It’s The Little Touches

As anxious as we were to get our kitchen back in order, we took our time. We continued to putter about putting the food back and deciding what went where in the new order of things. Nat discovered a small leak under the kitchen sink and luckily it was just a lose fitting which was soon fixed. He also replaced the recycle drawer front that got damaged somehow. We weren’t able to put back any appliances as we were still waiting for the Electricians to do the under-cabinet lighting, so we were in limbo until Monday when they were due to arrive.

Friday was pretty much a day where little things got done around the rest of the house. Nat worked away cleaning up sawdust and other small debris that floated in, out and around all of his tools, workbench and other areas in the garage while I went for a hair appointment. We decided to take the rest of the afternoon off, do nothing and rest our weary souls.

With Saturday looking good, we trekked our way to Ikea Burlington to return the two unused cabinets, door fronts and a few other small accessories, got our refund and headed straight to the kitchen department to shop’til we (or at least I) dropped. Nat just pushed the shopping cart and watched as things went flying into it. I had my Refund Card in hand and I picked up everything on the list I had prepared the night before – kitchen drawer organizers, bins, utensil holders, drawer dividers and even a floor rug for the patio door. Nat knew enough to keep to the side and let me do my work – Bless his loving heart – but did help with a few suggestions. Once we were checking out we discovered we were going to have money left over – bonus!!!!

Sunday saw me organizing the cabinets and drawers with the organizers I bought the day before. God, they now look like something straight out of the Ikea Catalogue – and with room to spare in the pantry now, I’m floating on Cloud 9.  You can tell I’m in my element when I end up taping my favourite Sunday morning show – Sunday MorningI had things to do and I wanted to get them done – no rest for the wicked.

The Electricians were due Monday morning and as Nat was going to be around to make sure everything went as planned, I headed to Winners at Niagara Square looking for a small kitchen clock – despite the digital time on the oven, I still need an actual clock. I had done extensive research on the internet looking for something a little different than the norm, but there it was looking straight at me at Winners and bonus, it came with a matching mirror. I knew exactly where both would go. Just because I was at The Square I had to drop in at TanJay/Alia to see what was new for Spring. What were the odds I would find a “little” something that jumped into a bag for me to take home. I also headed over to Michael’s but didn’t have a whole lot of luck in getting anything funky for the two wall shelves, but I’ll keep looking.

Having returned from shopping, Nat headed off to his golf game and I took over watching the Electricians finish their job. Once they were gone, I was now able to oil the Butcher Block Countertop, as called for to protect the surface from stains and blots. As I had to leave things alone for several hours, I headed to the office and got caught up on paper work – sorting through a mass of invoices, etc.

What a fabulous difference  having under-cabinet lighting. We can now light up underneath all of the cabinets at once, or by the flick of a switch we can just light up one or two or three, etc. On those dark and stormy days Nat and I will be able to actually see what we’re doing on the countertop without cutting ourselves and using the more hydro-sucking ceiling lights. When Nat returned from his golf game he handed me the Home Hardware Spin Mop & Bucket. It’s not what you think. We had both talked about a better system of getting up to the baseboards and wouldn’t be sticky (as with the other “spray” mop we have). Again, we paid careful attention to the ads on TV and then double checked online. Pleased with what we saw, it was agreed. This would be our new floor caring system – a non-abrasive and quick way to wash floors.

As the Kitchen was now back in shape – the appliances plugged in, the cabinets and drawers super organized, I washed floors on Tuesday and actually loved it. This mop and bucket thing was pretty damned good. The mop itself had a lot of looped edges to get up and around any baseboard, underneath a good portion of the fridge and stove, and maneuvered easily enough. Plus the :spinning” feature of the bucket was a blessing, along with the fact that the mop portion was removable and when finished I just tossed it in the washing machine. Back to the good old days but with a modern twist.

Tuesday evening was our first meal in our new kitchen. Nat and I looked around and liked what we saw. Once the backsplash is done, we’ll be even happier. But for now, we have our lives back to normal and only have to pay the piper for the damage we’ve done to our pocketbooks.

2016 – And So It Begins …

The new year arrived quietly and without any excitement. Neither Nat nor myself get excited about the celebration. We leave that to the younger ones now. We’ve had our days in the past of celebrating with friends and family, especially Nat, but it’s come full circle now and our bodies can only endure the “midnight kiss” if we can stay awake that long!

