Wednesday!

It’s Dan’s birthday today but since he had to work we celebrated last night. Just a quiet evening at home but it was nice. A little food, some tv, and a nice supper.

My sister Elaine and her husband John sent Dan the prettiest card. She makes cards for all of the family for birthdays, anniversaries and the like and they are all so special. I am sure she has everything down on a calendar of sorts but I would still lose track. (My Christmas cards from 2015 are still waiting to be sent.)
This beautiful card was the one she sent to us for the loss of our Kat. The inscription was touching, as well. 😒
Dan’s birthday supper – with a side salad. He didn’t get a card from me but I did tell him if he wanted any new golf gear, he could definitely buy it from me. πŸ™„ It is hard for me to buy the right sports equipment for him but I am all for him having whatever adds to his enjoyment of the game. πŸ’ž
And I made him a cake. Actually, it was Brownies with cream cheese icing but it was cakish. 😊

Today is also Dan’s sister Joan’s birthday – four years apart but on the same day. πŸŽ‚ They also have two cousins born on April 12th – a few years apart. That seems like such a bizarre coincidence to me. I come from a largish family, that came from two very large families, and none of us share birthdays. πŸ€”

That’s about it for today. I got my dancing and walking in today so I am feeling pretty darn good about myself. I haven’t missed any workout days since February 14th. Pretty impressive. 😌

Take care and have a great day! πŸ’ž

February 10th – I Was Right!

I am very happy to be in a marriage with my husband Dan. He is a good man. He is a responsible, hard working, intelligent, hilariously funny, caring man. But he has his less attractive qualities. First and foremost, he is annoyingly right way too often when we disagree. This is particularly true of his gut feelings about people and his opinion of the latest gizmos and gadgets. That obviously means that, in these disagreements, I am typically the one who is WRONG. πŸ₯΄

Back in May of 2020, I finally had reason to celebrate an infrequent case of righteousness. Today it is time to update my post on ‘lightweight expanding garden hoses‘ and set the record straight.

https://seclusion101withannemarie.com/2020/05/31/i-was-right/

For some time, I had seen advertisements and displays calling me to invest in one of those handi-dandy lightweight hoses with the awesome functional nozzle. Finally, I had the chance to grab an economical model off a shelf in a discount store and manage to skid through the checkout with it before Dan could disuade me.

I brought it home and it was amazing! I loved my new hose. No more struggling with heavy, unyielding, rubber hoses. No more trying to operate lousy spray attachments. And my favourite… no more fighting and losing to our miserable automatic hose retractor. (Supposedly automatic 🀦).

For a good two weeks, I loved my new garden hose. I even dedicated a blog post to it – and happened to mention that I had indeed been right for once.

Then it happened. My wonderful hose sprung a little pinhole leak – and another – and another, until it resembled one of those sprinkler hoses.

This was at a time when my health was feeble at best. Dan, being the good man that he is, decided we should increase the odds for success and went out to buy me a much better quality, much pricier lightweight expanding garden hose. It lasted quite some time before Dan decided to use it to top up the pool one day. He was keeping an eye on it, when he noticed it was expanding in one concentrated area – much like a water balloon. He ran to shut off the water, but he did not run fast enough. The balloon burst. πŸ™„

At this time, I should have taken a cue from Genie…

Dan was able to shorten the hose, re-attach the spray nozzle and things went well for a few more weeks. Then the sprinkles started, became leaks, became larger leaks, until it lost all control of itself and caused a flood situation on the sidewalk and into our basement.

So.. that is that. Update on the lightweight expandable garden hose and my premature celebration… I was WRONG. 😧

Watering our front acre of lawn may not be particularly doable with a watering can, so obviously it is back to heavy, unco-operative rubber hoses. At least my health is considerably better now, so it will be more of an inconvenience than an all out crisis.

And I can almost always open jars with my handi-dandy jar openers – without dumping the contents of the jar down my shirt. So, I was RIGHT about these gadgets. 😊

That’s it for today. Take care and have a great day! πŸ’ž

Day 27 – In His Own Mind

Day 27 of my June ‘Accentuate the Positive’ Challenge. I couldn’t get through this month without devoting one day to Dan. He is my husband, my best friend, and a definite positive in my life!

I hope you enjoy these photos from Dan’s phone. I think nothing says so much about a person as the pictures they carry with them.

