Saturday 28 April 2018

Lessons learned

Another work week is in the books, the weekend is here and unlike the previous weekend I've pretty much accomplished nothing.  We had a couple of days of meetings this week which took me away from my normal work.  But since that's been pretty slow it just made the time go by faster.

Every day another reason comes up as to why I'm ready to pull the pin.  This week was no different.  However, I've learned my lesson well and won't go into it here in this post.  Suffice to say, either I'm getting too old for this nonsense or the place is going to hell in a handbasket.  Perhaps a little of column A and a little of column B.  

I will share that I have been asked to attend an event in another office to share my experiences as a supervisor with a group of less experienced supervisors.  I felt a little honored that I would be considered as I certainly haven't the depth and breadth of experience as some in our office.  When I agreed to attend, my manager sent me the chain of e-mails which I read through for more details of the event.  Hmmm...turns out I was third on the list of choices.....the other two have even less experience than I do.  There went my feelings of accomplishment.  

At home, things are going sideways.  D and I are arguing more frequently.  Today I learned she lent money to some former friends and is having difficulty getting it back from them.  Deja vu all over again.  I kicked her out of my house three years ago because, instead of saving her money when she was working, she lent it to a boyfriend who refused to repay.  She ended up taking him to court, and was able to recover just 75% of the amount.  (It was a significant amount).  This time the amount is much smaller but since she's currently not working any amount is too large.  When I challenged her on it, she told me it's my fault because she's "co-dependent" and feels the need to help other people because otherwise they won't like her.  She tells me it started when she was a child and I would express my displeasure so she would do her chores to try to please me.  She even said, that was why she cleaned up the house while I was at dinner last night.  I didn't say, but thought "I thought you did it because you live here and that's what adults do". 

Okay, I'm not a psychologist, nor do I play one on television but I think I'm being played.  Whose mother didn't give their child heck when they didn't behave?  My mother certainly did, and was quick to use both her words and the back of her hand.    I did lend a boyfriend  a small bit of money once and wasn't repaid....never again!  I learned my lesson...she, however, has not.  This has been a trend in all of her relationships, and apparently has been extended to former friends of her last b/f.  

I'm tired of being blamed for her shortcomings, and frustrated that she can not, will not take responsibility for her own actions. The time is coming soon when regardless of whether she has an income or not I'm going to have to ask her to move.  I've told her already the only reason she's allowed to be her is because of Eli.  He deserves to be kept safe, and while I have no doubt she loves him, her foolish actions are likely to have a negative impact.  I wonder if, someday, he turns to his mother and tell her it's all her fault?

Speaking of Eli, do you remember the photo of the little guy peeking over the edge of my bed?  Today, he was walking around the bed and I realized he's now a head taller!  He's just growing like a weed.  This week he's really started to stand on his own.  He'll stand holding something, and it is as if whatever he is holding is holding him up because as soon as he drops the item, he too drops to the floor.  Silly boy!

Here's a couple of photos from earlier today.  

Eli took the second one, with a little help.  He was fascinated by the camera strap and I had pulled him up on my lap.  He turned the camera around so I put his finger on the button and helped him push.  We had a few that didn't work but this one was just too cute!  He truly is a happy little guy.  I guess we're doing something right.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!  

Saturday 21 April 2018

Spring has sprung!

I'm saying this with some hesitation as the calendar flipped over to spring a few weeks ago, but Mother Nature's cruelty kept winter coming at us until this week.  In fact, we had snow on Tuesday, followed by above freezing temperatures on Wednesday.  Mood swing much?

Today it's a lovely 8-10C afternoon; the sun room is open, the burgers are defrosting in the fridge, and I made a potato salad yesterday.  I firmly believe that potato salad tastes better the next day.  It's probably an old wive's tale but it works for me.  

My daughter took Eli to visit a friend in a small town about 1 1/2 hours from us on Thursday evening, and won't be home until Sunday.  I took advantage of their absence to go hard on the spring cleaning in the kitchen and living room.  All the iiving room furniture was vacuumed thoroughly as were the dining room chairs (oh, the cat hair), I scrubbed floors and baseboards, spot washed the walls, and cleaned out the pantry shelves and the cupboard that holds the cleaning supplies. I washed little finger prints off the living room window (hi neighbours!) and gave the cat tree a good brush and vacuum. The end tables which tend to gather various items were cleared and scrubbed down.  The kitchen table and island in the kitchen became my depository for all the excess items...which turned out to be a lot.  There were toys, mail, various USB's and SD cards, elastics, pens, pencils, and on and on.  Most it was either put away or tossed in the garbage, but there is a still a pile that belongs to my daughter I've left for her to deal with.

