The White Cottage


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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.

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Cataract Surgery – Seeing Is Believing

Thursday morning:- Finally the day arrived for my cataract surgery. My appointment was for 9:40 AM and I was to arrive 2 hours prior to that. I endured the routine of eye drops 3 times a day prior to surgery and went to bed early in order to rise up at the ungodly hour of 6:30 AM the day of.

We arrived at Welland Hospital in plenty of time, checked in and my name was soon called by a nurse for prep. She took my blood pressure (understood), asked again about my medical history (a little too much, in my opinion, but I understood some things), confirmed which eye was being done, applied the typical hospital wrist band (being tagged in case of escape) and (although forewarned) she applied some gel to my left eye. This was awful. It was gooey, sticky and felt like my eye was full of JELLO but I couldn’t remove it. Then, to my greatest surprise and while my eye is gelled closedshe handed me a blue pen and asked me to initial my left hand. Having never heard of this I was now full of smart-ass remarks. Along with the wrist tag and the initials on my arm, where in hell could I possibly go!!! I was a marked woman. My giggles were being suppressed – this was a bit overkill in confirming which eye (I assumed this is what the initials were for). Being left-handed it was a bit wonky using my right hand, but I got it done.

She then began to put in the shunt for the anesthetist and having extremely thin skin, this broad was starting to get on my nerves. It really takes a good surgical nurse to put shunts in my hand, and this one needed a few more days of training. She finally managed after hearing a few little yelps from me. She didn’t even have an “I’m sorry”, but just “I’m almost there”.

I was then advised to return to the waiting room, keep my eyes closed for about 10 minutes and wait to be called for my time. As I joined the others I wanted to laugh out loud – there sat a room full of mostly senior women, along with 1 man, all dressed in two blue hospital gowns (one going front to back and the second going back to front), blue hair nets, blue jeans, holding their personal blue medical binders, wrist bracelets, heads down and eyes closed. I claimed my chair in what I felt was now some sort of Twilight Zone, and joined the rest of the schmucks about to hopefully have better sight. God, this had better be worth this humiliation.

As Nat was still sitting with me and the room was filling up with one-eyed blue people, he left for the main lobby where he could sit, play  his music and wait for me to return to the recovery room. Within a half hour my name was finally called and I was soon wheelchair bound down the hall to the surgical room.

The nurse faced me towards the end of the hall, and to the left was a male patient waiting to be taken in for his surgery. They had covered me in blankets around my shoulders, along my legs and even placed a warm blanket for my lap. It really wasn’t that cold folks!! As I was sitting there, I could hear the voice of another patient I had struck up a conversation with coming from behind me. She was having her surgery done by another Opthomologist and was now waiting in line, like moi, but for the life of me I couldn’t turn around and wish her luck – I was being smothered in blankets and an oxygen tank behind me. If I cranked my neck anymore I’d be wheeled to a whole other department for a neck injury!!

Suddenly the gentleman in front of me was wheeled into the surgical room. Not long after they closed the door, I heard strange noises emenating from the room – a little whirling, a little light show and even a voice once or twice. What in hell was I in for!!! If I was quick I could toss the blankets and make a run for it – but alas, remembering I was a marked woman I wouldn’t get far.

Within 10 minutes the surgical door swung open and this gentleman was wheeled out none the worse for wear except wearing his plastic eye patch taped across his left eye. He had to wait to be wheeled back to the recovery room by a nurse. I soon had the anesthetist introduce himself, check my blue medical binder and tell me it would only be a couple of minutes now. I sat and watched parts of the room as they cleaned things up, put things back in order and donned new masked. I also had Dr. Phirbai come out and take a look at my eye.

As I could walk, in I went looking all around and getting a good look at everything around me. I was told to hop up on this flat surgical table with a little head rest at one end. As I lay there, now covered in that warm blanket, another anesthetist prepped things and I was soon looking down the front of a medium-sized round spongy thing with a tube puffing oxygen right into my face. Okay, that feels kind of weird, but I knew what it was there for. I was then looking straight up into Dr. Phirbai’s face as he strapped my head down with a piece of tape to the table. No escaping chance now – I was taped in!!

