Getting Use to Seniorship

For as much as I love having a lot of calm days since the last posting, it’s been a bit of a reversal of fortune for others in my family.

Our days have been filled with checking in on Instagram every morning, looking for any posted videos by our granddaughter and boyfriend while travelling in New Zealand and Australia since December, 2019. We’ve enjoyed their fabulous photos of the country and all of its beauty and attractions. The videos have also been cute, interesting, exciting and enlightening. The pair have been bungie jumping, surfing, scuba diving, sky diving, held Koala Bears, hiked at great lengths, and have been certified for diving. There’s so much more they’ve experienced that my memory fails them all. We’re so proud of Felicia and Kyle and what they’ve accomplished and can’t wait for them to come home and recant all of their adventures.

While we’ve been enjoying our quiet days, it suddenly became time for Hubby to paint the living room, hallway and bathroom, as he had promised in late Fall. He’s pretty much been responsible for picking out the new colours – with a little agreement from me, and he’s been working diligently for the past several weeks to get it done. Taking his time, he would do the edging around the living room one day with primer, apply a second coat the 2nd day, then apply the main colour coat the 3rd or 4th day, depending how things went. While working away at his project, I tried to help by clearing away any wall decorations, pictures, etc. and store in a safe place to keep for later. I would then spend my personal days either working in the office, baking or just goofing off (with a little “Ruby Guilt”).

Once the living room was finished, I spent several days trying to re-arrange some of the decor just to freshen things up. Some items have been replaced and some just re-arranged, and we’re both pleased with the final result. We now have a bit of a new fresh outlook and bit of a boost while enjoying the room.

The hallway was a bit of a different matter. It became difficult for Hubby to paint down the stairs and he had to come up with some creative ways of placing his ladder along the stairway wall in order to complete the painting job. At one of his final stages, he happened to stand the ladder on some of the drop cloth, and as the ladder slipped, down he went on his backside at the top of the stairs. While sitting in the office I heard the kaboom and thud, went running out and looked upon his painful face, with hand placed behind his back, as I tried to help him sit up at the top of the landing. I was so grateful he didn’t do a one-eighty down the stairs and crash land on the cement floor.

As he sat at the top of the landing to get his breath and start to feel the back pain come on, we hobbled him to his recliner and there he sat until he was at ease. It went without saying, that his job was done for the day and he would go to bed that night waiting for the aches and pains when he arose the next morning. Luckily he wasn’t too bad and despite my apprehension, he continued on with the task at hand. “I’ve got to get it done” was his constant lament. He’s as stubborn as I am, and I, at least, understand.

Once the hallway was done, again, a huge difference could be seen. The dull, dim hallway was now light and bright and seemed even bigger than it was. Now it was my turn to redo or replace any decor we had hanging on the walls. As we took down a grouping of grandchildren photos a large piece of wall was now available for a dramatic or imposing piece of artwork or graphic piece. “Hmmmm”, let me think. We rehung the small mirror given to us as a wedding present from an aunt, that was made by a man who just happened to have the same last name as my maiden name. It’s near and dear to my heart. The ideas then began to flow for the stairway wall and we both came up with one or two good ones, but would cost more than we wanted to spend. In the end, I came up with a plan to cover a piece of artist canvas with burlap and then create a green floral arrangement on it. I managed to get it crafted with some suggestions from Hubby. The hanging of the canvas was a bit tricky, but hubby was able to position the ladder in a supportive way and again and we’re pleased with the results. Now the hallway at least has some character. A “Before” and “After” of colour:

After a few days, Hubby decided to tackle the bathroom. A lot smaller than the other two rooms but a bit cumbersome for working a ladder in and around the nooks and crannies. The final coat is being applied the first of the week, and again, a big difference is going to be seen. We decided to use the same colour of paint we had covered over in the Living Room and Hallway as he had a full can of that available. Saving money where we can! It’s a bit of a shocker, as the colour is a bit darker than the pale grey/blue that’s being covered over, but I, for one, am very pleased. It was a real challenge to match the pale grey/blue with accessories and towels. At least now I’ll be able to create a bathroom more colour co-ordinated.

