Monday, February 12, 2018

Well it hasn't been fun.

The last month hasn't exactly been a picnic.

Zach had to study for 2 weeks straight for his finals which meant I was helping him study for 2 weeks.  I don't remember studying that much for any university exam to be honest, but we needed to make sure he had enough time to get through all of the material.

It was actually a legit exam this go round. A 2 hour exam for each of math and science.  The trouble was that these exams are in January which is my busiest time of the year at work.    In fact, this was hands down one of the toughest year ends ever.    The amount of hours I was working is off that chart and would make any workaholic tell me that I have to dial it back.  Truth be told though, when I needed to leave to either go home and help or for something else, everything worked out just fine.

I was beyond worried for these exams.  First and foremost I want him to get good grades of course, but he has never had to study for anything.  K-8 grades are a lot different than when I was in school and they are given class time to do pretty much everything.  Then I wasn't sure how Zach would do with a 2 hour exam.  When we were studying I would make up these quizzes for him.  If the quiz had more than 5 pages, he would unravel, so I wasn't sure how he would do with a 20 page (not kidding that's how long) exam.

As it turned out, all was well (sensing a pattern to my needless anxiety here).  He ended up getting an 84% on Science and and 80% on Math.  Hallelujah.

Amidst all of this Logan was having his own crisis.  Unlike Zach who could give a flying rats a$$ about social media, Logan cares, probably more than he should.  During the Christmas holidays, he got a message from a girl Kate at school asking if he liked her and if he wanted to be her boyfriend.  Logan did like her and so he said yes.  Logan desperately wants to grow up, so the idea of having a girlfriend made him really happy.  A few days later though he was contacted by Kate's sister and told that the account that had contacted him was a fake account.  Logan was pretty upset and it all seemed a little shady to me.  1) Who made the fake Kate account and 2) How did Kate's sister know about the account, or what it said to Logan.

Things got way worse in January.  Someone at the school made another fake account pretending to be Logan.  The account was going around the school spewing hateful things about the kids at school, the majority of whom were girls.  Logan didn't even know about it until some of the kids at school were mad.  He completely denied it was his account, sent a snapchat around telling everyone that this particular account wasn't his and anything it was saying was completely untrue.

Well minutes after Logan sent that snapchat, the mystery account changed its name to one that closely matched Logan's account.  When he called that one out, it changed its name again.

Logan did everything he could to prove his innocence, he made a valid argument that if he was going to go around talking garbage about the kids at school, why would he use his own name.  One of the girls said that he could have two accounts.  He showed then his phone and proved that he only had the one account.  This same girl, Kate (same fake gf from Christmas) said that he could have deleted it.  Again, trying to prove it wasn't his, Logan told her to search up the fake account.  If it still existed and Logan proved it wasn't on his phone, then it couldn't be his.  Apparently though this wasn't enough prove for her.


Logan was pretty devastated, he didn't want to go to school.  I offered to call the principal, but he said no, which I get.  I was bullied pretty bad in junior high and I know first hand that involving the teachers can make things way worse.  But on the other side of it as a parent, I knew that they should know.  I had to call the principal because this stupid account was going around calling the girls awful names and if those girls told their parents, it could become a whole big thing, so I had to stay ahead of it.  The principal was good, but admitted that there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it.

I contacted instagram and reported the account for impersonating Logan.  You have to prove you are who you say you are with a birth certificate before they will investigate the imposter account.  Trouble was this account hadn't posted a single picture, kind of odd for instagram.  If the account has been posting the same pictures as Logan then Instagram would have had cause to shut it down, but they couldn't shut it down based on the messenger aspect of Instagram.

As it went on, the boys in the class started to come around.  Logan's arguments were compelling and it just seemed fishy.  I have my suspicions about two people.  One of whom is a kid Logan had had issues with in the past and the other was Kate.  Simply because she so adamantly refused to believe him even when presented with convincing evidence and there was the pre-Christmas girlfriend incident.  But whatever, everything blew over and worked out in the end.

 Next up in my brutal month was my living room.  Technically its called the great room according to the builder, but that sounds so utterly pretentious, I refuse to use it.  I have always thought our living room was cold which is why there are blankets on every possible surface.  Neither Brad or the boys is ever cold, so they just on the assumption that it was me.

The other day, while sitting watching netflix, I happened to look up at the ceiling.  ICE.   ICE!!!  It went along the top of the ceiling (where it met the walls on the three outside walls).  It's kind of hard to explain our floor plan, but the living room is essentially an add on to the main house, so the back and the side walls are outside walls and it has a separate roof.

We sent the builder a note, and they responded really fast and came out to take a look a couple days later.  They initially thought that the insulation must have shifted.  The guys when up on a ladder to take a look from the attic access and came down straight away and pulled out their phones.

Ready for this?  No insulation.  NONE. Nada.  It's mind boggling to me.  When we built our deck and inspector came out three times before he signed off and somehow they passed inspection with no insulation?

What we think happened is that it was missed because we had two roofs.  Perhaps they came out to do to the first one and forgot about the second?  Who knows.  But, what I do know if house stuff stresses me out big time.  I'm always concerned that it's going to cost thousands of dollars to fix.

Thankfully, the builder absolutely agreed to cover the cost to fix it, repair the damaged drywall (from the melting/freezing along the ceiling) and even cut us a cheque for any extra heating bills we had to pay as a result.

I mean it wasn't great that it happened but I was pretty happy with how they handled it.

Then the absolute worst happened.  GG passed.  My grandmother was 94 (would have turned 95 on February 11).  She had been doing really well up until about a year and a half ago, living in an assisted living place.  But as her health and mobility went south, she had to go into a hospital and then into a nursing home.  How it works is that if you are in the hospital and doctors deem that you are no longer capable of living alone, you get put on the waiting list for a nursing home, but have to stay in the hospital until such time that a bed becomes available.

When it does however, you have no choice but to take it.  You can stay in the hospital if you decline the bed, but you will pay hundreds of dollars per night to do so.