I soon knew what the gel was for and really didn’t feel like any anesthetic was being used, but I was relaxed and some clear plastic was placed over my eye and I was instructed to watch the little balls. The time was nigh – it was being done.

For the next 10 minutes (or whatever) I enjoyed a psychedelic light show in my left eye. The little white balls moved around, a couple went hither, one went yon. Then there were some circles of dark light that became background images, along with a few other array of images and colours. Within a second or two I felt a little pressure on my eye, and then my head was being released from the tape and I was told I was done. A little tipsy getting down from that bloody high surgical table, I returned to the wheelchair and away I was whisked to the recovery room, with eye patch in place and ready to greet my loving husband.

When I arrived in the recovery room, the usual vitals were taken to be sure I still had a pulse and they soon handed me a small cup of apple juice and the world’s smallest muffin. As Nat soon found where I was it was within a few minutes I was released and allowed to go home. Now close to lunch time I was a marked hungry woman. Give me food, dear.

When we arrived home the first thing that was removed was the wrist band and the initials, leaving me with a white face cloth now coloured blue. We made lunch, sat for an hour and then had to return to Welland General for 3:30 PM to have the Doc remove the eye patch and make sure everything went well. Walking down the hall to the Doc’s office we were greeted with a line-up of chairs holding patients with the same thing in mind – see the Doc and having their patches removed. God, there must have been about 25 or more. We found a seat, soon struck up a great conversation with another couple from Port Colborne and had a great laugh. The husband also worked at GM so he and Nat did a bit of reminiscing. I was lucky in that I was the third person to be called once Dr. Phirbai arrived (apparently, he’s notorious for being late). I was only in for a minute, as he removed my patch, looked through his eye machine and gave me the all clear. I was now homeward bound to continue that tedious task of eye drops, ointment, more eye drops and wearing that patch at night. After all of the sights and sounds I saw and heard, I guess I can at least handle an eye drop or two.

Whoever said cataract surgery was easy, doesn’t live in my body and have a right hand that looks like someone put it through a wringer-washing machine (only the old folks will know what that is). I’m still a marked woman for a t least a couple more weeks  Ah, but I Can See Clearly Now.

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Bad Luck Comes In 3’s -Please!! Let It End There.

These whole crappy bad luck days began this past Friday. Nat decided he wanted to change cell phone carriers. His Roger’s yearly plan was charging him by the dollar amount and not by the minute – ergo he was losing money from his account faster than he was using it. He found that Telus has a yearly plan that went by the minute and it made more sense to change over now when his Roger’s plan was down to $8.00.

An added note:- In October of 2016 Nat updated his old Nokia unlocked phone to a new SKY unlocked phone from Staples. After checking them out at the store, we ordered one online a few days later.

Friday afternoon, we decided to go to Telus to sign up as the Roger’s plan was now down to $8.00 and wouldn’t be renewed until June of this year. We’d be out of minutes long before that and it was going to cost us extra. We drove to Niagara Square, found the Telus Store, signed up for their new yearly plan, had SIM card inserted, and were now ready to go, or so we thought.

Saturday, as usual, I started doing laundry and in order to prepare for my upcoming Cataract Surgery we headed down to WalMart to buy some collapsible headphones for Nat. He was going to stay with me at the hospital for over the 3 hours it was going to take – waiting, eye drops, waiting, eye drops, surgery, waiting, eye drops and then hopefully home. While waiting, Nat could listen to his music on his iPod Mini and hang around the front lobby to pass the time. When we returned home, Nat decided to put the new Telus SIM card into the old Nokia phone, thinking he might like a change. The damn Cell wasn’t accepting the new SIM card no matter what he tried. AND THEN, when he went to put the card BACK into the NEW SKY phone, the card wasn’t working there either. What in hell happened!!!!