Loving Hubby has done a fabulous job at the age of 81. He grew up in a disciplined, loving and strong family. He has a work ethic to be admired and he makes no apologies for what he’s achieved. This “aging” thing, however, is starting to wear on him and sometimes he’s had to admit to certain things he can no longer do physically. He’s not one to ask for help unless it’s evident. During our 26 years of marriage I’ve learned to step back, support him whenever I can and let it be.

In the middle of our redecorating, we’ve enjoyed my birthday celebration at The Keg (St. Catharines) along with a complimentary piece of Billy Miner Pie for making it to 71. If I had the will, I would eat a massive slice of that mocha-flavoured ice cream sitting atop a dark chocolate cookie crumb base, sprinkled with chocolate and caramel and sliced almonds around the edges. Along with their Teriyaki Steakit’s a slice of heaven.

We also made our quarterly trip to Costco for our usual goodies as we were really running low and needed to stock-up. Nothing like a big grocery bill when the bank account is starting to quiver???

Along my family lines, we also received an upsetting email from one sister advising that another was being asked to vacate her apartment of 30 years. The new Landlord wants to renovate and as it will take several months, she’s being asked to find another place to live in the meantime. Not exactly the news our family needs at this time of life. With six girls and one boy all born in the 1940’s, ’50’s and ’60’s, we’ve become a bit long in the tooth for moving loved ones or anyone else for that matter. Naturally, we’ve chattered amongst ourselves as to how we can help this sister in any way possible for us, but the ideas are very slim. With a majority of siblings now in their Senior Years (including moi), we struggle to do our own chores and errands, let alone help someone move. We’ve all got our individual medical problems and some struggle on a daily basis, including the sibling that needs to be moved. Somehow we’ll get through this.

I attended at the apartment to help this sister pack, but it was slow going, as the apartment is only a one bedroom, in an old building and the size of rooms reflect the design for that period in history. One afternoon I got two boxes of china packed up using bubble wrap which was time consuming and then attended a week later with the same results. My mind tells me I can still leap over tall buildings in a single bound, but the aged body is saying “Whoa there old lady, those days are gone!!!!” I’ve now also joined the Sore Back Pain club that has befallen several of us.  With time, luck and help from her Landlord, we hope this sibling will get through without too much struggle.

It’s only the second month in 2020, but I count my blessings every day that I’m at least healthy (despite the back pain) and have been stress free and happy. For a majority of my life it was always me in and out of hospitals or at home with something else ailing me, I was always jealous of other family members that appeared to be relatively healthy and happy, raising children of their own and living what appeared to be a normal life. Now with all my siblings either already a Senior or soon to become one, I’m wierdly grateful that I’ve joined the group and now am “one of them”.

Oh, Look Dear, An Evening Out

As much as I hate to say it, most of May and June have been very ho hum. As stated in my last posting the routine was pretty much spot on.

A pleasant surprise did, however, come by way of an invitation to dinner at The Keg (St. Catharines). Our second oldest granddaughter has graduated from McMaster School of Nursing this June and it was finally time to celebrate her hard work and tenacity. It was decided that her family would meet us at The Keg on Tuesday evening for 6:00 PM reservations. I personally couldn’t wait, as I love The Keg and was really looking forward to getting out of the bloody house to see if other human beings were out there. I was also really looking forward to seeing Felicia (the graduate), her sister, Bridget and boyfriend, Mike, along with their parents. We always seem to have a great get together.

Wtih all things Susan (Felicia’s mom), the afternoon did not go as planned. Dumb luck turned around and dealt them a big blow. With everyone now at the restaurant, we were waiting for Susan and Feilcia to arrive. They drove home in separate cars because of certain other events and timing, and as they hit close to St. Catharines a large transport truck carrying some sort of chemicals had turned over at a curve and the highway was blocked. Apparently certain residents had to be evacuated or “stay in place”  for safety reasons. Susan turned off onto Highway No. 8 (a small two-lane road that winds and twists itself into St. Catharines) knowing that she could get to the restaurant albeit a little late. Not one to have life easy, the highway was filled with evacuees and other local traffic that turned into one mega delay. They texted hubby and daughter at the restaurant to keep everyone abreast of their whereabouts.

