The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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I’ve Quit Cheating

After my eye surgery I slowly became frustrated that I had to use glasses to read. Everything from recipes, labels, computer screen, iPad screen, etc. Not wanting to pay a great amount of money I purchased some binocular-style eye glasses. I soon realized the Optometrist community calls them “Cheaters”. These glasses worked really well and I had purchased as many as I needed – one pair for the: kitchen, office, TV side chair, night stand and my purse. I figured I wouldn’t have to search around the house to find a pair whenever I needed them. The scheme worked for quite some time, but each pair of Cheaters was different in style and intensity. (I just picked up a pair wherever and if they worked, they worked).

With time I soon began to wonder if I should actually upgrade my old prescription and get a proper pair of reading glasses. I was soon reminded by the mailman when she dropped an appointment check-up in the mailbox. The card sat on the office desk for a week or two, as I tried to justify any extra expense we may incur. With Nat’s nagging, I soon picked up the phone and made the appointment.

When I admitted to my Optometrist what I was using, he didn’t really chastize me and he certainly understood the expense. Turns out the price wasn’t so bad, as our health insurance would cover all but $40.00 and I was getting a bifocal upgrade where I’d have a wider area of view, with a good computer screen portion. I’ll see in a day or two when they arrive how better my daily life will be without putting glasses on-and-off, on-and-off, on-and-off. A frustrating routine to say the least. AND No, I’m not ready for that fancy little chain that hangs around my neck. It will be like wearing a necklace which I can no longer do because of my sensitive skin. Another frustrating scenario.

I had another appointment with the old law firm I worked for. One of the secretaries had called to have me sign an “Affidavit of Execution”. I was a witness to a Will back in 1982 and would I come in for 5 minutes to sign the affidavit. Nat and I also had a couple of other errands in the big City that day.

As I walked in the door, I recognized the Receptionist, but any other secretary or lawyer walking through the lounge were complete strangers. I was suppose to meet a secretary, but her boss came into the lounge to greet me and turned out it was one of the lawyers I had known and, in fact, a son of the founding father of that firm. I remembered him as a a pull no punchesvery conservative, old school kind of man and I only got along with him because I absolutely adored his father, and his father liked me (he had told my boss one day who past it along). I had also done some secretarial work whenever his secretary was on holiday and he made it a point to tell me what good work I did.

As we sat in the small “signing office” the first thing out of his mouth was “how could your boss allow a Codicial to a Will be signed and witnessed out of the office and with two strangers as witnesses? I politely replied my long term memory has faded from my brain after my transplant (a bit of a fib – it’s actually my short-term memory). I signed what I had to and tried to leave the office, when another secretary I knew and liked, asked me to stay a bit longer, as her boss also had a Will that I had witnessed. She was going to call me in a week or so, but since I was already there – why not? So Nat and I waited as the Affidavit of Execution was being drawn up and printed out.

Thinking I’d see the secretary to sign, I was completely surprised when her boss came out and was immediately up to his old tricks of trying to “get my goat”. I’ve known this lawyer from the first day he started at the firm and we’ve always gotten along famously. He was one of a few lawyers in the firm I could actually say “go to hell” to. We were verbal jousters and enjoyed the challenge. We reminisced for a minute or two, I signed where required, and he asked me if I’d return. “Honestly?“, I asked. As he shook his head I told him I now had a bit of a sour taste in my mouth from how my sister was treated. He understood and with a big grin on my face, I told him of my wedded bliss in a small village with peace, quiet and tranquility. We hugged each other and with that I departed.

Nat and I were then on our way to Costco for our regular trip of groceries and once we arrived, we had no idea how busy this place would be late afternoon on Tuesdays. We bobbed and weaved our way through hordes of customers, got what we needed and then got the hell out of there. We’re at that stage in our lives where too many people in one place can no longer be tolerated. We’ve been spoiled by our peaceful little corner of the world.

