Saturday, January 30, 2010

Connor's New Coat

Our flurries for Friday were originally forecast to be finished by noon.  Then they changed it to evening.  Then they changed it to midnight. Every time I checked the radar there was a band right over us that wouldn't move.  The town 20 minutes away where Connor attends school was clear.  We were supposed to get 2 cm and ended up with 4 times that.  And it was so cold (-20) that shovelling was not fun. Alec let me know about noon Friday he was coming home this weekend. The whiteout conditions we experienced from 4 to 5 Friday afternoon cleared up and he had clear roads until 15 minutes from home.   I told Shasta, our Australian Shepherd that Alec was coming home and she went to the window and watched for him for 35 minutes without moving.  She was so happy to see him - which is strange because he pretty much ignores her.

By this morning the sun was shining (though still colder than normal) and the roads were clear and we had nothing else to do so we went shopping.  Connor was looking for a lime green coat and orange snowpants. I like the coat colour - it would allow me to find him in a crowd or in the dark. The pants ... well let's just say I'm glad he didn't find them.  We stopped at 3 stores and he found what he was looking for at the last one.

Connor and his new coat

Here is Connor riding his new coat. 

Oh, the joys of having so much disposable income!  This unicycle is much more rugged and bigger than the one he already has.   He is still giving me a fair chunk of each pay for long term saving and tithing so he can do what he wants with the rest. The coat will wait until next winter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Finally Counters

Here's a reminder of what our kitchen looked like six weeks ago.  


And this is what it looks like today.  

Picking the counter was the most difficult part of the renovation.  (We won't even talk about how difficult it was to get the installer into the house.)   The counter I originally picked was no longer available.  I picked a subsitute and the store told me it wasn't striking enough against white cabinets.  None of the neighbours and family I showed samples to liked my favourite.  But I went ahead with it anyway and I am thrilled with how well it matches the backsplash. See? 

Picking the sink was a breeze.  Because leaks from the last sink and faucet caused all the damage that made this renovation necessary we were thrilled to find a sink with a lip around it to prevent trouble in the future.  I didn't realize how much deeper it was until it was installed.  The stopper actually keeps water in the sink! I love it!  The faucet pulls out to be used as a sprayer. 

There is still a pantry to be installed to the right of the dishwasher and trim and the kick to be installed  but that all has to wait 5 weeks for Kevin to return.  But the end is in sight! 

A weekend with my Mom and Dad

First, Connor, my mom and I went skating at our outdoor rink.


Then we finished the puzzle I started earlier in the week. These laser cut puzzles are hard. There are no straight line borders - both inside and outside pieces can be curved. At least this one had very bright distinct colours to make it a bit easier.

 We also watched a few movies and played board games. It was a very nice weekend. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I know you have all been anxiously waiting to hear about my day.  We got to the hospital about 11:00.  Jane, John and I chatted for an hour or so before going to the next waiting room.  There were five of us wearing stylish, open back hospital gowns attached to IVs. John stayed and chatted with all the patients. In addition to being Jane's husband, he is the pastor and quite outgoing - he already knew some of the other patients from doing pastor things and quite enjoyed his day. He left to run a few errands and I entertained Jane by reading jokes from Reader's Digest. Jane went in, the staff changed and suddenly I was left all by myself. I highly recommend doing medical tests with a friend - it really helps the time fly. Then it was my turn. I was very quick and got the all clear. 46 hours of fasting for 15 minutes of testing. John returned and we headed home about 4:30. By the time I got home I was starting to feel uncomfortable.  Bending over hurt and I had to undo my pants. The pain got worse and my stomach was rock hard. They warned there might be a little bloating but this was way more than expected. They recommend a hot bath or walking to relieve the pressure. It takes so long to fill our jacuzzi I decided against that and going for a real walk after 2 days of not eating didn't appeal to me either so I wandered around the house.  Here is a picture so you can see how big my stomach got and another shot 3 hours later when things were almost back to normal. My flash wouldn't turn off and this is my first attempt at self-portraits so excuse the poor quality.

I wasn't allowed to eat until 7:30 and believe me I didn't want to. Jello made my nauseous. I am the only person I know that had this reaction to a colonoscopy so don't let it scare you if you haven't gone. Everyone else I have talked to came out and had a huge meal right away.  I had yogourt at 7:30 followed by scrambled eggs a little while later. My stomach growled louder than the explosions in the war movie Connor was watching. I am back to normal this morning.