So GG had to take the first available bed and nursing homes that have open beds aren't always the nicest ones.  This one was just awful.  She was put on a ward with Alzheimer's patients.  GG didn't have Alzheimer's or any kind of dementia.  Her body was falling apart, but her mind was still sharp.  Having to eat all her meals at tables with these poor souls, who couldn't have a conversation or would wander into her room and a room mate that would yell at her and steal her things made her really unhappy and in her short time there we saw her deteriorate quite quickly.

Thankfully after a couple months, a bed came in the place that she had originally wanted to go to, so we were able to transfer he there.  Nursing homes aren't fantastic.  It mad me sad every time I went there, seeing these folks slumped over in chairs staring out into space, without a single visitor.    But there were positives, she got her own room for a start and didn't have a share a bathroom anymore.  So while she wasn't over the moon or anything it was an improvement.

She was there for about 6 months or so.  On Christmas day we went to visit and for the first time, it felt like she wasn't there anymore.  She had a smile, but it wasn't her usual one, it was a strange confused smile.  I can't explain it, but it was unsettling to me.  She would drift in and out of conversations and fall asleep mid sentence.  We had a nice visit.  That was last I saw her and my last words to her where that I loved her.  As sad as that is I am thankful for that, because not everyone gets the opportunity to have a last moment like that.

We said goodbye to GG last week.  I had been busy at work and was so busy with everything there and at home, that I was focused on logistics, what did Mum need, cleaning out GG's room, gathering her things etc.  My mum asked if I would do a reading at the service, specifically the St. Francis of Assisi peace prayer.  I am quite comfortable speaking in public, so I said yes without giving it a second thought.

My Dad was set to do the eulogy and I would follow him with the prayer.  Dad does an amazing job with these sorts of things.  He has the unique ability to weave sentiment and humor in such a touching way, it really is a gift.  At the tail end of Dad's eulogy, he got sentimental.  As he walked back to the pew and as I stood up, grief hit me.  HARD.

I found myself tearing up and having those gaspy little breaths.  I made it up to the podium, uttered the first word and started to cry.  As I choked out each verse, it seemed to get harder and harder to continue.

Looking out into the group of people who attended I saw the concerned faces of my friends who had attended.  Somehow that just made it worse that I was falling apart in front of people that I care about.

As I said Amen and headed back to my seat, it wasn't relief I felt. but rather an overwhelming sense of guilt.  GG has wanted this beautiful poem read and I completely ruined it by crying the whole way through.

When it was all over and we were getting ready to go to the grave site ,Brad as he was one of the pallbearers, but  Zach came to stand beside me.  He looked so handsome in his suit and tie.  He took my hand and gave it a squeeze.

From  that moment on he wouldn't leave my side, holding my hand and standing by me. I felt safe.

After we made our way back to the main hall for coffee and refreshments, I felt better.   I was able to find my friends, give them hugs and it was only then that I felt a sense of relief and comfort.

That was my January, a hard start to 2018.  But perhaps I should think about it in another way.  Despite all my anxiety with that the boys were going through, everything worked out fine, a lesson it itself that when I worry, I just suffer twice.  Most importantly, GG is now at peace.  Here is the peace prayer that she wanted read at her service.  I love you GG.  I hope you watch over us all and every time I put the kettle on, I'll smile and think of you.

The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

Oh Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be loved as to love,
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned'
It is in self-forgetting that we find;
And it is in dying to ourselves that we are born to eternal life


Friday, January 5, 2018

The wait for the holidays is over

The wait is over, or on as it were.

After two months, I am back to weight bearing.  I still have the walking boot, but it is now a walking boot!

I'm supposed to ease into weight bearing, but if I am being completely honest, I have been easing into weight bearing for a while now.

I no longer have to use the scooter and I can walk to the bus.  The plan is to still bring my crutches, but only use them if my foot bothers me.  I found out this glorious news at my appointment this morning and starting walking immediately after.  I can already feel my foot aching, so maybe there is something to this easing into it.

While it has only been 2 months, it feels like forever and I am thrilled to be moving on.  I imagine that I will need physio after this is all said and done, but I'm looking forward to that point.
The holidays are officially over as well.  We had a really nice break.  On Christmas Eve we visited with Brad's family in Morden.  The visit had a but of a somber feel as we knew that this will likely be George's last Christmas, which is hard to accept.  He's been on the feeding program (no food by mouth, IV only) for a couple months and already has surpassed the life expectancy of that program.  In fact, George has exceeded the life expectancy of a lot of things.

With his type of cancer, they typically give you about 7 years.  George has had over 10.  So there is some things to be thankful for, even if it is extremely difficult for everyone.

Despite the sadness, it was a good visit and everyone had a great time.  Christmas morning was fun with the boys.  Logan was thrilled with all of his sports paraphernalia (jersey's, new stick & wax, NBA for the PS4 etc) and Zach loved his gamer gifts (loot crate, Shadow of War for Xbox, etc).

Christmas Day and Boxing Day were both at my parents place this year.  They are selling the house in the Spring and it was important to have one last Christmas at the house.  I get it.  It's going to be weird though having them move out to the cabin.  They are doing tons of renos to both the city house and the cabin.  One big reno to the cabin that needs to happen is running water.  The idea is to have water for washing and showers, but there will be no indoor toilet.  Dad is still quite happy with his composting one.  High Five to a lower carbon footprints!

2017 was capped off by the end of my 30s.  I'm officially 40.  40 people!  40 is a grown up number.  40 is when you should have your sh*t together and I don't feel that way.   Who knows, maybe no one ever really feels that way.  In my head, I'm still in my mid twenties and I feel young, so that's something at least.

It's such a cliche to make a big deal of turning 40 and complaining about it.  Given what our family is going through with George, complaining about getting older is and a$$hole move as it is a gift not given to some.  