This past week my last parcel from Land’s End arrived. For years, I’ve been searching to replace my favourite all-around short-sleeved Oxford Shirt. I’ve never shopped at Land’s End before because of their limited sizes. So when I was googling for “Oxford Shirts” and landsend.com showed up, I gave them a look-see. They had finally up-dated their sizes and what to my surprise they had the exact Oxford Shirts I had been looking for. I ordered one to try it out – perfect. I ordered two more in different colours – more perfection. What the hell, I then ordered the balance of colours and now have one shirt for every short or pair of pants I own. I also have a reserve shirt for my day-to-day housework. It’s going to be my workaholic top. Just to be totally anal about the whole thing, I went to WalMart and purchased a wooden hanger for every article of clothing in my wardrobe and that of Nat’s. We’re both pleased now that our clothes hang in an orderly fashion and not igglety, pigglety in our closet.

I must add that the month of September has been really great physically and emotionally. Long may it continue!!

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Seeing Is Believing – Guess I’m Screwed

Writing in my last blog post, I bragged about the gorgeous new shoes I bought for the Rangers’ (Golf) Dinner Dance held once a year. Everyone gets all dolled up in their finery, eats a great meal of Salad, Beef, Chicken, Pasta, and Tiramisu, get awarded prizes for the golf tournament winners in each of the three Classes, best player, etc., along with some pretty good gifts for the individual draws and 50/50 Cash draw. Nat managed to eke in a cash prize for third place in the Class C Division, which was better than he expected. He’s been having some bad years, but the new clubs have at least improved his game somewhat. He’s still working on that.

After all is said and done, there’s lots of dancing. The ladies (and some gentlemen) love to do their line dancing every year to The River of Babylon song, and it’s so much fun to watch. With that dance finished, everyone else is up and running for the other old and sometimes new rock tunes to dance to. The D.J. slips in a few romantic tunes to slow things down every once in awhile. Naturally, those are the only tunes Nat and I can manage to dance to and we did, in fact, dance a couple of times. Proving rightly so, that my new shoes were the perfect purchase. They worked out great on the dance floor giving me the stability I needed in my legs so I wouldn’t go ass over teakettle on the dance floor.

One change this year. As we walked into the hall and found for our table, we realized that two of Nat’s friends (Jim and Cathywouldn’t be attending. According to Nat’s ex-brother-in-law, they were going to Quiz Night at their favourite pub. We could both tell that something was up between these two couples who normally do everything together, including travel. It seems no explanations were given for their preference of Quiz Night and John and his wife, Anne (Nat’s former sister-in-law) took it in stride and figured things would work out somehow.

So as it went, I ended up sitting beside Anne. A woman with a heavy Scottish brogue accent (Glasgow) and extremely hard for me to understand. She has a good heart but can be domineering (as she showed at my wedding reception, which is another story). I shook my head and laughed whenever she did, looked at Nat a few times for confirmation and as the evening wore on, the silence became unnerving between the two of us. Neither one of us had anything in common to talk about. At least in previous years, our buddy, Cathy, would sit between us and keep the conversation going as she liked to talk and could keep any room alive with conversation. She, too, has a heavy Scottish accent, but has softened over the years, so I can at least understand half of what she’s saying. Plus she takes an interest in a lot of our family matters.

The night was quiet, but Nat and I still had a good time. We left earlier than usual but it was a 40 minute drive home and we were both tired. I had at least taped the Toronto Maple Leaf game for Nat to watch when we got home. I go straight to bed and Nat stays up later.

This past week we both had a few appointments that were going to fill some time. Me, the hair dresser and the Optometrist for a pre-op before Cataract surgery. Nat would have the car dealership to contend with, as we received a recall notice to replace some sort of thing-a-ma-jig in the computer part of the Buick Encore.

Not knowing what to expect for the pre-op, we headed for the Doc’s office with some trepidation. We soon found out that we would be there for a couple of hours. This guy was that busy. He takes patients from all around the Niagara District and is extremely well recommended. Shortly after arriving, I was called in for initial questions and answers by the Doc’s assistant, drops were put into my eyes – 3 sets of them – and then told we would have at least a 45 minute wait.

Noon hour soon came along so Nat drove out to the nearest Tim Horton’s for coffee and donuts where we were able to eat at a small dining area just outside of the Doc’s office. Well strategized, I’d say. This outfit knew how to take care of patients waiting for their turn. Nice touch.