As time was really ticking away, we were told by Susan, to at least go ahead and order if we wanted. As Nat and I were now starving (usually eating at 4:30 pm) we decided to at least order our salads. We had nicely started when Susan and Felicia finally turned up and began to tell us their tale of woe. Felicia looked gorgeous in her lacey white dress and I could not help but look at her and smile. She had grown into a beautiful mature young woman and was about to begin her lifetime of adventures.

As orders were now taken, Felicia and I began to talk about her future travels. This is going to be one girl who likes to go places, see things and meet lots of people. With the whole family now well into our steaks and conversation, we were having a great time. We even indulged in dessert – Billy Miner Pie, Fudge Brownie, etc. It was all sooooo delicious. We finally said our goodbyes and headed home. What a great evening.

Our next adventure will be the open house for Bertie & Clinton Mutual Insurance CompanyThey moved into larger headquarters and Nat and I are looking forward to seeing the new place, along with sister, Claudia, who is one of their agents. Another one of those few times I need to take to see a relative!!

Later that evening we’ll also attend our oldest granddaughter’s 24th birthday. This will just be an informal gathering and another chance to see Karly, Lucas, Marilyn, Sean and Linda.

We also received a “good wishes” only to my nephew’s 18th birthday party. Date and time yet undetermined due to work schedules. I’m really looking forward to this event, as I’ll see my side of the family and that’s always good for a lot of laughs, catch-ups and stories.

The month of July, Nat and I will be back to our usual routine. So will have to absorb as much of the family frivolities as I can to see me through to (hopefully) Thanksgiving.

Achoo, The Inspector’s Here And The TV Could Blow!

It started in Britain. It continues to this day – 3 weeks now. This damn bloody cold just won’t leave me. I understand why it takes me so long to get rid of colds, but this is now getting ridiculous. I’m tired, I’m keeping up hubby at night with the wheezing, hacking and nose blowing, and my head is starting to feel like it’s been through a wringer washer. From the shoulders down I feel terrific, even my hip pain has eased up (knock wood!!) but this cold has got a grip on me and just won’t let go. My family knows how stubborn I am, but man they should meet this miserable S.O.B. I’ll give in to Nat’s little jabs and call the Doc on Monday, but I’m not holding out a lot of hope. Every time I get one of these things it always takes me several weeks to shake it, but I’ll see if she can come up with some sort of miracle.

Aside from lounging around the house all week hacking my head off, Nat and I have been pretty quiet. It took me close to three days to do the laundry after our trip. As I wasn’t fully up to snuff, I took this necessary chore and did it in shifts – not by the hour, but by the day. What the hell, it wasn’t like I was going anywhere. I’ve not even cleaned the house yet and there are a few sisters out there that know how much that’s killing me. To prove how bad I’ve got it, I took 2 seconds out of my “lounging” on Friday, grabbed a duster and quickly swiped a couple of tables in the living room, only because it was time for the annual fire inspection by our insurance company and psychologically it made me feel better. It ended up Nick (the inspector) didn’t even touch the living room and was so jolly and nice I don’t think he would have cared if I had greeted him at the door wearing PJ’s, fuzzy rabbit slippers and a kleenex box in hand!

As it turned out Friday was one of our busiest days. That morning we had received a letter from Sony Canada advising that our 40″ TV was one of several models with a possible defect. Word had it that some component in the back could be damaged, make the TV overheat and at times ignite inside and possibly result in a hole in a part of the cabinet ceiling. Good time for the fire inspector, right!!! Being the safety conscious folks that we are, we called the hotline, as directed, and sure enough a technician came by that very morning. Talk about efficiency, eh!! He turned up just as the fire inspector was driving out – talk about luck! The technician, thinking this was going to be easy, also had a surprise. Turns out, the wall bracket holding our beautiful 40″ Sony television,  was a doozer. Not one of those “just lift off” suckers. Nope. Ours had screws in 4 corners on the back underneath steel bars or rails that had to be levelled and naturally were extremely hard to get to. As I recall, this wall bracket took Nat and I a good part of an afternoon to assemble. This sucker wasn’t going to go anywhere! So, with a lot of patience, time and luck, the technician and Nat managed to get everything disassembled. After about an hour of disassembly, it only took this guy 5 minutes to check the part that could have fired a hole in the wall. Our TV was good to go and safe. This poor guy was probably glad to get out of this house and on to an easier inspection where the TV sits on a TV stand and is easy to get to.

