The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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Bad Luck Comes In 3’s -Please!! Let It End There.

These whole crappy bad luck days began this past Friday. Nat decided he wanted to change cell phone carriers. His Roger’s yearly plan was charging him by the dollar amount and not by the minute – ergo he was losing money from his account faster than he was using it. He found that Telus has a yearly plan that went by the minute and it made more sense to change over now when his Roger’s plan was down to $8.00.

An added note:- In October of 2016 Nat updated his old Nokia unlocked phone to a new SKY unlocked phone from Staples. After checking them out at the store, we ordered one online a few days later.

Friday afternoon, we decided to go to Telus to sign up as the Roger’s plan was now down to $8.00 and wouldn’t be renewed until June of this year. We’d be out of minutes long before that and it was going to cost us extra. We drove to Niagara Square, found the Telus Store, signed up for their new yearly plan, had SIM card inserted, and were now ready to go, or so we thought.

Saturday, as usual, I started doing laundry and in order to prepare for my upcoming Cataract Surgery we headed down to WalMart to buy some collapsible headphones for Nat. He was going to stay with me at the hospital for over the 3 hours it was going to take – waiting, eye drops, waiting, eye drops, surgery, waiting, eye drops and then hopefully home. While waiting, Nat could listen to his music on his iPod Mini and hang around the front lobby to pass the time. When we returned home, Nat decided to put the new Telus SIM card into the old Nokia phone, thinking he might like a change. The damn Cell wasn’t accepting the new SIM card no matter what he tried. AND THEN, when he went to put the card BACK into the NEW SKY phone, the card wasn’t working there either. What in hell happened!!!!

Not being too sure exactly what was going wrong and discovering that the battery charge wasn’t staying where it should have, we checked and re-checked online for a possible new battery but to no avail. Soon found out you have to return to the Cell Phone maker for such a thing. We continued putting the SIM card back and forth into each cell phone and nothing was happening. Total frustration was now setting in, and it didn’t help at all that everything connected with cell phones goes completely over my head. I have no idea what anyone is talking about when it comes to plans, the inner workings of a cell and get very touchy when it comes to such things. Everything was just fine before dear hubby decided to play around with this stuff. After several “discussions” between the two of us we left things alone until the next day. It was now getting a little heated in this little home of ours!!

Sunday morning the SKY cell battery was at 100% and by noon was down to less than 50%. Nat was now worried why the Telus SIM card was no longer working and what the hell was going on with the phone. That afternoon, we had no choice but to return to the Telus Store at The Square to hopefully get the SIM card re-inserted. It was obvious we were doing something wrong. This is where we got totally perplexed with more frustration setting in.

The staff at the Telus store soon informed us:

(1)  Roger’s had locked our Nokia phone to their network when we were using their service (the unlocked Nokia phone was “unlocked” only for certain carriers and once you use them they become permanently locked until you PAY a fee to unlock them!!!!);

(2) the new SKY phone definitely had something wrong with it as the staff checked the SIM card with their equipment and it was definitely working. We would have to return to Staples store to hand it in for new battery or repair.

(3) the new unlocked SKY phone should be unlocked for all carriers – as it was an international phone. Who knew!!!!!

So, like the good little consumers we are, we drove over to the Staples store across town and were immediately informed – they don’t carry the batteries nor do they do repairs. We would now have to call the SKY tech service to see what we should do. As the phone was still under warranty, we were told it shouldn’t really be a problem.

As we were returning home, we discovered the 4-way traffic lights were all out at Stevensville, downtown Ridgeway and beyond. The generator was also running as we pulled into the drive. Once inside not only was the hydro down, but so was the computer, TV and home phone lines. The generator was doing its job – we still had lights, heat, stove and fridge, etc. We just couldn’t watch TV or play on the computer. We were now really worried about what was going on in our lives. Somehow, somewhere, someone wanted us to suffer.  We were totally shut off from the world. Not knowing, was driving me around the bend, so I decided to drive up to our local drug store until I tried to open the door and realized they were closed on Sundays. However, lucky me, the owner and his wife were in there doing work and Donnie let me in to find out what was going on. Yes, he had cell service, yes, he had TV (on Roger’s cable) and phone line service. He wasn’t, however, aware how big the outage was – all the way back to Stevensville. With that knowledge I returned home but we were still baffled as to why we had no TV, phone or computer. I couldn’t even get news from my Twitter account on my  iPad – our internet was out. Now I’m a little scared!!

Around 4:00 pm the power came back on. HALLELUJAH!!!!! When all was said and done, the power outage had also affected Cogeco customers in this area – of which included US. The outage had lasted close to 4 hours and we were at least lucky enough to have a meal with a working stove.

