Sunday 30 September 2018

Beginnings and endings

The countdown continues!  We are less than a week away from moving day and the packing is nearing the panic point.  This morning, D is busily packing up the masses amounts of clothing from both her and Eli's rooms.  The sheer volume amazes me.  She's already filled two large suitcases, two 2 cubic foot boxes (one for shoes), and is now working on a third, plus a smaller box.  One of the boxes is filled with items from when Eli was a baby; his first sleeper G'ma bought him, his first pair of sweatpants, his first pair of two piece pj's, so on and so forth.  I suggested she might want to limit the "firsts" to one or two special outfits, but was immediately rebuked that they all have sentimental value.  That may be true, but sadly there will come a time when no one wants those items. I know this because I have a box of items from my children's early years.  D used her first sleeper and a few of the receiving blankets for Eli, but the outfits mean nothing to either of them.  Sentiment is a lovely thing but it only lasts as long as the owner of it.

I suppose when I start the packing up here I'll find I have far too much clothing as well. I do intend to rid myself of most of my work clothing.  I'll keep a couple of pair of dress slacks, dressy blouses and sweaters, specifically for those times when I need to attend a formal event (rarely) or funeral (if this year is any indication more frequently).  I also have clothing that is specific to cruising, which I plan to use for several years yet.  Then there are the everyday items...yes I suspect I have more than I need as well.

This reminds me of a story one of my co-workers told us this week.  She is currently in the middle of helping her parents move from the farm to the city.  She and her brother were helping with the sorting and packing one weekend, and discovered her father had nearly 200 pairs of socks, 150 dress shirts, and a similar number of belts.  (If she told us how many pair of pants he had I don't remember though I suppose there must have been at least as many).  They also found three decanter sets in the china cabinet, though neither of their parents drink.  It turns out Dad is a habitual auction sale attendee and has the purchases to show for it.  They have moved some of the items to her garage here in Regina, but at least five loads were taken directly to the dump.  I don't think they've told him so hopefully he has a short memory as well.

By the way, Carole, I never did get to those closets last weekend.  I don't remember what I did instead.  

This week I made the call to the Pension Centre and by Friday, I had my paperwork in hand.  I left the envelope unopened on the island until today, when I had a few minutes to review it.  I got about half-way through the letter and decided it is a job best left to a time without interruptions.  The documents won't be looked at by the Pension folks until I actually retire so there is no hurry.  There is a reminder they need the official notice of the acceptance of my retirement notice.  I'll submit the notice of retirement tomorrow or Tuesday, and should have the official response shortly thereafter.

It will be an interesting week, as I'm in the training room for much of the week with two new employees.  I'll be doing their orientation for the first couple of days, then we'll be joined by a few other more recent hires (last fall) to review material I've developed especially for this session at the request of my manager.  It is nice to be able to share some of the knowledge I've acquired in the past 21 years, though whether it sticks I'll never know.

There is some likelihood that my replacement will be named by the end of October.  That would give me some opportunity to spend some time with her/him and hopefully give them a good start.  I've also been asked to attend a learning circle with the new supervisors and share some of the lessons I've learned.  The timing of that will depend on when the individuals are appointed.  

There are a mere nine weeks left before my final day in the office.  The jar last week held just four marbles, one of which will be pulled when I get to work tomorrow morning.  Bum-in-seat days total about 32.  I'm not yet down to counting hours and minutes but I suspect that won't be long in coming!


This week Eli reaches his 19 month milestone.  I see the little boy he is becoming everyday.  He's recently come to understand that G'ma's television has the capability of rewinding his favorite show, Paw Patrol.  If his mother or I happen to be in another room, he'll bring the remote to one of us when the show ends.  As a result, he watches the same episode several times before the 2 hour time limit ends that option.

Friday marked the end of life for my brother's mother-in-law, Phyllis.  She had fallen at home and was unable to get up on her own.  Her daughter L found her and Phyllis was admitted to the hospital a few weeks ago.  I don't believe anyone thought she was near death though.  In fact, Thursday evening she was visiting with her grandson M, joking with the nurse, and complaining about her doctor.  All was normal.  But the following day she was to be released from hospital and moved to a nursing home.  She definitely was against that idea, and I have to wonder if she simply willed herself to die that night.  The nurses checked on her at 4:30 a.m., she was sleeping peacefully, but when they went in again at 5:30 a.m. she was gone.  As my brother said, she checked herself out on her own terms.

Fall is full on here now, with the leaves rapidly turning yellow.  We've had frost in the morning most days this past week and more forecast this week.  It's a bit unusual as we would normally see some warmer days at this time but perhaps they'll come a little later in October.  I cleared out several containers yesterday but left the geraniums as they are still going strong.  I planted three mums in the front containers - I'm sure my neighbours think I'm beyond mad but they should last a few more weeks.

