What I Want

It seems there are a lot of people making a lot of fuss about what they want. Apparently, the cool kids are making arts and crafts signs and hoisting decidedly high-tech firearms when they march.

I’m going to try their method, without the madness…

I WANT wake up in the morning and not hear a death toll on the morning radio broadcast before I open my eyes.

I WANT to stop wearing a mask. I’m actually claustrophobic and it adds another layer (pun intended) of stress to grocery shopping. On a related note…

I WANT people to stop looking at me when I sneeze or cough while wearing said mask because I. HAVE. SEASONAL. ALLERGIES.

I WANT to stop my mind from wondering if it’s more than seasonal allergies.

I WANT to make plans; like grocery shopping when I want to grocery shop.

I WANT to eat out. I’ve told The Big Guy that I’m racking up the IOUs for Friday night dinners.

I WANT to stop washing my hands, and/or sanitizing them every 6 minutes, 3 if I forget which order I grabbed the grocery cart handle and my keys.

I WANT to see my chiropractor and massage therapist because my back is so back that if you look at me sideways, you’ll give me a headache. Serious, I can sneeze and put my back out – which is bit of an issue with the whole seasonal allergies piece.

I WANT to stop thinking about how my family and I would quarantine if one of us contracted COVID-19.

I WANT to know that I have a summer, or a the very least, August.

I WANT to stop reading horrific articles that I know I need to read to keep me aware of the evolution of this pandemic.

I WANT to get my hair cut. Which leads to the most important thing that I WANT….

I WANT TO SEE MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

But none of this matters if people are getting sick; if people are dying. What I want isn’t important if others are risking their safety – their LIVES – to battle for us. I don’t get to put my needs or rather WANTS ahead of anyone else. That’s not how it works.

You think your restaurant should be open so you can sit at your favourite table? You want to be able to go to a ball game or a concert? How about we let our medical professionals get a grip on this and learn as much as they can so we can all get back to our jobs, businesses, families and LIVES?

…if we are sharing what we really want…

 

 

Normal is a Setting On a Dryer

“Normal is a setting on a dryer,” said a friend of my many moons ago. Like most things Doug told me, it was very true, and oh so wise. It means there is no normal in real life and what is “normal” for me is definitely not “normal” for you. “Normal” is a setting on a dryer.

I think about “normal” a lot right now. I had to go to the grocery store today and “normal” is wearing gloves, wiping down my purchases and stripping down in the garage before putting all my clothes and jacket in the washing machine. Then I shower. I wonder if this time was the opportunity for exposure. I dry off and clean the knobs on all the doors I touched getting into the house. The family is great at helping me, ferrying the sanitized products into the kitchen from the work station I set up in the back of the Jeep in the garage.

THIS is now normal. After three weeks, I don’t even have to call them, they come to the garage when they hear me pull in.

Normal is having my family on the same property 99% of the time. Since I last posted, First Born Son opted to take a leave from work, followed by a couple of weeks of holidays. He is responsible for his new cow and calves so he leaves to do chores twice a day. The Big Guy and Second Born Son are working from home.

It wasn’t the easiest process to get the boys to understand what sacrifices they would have to make. There are girlfriends to consider and in spite of the fact that they are both charming, friendly and wonderful young women, now is not the time bounce from household to household. Eventually we had a “Come To Jesus” chat about social behaviours. They could be responsible or they could be lumped in with the hordes of irresponsible spring break-lovin’ youth plastered all over social media, who have subsequently come down with COVID-19.

Both of them were invited to decide where they wanted to stay to ride out this as-yet-undetermined-timeframe; here or at the boo’s house. They both opted to stay here, but I don’t for a minute think it was an easy decision for either of them. It’s a tough stage of life to have your wings clipped, 19-almost 20 and 22-almost 23. FBS has lived away from home pretty much since he left for college until he returned home last spring, but continued to function fairly independently. SBS is gearing up to head to college. You are independent or at least expect to embrace a level of independence. I was not a popular person for a couple of days, but ultimately they respected our position and have been reasonable in their frustrations – directed at fate rather than family.

Three of us are office-oriented in our work and share space whether it is in the downstairs office or in the upstairs dining room. Webinars, Zoom and teleconferences are juggled and managed to ensure privacy or simply peace and quiet.

Normal is stopping to watch the Prime Minister’s address each day, as well as the Premier’s . Oft times this messaging impacts one of our jobs so it’s worth the time to tune in.

Normal is also appreciating little things more. Things like a good night’s sleep, because we’ve been struggling with that, as so many people have. The other night SBS commented on how often we are together at the same time, usually for meals, and how nice that was. Normal is also trying to figure out how to put a meal together with random items left in the fridge when the full grocery list isn’t filled. Coleslaw with pancakes? You BETCHA!

