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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Giving Thanks In More Ways Than One

Thanksgiving Monday was great, in my opinion. Nat and I hosted dinner this year for my side of the family as I felt like it should be my turn to carry the load from a couple of my sisters. We seem to be dwindling down to a few now, who are able to take on the task of hosting at least 14+ people for dinner. Everyone, naturally, contributes whenever possible but it invariably turns into a two or three-day chore when you’re the actual host. At the time you volunteer to do the hosting you feel like it’s a snap, you can do so much more the day before, you’ll keep it simple (like that promise was kept!!!!!!) and you’re feeling so much better so what could possibly go wrong??

As it happened, nothing went wrong. The whole meal turned out pretty damn good. We even purchased a fresh 20 LB Canadian Turkey from our local Butcher and brined it the day before the meal. I managed to keep myself relaxed, took things in stride, and had a really nice time. Nat and I were also both able to sit down after the meal and visit with our guests which was a real treat.  In other years, for some reason, we miss the whole party by being caught up in the kitchen. This year, however, I was a bit more organized and said “to hell with it, if it doesn’t get done”. It worked!! Whatever it was, we’d do it tomorrow. What an original concept!! Plus we were very thankful that everyone was in relatively good health this year. A very thankful thing!

After Thanksgiving, Nat gave Jenny a call. She was now home from the hospital and Nat couldn’t believe how much better she sounded. The Doctors were weaning her off all (except one) pain medication. Once they discovered she had an infection in her bones, they now knew what road to take. I’m still a little leary why it took them over 4 months to detect what was going on. I was feeling so frustrated for her, as even I’ve never been in hospital for 4 months, and I can only imagine her frustration and agony. Finally, at least, she’s now on the road to recovery with her very supportive family helping out in any way they can. It’s so nice she has such a great family to rely on and not have to ask for any help – it’s just there!! For this, Nat and I are truly thankful and ever so glad Jenny has made it through this horrific ordeal.

On the home front, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I emerged from exercising this morning. As I walking up the stairs I could hear a table saw running, a ladder leaning against the house and our contractor’s truck in the drive. Nat told me Simon had finally showed up (after about 5 months) to redo the eaves trough around the front of the house!! Will wonders never cease!! I felt for Simon at times, as he remarked earlier this summer how crazy his business has become, along with bureaucratic tie-ups at City Hall, all of which was making his life miserable and dragging his business behind big time. At least our little job finally got done yesterday morning, and for that, I’m again thankful.

With everything else in order, Nat and I headed to the Advanced Voting Polls to make our mark in the Mayoral race. We had been to the Mayoral and Regional Council Debate earlier this week and were now well informed as to who we were impressed with and who we felt should be kicked out. Now the waiting begins to see if whoever is elected can finally turns things around in Fort Erie and stop the bickering so the economic situation can be improved.

The annual Rangers’ Golf Banquet was held this past Saturday night. As usual, during the day Nat and I became a little complacent about getting dressed up and toddling off for an evening out. As tickets had already been purchased and it would be a good meal, we made the effort. Again, as usual, we had a nice time getting caught up on news from Cathy, Jim, John, Ann, Tony and Jean while dining on roast chicken, pasta, meatballs, fingerling potatoes and tiramisu for dessert. Nat’s golfing buddy, Al and his wife, Armonde, sat at the next table and we were able to have a small chat with them, too. No live band or DJ this year (a tight budget) but that didn’t stop a lot of guests from showing their dance steps on the floor. After the awards were given out, each couple and group table were assembled for the usual pictures, and after looking at past year photo albums, I noticed a fashion faux pas on my part. I was wearing the exact same outfit as I had in the past three years. I felt a bit horrified, but I knew no one else would remember. After mentioning it to Nat, I decided it was time for an update to my wardrobe, but I know in my heart of hearts, it’s going to take me awhile to find something a bit more “up scale casual”. I won’t mind the shopping bit, but the searching part may be a bit daunting!

When Monday arrived Nat awoke with a sore throat. Unsure of where that came from, he soon became house bound as it progressed to his nose and chest. We’ve been relatively free of any illnesses in the past year and this became a frustrating shock to Nat’s system. As a result we’ve been staying close to home – including our 20th Wedding Anniversary night out – and we’ll continue to do so until Nat is feeling better. I can certainly sympathize with him, as it’s no fun at all trying to have fun while feeling crappy!!


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Rainy Days and Delays

The weather these days isn’t exactly helping our cause. We’re both still waiting on our landscaper to show up to lay out the new front walkway. It’s so disheartening that the rain falls almost every other day and nothing can get done. Being an optimist, I’ll continue to keep my hopes up until the end of the month, which isn’t that far off!!