I have lots yet to do, moving all the critters and the other garden items to the back shed.  Perhaps this afternoon after the Riders football game.  Playoffs are nearing and they can't possibly win without my cheering them on, right?  Oh, and there is curling too.  It's a wonder I got any chores done this weekend. :)

Have a great week everyone! I'll likely be late posting next weekend but will be certain to update on the move.  

Sunday 23 September 2018

Say it isn't snow!

Yikes, what happened to the warm, sunny days of autumn?  We've had frost the last couple of nights and today (Saturday) is supposed to bring a mix of rain and snow.  So far, thankfully the moisture is falling as rain and a bit of sleet.  I'm not ready for the potential of snow!

Edited to add this photo.  My brother was on his way out to the lake to winterize the boat.  Yikes!

However, I know I ought not whine so much when I consider the storm that tore through the communities of Dunrobin in Ontario and Gatineau in Quebec yesterday.  As the news reports have said the devastation is hard to fathom.  So many homes, businesses, and vehicles have been damaged, and at least two residents are in hospital with life-threatening injuries.  The clean up has started but will be weeks or months before anyone is back in their homes.  For certain, the lives of many have been changed forever.  

D took Eli to Melville this week to visit her friend A (and children).  Tuesday was A's birthday so D made a lasagna and some cookies to share.  They were \
planning to be there until Thursday but D decided to come home early, on Wednesday evening.  Eli wasn't able to sleep well, as he was sharing a room with Knox, who was teething. D said she ended up sleeping with Eli on a couch, with the baby resting (as well as he could) on top of his mom.  Things didn't improve on Wednesday either, as neither baby slept more than 20 minutes.  She eventually decided coming back here was the best decision...and then the little stinker didn't sleep for the entire 90 minute drive.  He did, however, spend a little time with G'ma before he was ready for a good night's sleep.  

D has decided she'll allow Eli to sleep in her bedroom for the first few nights in their new home.  We are going to set up his crib as a toddler bed (with the side down) as he getting to the point where he is trying to climb out on his own.  He's late in comparison to his mom; she was climbing out of her crib before she was 18 months old!  She'd scale the side, swing over the top and slide down the bars to the floor.  I'd wake up with a toddler next to bed asking to be let up.  Yes, she was destined to be a gymnast!  Eli is slightly less adventurous but demonstrates his climbing skills daily.  He no longer needs an assist to get onto the couch. 

It's now Sunday, I've been awake since 5:30 and out of bed since 6 as a certain elderly cat insisted on being fed.  He has taken to sniffing my ears and even licking my face.  I don't know what wakes me up faster, the tickle of whiskers or the rasp of his tongue.  Either way, there is no sleeping beyond that point.  

It's been a relatively quiet weekend, with some errands run, some housework done, and a bit of cooking for the week ahead.  I'm in my soup phase again, this week was a macaroni meatball version. I made enough for lunches for most of the week for both Eli and me.  I also made up some taco meat for wraps and salads.  It makes getting ready for work in the morning so much easier.  With a container of carrots, a piece of fruit and sometimes a biscuit or bagel I have a satisfying lunch.  I generally take yoghurt with cereal (either bran or granola) for breakfast. 

Oh, I should mention the procedure I had this week.  It was follow gastroscopy to one I had in June.  I never heard back from the doctor after the first and suspect I won't this time either.  He was a little upset with me because I mentioned I didn't always take the prescription he gave me.  First, because I often forget - I rarely take medicine and only when I have to, and second, because the research I did indicated this drug can cause kidney problems.  I have been diagnosed with GERD.  He has also suggested I cut out caffeine from my response was a resounding "no".  I have at different times cut back but it has had no real effect.  To be honest, I suspect if I were to lose 40-50 pounds of excess weight the issue would resolve on its own.  It's a goal I plan to tackle in the upcoming months.

Well, I should get to today's chores.  I was hoping to get outside, and may still do so, to start pulling plants from the containers.  It froze again last night and it looks like we'll get more rain today.  In the meantime there are a couple of closets that I want to tackle (thank you Carole for the inspiration), and fridge and freezer need a good clear out.  

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday 16 September 2018

What to say...

I've written two posts today and erased them both.  Nothing of real interest has been happening here.  We're continuing the packing (just 19 sleeps to moving day!), so my house looks horrendous with boxes half packed and items scattered about as Eli helps unpack.  He's going to be a great helper on the other end of this.  His newest favorite toy is a cheese grater.  It makes a very cool noise when it is banged against the stove, the television stand, the lamp on the side table....well, you get the picture.

