The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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The Last 16th And Honouring The Dead

As families go, mine is pretty damned great. There are just enough of us to gather around a good-sized dinner table, have small group conversations, have one large discussion, talk over each other or eat our meal in complete silence (nah, that has never happened!!). The same scenario goes whenever we get together for a birthday and so it was we gathered to celebrate the last person in our family to turn Sweet 16.

My niece, Zoe, has grown before our eyes and turned into a beautiful, talented and clever young lady. You just might say she’s going to be a renaissance woman. Her artistic talents became very apparent during her early years. A bit of Andy Warhol, Piet Mondrian or Amedeo Modigliani, along with a great sense of style, humour and intelligence. I managed to buy an early piece on canvas named “Owl” which hangs proudly in our office where we can see it on a daily basis.

Now in High School her talents are still expanding above and beyond. With her fabulous grades she’ll be able to name her career whenever she’s ready. I truly hope she finds what she’s looking for. Her 16th birthday was just as eventful and fun as her family is. Zoe and her family are in constant contact with another Aunt and cousins and we sit and listen to their hijinks, travels and tribulations whenever we are together. They really make Nat and myself look and sound like a couple of old fogies – and I suppose that’s what we’re getting to be. At times jealousy rears its ugly head but I know in my heart you make the bed you lie in. We do, however, always have a great time and good laughs.

Another family moment arose when The Welland Canal Fallen Workers’ Memorial was announced. The unveiling ceremony was held on November 12th, the day after November 11th, which was somehow very befitting. A large tent was set up along the Welland Canal Parkway at Lock 3. The turnout was more than expected and despite the slow chill that eventually set in to everyones’ body, the ceremony was lovely and well done. As my maternal Grandfather and his only son (an uncle) were both among the 137 that died while helping to construct the canal and its bridges, the entire familly turned out, including dear brother who travelled down from Sudbury.

We sat amongst other family members of fallen workers, along with a large gathering of interested spectators and a few historians and listened to speeches and stories that brought you back to an historical time in our local history and we all came away looking at the great expanse of The Welland Canal in a completely different light.

The Memorial itself is a pair of canal Lock doors partially opened with each of the names of Fallen workers inscribed in the black granite. After the ceremony the Memorial was flooded with families and guests and our family came to the conclusion that we can return on a quieter day to take pictures and appreciate the memorial in a more peaceful setting.

Claudia had invited the whole gang back to her place for Beef on a Bun, Shredded Pork and salads after the ceremony. As our brother was down from the Sudbury area, and as we rarely get a chance to see him, it was a real delight to sit around the kitchn table and get caught up on family news. The reality has now come down to discussions of medications, aches and pains, along with what we can and cannot do any more. Our childhood memories of the older adults in the family having the same discussions has now come full circle.

Two days after, it was my personal time to face some pretty ugly consequences. After a quiet, long and honest discussion, Nat and I concluded that it was time for me to take care of what has bothered me for years. He was fully supportive and will be by my side at every step. My first appointment was on the 14th. It went well, but we still have to wait and see what the next several months will bring. I’ll try and post as much as I can personally handle.

With a few errands to run in the days following, Nat and I quietly went about our business. We both got our requisite flu shots and then headed into St. Catharines with our To Do list.

Nat has had no luck getting his Nikkon camera to charge, so we dropped by Henry’s Camera Shop where it was concluded that the camera was, in fact, already charged and that he may have had trouble with the connection showing the proper results. With red faces and hands covering our embarrassment, we got the hell out of there. Duh!!!!

We grabbed some lunch at our favourite haunts – Wendy’s and Tim Horton’s – before we drove to the other side of the City for Costco’s. We stocked up on the usual, found a couple of new items and paid what felt like a massive hydro bill. At least this bill will hold us over for severeal months!!

The rest of November and December are going to be quiet with only a few appointments. No shopping for Christmas this year and we’ll give the usual amount of money to each grandchild whenever we get together over the holidays. All four grandchildren are now adults, completing their education, working nine to five or travelling. I feel for their parents in how they’re going to try and get everyones’ schedules in sync. Nat and I will just sit back and wait for when to show up. This year we may also just do our own thing and quietly let Christmas pass us by.

Just in case I don’t post between now and 2018 – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

As if on cue I get a call from St. Joe’s in Hamilton on Tuesday afternoon. They were cancelling my procedure for Wednesday and had to rebook. Naturally the Doc was extremely busy and my new appointment wouldn’t be until September. Just when you get yourself all psyched up, ready to go (despite being in a miserable mood the day before), the hammer drops. Like all things in my life, that’s about par for the course. The one thing I truly wanted over with ASAP, gets put back a couple of months.