Not being too sure exactly what was going wrong and discovering that the battery charge wasn’t staying where it should have, we checked and re-checked online for a possible new battery but to no avail. Soon found out you have to return to the Cell Phone maker for such a thing. We continued putting the SIM card back and forth into each cell phone and nothing was happening. Total frustration was now setting in, and it didn’t help at all that everything connected with cell phones goes completely over my head. I have no idea what anyone is talking about when it comes to plans, the inner workings of a cell and get very touchy when it comes to such things. Everything was just fine before dear hubby decided to play around with this stuff. After several “discussions” between the two of us we left things alone until the next day. It was now getting a little heated in this little home of ours!!

Sunday morning the SKY cell battery was at 100% and by noon was down to less than 50%. Nat was now worried why the Telus SIM card was no longer working and what the hell was going on with the phone. That afternoon, we had no choice but to return to the Telus Store at The Square to hopefully get the SIM card re-inserted. It was obvious we were doing something wrong. This is where we got totally perplexed with more frustration setting in.

The staff at the Telus store soon informed us:

(1)  Roger’s had locked our Nokia phone to their network when we were using their service (the unlocked Nokia phone was “unlocked” only for certain carriers and once you use them they become permanently locked until you PAY a fee to unlock them!!!!);

(2) the new SKY phone definitely had something wrong with it as the staff checked the SIM card with their equipment and it was definitely working. We would have to return to Staples store to hand it in for new battery or repair.

(3) the new unlocked SKY phone should be unlocked for all carriers – as it was an international phone. Who knew!!!!!

So, like the good little consumers we are, we drove over to the Staples store across town and were immediately informed – they don’t carry the batteries nor do they do repairs. We would now have to call the SKY tech service to see what we should do. As the phone was still under warranty, we were told it shouldn’t really be a problem.

As we were returning home, we discovered the 4-way traffic lights were all out at Stevensville, downtown Ridgeway and beyond. The generator was also running as we pulled into the drive. Once inside not only was the hydro down, but so was the computer, TV and home phone lines. The generator was doing its job – we still had lights, heat, stove and fridge, etc. We just couldn’t watch TV or play on the computer. We were now really worried about what was going on in our lives. Somehow, somewhere, someone wanted us to suffer.  We were totally shut off from the world. Not knowing, was driving me around the bend, so I decided to drive up to our local drug store until I tried to open the door and realized they were closed on Sundays. However, lucky me, the owner and his wife were in there doing work and Donnie let me in to find out what was going on. Yes, he had cell service, yes, he had TV (on Roger’s cable) and phone line service. He wasn’t, however, aware how big the outage was – all the way back to Stevensville. With that knowledge I returned home but we were still baffled as to why we had no TV, phone or computer. I couldn’t even get news from my Twitter account on my  iPad – our internet was out. Now I’m a little scared!!

Around 4:00 pm the power came back on. HALLELUJAH!!!!! When all was said and done, the power outage had also affected Cogeco customers in this area – of which included US. The outage had lasted close to 4 hours and we were at least lucky enough to have a meal with a working stove.

Monday morning, all is back to normal – we think! I decided to call the toll-free tech number given to us by the staff at Staples. Not necessarily a fun call, as I had a hard time understanding this lady from Doral, Florida and she had a hard time understanding what I was trying to tell her. After quite a few minutes, we managed to straighten things out and were informed we would have to fill out a form she was going to email us, wrap up our SKY phone and return it to them for repair. Once receiving the form and printing it out, the fonts were so small I had to use a magnifying glass to read the damn thing. AND NO, it wasn’t just me, it was Nat, too!!

We packaged up the phone – I just happened to have the perfect box – included the form and with a $20.00 postage stamp the damn thing was on its way to sunny Florida. How nice for it!! The delivery will take 4-5 business days to get there and who the hell knows how long to get the damn thing back. So, as it stands now, Nat is without a cell phone for my surgery tomorrow, which isn’t really a big deal, but it’s become a part of his body and he’s lost without it. The security of it all, I suppose. We now sit and wait.