Monday morning, all is back to normal – we think! I decided to call the toll-free tech number given to us by the staff at Staples. Not necessarily a fun call, as I had a hard time understanding this lady from Doral, Florida and she had a hard time understanding what I was trying to tell her. After quite a few minutes, we managed to straighten things out and were informed we would have to fill out a form she was going to email us, wrap up our SKY phone and return it to them for repair. Once receiving the form and printing it out, the fonts were so small I had to use a magnifying glass to read the damn thing. AND NO, it wasn’t just me, it was Nat, too!!

We packaged up the phone – I just happened to have the perfect box – included the form and with a $20.00 postage stamp the damn thing was on its way to sunny Florida. How nice for it!! The delivery will take 4-5 business days to get there and who the hell knows how long to get the damn thing back. So, as it stands now, Nat is without a cell phone for my surgery tomorrow, which isn’t really a big deal, but it’s become a part of his body and he’s lost without it. The security of it all, I suppose. We now sit and wait.

With everything else going on, it was about time I filed the GST/HST for the solar panels with is due the end of the month. With my eye surgery being done tomorrow, I felt it best to get it done beforehand. Everything went well, as usual, until it came time to submit my payment online through the Canadian Revenue Agency site, which is extremely handy. Every time I tried my debit card it was refused and told it wasn’t being accepted. I tried and tried over and over again – maybe my account number was wrong, maybe I had the wrong PIN number. Nope, everything was right at my end, but total frustration was again setting in, as I’ve done this from the beginning. I ended up calling the Bank of Montreal to inquire as to what was going on. I was informed that as we received new Tap ‘n Go” debit cards in April of 2016, and that they were with the good folks at MasterCard, the CRA had not been updated yet to accept these cards. Apparently all kinds of stores and services were on their list to be completed. More damn dumb luck!!!!

That’s the 3 – the old and new cell phones – the hydro – the debit card. I’ve got eye surgery tomorrow at 9:40 AM and not being a good early riser, things had better go really well, or there’ll be hell to pay and I wouldn’t want to be in Nat’s shoes if that happens.

Wanting to get this payment done, Nat and I drove to our local Bank of Montreal and paid the account there. Done at last.

There actually was one more thing – our Cogeco cable receiver. For several weeks now the receiver was cutting out for a few seconds but only on recorded events. Plus the TV guide wouldn’t load very quickly. We’d get the names of a few shows and then a lot of “To Be Announced”. The only good thing about this was when I called the tech people at Cogeco they were great. The receiver only had to be reset at their end. Thank God for small mercies.

After my cataract surgery in the morning, I’m returning  home, sticking half of my head into sand (have to keep the surgical eye clean, ya know!) and won’t be coming up for air until this month is over. It’s not been a good one and I’ll at least have until April 27th when I get my right eye done. God, here’s hoping the start of April will be a good one.


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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.


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Have Your Cake And Eat It Two!

With a somewhat busy September behind us, Nat and I quickly returned to our daily routines – exercise (me), relax, discuss lunch, discuss supper, make lunch, eat lunch, errands (if any) and possibly household tasks or chores, make supper, eat supper, watch news, finding something to watch on TV and then bed. It’s a boring and perhaps tedious lifestyle, but it’s ours’.

In amongst our tedious lifestyle, I managed to do something to the back of my right leg while on the treadmill. Naturally, I went to the Doc’s and she concluded I had damaged a ligament – probably by not doing any “warm downs”. It’s taken several weeks for the ligament to loosen up, but I’m at least able to hop back on the treadmill and not just the recumbent bike. I was lucky in that no weight was gained during the healing of that my leg!! I’ve taken the weight off once and I’ll be damned if I have to do it twice!! I even had to miss the Balls Falls Craft Show on Thanksgiving weekend, but I had it on good authority (Claudia) that it was the “same-old-same-old”. So, no misgivings on my part.

Thanksgiving dinner at Claudia’s was wonderful, naturally. The juicy turkey, moist stuffing, crunchy veggies and rolls were delicious and naturally, the desserts even better – Apple Pie, Chocolate Cake, White Cake and Ice Cream were choices everyone had difficulty in choosing just one. I used my “cheat” day to have a slice of white cake and even snuck in a second small slice. I was going to go home happy!!

As my diet is going very well, and I’m managing to maintain my blood sugars for such a long time, I became a bit worried when one day the level had slipped up to 7.2, with the next 5 days thereafter going even higher, as much as 8.1. This soon became extremely worrisome as my Docs had strongly stated to keep my levels in the 6. range. Nat and I soon began to go over what I had been eating on previous days to make the blood sugar rise. We came up with nothing, as our meals have been healthy – a lot of fish, salads, chicken and veggies. I then soon realized, after looking at my prescriptions, that I had mixed up the 2 Diabetes pills. In refilling my weekly container, I switched one to the afternoon and one to the morning – wherein one should have been in the early evening and one at bedtime. I just happen to have 2 different pink pills and if I don’t mark on the containers at what time to take them, I always get them mixed up. When I renewed a couple of prescriptions I forgot to label them “AM or PM” and mixed one up with a Diabetes pill. My hand to brain co-ordination is beginning to fail me!!

