Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a Few Years Ago

People are going to have to get creative when it comes to celebrating holidays this year. My effort for St. Patrick’s Day so far has been to send some stickers and temporary tattoos over to four year old grandson, Dominic. Apparently, they now have shiny green and gold stickers everywhere and the cats are hiding from the little tattoo artist.

On a side note, Happy Birthday Dad! You would be a young 111 years old today. As pure French as you were, you always made the leprechauns proud!

Love You Dad❤️

Update from Saskatchewan

Wrong Side of the Tracks

Things are shutting down in a big way today. All city buildings are closed – at least to the public, including city hall. Most entertainment – theatres, casinos, playground type places are closed or closing. Bars and restaurants are closing – for lack of business if nothing else. International flights are allowed only at specific airports – none of which are in Saskatchewan. Canadian borders are open to Canadians and Americans only.

All public schools in Saskatchewan are closing this week until further notice. I am behind anything the authorities are doing to slow this virus down – including closing schools. But, the government has announced that every child passing their classes at this point will be passed into the next grade and all grade twelve students will graduate. So what were the schools planning on teaching these kids for the next three and a half months? Will this not leave a knowledge gap when they go onto the next grade or move onto college or university? Hmmm….

Grocery stores, pharmacies and the like are to remain open. The construction industry is still plugging along. Any ‘events’, training classes, etc. are being cancelled. Contractor are issuing their own policy for managing work sites while the coronavirus is a part of our reality. So far our suppliers seem to be processing orders and freight companies are rolling.

Dan was laid off for three weeks last week due to a data breach at Evraz. It was dealt with sooner than expected so he was called back this week. That is kind of scary. There are a lot of people who work at his plant, people coming and going from offices in the USA and a lot of workers who travel at every opportunity. Not the healthiest place to be right now.

The streets are getting pretty quiet out there. It is, no doubt, good that people are taking this ‘social distancing’ seriously. It is good that government and business is taking this situation seriously. But it is unsettling. It is getting surreal.

A Day In The Life Of

Yesterday was a day like any other day. Except, yesterday I went to get the report on my follow up x-rays. They showed no sign of pneumonia. Yay! They did however show signs of COPD. So, I am off for more tests, more doctor appointments, and more medication. The medication will have side effects. I am hopeful that the side effects will be soft manageable hair, improved eyesight, and stronger muscles. I am hopeful, but I am not delusional enough to actually expect such side effects. 🙄

Royalty Watching

I am not a diehard monarchist, nor an anti-monarchist for that matter. I don’t scour magazines and the internet for news on the British Royals. I will read an article on them if it seems interesting, but I tend to judge the content with an open mind.

This week, there seems to be a number of articles popping up about Harry and Meghan returning to Britain to attend a few functions. The articles I have seen have focussed on the apparent fact that they are not bringing Archie with them. To believe what I have read, the royal family is crushed that they will not have the opportunity to spend time with the little tot. In rather a subtle way, journalists are using this as yet another opportunity to point out how selfish and disrespectful Harry and Meghan are.

Personally, I am pretty sure the royal family understands. It is not too surprising, in the midst of this coronavirus situation, that young parents would be leary about exposing an infant to days on end spent in crowded airports and confined to airplanes with travellers from around the world – for very limited opportunity to spend time with extended family.

If Harry and Meghan were taking Archie to Britain, the news would be full of nonsense about their reckless parenting ways. People would be up in arms about them taking unnecessary risks with their son’s health and well being.

I understand that people have an interest in the royal family. I certainly don’t mind reading about the events that they attend, the charity work they do, even the highlights of their family life. Personally, I do not feel that they need to be judged for every bloody thing they say, do or wear.

The Queen and her family, for the most part, seem to be fairly intelligent, rational, caring, considerate people. I trust them to make their own decisions on day to day matters without this constant chatter from the peanut gallery. In my opinion, it is time for people to back off already. 🤷

Taxes Are Filed!

Completed Net Filing our taxes and applications for a government senior drug plan. Whoo Hoo! Just a few thoughts on the subject:

1) I, like millions of others, hate filling out government forms. I also hate, and again I am not alone here, the challenges of using technology to do virtually anything. Having filled out the government forms of the day and receiving confirmation that they went where they need to be, I am feeling quite accomplished. Celebrating with a glass of wine accomplished, but since it is only noon, I settled for a mini cupcake.

2) As bad as it is to complete government forms, some of today’s forms were exceptionally bad. It was not that they were any more incomprehensible than usual. It was just due to the reason for filing them. Being as I am turning 65 this summer, I had to submit an application to be covered by our government senior drug plan, plus I had to submit an application for a my husband for spousal coverage because he is over 60 but under 65. Here is the thing though – neither my husband nor I qualify for this plan. My husband still works – and will work for another 4 years. He makes too much income from his employment for either of us to qualify. We have to submit our applications so that we can receive a denial for coverage from this plan, that we must send to his company’s insurance company so they will continue our health coverage because we do not qualify for government coverage, because his employment income is too high for us to qualify. They have his employment records. They know he works. They know what his wage is and they know his wage would disqualify us. So, why??? Why do we need to do this?

