Saturday, December 3, 2016

Oh's been conversation with a niece last night she said that she read my blog every now and then, and I said that I hadn't written in it for awhile.....and in this festive season, as we so often call it ...that is not so festive for a lot of people....there is something that has been reoccurring in our household for a few months that is causing me to do a slow burn right now.
As many of you well know, we have our last three children still living with us at home. They will be here forever...or until Don and I die....and that's the reality.....because they are intellectually/developmentally delayed.
They are in this position because their birth mom's drank alcohol while she was pregnant. Now, in all fairness.....their birth mom was/is also developmentally delayed....I'm not sure what caused her global delay....but she is.
Not all intellectual/developmental delays are caused by alcohol.
BUT.... in the case of our three kids, it was definitely the cause of their brain damage.....yes brain damage....something that they are sentenced to the rest of their lives....because their mother chose to drink.
I call them kids because their comprehension levels are that of a five year old, a ten year old and a fifteen year old....although sometimes the fifteen year old acts her age....her actual age is 24....and the age of the ten year old is actually 25.... and the age of the five year old is actually 21.
Ben is 25, Maya is 24 and Megan is 21.

I grew up in a home where we didn't drink alcohol. I guess it was because of our religious beliefs....our church made it part of becoming a senior church member made the decision not to drink alcohol. It's funny that I didn't ever question it growing was just there, it was just accepted.....

As a teenager, I attended my share of the class parties....I remember one in someone's parents present...but alcohol was....I was an observer....the guys especially had to 'prove their manhood' by wasn't long before one of them was vomiting....the student that lived there was having a fit....his parents were going to have an even bigger fit....and to this day, I cant believe that I actually helped clean up the mess, so the parents wouldn't find out....but they probably did..parents usually do.
As I became an adult, I was faced with that choice...I remember it well...I was at a wedding, my good friend Linda Damiani was getting married....her family was Italian.....when it came time for the 'toasts' her dad, came around and poured wine into everyone's glasses....and there it was...sitting in front of me...I was faced with a dilemma....I didn't want to appear rude.....what should I do? When everybody lifted their glasses , I did too.....then everyone took a drink....I took a tiny sip....I couldn't believe the taste! It tasted like juice gone bad...I thought to myself..why would anyone willingly drink this stuff...I didn't have anymore....I just pretended to toast after that.

Since Don and I grew up in the same church denomination, we were both used to not having alcohol in our, when we married.....we automatically followed suit.
Along came the children...some birthed, some adopted,...but all ours.

As they grew, and became older teens and adults...they made their own choices of whether to partake in first I wasn't happy when they decided fact, I was terribly hurt...taking it personally....but also because it became clear that some of our children were suffering from the effects of Fetal Alcohol of our sons, when he was quite young 7 or 8, cried out to me one day that there was something wrong with his brain,...that it was wasn't until he was 17-18 years of age that we realized that his problems weren't ADHD as the paediatrician diagnosed, when he was five....but FAS.
Two of our children, half siblings came to us, one as a two year old and the other as a ten year old....both terribly globally delayed but once again we didn't find out about FAS until much later..when they were older.