I managed to get my blood sugar levels back to the 6’s in time for the annual Rangers’ Golf Banquet. Each year I struggle with what to wear, as a lot of the wives get all gussied up in their finery and I’m always in pants and (somewhat) fancy blouse. This year I swore to myself to at least get something “sparkly” but for some reason I left shopping to the very last minute. I did a lot of thinking, but never had the ambition to actually go out and look for something. With a sudden spurt of energy on the morning of the Banquet, I drove to my usual store, TanJay-Alia, in Niagara Square and within 20 minutes found a sparkly top which was just the ticket. At least I would match the other ladies in their dressy clothes from the top up at the dinner table. Nat and I had a great time and as usual the food was delicious. The evening was even better when Nat discovered he had won a draw prize – a year’s membership to Queenston Golf Club – which was about to be renewed by us, and were now relieved we were going to save the $300.00. The rest of the evening was left to the younger crowd as they danced their hearts out to the DJ playing everything from pop, rock and soul. Nat and I left by 10:30 PM somewhat tired and deaf from talking to our friends over the music.

Nat was hoarse Sunday morning, and after a Saturday night of fun and frivolity, we decided to stay put and do nothing. The entire day was spent in our recliners doing crosswords or iPad games, only jumping out of them for lunch, supper and bedtime.

When Monday morning arrived, Nat was off to a golf game, trying to get in as many games as possible before the snow flies. I decided to clear out summer clothes and bring up my winter duds from downstairs. I managed to vet quite a few items that I felt were going to look a bit “dowdy” on me, now that I’m feeling better about my weight. I’ve been doing so well, that I’ve picked up a few new, up-to-date pieces of clothing from the Van Heusen Outlet Store at the Outlet Collection of NiagaraWith a bit more confidence in my step I’ve purchased a few pairs of slimmer-style pants and tops without a lot of fancy patterns seen on the “more mature” blouses for women. My closet is starting to look a bit fresher and is making me feel even better about myself.

Having said all of this, even Nat has gotten bit by the “new up-to-date” look and has found quite a few new sweaters at the Van Heusen Outlet Store for himself. I must admit he’s found a couple of really great looks and I’m especially pleased to see him finally toss out some of his older style sweaters and shirts, which is very difficult for him to do, trust me! He’s even bough a fabulous sweater that I would love to see for women – but to date, I’ve seen none. They’re a sweater worn by the Canadian Armed Forces (Navy) and have patch strips on the shoulders with a ribbing pattern. I’ll keep looking or else I’m going to have to buy a mans one. We had decided to hit the Outlet Mall again as Nat wanted to buy some new shoes. We drove in yesterday and it goes without saying came home with more than we went for. Nat found his shoes and I managed to find a new pair of winter boots – knee length, squashed look with chain detailing around the boot. With my “new attitude” I was looking for something to wear with the new leggings and these fit the bill perfectly. We wandered back into the Van Heusen store before leaving and came away with that (Navy-style) sweater for Nat and a good white blouse for me. Like I said, it doesn’t take much for either of us any more. I’m now beginning to think I’m a bad influence on Nat as he’s now getting the shopping bug, which has really never left me!! What the hell, it’s our time!!


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Ruby Phoned Home Today

Darby finally found an apartment in Oakville. She had planned to find one a few months after starting her new job, but soon discovered that the commute was a little tiring. The apartment hunting alone is a whole other story, but she finally found a really great one and is now in the throws of trying to get furniture, kitchen ware and decor gathered together before her actual moving day. As luck would have it, Nat and I still had our previous kidney-shaped coffee table, its’ matching side table and a floor lamp that we wanted to donate to Darby’s cause, and she was more than willing to take them off our hands.

As Nat and I were returning to Niagara Motors on Thursday to pick up our new vehicle, I had the brilliant idea of delivering the furniture to Darby and her Mom while we still had possession of the Van. So Nat and I loaded up our cargo and drove into St. Catharines early Thursday morning where Claudia was waiting. The ladies said they were really excited about our donation, as Darby would now have a coffee table, end table and floor lamp to go along with her newly purchased Sofa to complete the ensemble. With what Nat and I could see of Darby’s decor, we could tell the apartment was going to be stunning and fun!!

After a quick (and I do mean quick) catch-up with Claudia about their trip to Las Vegas, Nat and I headed home for a quick lunch and then Nat had to make his phone call to his nephew in England. They had planned to have an actual telephone conversation so Nat could ask his nephew exactly how things were going with his sister, Jenny. Finally some relatively good news, as Jenny now seemed to be on an even keel with the pain medication, that her depression was being treated and was told she could probably go for home visits for a few hours when she felt ready. She’s still going to have a biopsy, but only until she can keep on an even path for a few days. Nat and I both took sighs of relief and hope and pray that this good news continues.

