Our Head-Banger Won’t Stop

We moved to this quaint little village for peace and quiet. Living out our retirement lives the way we want. Alas, Mother Nature is punishing us for some bizarre reason.

Yes, the Head-Banging Robin is back. Despite hubby’s valiant efforts of covering the patio doors and living room corner window with streamers, netting and then blue tarp our Robin returned but was now head-banging against the other corner living room window, and the main front living room window. At least the blue tarp was working but his insistance on head-banging is now causing high blood pressure, killing instincts and total, utter frustration for hubby. Each and every morning, while I’m still in bed, our bloody little friend turns up to welcome Nat to a new day by banging on his new found windows. Getting tired of banging several times, he’ll fly around the corner and try and bang his way into the house by hitting the front transom window.

I will confess to getting totally frustrated myself, I began to do further research online. Trying every different combination of search words, I soon discovered a little video from the Texas Conservation Authority that a lady had discovered as she was having the exact same problem as us, only with Bluebirds.

I’m begging you not to laugh, but it involved Windex, a Cloth and a Highlighter (the ones you use to highlight writings on a page, etc.) Believe it or not the instructions were to use the Windex and Cloth to thoroughly clean the window(s), take the Highlighter and make a grid pattern on the inside of the window. You make stripes up and down the complete surface of the window, vertically, and then horizontally, about 2 inches apart. Apparently one of the ingredients in the Highlighter emits or shows something only birds can see and will deter them from hitting windows. It was too easy, but the video showed the evidence. This woman’s bluebirds were almost instantly deterred as she demonstrated with one window being “highlighted” and the next window had nothing. The proof was there – the buebirds were now hitting the untreated window. I kind of laughed, it was too simple, too easy and surely would mark up our window.

The next day while Nat was at his golf game, I naturally grabbed a Highlighter, some Windex, a cloth and step stool (I’m short, ok!!!). After washing the window, I began to draw stripes up, down and across the window. I was surprised as suddenly the Highlighter seemed to be fading, but I persevered. I then sat back, grabbed my iPad to relax and wait for the peace and quiet to befall our little home.

Hubby returned home after a half-decent game. I sat him down, so when he falls to the floor laughing he wouldn’t have far to go, and explained what I did. Thinking he was now going to have me committed, I really was taken aback when he did nothing. He just stared at the window and asked “So, where’s this grid you made?”.  My reply, “See, it’s that good you can’t tell.”  He just stood there staring. I then sat back and said it was done out of desperation, and nothing ventured, everything to be gained.

DAMN, within an hour Crazy Bird was back hitting the window again. He started by banging up against the top left-hand side for quite some time, as if I had missed a spot. So I reinforced that corner with a bit more Highlighter, but to no avail. He continued for a bit and when he got tired he flew around to the front window and was hitting at the lower right-hand side of the transom window. We sat there in complete wonderment, confusion, frustration and total curiosity, as to what this wacky bird was doing and why doesn’t he get any kind of hint??? I’m now thinking I was totally taken in by the video using Highlighter. At least I didn’t lose money.

The next day was endured by going to WalMart to walk around for peace and quiet and pick up a few needed items. After lunch we tried our damnedest to endure the shenanigans of our Head-Banger and somehow made it through the day, but that killer look was written all over hubby’s face.

When I awoke this morning, no “good morning”, no “how’d you sleep?”, just “Well, was he back?” Nat’s look on his face answered my question. “With a vengeance”, he answered. He remarked he would have to cover this window too, and maybe the hang-over portion of the tarp from the other window would cover a portion of this window. He put the ladder up and left it standing in front of the window while he gathered his supplies. For a few minutes the ladder seemed to deter the bloody little red-breasted harrasser. Hoping maybe this would work we then waited for an hour or so to see what would happen.

It didn’t take the little bugger long, but he was now sitting atop the ladder. You could see it in his eyes, that this big deterrent was a little too close to the window, but what the hell he’d give it a try. Damned if he didn’t find a corner he could still make an attempt at. Even though the ladder had slowed him down, Hubby and I decided to go along witih his plans to deter this bird permanently. The other tarp-covered window was working perfectly.