About an hour after the initial visit, we were taken by the Doc, who was very nice, young, well-informed and friendly. More drops, again!! Along with an eye scan followed by a flash of blue streak, my eyes now felt like they were floating in their sockets. He advised that it was up to me whether I wanted the cataracts removed now or perhaps in a year’s time. He advised that I was at the stage where I could actually wait for a little while, if I felt the need. No, not I, let’s get this thing done and over with. My body and mind are psyched up so let’s do it! I really didn’t want to go through all of this again. I was also tired of wearing my eye-glasses for distance but still not seeing completely clear. (Yes, I clean my glasses every time I put them on!). I was tired of looking through blurry eyeballs, as if I’d had a few too  many.

A day later and my eyeballs are still as big as the Black Hole which surprises Nat and myself. Go figure, only me!! Hope it dissipates by tomorrow – I want to bake – and if I have to use a magnifying glass to read the recipe, I’ll scream!!

So now I sit and wait until March, 2017 when the surgery is scheduled. The Left eye in early March followed by the Right eye at the end of the month. Sounds like there’s going to be a lot more drops (which will be Nat’s job), along with dark glasses which cover the entire eyes – very cloak and dagger – and more visits to the Doc before all is right with the world again.


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Seeing Is Believing

The dog days of summer are almost gone. The Autumn Equinox is only 5 weeks away. Of course, I have no idea what that really means, except that it’s 3 weeks to September and the beginning of some of the Fall Craft Shows I love to attend.

I’m anxious to get out and wander around most of these shows. I love, love, love Craft Shows. Hated them as a youngster but once you get your own home it’s fun to look around for so many different decorating ideas. My husband knows, too, that I love to change things around the house now and again for a change of scenery and to make things feel fresh and new again.

Having said that, I’m in the throws of redecorating the main bathroom. I know what I want to do and have a lot of the wall accessories ready to go. However, the wall colour is giving me a lot of grief (looks silver on the paint sample, but a grey/blue on the walls). Previously I concentrated on the wall decor matching the walls and the towels matching the vanity, trim or floor. I’ve never been totally satisfied. Somehow something was just wrong. I’ve been on a constant hunt for a new area rug to match the walls which is proving to be a really bad idea. The stores and the internet are coming up empty and dear hubby could have painted the walls by now and make my life easier, but I’m trying to make his easier. I’m starting to cave in, though!!!

This afternoon I think I found something close to what I’ve been looking for on Amazon.ca and we’ll see in a couple of days whether it’s a “keeper” or “returner”. God, keep your fingers crossed!!

On another subject, I’ve had a follow-up appointment with my Optometrist. He says it’s now time to have my cataracts removed. Now there’s something I’ve been looking forward to – surgery on my eyeballs. My eyeballs are sacred, but alas age has caught up with me, along with some of my medication and if it’s going to allow me to see without glasses, that’s a bonus. The surgery won’t happen for another 5 to 6 months yet, so I can sit back and relax until after the New Year.

Hubby and I have been living a boring existence for the past several weeks. Not much has been going on except for Nat’s golf games 3 times a week, my on-off baking energy and whatever else I can get into trouble with. I’m still loving this new ultra-short haircut. It’s been a godsend these hot Summer days. No fuss, no muss – just a finger brush in the morning and I’m away. I could kiss my hairdresser for trying it and one of her other clients for giving me the idea. Even our contractor noticed the new look and complimented me – what were the odds in that???

I’ll be glad when the 2016 Olympics are over. I’ve never been one for the Summer Olympics. I find them boring and tedious. Bring on the snow, the cold, the slopes, the speed and heart pumping ski jumps!! I also find that this years’ Olympics are a bit one-sided with the Americans winning so many medals it feels like there hasn’t been any true competition. At least with the Russians in years past there was some real competitiveness, but alas, even that’s been spoiled by modern medicine and other things. I’m glad Canada has accomplished what it has and I’ll root for any Canadian going, but I would prefer it to be knee-high in snow.

Our granddaughter should be home by the end of the week from the Olympics and it sounds so far that she’s been having a pretty good time. Despite her flight delays in the beginning it sounds like she and her other friend have met up with some more friends, and good times are being had. Can’t wait for her to get home and hear her stories.