With everything else going on, it was about time I filed the GST/HST for the solar panels with is due the end of the month. With my eye surgery being done tomorrow, I felt it best to get it done beforehand. Everything went well, as usual, until it came time to submit my payment online through the Canadian Revenue Agency site, which is extremely handy. Every time I tried my debit card it was refused and told it wasn’t being accepted. I tried and tried over and over again – maybe my account number was wrong, maybe I had the wrong PIN number. Nope, everything was right at my end, but total frustration was again setting in, as I’ve done this from the beginning. I ended up calling the Bank of Montreal to inquire as to what was going on. I was informed that as we received new Tap ‘n Go” debit cards in April of 2016, and that they were with the good folks at MasterCard, the CRA had not been updated yet to accept these cards. Apparently all kinds of stores and services were on their list to be completed. More damn dumb luck!!!!

That’s the 3 – the old and new cell phones – the hydro – the debit card. I’ve got eye surgery tomorrow at 9:40 AM and not being a good early riser, things had better go really well, or there’ll be hell to pay and I wouldn’t want to be in Nat’s shoes if that happens.

Wanting to get this payment done, Nat and I drove to our local Bank of Montreal and paid the account there. Done at last.

There actually was one more thing – our Cogeco cable receiver. For several weeks now the receiver was cutting out for a few seconds but only on recorded events. Plus the TV guide wouldn’t load very quickly. We’d get the names of a few shows and then a lot of “To Be Announced”. The only good thing about this was when I called the tech people at Cogeco they were great. The receiver only had to be reset at their end. Thank God for small mercies.

After my cataract surgery in the morning, I’m returning  home, sticking half of my head into sand (have to keep the surgical eye clean, ya know!) and won’t be coming up for air until this month is over. It’s not been a good one and I’ll at least have until April 27th when I get my right eye done. God, here’s hoping the start of April will be a good one.

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Eating Humble Pie But Still Feeling Good

SO !!  After my email to Cafe´ Amore´ expressing my disappointment in our Valentine’s Day lunch, I received a response a day later. I really wasn’t looking for any response, but a nice gentleman sent me an email explaining the Dinner Menu being used on special occasions instead of the Lunch Menu. He also apologized for my burnt Lasagne, which was very nice.

It appears I had jumped to a few conclusions – or assumptions – and I was soon made aware that I had to dismount from that high horse of mine. I decided to post the response from Cafe´ Amore´ – even though I didn’t make a copy of my original email (that was done directly from the restaurant’s web site), but there is a small synopsis of how our evening went on my previous posting. I’m also posting my reply and duly apologizing for certain assumptions made. After all, fair is fair.

Email from Cafe´ Amore´:

Thank you for your email and your thoughts regarding Valentine’s Day.

I am sorry your lasagne was dry, it is usually quite delicious and moist. I apologize for that.

We do run our dinner menu all day on three occasions each year. Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

We do this for several reasons. First, these are the three busiest days of the year and there is a lot of preparation to do in the kitchen to ensure there is enough food ready. We don’t have time to prepare food specifically for lunch and then again for dinner while  trying to switch the kitchen over from lunch service mode to dinner service mode. We therefore focus on one meal service for the entire day and execute that all day long.

Second is the demand from customers who want to order from the dinner menu on special occasions. For example, this Valentine’s Day there was a party of 25 who were coming at lunch and wanted to order dinner.  It was a special day they wanted to celebrate together. Then there are others who want to have an early dinner to avoid the crowds that occur on special occasions, so they come for dinner at lunch.

We always inform people who are making reservations of the menu offered, just we did with you.

The meatball pasta your husband enjoyed is the same price and portion at lunch as it is at dinner. The large salads offered at lunch are exactly the same at dinner. There is no price difference. For lighter fare a bowl of soup and small side salad can be ordered if that is all someone really wants to eat. There are several lighter choices on the dinner menu as well.

Our intention is not to be greedy but rather to do what we can to service the demands of the day and the requests of our guests.

If you would provide me with a mailing address I can send you out some coupons to use another day to make up for the dry lasagne. I know you didn’t ask for anything but I would like to send them to you.

Thanks again for your comments.


My Reply:

Dear Allan:

Thank you so much for your response. It seems I’ve made certain assumptions regarding your Restaurant and am now eating humble pie. I was taking out previous frustrations from another restaurant that charges “Holiday” prices on at least 10 occasions and during the month of December. I should never have clumped other establishments into the same group.