Once 2016 was upon us, we continued on with our same old routine. I’m trying desperately to get back to my usual exercising routine before I took a few days off for the holidays. A few days obviously turned into more than a week and with that, the old body was starting to become stagnant and lazy. I had to find some discipline somewhere. I’m now hopefully back on track.

Nat’s birthday celebration was spread over a couple of days. The kids all came over on New Year’s Day for brunch – roast chicken, cold cuts, kaisers, pasta and green salad, with cookies and tea afterward. It was really nice to have everyone in the same room at one time, which does not happen often anymore. The grandkids all have jobs now and working out schedules have become nightmarish. Lucas was the only grandchild that couldn’t make it to Papa Nat’s birthday because he had to work. At least Nat enjoyed the day which was my No. 1 priority. As for his usual birthday dinner, we made reservations at a new place we discovered, Queen Charlottes’ Tea Room, on Main Street in Niagara Falls. A small two-storey home with a few tables spread throughout the main floor. They serve High Tea, lunches and suppers and everything is homemade on the premises. The menu was authentic British food – Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, Steak Pie, Blood Pudding, Chips (hand-cut and humongous wedges) along with fresh Scones and a variety of sandwiches served up with an assortment of teas from around the world and a few British “sweets” imported directly from the Mother Land. We both agreed we would return. It was a lovely, quiet evening.

Our next adventure was Nat’s appointment – after a 9 month wait – to see a Back Specialist at The Trillium Centre in Mississauga. With our dumb luck the appointment was for 8:15 AM – an ungodly hour at least for me. We both had to be up, dressed and on the road by 6:30 AM in order to make the drive along with every other “commuter” in the area.  We relied on GPS to get us there and  once we arrived and saw the Doc (which only took about 10 minutes) we were back on the road by 8:30 AM. So much activity for such an ungodly time of day!! We were home around 10:00 AM and couldn’t believe we still had the rest of the day to fulfill. Hell, what were we going to do with all that time!!!! I know! Let’s just sit and relax after such a tense ordeal driving the Queen Elizabeth Highway with it’s erratic truck drivers, speeding youngsters in their up-scale fast cars, commercial vans, regular commuters and older folks trying to maneauver around all that turmoil. Nat’s hands never moved once from the steering wheel until we drove into our garage!

A few days later, it would be my turn. The cyst under my arm decided to flare up again. It had been sitting in wait since May of 2014 and I guess it got pissed off about something as the same God awful purply lump flared up and I knew I’d have to have it drained. Thinking I would go through the same thing as 2014 (having my Doc drain and bandage it) I made the appointment but was surprised when she felt the lump wasn’t as big this time as last. She advised I should go home, apply hot compresses and antibiotic cream four times a day until this “alien” (as I call it) deflates and clears up. I would then return for another assessment and discuss the possibility of actually having the cyst surgically removed for all time. Sounded good to me!

As I write this posting, my little alien friend has deflated to the point where it’s flat but still a bit bloody and sore. The skin broke from the hot compresses and my loving, reliable hubby has been tending to my arm for the past couple of days. We’re nearing the end, thank God. For the hot compress, I filled a tube sock full of kidney beans so Nat could soak it in Epson Salts and water, heat it up and apply to the lump. However, that bloody sock (no pun intended) is starting to get a little stinky from those beans being heated up so often. With each application I can smell the beans (which I abhor). So, naturally, having Nat just apply the antibiotic cream and a dressing is a refreshing change. At least I’m in the home stretch now. As usual, I’m anxious to get back to a normal routine. I’m thinking if the cyst is surgically removed my arm I will be “laid up” for a day or two.

For the most part 2016 has been coming in with just a small gust of wind,  instead of 2015 where a storm brewed for six months. Let’s hope this small gust of wind will keep any storm clouds from moving in the rest of the year.



Could He Become A Pro?