This has made me think about those people who experiment drinking pop and mentos. You tube has lots of sample videos if you have never heard of this before but they are all quite long and some quite graphic. Basically the pitted surface of the mentos and the pop create an explosion of carbon dioxide in your stomach and produce bloating, making you look pregnant in a matter of minutes.  Why do people do this? I have no idea. Judging from what I went through last night it has got to be incredibly painful as well as downright ugly.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


For breakfast I slurped a bowl of orange jello and black tea. For lunch I am dining on beef or chicken broth with gatorade (yuck) or white grape juice. For dinner I will feast on more broth and more jello and clear fluids.  Can you guess why?

a) I want to lose a lot of weight fast

b) I am having my first colonoscopy tomorrow

c) there is nothing else to eat in the house

I won't keep you in suspense - the correct answer is b)

The last thing you want the day before a team examines your nether regions is

a) your basement to flood again

b) an unexpected reminder you are a woman

c) your credit card statement from your kitchen reno

d) all of the above

Yup - b) again.  I am so glad it wasn't d)!  I am trying to stay positive.  It could be worse. I am going with a friend who just happens to be going at the same time so I will have company during the whole wait.  Misery loves company. Her husband is driving because Kevin is away so it worked out amazingly well. I am not going because I am having problems - just because my dad has cancer and I am supposed to be checked.  It could be so much worse. I could live in Haiti. I am  going to pray for Haiti when the hunger pangs hit.  I have food and water - I just can't eat today. Many Haitians don't have either. I have a house - many there are living on the streets in terror. Even though we complain about long waits for doctors we aren't waiting for days with broken bones and infected wounds then being treated without the proper tools and medications.  Connor makes more in 2 weeks than the average Haitian makes in a year.

 I have to drink 2 litres of water in the next 4 hours.  That is going to be tough.  Normally I do drink often but not a lot. When I am working outside in the hot sun I drink a litre during a work day.  I have to double that sitting inside and not sweating. Still, if that is the toughest part of my day I have nothing to complain about.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What a Glorious Day

The temperature is hovering above zero. A light snow is falling.  Just enough to cover the dirty snow beside driveways and roads but it is melting as soon as it hits the paved surfaces so no shoveling or plowing is needed. This is my idea of a perfect winter day.  Like having your cake and eating it too. You get the pretty snow without the shoveling, frigid temperatures or biting wind we get too often.

Monday, January 18, 2010

He's Gone

I just got back from dropping Kevin at the base.  At 3 am he will take a bus to Trenton then fly to Abbotsford and spend the next 6 weeks in Vancouver assisting the RCMP with security for the Olympics. My family knows that I hate driving at night (because of poor night vision) and driving in winter (3 slides off various roads years ago) so the fact that I was driving at midnight is an achievement in itself.  I am very grateful that God provided dry roads, clear skies and peace for my trip.

Kevin has been away a lot over the years. Once we figured out that we actually only lived together for 13 of the first 36 months of marriage. When we lived in Alberta the 2nd time he was gone as often as he was home. I got used to the absences easily and never stayed at home moping or whining. I handled every challenge that arose.  However it has been years since he has been so far away, gone more than a week and never so long in the winter so I am a little apprehensive. It doesn't matter as much if your furnace or car breaks down in the summer. I am very glad he will get to see Caitlin while he is there.

Anyway some things will be different here for the next while and I thought I would highlight a few:

- I get to control the remotes! (if I can figure out the new ones)

- I have to drive Connor everywhere

- I have to make my own tea at night - and lock the doors

- I get a normal bed (this one needs a little explaining - we need a new mattress and in an effort to stall that big purchase we bought a memory foam pad - I like it but Kevin didn't so it is folded over onto my side - that means there is a big drop in the middle of the bed - it is easy to fall down onto his half and it looks retarded - now I can unfold it and spread out)

- I get to worry about floods and sump pump failure, snow shovelling and all those other fun things

- I get a clean house (and bathroom)

and that's all I can think of at this hour.  I am not a night person.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A favourite poem

A few nights ago I was out walking the dogs.  Twice I ran into a couple whose dog was  loose.  They were walking on the right side of the road (which is really the wrong side) and I was walking on the left side (which is really the right side). Both times I had to cross the road to avoid them as I didn't want to risk having 3 dogs meet in the dark, slippery night.  This made me mad. Every time I walk the dogs, I run into someone on the wrong side of the road and I am the one who has to move. Am I the only one who remembers what was drilled into our heads in elementary school? Walk on the left side facing traffic and ride your bike on the right side because you are considered a vehicle.  That made me think of one of my favourite poems and how much simpler and happier life would be if we could remember and more importantly apply what we learned when we were younger. 

