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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OOPs, I Think I Woke The Dead!!!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been bored. I’m not a summer olympic games kind of person and as they were the only thing on television that’s not a repeat, Nat and I haven’t had much choice but to watch most evenings. He enjoys them more than I, especially the soccer, the diving, the rowing and racing events. Me on the other hand, found some nights so boring that I would do crossword upon crossword to pass the time, while keeping one eye on the television just so I could respond “OH, that’s truly amazing” whenever Nat would remark how great some dive was. There were also nights when I would fiddle faddle on the computer, put a load of laundry in (you can save hydro, you know, by doing it late at night or even 3:00 AM according to our esteemed Premier!!) and, the best of all, I managed to get some Christmas bows pre-made for presents which can be time consuming when it comes down to the crunch. Quite proud of myself, as I managed to get several made and packed away in a box that I’ll soon forget about.

This past evening, however, when the Games were coming to full fruition, the athletes were winding down and those poor men were running that 2 hour or so marathon, I decided to bring up a container of what I thought were VHS movies that I’ve collected over the years.  I’m an avid fan of old black and white comedies and having collected a fair amount of my favourites, I thought it would be even better to get the tapes converted to DVDs using our VHS/DVD player and recorder, afterall it worked beautifully for our home movies. Repurchasing these movies on DVD would be extremely time-consuming, expensive and besides some of them haven’t even been released in digital format yet. I have to give it a try as I’m that kind of person.

When Nat and I moved, most of our tapes and video cassettes, etc. were stored in a hard plastic container with a flip-down lid. These containers were found at Wal-Mart and store various household items that don’t get used a lot and Nat even likes them in the garage as they’re very stackable. Anyhow, these containers were a perfect size for the VHS and tape cassettes we both have and we’ve been keeping them in the basement of the new home until things get more settled and a proper place is found to keep them.

So I quietly trotted downstairs while Nat was enthralled in watching those poor marathoners go through their grueling paces, picked up what I thought was the container holding the movies and made my return visit up those 12 steps.

As I was heading up, holding this container by the handle, I’m kind of thinking it’s a wee bit heavy. But being the independent bugger that I am, I kept going all the while thinking if I just make it to the top of the stairs I can rest it on the landing and I’m home free. I’d be remiss to think you don’t know what happened next!!  Just at that last step the handle broke, the lid fell off and the container tumbled down those stairs spewing out over 60 tape cassettes and 5 or 6 of the VHS movies downward and onto the hard concrete floor, making a noise so loud and boisterous it either woke the dead or at least made them sit up!!! Nat jumped to his feet leaving his lounger rocking back and forth as if occupied by an irate old lady, ran to the stairs, peered at me through the rails and shouted “What the HELL was that??”  I looked at him with somewhat bewilderment and said “Just some tapes”. He then gave me hell for not asking for help, to which I responded “I’m not an invalid” and we both ran down the stairs to see what damage had been done.

We (or should I say ME) only dinged one tape and it wasn’t exactly one of my favourites, so that was okay. As we were gathering up the mess Nat duly showed me the proper way to carry this damn container – one hand on the lid and one hand on the bottom!!! That really never occurred to me, after all there’s a handle!!! The container is somewhat wounded (a broken clip where the lid attaches and the handle needs to be stuck back on), but it still appears to be at least useable. I, on the other hand realized as we were returning the tapes to the container that it was the wrong one. I’m now burning with heat from  embarrassment as I promptly returned that container from whence it came, grabbed the right one with the movies I was originally looking for in the first place and Nat carried it upstairs asking, again, “What the hell are you up to??“.  I’m guessing nothing for a day or two!!!