D has packed away most of his toys and I've noticed he doesn't seem to be missing them. Well, except for his ride-on police car.  He tried very hard to pull it out of the box before she moved it out to the garage.  There is a small toy box of items that will stay behind so he'll have something to play with at G'ma's.  I hope she'll learn from this and not put everything out for him at the new house.  It will be like Christmas when she brings out a new box.  AND, if she gets rid of the broken and outgrown items each time, she should be able to keep things under control.  To be honest, I'm doubtful that will happen.

On another note, I had to take my car in for some work this week.  I'd noticed a noise from the front end and a bit of shimmying.  The tech thought it might be a bearing, but when they took it out for a drive they couldn't hear the noise.  Of course not!  However, the mechanic did find that my brakes on the front right were seizing...something about calipers and brake pads, that they thought might be causing the sound I was hearing.  It was a bit of an unexpected expense though I was expecting something needed to be fixed, and something that could not wait.  Heaven forbid, that my brakes failed when I'm driving Eli out to Melville on moving day.

D's decided that I should take Eli away from the house while the truck is being loaded.  I agree, though I'm not sure what we'll do for the 2 hours.  I am planning to drop into the office, as there are several co-workers who would like to meet the little guy.  They've seen many of G'ma's brag photos!  Then I'll take him somewhere for a bite of breakfast before we head to Melville.  He'll be staying with D's friend A while the movers unload.  He loves to play with her little boy so hopefully he's not too upset when I drop him off.

I'll admit it, I'm going to miss my little sports watching buddy.  Today, the mixed doubles in curling was re-broadcast (it was live in the middle of the night as the game was played in China). Eli used to sit with me last winter/early spring while I watched curling and I didn't think he'd remember.  Well, when I turned to the curling he came skidding to a stop in front of the television and stood there mesmerized through the first end.  

His mother suggests I am brainwashing the child.  I say I'm training him right.  :)  Either way, this child enjoys watching sports.  He's a big fan of football - he'll even point it out when an ad comes on.  Eli and D also watch gymnastics together.  I know she plans to take him to the gym in the next town over for classes.  He's certainly got the flexibility and energy for it!

He's also demonstrating his talents in finding his nose and mine though he does have a tendency to poke his finger up my nose.  Ew!  Next up, mouth, ears, and eyes.  New words this week include thirsty and shirt. I suspect to the unaccustomed ear it probably sounds like gibberish but for the most part we understand him.

My thoughts and best wishes are going out to those currently affected by the storms in North and South Carolina, in the Philippines and China.  I cannot fathom the devastation that so many are facing.  Beyond the loss of life, of which there are far too many, there will be so many more who will have lost their homes and possessions.  It cannot be easy.

While I may grouse about the mess in my home and express my annoyance with my daughter, I'm truly grateful for my family and my life.  It is a reminder that I am truly blessed.

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead!

Saturday 8 September 2018

Best laid plans

Thankfully, nothing major has occurred to upset the plans for D's move, or my rapidly impending retirement.  On that accord, I'm 189 days away from official retirement, 82 days from my planned last day in the office, and a mere 44 "bum-in-seat" days when I actually have to be in the office. That last number may actually be 43 as I'm not certain I'll be in shape to go into the office on Monday.

You see, I had a bit of an accident yesterday.  Sasha was hollering from the basement as he couldn't get past the baby gate at the top of the stairs.  I leaned over the gate to encourage him to come up a step or two...and then the gate gave way and I did a Jack (and Jill) tumble down the stairs.  It is amazing how long that trip seemed to take as I was falling, and I had absolutely no control over my movements.  As I lay there at the bottom of the stairs, face planted into the carpet with the rest of my body at various angles on the stairs I first took note that nothing really seemed to hurt much.  

By the time I got to my feet (that took a minute or two) that wasn't the case.  But I got away lucky as nothing is broken, though most of my body is sore and bruised.  My right shoulder seems to have gotten the worst of it.  I think I might have hit the railing on the way down but I'm not certain. The entire cap of the shoulder is sore, though I have no problem rotating it or lifting my arm. Lifting anything heavy causes some pain but mostly discomfort.  I have a scrape on the top of my foot, a large bruise on my left knee, a knot on my left hip, and my ribs hurt if I cough or laugh.  I'm feeling it in my lower back as well. I keep trying to envision how I could have fallen/bounced/somersaulted down the stairs to have caused this damage and I can't picture it. I assume I did though, due to the variety of points of injury.

Anyway, if I'm still feeling stiff and sore on Monday I may take an extra day off to recover.