Normal is the feeling of organization and accomplishment the past two weeks have given us. With beautiful weather, we have been able to get outside chores done much earlier this year.

Normal is jumping when the dogs bark as though someone is coming up the driveway. No one comes here. We miss that but we know it’s for the best. We don’t go anywhere either.

In the spirit of “the glass half full”, I’m getting AMAZING mileage on the Jeep; only used a quarter of a tank in three weeks!

Normal is Facetiming people I would usually see week to week. It’s nice to see a different face. There’s so much talk about what the world will look like when this is behind us. What will the “new normal” look like?

For now, normal is reminding ourselves just about every damn day that we live in an amazing country; that remarkable people are putting themselves out there to deal with this health crisis, and all they ask in return is that we stay at home. It’s the least we can do.

The VERY least.

 

 

 

 

 

To panic or not to panic.

If something goes sideways, I’ve been told I’m a good person to be around.

I consider this a compliment. I’ve been in a position to handle some rather difficult/frustrating/sensitive/confidential etc. situations and I feel I’ve handled them the best I could. The fact that I’ve been called a “rock” tells me that I may have done just that.

When it was suggested that I work from home last week, I was prepared and willing to do so. I am able to do some development and planning while I cannot be in the public. As with so many people, I’ve been trying to get my head around the various developments evolving sometimes hourly. I am usually a “glass half full” kinda person. I ensure my family has food, the house is clean, that everything feels “normal”.

But it’s not normal for anyone.

I’ve been frustrated with how people fail to take this situation seriously. I judge others as I judge myself, which is to say I assume people ingest their news from more than one (reputable) news outlet. I assume people check and see when a social media post is bullshit and don’t share it. I assume people want the greater good and will do what’s necessary to keep others safe.

You know what they say about assuming…..

I’m fortunate to have a supportive employer that values me and the work I do. So does the Big Guy. His employer is offer five-star support to staff, including paying people who only worked two days before a company-wide shutdown was implemented days before it was mandated by the Province.

Second Born Son works alone, so he was fine to leave home, but today his supervisor said he too could work from home. Now there’s three of us working in the house – the office and dining room are now work spaces. Cozy, and I’m glad I can keep them here with me.

If I didn’t already have grey hair, the work situation for First Born Son would have made me go grey. They are still working. There are no measures taken for 40+ people outside of posting hand washing instructions in a large common washroom. Supposedly there will be a shutdown tomorrow. Thanks to the Premier. Never thought I’d type those words! It’s sad to think a business owner could think so little of the people who work for him to disregard their health and wellbeing, and that of their families. Some employees don’t have an option to quit work as it means forgoing Employment Insurance.

I reach out to our senior friends and family. Some of them are very emotional and frightened to be isolated. Some are definitely less mentally stable. It’s a difficult time for everyone.

What I’m experiencing is no different than what everyone else is going through. We all have our own frames of reference, but the unknown, the “is it going to happen now…or now…or now?” is the same.  We all have health issues to deal with, family members who are struggling, children who are at risk, jobs that hang in the balance. I know people who are watching their dreams of being their own boss hit very troubled waters. Small businesses, so long overlooked as a major contributor to our economy, are suddenly valued and vulnerable.

I don’t like writing overly negative posts such as this one. I’m sorry that it’s heavy. I just feel that today, being “light” or “funny” isn’t authentic. Maybe tomorrow will be a day to find the humour in something. Perhaps I’ll find out some good news that will give me a more balanced perspective.

But for today; 1. because there’s nothing I can control, 2.  no one is in control, it feels like a lot.

Here’s to a better tomorrow.

Be well!

Happy Birthday – I can’t Afford a Present…

This handsome fella is seven years old today!

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He nearly didn’t make it!

Seriously.

(If you have a weak stomach, leave NOW!)

Cane decided to give us (Second Born Son & me) a collective heart attack last week. SBS notice he was not feeling well. Vomiting and diarrhea. He then noticed that there seemed to be something coming out of his derriere. The photo he emailed me showed approximately THREE FEET OF FINE ROPE.

THREE FEET.

OF ROPE.

3 FT.

I immediately forward the pictures to our vet’s office. Then I call them. I use my calmest voice to tell the lovely assistant that I NEED them to look at the email I sent RIGHT FREAKIN’ NOW.

She puts me on hold. I can almost hear her eyes rolling. And then she gets back on the phone.

“Um, yah, we are going to need you to go to (the main clinic) as soon as you can. How soon can you be there?”

I’m standing outside my work which is 40 minutes away from home. Then I have to load up the dog, then I have to go the main clinic which is another 40 GOD-DAMN MINUTES IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!

I am about to set a land speed record.