We always celebrate New Years with the crew, Debbie, David, Erin, Sean, Kat, Gerrit, Beth, David, Jen and Josh and all the kids of course, all 10 of them! These people are my family and I love them to the moon and back.  I had told everyone ahead of time that I was cool with the birthday celebrations, but I didn't want "40" carpet bombed all over the walls.  They stayed true to my request and instead put 30+10 over the walls.  Ugh.  Loopholes.  It was a really fun night.  Appetizers, drinks, a wicked birthday cake and some cards against humanity.    Good Times.

It is so weird to me that I'm 40.  In my twenties I guess I had a picture of what life would be like at 40 and this isn't it.  Not that it's bad, not at all.  It's just not what you expect you know?  Trying to juggle working, and raising kids can be a sh*t show sometimes. Raising kids is so much harder than anyone tells you.  There are many days where I am so frustrated, I find myself biting my tongue so hard it bleeds, but then there are moments of brilliance where you have the slightest glimpse of hope that you are raising decent human beings. 

Now that it's January, it's back to business.  Work is ramping up again and school exams are coming.  Zach has both his Science and Math exams in a couple weeks.  This has been a learning experience for him.  He's never had assignments or tests before (my previous feeling on the disservice that I feel elementary schools are doing is well documented and for the sake of brevity, I will blow past it).  This term we have worked hard with Z to help him learn how to study, organize his materials and schedule his time so that he can accommodate both hockey and school.  It's been a challenge, especially since he got the two hardest subjects in the first term.  Baptism by fire.  Logan is more engaged in school than Zach is and keeping him on track of school work is significantly easier.  However, Logan is on the opposite of the spectrum and stresses out about school.  The most minor of projects and he freaks out for weeks.

Today is also a big day as Zach gets his braces on today.  Yikes.  He is NOT going to be a happy camper when I get home today.  Yikes.  He needs braces on both the top and bottom.  We have opted to have the white braces on top and regular on the bottom.  It's much cheaper that way and you rarely see the bottom ones.  It's what the Dentist recommended.
2018.  Wow.  They always say time flies by as you get older and it really is true.  My twenties stretched on forever and my 30s were a complete blur.  I'm officially middle age, but I really am trying to let it go.

  As they say, the first 40 years gives you the text, the next 40 give you the commentary.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Getting Old

The novelty of this boot is wearing off.     While it's nice to be able to take the thing off to have a shower and what not, it still sucks.

I am trying to go full non weight bearing, but do you have any idea how hard that is?   Taking crutches up stairs, to the bathroom, into the shower.  I would say that 80% of the time I am non weight bearing, but going up the stairs, bathroom and shower, I do walk.

Now to be clear, it isn't a true walk and I don't put my full weight on it, I lean on my heel as the damage is in the front/side part of my foot.  If I do it too much, I will notice it aches a bit.

I have been getting rides to work which is so kind and considerate.  I feel beyond guilty about it though.  While I tend to talk ALOT in groups and what not (not always my best quality), I really don't like the attention my foot has brought me.  At first my explanations were complete.. "fell down the stairs carrying my dog... broke 9 bones and tor ligaments"...etc.  But now, the have been boiled down to their essence... "I broke my foot", I sometimes throw in a disgruntled face attempting to discourage any follow up questions.

Shopping has been a bit of a mess.  I tried to go the mall with my Mum last week and it was a gong show.  I first had to take the bus from work to Polo Park.    That particular bus runs the length of portage ave, so by the time it gets to my office, it is PACKED.

I hobbled onto the crowded bus and could almost hear the groans as people shuffled around trying to let me on.  I had to ask a woman if I could sit down in the handicap seat and she actually rolled her eyes.  Nice.

I made it all the way down Portage and got off at the mall.  I didn't take into consideration the distance from the bus stop to the actual entrance of the mall.    Gazing into the distance seeing the doors, I would have paid a good $50 if someone would give me a lift.

The plan was that I was going to meet my mum at guest services and pick up a wheel chair.  Do you know where guest services is?  For your reference, it is smack dab in the CENTER of the mall.  Another epic crutch marathon.  I nearly avoided disaster a few times as the snow on the bottom of my crutches made them wet which then slipped on the mall tile floor.

Finally arrived at guest services sweating like some sort of farm animal.  I asked for an scooter, the pinnacle of wheelchairs that is battery operated and comes with motorcycle like handlebars.  I was thrilled when he brought out this shiny new model.  He gave the coles notes version, but did point to the instruction manual under the seat.

That made me laugh out loud with visions of someone sitting in the middle of the mall reading instructions on how to work the scooter.  I decided to try it out, a twist of the throttle and I was off... well as least for 20 ft.

Seeing as it is the busy Christmas season these scooters are getting used a lot.  Add to that it was the end of the day and the battery was too low to function.  Awesome. 
I returned the shiny new scooter and asked for a conventional one.  The guy behind the counter gave me a sheepish frown and said they didn't have any left, but he could offer me a walker.  I gestured to my broken foot to which he replied, "yeah, maybe not".

My mum hadn't arrived yet, so I had to wait anyways.  I was hoping that perhaps someone would return a wheelchair before she arrived.  Prayers were answered when not 5 minutes later someone arrived with a circa 1984 aluminum wheelchair.  Didn't matter to me though, it was beautiful.

 My mum got held up so I had to wait in the wheelchair feeling pretty darn decrepit.  She did finally arrive and we were off.   In this short time that I have had to deal with this foot, I have begun to realize how hard it is for those with disabilities.    Everything is so much harder.

I have also come to realize that human compassion is on a spectrum, much like anything else.  One one end there are people who go over and above, offering rides, carrying my bag for me, holding doors and the like.  On the other end, there are those that give you nothing but dirty looks as you slightly inconvenience them by getting in their way.

The mall was a perfect demonstration of that whole spectrum.  Also, I have never really noticed store layouts before.  Some stores are nearly impossible to navigate in a wheelchair.  I am not exaggerating here either.   I had to go into Bluenotes to pick up a hoodie for Zach and I couldn't even get in the store.  Racks of clothing were jam packed.  If I went between them, clothes got caught on either side of the wheels and there was absolutely no way I could turn around.  The salesperson did their best to help, but there was only so much they could do as the layout was what it was.