Right after Nat’s phone call, we were headed back into Virgil and Niagara Motors to pick up our new beauty. A 2014 Buick Encore with all kinds of gadgetry and technical wizardry that will take Nat and I quite a few days to get use to. We were at the dealership, naturally, for an hour or so getting the paper work signed and a demonstration of how to work some of the gadgets that we’ve never had before. The salesman paired our cell phone via Bluetooth with the vehicle, so we now have “hands free” calling, and demonstrated the Satellite Radio we would have the use of for 3 months. Our heads were now spinning at everything the salesman was demonstrating and we knew we’d forget it all as soon as we arrived home. We told ourselves that we’d have to sit in the vehicle while at home and read the Manual to refresh ourselves.

Pulling into the garage, we were still in disbelief that we had actually done this. A totally, totally new and different vehicle from anything we’ve had in the past. Each of our cars – the Buick LeSabre, Jimmy and the Uplander – have all been brown or variations thereof. Ruby in all her red glory was such a departure for us and she looked great and even took up less space in the garage – bonus!

Friday, Nat and I were back into our usual routine. It had been a busy week and we decided to just pick up a few groceries that were necessary and then take it easy the rest of the day. As Nat took Ruby down the road I could see it on his face – that smile he gets when he’s quietly pleased – he was loving this woman!

Today, Saturday, was my day. I had a few errands I wanted to run at Niagara Square but was just a bit hesitant. Somehow one gets a little extra cautious and overly protective of a brand new vehicle. You want to keep it shiny and new for as long as possible. So, as the rains were coming down this morning, I decided to do my errands in the afternoon when it got dry. Afterall I didn’t want to take Ruby out into the cold and damp right away. As I sat in the driver’s seat, Nat reminded me again about a couple of items – the new spot for the windshield wiper, the buttons for the air-conditioner and how to adjust the seat and steering wheel. Little short me needs a wee bit of a boost sometimes. I was loving the new automatic stick-shift on the floor. Reminder of days of yore when I drove a standard and loved it. Still miss standard-drive today but this I could handle. A cute little sporty stick shift on the floor, a couple of cup holders, a small covered compartment all aligned behind one another. Vrooommmm, Vroooommmm!!

I made it to Niagara Square all in one piece. I did feel, however, that I was a bit further back from the windshield than I was use to. I felt like I should have the back of the driver’s seat a bit further ahead to give me just a bit of that “wee boost” to see more of the windshield. I managed to buy a few good deals at my favourite store, TanJay, Alia, where summer bargains were now to be had as the new Fall line-up had arrived. I then wandered into Michael’s Craft Store for a wicker basket that could hold magazines and sit on the living room floor to compliment some other wicker pieces. Having found exactly what I wanted, I headed back to our new beauty and as is my usual practise, I called Nat to let him know I was on my way home. We have a habit of always checking in with each other whenever one of us is out and about. I felt now was a perfect time to adjust the driver’s seat to my liking and test out the “hands free” calling. I started the engine, turned on the radio (volume down) and pressed the Call button;  Ruby asked for directions. Call Home, I asked of Ruby wherein she did and I was soon connected to Nat and having a bit of a giggle. Nat had replied that “Yes, Ruby called home”. 


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This Time I Told Him – But Couldn’t Take It Back

Opening my mouth and talking has been a major mistake at lot of times. I should know better by now but, with memory loss, I’m intent on repeating past mistakes. This time around I mentioned to Nat that I thought it would be an idea to buy a new coffee table and replace the kidney-shaped one(s) we have now, along with the matching side table. All three pieces are glass-topped with decorative chrome trim and a blond wood – and look ultra modern in our little cottage-style house. Plus it’s been quite a few years now and I’m long over-due for a decorative change in the living room. This is a habit I’ve maintained for years while I was single. Every year, or so, I would switch around the furniture and accessories that adorned my little apartment living room. Plus, if I could have, I would have even switched around the little bedroom, but alas, not enough space. This little habit of mine just perks me up, gives me a different perspective and makes me feel better!

It seems as if once I turned 65 my decorative tastes suddenly took a sharp right-hand curve. Instead of that modern, clean line look, I’m craving that “English country cottage” look. Nothing modern, but simple and comfy looking. Thus the reason for my suggestion of a new coffee table last Wednesday. Nat looked at me and naturally knew this was going to be a done deal whether he agreed or not. My biggest hurdle was convincing him of the style I was looking for and that he had to agree to the same. He always has a big hand in whatever piece of furniture or fixture we’ve purchased, which can sometimes be frustrating because the two of us are very different in that department. He only agreed to the 3-piece modern coffee and end table we had because at the time I was living in “his” house and it wasn’t “our’s”. A huge mistake any second wife could  make. Always, and I do mean “always” avoid living in “his” house. It’s never, never the same and you begin to feel like a guest in what should be your “own” home.