FAS has a fairly recent history of being recognized...with our son who is now 33 years old, the information wasn't out there....people were just putting a name to this a little more then twenty years's plain and simple's brain's can not be fixed. Studies have even shown that an FAS brain is much smaller than a non FAS brain....some show the physical changes in their facial features when they are born....others don't...some show obvious intellectual delays from the time they're two of mine did....we knew all along that they had global delays ....but one of ours DIDN'T show those delays. Our daughter came to live with us when she was three days old....she was beautiful...but we quickly discovered that she showed the signs of narcotic was a tough first year of going through her rigid body, her feeding difficulties, her sudden jerky movements....her laughing one second and going into a rage the next ...but after the first year when her flashbacks stopped...she seemed better.
She attended school, yes she struggled academically but was able to pass all her subjects. She was also extremely talented....musically and athletically.....she was able to play several musical instruments, and play many sports...she was on a basketball team by the time she was nine and played til she was 18. When she graduated high school, she joined an intern program at a Christian camp and worked at an outdoor program teaching young kids outdoor education...she spent a month in Costa Rica helping at a camp there....she was outgoing and extremely social. She came home and got a job at the local coffee shop.....fourteen months later she was living a solitary life, no friends...her time spent sleeping and working....all her teenage friends had moved on to college and with her work schedule she hadn't made any new friends. That was when she had her first of six emotional one knew what the Pete was going on with her...they tried different medications until they final settled on an antidepressant. This past fall, she thought she was 'getting sick' again....her dad refused to believe it...I wasn't sure so I started observing her....the confusion that she was experiencing was very familiar...the more I watched, the more I was convinced that what we were seeing, wasn't her was see....FAS can come out , at its worst in the early twenties....the confusion becomes worse, the actions are done without thot...because that's what FAS is....from the moment that the action thot comes into their mind , it skips right to the result...there isn't any thot process to review consequences of the actions...nothing like that....and quite often the result is disastrous because they haven't thot it through.....their impulsivity is to the max!
We always thot when this daughter was growing up that eventually she'd be able to get her own place and get out on her own...sadly, we realize that this is not the case...she is 24 years old but sometimes she acts 14... and sometimes 24... you can never predict which age you'll be dealing with when you're working with her.
The trouble is....SHE KNOWS SHE'S DIFFERENT! ...and it sad. It's sad because she didn't have to be this was totally preventable....she didn't have to live with a damaged brain all her life...but she has to....all because her mother drank alcohol when she was pregnant.

Sometimes I go and speak to perspective adoptive parents at Children's Aid....a social worker told me that all children that come into care have been affected by alcohol in some way and to some degree...some worse than others. How unfair is that? That all these children are forced to live with brain damage through no fault of their own.....the parent goes on their merry way, and the child is stuck with their damaged brain....

So, my view on alcohol? Yes, like I stated...I grew up without it in my life....yes, I realize that some people feel that they can't be social without it...that they need it....that they enjoy it...and that would be their long as it didn't negatively affect other people...when it destroys people's lives then I think that it's a very dangerous drug.

So , for me this has gone from being a religious conviction to a strong belief that it's harmful to others and needs to be severely monitored.

Just look at my beautiful Maya....she deserved so much more.....they all do.

~ Marie

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Intolerance and Fear

I had a tiny, minuscule disagreement with a young woman today....on Facebook...yes, not the best place to air a contrary opinion....and usually I back away from contrariness.....I'm too old for the hassle.
So, why did I speak up this time.....well, I'll tell you why....Fear and Intolerance.

The whole thing was based on a comment that she made about George W Bush...'dancing' at a funeral...just happened to be the memorial service for the five slain police officers in Dallas, Texas.

Now, I watched part of the video....the little part that showed him moving to a stirring rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.....he did seem like he was enjoying did seem that his wife was did seem like Mrs Obama who was on the other side of him....wasn't liking it also....I'm not too sure if her husband on the other side of her realized just what was going on....but after a bit, after Mr Bush said something to Mrs Obama, she too smiled and so did her husband and they also 'moved to the music a bit'.

So, my friend...this young woman, whom I've known since she was 2 or 3...well, she took exception to Mr Bush moving and enjoying the fact she became quite nasty.
I also looked it up on the Internet and apparently the whole situation caused quite a stir.
Now, I don't know why George W. decided at that moment that he should put on his happy face when everyone around him was so very emotional and sad....I have no idea, what he said to Michelle Obama that made her smile....

I did express to this young woman that I wasn't starting an argument but I had to disagree with her....for a few reasons.....