Bath and body works was another sh*t show.  Towers of lotions and potions were carpet bombed haphazardly around the store.  Weird corners didn't leave any room for a wheelchair.  I was a bull in a china shop knocking things over every time I moved.

Despite all the challenges, we did get a lot done.  I still have more to do, but we put a solid dent into it.  Almost all of my online purchases have arrived, but three are outstanding; my Dad's, Zach's and my nephews shirt.

I ordered my nephew a shirt on DECEMBER 1 and it has yet to arrive.  This happened last year as well and so I made a conscious effort to order early this year.  I feel so bad.  So to compensate, I printed off a picture of the shirt and wrapped that.    I also made him the following video that I gave to my sister-in-law to show him Christmas morning if his gift doesn't arrive.

I have to come up with something for Zach as well.  One of his gifts is a Loot gamer crate.  It is a subscription service that will send him a box each month.  In the box will be a shirt and 5-6 official collectibles from all of his favorite games.  I also got him gear crate subscription which is a shirt, underwear and socks (all gamer themed).  Super cool and I know he'll love it, but again, nothing to wrap.  We also ordered him a gamer chair from Wayfair, which is supposed to arrive on Dec 21.  It is coming via FedEx, so I have a little more faith than if it was Canada post.

When it comes to gift giving and receiving my Dad is beyond laid back and while I am hoping that his gift will arrive, it is coming Canada Post, so who knows.

It's hard to believe it's Christmas again and then a week later New Years, aka my birthday.  This particular year it's a big one.  I'm turning 40.

40 people!  40 is grown up.  By 40 you should have your house in order.  The truth of the matter is that I don't feel that way at all.  In my head I'm still in my early twenties figuring sh*t out.  It's been a long time since we went out on New years to an event or something similar.  The reason we don't is that it is such an undertaking, waiting for cabs going and coming, big crowds.  Maybe it is because I am getting older, but the idea of just chilling with my friends sounds so much better.
My friend Debbie is throwing a party for me at her place.  My crew likes theme parties, so they were all asking what I wanted.  New years seems like enough of a theme for me.  My only request was that there was no "40" signage.  No "Over the Hill" garbage, cheesy shirts and hats.  None of it.  Other than that, wide open.
So that's where I am at the moment.  I am on holidays starting Friday and I'm really looking forward to the break before the craziness of year end starts.
Happy Christmas Everyone!



Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Booted

This absolutely blows.

The CT scan showed multiple broken bones and torn ligaments.  While the broken bones sounds worse, apparently it's the torn ligaments that are going to be the main problem. As I am told a lisfranc injury is a complete sh*t show.

After the half cast came off I found out a had to go into a full cast.  The overly bubbly casting technician was super happy and came skipping into the room with sunshine and rainbows trailing behind her.

I was not in the same head space.  She sweetly asked me what color I wanted and offered up bubble gum pink as my first choice.  Hard pass.  Second choice was lime green.  Again no.

When I said I wanted black I could tell that she was disappointed by the wall-eyed expression on her face, but it only seemed fitting that my cast color matched my mood.  I can only imagine the look on my face.

What has followed in the past month would be best be summed up as wildly irritating.  For the first while it hurt a lot so that wasn't exactly fun.  Once the pain wore off, the reality of wearing a leg cast set in.

Showering is a veritable food saver experience as I have to cover the cast in a giant ziploc bag to keep it dry.  Once in the shower I am not allowed to put weight on it, instead I am forced to use those built in seats in the shower surround..  What I discovered is those seats are best utilized for holding shampoo bottles rather than my backside.  Add in the mix that everything gets rather slippery when wet...good times.

Brad was awesome and I was able to get scooters for work and home, which made things orders of magnitude better than hobbling around on crutches.  I still have to use crutches to get around sometimes though.  Seeing as it is Winter, Brad fitted them with Ice Picks. Got to admit it was rather tempting to go completely postal with them occasionally.  Still, simple things like getting in an out of the car, going up stairs and even finagling my way into bathroom stalls have become an ordeal.

With all of this going on, I have been doing almost all of my Christmas shopping online.  I went rogue this year.  Zach never gives me ideas other than video games, so once I bought those,  I had to go out on my own.  I found this really cool site called LootCrate.  Each month they will send him a package with 6-7 gamer things in it.  It can include a shirt, collectibles... that kind of thing.  I also signed him up for the Gamer Gear box, which comes with a Shirt/Sock and Boxer briefs (all gamer themed).  I got a 3 month subscription for each.  In the end it's a super sneaky way to give the kid underwear for Christmas.

Logan wanted sports stuff, hockey jerseys, a new Nexus hockey stick (which is RIDICULOUSLY expensive).  It if wasn't for the Cyber Monday sale, there was no way in h*ll he would have got it for Christmas.

I am under the gun now as I don't have a lot of time to order for things to arrive before Christmas.  I might have to order online/pick up in store things and send someone to get them for me.

Back to the foot.  I had a follow up appointment after spending a month in a cast (1 week half cast, 3 weeks full cast).  I was hoping that I would get it cut off and that would be it, but in the back of my head I knew that was a pipe dream.

Sure enough. Once the cast came off I was told I have to go into a boot.  In my head, I was somewhat elated in that I would be able to walk at least and take it off to shower.  Yeah... hold your horses there chicky.

I cannot walk on it AND for added fun, I cannot walk on it for TWO MONTHS.  I had to ask the Dr. to repeat it because I was completely flabbergasted.

So there we have it. Maybe I'll paint it black and add a buckle to make it more festive.  If anyone is looking for Christmas gift ideas for me,  The following is available at Chapters.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

$40 and a fractured foot.

This past weekend Brad went hunting.  he was supposed to go with the boys, but they both decided to stay home.