With the arrival of Saturday morning we both got back into our usual routine. It didn’t take us long to get groceries – haven’t been having the big meals – so we also ran a couple of other errands and headed home for lunch. As we hadn’t really celebrated our 17th Wedding Anniversary – due to being 30,000 feet in the air – we took time out tonight and went to my favourite restaurant – The Keg. With a great steak meal finished off by Billy Miner Pie (mocha ice cream on a bed of chocolate cookie crumbs and topped with slivers of  pecans) we returned home and settled in to watch Hockey Night In Canada. I’ll finish off the weekend trying to get our travel pictures labelled and organized (both Nat’s and mine are mixed together, not that that means much) and right back into my Sunday routine of laundry and cleaning. God, I miss being in Britain!

Pains-Steakingly Good!!

Friday night’s meal at The Keg was without disappointment. My usual order of the Teriyaki steak was tender, juicy and melt in your mouth goodness along with a crunchy side of veggies and flaky baked potato. I savoured every bite. Nat, on the other hand, decided to break free and order something different. He decided on the steak with shrimp covered in a Bechamel sauce and under-estimated how rich the sauce would be. No denying his meal was delicious, he was just worried about that rich sauce coming back to bite him later. Our whole evening was superb – the wine, the steak and the surprise ending of being presented with a large slice of Billy Miner Pie. The restaurant had asked Nat if the reservation was for a special event and after being told, had obviously made note, and their infamous huge slice of ice cream cake smothered in slivered almonds and drizzled with chocolate was laid before us once our main meal was finished. Despite the fact that we were both very full, we somehow devoured that delicious piece of creamy goodness.

Saturday morning we headed into Ridgeway for a few groceries. Not needing very much, after a trip to Costco a couple of weeks back, we only required a few necessities and would then spend the rest of the day doing some household chores. Having done a thorough cleaning the week before, it was only a light dusting required this time around and after finishing a couple loads of laundry, my tasks for the day were done. With the usual Saturday night hockey game on, I loaded up the old iPad with podcasts and prepared myself for some game playing and self-entertainment while keeping Nat company watching the game.

The snow began to fall again mid-Saturday afternoon and continued on through the night. Knowing what was to come we told ourselves it was going to be another quiet Sunday indoors. Nat donned his warm woolies, gloves, hat, boots, etc. and was out the door by 9:00 AM to shovel what had fallen the night before. With the snow being that light, fluffy stuff, Nat didn’t have to struggle as much. The snow fall a few days back contained small amounts of ice and it was a real chore for Nat and myself to get the driveway, walkway and back patio cleared.

Yes, I said “myself” in that last sentence. With pangs of guilt hanging around the old brain, I offered to help Nat as best I could with the shovelling this past week. Too many times I’m sitting in the warmth of our living room looking out the front window and watching as Nat stops shovelling around the mail box in order to take a break. Even from the window I can see his chest heaving from exhaustion and I’m forever wishing there was a way I could relieve him of this seasonal chore. Feeling pretty perky and after insisting a couple of times, he finally gave in and said I could help by shovelling our front walkway. Bundled up in my boots, coat, ear muffs and gloves, I grabbed the shovel and away I went. “This isn’t so bad” I told myself. Yes, the snow was a bit heavy, but taking my time I managed to clear a good path to the front door, including clearing off the front stoop and shaking off the door mat of any loose snow that had fallen upon it. Feeling pretty good about helping dear hubby I was soon back indoors and started preparing for our lunch.

It was that very night as I was getting into bed I felt a little pang in my lower left hip. Thinking I had been sitting in my easy chair slumped down and leaning a bit to the left a little too long, I figured the pain would subside by morning. Silly me!! It got worse as the night wore on and in the morning after explaining my discomfort to Nat, he realized what I had done. “You’ve done what I’ve done in the past” he explained. “You’ve twisted the wrong way and didn’t know it, while you were shovelling”. Geez, I’m thinking he’s right and his suspicions were confirmed as the day wore on and this uncomfortable pain continued but only felt better whenever I walked about the house. The pain has slowly subsided since then, but the good feeling of helping out hubby hasn’t. It was worth every pang!