Nat and I had every intention of going to Christie’s Antique Show in Hamilton on Saturday, but the heat dictated otherwise. I was a bit disappointed as I’ve never been and after seeing the Canadian Pickers show, my interest had been peaked. Hopefully we’ll give it another attempt for the September show. Instead we opted for going into Fort Erie and Steve’s Place (a bike shop) to see what they had in the way of an upgrade for Nat. As it stands now, Nat has (shall we say) “outgrown” his bike and wants to take a step closer to a professional bike. Of course, he had no intentions of buying something right away – he just wanted to have a look see!!

Stepping into Steve’s Place you’re immediately surrounded by all kinds of bikes – little ones, mid-sized ones, regular ones, professional racers and even skateboards, along with every accessory in the world pertaining to biking. We explained to the young lad wanting to assist us, what Nat’s requirements were and he immediately took us into the next room where even more bikes were lined up row-upon-row. Nat and the young lad discussed the pros and cons and differences in each style, preferences of different riders and answered all of our questions. The young lad pulled out a particular bike Nat thought would suit his needs and was told to sit on it, get it adjusted to his height and then take it for a ride. Out into the sweltering heat we went and suddenly Nat was riding up and down the sidewalk, leaving the young lad and I to chit chat under the hot May sun. I was starting to feel like I could melt quicker than a popsicle when Nat finally returned. I immediately left the two men talking out front while I slipped back into the store to the shade.

I knew Nat was hesitating, mainly because of the price. He hadn’t planned on spending much more than what his previous bike had cost. It was obvious, however, that in order to get quality we were going to have to pay for it. The bike Nat had picked out wasn’t that much more, but it was enough to give Nat pause. I became a little insistent when looking at Nat and told him that this was more than worth the price. He loves biking up and down the Friendship Trail, was usually gone for over an hour and in order to go faster and further this was the bike for him. The deal was done. The bike was then adjusted and fitted by the shop pro, Steve, and soon popped into the back of the van. He’s had a chance to ride it several times now and is loving it. He’ll have to take it back, however, one of these days to get the seat adjusted a bit more. The fact that Nat is happy, means the world to me.

With the purchase of the new bike, we then listed Nat’s old bike on Kijiji (on Monday) and within the next two days had several inquiries. A young student from Niagara College ended up buying the bike and as he drove a small car, we decided to deliver the bike to him in St. Catharines. He rode around the parking lot near where he lives, was completely happy and handed us the purchase price with a smile on his face. We were both thinking that he’s going to save parking fees at the College and we couldn’t blame him!

Sunday found us having a belated Mother’s Day lunch at the Mandarin in Niagara Falls with Susan, Felicia and Bridget. What a treat! Nat and I always enjoy seeing the girls and hearing about their good times and troubles. Felicia is getting ready for College now (where those days went, I’ll never know!) and it’s becoming a battle of wills as to which one she’ll attend. It’s been hard times for Mom and Dad, and Felicia, naturally, is anxious to leave home and be on her own and away from little sister. Can’t blame her really, as I completely understand (I’ve been independent most of my life), but being a married and mature woman now, I certainly understand Mom and Dad’s side. I’m hoping both sides will come to an agreement and I feel for Felicia, as I think she’s the one that’s going to have to compromise. Papa Nat and I wish her every success. Lunch, by the way, was delicious as usual!!

Tuesday the heat reared its ugly head again. It was so hot I couldn’t even peak outside the patio door. As the day wore on, Nat and I soon felt like climbing the walls – we were that bored. Between crosswords, jigsaws and games on the iPad, we had pretty much worn out every activity that we thought about. I suppose I could have cleaned out the bedroom closet (which has been on my to do list for some time), but what the hell – it’s too damn hot!!

Boys In The Stream And Elvis Shakes His Pelvis

Saturday morning woke up and after getting dressed, I pulled back the blinds to see two men in and around our back stream. With one man standing on the bridge itself, another young lad was ankle deep in the stream and stumbling back and forth as if looking for something. I called for Nat and he said, yeah, they were there when he got up around 7:30. He theorized the two must have been looking for something or, even better, clearing away debris from around the water.

Curiosity getting the better of me and not really trusting suspicious actions, I asked Nat to go out and see what they were up to. The three boys were talking for about 5 to 10 minutes and once Nat returned to the house, I soon realized my instincts were right – they were doing something we didn’t want them to do.