Bonzai trees at Devonshire University of Alberta gardens outside of Edmonton.
That day Genie got her ladybug tattoo to match Grandpa’s – the one he got for his ‘ladybug‘ Genie.
Shooting wildlife the nice wayπŸ’ž
Dan’s late Aunt Helen and his Aunt Ethel. Amazing, strong women. Aunt Helen raised three deaf sons and two daughters. She was predeceased by her husband, two sons, one daughter, and a son-in-law. She lived on smart, capable, and independent until she was ninety-five. Aunt Ethel is one of those women I aspire to be. She is always peaceful, happy and so very kind. Two very special ladies!
Garden produce last summer. That Silent Sam was pure hot. The carrots were just very affectionate.
Garage spider ‘Fred’ (he lived there forever)
Five hundred year old Mystic Oak at Souris, MB.
The old and the new Souris Swinging Bridge. One of those times when new is definitely much better.
Hopefully he was going through a car wash but since he always hand washes our vehicles I am thinking he was driving to work through this. 😳πŸ₯ΊπŸ™„

I hope you enjoyed Dan’s photos. It was pretty difficult to narrow his gallery down to these few but I think these ones do say a lot about him.

Twenty seven days down and only three more days to go! I (kind of) can’t believe I have made it this far.

Wishing all a delightful Sunday and I hope to see you tomorrow. πŸ’ž

Back to Work

Dan is back to work – at least for now. He has taken a temporary position in the melt shop in the steel plant at Evraz. (He usually works as lead hand on the legacy spiral mills in the pipe plant but they are currently shut down). From all accounts, and a little imagination, the melt shop is about as close as one can get to hell on earth. But, steelworkers are a special breed and Dan is a steelworker, so when the opportunity arose he took it.

I have been with Dan for twenty four years and worked with him for several months before that.Β Β Β  Dan is a good man and I know from personal experience that he is a good worker.Β  He is dedicated, responsible, reliable, dependable, and capable.Β  He takes pride in his work and demands respect for it – not simply for himself but for his fellow workers as well.

Over the years, I have found business interesting on many levels. Although I generally worked in administration, the production department was the heart of every company, in my mind. I have always been fascinated by the process, the equipment, and the skills and strength of the workers. I sat in my (climate controlled) office – supporting managers, serving customers, and doing everything in my power to ensure the production department had what they needed, to do what they did.

For a number of years, I believed that a business was all about the product or service they provided. During the last few years that I worked, I came to realize that the most fascinating part of any business are the people involved – owners, employees and clients.

There are people like Dan, who take pride in what they do and get the job done – regardless of any circumstances. Then there are others. The slackers, who show up (typically late and/or frequently not at all) and do the bare minimum. The desperately ambitious, who claw over anyone in an effort to better themselves πŸ˜‚. The entitled, who do little of consequence, but blame others for their lack of performance and productivity. The arrogant, who regardless of position, have zero respect or consideration for others. And finally, the self sabotagers who are in a class of their own.

It takes a combination of factors to create a successful business – financial backing, quality product, proper equipment, and good people – Good people like Dan! 🌟

See you tonight, Dear! Stay safe. πŸ’ž

Shopping Around

Yesterday I went out shopping for the first time in ages. Dan had an errand to run so he dropped me off at Walmart to get started on my mission.

I don’t know if there are supply chain issues, strange hoardings happening, or if it was just coincidence, but I struggled to find some things that I went for. Walmart was out of Epsom salts, potting soil, dish towels, and yeast. Plus, a bag of flour spontaneously flew off a shelf and tried to take me down. Love shopping!

By the time I was ready to move on to the Dollar Store, Dan was back to join me. They had the peanuts for our squirrels and sunflower seeds for our birds. We managed to grab a few other things including some new flowers for Dan’s parents gravestone.

I love those artificial lilacs. They are so pretty!

I finished out my shopping trip with a quick stop at Home Depot. They had nothing I needed so it was back home.

I was never that into shopping, but these days I really try to avoid it. Between the people who cannot follow directional arrows and the ones who refuse to keep their distance at cash out, I get more than a little annoyed. Some people have no respect or consideration for the store personnel who are there to serve them. With these Covid variants affecting younger and younger people, it is hard not to see my daughter and granddaughter in every vulnerable clerk I see. 😞

Today is Dan’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Dear! We started the day with a trip out to the graveyard to bring his parent’s their spring bouquet. It seemed a fitting day for such a visit. We came home and I made Dan breakfast and put our plants out to enjoy the sunshine. 🌞 A few minutes ago Dan called his sister who is also celebrating her birthday today – different year same day. πŸ˜‰

Our neighbourhood parks are not lush and green yet, but it is time for Dan and I to head out for our walk with Kat. Soon our walk will look like this. πŸ™‚

Stay safe & have a beautiful dayπŸ’ž

I Was Right!