My brother sent me this photo taken at the farm.  I suspect this is above his farmyard on the hills of the Qu'Appelle valley.  Yes, fall has arrived here in Saskatchewan no matter what the calendar says - we even had a frost the other night, though it was just below freezing so that I only lost a single begonia...even the ivy made it through.  No frost in the forecast, at least for the next seven days, but the plants are starting to get leggy looking and going to seed.  I've decided I'll start pulling things out over the next few weeks.  

I did pick up three mums yesterday at Rona. I know I said I didn't want to shop there, but they had six inch pots for $2.50 a piece.  That's a price I couldn't resist.  I'll transfer them to the three pots in front of the house to replace the straggly looking petunias.  They'll provide a bit of fall colors for a few weeks before the frost takes them too.

Packing is continuing to be done though at a slower pace.  I've convinced D that tomorrow, we'll finish the packing in the basement, next weekend will be the kitchen, the front hall closet, and the cupboards with linens and cleaners.  The next weekend we'll focus on her and Eli's bedrooms ...then the following weekend will be moving day!  

I expect I'll hear from the insurance broker (he was also the mortgage broker) in the next week or so, as we'll need to get the insurance set up.  Next up will be the call from the lawyer to sign the final paperwork to transfer title, pay the remainder of the deposit and of course, the associated legal fees.  

Finally, I need to set up accounts for the utilities.  They will be in my name but D's name will be on the accounts in case she needs to call for service.  It wouldn't be good if something went wrong while I'm out of country.  

This move has already been a lot of work for me and I'm not even moving!

Finally, I'll end with another photo of Eli.  This was taken early one morning this week.  

I was getting ready for work when he woke his mom up.  He came busting into the kitchen hollering "cookie" in the style of Cookie monster from Sesame Street and pointing to the cupboard where his cookies are kept.  G'ma couldn't resist his cuteness so he got a cookie for breakfast. :)  His mom can un-spoil him when they move, right?

I chuckled at this shot, as he rode his police car ride-on up to his cart and pushed it closer to the television.  Sort of looks like one of the grocery store motorized carts doesn't it?  Or maybe he was stopping the cart for some infraction. 

Either way, he brought a smile to my face before I headed out to work that morning.  He keeps getting bigger and smarter every day.  Today his new word was shirt, he watched football with G-ma and cheered for the touchdowns, and we read "Hickory Dickory Dock" about forty-three times.  I might be exaggerating on that last part but it was close.  I'm making up for the times I missed out with my own children and getting my fill before they move.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!  Here's to an uneventful week ahead.  

Monday 3 September 2018

Random weekend wrap-up

Another quiet week capped off by a long weekend for Labour Day (or Labor Day).  Of course, since I don't work Friday's any more, every weekend is really a long weekend.  I must admit though that I've become so accustomed to the 3 day weekends that it takes a 4 day to feel like a true long weekend.

Friday morning, I took Eli and his mom with me when I went grocery shopping.  Bad idea!  The pocketbook took a bigger hit than I would have liked.  But I did score nearly 200 AirMiles so there is that.  After our visit to Safeway, we headed over to Costco.  Another bad idea!  Friday morning at Costco is the very definition of hell on earth.  The place is/was packed with whole families, I guess because it was the last Friday before school, no one paying any attention to their cart or their children, and stopping willy-nilly to check out the over-sized and over-packaged products.  

So why did I go there?  Well, they had toilet paper on sale, toilet bowl cleaner, and one other item that I can't remember.  Add to that the book I bought, the sleeper for Eli, and a couple other items my daughter convince me we needed...I need to learn to avoid that place or go on my own.  

Friday night dinner was the regular crowd - it was also the day after C's 51st birthday.  I hadn't remembered (not having b'days of my own anymore I rarely remember anyone else's) and only realized when he picked out a piece of cheesecake for dessert.  While he often gets "dessert" it is usually a bowl of soup.  While C went off to the washroom, N asked the waiter to add a candle and we all sang Happy Birthday when he returned.  He was a little embarrassed but I think he was pleased too.  K and T picked up his tab, though he hadn't learned that when I left.  Next year, I'll have to try to remember to bring at least a card!

Saturday was one of those days, starting and stopping various activities until, at least, some of them were done. I wanted to clean out the car but I couldn't find the extension cord in the garage. (OMG, my garage....I have to remember just over 30 days to moving day).  So I went around back to get the one off the mower.  That reminded me the grass needed to be mowed.  I took care of that before heading back to the front yard with the cord.  I noticed the containers needed watering so took care of that before I went back to the car.  I discovered the cord wouldn't work, as I needed a three prong for my wet/dry vac and the extension cord on the mower was a two prong.  That precipitated a shopping trip to the nearby Walmart.  I got a new extension cord - I expect the old one will show up later once the garage is cleared out, and added several other items to the basket.  Of course I did!  Apparently shopping with D and Eli isn't the problem, I am.  