The extra tarp was going to cover only half way, so I went downstairs and grabbed a couple of strips of Bubble Wrap to cover the other half. With some tape to hold the tarp and bubble wrap together and onto the siding, the window was now covered in its entirety. So far, as of 1:00 pm today, we have our peace and quiet back. Our home-wrecker has tried the front transom window once, but has suddenly disappeared. Hubby has been out gathering brush, etc. to take to the dump …. HMMMM!!!!

Tomorrow – A Changed Woman??

Since my last posting, our lives have been sincerely quiet. Most days we were either driving around picking up items at WalMart, relaxing with our crosswords or iPad games, and Nat playing golf three times a week (despite the horrid heat). Most afternoons I was afforded the pleasure of a lovely afternoon nap. Yes, my body is finally catching up with my actual age!!

I had my annual visit at St. Joseph’s Health Centre and everything was great. The Doc was especially pleased that I’ve managed to keep the same weight for over a year now. From what I was told, that is usually unexpected. So I was pleased with myself, too. We then proceeded with our usual routine on the way home – lunch at The Gateway Centre in Grimsby.

We also took time to to visit the Outlet Mall of Niagara as we’d be driving by on our way home. As Nat gave me a gift card for Van Heusen for Christmas, I was anxious to see what was new and exciting to buy. I found 2 pair of regular pants, one pair of cropped pants and a bra. Paying a little extra after using my gift card was a small price for what I had found. I love everything I bought. My next visit, I’ll now have enough store credit points for another possible good buying spree.

July came in quietly with my usual monthly lunch with Michele. I tried something different this time at Swiss Chalet – the Crispy Chicken – but with what is left of my teeth, the meal was very difficult to finish. The chicken certainly was crispy, to the point where I had a hard time even cutting into the meat. The whole meal fell apart and after managing to eat about a quarter of my lunch, the rest was packed up in a doggy bag for sandwiches the next day. The discussion of the month was mostly my dental procedure a couple of weeks away. Michele was very re-assuring in her advice and help, but the jitters were just about starting to set in. This is unusual for me, as I’ve had so many operations, my mind goes blank on the days prior and I just do what I’m told.

The time had now come for my Pre-Operative appointment on Friday the 6th. We had to be there for 9:00 am and were taken in without much of a wait time. The pre-op itself, however, was a bit lengthy and more extensive than thought. With my medical history being what it is, the whole pre-op team pretty much covered everything, despite the fact I was only going in to have teeth removed. The Anesthesiologist took one look at the medical summary sent in by my GP and knew right away what I have been through. He pretty much agreed that I have become a “professional patient”. He really had no questions and neither did I. We both knew the whole scenario.

One appointment this month saw Nat finally going in for a re-working of his hearing aid. He’s been having trouble hearing in noisy settings, and certain TV shows with a lot of background music. The aids have now been adjusted to a better setting but it’s still difficult hearing certain conversations such as quiet British voices, but he realizes that it’s also just as hard for a normal hearing person. Even I have the volume up high while watching some British (and even American) shows with quiet voices and a lot of background noise. Why on earth they have to have background music playing while a conversation is going on, is beyond me!!!!!!

We were also lucky that our dearly loved brother-in-law, Daryl, was willing to take an old Rubbermaid storage bench off our hands. Nat has been pushing this thing around his shed for some time, as it’s no longer needed, and finally decided to give it away to anyone who would take it. Daryl came by in his work van and even picked up an office chair (also no longer in use) for his son, Zach, who was using a chair that was on its last legs – literally!! It was a smalll, but nice, break in our boring day to see and have a laugh or two with Daryl.

Four days ago, we also took some time to visit our good friends and former neighours in St. Catharines. The husband was fighting cancer and is now doing pretty good. We think about them almost daily and wanted to see them before I possibly become an old grouch after my teeth are removed. They, too, were worried about me – which is what I adore about them both – so we wanted to see how they doing. The visit, as usual, was fun and we love them dearly. Nat will call them shortly after my surgery to update them on the results.

