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.

If You Didn’t Put Up, Shut Up

For the past four months, Canadians have either been anticipating or been actively engaged in a federal election.

Unlike our America Cousins, we don’t draw these things out. We like to campaign quick, vote in October and get back to important things like hockey.

This election was frustrating. Unlike your Grade 7 Social Studies class on government, there were few defined and costed platforms that really landed with voters. No need to talk about hearing what Canadians want and certainly no creative ideas coming from “leaders”. However, there were plentiful jabs, slanderous comments and stomach churning commercials “endorsed” by full grown adults even though the content was beyond immature.

One good thing about the day after the election is you get to see how many people showed up to vote.

This year it was only 66% of us.

This makes me think of people around the world who walk for days if not weeks just for the opportunity to vote in their election. People die to fight for the right to vote. Women in this country protested and died for the right to vote IN THIS COUNTRY.

And almost half of us didn’t. Even. Bother.

Shame on you if you didn’t. Kudos if you did.

It’s tiring listening to people rant about politics and not taking action when the opportunity presents itself. It’s even more frustrating because we are so critical of the U.S. political reality; the non stop election cycle; the immature name calling and lies.

I think Canadians can do better. Until we demand better, we can expect no better from our “leaders”. With a minority government we have roughly 18 to 24 months until we get back on this merry-go-round.

So let’s do better. All of us.

Shame On Us

The adult outrage against Greta Thunberg prompts this column. I dedicate it to her.

Her recent “How Dare You” speech at the UN National Assembly didn’t just get applause, but ridicule. How DARE this 16-year-old GIRL speak in such a manner? Within days social media was poisoned with memes of her outraged visage overlaid with mocking words pointing out her age, gender, her Aspergers or her appearance.

Shame on us.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in an environment where caring for flora and fauna was something to be proud of. When I had a home of my own, I wanted pets and to care for plants. We recycled, composted and had a barn pail for food scraps that went to our family farm for barn cats. We had less garbage with two small children than families on our street with only two people in them. I still have a laundry line. On days when it’s not conducive to hang wash outside, I have drying racks I my laundry room. I have switched to environmentally responsive dish soap and laundry soap. I have reduced my single use plastics to the point that I have carried numerous purchases from the grocery store to my vehicle because I left my reusable bag in the back seat.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I’ve made choices that didn’t put the environment first. I’m trying more and more every day. I think that’s what we all need to do – try harder.

Instead, grown adults are hurling insults at a child. Pointing the finger at Millennials. THEY are the ones who want new cell phones. THEY are the ones who are mass consumers. THEY should not be lecturing their elders about environmentalism because the older generation consumed milk out of glass bottles and diapered their babies in flannel nappies. Ok, I’ll concede that point…. But the kind of change needed isn’t limited to how we consume dairy products. It’s decades of abuse and neglect of resources that could only tolerate so much. Decades of cars with little if any emissions regulations. Decades of big businesses not being regulated for physical and air borne pollutants. Bucks before polar bears, right?

The semantics of “global warming” vs “climate change” makes me want to stab myself in the face. ToMAEto TomAto. Talk about fiddling while Rome is burning.

I did share a meme that listed a number of suggestions that people could try that would make a difference. Everything from laundry and shopping to reducing how much garbage we generate. Within hours I had a reply to this post.

“Some of these suggestions aren’t practical. JS (just saying)”

Really?!?

Fortunately I took a sober second thought and instead of ripping this “friend” a new one, I replied the common sense that was implied by the post.

“These are suggestions that we can draw from – even one or two can make a difference.”

DID I REALLY HAVE TO SAY THAT?

Yes. Yes I did.

Shame on US.

I get it. If you live in an apartment, you likely don’t have access to a laundry line. But you could pop up a drying rack. Just work with me here, ok?

Just try.