Posts Tagged ‘home’

A long time ago
Me, my Father-in-law, Denyce, Clary and Quinn

Every now and again a situation occurs which you never forget. 9/11 2001 is a perfect example. Ask any American what they were doing, where they were on that day and they can tell you. Me? I was at home searching the internet for work. I had the T.V. on in the background, I saw the news banner along the bottom and I honestly thought it was a disaster movie. Something seemed off, after a few minutes I turned up the volume, it wasn’t a movie. Moments later the phone rang, it was my wife.

I will never forget February 15, 1971, Not because on that historic day Alan Shepard walked on the moon but it was the first day we got out of school on time, if not a wee bit early. I hated school! I was 6yrs old and our grade 2 teacher would keep the entire class in detention if anyone broke her ‘rules’ somebody was bound to speak, chew gum, or look out a window. But on that day our teacher Ms Wilson wanted to watch Shepard leave the spacecraft and walk on the moon. My classmates and I celebrated our on time release by playing a round of CHAMP (a game played with a ball) in the school yard.

I don’t remember the exact day, but I was walking through Wegman’s grocery store. I was leaving the vegetable area when my phone rang. It was my sister, “Where are you? What are you doing?”
“I am in a grocery store, why?”
“Well, you will probably not forget this moment. Mom has cancer.”
My sister was right, I’ll never forget that call.

Ever since my Mother passed away it has been hard to write. My mother was my cheering section in everything I did. Always the first to comment or call after an entry on this blog.

Mom used to tell me I should have a pen and paper next to my bed so I could write down my dreams. I don’t bother because the only ones I remember are the ones which repeat. Taking the subway to places which don’t exist. Suddenly having an exam for a class I didn’t know I signed up for. Growing up we had kitchen chairs that spun. Every night I’d have the same dream I’d be sitting on the chair slowly spinning and moving forwards on a track, I’d see all kinds of things I can’t describe now but it was horrifying.

I never believed in ghosts, the after life, psychics, UFO’s or the like. As I get older I’m not so sure.

A week after my Mother passed I had a dream. I’ll call it a dream as it happened while I was sleeping. I was at a party, sitting alone in a kitchen on one of those black chairs that would slowly spin. This time it wasn’t spinning, (already a bonus). I don’t know who was there, I could not make out faces or hear conversations. Just shadows moving about and lots of murmuring in the background. So yeah, pretty much like every other party I’ve ever been too.

A figure sat down in the chair next to me. I couldn’t really make out a face but I knew it was my Mother. We sat quietly, almost looking into one another not a verbal word exchanged. After who knows how long, (but not too long) her face cleared up and she spoke, “Well, I think its time for me to go.” I replied, “I’m really going to miss you Mom.”

I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a dream. I remember every moment. It took a week before I could tell my wife. It has been two years and still hard to talk about. Three weeks after my Mother died, my father in law passed. Two weeks after that our cat Gumpdrop also passed.

November 4th 2021 our good boy Quinn passed away just a few days after we returned from our last trip. He enjoyed traveling, the entire trip I just hoped he would make it home. And he did. He slept in his bed he walked in his woods he was happy. And then he was gone. The loss was crushing.

A few days before we left on this trip on May 1st 2022, we said goodbye to our old cat Trouble. He had thyroid issues and cancer. He was a pain in the butt till the end and we loved him so. When he stopped being social and then stopped eating it was time. Two days later we said goodbye to Clary our Good Girl. She was diagnosed with bone cancer. We managed her pain as best we could. But when she had enough, she had enough. She stopped enjoying her walks, eventually her food and we couldn’t blame her and the loss was devastating.

Just a few days ago a good friend of ours, Valerie lost her battle with cancer.

To say its been a rough few years would be an understatement. We are still devastated, the tears still come, the losses still crushing.

Perhaps its time to turn the page?

Happy Memories

Clary about to lose her bone to Quinn

Valerie was integral to planning our wedding. On the actual day she grabbed a video camera and became our videographer. We have the absolute best wedding video ever! Many a time Val thought she turned off the camera but alas she had not. She would let the camera hang off her shoulder, pointing at the ground while it was still recording. We know what shoes everyone was wearing and we have plenty of butt shots, sound was on so we heard all the gossip, fortunately nothing too gossipy or negative. We get a huge laugh when she is getting something from the freezer suddenly stops and says, ‘Is this on? Has it been on the whole time?” And then proceeds to turn the camera upright so she is staring right into the lens.

When my family came in for the weekend for our wedding they were staying at a hotel in town. We made arrangements to meet downtown. We also made arrangements to meet Val in the same area. We did not tell them to look for one another. Imagine our surprise when we found my Mother and Father sitting on a bench with Val! They had never met, didn’t know they were supposed to meet. They had no idea there was a connection or that they were all waiting for us.