All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

by Robert Fulghum

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Need a laugh?

These are hilarious!

And there's lots more!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last Night

Connor wanted to go snowboarding.  That usually involves 2 round trips of close to an hour each.  Last night we decided to stay in Collingwood and go out for dinner and see a movie after dropping him off.  Dinner was very good.  Collingwood has lots of chain restaurants but also lots of mom and pop, family or gourmet chef places.  We tried a new place.  I had pan fried pickerel with nicely seasoned fresh vegetables.  Kevin had fettucine with 2 (!) chicken breasts.  Very nice.  Then we went to see Sherlock Holmes. It was pretty good.  The best part was that it was free thanks to a coupon from Christmas 2008.  I only make it to a show about once a year (Kevin goes to the drive in a lot in the summer) so it was a nice evening.

I woke up about 3 am when nature called and I could not get back to sleep.  There was a strange intermittent rumbling noise.  I couldn't decide if it was Kevin's stomach (ruled that one out pretty fast), the furnace (the vent is right under our bed), something in Connor's room right below ours.  I wasn't even sure it was inside. Maybe a garbage can was blowing around the street though it wasn't windy and garbage day was 5 days ago so that seemed unlikely.  I finally got up about 3:45 and went to Alec's empty room for a fresh perspective. As I looked out his window I saw a snow filled dump truck and it all made sense.  They were clearing the hill of snow from the middle of the court a block away.  At 3 am!  It would seem to me that would be a job for daylight.  If it kept me up a block away, I can only imagine what the residents of the court experienced.  Other years the snow has been much higher and they have left it so I am rather puzzled by their logic.  At the same time I am trying to be grateful to those operators who have to work crappy hours in extreme weather to keep us safe.  So I won't complain ... this time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My favourite quick meal

Usually I enjoy cooking.  I am enjoying it less as the kids leave home.  It just isn't as much fun cooking for 2 or 3 (and I often don't know when Kevin will be home and Connor races out to work several nights a week so sometimes it's just me).  And then there are nights that I am not physically home to cook.  Like tonight when I was taking Connor snowboarding.  On nights like these I like to pick up a cooked chicken at one of the 3 grocery stores in town.  Add a bagged salad or a deli salad and some fresh buns or bread and you've got a quick, relatively healthy meal.  And the chicken is on sale right now for $6.99 so it is a very economical meal too. We usually have enough leftovers for a sandwich or two the next day and that is so much better for you and better tasting than processed meats.

On Sundays after church we often have Kraft Dinner or grilled cheese.

What about you?  When you are in a hurry or too busy to cook do you open a can of soup? Make Tuna sandwiches? Or call for pizza or Chinese food?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I'm so proud!

My baby got employee of the month at the restaurant where he works.  Not bad for a 14 year old!  He is getting more hours than many of the "full-time" adults and they often call him in when they are busy.  He has never been a scholar.   Homework has always been a battle so I have let up on what I see as a losing battle.  He might as well earn some money.  If he can keep this up until he graduates he will have a minimum of $8000 towards college or a car.  We are getting his first GIC this week.  There's not much else you can do with a minor's money.  (Or is there?)

5 hours later - Connor just got home from work with his stash.  He got a hoodie, mitts, a t-shirt and 2 tickets to a local hockey game, 2 bags of microwave popcorn and 2 free movie coupons and ... best of all - the employee of the month parking space.  Too bad he can't drive for 2 more years.

Disclaimer - this is not meant to belittle the achievements of my older children in any way.  I will be blogging less about them as Connor is the only one left at home.  Caitlin has her own blog anyway.  Alec would rather I don't talk about him (but occasionally I just can't help myself) and Tori doesn't keep us informed of what is going on in her life.