three days a week, and we’ve been to dinner with this couple in the past. The wife is Quebec French, speaks English enough for me to understand, but talks a little too fast for Nat. They’re definitely a fun couple and we love their company.

The anniversary party was held at their home in Port Dalhousie with a guest list of close to 100 people – mostly family and friends from Quebec who had travelled for hours on end and would be staying a few nights to enjoy each other. The Anniversary Couple decided not to do any of the work – and who could blame them – so caterers were hired to set everything up – tent, chairs, food, drink and an anniversary cake accompanied by gorgeous cupcakes.

As Nat and I walked towards the back of the house, the French language could be heard emanating around us. We were greeted by our friend and his wife, wished them congratulations and then wandered around to check everything out. Our friend owns and rents out the house next door to him, so there was plenty of space for guests to mix and mingle. We walked around where pockets of French were heard, along with pockets of English along with laughter and screams coming from the children in the swimming pool. They certainly had the perfect day, weather wise, for this whole soiree.

After meeting a few of the family, Nat and I soon found our way to some seating under the tent. Our necks were twisting and turning as we watched the party-goers and family members talk amongst themselves. It wasn’t long after that, a foursome sat down beside us. We introduced ourselves and the conversation started. I, for one, was very relieved one couple was originally from England. To top it off, the husband was from Manchester and a huge Manchester United football fan. I suppose you almost have to be if you’re born there. It’s probably a law, or something.

I’m not a discriminator of the French language and, in fact, am truly sorry I didn’t learn to speak it fluently. Yes, I know, I still can, but my patience has been lost somewhere between hear and the Atlantic Ocean. So having a couple born in Britain sit next to us was somewhat of a relief so Nat and I could have a more fluent conversation. The loud voices around us could, at times, drown out any talking resulting in Nat not being able to hear, especially with his newer hearing aid that (in my opinion) isn’t as good as the last one.

The entire party was lovely, the speeches (as always) a little too long and the food was delicious. Arriving around 3:30 pm and the time now well after 8:00 pm, Nat had to take me home. I was very tired and had pills to take. (Sadly, a routine that can break up a lot of get-togethers for us). It was our first night out in a long while, but was good.

Finally, this past week saw our Landscaper (GreenScapes Niagara) come around with the soil and garden stone for the bottom of the yard. This small project is going to help Nat when he’s mowing the lawn. He won’t have to twist and turn around the edge of the creek with the regular lawn mower, saving him quite a bit of time out in the summer heat. Wood edging now runs east to west across the lawn in a straight line about 10 +/- feet up from the shores of the creek. The area inbetween was filled with a plastic ground cover, lots of dirt and then garden rock.

Nat’s pleased with how the landscaping turned out and will certainly shorten his lawn mowing time. Hopefully, this next Spring we’ll find some large garden pots to plant with plenty of decorative, colourful plants to fill the space. Just spruce the joint up a bit!

With nothing else on our agenda, Nat suggested maybe we take a drive to Port Dover yesterday for a walk-about along with a Fish ‘n Chip lunch. We took the 2-2/2 hour drive using Garmin and with all things “Nat & Twila” the day somehow hits the proverbial rocks and went down the toilet from there.

The drive in was easy enough and when we arrived Nat asked if I wanted to check out the shops. With me, that’s always a given. Not being able to make up my mind, however, we decided to park down by the beach. Somehow I became a bit dazed. My legs were sore from sitting in one position for so long. The sun was beaming down and I was getting a bit hot. I asked Nat if we could do the shops, but by the time I began to walk the distance from the beach to the main street, I was about to collapse. He went back for the car and found a parking spot on Main Street, but then I became very disappointed. There was nothing of interest in any of the shops for me. I could tell Nat was getting a little disappointed. He had suddenly become very quiet. After a bit of a “discussion” on Main Street, we decided to go for lunch, maybe that would quiet things down.

Not knowing where any of the indoor restaurants were, and I had previously done a little research for fish ‘n chip places, I suggested we go to a very popular spot called “Willies” down by the beach. We were a little disappointed upon arrival. This was strictly an outdoor joint. Place your order, find a seat on the patio and watch the world go by. As we checked the menu, Nat found he could have his Perch lunch and I could get some Haddock. We took a seat but once we began to eat, I stated my huge disappointment in the Chips – over-fried, crunchy inside and out – with the fish not as well battered as I had hoped. I could tell from Nat’s face he was thinking the same thing.