Today has been less busy.  I slept in this morning - well, after I got up at 6:15 a.m. to feed the cats - getting out of bed shortly after 8. It felt good to get a full night's sleep.  I putzed around the house this morning and went to pick up a few items at Walmart before lunch.  Then it was down to the furnace room, where the cat litter boxes are kept, to give the room a good cleaning.  I suspect it wouldn't be as dusty if the litter boxes weren't in there but it is the most convenient spot, tucked away and out of sight.

Next up was my bedroom.  I'd done a fairly good clearing out just a month or so ago so it didn't take very long.  I did vacuum the window screen, OMG it was dirty, vacuum the floor and picked up a kitten in cat hair, and sorted through the bathroom items.  I have far too many creams, deoderants, lip balms, etc.  They are now sorted, like with like, so I should be able to find what I'm looking for.  I also changed out the shower curtain, the Christmas kitten for this new one I found at Walmart today.  I think it's perfect!

That is enough cleaning for today.  I can tell because my finger tips have the rough feeling that comes from using cleansers and lots of hot water.  The bedroom carpet still needs to be spot-cleaned (for remains of the cat hairball deposits), the sun room needs to be vacuumed and tidied, and then I can get to the laundry.  Phew, it's been a busy weekend.

There is a window open now in the bedroom for some fresh air.  I love spring!  Time to go fire up the bbq for dinner.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

Saturday 14 April 2018

Spending for the future

Boy, I'm good at spending money.  Or perhaps I find it easy to spend money.  Is there a difference?  I think decide.

I've been having issues with the sink in the main bathroom.  It has developed a leak and needs to be replaced.  Initially I thought I'd just replace the sink in both bathrooms (main and ensuite), but after a nearly fruitless search for replacements, grey sinks 20 1/2 inches by 17 inches, at a reasonable price I decided to bite the bullet and have the vanities refaced to match the kitchen.  The newer sinks are smaller so I would have to replace the countertops anyway. 

The kitchen renovation work was done in 2013 when our employment contract was settled and I had received my pay out. I used a third of the pay out for ther renovations, saved the other two thirds in my RSP (retirement savings plan).  The remaining cost of renovations I financed through Home Depot, with no interest for 18 months.  Home Depot is currently running the same promotion and our latest contract was just recently settled. My theory is, why use my own money when I can use someone else's.

It also makes sense to have the work completed by the same company using the same/similar products.  In fact, the guys are here doing the measurements while I type this. (They arrived just after I started this post.)  They'll also replace a couple of doors in the kitchen I damaged.  The material that covers the doors is laminate, which is basically plastic....which doesn't mix well with the steam from a boiling I learned the hard way. 

Unfortunately there is a fair amount of work that needs to be done, pre and post.  I have to remove the tile back splash in both bathrooms, something I've never done and which I know can cause damage to the drywall if done improperly.  To do so, I also need to remove the mirrors which are very large.  I suspect my younger brother is going to get a call for help!  The installer will reface the cabinets, replace the doors and hinges, build the counter top, cut the sink hole (according the template I provide) and finish the countertop laminate.  Once their work is done there will be some painting necessary but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.  We've lived here for 7 years, so the bathrooms could use a refresh.

What have I got myself into?  It all seems a bit overwhelming when I think about it, but taken in increments I know I'll get through it. They told me today, they'll schedule the work in late May, early June so that gives me some time to do some research on tile removal (and get it done), as well as purchase new sinks and paint.  I had purchased the door handles when I did the kitchen so that is one small purchase I won't have to make.  Oh, and I have to find a plumber to unhook the plumbing before the work is started and install the sinks and do the hook up when complete.

While I suppose I could have purchased new vanities and had the old ones replaced for a similar cost, however doing the refacing will match the kitchen. I think that will help when the time comes to sell the house in a year or so.  Yes, I'm definitely still planning a move to Vancouver Island when I retire.  

The timing has been pushed back by about a year, with the arrival of Eli, and the circumstances of my daughter's life....currently not working and would be homeless if not for me.  While my son C still lives here as well, he's been saving for a place of his own but won't purchase until he knows where he'll be working.  He did have an interview (for his current job) yesterday.  I know that sounds odd, but it has to do with applicant pools that expire after a certain period of time.  I'm sure he aced it so will be back in the pool for another extended period of time.  With any luck, the incumbents who are currently working in other areas in term positions will be permanently appointed soon - then he can be pulled from the pool permanently as well.  