On the way home, I remembered to stop at Rona and pick up my gift cards - just over $80 worth as a consolation for the crappy paint I had purchased. I checked out a stack of wooden crates - $11/per box - and decided they are just too pricey.  (Seriously, this after I'd spent a fortune at Costco the day before).I've seen some absolutely awesome ideas for them on Pinterest.  My favorite is the coffee table seen below.  (Picture courtesy of via Pinterest.  

The crates are attached to a piece of plywood with caster wheels on the bottom to make it easy to move. These boxes are stained but could have been just as easily painted out.  Hmmm, looking at it here...I may have to re-think spending some of the $80 I have in gift cards. Or maybe I'll wait until I move, as gift cards no longer have expiry dates.  That actually seems like a better idea as I'm annoyed with the local store...I'll spend my money in a different location. Of course, I probably won't be able to find the crates then. 

Since I was out I decided to check out Winners because I had run out of the cleaner for my glass top stove.  I purchase the cleaner at Winners as they generally have it in store in a fair sized bottle and I never seem to be able to find it elsewhere.  Of course, while I was there I wandered around for awhile.  I picked up a pumpkin vanilla candle and two small notebook sized day planners.  One is for me, the other for my daughter and cover the period August 2018 to December 2019.  I'm horrible at remembering appointments so I'm hoping I'll remember to use this book.  I know, I know, I can input appointments into the calendar on my phone but that would mean I would have to remember to have the ringer turned on so I would hear the ping.

I did eventually make it home without spending (much) more money.  After a bite to eat, I headed back outdoors to clean up the car.  I was almost through doing that when D brought the phone out to me.  On the line was my friend C, who I haven't seen in almost a year.  She was in town, had her son R with her, and was asking if she could come for a visit.  I thought about that for a nanosecond, and said no as my house is a total disaster area.  But I did suggest we meet at the nearby Tim Hortons' for coffee.  I cleaned up and headed out for a good visit.  

R is now 10, wishing summer was shorter - he loves school, and nearly as tall as I am.  Which isn't saying much since I'm only 5'2"....his mom is even shorter. When R was about 4 years old, C and I had him with me while we visited garage sales on a Saturday.  As we left one location, he asked his mom to compromise.  He really, really wanted something - I don't remember what.  I laughed at the big word and told him, he didn't want mom to compromise, he wanted his way.  I reminded him of that time at our visit, and said the word you were looking for was capitulate.  He hadn't heard that one before, so I gave him the definition and I'm sure he'll find a way to use it in the future.

C is doing reasonably well.  She met a fellow about a year ago (on the internet) and after a few weeks moved to be with him on a farm about 2 hours from Regina. The relationship has had its ups and downs but she says they are making it work, she has a good job in another community, and really enjoys all the animals.  They have pigs, sheep, and llamas - her favorite is a 250 pound boar!  It was good to get together and visit - hopefully it won't be a year before we get together again. I did promise her a visit once my house is clean again.

Sunday was a more relaxing day. I did a bit of housework, read, and played on my computer for most of the day.  The Saskatchewan Roughriders had their Labour Day game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.  They won, so that was the real highlight of the day.

Today, I got more housework done, including scrubbing the kitchen and living room floors.  It was desperately needed as master Eli is very good at dropping bits of food, and his mother is not very good at cleaning it up. Sigh....just over 30 days to go.  (Yes, I know I've mentioned that before...I'm surprised it isn't every second sentence).  I also put a meatloaf in the oven and made up a batch of taco meat for salads and wraps. While the meatloaf was cooking, Eli and I played in the sunroom.  He decided to try crawling through the cat tunnel, managed to fall over and bang his cheek.  He is carrying the mark on his face as a result.  He cried for maybe a minute then was smiling when he found a little wooden toy.  Tough kid!  

At the moment, the football is on - this time the Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos to be followed by Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Ti-Cats.  I'll probably not move from my chair for most of the afternoon and evening. For me, it's a great way to cap off a long weekend.

I'll end this post now by sharing a couple of photos taken by N, in their garden earlier this week.  N is a phenomenal amateur photographer.  He said that the hummingbird was so intent on the flowers that he was able to get up and go indoors to get his camera equipment, come back out and set it up, and take several dozen photos.  The hummer must have been very hungry!

The next photo is my favorite of the 8 or so he sent me. 

Have a great week everyone!