On my way home, I get a call from the lovely young assistant. She tells me she has taken the initiative to put together two quotes; one for the initial x-rays and examination, another for emergency surgery, ” in case we have to make decisions quickly.”

This is code for, “this is bad.” She tells me the cost for the surgery will be between $3,000-$4,000. I’m wondering what the black market rate is for kidneys, cuz I don’t have that kinda cheddar laying around. Who does?? Don’t answer that.

Once I get home, I’m met by the dog. It’s as bad as I envisioned. I pull into the garage and run inside to change before loading the dog, rope and son into the pickup truck.

Upon my return I’m horrified to see the rope is completely gone. It’s now wrapped around the base of the tires of my vehicle. It was pulled out as Cane ran around the vehicle.

THERE’S SEVEN FEET OF ROPE.

SEVEN FEET.

7 FT.

OF ROPE.

BASICALLY TWICE AS MUCH AS THERE WAS BEFORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am thrilled, horrified, fascinated, horrified, and panicked in a matter of seconds. Call to vet clinic confirms we should still come over in case there is any rope left in him (JAY-ZUS HOW MUCH MORE COULD THIS BEAST HOLD??)

Over we go. He’s not happy. He doesn’t care there’s a truck ride happening.

At the office they complete the examination. Cane is doing so well. They decide to do the x-ray. There’s nothing inside, they don’t think… whaaaaaaat? There was damage. It shouldn’t be permanent. Shouldn’t.

“How did he get into the rope?” they ask.

I have no clue.

“What kind of rope do you think it is?”

It looks like baler twine. We don’t have baler twine. What are you suggesting????????

$400+ later, we take Cane home. He’s happier, calmer (thanks to the sedative) and laying down in the back seat.

SBS and I look at each other, amazed at how a regular Wednesday turns into a freakin’ reality show.

Suffice it to say, there’s no new chew toy for Cane this year. He chomped down 7 ft of rope, so I think he’s good.

Happy Birthday Cane!

 

 

News!

This blog has been such an amazing outlet for me and a way to get thoughts out of my head. For some reason, you keep coming back for more!

Just kiddin’. I really appreciate it. Truly.

I’ve got another project that you may be interested in. Second Born Son and I have launched a podcast called “CHATS” it is an acronym for Conversation, Humor, And Topical Stuff. It came to me after one of our drives home from college last fall when the two of us had been deep in conversation when it dawned on me how much fun we were having.

SBS mentioned years ago that of all the families that have reality TV shows, our should be one of them. While I didn’t quite agree with that, I did feel that we had some interesting points of view and some funny tales to tell.

Thankful podcasts save you from having to see the looks on our faces when we are laughing at each other.

If you are interested in getting a bigger bang for your entertainment buck (bwahaha) you are formally invited to check us out on your favourite podcast platform, specifically, iPodcast, Spotify, Google Play and for those of you who don’t want to download ANOTHER app, you can watch us on YouTube, just make sure you subscribe to our channel so we know you are with us!

Absolutely not abandoning this blog, but trying out another mode of communication, and I’ve got to say, I love the difference between the two.

Here’s hoping you’ll check it out! 😀

 

YOUTUBE

SPOTIFY

GOOGLE PLAY

iPODCAST

 

 

 

 

Harry & Meghan…the response is the reason

Unless you are returning from the International Space Station, you will know that the British Royal Family is evolving. Notice I’m not using any negative connotations to describe this.

I have just listened to a brilliant speech Princess Harry has given at a Sentebale in London. He addresses the audience not as a Prince, or a Duke, but as Harry. He speaks from the heart about HIS decision, for HIS family. He reaffirms his family’s commitment to the Queen, the family and to the United Kingdom.

But enough’s enough. He’s tired of the attacks, the scrutiny, the pressure and the life laid out for him that he’s never asked for, or wanted. Footage of him from 10 years ago shows his cautious view of his role. Harry is more comfortable with people, not media. He’s very much the boy following his mother’s coffin and the man who will not let history repeat itself.

When the Crown failed to act in his and his family’s best interest, he forced their hand. As soon as he did, the cycle he hoped to escape from, circled around again. Meghan was the issue. She was trying to return to acting. William didn’t like her. Meghan and Kate were competitive. At best it’s exaggeration. At worst it’s all lies. Worse yet, it’s a family matter that is playing out in the public. The media who weaves this narrative is the benefactor and cause of this soap opera.

I feel badly for all of them. It’s a nightmare to watch, I cannot imagine what it’s like to live through.

Unlike some monarchy challenges, this one is being handled well now that they’ve been forced to deal with it. No public funding, no HRH, no senior royal duties. Participate in events where invited by the Queen. Review this new “normal” in a year.