The man on the bridge advised they were trying to prop up the middle of the bridge, which has now fallen into bit of a slump due to age and weather. Nat advised that he had already propped up our side of the bridge with a jack and a brace. These two characters thought it was wise to gather as many rocks as they could and then place them under the bridge in order to keep it up. He also mentioned the water rising at one end but didn’t seem to understand that if he propped up the bridge that he would also be blocking up (or damning) the stream. Nat advised that the stream ran all the way into Fort Erie at one side and through Ridgeway on the other. He also advised that previous owners had tried to damn up the stream in order to do something and soon realized they had flooded properties along the west side of the stream. Once the source was discovered by the Town, the damn was immediately ordered to be destroyed and peace has reigned along the stream ever since.

I’m thinking these two fellas didn’t have much of an education or they soon would have realized the consequences of their propping up the bridge in the middle and thereby blocking the flow of water. Nat soon learned that they were tenants of our fairly new neighbours and, along with their big dog, would quite frequently sit down by the stream early mornings and late evenings and have a smoke. We can only assume they were conjuring up all kinds of ideas while having a puff!!

With Nat’s explanations of what had happened in the past, the two lads headed back to their stomping ground – hopefully to “unthink” their whole little scheme.

Saturday night was much more exciting. We joined the Irwins, the Piersons and Michele at the Avalon Theatre in the Fallsview Casino for the “Return to Grace” show starring our favourite Elvis Tribute Artist – Stephen Kabakos. FAB-U-LOUS, is all I can say. As usual, Mr. Kabakos was in fine form performing Elvis tributes all through his career and narrated in-between stages by (who we assume) was “Colonel Parker”. Not sure, but he looked the part with the straw hat and southern drawl. We really had a great time and headed home with smiles on our faces and old Elvis tunes on our lips. As we were really late in getting home (at least for the two of us), I headed straight to bed and Nat stayed up to get caught up on the hockey scores. The last little bit wasn’t really worth it – the Leafs lost by 1 goal.

Have to admit I’m anxious to talk to Gail and Bern as they were babysitting Zach and Zoe for the night, while their parents were having a nice evening out. Zoe, thanks to her Aunt Gail, is now a lover of beaded jewellery and designing and Zach, I’m sure, enjoyed watching those strange reality shows that are all a buzz in certain parts of my side of the family!!  “Swamp People”???? Reallly????? I at least hope they were watching those truckers in the Andes.

Inbetween excitement in the back yard, I’ve been poking away at the Irwin’s photo conversion. I get a little slowed down at times looking at photos while Zach and Zoe were babies and can’t help but smile. I also respect the Irwin family for their day trips and activities they’ve done (and continue to do) with their two children. I’m sure both kids will enjoy the photos as they grow older in life and memories start to either get exaggerated or faded. All the  more reason to digitize them for prosperity. Also liking the new printer/copier/scanner we bought – much quicker in the scanning department and a lot more options.

Nearer My Elvis, To Thee

After uncrating the shed on Thursday we were left with a large wooden shell and skid. Not knowing what to do with the damn thing, and Nat not wanting to really disassemble it, as he had no use for the scrap wood, we had a fairly good idea. Living in this area you often see pieces of old furniture, garden items, and the like sitting at the end of someone’s driveway with a big “FREE” sign on it. We totally understand why people can’t be bothered to take such items to the dump (you have to pay for it) and there’s always someone willing to take anything home that’s free. So you know were I’m going with this!! Nat took the time to tear off all of the plastic wrap that was stapled to the wood and we each made a big “FREE” sign to stick on either end of the crate. We both felt that the odds were in our favour that someone around this area could surely use the wood for firewood or even crafting. So it sat midway down our driveway until Nat woke up Saturday morning and went out to get the newspaper. He was ever so pleased it was gone and that he wouldn’t have to deal with it. End of problem!