We slowly ate in silence. I apologized for ruining his day and his silence said it all. He agreed his day had been ruined. In my defence I had long forgotten how hilly Port Dover is, how this was definitely a beach community with take-away, outdoor eateries and not a whole lot of quaint gift shops. I’m guessing the Bikers on Friday the 13th don’t exactly come for the shopping.

The day only got worse when we began to drive home. We set Garmin to Go Home but what to our surprise it was taking us a completely different way from whence we had come. We were told to turn right onto Haldimand Rte 3 instead of Provincial Rd. 3 throwing us a curve ball that lead to heated discussions about what was going on. I felt like Nat was looking to me for answers and (in my ignorant manner) began to explain what I thought was happening. I told him, in the end, that we could still get to Hwy. 3 once we arrived at Dunnville.  We continued driving in complete silence, arriving at Dunnville a half hour later. More frustration set in as Nat was unsure what to do and where to go. We soon found the road to turn onto to get back onto our beloved Hwy. 3 to home. It was extremely easy to do with sign posts everywhere. The balance of the ride home was in complete silence, but the Garmin situation was giving me an itch I had to scratch.

As Nat drove along, I reached for the GPS and went into the Settings. Long story short, I had soon realized that with the last Garmin Update done on the computer, the whole GPS had returned to its original Default Settings. With one of our trips we had changed the Settings – map display to 3-D, driving route to “Fastest” and not “Quickest” (huge difference), along with a few other minor items. I decided to open my mouth again and tried to explain to Nat what might have happened. I could see his face thinking this whole scenario out, and finally agreed that might have been the reason.

Our Tuesday trip was over – at last!! Arriving home in more silence, total frustration and disappointment we tried to think of what to have for supper and then headed to our recliner chairs. Please God, lights out and let this day be over. With all things “Nat and Twila” the silence continued into Wednesday morning with a little tip-toeing around afraid of who was thinking what, but each were afraid to ask.

 


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A Day In The Life. Seriously!!

6:45 am – sleepishly hear Nat arise from bed, get clothes and go to bathroom to get ready for the day

6:46 am – roll over onto Nat’s side of bed and fall back asleep

8:33 am – slowly wake up, step onto floor, grab clothes and go to bathroom to get ready for the day

8:50 am – walk to office, turn on computer, printer and mouse – roll up window blinds

8:51 am – walk into living room, kiss Nat good morning

8:51 am – walk to kitchen, get morning pills, drink and take to living room

8:52 am – walk to office, print out LA Times Crossword puzzle for Nat – go into Crossword Blog  for theme of puzzle and write in one or two to get Nat started

8:55 am – return to living room, give Nat his puzzle, sit in recliner chair, ask each other how we slept – start to discuss what’s for lunch and supper

9:00 am – take regimen of pills – squint eyebrows and rattle head to think of what to eat for meals

9:05 am – still trying to decide what to eat for lunch and supper – discuss various ideas

9:07 am – go to freezer to remove meat or fish for supper to thaw

9:08 am – grab 4 mints from freezer, turn on iPad to play games, read Twitter feed – Nat does crossword puzzle – answer any crossword questions Nat stuck on

10:30 am – make sandwiches for lunch and put aside – return to recliner

11:00 am – Nat makes coffee

11:15 +/- – Eat lunch while watching one of many taped TV shows

12:05 pm – clean up from lunch

12:10 pm – return to recliner to decide what to do for rest of day

12:15 pm – Nat works in garden, if necessary, I run errands or do office work or maybe bake

2:30 +/-  pm – Both finished and return to recliner chairs to wait until time to fix supper

3:45 pm – Start to fix supper

4:15 pm – Eat supper

4:45 pm – Clean up, put on evening track suits for comfy

4:46 pm – Nat returns to recliner, listens to music waiting for his show at 5:00 pm – I go to office to watch a TV show/podcast while playing Freecell game

5:30 pm – Return to my recliner chair – begin watching regular 3 news shows – local, national and American

7:00 pm – unless hockey game – settle in for night of TV watching whatever that may be – DVD collection, taped TV shows or regular TV

8:30 pm – take evening regimen of pills

10:30 pm – off to bed – Winter time lucky to keep awake until 11:00 pm

10:32 pm – take nighttime regimen of pills

10:33 pm – Kiss Nat good night

10:45 pm – Lay in bed, play one iPad game – lights out.