As Nat had cancelled his usual golf game Wednesday afternoon, he was now free to go and had to scramble to get his partner to put their names back on the list for their tee-off times. It worked out well for Nat, at least, and he was able to get away and clear his head from being around this  “old misery” for a day. He at least understood how I felt and was just as disappointed as I was about the whole thing. Que sera sera!!

With our heads now muddled about what to do the rest of the week – as we had planned things around how I might feel after Wednesday’s procedure – we managed to fill in the time somehow. We thought we would do the lunch thing at the Mandarin on Saturday, so we moved our usual grocery shopping to Friday am., hitting a couple of stores and taking advantage of their sales.

The Mandarin lunch was wonderful so we took our time and doddled as the rest of the day was going to be ours to do with as we pleased. With old friends that we hadn’t seen in a couple of years dropping by Saturday afternoon, the rest of the day was spent with good laughs and lots of stories. Nat worked with John at GM and it wasn’t long before they were back at work discussing how things should have been! We showed them around the “new” place and it was well into the early evening before we realized how late it was getting.

Karly’s actual 16th birthday was on Wednesday and because of work, school and other scheduling problems, it was decided to have a get-together Sunday afternoon. As usual with most 16-year-olds, she was busy texting on her phone for most of the day, but took time out to visit with the old folks and grab some birthday cake. This was the first birthday without her Aunt Paula being there and I’m sure a lot of silent thoughts were taking place. But we all had a great time and inbetween rain drops the kids were at least able to go for a swim while the old folks talked indoors.

Monday saw another bad and crappy day, at least for Nat. While Bonnie and I were enjoying the sites and sales at Mapleview Mall, Nat was taking care of having the Van serviced. Once he picked me up in St. Catharines we discussed the events of the day while driving home, and he dropped the bad news on me. The Van’s brakes and tires were going to need servicing – and pretty soon. Getting both things done is going to set us back at least another $2,000.00 and as usual the timing is just lousy. It’s that old adage two steps forward, one step back. If things continue on this path, the bathroom renos are going to get put back by yet another year. We’re going to try hard to at least buy the bathroom fixtures so we can take advantage of that new Home Renovation Program this year, so we’ll just have to keep pushing forward as best we can. Sometimes I feel as if this new ‘old’ house isn’t going to get renovated at all. We’re at least now discussing what we want to do and what we want to buy, so I suppose that’s one step forward!! Again, Que Sera Sera


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A Mish-Mash of Nothin’

Because of the cold, frigid temperatures these past few days, hubby and I have been laying low. Staying indoors otherwise. We had to venture out last night for No. 1 grandson’s birthday which was exciting as always. This is one hyped-up young boy and I’ve said it before, there just aren’t enough hours in the day for this kid!! He’s unwrapped at least 5 gifts within 3 minutes but at least is still appreciative of all that he receives and does hugs all around afterwards. For his great-grandmother and two grandmothers, his hugs are always welcomed!

Naturally, it was a nice get-together for the adults, while the two youngest (Lucas and Bridget) played with his new X-Box or Wii games he received for Christmas and his birthday. The two teenagers (Karly and Felicia) walk around the house with iPod earbuds hanging from the middle of their heads while texting on their phones. I can imagine they’re probably texting each other as they literally pass each other whilst walking around!!!! So the adults got caught up on what we’ve missed since Christmas and will do so again when we all gather for Karly’s 16th birthday in June, unless we see each other inbetween times. As I just typed that, it’s dawned on me that Karly will be 16 this year. My God, where has the time gone!!!!! Poor Mom and Dad, because if I know Karly she’s going to want her driver’s licence ASAP!!!

Paula is back on track with her cancer treatments. She was looking pretty grim at Christmas, but has since had a blood transfusion and along with a new drug therapy she seems to be perking back up to her usual spunky self. She’s a fighter and that’s a good thing!

After a good night’s rest we did the usual groceries and running around this morning and have decided to stay put tonight, despite the fact that there’s no hockey game on (at least a Maple Leaf’s game, that is!!). Poor Nat, it’s nights like these that I’m sure he dreads. I’ll put on a “chick flick”, of which I just happen to have a new one (“Sex and The City, the Movie”) and afterwards we’ll flip the channels until we’re blue in the face looking for something half decent to watch – that’s provided he stays awake during the movie! He so, so misses the hockey games on Saturday nights!