One- the Battle Hymn of the Republic is indeed a stirring piece of music...very majestic, very patriotic sounding.....and the last lines that got old George going were...'Glory, glory Hallelujah...glory , glory, hallelujah....his truth is marching on'.....I pointed out to this young lady that those words were a celebration because even though all the horrible killings that have taken place in the past few weeks ....the two black men, in particular and the Orlando shootings....and of course these last five slain officers....that Gods truth....that he loves each and every one of still still marching on....
Two- I do know that , in the south....and Texas IS in the south...that it is considered quite the common thing to conclude a funeral service, or going to the cemetery , for the mourners to show great rejoicing in music, laughter and dance! So, this very well could be a custom that good old George was quite used to....

She still didn't agree with me....said he should have been left home with a baby sitter....and perhaps she was correct....but...I have no idea why George W. did what he did....but I know that the one thing we haven't seen in the last few weeks has been tolerance....but we've seen a lot of fear....

We saw intolerance for people that chose to be at a homosexual club by the man that shot them, we saw intolerance and judgement of the poor parents that had their child killed by the alligator, we saw fear and intolerance when the man was held down by two police officers and killed, we saw fear when the man was pulled over for a busted tail light and was killed while he still sat there with his seat belt on, while his girlfriend and her child watched.
You could hear the fear in the officers voice after he shot...repeating himself, over and over....
Intolerance and fills the Internet ....I read some comments from people who criticized a woman for praying for a missing five year old child....there was intolerance for this woman daring to pray for the safe return of the child, and intolerance for a God they said, allowed it to happen.

People are so quick to judge a God that they obviously do not have a personal relationship with.....if they did, then they would understand...they would understand that God is weeping for this child, and for the depravity of man that harms an innocent child...because in the beginning, God gave man a live His way or their own way....God is not a puppeteer pulling the strings of has a has a choice of whether to kill a child's mother and take the child, to kill a bunch of people having fun in a club, to take the lives of innocent people.

Intolerance and the reason that I did not argue further with this young woman, because you see....this young woman is black....and I also have two daughters who are black.....I get it....there is fear....where there is fear there is intolerance......

~ Marie

Friday, July 8, 2016


So, Don has gone to pick up Ben and Megan from the camp they've been at , since Monday.
I didn't want to go....I found it extremely difficult to force myself to what does every good wife do......gets her husband to go on his own.
Why didn't I want to go, you ask?
Well.......Don and I took them both to this camp on's a camp run by the group that run the programs that Ben and Megan attend when they are at home, during the week.
So, obviously, there are a lot of disabled adults in this program and at this camp.
You see, I'm very well aware that Ben and Megan are disabled.....but to look at them...especially wouldn't know that they are.....
When we went with them to take their meds to the nurse and to take them to their really get an overwhelming slap in the face as to how fortunate you are that our kids are at the level that they are.....
I have this problem whereas I THINK that our kids aren't as bad (disabled) as other kids we see....I've noticed this when I've had meetings at their program office and I see the other adults.....some are confined to wheel chairs, some have to be led by the hand, some can't talk very well , some can't handle their emotions very well and are very loud and scary, some have to be kept on a 'short tether' so to speak, so they don't take off, some are violent and unpredictable.....they are just so different then our kids.
When we took them to camp ....which I and they had been looking forward to for months....I found that observing all the various degrees of disability that other adults have to live with....scared the heck out of me.....all the way back to our camp, I sat very quietly to the point that Don was questioning what was wrong.....I struggled with my feelings and the only description I could come up with was...unsettled.
Even though I had been looking forward to the break....not necessarily from Ben but definitely from Megan.....I didn't want to leave them there, surrounded by these people that scared me but fortunately, Ben and Megan knew and felt comfortable with.......but I had to,...had to pull on the mom armour , let go and drive was then that I decided that I wasn't going back....I didn't want to be smacked in the face again....I didn't want to look into the faces of all the others that Ben and Megan spent the week with, ...I guess I just didn't want to face it all.

Maybe I'm just too old.

Anyways, Don has gone to get them.....I convince myself that that's alright because I do most of the taking and picking up for the wouldn't hurt that it was Don doing it this time.