Saturday evening we had tickets to Stephen Kabakos “Elvis Gospel” show at St. Andrews United Church in Niagara Falls. We both love this guy. Despite the fact that he refers to himself as a “tribute artist”, when you see him it’s as if Elvis himself really did walk in the room!!! Stephen looks like Elvis at the peek of his career (tall, slender, sexy and just gorgeous) and the two shows Nat and I have attended at the Greg Frewin Theatre were fabulous. He’s such a perfectionist that even his clothing are designed down to the last detail, including buttons. He certainly left us wanting more after each performance. We were NOT disappointed – it was beyond fabulous. The first half of his show was partially gospel and some old favourites while dressed in a long black velvet, double-breated jacket. Our seats were pretty much perfect – about 6 pews up from the stage – and with a large video-tron above the stage for the balcony seats, you could look up every now and again and each and every one of us remarked “My God, you’d swear that was actually Elvis”. It was uncanny!! He had the whole audience (or congregation, if you’d like) rocking in their seats. We would have preferred that he do a bit more of Elvis’ gospel tunes, but sneaking in a little rock ‘n roll or even rock-a-billy, is always good for the soul. The second half of the show was just as fabulous as the first and after an encore performance of How Great Thou Art, we still wanted more. We were in the palms of his hands. Alas the show had to end sometime, but once it was over and the audience lingering around, Stephen took the time to meet and greet his fans, especially those that travelled far and wide just to see him, and what a thrill that was!! With girlish hearts, Gail, Thamazine and I headed down front to join the throng of adoring fans and each managed to have our pictures taken with him. Another thrill for the three of us. With Claudia, Daryl and Michele sitting back in the pews, we returned all giddy and excited. Even Nat was thrilled to shake the man’s hand and tell him what a great performance he had just put on. You could see it in Nat’s eyes that he was in awe of this man’s vocal range. Nat can carry a tune and really appreciates a good set of vocal chords!! With that, we all headed in our different directions home with smiles on our faces and really glad for another great night out. Couldn’t have asked for much more!! Now we can’t wait to see him again in October!!

I’m adding a couple of pics that were taken of Stephen and with Thamazine and Stephen – just because he’s that great to look at!!!

What A Night!
Lucky Girl!!!!

I’d Like To Lose My Head

Of late I’ve been feeling a little down. Perhaps it’s the long winter that has befallen us and the fact that we didn’t go South this year, or maybe I’ve just become house-bound with no real reason to venture out into that cold air with snow and slush all around. After all who likes to muck about in that kind of weather, especially when you’re in one of those moods where you want to be left alone, crawl under the covers and sleep for a thousand years.

Knowing something was up, dear hubby has been quietly hanging loose waiting for that moment when I would finally crack and let him know I’d had enough. That moment came last night and he was there and ready. Our minds met, our thoughts were one and it was settled. I needed a good bloody shopping trip to the Mall!!!!!

It was decided – we would drive into St. Catharines and walk about the Pen Centre to see what was new and different. As we hadn’t been there in some time we figured we were about due. There’s really not a whole lot of stores that we can shop in anymore, but we could still check out what use to be our old favourites and hopefully something new and exciting would pop up. As luck would have it, I had a “little” list of things I’ve been looking for – a list that is constantly being up-graded, down-graded and just sits in my purse waiting to be of assistance when the old brain gives out!

One of those items on the list was a pair of ear muffs. The ones I’ve had for over twenty years had finally given up the ghost – the furry cover had fallen off of one ear, the fur was starting to fly hither and yon and the muff was getting bald. I had an exact picture embedded on my brain of what I was looking for. I know I’ve seen them before and I was going for it. But alas, within every possible, conceivable store that would carry such an item – they were not to  be found. From front to back of that big mall, not one store sold ear muffs. Not even the sporting goods store that sold skis, ski boots, ski poles, gloves, scarves, head wraps and the like! Go figure!! We did, however, manage to ask one store clerk and being the nice girl that she was and after describing what I was looking for she steered us in the right direction – and it wasn’t at the Pen Centre. It was across town or down the road in Niagara Falls – and once she mentioned the name of the store a little bright light went off in the old brain and low and behold I suddenly remembered where I had seen these ear muffs before – Mark’s Work Wearhouse – duh!!!! Now being in good spirits, hubby and I stopped at a couple of stores to pick up a couple of items and have a bite to eat before leaving the Pen Centre and would head into the Niagara Falls store on our way home.