As I was willing to wait and do some research, Nat suggested we drive down to Wall’s Furniture in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Friday to at least begin our search to see what was exactly out there. We knew we would have trouble trying to match the blond wood cabinets sitting beneath the wall-mounted television, but I knew that even a slight variation wouldn’t matter that much. So, as it happened, the salesman led us upstairs and we were shown a simple 3-piece table set (coffee and two end tables) with clean lines and just a teensy bit of tapered legs. This is where things get a little rough and hazy. We both liked the set. We both agreed that it was a good deal. We both agreed that the colour would work and the next thing I knew the salesman was writing up the receipt. Why was that so easy? And why did I agree to something I had an ounce of doubt about?

Arriving home we agreed we would assemble the set on Sunday afternoon, but I kept thinking about the whole thing. Somehow what I had in mind had gotten away from me. My doubts became bigger with the passing day and a half until Sunday after lunch I started to open up the box. Nat asked what I was doing and the he would get to this in a minute. Suddenly my world blew up!!

Being honest, I told him I wanted to check the colour again and that I was having doubts whether it was right. I (mistakenly) suggested that he agreed to this purchase only because he felt we both liked it and he wanted this whole matter over with. With those words Nat hit the ceiling. He reminded me that I wanted a new coffee table, that I agreed with him that this table seemed pretty good, etc., etc., etc. Why didn’t I say something at the time if I had doubts? What was wrong with me and what did I want? At the time, I truly didn’t know. Nat then began to assemble the tables and in his anger asked where I wanted to put the old coffee and end table. I shouted at him to just leave them alone. He adamantly said NO, that this was going to get done. I shouted back “then you’re on your own“, as he walked the one table alone down to the basement despite my body barricade. He returned for the second half and the shouting continued. The tears began to flow, my voice rose and the tangled words came flowing out.

As the fight moved on I became even more emotional and Nat became even angrier. He was furious at my insults and why not, I had verbally hit him hard. His temper was now scaring me, but with hindsight I realize why. I had said a couple of things that I wished I could take back. As his eyes widened, his emotions came streaming out, loud and clear, all the while thumping his fist on the recliner. “All of this“, he said, “just because of a coffee table“. I walked to the closet for my coat and boots while uttering those words “maybe I should leave this marriage as apparently I’m not good enough“. Bad choice of words as he leapt to his feet, shook his finger at me and told me to “never, ever say that again”!! He then asked where I was going. I said I was going out, that I needed some air and some time to myself. My head was spinning, my mind going crazy and my thoughts were muddled up. I needed time alone to think what the hell I was doing. He took hold of my coat and told me to take it off. Through my tears I told him NO, that I was sorry for all of this, that I didn’t know what I was doing, thinking or even saying, and with that I was out the door. The garage door opened, I wiped my tears for fear of being seen by anyone and walked towards the Friendship Trail. My body was shaking and my hip and legs were throbbing with pain. I couldn’t go far. But I managed to at least ask myself what the hell I was playing at. What was my problem and what exactly was it that I wanted. This mood of mine had taken a stronghold and I had to shake it.  I didn’t even make it to that little bench on the Trail where I sat last time trying to clear my head. I had to go back and face the music. When I returned calmer heads prevailed. Enough was said. In silence we began to assemble the tables. It turned out this whole scenario was for nothing – and I had caused the whole thing. The tables looked great. A bit more space in the living room and the look was more cohesive. I was going to suffer in silence the rest of Sunday as Nat, too, kept  his thoughts to himself.

Expectedly, Monday morning we were up early for my annual doctor’s appointment in Hamilton. We put everything behind us and drove for just over an hour, but it was for nothing!! The computer at St. Joseph’s Health Care had previously crashed and apparently I was one of two people they forgot to call to cancel.  My Doc was overseas on holidays – March Break. What were the odds, this was starting off to be one horrid week. Disgruntled about the expensive parking fees for naught, we headed home for another hour’s drive. Arriving home we were totally frustrated, but managed to get through the rest of the day and now had an excuse to talk about something different! A late night hockey game was on that evening so I made my excuses and headed off to bed. I was totally exhausted and frustrated.

Managing to get a good twelve hours of sleep, Tuesday morning began with warm, but still guarded, feelings. I took a walk around Niagara Square looking for a few decorative things in wicker. With our spare time on Monday afternoon we decided to switch a few chairs around – the burgundy chair in the alcove, the yellow tub chair in the bedroom and the bedroom wicker chair in the living room. Looked good, we thought. Now we just had to introduce a few wicker pieces, order a wicker table lamp and the room was going to look pretty good.