This is now the final posting before my surgery tomorrow. Despite being re-assured by Michele that the healing process is not long at all, I’m still very apprehensive about the whole matter. Anything to do with my ears, eyes, nose and mouth are strictly off limits unless absolutely necessary. The cataracts on my eyes were bad enough but as my eyesight was getting foggier by the day, I knew it was a necessity. Plus now that enjoying good meals is getting rougher and tougher by the day, I had to face facts and admit to getting my teeth fixed. From November of 2017 it’s been a long, ongoing process that’s been frustrating, surprising and somewhat painful at times, but my head was telling my heart to smarten up and get things done now before it’s too late. If you enjoy eating good meals and smiling often, your teeth play the only role.

Tonight, as Nat and I try and watch TV, we’ll still each be wondering silently to ourselves what tomorrow will bring and worry about how each other is doing during the whole process. I’ll have to be up with the roosters in the morning, but a small price to pay to at least have the procedure in the morning. Hopefully I’ll be home shortly after lunch with Jello in the fridge waiting to be sucked back whenever. I truly hope I won’t have to be a gummer.

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.

Kitchen Renos – Oh, What A Beautiful Day

Monday – Somewhat rested and trying really hard to begin this week with my usual routine, I did my workout and was finished by the time the boys arrived to continue on with the renovations. It felt good to get back on the treadmill (something I thought I’d never hear me say) and get back to my story I’ve been following. For 45 minutes I was able to clear my head watching a TV show where other people had worse problems.

The rest of the day wasn’t as bad as Nat and I thought. Simon and Dale worked along at a pretty good pace and before we know it, the range hood was up and the sink was down. I’m loving the new sink – all white and no more discoloured stainless steel.

I managed to get some errands done at WalMart as Nat watched the goings-on in the kitchen. By mid-afternoon the kitchen was really beginning to take shape. Dale worked vigorously attaching every drawer pull and door knob while Simon installed the other hardware. By the end of the day Simon advised that tomorrow would probably be the last day. The Electrician and Plumber would be here to finish up their installation and we would have lift-off. He even told us to go ahead and start loading up cabinets, if we wanted. Not yet, for me, at least, as I wanted to clean each one out before putting anything in.

Tuesday – What a difference a day makes. The plumber arrived while I was doing my exercises. Once changed and ready to go, it wasn’t long before the bad news began. The Plumber was unable to shut off the water from downstairs. The valve was so seized up it was going to break off if anyone tried to turn it any harder. It was soon concluded that the Town had to be called and turn our water off from the main shut-off valve in the front lawn. The Plumber tried to call the Town but knew it was going to take more time than he wanted. He grabbed the shovel, handed it to his apprentice and said “start digging” – the valve in the front yard was buried about a foot down in the ground and no one was able to reach it without digging.

My heart is starting to go out to our contractor and plumber. Every time they turned a corner something unexpected came up, including finding a pumpkin carving kit hidden deep beneath an old drawer. Simon told Nat and I not to worry, that they’ve seen so much worse and even told us a few horror stories.

The Plumber and his apprentice were, with a lot of effort, finally able to get the Town water supply to the house shut-off. The Plumber was then able to give us a new main shut-off valve downstairs and then continue on with the kitchen hookups. I must admit Nat and I did a damn good job on picking out a new kitchen faucet and range hood. We received approval from both our Contractor and Plumber. Trust me, it helps to please these guys as it makes for an easy install and less fuss and muss.

I had my semi-annual appointment with Dr. Broski at 2:15 and was going to go alone at first because of any future plumbing problems, but once Nat was satisfied everything was good he tagged along to get out of the house. We left quite a bit early, leaving Simon and Dale to their own devices to finish up. Before leaving I packed up my usual package of homemade cookies for the two boys and (in case we weren’t home in time) thanked them for the fabulous work and workmanship. Always appreciated.