For years I have been doing battle with a typical retractable water hose. I would wrestle the miserable thing out to our front lawn while it would try to retract every time I got a foot further.

Miserable Beast

When I eventually finished watering, one quick tug and the hose would retract at a manageable steady pace – theoretically. In reality, one quick tug and either nothing happened or fifty feet of solid hose would shoot back to the reel at a hundred miles an hour. If it was the latter, I had my choice of holding on for dear life or letting go. Letting go was not the best option.

Years ago, we started seeing advertisements for an expandable, lightweight cloth hose.

Sweet!

My husband and I would go to the garden centre every spring and I would see these expanding hoses. I would reach for one and my husband would say “you don’t want that do you?”. I would assure him that I did want that – at least to give it a try. At this point, I would get his whole speech extolling the virtues of our sociopathic retractable hose – with a bonus speech on operator error.

On Friday, we went to a discount store to pick up some economy (disposable) paint brushes that I can use for painting our planters. I saw my dream hose – on sale – in a discount store! I snatched it up and stormed the til to pay for it before Dan could talk me out of it.

My ‘Amazing Hose’ is amazing! It is lightweight, manageable, easy to extend, and easy to put away. The nozzle on it is equally amazing. I have purchased half a dozen nozzles in the past twenty years – some cheap, some stupid pricey. I did not love any of them. I love my new nozzle. My new hose and nozzle are perfect! I do not get to be right very often – but this time, I nailed it. (We won’t discuss the ‘Easey Peazey jar opener’ πŸ™„)

I had so much time left over from watering plants yesterday that I cleaned up our bird feeder and put fresh seed out for the birds. 🐦

Opening Up Saskatchewan

Our provincial government has decided that it is time to re-open Saskatchewan. I agree that it is time. People need to return to their lives and we should be ready. Businesses have been made aware of what they must do to keep their customers and staff at minimum risk. Medical facilities have had time to prepare for Covid and non-Covid patients. Schools will remain closed for now as will churches, sports venues, and the like. Our government should be ready to take swift action if there are signs of a serious outbreak. People in general have been educated as to the risks of Covid 19 and the precautions needed to avoid contracting or spreading it. Saskatchewan is ready. It is time.

I have ventured out very little in the past two months. For the most part, I have gone only where I absolutely had to – our bank, our pharmacy, and to a lab for blood tests. I also went to one outdoor greenhouse and one very quiet dollar store. Dan has been doing all of our other shopping and errands on his days off.

Yesterday I decided that it was time. I put on a mask and headed off to Walmart with Dan to pick up a number of items that I prefer to buy for myself – shampoo, conditioner, and the like.

Not actually me…

Dan dropped me off at the lineup to the Walmart entrance. There were maybe fifteen people in line. The line was orderly and moving at a steady pace. One person would be allowed to enter the store and the rest of us would move up a spot. The spots were clearly identified. I was signalled to enter the vestibule, where there were three more steps to move up. Then I was signalled to enter the store.

Once in the store, it was a GONG show. People were coming in, people were going out, people were crossing sideways to grab a cart or return a cart. I had no idea where I was supposed to go. A staff member caught my eye and motioned me over to get a freshly sanitized cart. I thanked him, grabbed a cart, and moved off towards the pharmacy area.

There were no arrows to indicate which direction I should be travelling. There were only a couple of other people in the immediate vicinity so I was easily able to keep my distance. I was relaxing, while still being vigilant. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a large man moving up beside me. I edged away from him just as he put his BIG hand on the handle of my cart.

This was not the first time Dan has stepped up beside me to take over pushing a cart but he startled me none the less. Fortunately, my mask muffled my shriek and we moved on.

Dan’s hand vs my hand. He has BIG hands.

I led the way around the store, while Dan pushed the cart. It was all good until we reached the grocery department. Suddenly there were arrows on the floor and I was going the wrong direction – as were half of the customers. Dan was in the next aisle, going the right direction. I caught up with him and we quickly got what we needed. We paid the cashier, who was on the other side of a plastic barrier. I was distracted when I noticed she was sanitizing the debit machine after I used it. πŸ‘

By the time I turned back, Dan was gone. He was halfway out the door. As I was trying to get past the service counter, there was a staff member – right there – announcing Walmart’s Covid 19 protocols. In the ten square feet in front of her counter, there were a dozen people all going different directions. I was one of them. πŸ™„

It may be time and Saskatchewan may be ready. Personally, I do not feel that I am quite there yet – at least not for Walmart.