Zach has never really been into hockey.  In those first years, he hated it.  We didn't keep him in it because we under some false illusion that he would make the NHL.  We kept him in it for the social aspect.  It was good for him to get out and interact with other kids his age.

Over the years, he has gotten much better and this year seems to be his best year yet. As boys age, they drop out of organized hockey. School commitments, part time jobs and girlfriends are all contributing factors.  As a result the headcounts dwindle.  This year there was not enough kids to make both a 13 year old and 14 year old league, so they combined them.

Each year the boys tryout and get slotted into a team.  Zach is a bubble kid.  That's what they call the kids who are on the fence between 2 categories.  In Zach's case he's an A2/A3 bubble.  Some years he made A2 and others A3.  Brad and I are not the type of parents who care what group our kid is in, so because we didn't really show any inking towards one or the other, neither did Zach.

This year he got put in A3 and I couldn't be happier.  The reason is that he is now one of the best players on the team and is the strongest (and biggest) defense man.  At 6'3" on skates, he's a force.  At the 13/14 age groups there is a huge range of heights.  Some of the boys barely come up to Zach's shoulder.  He had started to take on a leadership role on the team and it's  really boosting his confidence.  Cherry on top of the whole thing is that his best friend is the goalie.  It's common for kids to get down on the goalie when they lose, even though they know it isn't always his fault.  This year though, Zach has become rather protective and won't let any of the boys talk down to Patrick.  His coach is amazing as well, so I think it has the start of being a great year.

Logan's team is looking good too.  Last year was rough.  The two St. Vital teams weren't properly sorted.  One team got all the rockstar fowards, the other not so much.  Seeing as forwards are pretty integral to scoring, to say that we didn't win as much is a glorious understatement.  At one point I think we went 5 games without a single goal.  The boys got down on themselves and justifiably so.  In addition, the coaching style was different than Logan was used to and he didn't respond as well as we would have hoped.

This year, there is a much better sorting of skills and our team looks well balanced.    We are two games in and we have won one, and tied one.    The coach on this team has a style that Logan responds to, which is great.  We paid considerably more for ice time this year, more than we have ever paid before.  Each year you have to pay the registration fees, which are nothing to sneeze at.  Then once you get slotted into a team, you have to pay the additional ice time fees.  Fees vary on the amount of practices your coach plans to have as well as the number of kids on your team.  Zach's team only asked for $200 and are having scads of fundraisers.  Logan's team asked for $600 and are doing no fundraising.  Go figure.

So that's the background.  Both boys are enjoying hockey and didn't want to miss the weekend events.  Zach had a game and a practice and Logan has 2 games and a practice.

Ordinarily when Brad goes away, I muddle through.  We hitch rides from other families, take the bus up to the mall, that kind of thing.  However, since Brad left Thursday that was a long time to be without a car.  For the first time ever, I decided to rent a SUV for the weekend.  I looked around at the various places, Hertz, Enterprise, Budget and the cost was in the $75 range for all of them.  I found Alamo that was only available at the airport, which isn't exactly convenient.  I went to their website to the "deals" section and found a weekend special for $64 dollars for an SUV.  DONE!  Even better was that if you signed up for the newsletter you got an extra 5% off.

  I left work early on Friday and took a bus to the airport.    I went up to the counter and after the forms and what not, the clerk said, "Ok that will be $90 please". 

Uh.. What's that now?

 I explained to her that the deal I had reserved online was for $54 and showed her the receipt I had via email.   It turned out that there systems are very sensitive and I had shown up 10 minutes before my scheduled pick up time and that caused the cost to change.  So I sat on a bench for 10 minutes and then got back into line.  I'm not even kidding.

They gave me a Honda Santa Fay.  I think it was a Honda anyways.  It was ok.  While I wasn't super wowed by the SUV itself, I LOVED driving it.  It was so much more manageable than the truck.  I could see a parking space between two cars and effortlessly pull in.  With the truck, I need an extra space on one side to make the turn.

Getting the hockey bags in and out was much easier too.  While it isn't realistic for us to get another vehicle right now, I sincerely hope that we look at getting one in the Spring.

The weekend was great, we puttered around going from hockey game to practice with ease.  On Sunday Brad came back early.  Logan and I were at Corydon rink which was close to the airport and Brad comes back into the city via that direction, so we decided that Brad would meet us there rather than go home and have to come back later. 

We ended up dropping the SUV off 4 hours early.  Remember that super sensitive system?  Well it works both ways and when we handed in the keys we were told that the cost would only be $40.

$40 for the whole weekend.  Unbelievable!

Sunday night we got Brad unpacked and had a quiet night.  Later that night Stella had to go for a pee. Stella sleeps in our bed at night and when she has to go out, so snuggles up my your neck and licks your face.  If that doesn't work, she jumps down off the bed  and makes these soundless barks.  It's hard to explain, but it's kind of like she is chomping air.

I picked her up and off we went downstairs.  All was well until the last step and I tripped and went a$$ over tea kettle onto the floor.  I had twisted really goofy because I was holding Stella and I didn't want her to get hurt.

It hurt at the time, but falling down stairs will do that and I hobbled over to the door to let her out.  I went back upstairs and tried to fall back asleep.  Usually I can take Stella out at night without really breaking REM and falling back asleep is effortless.  This time, the fall and resultant adrenaline has woke me up and I was WIDE awake at 3 am.  Add to that my foot hurt.  Like really hurt.

It was throbbing so much that I had to get up and get some Advil.

The next morning, I figured it would be bruised, but fine.  Yeah, no. The first step onto the floor sent a searing pain up my foot.  Awesome.

There was absolutely no way I could go to work, so I had to boys get themselves breakfast and lunch and sent them on their way.  I knew I had to go get my foot looked at.  I took a cab to Diamond Athletics where Brad works.

The Pan Am clinic is THE place to go for any muscle/bone type injuries.  As a result of being THE place to go, there is a huge line up each morning.  The clinic opens at 7 am and there is always a line to get in before the doors even open.  Getting there at after 7 and you run the risk of not getting an appointment at all.  As it is getting there at 7:30 will most likely result in a late afternoon appointment.