I apologize if I implied your establishment was being greedy, and assumed your Dinner Menu was used more often than the 3 occasions you stated. I broke my only golden rule – “never assume”. It’s also quite apparent I’m making certain assumptions about other customers – again, my assumptions were wrong and just re-affirmed my golden rule.

I turned 68 years old 12 days prior to Valentine’s Day – so may we please chalk this whole affair up to me having a “Senior Moment” – which appears to be quite frequent for me these days.

I really did have burnt edges around my Lasagne and was a tad disappointed. I’m a “meat and potatoes” kind of gal, so when I order a pasta dish, Lasagne is my favourite. I’m going to chalk this little matter up to a busy day for your Chef and leave matters at that.

As for the coupons – I appreciate your offer, but it’s truly not warranted. As we live in Ridgeway, we only dine out at a restaurants in St. Catharines on special occasions. The coupons, I’m afraid would therefore would be wasted. We will, however, revisit Cafe Amore again in the future.

A  little anecdote:- When Cafe Amore first opened on Lake Street, we lived on Green Maple in St. Catharines. By way of coincidence our phone number was 688-1794 and the restaurant’s the same, except for the last number. We were astonished at how many reservation calls we had to re-direct. Our curiosity was finally piqued and we went for dinner just to see what all the fuss was about. We soon found out why you moved to a larger establishment. Congratulations.

Again, thank you for your response and much success in the future.

Yours truly,


I don’t regret my email to this restaurant only because I felt a need to let them know that I did, in fact, have a disappointing meal. Restaurants, as well as other commercial establishments should always be informed when there is no customer satisfaction. We’re paying for those goods and services and we at least deserve a good bang for our buck. When you’re wrong, your wrong and you should admit it or at least own up to your mistakes. I’ve also argued that anyone who “Assumes will somehow regret it or certainly be wrong in most cases. I just proved my theory right, and I deserved to be corrected.

As for an update on my disappointments with The Mandarin (Niagara Falls). I did receive a reply, only looking for further information. The response was from the powers that be higher up the food chain and I gave them my answers as honestly as I could. I never criticized the restaurant’s staff, cleanliness or service. My main concern was the downfall of the food, which I truly hope somehow, somewhere and by someone will return to its former tasty, delicious self. The Mandarin opened up a location in Niagara Falls because of public demand and I, for one, hope the public continues to get meals it deserves. I really do not want to loose a good restaurant that serves oriental food at its best.

To date, no response. But I’m not looking for one. I’m hoping to return sometime in the future for a great meal.

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Dining Out And Dining Injustice

Age to me, is a state of mind. Mine, of course, is presently hazy, but that’s been the case for some years now. I turned 68 on February 2nd and as far as birthdays go, it was just how I wanted it. No fuss, no bother. Just a good meal. The good meal I got as Nat booked a table at The Keg in St. Catharines, which is my favourite place to eat. I’ve been a “meat and potatoes” kind of gal since I was knee-high to my father.

The evening was very nice, as we sipped a gorgeous glass of unoaked Chardonnay and waited for our steaks to arrive. We were both well into our meal when we began to realize the steaks were good, albeit a bit chewy. Not so bad that we couldn’t finish them, but we have had far superior ones at The KegWhen a waiter (other than our own) took our plates away and asked how everything was, Nat spoke up and said they were just a little chewy. We never thought twice about anything else and began to wait for our regular waiter to return so we could order the piece de resistance – Billy Miner Pie. Suddenly we were greeted by the Manager who immediately apologized repeatedly. Again, no big deal, but very, very nice gesture. Then again, he returned, only carrying a plate of that spectacular Billy Miner Pie. How did he know?? I told him we were about to order that as it was my birthday and it went without saying I wouldn’t leave without a piece. He smiled and thanked us for our patronage. Can’t get much better than that in service and goodwill. It didn’t help either that he was good looking!!