In order to fill the hours in the days, Nat and I have managed to keep somewhat busy. Now that he’s joined Queenston Golf Club he’s golfing more despite his feelings of guilt leaving me home alone. I don’t suppose he’ll ever get over it, and at least I know he’s still thinking about me. His guilt also works to my advantage – he doesn’t hesitate when I tell him I’m off to the shops!! Nat and I also drove out to the Balls Falls Heritage Festival which I love attending. It was an absolute perfect fall day and my latest favourite crafter was there. She’s from Quebec and her craft is making little village homes (individually or in groups) from scraps of wood and metal.  I now own three of her little homes, along with a tree, that hang in our kitchen. They help to add that “cottage kitchen” feel. After my purchase, we walked in and out all of the exhibit tents and barns before buying my usual two candy apples, having a bite to eat at the food tents and then wandering home the back roads. All in all a lovely day.

My Little French Village

My Little French Village

A week or so ago, Laura called and asked if we could pick up our granddaughter from college in Orillia. Her car was still needing attention and she thought it safer if we went and her ex-hubby would take Karly back in a weeks time. Of course we said yes, and when Friday arrived I packed a cooler bag full of cookies, drinks and sandwiches. As we had to leave by 3:00 pm to pick Karly up for 6:00, we decided to eat at one of the food and gas stations just north of Barrie. To save a few bucks, we decided a couple of sandwiches would do us and we’d share some french fries once we arrived at the food station. It all worked out pretty good and we were soon back on the road. It was a nice break, too, as the trip from Ridgeway to Orillia is one of the most tiresome. I had also packed a few things to keep the boredom at a minimum – magazine, iPad, needlepoint – but alas I’m not comfy with any of that while on the road. My mind keeps wandering and I’m always looking up to see where we are,  how Nat is doing and watching the world go by. Driving home in the dark is also another bug of mine as I get older, but Karly and her dog, Murphy, seemed to be doing okay – they both slept the entire way! Her dad met us at Tim Horton’s in Vineland to take Karly the rest of the way back to Fonthill, so we had a chance to see Shawn and Linda for a few minutes, something we don’t get to do much anymore since Laura and Shawn separated. Shawn was such a nice son-in-law and I like to think that we got along pretty good, so sometimes I miss the old family gatherings, but life goes on in its own illogical way and I have to make adjustments accordingly. At least he’s now in a happy relationship (or so it appearsand no nasty separation problems have occurred, so Nat and I count our blessings in that department.

After that very boring trip to Orillia, Nat and I decided to not even get in the van on Saturday. We had to go to Costco but told ourselves that Sunday would do. So, when Sunday arrived, we drove into St. Catharines with our little list of things to get – the baker (kaiser rolls), the golf shop (exchange a golf bag Nat won at the Golf Banquet) and Costco for fish and other items.

Speaking of the Golf Banquet, Nat and I didn’t really get too dressed up this year. As it was being held on Thanksgiving we were told there wouldn’t be as many attending as in other years. Once we arrived, it was quite apparent as the dinner tables laid out were far fewer than years before. We still had a great time, but never did get a dance in. The DJ wasn’t exactly playing our style of music and just the younger couples were boogying away. With fewer people, the whole ceremony was kept short, the gifts were given out fairly quickly (Nat won a nice golf bag) and the meal was served a little sooner. Everyone had a great time but most of the older members and their partners left early, including John and Ann (Nat’s brother-in-law and wife), Jim and Cathy (friends) and us. One of our two nights out a year had come to an end.


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Wasn’t That A Party!

Once a year, Nat and I get all dolled up and go to a great party event. It’s actually the annual banquet for the Rangers’ Golf League that Nat belongs to. Despite the fact that it’s getting harder and harder by the year to rise up and out of our recliners and leave the TV alone for the evening, we make ourselves go and always end up having a great time. This year was particularly important as we’ve missed the last 2 or 3 banquets – our trip to Britain in 2011, me in hospital for surgery in 2009 and I can’t remember why we missed 2010, but we did. Wanting to get caught up with the “Scottish Group” (Nat’s brother-in-law, wife and other golfing friends) and being in a new venue the past couple of years we dressed up in our finest (including the new outfit I bought) and headed down the road.

This year the banquet was held at Coppola’s Restaurant in St. Catharines and once we walked into their banquet hall we were greeted by the rest of the gang at a table right beside the dance floor. I thought the seating area was perfect as I wouldn’t have to travel far in the high heels I haven’t worn for 3 years with each step feeling like that little girl playing dress-up in her mother’s heels!! I did, however, finally manage to get a hold of myself and during the evening even managed to dance once or twice in them – it doesn’t take long for that old body to get back into the swing of things, even if it is in the head!!