We arrived at Mark’s, we wandered around and around and around and around, but to no avail. We couldn’t find them. They were nowhere to be found. Maybe they were out of stock. Maybe this really wasn’t the store where I’d seen them. Maybe it was just a dream. OR maybe I’m just loosing my mind. After all my mind hasn’t exactly been too swift of late and has a tendency to meander and wander off to parts unknown! But wait!!! Did you ever think to ask a clerk??? Oh, “never mind” says hubby, “here they are” – right up front where we’ve been walking past them for about 20 times!!! Thank God, they were the right ones, they had lots in stock, they felt real good – and I do mean real good!!! I was in heaven. My ears are about to be born again with warmth and comfort and joy – oh the blessed warmth and comfort!!!

I made my purchase and with a smile on my face we headed out the door. But upon leaving the store I thought I would make one more stop at Staples Business Depot, after all it was right next door, I had my list and it would just take a sec! So in we went, I found what I wanted, we had a look around, I paid for my stuff and off we went down the road headed for home after an interesting day out, to say the least.

Upon arriving home, I have my usual routine – put my purchases down, take off the coat and boots, put my purse in the office (which contains the receipts), pick up my purchases and begin to unpack and put away whatever I bought. I then start to record all of our purchases into Quicken and as I was doing so I realized I didn’t have the receipt for Mark’s. The receipt and bag from the drug store were on hand, the receipt and bag for Staples was on hand, even the receipt for the windshield washer fluid Nat had bought earlier, was on hand. Where in hell was the Mark’s bag and receipt?

I asked Nat if he had it. No. I double checked the Van. Not there. We both checked around where I put down the other bags. Not there. It then dawned on me. I think I forgot to pick it up with my other bags when I was checking out at Staple’s. Where the hell is my head!!!!! What am I thinking at times!!!! I immediately called Staple’s and, yes, my bag was there. My muffs were safe – whew!!!!!!!! I said I would be right back to pick them up. But Nat would have none of it, he would make the trip back into Niagara Falls to pick up my beloved ear muffs that I had searched for so long! The guilt and stupidity fell over me, but with reassurance that I wasn’t the only one in the world who left things behind, Nat toddled back down the road and soon returned with that small tiny bag containing those precious ear muffs.

God, there are days when I would love to lose this head and just screw on a new one!!!!!

What Do They Know That We Don’t?

After a great visit  with our friends, the Bartlett’s, this afternoon we headed back home and could see the drizzly, foggy sky looming in front of us while we drove down Soddom Road. We knew the forecast was gloomy – icy rain and light snow flurries for tonight, and this was later confirmed when the sanders were up and down the main roads while we were watching the news. The closer we got to town the small droplets of snow flurries could be seen on the hood of the van. We knew it was going to be a stay-at-home day tomorrow.

As usual, we had a nice visit with our friends, including a great cup of tea and got caught up on who was doing what and how we all spent the holidays. After saying our “toodle oos”, we headed down the road, stopped for gas in Niagara Falls (where Nat was thinking the prices hadn’t jumped yet, but he got fooled) and then homeward bound. As we were driving down Soddom Road we noticed a huge “grouping” of Canada geese flying above and headed east. These “groupings” contained, on average, 10 to 15 V-formations. Kind of hard to explain, but picture about 1,000 geese flying in a “V” formation and then split that one big V up into little groups of 5 to 10 each. Long story short, there were thousands and thousands of them.

We continued down the road and coming from the west we could see thousands more. The further down the road we went, the more we could see, and in those little “V” groups all huddled together. Flapping their wings in unison while soaring over the snow-covered corn fields and side roads, they were flying straight east and headed for the Canada/U.S. border. So we’re thinking. What do they know that we don’t? Is there something ominous in the wind we hadn’t heard about. We didn’t have the radio on, so no info there. Were they really dumb and a little late in flying south?  Was there some major snow storm brewing and they were headed for cover in the turrets at Old Fort Erie? Or, was Alfred Hitchcock really alive and making another version of The Birds? If that was the case I was leaving town immediately ’cause that’s the only Alfred Hitchcock film I’ve seen as a teenager and it scared the beejesus out of me!!!!

 I suppose we’ll never know, or perhaps we’ll take a drive down to Fort Erie tomorrow and see nothing but geese huddled from shore to shore along the Niagara River trying to keep warm, either from body heat, or from the gas and smoke emissions spewing out of the smoke stacks of Buffalo!! It’s anyone’s call!!!