Good night.


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I Can See Clearly Now

Finally, I had the second cataract surgery done on my right eye. After being delayed I became a little anxious, as by now, I wanted it over with.

Knowing what to expect this time, my anxiety was a little lower except for the fact that the surgery was put forward to 8:00 AM with an arrival time of 6:00 AM.  I love my sleep and it was sheer torture for me to get up at 5:00 AM, get dressed and be out the door by 5:30 for the drive to Welland General Hospital.

Entering the hospital my groggy eyes finally fully opened and as Nat wandered down to the reception area, I proceeded to get checked in. The two gowns, the ooey, gooey gel, answer same old questions as before and have the IV put in. This nurse had a problem trying to get the IV in, so she left a note for the Anaesthetist (thank God as he was perfect).

This time I was the first patient. Thankfully I would be done in time for Nat and I to get home, have a bite to eat and manage to get one or two things done around the house before returning to the hospital again to have the patch removed.

My relief was self-evident once arriving home. I was now doctor-free for the rest of the year, except for an annual check-up in June. I treasure my freedom from the medical community and despite the fact it’s only April, the year so far has seemed long and stressful. Nat had one chest scare in January, all of the pre-op appointments for the cataract surgeries in January and February, my first cataract surgery and Nat’s second chest scare in March, a major side ache and pains experienced by me the first of April, an ultrasound test, an appointment with my Nephrologist and then finally the second cataract surgery. For us, those were busy times.

Getting the great ultrasound results was a huge relief. My kidney, liver, pancreas, etc. were all scanned and are in excellent shape. After explaining the whole scenario to my General Physician and then my Nephrologist, it was suggested that it might just have been a big ‘ole gas bubble!! Only I would have a gas bubble that big and painful.

In between visits with the medical community, our lives have been relatively quiet. Nat has finally had the joy of using the new riding lawn mower purchased from our neighbours before they moved to Kitchener. He admits it does a nice job and cuts his mowing time in half. I’m glad he likes it and hope it really helps when the heat and humidity are upon us. Too bad we couldn’t devise some sort of shade/umbrella for over his head to protect it from those hot rays of sunshine.

I also had a chance to say my goodbyes to the staff at the TanJay/Alia Shop at Niagara Square before they closed their doors forever. The convenient location of this shop, its friendliness and inventory made it nice to wander around on those days I needed some “alone time”. A few days later, Nat and I took a trip to the Canada Outlet Mall to check out their TanJay/Alia store. The Niagara Square store gave me a couple of coupons, so it goes without saying I found several items I couldn’t live without. To enjoy a little more of the gorgeous day, we walked further down the Mall to say hello to our grandson, Lucas, at the Nike Store. He’s finished his first year at Niagara College and is continuing his job for the summer. For the first time in eons, we had a great one-on-one talke and found our once shy grandson to now be more outgoing. We left our growing potential basketball player to get on with the job at hand and said we’d see him again.

It’s now been the second day since surgery and my right eye is coming along great. I’ve noticed, however, that I’m having trouble reading my Twitter feed on the iPad, along with other close-up writings. I tried using Nat’s reading glasses and they’ve helped, so it looks like I may be making a visit back to our eye doctor for a new assessment of my eyes after the surgery. I have that sinking feeling reading glasses are going to be in my future. After the first eye was done, everything was so clear I was beginning to hope that reading glasses wouldn’t be necessary. I’ll hang on until I see my eye surgeon this week and see what he has to say. It’s very frustrating not to be able to read but at least on the iPad I can stretch out the screen making the words larger.

It looks like the month of May is going to be a quiet one. I’m hoping I can get back to some baking. I’m also looking forward to going to the Dunlop Community Centre to the Art Show they’re having on the 6th. Sisters, Gail and Bonnie, along with the other artists, will be showing their works and this will be the first time Nat and I have had a chance to see everything they’ve been up to. Maybe I can get lucky and find something to hang on our walls??

Here’s hoping for a peaceful, quiet summer – no doctors, no Ambulances, no ERs. Just give me the patio, a big ‘ole easy lounger and my iPad and I’ll be ecstatic.


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Rainy Days And Foggy Heads

As life goes, so does our misadventures. This past Friday Nat started to feel a small pain at the bottom of his rib cage. By 2:00 we were unsure as to what to do and he kept looking at me for advice.  My advice was only he knew how bad he was feeling but I did interject that “better safe than sorry” was always a good credence to follow.