I've struggled with this before.....when Ben has talked about moving to an apartment building that houses other disabled adults.....they have workers there to help them ....and I can understand why Ben wants to go...I really do....he's looking for that independence that most young adults desire....
But when I've seen the people that live there, I immediately think....'oh Ben won't fit in there, Ben is higher functioning'.....

Am I seeing my children through rose coloured glasses , so to speak?

Yes, they are disabled, ...yes, they can't live on their own.....yes, I work with them every single day, over and over and over.....hoping they'll achieve each day a tiny bit of independence....I know that they'll always need someone to look after them, I know that they'll never live on their own, but every day I work with them, everyday I remind them over and over, like a needle stuck on a broken record...( now that really is dating myself because a lot of people today wouldn't know what that expression meant!) ....I remind them to wash, to brush their teeth, do their hair, take their wear appropriate clothing, to act in public in an acceptable way, to be aware of others, to not act inappropriately, to consider others ( when I tell them that I need a few moments to myself) .....and on and on it's like you push the repeat button every single day.....
But when I look at these other disabled adults, I realize that we are fortunate , that Ben, Maya and Megan are fortunate.....the fortunate part is that my kids are accepted into this world , because of their disabilities , the unfortunate part is...because of their disabilities and even though they're not as low functioning as a lot of the people that they were with this week, they are still not accepted by their peers that are average functioning....they are not accepted at other adult functions , there isn't any group at any church that they would fit in with, that they would be accepted in, without feeling sorry for them.
I am physically disabled, and I've worked very hard to be accepted by other adults, to not be treated differently ...I worked hard, my mom worked hard...all those days of physio therapy, day in, day out....but it could only go so far, and I had to figure out things on my own. Unfortunately , with intellectually delayed adults, their brains are damaged, and in the case of our kids, damaged before they were even born , through their birth mothers' drinking....they can't figure things out on their own.

Does anyone deserve to be anyone want to be
I remember, quite clearly when one of our kids was about 7 or 8, he was upset and crying...he said to me through his tears....'mom, my brain is broken'....
I felt so helpless.....

Our son Ben, our daughters Maya and Megan...they look to their older siblings who are married or are in committed relationships....and they want that too....they want that desperately....they accept their limitations on some things but when it comes to the emotional level...they are just like everyone else ....will they achieve that in their's hard to say...but I hope so...I think everyone deserves that in their lives....someone that loves and cares about them in a relationship that isn't with mom and dad, or brother and sister....

So, I sit here at the trailer, waiting for Don to bring Ben and Megan back....and all these thoughts run through my mind....some are a little disjointed and out of context....but it leaves me challenged as to how I can help them more to be ready for this world when Don and I are no longer here to be able to do it for them.

~ Marie

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Presentation

I don't like talking about Maya's illness that I thought developed out of the blue in the last days of 2012.
In retrospect,there were signs for a number of years previous but we felt it had more to do with her intellectual disability and certainly not any mental illness....that never entered our minds...

I don't like people commenting about how long it's been since she was last ill.
I don't like to even give it, it's proper name.....mental see, there is such a social stigma attached to this chemical in balance of the brain.
If she had cancer, people wouldn't avoid her, if she had diabetes , people wouldn't have denied her a second chance at joining in on something. If it had been any other illness, people would have said how strong and courageous she was for pushing on, not giving up....that she was a hero....
They look at her and are afraid, I think realizing, like cancer...the possibility of it happening to them and in the same breath, denying that it was a possibility that it would ever happen to them.
It makes people uncomfortable, always watching her, wondering if that latest reaction to a situation or those words leaving her lips, are an indicator that she's slipping into another episode.
I know, because I live with those feelings.....Every . Single . Day.
My husband says...'stop your fussin'.....but I do.