On another holiday adventure I was following was my step-niece and nephew from England and their 2 week trip to New York and California. Every now and again, she and her brother would post something on Twitter that would make me laugh, but then a bit of disaster befell their father. He ended up losing his phone 3 times, his wallet once and then broke a toe. My niece was declaring that she couldn’t take her father anywhere. One more disaster hit them on the way home, with United Airlines screwing up their connecting flight to Newcastle and the poor family was stuck in the airport for well over 24 hours. They eventually caught a flight to London and then had to arrange for another flight to Newcastle. Needless to say the whole family was exhausted but extremely happy to be home. I wish I was there to hear their stories, which I’m sure they’ve got plenty of.

Bring on the Craft Shows – I’m ready!!


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You Just Failed Your Driving Test!!

For the longest time, Nat and I have been meaning to find an Optometrist in our (new) area. We kept telling ourselves we really needed to have our eye glass prescriptions updated. For me, it was becoming fairly obvious my eye sight was getting worse, I was now beginning to wear my glasses (for distance) for longer periods of time, including using my iPad.

Once we moved to Ridgeway/Fort Erie, it became tiresome driving to St. Catharines for certain medical appointments. Our doctors couldn’t be changed – firstly, because we love the ones we’ve got, and secondly, we’d be hard pressed to find one in this area that would take new patients. An Optometrist on the other hand would be much easier, but it’s taken over seven years to pick up the phone and call one. After getting a couple of good references we made an appointment with Dr. Dube´ and couldn’t have been more pleased at our choice.

When the day came, I was the first to get called. After the initial niceties, reality was about to set in. We went through the usual eye drop thing and then it came down to the nitty gritty – the good old eye chart through that behemoth machine that makes you look like something from a Dr. Who sci-fi flick. At first I felt pretty good but within a few minutes my bubble started to deflate. The Doc turned to me and said You’ve just failed the driving test”. “Pardon me?”, I queried. “As far as the MTO is concerned you would fail the eye exam for your driver’s license”.  Apparently, my eyesight isn’t as good as I think it is. Yes, I can see, but not far enough according to the Government. I do wear my glasses when driving and I admit road signage is blurry until I get within a couple of feet of the same, but I do eventually make out the words!! “Not good enough”, replied Doc. He continued on to give me even more crappy news – I have two cataracts (a clouding effect over your natural lens that lies behind the iris and pupil) in one eye and one in the other, plus I may have Glaucoma. This just keeps getting better and better, I’m thinking!! I knew about the cataracts only because the Optometrist in St. Catharines had told me, but advised they were just in the beginning stages and not to worry yet. I was also sorry I asked him to explain the difference between the kinds of cataracts – there are actually 3 kinds, but I’ve only got two. The one explanation I partially understood was the Cortical Cataract that resembled the spokes of a wheel, after that I think I nodded off. The end result was within a few years I would have to have them removed. As for the Glaucoma I was to make another appointment for that test and it would just be a matter of some eye drops to fix that little goodie!! I shouldn’t joke as your eyesight is so, so very important, but laughter is my coping mechanism. Trust me, laughter and joking has gotten me through an awful lot in my life!

I will admit that this new Optometrist was a breath of fresh air – young, knowledgeable and very nice. So with my heavily dilated eyes I proceeded to the Doc’s assistant where I would be fitted for a new pair of lens for my new (highly) up-dated prescription. I was determined this time to get the pair of frames I’d always wanted – frameless. I was talked out of them with my first pair of glasses and have regretted that decision ever since. Despite hubby’s eye care coverage from work, I was still going to have to pay a substantial balance, and naturally, I hesitated. By now Nat had returned from his exam and Mr. Goody Two-Shoes only needed a small upgrade, so we discussed my situation. I appreciated his comments that I should get what I really wanted this time, as it was important to me. So we made the decision to go ahead. We just won’t pay the bills next month!!  The only reason I insisted on frameless was because with my present glass frames I was painfully aware of the actual frames every time I wore them. I could see the frame’s top, bottom and sides constantly which has driven me nuts for years.

Nat’s new prescription was a small upgrade but he still picked out a newer pair of frames which suited him well. He looked good. We were now happy with our decisions and glad this ordeal was over at least for a few years, plus we had found a great Optometrist which helped.