It’s smart and it makes sense. The “Royal Family” cannot continue to grown and encompass each of the Queen’s four children and by extension, her grandchildren and great grandchildren. There are a couple more members who should look at this development and realize the with Will having an Heir, a spare and a spare spare, there is little need for cousins to be paid from the public purse. Beatrice & Eugenie, we’re looking at you.

I wish the best for this young family and hope that this year brings peace, compromise and path forward that will allow a balance between duty and free will.

New Traditions

If you don’t have traditions at Christmas, I ask you, do you really have traditions at all?

We always enjoyed putting up the tree, decorating the house and getting gifts wrapped in preparation for the big day. Now, to be fair, the struggle of shopping beforehand is somewhat of a tradition as well, but let’s not focus on the negative just yet!

This year, instead of stressing over parking spots and jostling through the crowd, on two separate occasions I just left the parking lot and returned home. I wasn’t up for playing bumper cars with overly stressed and aggressive motorists. I like my Jeep too much.

It doesn’t hurt that there aren’t as many gifts to buy as in years past. With some family members opting to go gift-free, it means less need to shop, haul and wrap. This is definitely a change. I will never forget the Christmas about 15 years ago when I sat up until 3 a.m. wrapping presents, only to get up at 6 a.m. to head to work. In.Sane.

There are other changes as well this year. First Born Son, who has been less and less interested in decorating in recent years, wasn’t around for this year’s exercised, which may have been for the best, because honestly, he was getting vocal in his dislike of being asked to hang Baby’s First Christmas decorations. Second Born Son, who always enjoys the trimming of the tree, not to mention the selecting and installation of the tree, was away for the weekend. We couldn’t put it off any longer, otherwise we’d decorating on Christmas Eve.

It was mid tree anchoring when The Big Guy and I realized that THIS is our new tradition. No guilt, no inflection. Just reality. Our kids are getting older and things will change – especially if we have done our jobs right and raised two confident, independent young men. It’s a change.

Another change this year is the addition of a third tree. Yes you read that correctly. Three trees, more than two, less than four. Never saw myself being a “crazy tree lady” but hey, it takes care of the decorating in the kitchen. It’s the only artificial one since it’s adjacent to the fireplace and if it was real I’d have to a) run a hose directly from the sink to make sure it stayed hydrated or b) be prepared to have chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

The other two trees are real. When we were picking out these trees at the local tree farm, I was chatting with one of the employees about our shared experience of man-children who may or may not have outgrown their youthful Christmas traditions.

She asked why we were getting two trees. I explained that I have one in the living room with the more formal, cohesive decorations and one in the basement where we break out the amazing ornaments from the boys’ childhood. Adorable baby baubles, John Deere tractors, Pirates of the Caribbean, hockey skates and handmade treasures from art classes all find their home on this tree. It’s in the rec room where we will play pool, throw darts and listen to music. I never want to forget these decorations. I want them out every year. The lady was impressed with our tradition and insisted she was going to do the same thing with her 20-something kids and their ornaments.

Not all traditions are good ones. For years the real trees we erected had a familiar pattern of behaviour. We’d put them up, decorate them and within an hour or two, they’d be on the floor – ornaments smashed and branches twisted. Eventually we smartened up and used a counter weight to ensure the tree wouldn’t land in the middle of the living room.

I also used to do a great deal of baking. Hours of butter, flour and chocolate. The evolution of our family has resulted in some dietary restrictions. No nuts and no dairy. That takes out a BIG chunk of Christmas baking!

One thing that hasn’t changed is my thoughts of my Dad during Christmas. He loved this holiday and went all out with decorating. Ironically, as The Big Guy strung the lights on the upstairs tree, he noticed a number of the bulbs were out. He smiled and said to me, “When you are talking to your Dad, can you ask him to take care of these lights?”

The moment brought a smile to my face. Dad has been gone for more than five years now. Invoking his name while we decorated was perfect. Dad would spend hours in his chair going through strings of lights, finding the burnt out bulbs and bringing back strings that had been destined for the landfill. We could have used him last weekend.

A couple of years ago was another change in tradition. My sister and I took over the tradition of hosting Christmas dinner. Our Mother had cooked for the better part of 45 years and we felt it was time to give her a break. At first it was a change for her, but now she’s glad to bring something to our homes, without the stress of planning and cooking for hours.

Moving forward we have decided to start a new tradition – to include the girlfriends of our sons. While we don’t expect them to join us on Christmas Day or Boxing Day when they have their own family commitments, we plan to have an afternoon filled with food, fun and festive movies. We will have memories thanks to the evolution of our family and our willingness to adapt.

It won’t be the same, but it will be awesome.

Merry Christmas to you and may you embrace your new traditions.