We looked at each other knowing that if we called the ambulance the rest of our day was shot. It was now close to 2:30 and I called 911 for the ambulance. Calling 911 was an experience in itself – being asked so many questions, given so many instructions (in case of a heart problem) and what to have on hand when the paramedics arrived – have his meds ready, his Health Card on hand, stand at the door and keep an eye on any further developments in his condition. My mindless brain was spinning and forgetting half of what the operator was telling me.

The paramedics arrived from just down the street, sat Nat in the dining room and he was soon plugged in to a heart monitor, blood pressure cuff and temperature taken. His pain, naturally was now starting to dissipate somewhat, but the paramedics detected a slow heart rate and he was now being strapped into the stretcher, covered up and wheeled into the back of the ambulance for a ride to Niagara Falls General Hospital.

I was now trying to gather my thoughts on what to do next as I’m very unfamiliar how to get to the Niagara Falls Hospital. I get the GPS set up, double check the address on Google Maps for a visual of where I was going, grab Nat’s wallet, my coat and purse and I’m off.

Going down Sodom Road was the easy part, but the GPS was not taking me the same way that Google Maps was. Suddenly I’m crossing the QEW and headed towards Chippawa. The GPS was taking me another way through Niagara Falls and I’m now getting a bit unsettled.

I’d been this way before when Nat and I went to see my sister at Fallsview Casino but Portage Road can be very confusing in its twists and turns. As the rain was still on I was having a hard time getting the defogging gadgets working so I could see clearly out the front window. While driving through rush hour traffic, I was opening the driver’s window, the passenger window and even the back seat window. Eventually I got things working and I’m sure a few people behind me thought I was drunk as I swerved a bit trying to get everything organized.

Once I reached the twists and turns of Portage Road I accidentally took a wrong right and ended up in unfamiliar territory. I was now baffled and confused. I made a couple more turns and headed towards the parking lot of a Church to get my bearings. I reset the GPS to get me to the Hospital from where I was and luckily I was only a couple blocks away.

Departing from the car with the rain still on I grabbed the umbrella which was stuck in the down position and I was getting soaked by the time I managed to get the damn thing put up. I headed towards the Emergency Room, found the two ambulance attendants who were now getting ready to leave and was directed to where Nat lay waiting . He was plugged in again with blood being taken along with the blood pressure cuff making its noise every so many minutes. The orderly was hooking him up to another monitor and asking him a dozen questions – the same asked by the ambulance attendants. I sat beside his bed and we began to wait. Somehow we had been here before but, God willing, for not as long

We had a gorgeous Roast Chicken waiting for us at home and it was now past 4:00 pm. We waited a bit more, spoke to the orderly whenever he appeared to check on Nat and waited some more.

Finally the Doctor arrived, checked all of Nat’s test results, asked him the same questions and gave us her thoughts. She advised that the pain was coming from the stomach area and she asked Nat more questions about ulcers, etc. She was satisfied that Nat was okay, the pain had now completely cleared and he was finally disconnected from all of that machinery and cleared to go home.

As Nat was getting dressed, his hand began to bleed where the shunt had been removed.  We grabbed some Kleenex  for him to hold over his hand until we reached the car. As we were exiting the Emergency room, I realized I had forgotten Nat’s shoes (he was in his slippers) and coat. The rain was still on, so I went to get the car to pick him up. Damn, I had left the back window down and the rain had pretty much drenched the entire side of the door, along with parts of the back seat.  Luckily the parking lot was practically empty and no one stole our little red “Ruby” as I had also managed to leave the damn thing unlocked!!

With Nat now safely seated in the car and with me at the wheel, he began to direct me out of this foreign establishment. The rain was a bit heavier now and as I was trying to turn left onto Stanley I assumed an approaching car was turning right onto the street I was on.  It turns out I was wrong and as he angrily beeped his horn at me I back off and tried to explain to my very scared husband that the rain made it look like his lights were flashing to turn. Finally all things were clear and we were soon on our way home.

One of these days, I swear, my foggy brain is going to get me into deep trouble. As weird as it sounds I have to remember to think, think, think!!!

When we arrived home it was now 5:45 pm but we were both very hungry and decided to proceed with our supper plans – Roast Chicken with French fries.  With all things now calm we enjoyed our meal, sat back and watched the news as if the day was all a crappy dream.