Anyway, back to me. :)  That isn't all the spending I've done this week.  Yes, I have a cruise booked in January 2019 but one is never enough.  Just before I went on my cruise in February, I found another Norwegian cruise that looked interesting and so I was keeping an eye on it for a price drop.  Well, this week NCL offered certain cruises with Canada at par and this was one of them.  That's at a 30% reduction in price!  

I called my friend K, as the cruise sails from New Orleans and both she and J have wanted to do one from there for some time.  However, neither had been keen on sailing on NCL because of the "freestyle dining".  On other cruise lines, you have an option of traditional dining, which is a set time - usually 6 or 8 p.m. at the same table with the same guests and wait staff throughout the cruise.  With freestyle dining, you either make a reservation or show up at the various dining rooms and wait for an available table.  The guests can ask to share a table, but that works only if someone else is there who wishes to share a table as well.  This doesn't appeal to the two of them.

My fellow cruiser, Sandra gave me the name of the cruise consultant at NCL she's used several times, so we gave Melanie a call to discuss.  We determined that if I booked a solo cabin, J and K can join me and other solos, but if we booked a mini-suite for the three of us, I wouldn't be able to join the solos.  Done deal, I'm booked in a solo and they have a balcony cabin about 30 feet away on the same deck.  It's a win-win, as we'll be able to meet other folks through the solos, plus we'll have space to ourselves as well.  

We're also staying in New Orleans for a few extra days after the cruise.  We all want to wander the French Quarter by day...I don't think we'll do so at night, I want to visit the Cafe du Monde for the beignets, and K wants to visit a couple of the old plantations.  There is also the old St. Louis cemetery and the French market and shopping much more.  I booked my flights today and a hotel for pre-cruise using Expedia and got a decent price, better than had I booked the airfare through Air Canada and the hotel separately.  

I still need to book our post cruise hotel; K just called and we've decided on the general area we want to be in.  They are leaving it up to me because they're packing for their next cruise - a TransPacific from Tokyo to Vancouver - they fly to Tokyo on Tuesday morning.  They also have a Baltic cruise booked for September.  Oh, and after the cruise with me, they are flying to Fort Lauderdale for two back to back cruises.  J's comment to me when we were talking about the New Orleans cruise and I mentioned how long they will be away (Dec 5-Jan 12), it will be winter here in Saskatchewan and it won't be cold in the Caribbean.  Boy, retirement life sounds good to me.

So, yes I'm spending money.  However, I believe it will be money well-spent, both in the return on investment in my home and in the memories to be made.  Plus, I've run the calculator on my back pay and will have a nice sum to tuck away in my retirement savings plan....for future spending.  It's been a long wait for a new contract, but looking at it from my perspective today, it's been worth it.

I'll close this post with a recent photo of Eli.  Here he is "fishing" for cats in the sun room.  He has as much fun as Sheldon does with this game.

Friday 6 April 2018

O happy Day!

Why so, you ask?  So many reasons, I say.  It's been a very short work week, since Monday was a statuatory holiday for me.  Those three days flew by with various meetings and discussions.  Being as it is Friday, I'm off for my weekend, hooray!

I was up early this morning, as Sasha would not allow me to sleep...he was hungry and was letting me know in no uncertain terms that he could not wait any longer.  Funny, I don't mind getting up early on my day days not so much.  Mind you, I did get an extra hour of sleep.

I woke up for the first time in a long time without any jaw pain.  I've been clenching my jaw in my sleep and grinding my teeth.  I picked up my night guard yesterday from the dentist's office.  That pricey little piece of plastic made all the difference.  I thought it might take a bit of getting used to, and while it did feel a bit odd it certainly didn't disrupt my sleep.  

Speaking of disupted sleep, little Eli had a good night last night.  He went to bed about 7 p.m., was up with his mom at 9 p.m. for a bit watching gymnastics.  I heard nothing until 4 a.m. and that was only a brief few minutes while his mom filled the bottle for him. He got up while I was feeding the cats, in a very happy mood.  At the moment he's been napping since just before 10 (so nearly two hours!) while his mom is at her doctor's appointment.  I expect he'll be awake shortly and wanting his lunch. 