This is where knowing people helps.  Diamond is attached to the clinic and has a special relationship with the Doctors.  There is an arrangement where any Diamond staff gets to fast lane treatment to the doctors.  The fast lane is usually reserved for employees only, but they made an exception.  I got to the clinic at 8:30 am.  I was seen by a doctor, xrayed and then in a cast by 9:30.

The doctor determined that I had weird dislocation/fracture thing on the outer side of my left foot.  The type of injury isn't super easy to asses properly within an Xray, so i have an appointment for a CT scan in the next few weeks.  In the interim I am in a non-weight bearing half cast.  They put a half cast as my foot was still pretty swollen.  This way the swelling can go down and we can wrap a tensor tightly around the cast to keep it from getting loose.  With a full cast you wouldn't be able to do that.  I have an appointment in 2 weeks to go back and have it looked at.

It's been just over 24 hours and this whole situation suuuuuuucks.    Crutches are the devils work.  My armpits are so sore and I know my hands will have blisters by lunch.  Brad is going to be bringing a scooter/tricyle thing home.  It has handlebars like a bike, but instead of a seat there is a long foam bench.  The idea is you kneel you injured leg on the foam bench and use you other foot as a source of locomotion much like a skateboard.  It's much easier than crutches, although I don't know how well it's going to work at the house.  Brad is having another one delivered to work as well.

So that's where I am now.  I am nested up on the couch with my work laptop beside me trying to  get things done while popping advil.  I am supposed to go back to work tomorrow but my mobility is so poor that I really don't see that happening, but I will see how things look tomorrow.

Good Times.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Comic Con

In my entire adult life I have never attended a Comic Con.

I was never into video games growing up, which sounds like it was by choice, but it wasn't.  Not that I was chomping at the bit to play Atari, it's just that my family was not big into screens.

We didn't have cable and I wasn't allowed to watch a lot of shows, especially Three's company (for some inexplicable reason) Exceptions were made for CBC and Canadian TV, like Degrassi Jr High, Littlest Hobo and Beachcombers.  Of course all British shows were allowed, East Enders, Coronation Street, Are you being served and Keeping up Appearances all made the cut.

My boys do play video games.  Zach tends to gravitate to the adventure, futuristic games like Tron or Overwatch.  Logan goes for sports games like NHL 18.

I had first heard about Comic Con in the summer.  I never realized that comic con came here, but the second I read about it I knew that Zach would want to go, Logan not so much.  The reason being is that comic con does not cater to the sports games.  Initially my plan was for Zach and I to volunteer so he would get to go to comic con but still get that volunteer spirit I want to instill in him.

I have volunteered at tons of things over the years, it's kind of my jam.  First when we signed up, she said we weren't eligible because Zach was 13 at the time.  However, I pointed out that he would be 14 by the time comic con came around, so we were able to participate.

They emailed us information about a mandatory "training" event a few months ago at a lounge next to a comic book store on Sherbrook.  I had to juggle some things around to make sure that our schedule was clear to go.  Zach and I hopped in the truck and headed over.  It wasn't the greatest area of town, but what are you going to do?

We got into the lounge and made our way to the sign in sheet.  You got to choose what you preferred to do; general info, crowd control that kind of thing.  Since a lot of the roles required you to be over 18, we signed up for crowd control.  You wrote down your email and that was that.

After that I asked where we were supposed to go.  The guy looked at me sort of perplexed and said that was it.

Hmpf.  We drove all the way there to write down our email, when you already knew our email because you emailed us  the meeting information.  I thought it was kind of odd, but whatever.

It was crickets for the longest time and then 2 weeks ago we got a email on a Friday saying that there was a mandatory 4 hour meeting at the convention center that Sunday from 6pm - 10pm.  Sweet Christmas.

Our  schedule is crazy packed and blocking off a 4 hour time frame on a weekend needs to be booked weeks in advance.  I looked at the calendar and we had one hockey practice, one hockey game and one team building event.

I wrote the coordinator back to see if we could get the information ahead of time, although I had a sneaky suspicion the answer would be no as it the training likely would have involved walking around the convention center getting a feel for the venue.

Sure enough she said that it was mandatory, no exceptions, so Zach and I had to back out.

Jacob Fry

That being said, we still decided that we wanted to go.  Zach was planning on dressing up.  He wanted to go as Jacob Fry from Assasin's Creed and wanted me to go as Mae from Overwatch, who bears a striking resemblance to me, complete with the curvy physique wink wink.  We set out to get some accessories for his costume.  The first was was his cane.  Seeing as Halloween was coming up, we headed to Spirit Halloween and found the perfect cane.  It came in 3 pieces that screwed together with two hidden weapons.  Zach loved it.

Mae
We got home and he quickly took it out of the package.  An hour later he came rumbling up the stairs fuming with anger.  The cane had broke.  Right a the junction of where one piece screws into the other, it had snapped clean off.  We tried to glue it back together, but since the cane was hollow, it was like gluing the edges of a thin pipe together and it didn't work at all.

Zach was beside himself as he had paid a portion of the cost by himself.  To make matters worse, one of the hidden weapons decided to no longer be hidden and kept popping out.

Zach asked if we could return it, but I wasn't convinced they would as it was fairly apparent that we had tried to glue it.  That being said, I figured if I went and they didn't take it back, we were no worse off than we currently were so I decided to give it a shot.

As it turns out the fact that one of the hidden weapons wouldn't stay hidden saved us as that put it into the "faulty" category, so the manager agreed to return it and gave us a new one.

Hallelujah.  Zach was over the moon.  I knew that this cane was a piece of garbage, so I insisted that it stay in the package until comic con as I didn't want it to break again.

Brad and Logan had decided to go hunting that weekend so it was just going to be Zach and I.  Given the fact that we only have the one vehicle, it meant that we would be busing it.  I wasn't super excited about the idea of taking the bus in a costume, so I decided to forgo the costume.  Zach said that he still wanted to dress up a bit as a modern day Jacob.