The afternoon saw our landscaper coming by to help Nat solve an outdoor problem. Nat discovered that a portion of the garage floor had flooded last week where the new patio had been laid. The eaves troughs were backed up with solid ice and the rain was flooding the patio and garage floor faster than he could sweep it out the door. I ran for a wad of extra bath towels, placed them by the door, as Nat laid an old rubber mat under the door to tighten the gap between the outside and in. Hopefully with Mike and Nat’s two thinking caps on, something could be worked out to stop the flooding and re-arrange the eaves troughs. The final decision was that Mike would try to come up with something, and that we would call our contractor, Simon, to see what could be done about the eaves troughs. In the meantime, Nat had re-worked the downspout enough to at least divert the water away from the corner that was flooding. Now we would have to wait and see.

And so went the rest of our week. One of the worst we’ve had in years. The flood, the fight, the silence. On top of things, after making egg salad for a change for lunch sandwiches, poor Nat dropped his on the floor and had to retrieve what he could – that was all there was. The sandwich being a bit thinner than he was used to he realized it was sheer clumsiness but ate it up anyways. We both were looking towards the end of this whole week. For me, I’ve etched a sign in my brain – only say something if it’s intelligent and well thought out!!!!


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Oh, What A Difference This Time!

Around Wednesday the 21st I had finished wrapping all of Thamazine’s gifts and had a lot of fun doing it. Having finished a few days early, we met up again at Future Shop in Niagara Falls so she could get her in-law gifts to them prior to Christmas. With nothing else to do that day, Nat and I decided to stay an extra few minutes and walk around the Square which was kind of useless. With no one around and really nothing new in the shops we wandered around aimlessly and gave up. I did, however, find a couple of sweatshirts on sale (2 for the price of 1) which would replace a couple of now tattered ones.

As Christmas Eve was approaching, Nat and I had to keep telling ourselves that we were going out that evening. Another one of those years where it seems like just another Saturday and our usual routine was taking place. It was just as well we were going out as there was no hockey on that night and poor hubby would have been bored out of his mind. So why not visit with some of my family, eat a little, drink a little and laugh a lot. This year Claudia was hosting Christmas Eve and Thamazine was doing Christmas supper. Arriving at Claudia’s a little early we were able to have a nice quiet chat with her, Darby and Tyler before the rest of the gang arrived and the quiet would soon be replaced with two youngsters running around (excited about the next morning!), and adults meandering in and out of the kitchen, living room and family room. Who could blame them – with candy dishes sitting in every little nook and cranny, we all wandered around as much as we could with big hands dipping in every bowl containing coloured confectionaries that tingled the taste buds. Soon it was time for the buffet of beef-on-a-bun, salads, roast chicken, and desserts of cookies, squares and cakes. Every child’s dream – a house full of chocolates, sugar-coated treats, gum drops, jelly beans, Hershey Kisses, ribbon candy and so much more the old brain can’t remember them all! I always admire Claudia and how she can accomplish so much and still be sane!

With our usual excuse “We’ve got a ways to drive”, Nat and I headed home and snuggled in our easy chairs by 10:30 pm. I’m yawning so I decided to hit the hay, leaving Nat looking for something to watch on telly and amuse himself until he can meander off to bed. We both awoke early as we were scheduled to be at Laura’s place for 9:00 AM. She had her two kids for Christmas week and was hosting Christmas morning for herself, Karly, Lucas, her ex-mother-in-law, her ex-hubby and Zoe (her dog). We arrived just as the excitement was winding down from everyone unwrapping their gifts, so we handed to the kids ours’ and soon began to join in the conversation and visit with Marilyn and Shawn, both of whom we haven’t seen in quite sometime. Each of Karly and Lucas showed off some of their presents and both seemed happy with what Santa had brought them. We left Laura’s as it was getting close to noon, drove home for a bite to eat and then headed off to Thorold to visit with Susan, Tom, Felicia and Bridget before leaving for Thamazine’s for supper.

We arrived at Susan and Tom’s just after 1:00 and the girls were snuggled on the sofa playing with their new teen-age toys and gadgets. The Dagenais family looked as if they had a very happy Christmas and again, after giving the girls their gifts, we soon joined in the conversation and had a chance to get caught up on family news and activities. Another nice visit and we were off again.

Thamazine’s place smelled wonderful as we walked in the door. The aroma of turkey and all the trimmings emanating from the kitchen was a killer. I was full blown hungry by now and as Daryl said he was brining the turkey, I, myself, couldn’t wait to bite into that juicy bird. As usual we were the first to arrive and more quiet time to visit with the family before the balance of the other families arrived. Zach had arranged a ping-pong tournament for later and was all excited, being the sports lover that he is. He was organized like the pros. Zoe was primping and preening in her bedroom putting on the final touches for her guests. She’s growing up so fast and has somehow turned into an early teenager much before her time (only 10). Not long after our arrival the rest of the gang started to appear and meandered downstairs to where we were and had a seat before being called to supper. It was fun listening to what everyone had received from Santa and watching their eyebrows squint as they tried to remember. It sounded like each and everyone had a great morning and was thrilled with their presents, too.