With dinner not being served until 7:00 pm, our group sat around the table and got caught up with everyone elses’ families, trips taken, deaths from the past year and the odd bit of gossip. John and Ann Inglis, Cathy and Jim Young, Tony and Jean Stewart and ourselves were in great form. The one missing person this year was Rita Neilson who, by chance, was in Scotland herself. The only person NOT from Glasgow, Scotland was me, but I’m getting use to that now. With their thick accents and my ears to their mouths I was (most times) able to keep up with the conversation. I always laugh as soon as I see them starting to smile, I frown and nod my head when I see their serious expressions but I always enjoy the stories told and the fun times from their vacations, especially back to Scotland. This year, Nat and I were able to tell our travel stories, too, so good times were really enjoyed by all.

The banquets Nat and I have attended in the past served food which was delicious and enjoyable. Usual banquet fare – roasted potatoes, roast beef, roast chicken, vegetables and some sort of pasta dish. We were told to expect the same from this particular facility, but as it happened we were all disappointed. Once the dishes arrived they looked good, they smelled good, but alas they weren’t good. The roast beef was overcooked and we needed steak knives, the potatoes were the same (hard to cut) the vegetables a little cold and the roast chicken also over-cooked. The penne pasta and giant meatballs, however, were delicious, as were the rolls that accompanied the same. We all remarked that if we knew what was coming after the pasta, we would have eaten more of it, as the women left most of the beef and chicken dishes uneaten on our plates. This was the first year, too, that each dish was served in separate courses. In years past the banquet facilities have left each (family-style) dish in the centre of the table and we could help ourselves as we wanted.

Once the meal was finished it was now time for the door prize (money), with the golf prizes being drawn mid-way through the dancing. As the master of ceremonies began to read the numbers (and because Nat was talking away to Jim), I glanced at our tickets as each number was mentioned – 5-2-3-3-6-__. So far he was dead on with one of Nat’s 3 tickets that sat in front of him. Then he reads the last number – 4 – and my hand goes flying up into the air. “Nat!, Nat, you won”!  I shouted. He looked a bit stunned and taken aback – “Babe, you’ve won just over $490.00 bucks.”  Still with that stunned look on his face he walked towards the stage, confirmed his ticket number, grabbed his money and returned to the table. Poor Jimmy Young. As much as he tries, he’s yet to win a prize for years. He shook his head with that curled-down lip staring at Nat as he sat back down. Nat took $20.00 from the pile and told Jim to buy a round of drinks. “I’ll take that”, I said. “Besides, you won’t be able to fit that wad of cash in your wallet” – and I stuffed the bills into that little zippered compartment in my bag. The rest of the evening would be looked at through happier eyes when the golf prizes would be given out. Nat won’t be disappointed, he at least won some money, which has never happened to him in his life. If he wants that new golf club or bag or shoes, he can buy them without having to cross his fingers and hope like hell they draw his name from the prize bowl.

With the prizes dispensed, the dancing began.This year instead of a live band, we had a DJ who spun those old and new melodies through iTunes on his Mac Laptop with large hooked-up speakers sitting on the floor. Everyone enjoyed each piece of music played – something for the younger set, something for the older set and tunes in-between. The dance floor was full (especially with the younger ones) and the older couples joined in when a song came up that made them tap their toes or sway their shoulders. There were the regulars who waltzed across the floor like professionals. Couples who obviously enjoyed dancing and have done so most of their married lives. There were also the newer set of members that did their rock ‘n roll routines while the senior members and wives sat back and enjoyed the show, with a few seniors joining in that could keep up the pace without grabbing onto their hips hoping like hell their bursitis, arthritis or knee joints wouldn’t flair up. Nat and I enjoyed a couple of slow dances, while he sings along in my ears. A little thing but he can sing in my ears anytime, as he’s a very good singer!

At every dance I’ve ever attended, there’s always one or two people that like to express their emotions, do the lip-syncing thing as they dance and kick up their heels while bopping around the dance floor. Last night that group consisted of 3 younger gals who became the centre of attention as they jumped up and down, strutted their stuff, sang along and did all kinds of little routines to each appropriate song – Dancing Queen (Abba), Rivers of Babylon (Bony M), Cecilia (Paul Simon), I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor), and so much more. They had the routines down pat, including the “attitude”, the finger-pointing and the dipping and tripping about. We older gals looked at each other and could tell that we were each wishing we could still do that! We enjoyed the routines, laughed at how creative these gals were and gave them all a huge round of applause afterward. It was as if we were given our own floor show.

As it was now getting close to 11:00 pm, and I was about to nod off on our table, I gave Nat a nudge and suggested we head for home. It was obviously apparent the rest of the senior members had the same idea. Suddenly there was a small stream headed for the exit doors with trophies, plagues, medals, coats and hats in hand. We’d leave the younger ones to finish off the night and close the bar. We just wanted a cup of tea and our beds.