Friday, May 25, 2018

New beginnings

This past weekend we were out at the cabin visiting my parents.  It had been awhile since I had been out, September long weekend I think.   It was the first time I had been out there since they officially moved there.

They still have a lot of unpacking to do, but it's coming together.  It's funny, the simple addition of a plant seemed to transform it from a cabin to a home.  In this case, the infamous Christmas Fern made the trip.

The major development was an internet phone and WIFI.  Prior to moving out, there was no land line at the cabin and cell service in the valley was sketchy at best.  It gave me some comfort knowing that they have a dedicated way for us to contact them.

The WIFI was a dream come true for the boys.  To be able to be at the cabin and still keep in touch with their friends was awesome.  During the day, they are outside playing, doing yardwork etc, but in the evenings, Grandpa watches TV programs, usually documentaries or cooking programs which they aren't too interested in.  Plus my mum has an apple tv, so she can now watch Netflix on their TV now too.

It was a bit of a work weekend as we needed to get the pine tongue and groove ceiling up because 1) the permit was about to expire and 2) Dad can't do it on his own as it is a two person job.

Both Brad and Zach were able to help.  The funny thing was that every time they tried to work, some tool was missing.  First it was the Brad nailer which they knew was in some box that hadn't yet been unpacked.  The initial search turned up nothing, so Zach and Dad drove into Brandon to get another.  Then the next day they needed a jigsaw.  After a search they found that, but then they needed jigsaw blades and didn't know where those were.

In the meantime, I was helping mum go through some boxes.  I tend to be a bit ruthless in purging stuff.  I read somewhere that when trying to de-clutter, fast decisions are the way to go.  Also, you need to ask yourself, "Does this bring me joy?", if not, toss it.  Sounds super cheesy, but it's actually pretty effective.

We were able to come up with quite a few bags of things, boys clothes that they had outgrown, extra comforters (they were merging linens from two houses and couldn't possibly use them all) as well as some extra household crockery and toys.

Since we were about to head into Brandon to drop off the things at goodwill, we added a trip to Home Depot for jigsaw blades to the itinerary.

While at the cabin, we always take time to visit with our friends Dale and Courtney.  Honestly, they are as good as it gets and you couldn't ask for better neighbours.  Court and Dale have two dogs, Cesar and Tyson.  Cesar is a big German Shepard and Tyson is a American Bulldog cross.  When I think of bulldogs, I think of the British ones, those pudgy small dogs with drooly jowels.  Nope, Tyson is an American bulldog and he's HUGE.  His head (which is rock solid) comes up to my waist and his wagging tail feels like a whip if it hits you.  Also this past weekend they were dog sitting Marley, a golden lab, who is just the sweetest.

The boys went mental over the dogs.  Every time they saw them, they would run outside to play.  While we didn't talk about it per se, both Brad and I could see how much the boys enjoyed animals and knew we would get another at some point.

We had said that it would be quite some time before we even thought about another dog, if ever, but life happens and plans change.

On Monday night, Brad found an ad on Kijiji for some golden lab/retriever cross puppies.  They were adorable and we made an appointment to go out this coming Saturday to see them.  The puppies were too small to adopt yet, but you can make a down payment and reserve one.

In the meantime, Brad kept looking online just because. He found an ad for Labrador Retriever cross puppies.  The mother was a Labrador/golden retriever cross and the father was a Labrador husky cross.  The dogs were out in the country in St. Claude.

We decided to go check it out, but didn't tell the boys.  If we brought the boys we would guaranteed be bringing home a puppy and after what we went through with Stella, we wanted to be able to say no if we didn't feel it would be the right fit. So we told them we were going to Costco. It's a testament to how long I usually take at Costco that we were gone 3 hours and they boys didn't think anything of it.

When we arrived, the mother dog (a beautiful light chocolate color) came up to our car (walked, did not run) and didn't bark once!  She waited until I got out and then nuzzled against me.    The father dog didn't bark either, but was more reserved and sort of chilled out beside the house.  He had the most unusual colors.  He was a white dog, but looked as if someone had taken black and brown paintbrushes and painted little sploches all over.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by this super friendly lady.  She took us around back to meet the puppies.  The litter was 7 puppies;  5 with multicolor coats like their father and two solid black.  When we arrived, there were two puppies left, the coal black ones.

She let the puppies out of their pen and they happily bounded out.  They came towards us and cuddled up at our feet.  One was more bouncy than the other.  As I bent down to pet one, the other came up and was playing with my hair as it hung down.  The more rambunctious had a bit more brown coloring to its coat.

We watched them for awhile to see how they interacted with everything and really like the temperament of the quieter one.

Prior to arriving we talked about names.  I really wanted a soft name, one that had a peaceful sound to it.  I looked up "peaceful" names and came across "Shiloh".  It had that soft sound I was looking for and given that the Shilo army base is right by our cabin it seemed like a great name.

Once home, I sat the boys down for a family meeting.  Brad stayed out in the garage.  He then came in and the boys mouths dropped open.  It was so sweet.  Zach was beside himself.