Good news awaited me at the Doc’s. He was thrilled that I had lost so much more weight and congratulated me on a job well done. Because of the weight loss he said I could now be categorized as glucose intolerant instead of pre-diabetic. I’ll take whatever downgrading I can get and almost skipped out of his office. Walking on Cloud 9 with my good report, Nat and I headed home and discovered the two boys were just finishing up – packing up the truck, cleaning and dusting. Again, more thanks all around and we’ll see Simon again once Nat and I decide on the new back-splash, which he agreed to instal. We still needed the Electrician to arrive and finish up with the lighting and then all would be good with the world again.

Now that we were alone, Nat and I took a look around our new kitchen and grinned from ear to ear. Despite the little surprises, heated discussions and running around, we both came to the conclusion that it was all worth it. We were now living in a home that was complete – with only one or two rugs to be replaced. We’re looking forward to a peaceful summer and hopefully some family events that we can host feeling good about ourselves.

WalMart Disappointed While Michael’s Shocked

We’re bored! Too much snow, blowing winds and deep freeze temperatures for us to get ambitious and get the hell out of the house. Mind you, we have had to go out a few times for food and some necessities of life, but other than that it’s been pretty pathetic.

With so much time on my hands I’ve been trying to get creative and do some little projects inside. Nat found a couple more albums which I’ve converted to DVD and I’ve got our 45 records to convert, but in the meantime I decided to re-arrange a few pictures in the living room. With a stroke of genius on my part I re-arranged my lapel pin collection in shadow box frames and canvass. I arranged two groupings for the alcove and we both agree they look pretty good there.

In order to accommodate the pin collection, I took down two family group photos from above the sofa and replaced them with the two collage frames from the alcove. At first, Nat and I agreed they looked pretty good there, but something kept nagging away – for some reason my collage frame contained too many white spaces compared to Nat’s frame. So, we talked, discussed some different ideas, weighed our options and decided my frame needed to match Nat’s somehow. At first we would look for a close replica to Nat’s frame. You have no idea what a task that turned out to be!! We looked at Michael’s, WalMart, Canadian Tire and even Home Outfitters – in store and online. No such replica (or even close facsimile exists – the picture arrangements were either too big, too scattered or the frame was all wrong. It seems to be the trend for collage frames to consist of a bunch of actual frames all clustered together in varying shapes and sizes. So, after an exhausted search I (with Nat’s hesitating consent) decided to buy one of the clustered collage frame, thinking that at least all that extra white space would be eliminated, giving it a similar look to Nat’s frame with very few white spaces and numerous size pictures, including an oval.

WELL, let me tell you!! Those clustered frames are a real crock. Once home, I disassembled the back, placed all of my family photos against the glass plates, put the backing back on, clipped it all together, and placed it up against the wall to hang, whereupon some of the glass plates fell completely out of place!! Back to the office, disassembled the whole thing again, put the glass back into each little frame, put a stiffer support in each, assembled again, but lo and behold the glass still fell from some of the frames. With a third try at hand Nat and I finally realized the glass plates were much smaller than the inserts they were suppose to fit in, plus, there were no clips or anything of the sort to even keep each plate in place.

Some more thinking and planning. Nat found some styrofoam and thought we could cut enough pieces to support the plates between the individual frames and the large cardboard backing. After cutting the styrofoam into 12 individual sizes, with scads of flying bits of styrofoam flying all over, we managed to assemble the frame again. No luck!! The plates still fell out of place and by now I was getting pissed and wanted to chuck the whole thing down WalMart’s throat (where we bought the damn thing). Cheap goods!!!!

Again, Nat came up with another idea. By now it was decided we would have to support the plates between each frame. With more thinking and cutting I managed to make small little thick slats to place in the grooves of each frame in order to support the glass plate above and the glass plate below. AGAIN – I assembled everything back together – styrofoam slats, glass plates, pictures, foam backing, large cardboard support and clipped the whole thing together. Finally, I had success after two days of utter frustration and anger at shoddy workmanship.