Dan’s Album

Our weather has reverted to winter misery so I am in the house trying to keep occupied. I went through the photos on my husband’s phone to see how he views the world. (with his permission of course – I do not make a point of rifling through his phone😲). Enjoy!

Checking out Amanda’s new Expedition. Love the color!
Demolition day at Dan’s highschool.
Nightmare (Souris Swinging) bridge from my early childhood.
The new Souris Swinging Bridge. No more nightmares😊
Son Dan with his son Cason – cool how Dan’s shirt matches Carson’s pantsπŸ™„
A picture from Dan’s sister in Costa Rica – safety firstπŸ₯Ί
Our little old monster pool
Making pipe
Jeep cleaning dayπŸ‘
Porta-potty?

That is it for today. Have a great day and stay safe!

Getting Domestic

I have been home for six days, hiding out from Covid-19. I don’t have the lungs to be comfortable taking chances with any contagious respiratory disease – especially one that does not have a cure. I am happy to lay low.

So far it hasn’t been too bad. My husband has been home for the past four days. Tomorrow he goes back for three twelve hour day shifts, followed by two twelve hour night shifts. Normally, I am used to it – but normally I am happy to have some alone time after being at work all week. Normally, I am not worried about my husband picking up a potentially fatal disease, or bringing it home to me, or passing it on to anyone else. Normally I am not the type of person who wants to throttle our premier for putting money and power and steel/pipe plants before people’s lives. Now things are not normal.

Anyway, I have been working on pulling myself together and being productive enough to keep myself from totally losing it. For the last couple of days, I have been working on becoming the domestic diva I plan to be once I retire at the end of July. My laundry (including bedding) is done, folded and put away, my house is somewhat tidy and our finances are in order.

I defrosted the feezer
I cooked some (lots) of bacon and baked an apple pie. Ok, I defrosted an apple pie.
I’ve been brushing my dog – a lot!
I’ve been cleaning my kitchen cupboards and lining my shelves and drawers.
I made chilli for supper

Tomorrow it is supposed to start warming up outside. It will be easier once I can get outside and start cleaning up the yard, the barbecue, and the lawn furniture. It will be fun to start prepping and planning for our garden, flower beds and pond. It will be nice to get out and get some fresh air and SUNSHINE.

Shift Work

Dan

There are many careers that involve shiftwork. My husband Dan, works in the pipe mill of a steel plant that runs twenty-four seven. Currently they are working a five on four off/ four on five off mix of day and night twelve hour hour shifts. Shiftwork is never ideal but it has it’s benefits and it has definite challenges. Some of my thoughts, based on our experiences:

1) Shiftwork is brutal when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Your body is constantly trying to adjust to changes in routine. Eating, sleeping, lack of sunlight, too much sunlight – it is all hard on a body! In a steel plant, you have the additional challenges of air quality, noise, temperature control and dangerous work conditions.

2) Shiftwork can be a major strain on a relationship – especially if your partner works conflicting shifts or has a regular Monday to Friday 8 to 5 career. In our case, that has been a bit of a bonus. Our time together, day or night, is so random and rare, that twenty years in we still very much appreciate our time together and look forward to our retirement years together. There are, however, a lot of relationships that do not make it.

3) Shiftwork makes meal planning difficult to impossible. When I am working, Dan leaves for nightshifts before I get home from work. When I am home, we eat supper by 3:30 in the afternoon so we are not particularly hungry but are both snacking later in the evening. When Dan works days, I come home, make supper and wait hours before he comes home and is ready to eat. By the time we finish supper and clean up, our evening is over.

4) We have never had the challenge of raising a young family together but it has to be hard on both parents and the children. It is even harder raising children if the parents are not living together. A major change in shifts at Dan’s plant lately was a legal and logistical nightmare for many parents.

5) There are a few bonuses to shiftwork – Dan can handle vehicle repair and medical appointments and the like on his mid-week days off, there is almost always someone home with our dog, Dan can get peak golf times during the week when he is on days off, I come home to fresh cooked meals on Dan’s week days off (definitely a bonus as he is a great cook), and when he is off shift, he does have four or five days in a row to rest and recover. This will be especially nice once I retire and we can use such times to take short trips and get out of the city.

6) Workers who work shiftwork tend to have a special bond with their fellow workers (in a survivor mentality/shared pain type of way). They also tend to have an intense passion and dedication for the work that they do.

Overall, shiftwork can be challenging for a worker, their partner and their family. Like anything else, it takes work and it has it’s rewards!