3) I do not hate paying income taxes. 😛. I am not thrilled that our provincial government squanders a LOT of our tax revenue and that much of it does not go where it should go. I am not thrilled with our provincial government for a LOT of reasons. That is a whole other blog. But, I do not hate paying income taxes. I have been paying taxes since I started working. I have always felt that I was fortunate to have employment that covered providing for my family – as well as allowed me to contribute to our country & province as a whole. Even as a single mother, I contributed to schools, hospitals, highways, law enforcement, social programs and the like through my taxes. I was pretty proud of that actually. Still am🙂

4). Finally, I am glad that I finished doing and filing our taxes and drug plan applications in a timely fashion. I used to be terrible for procrastinating on things like this. I was scrambling on April 30th for years and years. I have learned to get on it and get it done! Finally! 🤸🤸🤸

Childbirth

Genevieve

Last night I watched one of those movies that included the typical childbirth scene that is intended to bring the expansion of the human race to a screeching halt. The mother- to- be writhed and screamed, changed colors on occasion, and fainted at least twice before welcoming her little one into the world. For the benefit of anyone thinking of becoming a first time time mother, I thought I would put my two cents on the subject out there.

1) There is no such thing as a typical birth experience – even if you have ten such experiences in your life, every one will be different and the offspring you bring forth will be totally different. It keeps life interesting.

2) If you waste your energy writhing, screaming, changing colors and fainting, you will never get the job done.

3) When your time comes, you will be so jacked up on excitement and adrenalin, you will not even notice most of the pain. Even if you do experience A LOT of pain, once that little one is placed in your arms NOTHING else matters.

I have had several birthing experiences to base my opinions on so thought I would share:

1) My mother often told of the painful deliveries she experienced. To be fair, my mother gave birth to six children. My sister Lorraine thought it would be fun to try to slide out sideways. From all accounts it was not. She gave us and all of our arrivals a bad rap.

2) When I was eighteen and totally naive on the subject of childbirth (and most other life altering events), I spent several months working as a nurse’s aide on the night shift at a small hospital. One night the charge nurse thought it would be amusing to assign me to the labour room to watch over a first time mother. Every few minutes she would scream. I would jump a foot and shriek. The resident paramedic came in, asked what idiot had sent me in there and booted me out. He stayed with the young mother until the doctor came to see her through a safe delivery. From what I heard it all went well.

3) I had three children by natural (?) childbirth. When I was pregnant with my son Mark I developed severe toxemia. By the the time he was born, I was so wasted on Valium and other medication to keep my blood pressure to a level where I would not stroke out that I did not even know I was pregnant much less giving birth. Mark slept for the first month of his life which helped me to get ample time to rest and recover.

4) My second birthing experience was the arrival of Danny. My husband and I were playing cards. Every so often my insides would turn to jelly, I would pass gas and experience an hysterical fit of giggles. At some point, I noticed this was happening regularly at closer and closer intervals. We headed to the hospital, where the nurses in emergency assumed I was having a psychotic meltdown, however they sent me up to maternity to be checked out. This was at 11:35 PM. The elevator was out of service and my husband was on crutches. I hauled myself and my suitcase up two flights of stairs. Danny leapt into the world at 12:05 AM. To this day, he still leaps into every day as if it is his first opportunity to see the world.

5) My third and final personal birthing experience was Jennifer. I awoke at 5:30AM to the unmistakable signs of impending birth. My husband was working away from home so I was alone with a three and a half year old and a one and a half year old. Thinking of Danny’s quick arrival, I called my in-laws to get me to the hospital. My husband arrived a few hours later. And we waited. At 5:30 PM we watched I Dream of Genie. Sometime in the next hour we moved to the delivery room where Jennifer finally made her entrance into the world. I remember two things. One she was absolutely beautiful. Two she was shrieking like a banshee. She still is and she still does. (39 years later)

6) Finally, my husband Dan and I were in the delivery room when my daughter Jennifer gave birth to her daughter Genie (Genevieve). It was WOW! It was bad. Jennifer did not scream or writhe but she definitely changed colors a few times and passed out several times. Genie was born five weeks early, tiny, and perfect. Jennifer recovered and went on to repeat the experience with Rory, Madison, and PrimRose. It never got easy for her – but it did get better.