The cluster of frames was finally hanging up, alongside of Nat’s collage. The sizes in width and height were perfect. But, after another day or two, something kept nagging at the two of us. What was it? Again, more discussion, more weighing our options. There was something about my collage frame that wasn’t quite right – too much black now, no white spaces at all – what was it?? By now we had come to an agreement – just re-work both frames to be the same – but how?? Nat suggested we go to a proper frame shop and have something made up. Knowing that would be expensive,  it was a least worth a try. Then, it suddenly hit me!! Why not just re-work both family collages into the museum frames I have. They would match all the other frames in the house, and we would just have to have new mattes cut.

WELL, this is now turning into another story. We disassembled Nat’s collage frame and he narrowed his photos down to the ones he absolutely had to include – his frame had 22 photos and mine only had 12. Logic told me that if the frames were to be cohesive, he would have to reduce some and I would have to increase mine. I then spent a whole afternoon enlarging a couple of his family pictures and trying to find more to add to my frame. After an exhausting time of thinking and figuring things out in this little muddled head of mine and using the black ink in our printer like it was a bottomless pit, all the photos were ready. We then began to work out a good design for his pictures, along with a newer design for mine. We stood at the desk sorting and resorting our designs. By the grace of God, looking at the size of his old collage matte and then at the size of mine it hit me like a ton of bricks – DUH!!!!! Why not just put his old collage matte into the museum frame we were getting ready to have to change. The actual frames were the same size and after holding his matte over the glass of the museum frame, it fit perfectly – another DUH!!!!!

Back we went to re-taping all of his 22 photos back onto his original matte – the big ones, the tiny ones and the in-between ones. Once done, the whole thing fitted into the museum frame as if they were made for each other and the entire thing looked fresh and updated. We both couldn’t believe it, and wondered what our problem was that we didn’t think of this before. I’m thinking it’s because I can tend to make things complicated and poor Nat gets lost in my brain wave and crazy idea. Now we only had to have one new collage matte made and we could do that at the Framing Department at Michael’s at Niagara Square.

This morning we headed down to Michael’s. We told the clerk our idea and showed her our collage design on paper, along with the photo sizes required. She began working away on the computer program, trying to get the sizes right within the 16 x 20 measurements. Nat and I stood there patiently as she worked her magic and once she was finished she gave us the shocking news – “You’re not going to want to do this, you know”, she explained. “Why, what’s the bottom line”, I asked. “$101.50”, she cringed, as Nat and I looked at each other and said together “You’ve got to be kidding”. “No”, she said, “it’s very expensive to have custom mattes made, especially for larger sized frames”. Nat and I hummed and hawed in disbelief. We both reminded each other how much trouble we’d been through up to this moment. We both knew there was nothing else out there that could solve our problem and any other Frame Shop would probably be just as expensive. Knowing what we knew we agreed to bite the bullet and go ahead. We were both at wits’ end by now and just wanted this project done with. Nat looked at me and said “this thing is never going to leave the wall” as I nodded my head in agreement. We both also agreed, however, that the final design was going to be great and was just what we were looking for. So now it’s a waiting game before we can pick up the matte and put the two frames back where they belong in the living room.

This whole scenario started off as one little idea of hanging up my collection of lapel pins. I was convinced that by switching the two items around (the pictures to the living room and the pin collection to the alcove) that this would be easy, peasy. Silly me!!!! The two frames looked great in the alcove only because they weren’t hanging side-by-side and on a corner wall. It wasn’t until they actually hung side-by-side that I became obsessed that “something just wasn’t right”. I’ve now told Nat, as I have so many times in the past, please smack me next time I have an idea!!!!

A Familiar Refrain

Sunday the 23rd saw a deep freeze set in around our little area. Naturally it was too bloody cold to do anything outdoors, except Nat had to clear the driveway of what fell to the ground on Saturday. I took advantage of the day and decided to try a new recipe for Muffin Tops which I’d seen on one of those ‘healthy’ cooking shows. Not a muffin lover myself, I figured what the hell, I’d give ’em a try and maybe Mikey (Nat) will eat them. As it turned out, he did. Full of raspberries, blueberries and whole wheat flour, Nat thought they were pretty good except a little dry. The recipe called for a cream cheese filling, which Nat abhors, so I left that out. He opted for putting a little jam on top and problem solved!!