On first time visiting my father-in-law, (John) in California we were looking for a parking space to do some shopping. John was driving and there was this woman just meandering through the parking lot obviously lost in her own world. John in an exasperated sigh, “Oh you stupid cow, get out of the way” Denyce and I are started laughing hysterically as we realized that in some situations the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We still get a good laugh at the memory.

Quinn and Gumdrop
Clary and Trouble

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My parental units have just celebrated their 53 wedding anniversary.  Yup the big 53!  I called to wish them a happy anniversary.  Calling my parents is a really good way to get fodder for this blog.  What follows is a story told to me by my father.  Before I get an earful, I do take responsibility for poetic license, although I can assure you this rendering is not far from the truth.

Both my Mother and Father were coming home from a shopping trip.  They were waiting for the elevator in the lobby of their condo and something happened of which I can’t remember because as my father was telling the story my dog was bringing me toy after toy to get my attention.  Anyway somehow in the lobby, in front of the elevator, my parents got separated. (I know what you are thinking, but no this is not be considered unusual in my family)  My father rode up alone.  Went into the apartment waited around a bit and went back to the elevator to help my mother with the bags.  The elevator doors open my mother was not to be found.  He waited a little longer, doors opened again and she was still not there.  My father went back to the apartment to close the door then headed down to the lobby of course she wasn’t there either.  “Perhaps” he must have thought to himself, “They crossed paths” so up to the 7th floor he went, no sign of my mother.  He went to the apartment, still no sign.  He went back to the lobby, nothing, nada, zip.  At this point, other people in a similar situation would start to worry.  But not my father, remember they have been together 53 years, he knows better.  My father remembers the time my mother got lost in Jackson Hole Wyoming.  She went to the corner to get some food.  At the time you could walk around the entire town in 30 minutes, there were a handful of hotels.  My mother stopped a police officer to ask where the Crazy Horse Hotel is.  The Officer informed her there was no hotel, they argued about it, the officer born and raised in Jackson Hole was pretty sure he knew that there wasn’t.  He was right because we were staying at the PONY EXPRESS HOTEL!  But in my mother’s defense, in our family there is virtually no difference between a crazy horse and a pony express.  The officer should have known better.

Back to the story at hand, thanks to the advent of modern technology my father remembers he has a cell phone, and by mere coincidence so does my mother.  Is it on? Does it have battery life left?  Does she have it on her?  This leads into another story for another time suffice it to say that the chances are that any of the above questions is going to have a negative answer.   In this instance all is good and my mother answers:

Father: Where are you?

Mother: At the elevator waiting for you to help me with the bags. Where are you?

Father: At the elevator waiting to help you with the bags.

My father at this point is back on their floor figuring my mother is now waiting in the lobby.  So he goes back down, of course she was not there. He calls her again:

Father:  Now where are you?

Mother: Waiting for you at the elevator, where are you?

Sounding familiar?

Father:  I’m in the lobby in front of the elevator and I can’t find you.

Mother: No, I am on our floor.

Father: I just came from there and couldn’t find you.

Mother: I’m standing on our floor in front of the elevators.

Father: Okay I’ll be up in a minute.

And once again my father goes up stairs and there is no sign of my mother and once again calls her.

Father:  I am at the elevator and you are not here.

Mother: Yes I am.

Father: Where?

Mother: In front of the elevator.

Father: What floor?

Mother:  (pause, laughter). Sixth

Father: (Laughter) we live on the Seventh.

Mother: Probably a good thing I didn’t try to get into the apartment at the end of the hall.

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A Conversation

My folks usually come to visit during the summer with my sister and nephew in tow.   The other day I get an email informing me they will be visiting on the 24th and could I get a room for them at a hotel.  I’m assuming that since the 24th is a Friday they will be spending the weekend, meaning they would need a room for the 24th, 25th and 26th.   But I have found it is always good to get confirmation.  So I called home and had the following conversation. 

Me: So, you are coming up on the 24th.

Mom:  Yes

Me:  So you need a hotel for what dates exactly?

Mom:  We will be leaving on Monday.

                This is where the conversation took a turn.  Normally I would assume that would mean they are leaving State College on the Monday.  But it could also mean they are leaving Montreal on Monday.

Me:  Are you telling me you are leaving from Montreal on Monday and getting here on Friday? Or, are you telling me you are leaving State College on Monday for Montreal?

Mom: We are not making our usual stops this time we are only coming out to see you.

Me: Okay, what dates do you want me to reserve a room for?