If you are planning, or in the process of starting your family, go for it! I doubt if the birth will play out like the typical movie scene. I hope that it will be amazing, memorable and worth any pain involved.💖

Keeper of the Stars

“It was no accident, me meeting you…”. Tracy Bird

It was 1994. With three teenagers to raise and provide for and a recent escape from unholy matrimony (as I referred to my first marriage), the last thing I wanted or needed in my life was a man. My life was good, happy and fulfilling.

For a couple of years things went along great. My kids and their friends filled our home with love and laughter. I filled it with groceries and other basic necessities. As the months went by, we were able to take my mother on an unforgettable family holiday. We moved from our little basement apartment to a much nicer and roomier duplex in a better part of the city. I traded in my battered and worn sedan for a sweet turbo charged convertible. Life was good.

The only downside to my life was that I was grieving the loss of my father who had recently passed away (although I always felt that he was very much with us through those years) and my health. I had lost an unhealthy amount of weight in previous years. I was working for a millwork company and was frequently in the warehouse, which was in the same building as our offices and showroom. I was, and am, asthmatic and seriously allergic to trees and everything tree related – wood, sawdust, wood smoke, feathers (birds have feathers and they live in trees). It still seems rediculous that I would put myself in such a situation but I loved the place and everyone in it.

Although everyone else at work was male, I didn’t really think anything of it and I didn’t really think anyone considered me as anything but one of the guys (who happened to always wear skirts, heels and makeup). A couple of years in, my bosses hired an autocad guy to work in the office. Since said bosses were busy on Dave’s first day, I took him out for lunch to welcome him to the team. He took the opportunity to hit on me. I told him in no uncertain terms that I did not date, would not date and dropped it. He did not, but he was not there long and he just never got anywhere with me. He did however, tell his friend Dan about the company. Dan had years of experience working for industrial steel companies. With a downturn in the economy, the company he had been working for went out of business and he had found himself unemployed.

Soon after, Dan walked into the office and asked to speak to Ken, one of my bosses. I took one look at him and ran to the other side of the warehouse to find Ken and to tell him that there was “a BIG native man there to see him”. (In my defence, I knew very few natives, had never seen a Hungarian before – and I was very sleep deprived at the time).

After a short interview, Ken hired Dan. Dan went home and was to start work in a couple of days. The day before he was scheduled to start, his mother passed away suddenly. He came to the office to explain the situation and his pain was obvious. He was very close to his mother. She was, to him and to all who knew her, a very special woman.

A few days later, Dan returned to start work. He was introduced to everyone and announced to the rest of the guys that he was there to work and marry the receptionist – me. Nobody told me of his plans or that he was Hungarian (which was totally irrelevant but it was hilarious that I was oblivious to the fact until a year later, after we had been living together for a month).  I did however learn that he worked hard, took pride in his work, and that he stood up for himself and supported his fellow workers. 

On July 31st, 1999 we were married. Our family and friends were there to support us. We had a beautiful wedding. We both agreed that as heaven’s gates opened for his mother, my father had been there to welcome her. Together they had conspired to bring us to each other.

By that point our economy had improved, Dan had gone to work at the pipe plant of our local steel factory and I had moved on to a healthier environment. We moved in to Dan’s house (an ongoing project) and we built a good life together. We have definitely had great times together, good times together and faced difficult and heart wrenching challenges together. We have come to love, respect and and admire each other. We have definitely learned to annoy each other and at times to take each other for granted.

This week, I realized how very much I love Dan, appreciate him and how perfectly suited we are for this life that we share. This week, Dan had a few days off between shifts. On Tuesday, I called him from work to tell him I was was very sick and struggling to breathe. He rushed over to pick me up and took me to the hospital emergency ward. He stayed by my side for six hours, on his last day off this week, to support me. When we got back home, he went to get my medication and pick up supper. The next evening, when he returned home from work, he told me some silly anecdote from work that made me laugh until my sides hurt. Last night we started talking about people winning large lotteries. I said my biggest concern, if we ever won, was that we would want such different things that it would be hard to find workable compromises. Dan agreed. Then we started talking about what each of us would want and our thoughts on the matter were almost identical. We had even both always thought of how important it was for us to show our appreciation to two special doctors. A few years ago Dan went to the emergency department with a blinding headache. A young doctor looked up from from his paperwork, yelled “get that man on a stretcher – he is septic” and proceeded to save Dan’s life. He was fantastic. My special doctor, went above and beyond to take care of me and keep Dan fully informed of what he was doing, after my lung collapsed and no one could repair it. He saved my lung (without surgery) for which I will always be grateful. Both of these men were such gifted physicians and such dedicated humanitarians – and they were both high on both of our lists of ‘lottery win’ priorities. (In the guise of their dream medical equipment I would expect).

I know – I had no want or need of a man in my life. Until he met me, Dan was quite content with his sports and his cat Hank. I am however, eternally grateful that my father and his mother felt otherwise.

‘I tip my hat to the keeper of our stars. They sure knew what they were when they joined these two hearts.’