Monday the 24th we wandered around Canadian Tire and Walmart in the morning. Nat was looking for a new tea kettle, as the one we had purchased about a year ago was acting up and not worth the repair. The afternoon hours were whiled away with crosswords and iPad games. Another day to stay in and keep warm from the deep cold outdoors.

With the arrival of Tuesday and another cold and snowy day, we both knew this was how our week was going to go. Another day with nothing on our plates, but willing to brave the cold, we decided on the spur of the moment to head into St. Catharines and get a few supplies at Costco. Being big fish eaters we stocked up on our favourites, along with a few other necessities and arrived home in time for lunch. At least now if Ridgeway got pelted with snow we’d have food on the table and could eat ourselves out of boredom.

The snow theme continued on Wednesday, but Nat took off for Niagara Falls. His excuse was he wanted to walk around Home Depot for a bit, but I knew he also had an ulterior motive. Along with looking for a solution for the ‘intake’ pipe (fresh air for the furnace) which keeps clogging or freezing up because of its closeness to the ‘outtake’ pipe, I figured he’d be looking for a birthday card for me, and I loved him for his thoughtfulness. He came home empty-handed regarding the pipe but at least he had a chance to get out of the house and have some ‘alone’ time. While he was gone I stayed put and updated the back-up drives of our photographs and home movies, which took me most of the afternoon. A tedious but necessary job where I dragged and dropped them all onto an external hard drive in case the CD back-ups decide to go flaky. Having at least 3 back-up plans is a safety net I’m adamant on keeping.

On Thursday morning I finally received the call from Walking On A Cloud shoe store at Seaway Mall that my shoes were in. Looking for a proper pair of shoes in a narrow size is a major task nowadays and I was so relieved to finally find a pair of loafers that were good looking and fit properly. We drove into Welland to pick up my shoes and decided at the same time to drop by the Dairy Queen just down the road to get an ice cream cake for Sunday. With the kids coming over for an early birthday lunch for me, the ice cream cake would satisfy the varying tastes of everyone. Really now, who doesn’t like ice cream??

With snow now covering each and every little crevice in Ridgeway, except the well-plowed roads, Nat drove me down to the Lab on Friday for my usual blood work. Taking advantage of being out, we bought what little groceries we needed a day early. With the day turning out to be cold, snowy and blustery we stayed put in the afternoon and I popped some more of those Cheddar Bay Biscuits in the freezer, thinking they’ll come in handy for that night we decide to put on the crock pot full of hearty beef stew. Cold night – hot beef stew and biscuits – yum!!

Up and at ’em early Saturday morning. I started the laundry and house cleaning, while Nat headed into Ridgeway to get those groceries items we couldn’t find Friday. With the kids coming Sunday for lunch I decided to get the chores done ahead of time and would now be free and clear for the week. Saturday evening with no hockey game on (horror of horrors!!), Nat and I nestled in our easy chairs and watched another movie I had downloaded from iTunes – “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” – which we both enjoyed immensely.

Sunday morning arrived with Nat and I up early to put on some pasta salad for lunch. Susan would be bringing a regular salad and along with the cold cuts, kaisers and ice cream cake, lunch was looking pretty good. Nat had received a call from Laura Saturday afternoon that she might not be able to make it. She was feeling pretty sick – we’re guessing the flu – and thought she’d be best staying in bed. Her Dad agreed and gave her a phone call Sunday morning to check in on her. She was still feeling pretty bad and thought it best to still stay home. With just Tom, Susan and the two girls coming for lunch it was a quieter affair and we had a good time chatting around the dining room table during our meal and retired to the living room for dessert. Susan and Laura pooled their resources and gave me some gift money for Niagara Square and Nat popped an iTunes card into his birthday card which would be nice for those nights we had to rent some more movies. Every little contribution towards the cause is much appreciated! After lunch the Dagenais family was headed over to Walden Galleria Mall for a party dress for Felicia who is keeping an active social life now that she’s in high school. After their departure Nat and I finished cleaning up and fell right back into our routine of crosswords and wondering what was for supper! A comfort zone we’re getting a little too familiar with.