As a younger sister of mine, Michele, has her birthday five days after mine, and as I wanted to go out to lunch with her for a good “bitch session”, I took her for a meal at the restaurant of her choosing. We decided on meeting inbetween Cities and had lunch at the Swiss Chalet in Niagara Falls. It was no big huge celebration of her 60th birthday, but we both had a great time getting caught up on family news, her trip to New Orleans, and getting certain matters off of our chests to make us feel better. Venting is always good for the soul!!!! Doing that lunch with Michele made me realize I really do need some ‘alone’ time with my sisters and I really want to do that again. It just felt so good!!!!

Since I was on a roll dinning out, Nat and I decided to go to Cafe Amore in St. Catharines for our Valentines’ Day lunch. Dear Thamazine had given us a gift card to this restaurant as a thank-you gift for wrapping her Christmas parcels. Really, no need, but who am I to refuse a gift card to any restaurant. I love eating out.

As I made reservations for 12:30 for lunch, I was informed that they would be serving from the Dinner Menu that day, instead of the Lunch Menu. We agreed, as this was the only time we were able to attend – the day prior and after February 14th were tied up with other appointments close to that time.

When we arrived we were escorted to a bench and a half-bench table. There was one full bench on one side and the opposite had a half-bench which allowed other customers to wiggle past to another area where there was a semi-circular table and large bench. As it happened my bench decided to shift as I started to settle in and I almost fell. I then proceeded to move the bench back to a more convenient location where my hands could at least reach the table. Whew, we were able to proceed.

It was no surprise when we read the Dinner Menu that the meals were going to be larger than any Lunch Menu and also more expensive. With our gift card in hand we felt we could manage the whole meal without too much of an over-flow. We both found something we liked – Nat ordered Meatballs with Pasta and I ordered the Lasagne. We also decided on a glass of wine – not quite as good as the other unoaked Chardonnay we had at The Keg. When our meals arrived, everything look great, except my Lasagne was a corner piece with burnt edges. We also received a nice small loaf of garlic bread to accompany our meal. As I cut into the Lasagne I soon discovered the burnt edges were there for a reason – the Lasagne had been overbaked, dry and not very gooey with cheese.

I realized I should have returned my dish, but there was nothing else on the menu I wanted. Everything was too large for me to finish and at those prices I wasn’t going to risk it. I also figured that if they gave me another piece of Lasagne that it would have been cut from the same pan. Again, the same dry, overbaked dish. I took some of Nat’s extra sauce from his Meatballs to moisten my meal a bit and managed to finish at least up to the burnt edges. The garlic bread was good!!

We decided to treat ourselves to dessert, which we don’t normally do. Nat had the Key Lime Cake and I had the Double Chocolate Fudge. Both were good, but nothing we would hurry back to have again. Turns out their desserts are Gluten Free. In my opinion if you’re serving decadent desserts at those prices – for God’s sake put in the Gluten!!!

We returned home shortly after 2:00 PM, completely full from our meal and feeling very bloated and heavy. Neither one of us are use to eating such bigs meals at noon time. We’ve both become very small eaters for every meal. We were also a bit disappointed about the whole affair but at least this treat was on dear sister, Thamazine. Not that she would have known any different, of course, but we still love her for the kind gesture. After all, her family has enjoyed a lot of good meals at Cafe Amore, so she had no way of knowing what kind of luck Nat and I always have.

Once we returned home, we both jumped into our comfy evening clothes and whiled the rest of the afternoon away with Nat doing his Crossword and me on the iPad. Our supper was going to be nothing at all, or maybe some toast and tea in the early evening.

It soon began to bug me – naturally, any little injustice always does – about serving Dinner Menus at lunch time on Special OccasionsThe Mandarin does the same thing, as we found out on Fathers’ Day where we were dinged with a $70.00 meal at lunch time. They do notify their customers on their menus about Special Occasion pricing, but it still doesn’t make it right. I tweeted about my disappointment with The Mandarin at the time and at least received their apologies for my disappointment. I then decided to at least let Cafe Amore know about my disappointment, too. In order to at least get this restaurant menu injustice off of my chest I emailed them from their web site. I don’t want anything in return I just want restaurant owners to realize not everyone wants a large meal at large prices at lunch time.