But the best news of all, and what has me practically dancing in glee (at least when D isn't around) is that J has decided to move back to B.C.  Apparently his mom bought him a voucher for a flight for Christmas.  According to D, he's planning on leaving today or tomorrow.  Neither of us is holding our breath as chances are it won't happen that quickly. But soon!

What precipitated this decision isn't entirely known. To be honest, I don't care...all that matters to me is he is leaving town!!!  D has already assured him that she will FaceTime with Eli every day, will talk about Daddy and keep photos out.  Whether out of sight will become out of mind at some point is yet to be seen.  In the meantime, I'm hopeful that there will be less drama and more stability in little Eli's life.

Yes, it's a very happy day!

Monday 2 April 2018

Who's the fool?

Mother Nature has pulled a cruel joke on us this first week of April.  It has been cold, like February cold, with high temps of -9C (15F) and lows of -18C (0F).  When we factor in the windchill it feels even colder.  I am so ready for spring, but the forecast isn't looking good either.  At this point, it looks like we'll be in the deepfreeze for the rest of the week.  Yuck!

The snow we got 10 days ago or so is now a hardened pack of ice after the warmer temps we had.  It all looks dirty and gritty and I will be so happy to be rid of a few weeks I expect.

On the other hand, with the sun shining brightly, the cats and I have been able to spend some time out in the sunroom.  By early afternoon, it has warmed up sufficiently to let them out. Sasha heads straight for the bed that is in a sun-puddle, Saku flakes out on a rug, and Sheldon zooms around like the crazy kitten he still is before snuggling in under the towel that covers the chair.  

It's a little too cool this morning out there so there are no cats in the photo.  But I'm sure later this afternoon the door will be open. Little Eli loves to spend time out there too, so I'm sure he'll be happy to see the door open.  He loves to look out the windows, chase the cats, and play in the sun with his toys.  

I spent a good part of the afternoon yesterday, reading a book - Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles. What a writer he is - this is the fourth book I've read of his, but the entire series (thus far) is seven with this the last book.  Set in Natchez, Mississipi the books tell the stories of Penn Cage, a former lawyer, turned writer and his family.  The books take us back to the 50's and 60's to a time when it was dangerous to be black in the South, to the Korean war, the JFK assassination through to the present.  There is a lot of death in these books, some natural but most intentional.  In the current book, Penn's father (a doctor) is on trial for the murder of his former nurse (and lover).  All the while the remaining Double Eagles (best described as a gang of former KKK) seek retribution for the death of one of the founding members at the hands of Penn Cage.  While all of this is happening, there are tender moments too of family and friends coming together to support one another.  Unlike many mystery stories these books leave me guessing and hoping for a sequel.  

This morning was Easter for Eli, as he had spent the night with Dad on Saturday.  I really don't see why D felt the need to wait, since Eli will have no memories of this Easter...and likely the next two or three as well.  

D put out a trail of plastic eggs that led to his basket in the living room.  He picked up the first one, shook it and banged it on the floor.  Out popped (initially I wrote pooped...that describes it too) an unwrapped chocolate.  He immediately put it in his mouth as you can tell from his face.  That was it, he was done.  

So she picked the eggs up and he followed her to the living room to the basket.  (At least she didn't wrap the gifts and expect him to open them).  Eli is holding one of the two books that I gave him.  In the basket were a ball, a bottle of bubbles, a bunny on a stick, a stuffed bunny, egg shaped crayons, and two pairs of socks.  In addition she gave him a large coloring books.  He hugged the stuffed bunny, shook the bunny on the stick, picked up one of the crayons and promptly put it in his mouth.  I hope she wasn't too disappointed in his reaction. 

We'll have our Easter dinner this evening; ham, scalloped potatoes and veg of some sort. I don't think I'll do dessert as I'm sure we'll fill up on the rest of the meal. 
It has been a good, long weekend.  I've got a fair amount done around the house including cleaning up the laundry and storage rooms in the basement, two tasks I've been planning to tackle for awhile.  This morning I got another needed task done when I pulled out the fridge to clean out behind it.  I found enough cat hair to make a kitten!  I pull it out twice a year, around April 1 and November 1 and I'm always shocked.  I'm not sure what attracts the cat hair, the fan perhaps?  I haven't done the same with the stove as it is such a tight fit that it is difficult to move out and back into place.  I'll probably ask my son to help later today.  

Tomorrow, it's back to work for another short work week.  Yes, I have Friday off as well.  Plus I get to take another marble out of the jar.  Eight more to go!
Then I can start planning to move to where April will truly be spring.  

Have a wonderful week everyone!