The day of comic con I got a nasty nosebleed.  It took forever to stop and when it did, the second I washed my face, it started again.  The delay meant that we weren't going to be there when the doors opened and Zach was getting anxious.  Sine weekend bus service can be spotty, I decided to look online to figure out the schedule ahead of time. A quick look confirmed it was going to take us over an hour and a half to get to comic con.

In the interest of time I opted to call a cab and we got there in 20 minutes.  The event entrance was slightly disorganized to be honest.  You walked in the main doors and up the escalator.  Once on the second floor, you had to go down a flight of stairs, then OUTSIDE and enter at the weird somewhat unused side door and go back up the stairs to the second floor to register at a desk you passed when you came up the escalator the first time.

We finally got our wrist bands and headed up to the third floor.  It was like a whole other world.  The people in costumes were AMAZING.   It's like Halloween took steroids, a sprinkling of speed and washed it all down with a tumbler of tequila.

 There were all sorts of cool merchants with everything game related.  Items available for sale ranged from real life forged metal swords to Wookie bathrobes.  Zach ended up buying a latex/foam Halo energy sword and some Watchdog mask.

We had been there all of 3 seconds and Zach ran into his friend Patrick and before I could blink I was walking around comic con solo.  While it was supposed to be a bonding thing for Zach and I, I was really happy he had found a friend.

I walked up and down the aisles taking in the sights.  In addition to the merchant section, there was cosplay alley, autograph signing, artist alley, VR demonstrations, game testing and game tournaments.

The artists are incredible.  These folks are so talented it's mind boggling.  I didn't know any of the people in the autograph signing except for the guy grom from Goon (awesome hockey movie).

After a couple hours, Zach called.  Patrick was going home, but he wanted to stay.    Zach and I met up and wandered over to the game testing area.  Immediately he sat down and with ABSOLUTELY NO instruction he started playing this game.  How the h*ll do these gamers do that?  I would be spending 20 minutes working my way through a tutorial.

Zach was totally into it.  When he was done, the game creator came over and Zach gave him the rundown.  What followed was a 10 minute conversation with the creator taking notes as fast as he could write them.  Zach had found a couple game glitches and had some recommendations for key strokes required for various moves.  The creator was super impressed and gave Zach his card so he could continue his game critic abilities online.

After the game testing, we went over to watch the game tournaments.  The amount of computers set up was nuts.  The picture here was only half  of the gaming tournament teams.

They had a big screen protection tv with for spectators to watch tournament games. We watched the Overwatch event and some other one that centered around a castle.

There was voice over announcers just like in football games and after each event there was a recap rundown (highlights if you will).  It almost seemed satirical to an outsider like me, but the people watching the viewing area took it really seriously.  There was whoops and cheering when certain teams made achievements during a tournament bout and yells and F bombs when they didn't.

We continued to watch the tournaments until it was Zach's turn for VR testing.    The VR testing was free, but the waiting list was really long.  I had signed him up when we met up after Patrick left and they told me it was a three hour wait.

When it was close to his turn, we made our way over to the VR sector.  They strapped a visor on Zach and away he went.  Zach is really good at VR.  He came in second at the DoVr tournament a couple of months back beating out guys 15 years older than him.

Watching Zach at VR is really engaging.  He doesn't just stand there, he moves around, crouches down and even does matrix like back bends.  People began to congregate around just to watch him play.

Zj in the back with the VR visor



After 6 and a half hours of this, I was just about done.  As we were leaving we saw some of the best sights of the day.  I saw some guys dressed up as what looked like a Alien with Dread locks putting ketchup on a hot dog and my personal favorite was Alien having a smoke break as we left.

It was kind of cold when we left and I was not up for taking the bus home, so we called another cab.  It was a really great day and I'm so glad that I had a chance to go.












Monday, September 18, 2017

Everything AND the kitchen sink

I had written a lovely blog post complete with charming anecdotes of all our summer adventures.  I naively thought that clicking upload with send my thoughts out into the world.  Sadly no.  Due to the cruel gods of system crash, my blog was robbed of its latest update.  Le sigh.


So now begins the retelling of our summer, even though we are solidly into autumn.
 We had a nice, albeit quiet summer.  The boys were in lots of camps.  Zach again went to paintball at Camp Arnes which is has been the highlight of his summers over the past few years.  Zach loves Camp Arnes and any attempts to get him to try another camp have fallen on deaf ears.  It looks like the stereotypical camp with rustic cabins, a rocky beach, food halls etc.  I think going to camp is something that every kid should get to do.  It’s character building.   It’s always interesting when we go to pick him up at the end of camp.  He seems to have matured somehow

Logan  sat out Camp Arnes last year.  He was getting bored of it. 
This year, a friend invited him to go to Camp Cedarwood instead.    I had been hesitant to send him to Camp Cedarwood because I thought it was going to be far too much money.  However, I was pleased to find that it cost about the same, if not slightly less than Camp ArnesI did not know what to expect when we picked Logan up from camp, but I was blown away.  This camp is insane.  I want to go there.  First off the grounds are absolutely gorgeous.  You pull up to a 3 story lodge.  It has floor to ceiling windows, a second story balcony where the kids can eat their meals if the weather is nice.  The food is incredible.  Logan was treated to pad thai, butter chicken, sushi, crepes.. you name it.  We got to have a breakfast buffet as a parent welcome and if that was any indication of how the kids ate that week, I am seriously impressed.

Rather than individual cabins, all of the kids stay in rooms in the main lodge, so it really does feel like a resort.  There are common rooms with flat screen TVs, pool tables, black light air hockey tables which serve as both evening and rainy day havens.  Add to all of this the fact that it is a teenager only camp means that they can cater all of the activities to this specific age group match their interest.
The above makes it seem like this isn’t really a camp until you tour the outdoor grounds.    There is a 2.5 story rope course, wakeboarding, waterskiing, wall climbing, mountain biking, a skate park, archery, canoeing and swimming which only scratches the surface of the activities they have.  WOW.  Logan will be back next year for sure.