The appointment with our new Optometrist has been the most exciting thing we’ve done in the past month. My semi-annual appointment with my local Nephrologist was damn near perfect – one little test needs to be done, but I can see my GP for that. Otherwise it looks like I just might outlive everyone I know. God won’t that be boring when the times comes, just me to talk to!! However, Nat’s back pain is still continuous despite his somewhat good days and really bad days. He continues to pace the floor inbetween seating sessions, keeps trying to do the exercises he’s been given and has been having some good sleeping nights and some bad sleeping nights. At least the MRI test is now only one day away – Thursday.  God knows, we’re both hoping that something shows up so whatever it is can hopefully be “fixed”. If hubby’s life has to continue along the path he’s been presently suffering through, things will be totally unbearable. Our two lives really can’t tolerate much more of this God-awful routine we’ve been living since November 2014. But at least we can see clearly, now!!!


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I’m Seeing Red

Technology is a wonderful thing, but it has definite drawbacks. As with most technical things, like computer monitors, they’re life span is very short. You’re lucky if you get a good five years out of one, but some people have had better luck and their monitors are still going strong. Our luck wasn’t that good and when we first purchased the BenQ monitor for our Mac Mini in 2005 we were told it was one of the better ones on the market at that time. We were pleased with the same but of late it’s been ‘cutting out’ – turning itself off from overheating. We’ve now been told that it’s probably the circuit board and it would cost just as much to fix it as it would to probably buy a new monitor. So with that wee hubby and I had to weigh our options. We’re holding out desperately for a new iMac, but funds are a little short and this purchase is on our long list of “Things We Want or Need“. So with that, and assuming the new iMac won’t be sitting on our desktop for another six to eight months, we decided to purchase a new monitor (albeit the most inexpensive one we could find).

With that in mind and after making an emergency appointment with my Optometrist (see next paragraph), we headed into St. Catharines, over to Best Buy, and found a cheap little Dell Monitor for $120.00. Not bad, eh?? But once we arrived home we discovered there are no speakers in this monitor. You either have to purchase the Dell Sound Bar as an option, buy a cheap little set of external speakers, or just plug in a set of headphones into the Mac Mini’s audio slot. For now we’ve chosen the headphones – we have several extra sets available and why not make use of them. Nat has also discovered a set of cheap little external speakers while out on errands this afternoon, and we’ll keep them in mind when the headphones become a pain to put on.

As for the emergency trip to the optometrist, I had popped another blood vessel in my right eye and this time Nat got concerned. The last blood vessel I popped was just on its way to healing, when I popped another on Tuesday night after my last ordeal at St.  Joseph’s Hospital. This is now the third time I’ve done this little trick – the first one after falling off my bike – the second one the night before the first procedure at St. Joseph’s – and the third time, as stated, after the second procedure. Nat got concerned this time around because he noticed a “blood bubble” on the inside corner and we seriously felt it should be looked at. So the call was made and we were able to get in to see the Doc that afternoon. Our suspicions were right, this was happening due to the recent stress in my life and the Doc admitted these pops were doozers!!! So he reached into his ‘sample kit’ and pulled out a little box of special eyedrops that should increase the healing process. As predicted, I hate eye drops. I hate having anything even near my eyes. So dear, dear hubby has yet another chore – putting in eye drops twice a day. What on earth would I do without this man!!!

As with most trips into St. Catharines, we try and make the most of it, so after the Optometrist we headed over to our favourite fish and chip shop and had a great meal before heading home. Sherry, our usual waitress, still remembered our ‘usual’ and had it ordered as we were walking in the door. God love her – her former barmaid’s memory is rock solid!!!

So  now with a new monitor set up, we’ve got the old one to dispose of and having paid that ‘disposal fee’ we have no choice but to dump it. This is where the technical drawbacks come into it. You have to pay a disposal fee to get rid of most electronics today if you can’t recycle them and you’re going to fill the landfill sites. We wish we could recycle the old monitor, but there are very few places, if any, in this area that will take it, fix it up, and pass it on to someone who couldn’t afford a new one. If anyone out there is looking for a good cause, this would be one of them. Starting up a “Little Geeks” organization in the Niagara area. I’m willing to bet it would be pretty successful. God knows, it’s certainly a worthy cause.