The meal was gorgeous. Daryl’s brining the turkey was a success and with mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies and stuffing, we were all enjoying a great dinner with fun conversation and a few laughs. The meal was so good I just had to go back for seconds, which isn’t what I’ve being doing of late. For the longest time Nat nor I have been able to eat big meals and we’ve been practising restraint in portion sizes. Nat and I weren’t going to have any leftovers, so I made the best of things and enjoyed as much as I could. Dessert came a little too soon after the main meal and I was only able to enjoy a small piece of cake, albeit a great tasting small piece of cake!

Soon after the meal the ping pong tournament was announced. I was informed Darby and I were up first and Zach led us into the small playroom, shut the door and soon began explaining the rules. This guy was serious! He had done his research and with his new laptop at hand he was ready to play a professional game – or so he thought. He didn’t realize or understand what the “Rouse” girls were like – a lot older, a little less mobile, and really slow in the old foot work! Darby and I were now ready to play. With Darby still young, springier and so much lighter on her feet, it was soon becoming apparent who was going to win this match. It wasn’t for lack of trying on my part, but for some reason the old “hand-to-eye” co-ordination had gone down the drain. I use to be pretty good at this game!! What the hell happened?? I couldn’t even get a good volley going and poor Darby was waiting at her end of the table as I struggled to even find the ping pong when it bounced around the floor as my paddle went swinging right by it. The final score was 15-2 (Darby) and at last I could go back to my easy chair in the family room, join the other older adults in chit chat and listen at the closed door for the other ping pong matches that were taking place. With roars of laughter coming from the playroom it was clear that everyone else was having the same trouble I was. It was apparent that the younger set had the advantage, but the whole game itself was fun and everyone had a great time. The huffing and puffing from the older adults as they finished their game was funny and yet sad. Each one of us had forgotten that ping pong was a fast-paced game if you wanted it to be, and the younger set was certainly making it that way. Zach had truly arranged a “pro-like” game despite having a major handicap – old Aunts!!

Our “We’ve got a ways to go” was soon coming from our lips again, so we said our goodbyes and headed home. We were getting tired, had had a great time and were now ready for those easy chairs at home. Another year of good food, great fun and loving family. Compared to last year’s Christmas with my miserable mood and emotional crisis in tow, this year was so much better. It felt good to be relaxed, somewhat carefree and being able to just let it go. I was able to enjoy myself, had only one small excitable moment which I soon took care of and didn’t let anyone “get to me” – even though I was tempted once or twice. “Take a deep breath” is now the phrase lit up in neon inside the old brain and so far, it’s working!

Boxing Day saw Nat and I literally doing nothing. We laid around the house with Nat doing his crosswords, me playing games on the iPad or Mac, and deciding what to have for supper after last night’s feast. It was nice. I even pulled out a jigsaw puzzle I had picked up for myself at Costco and began enjoying something I’ve not done for a long time. When I’m finished I’ll send it along to my sister-in-law in England – another jigsaw puzzle fancier.

The rest of this week has been quiet. We’ve done a couple of errands – license plate sticker for the van, some printer paper and getting frustrated as hell with the internet cutting in and out. Can’t wait for the new Airport Express to arrive. If that’s not the problem, then I’m a monkey’s uncle and will be totally out of mind as to what the real problem is. We can only continue to keep our fingers and toes crossed and believe that January 2012 is going to begin on a good note!!


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Lion’s Ghost and A Little Elf

The saga continues with Lion and I’m beginning to think I’ve downloaded it’s ghost along with the operating system itself. My frustration is now reaching a fever pitch and the more research I do, the more confused I get. Too many other people are having the same kind of problem and no answers have been posted to date. Along with many other issues regarding Lion, I’m beginning to have doubts about whether I should have upgraded at this particular time.