The first week of our holidays was spent in the city with the intent of doing day trips here and there.  Logan is an adrenaline junkie and extremely persuasive, so his suggestions were the ones we mostly ended up doing.  First up was wakeboarding at the aptly named Adrenaline Adventures.  He had been bugging to go for days and I finally agreed.  However awoke to grey cloudy skies on the day we were scheduled to go.  Even with the weather being cooler, Logan could not be swayed.  I called ahead and asked what times would be good as the place tends to get really busy.  She mentioned that after 4 pm would likely be our best bet and they should have some openings available.

Clearly she overestimated their clientele that afternoon as Logan was the only one at the place apart from one other kid who was on the rope course.  The cooler weather turned into a bonus and Logan got full run of the wakeboarding course.  He suited up and was chomping at the bit.  The instructor walked him through the paces and before too long he was carving it up.  At one point he took an EPIC face plant.  I would like to say that my first reaction was “OMG is he ok?”, but 100% honestly, I blurted out a huge laugh before I caught myself.  He was perfectly fine, but I did feel pretty guilty afterwards.  

The next day we went rock climbing at Vertical Adventures.  Both boys took to it like ducks to water.  I decided that I wasn’t going to be one of those Mums who watches from the sidelines, so I got suited up with the uber flattering harness.  I will fully admit that I looked like a tied roast, but who cares.

I should preface this by saying I have never climbed a wall before, but it looked simple enough.  I started with the beginner wall.  To my surprise I made it up to the top without too much trouble.  My overinflated sense of self was quickly deflated once the realization that I now had to get down kicked in.

I was connected to one of the auto rappel things.  The instructor below told me to simply kick off from the wall.  That was much easier said than done as every bone in my body was telling me to do the exact opposite.  I did manage to kick off, but not far enough and slid down the wall, skinning my knee pretty good, but the battle wound served as evidence that I climbed at least one wall.

I was more than content with the one wall, which I climbed a few times.    Logan went on to try more challenging walls.  While I was watching him climb one of the other walls, a fellow mum was standing next to me and we got to chatting as mums tend to do.  At some point in the conversation she tittered that us mums were too old to attempt a wall like this. 
Well cr*p, at that moment I knew I was going to be climbing this wall.  I am not by any means competitive, if you can run faster than me, I will simply cheer you on.  However, this wasn’t a competitive thing, this was an I am not a old fuddy duddy of a mother who wears mom jeans and provides orange slices for snack kind of thing.  The boys were very encouraging and so I attempted wall number 2, which was on more of an angle and thus a higher level of difficultly.

Holy forearms Batman.  I made it to the top and smacked the bell with my arms shaking.  The mum from before gave me an impressed look as I rappelled down in a cloud of smug.

The pivot point of our stay-cation and cabin week was the Twickenham Block Party.  This is the third year we have had a party.  It’s a legitimate event, we buy a permit and close down the street.  There are events for the kids, a bouncy castle, face painting and water balloon fights. All the families contribute and we have a huge international potluck.  As the sun went down we set up some sheets on a garage and made a mock shift drive in for the kids.  Brad and I pulled out our kettle corn maker and I had churned popcorn.

This particular day also happened to be the Mayweather fight night.  As all of the neighbors were talking, our neighbour mentioned that he had bought the pay per view.  Next thing I knew we were setting up some more sheets on the garage and someone pulled out their projection tv.
I cannot truly put into words how awesome this was.  As the kids were put to bed, the adults came out.  We set up a firepit on the street and watch an outdoor version of the fight.  It was beyond cool.  We are going to be hard pressed to beat this one for next year.

We spent the second week of my holidays at the cabin.  It’s interesting how a stay-cation in the city seems to fly by, but even just a few days at the cabin seems like a longer break.  I have not been able to get out to the cabin as much as I have, so it was great to see Court and Dale and catch up.
I had to be back to work Friday September 1 which sucked as it meant I had to drive in for the long weekend, but whatever, no big deal.  I checked the mail and found that Zach’s school schedule had finally arrived.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute to send it.  I opened it up and started scanning the courses and supply list.  Everything seemed pretty standard, pens, binder, looseleaf… LAPTOP.

What’s that now?  A Laptop?  Holy, I was not expecting that.  Given that September is already a sh*tshow with hockey registration and equipment, back to school clothes, braces, crowns and puppy classes, I was not prepared to pay for a laptop.  But, like we always so I shuffled some things around and made it work.  Still, a little heads up from the school would have been nice instead of 3 days notice.
The following week everyone was home.  Logan didn’t start school until Wednesday.  While I was at work, I got a panicked phone call.  Logan had dropped his brand new phone into the sink, which of course was filled with water.

I immediately told him to shut it off and dry it off as best he could.  Despite what you may have heard, DO NOT put your phone in a bag of rice.  When liquid enters your phone, it begins to cause a guck like substance which fries the mother board.  The myth states that you are to leave your phone in rice for a few days.  All that does is let the water create more guck before you ultimately take it to a repair show by which time the mother board has likely been damaged beyond repair.  As soon as I got home I took Logan’s phone to a repair shop.  They opened it up and got all the water out.  It’s a $70 - 3 day process.  After that, they try to turn the phone on.  If it turns on you are back in business. Sometimes a part of two requires repair, but if the mother board is fried, get a new phone.
Thankfully because we didn’t wait, Logan’s phone was restored into good as new condition.  It’s a good thing because the poor kid was having a nervous breakdown.  We had opted out of the insurance on his phone which would have protected us against water damage.  In hind sight, not our best decision, but alas what’s done is done. But a $70 dry out was better than having to buy a whole new phone.


I think that about catches you up. Hockey is about to start and much to my surprise I am really looking forward to it this year. I guess that means I have officially turned into a hockey mum.  I realize I have been a hockey mum for the past 7 years already, but this is the first year I’ve really embraced it.   Who would have thought?



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