 It has been a couple days and she has been doing so well.  She plays with both boys, cuddling up with them, coming to them when they call her and sleeping on their beds.

I want to do everything we can to help Shiloh become an amazing part of the family.  Part of that means socializing and socializing early.   So the same night we brought her home, two of my friends Jen and Jill came over to visit.  Then our neighbors Silvie and her sweet son Blaise came over as well.  I was always so scared with Blaise around Stella as she was so unpredictable.  This time it was COMPLETELY different.  Shiloh came up to him super gentle and played with him on the grass.

The next day we went over to our friends Sean and Erin's place and brought Shiloh.  She was sweet and calm there as well, playing in the grass before finding a spot under the table and laying down.  Kat and Gerrit came and brought their 1 year old daughter Avery.  Shiloh was calm and let Avery pet her without the slightest hesitation.  She didn't bark once the entire time we were there.

It's early days, but to say I am happy is an understatement.  She is just so laid back.  She hardly barks (I have heard two in 3 days), doesn't freak out at the doorbell, in fact, doesn't even flinch when she hears it.

I registered her in puppy classes and they start on Saturday. They say training can start as early as 9 weeks and that is what she is.  I want her to love being around other dogs and other people.  That would be a dream come true.  Welcome to the family baby girl.




Friday, May 4, 2018

Retrospect

The problem with being so flipping busy is that when I finally get around to updating a blog post I can't remember anything that has happened over the last month.

I'm getting old.

Well let's see.  I suppose the biggest news is that my parents have thrown caution to the wind and have moved out to the country.

I would say most people in their 70s would downsize from a big house and by a condo or move into a seniors complex, but that's not how my parents roll.

What they decided to do was move out to our cabin full time.  That sounds lovely right?  The peace and quiet, getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  One caveat though, there is no plumbing and running water.   Who needs showers right?

You know it's easy to say that they are crazy and most people I've mentioned it to say exactly that.  Maybe they are right.  Or maybe, just maybe, it's the smartest move ever. At a certain age,  I think once you stop moving you don't start again.  Keeping active is the key physically as well as mentally.  So some say its a good idea, some say it's a bad idea.  But hey, good for them for having an adventourous spirit!

Being at the cabin you cannot sit on your tuckus doing nothing.  Sh*t needs to get done.  They currently don't have a furnace, which means in the winter you need logs for the wood burning stove.  There is no indoor plumbing so the composting biffy (kudos to my parents for being green) has to be emptied which means walking into the woods.  This is actually pretty cool once you get past the squeamishness of it all.

My Dad used old pallets and built 3 big bins.  The kind of look like a chicken pen.   When you empty the biffy it goes into one bin for the whole year.  The second bin is "resting" and the third bin is used for fertilizer.  It's called Humanure.  So in addition to not polluting the ground water, you are composting.  Every day is earth day at the cabin.

The other thing is that there are no paved roads.  In fact, to get to the cabin, you have to drive down a gravel road and the turn off into a field where we have made a trail into the cabin.  In the summer, no worries outside of any mud ruds we get when it rains.  In the winter... a bit of a bigger deal becuase the trail into the cabin isn't a muncipal road and so it isn't maintained.

Dad had to buy a tractor so that they can plow themselves in and out during the winter months.  I think the Spring/Summer/Fall will be awesome, but I worry about the winter.  I think they might get a little cabin fever.    But right now with all the move and unpacking, I think they have more than enough to keep them busy until 2019.

All of the stuff from the house went to the cabin.  Which is 35 some odd years being scuttled off into a cabin in the woods.  That meant a lot of moving and a lot of trips back and forth.  From what Mum has said, they have almost 2 of everything since the cabin already had furniture and it's a little cramped with everything in there now.




It's going to be interesting to see how this goes.  Knowing my family the way I do, no matter what happens, it's going to be interesting as h*ll.    I found this book on the table when I was at their place awhile back.Anyone shopping for a new reality show... look no further.









Monday, March 12, 2018

Sweet Stella

Good grief, it's been a tough start to 2018.

First GG passed away and then we had to say goodbye to Stella.

I can't even believe that I had to write that.  Stella has always been a hyper animal.  She would lose her mind if the doorbell rang, would jump up on people and on occasion snap as she was the type of dog that would play with you using her mouth.

Last summer, during our street block party, one of the boys on the street went into our house to play with Logan.  He didn't knock and instead of coming through the main door, he went in through the garage and into Stella's room.

This kid has dogs at home and went towards Stella the way he would with his dogs, but Stella is not that kind of dog and she jumped up and nipped him in the arm.  It left a red mark, but other than that all was well.

Sort of.

It shook me and I was really upset.  After that we took Stella to two sets of training classes, bought her special anti anxiety jackets and supplements, but nothing seemed to help.  She was good with Brad and I, but she never warmed to the kids and would never let them pick her up.  Despite that, they loved her very much.