Nat and I continue doing everything we can think of with the Airport Express that’s done us so well over these past years. Even after the cable guy checked our lines and they were fine, the problem reared its ugly little head again the next day.  We went on a quest to search out this mysterious ghost, find the little bugger and get rid of him. We reset the Airport, we unplugged and plugged it in, we reset it again using it’s original network settings, we turned the Mac off and on, off and on, we went through diagnostics, we went through every networking step we could think of, and still the internet would still drop off every now and then. We were now thinking it had to be the actual Airport Express and again, with more investigation, I realized ours was 802.11g and the new Airport Express is now 802.11n. Hmmmm – I’m now thinking there was something amiss since our AE was now more than 5 years old I’m guessing it’s past it’s prime. While on another errand we dropped into the Future Shop and had a wee chat with their Apple expert. After our long explanation was over and his eyes now glazed, he soon came around and agreed that it very well could be the Airport Express. Once I told him it was 802.11g his eyes blinked, his head jerked a little, and he told us that our 802.11g AE hadn’t been sold for 5 years now and was probably the culprit. He did, however, suggest that we try using Firefox as our browser and test that before going through the expense of buying another AE. After some discussion, Nat and I agreed that it was probably in our best interest to just buy a new Airport Express and so I ordered one yesterday evening.

Waking up this morning I was thinking to myself that it should be a relatively easy day. One little errand this morning and that would be it. No such luck. It turned out to be another one of those mornings where I couldn’t get the internet up, I couldn’t get the bluetooth mouse recognized and the printer was showing no paper, when, in fact, it was loaded. As I wanted to deliver some cookies to my hairdresser for her wine and cheese party tonight, I decided to leave the computer mess until I was done plating up my little treats to take down the road. When I checked the freezer for my Christmas stash I had baked a few weeks ago, I discovered some “little elf” had been snacking and I was suddenly depleted of the Krispy Krunch and Oatmeal Cookies. I plated up what was left, along with some Chocolate Chip and headed down the road for my delivery. My hairdresser was pleased as punch when I walked in the door and her customers were all smiles as well. I apologized and told Jen I was unable to attend her soiree tonight and wished them all a Merry Christmas and a good party. Scurrying back home I soon began setting up to bake two more batches of cookies for Christmas gift packs. I mixed up the dough before lunch and I’d bake them in the afternoon.

With the new Airport Express not scheduled to be delivered until the end of December, Nat and I were going to have to press on and continue to struggle with getting the net up and running whenever it decided to fall off the grid. Every morning so far, I’ve had to re-recognize the Airport Express and wait for as long as it took for the Bluetooth to recognize the mouse. This is now getting very frustrating and I’m having withdrawal from not being able to get connected. After all, Nat needs his crossword printed out each morning (now a daily routine) and I need to get the mail, and, well, just get connected!! It’s psychological perhaps, but not knowing I can get online gives me a feeling of somehow being isolated from the rest of the world. I wouldn’t be able to post to this Blog, I wouldn’t be able to look up Nat’s crossword answers whenever he got stuck, I wouldn’t be able to email my family in Canada and overseas. Not that I do that much, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right!!! Yes, I could use my iPad, but it’s the fact that we’re not getting connected on the main iMac. The iPad being able to get online via Airport Express was another reason why we came to the conclusion that we did. The iPad is running a less powerful operating system and I’m still not able to get to my iMac games – Tiny Bang Story, Sudoku and Solitaire – along with the programs (or Apps, as they’re now called) – Handbrake, Evernote, Pages, The Print Shop, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes – all of which need updating by getting online. I’d miss my podcasts which I watch and listen to almost on a daily basis, whether through the Mac or the iPad. These are things that have become fairly important in my daily life – mundane as it may seem – but it’s my life and this is how I fill some of my quiet time.

In between all of this hustle and bustle, Nat and I made a gift exchange at Niagara Square (Future Shop) with Thamazine. I returned her second batch of gifts that I had finished wrapping and she gave me another small load to be done. As there wasn’t that much to finish off I managed to get the balance of her items wrapped by the next morning. And that was even taking my time and flitting in and about the office every now and again to check on how things were going. I really, really enjoyed wrapping Thamazine and Michele’s gifts and hope I’m able to do it again next year. As I’m feeling so much better than this time last year, I took my time and made a couple of special bows for a couple of special gifts, and tried to get the old imagination in gear to do a little something extra for each parcel. I’m afraid the imagination couldn’t do what it wanted, as my supplies were running low, so I was a little disappointed in a couple of items, but I know the kids won’t remember while they’re ripping open the Christmas wrap faster than you can blink an eye. As I had spent only $1.00 on some additional small bows, I prided myself in using up what I had left from years past. The wrapping papers I bought from Costco was still running strong after 5 years, but at last getting low, and the wired ribbons I purchased along the way were more than enough to complete the tasks at hand. This was also a great way of filling some of those days where sitting behind a computer monitor was now (even for me) wearing a little thin.

Now the cookies are baked, the parcels are wrapped and the little decorations around the house are looking pretty good. With only boringly mundane (and repeat) shows on television, (except for the hockey games), Nat and I will pull out some of the DVDs that have gathered a little dust, snuggle in our easy chairs by the fire and enjoy what WE want to watch over the Christmas holidays.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

P.S. to this post:  Just received an email from Apple – that Airport Express is on its way. Merry Christmas and God Bless, Apple!!