Mom: Monday is St. Jean Baptist day which is a holiday in Quebec so we have an extra day.

Me:  Pulling my hair out in fist full’s why does this have to be so hard?

Mom:  It is not so hard.

Me: Okay then what days do I need to reserve a hotel room for.

Mom: It usually takes us a few days to get there, but since we are not stopping anywhere else it will only take us two days, but we may try to make it in one.

                I try another tactic:

Me:  Are you staying for 3 nights and four days or 2 nights and 3 days?

Mom: Let me talk to your father for a minute.  I hear mumbling in the background, my wife is sitting beside me trying not to laugh.

Mom:  We are going to be there 3 days.

Me: Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

Mom: Yes we will be leaving on Monday.

Me: I’m really glad we are having this conversation.

Mom: Why?

Me: I’m running out of things to post about on my blog.  But I’ve got something now! This is what I am going to do.  I am booking you in the hotel room for three nights, the 24th, 25th and the 26th.

Mom: Okay, sounds good. 

Unfortunately I still have one more question to ask.  I ask with great trepidation.

Me: Do I need to book one or two rooms?

Mom: The girl (my niece who usually stays home) is getting to old to leave behind on these trips.

Me: So she is bringing both my nephew and my niece? I say hopefully

Mom: No

Me:  So, one room or two?

Mom: Your sister just got back from Vegas.

Me: So…?

Mom: I think she is out of vacation time from work.

Me:  Okay, this is what I am doing.  I am reserving one room for the 24th, 25th and 26th of next month.

Mom:  Are you following the elections here in Canada?


After editing this several times I find I feel a little bad for my wife, who sometimes asks me why I can’t answer a simple question.

…and of course one has to wonder what the views are on the other end of the conversation.

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Hail of a Ride


I-99 the one up top
I-99 is the one going across the top

T’was an interesting drive home  tonight.  One moment we were enjoying the usual drive over the mountain via route I-99 , the next moment? There it was. The storm only seconds in front of us and it was bad.  There was just enough time for my wife to tell the person she was on the phone with that she had to go as we were heading into a storm.  The next second we were in the thick of it.  I was trying to concentrate on the car ahead of me who never turned his lights on so I was concentrating on his break lights.  I had no idea where we were on the road as I could not see the lines, I couldn’t even see the road.  I did know we were close to one of the hairy overpasses and I seriously didn’t want to go over the edge.  Some smart people had pulled off to the side, hazard lights flashing as were ours.  I was worried about the car behind us if I pulled over would he see?  If I pulled off would I be pulling off into somebody else who didn’t have the hazard lights on?  Yes it was that bad.  My wife suggested I try and keep up with the car ahead of us that way we had something we could see.  As I gently pressed on the gas peddle an 18 wheeler pulled up beside us.  At least we could see that.  In a moment it pulled ahead, the truck could not be going faster than the 15 or 20 mph that we were doing.  Yet like a whale vanishing between the waves it too was gone in seconds.  Again the idea was to keep up with the truck, suddenly there it was still in the passing lane but this time at a dead stop.  A car was pulled off the road at least I thought it was because all I could see were the hazards.  We pulled off right behind it, the car behind us pulled off as well. The truck was idling beside me, traffic all around was now stopped.  In the slight break in the weather, through the mist we spotted another truck this one half on the road, the cab was well into shoulder, my wife started to call 911, we could still barely see and another wave of hail was heading our way.  The truck managed to straighten up.  And then another wave hit, we watched as the hail bounced off the car.  This time traffic stopped all around.  Luck would have it that the storm passed quickly. I was suprised to see we were on the overpass pictured above.  Traffic started moving slowly, drivers and passangers all looking a little dazed, everyone moving with a little more care.  A new river was born as the water flowed down the mountain by way of the median.  As we started moving we saw how bad it could have been.  The truck that was half in the lane had swerved to avoid an accident, just ahead of him there was a minor accident between an suv and another truck.  They were all fine, we were fine.  A little shaken, A little stirred but we survived. 

As we got out of the car we heard the siren bell going off in Port Matilda.  On the weather station not only was there storm warnings there was tornado warning but we didn’t see exactly what area it was for but it couldn’t be far. 

It is good to be home!

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A few pictures I thought I would post.  And yes that is Sequoia sitting on the porch eating an icycle. Sequoia fast asleep, toes up.  That is Deirdre sleeping on her nose.  And of course good ole’ home sweet home.

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I enjoy the ride home from work. These were all taken on the same day, from the car on the way home from work about a week or so ago. I particularly like the 7th and the 9th from the top. You have to click on the picture to enlarge and see some of the detail.

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