Increasingly over the past 6 months, she would start to growl and the boys and snap at them if they came too close to her.  Not fantastic.    We spoke with my cousin who is a vet, and she gave us some suggestions, so we tried them all, socializing her, taking her to classes, recommending some good books to read etc.

Nothing seemed to work.  It was getting to the point where I wasn't inviting anyone over and if they did come over, I spent the entire time on edge wondering if she was going to lose it, which is not a good vibe to have around your dog.  I was especially nervous when our friends with little kids came over.  I knew that Stella needed to be exposed so that she would learn to relax around them, but I didn't want my friends kids to be the test cases you know?

In doing some research looking for help, we found out that the chihuahua/terrier/pug is right on up there with the worst family dogs.  Apparently since they are small, they are nervous with kids picking them up and are very territorial.  They tend to pick one member of the family as their favorite and that's that.  In our case it was Brad, but she was always sweet with me, sitting on my lap, sleeping beside me at night.

Awhile back we found out there was no insulation in our roof, so they came and repaired it, but there was still some work to be done on the drywall in the living room.  We set up the appointment and I took they day off to be there.

The doorbell rang and Stella lost her mind as usual.  Our door plan was to pick her up and hold her until she calmed down and then we would let her go.  At which point she was usually ok.  Not sure what happened this time, but she lost it.

The guy came in the house and I brought him to the living room.  Stella would not calm down and when he held out his hand for her to smell, she jumped on him.

Growling, snarling and barking, she bit hard into his leg.  I pulled her off and got her into her room and quickly ran back to check on the guy.  He could not have been nicer about it.  He explained that he had dogs, and likely smelled like them which set Stella off etc etc. 

I asked him if felt comfortable staying to do the work as I would completely understand if he wanted to go.  He said it was no problem and we cleaned up his leg and he carried on with his work.

I was beyond upset.  BEYOND.  What if this was one of Logan's friends?  What if this was my friends beautiful one year old daughter?    What if this was either one of my boys?

I called up Jill asking for advice.  Jill understood what was going on as we had been dealing with this since day 1.  Everytime we took Stella to the vet she would go after Jill.  At her last appointment, Jill had to go get these big leather gloves to protect herself from Stella biting her.

We talked about our options, rehoming etc.   The trouble was that Stella is not a good candidate for re-homing since her aggression has started to escalate and she had already had two incidents of going after people.

Basically our options were that we could never leave her unsupervised including everytime she was with our boys in the house.  We would not be able to have anyone over to the house without kenneling her the entire time, which means that the boys could not have friends sleep over anymore without Stella being locked up 24/7.

Our other option was euthanasia.  Jill explained that sometimes dogs just aren't wired right and have aggressive tendencies that cannot be trained out of them.  Stella fit into this category.  Jill and I spoke for a really long time.  I wished more than anything for someone to tell me what the right answer was.

I didn't want to put Stella down.  I adored her.  However, I also didn't want to be a prisoner in my own home, not being able to have anyone visit without being completely on edge she would attack, or having to be on constant watch when she was around the boys.

If we took her to the humane society, she would likely sit for a couple months, not be adopted and then ultimately put down.  We didn't want her to spend her last few months scared sitting in a cage, so we made the decision to put her down and would be with her the entire time.

Telling the boys what we had to do was one of the hardest things I have done.  They were devastated.  Everyone was crying.  Not sniffling, not wiping a single tear.  Full on, gaspy crying.

Once we made the decision, there was no point putting it off as doing so would make it even harder.  Plus, we didn't want to wait until there was another incident as I couldn't live with that either.

We asked the boys if they wanted to come, but they both said that they couldn't handle it.  I thought I was going to go, but when it came time, I just couldn't.  I couldn't get into the truck.

Brad ended up taking Stella.  We knew it would be hard, but it was awful.  Because Stella was a healthy dog in every other sense, she had full energy and as Jill went to give her a needle to relax her, she lunged at Jill.  Thankfully Jill is well prepared for these type of situations and Stella didn't get her, but it was close.

It took Stella a really long time to settle down enough for them to give her the final needle.  Brad said that he was glad that the boys and I didn't come as it was a very hard experience even for him.

The house feels pretty empty.  It been a few weeks, but it still feels like something it missing.  When I go to sleep I miss her warm little body tucked up behind my knees.  I can even still feel her paws on my leg begging me to pick her up when I came in the door or the way she rolled on her back with her paws up asking for a belly rub.


We all still think about her often.  Logan has her collar on the shelf in his room and he says goodnight to her each evening.  I would love to get another animal, but I don't think I can handle saying goodbye.  We have tried before with cats, and had to give them up because of Zach's asthma.  He has since outgrown it for the most past, but being around them still makes him wheezy.   We got Zach tested for a dog allergy and specifically chose a short haired dog to avoid any problems and then this happened.

As much as I would love to go out and get another dog, I can't.  Maybe sometime in the future, but for now it's not in the cards.

Rest in peace sweet Stella.  We love you.

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.


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