Last night, I found myself in a very uncomfortable husband had sent me an email from the local college. Apparently, it is Mental Health awareness week....everybody is turning everything green....why they chose the colour green is beyond me....isn't that the colour we wear on St Patrick's day?.....and no, being part Irish I bristle at the inference that it's the Irish that only have this problem!
Anyways, this email was a poster of a presentation at the college last did intrigue me to attend ....' Awareness and education about mental health and RECOVERY.....I write that last word in capitals because that's what jumped out at me, .....recovery......I guess I've been on tenderhooks for the last few years, living in fear that there wasn't a recovery....perhaps the same way that a cancer patient who goes into remission always wonders if they will come out of remission.

I wanted to know about recovery...was there really recovery?

So, I decided to myself.....Don was, it was just me.

I arrived at the college and found my way to the Auditorium and took a myself....all by myself....others were milling about, chatting....playing little 'mental health' games out in the foyer...buying t-shirts, putting on green beaded necklaces, or little green ribbons....I barely glanced at those activities, it bothered me that people were being so lighthearted and jovial about a subject that had turned my life inside out, upside down and had scraped it raw.

As I sat in the auditorium, they had three large projector screens, doing what they do best...projecting.....statistics and different slogans to do with mental health....they were on a loop, so as it went through the second time...I felt I couldn't take anymore of the info blasting my consciousness , so I looked down and away...pulled my cell phone out...cause that's what everyone does when they don't know what else to do.....and texted my husband....telling him that I was at the college but wished I hadn't come because I preferred my head in the sand pose. Of course, he wrote back...assuring me that I didn't have to stay...but of course I did....because maybe I would receive a glimmer of hope.....and beside the fact, they gave you a raffle ticket to win a free prize if you stayed to the end!

So, I stayed....not for the ticket...but I really wanted to know if there was....hope.

I sat there for two hours.

The first 45 minutes was a mental health awareness advocate person that gave you all the rah rah stuff, go team mental health awareness stuff...all her percentages and brain is already overcrowded and there wasn't any way it would remember all that....she made it sound like in this enlightened age that everyone had or should have, a modern, politically correct reaction to mental illness....but we all know that they don't....there is still a very strong reaction to the general public about it...I sat there wondering if she had really had anyone extremely close to her, someone that she loved and would do anything for, whom she knew that their life, as they had known it, was changed forever by this terrible disease.....or.....did she just know about it through all her research and presentations as she traversed the countryside, talking to people.

Then they had, a quiz! A quiz to participate with ....using your cell answer the right statistic for the right win a gift card! What fun!


The winner's name was flashed on all three of the screens....excitement filled the air.

I sat there...hoping the next presenter would be different, that the next presenter would give me some hope....and he did...somewhat....he didn't have the same issue as Maya but his was a very deep depression that took over his life for several years...but now, he counts himself as recovered! Wonderful....but he was a professor at the college, he usually travelled around the countryside with the first presenter, making their presentations, in tandem...enlightening people on the political correctness and acceptance of mental health awareness. He was a professor, so intellectually his brain had always performed well for him....I highly doubt that his birth mother had given him a life sentence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome through her alcohol and drug use....permanently damaging his brain, and to add insult to injury....people with FAS only get worse as they get older...never better.

...but that's what Maya deals with every waking moment.

So when it was done, and I didn't win any raffle gift.....surprise, surprise....I left....and as I drove home my thoughts were whirling.

Had it been worthwhile going to the presentation....I guess so,...the last presenter did, by his very presence,....attest to the fact that there was recovery.....did I appreciate all the things that the promoters did to make they're evening a resounding success...which they all thought had happened and were quite busy by the end of the evening giving themselves pats on the back....not really....they were making light of a subject that I took VERY seriously.....and as for them trying to convince everyone that EVERYONE accepts mental illness now.....just as many of the other life situations are being accepted by our rather avant garde me, it's still at the stages of the huge controversy like over the transgendered bathrooms....some agree and some don't....and some will never change their minds no matter how politically correct it's suppose to be.

I had difficulty going to sleep last night....I knew I was just as weary as I am every night,...I took some Tylenol to ease the constant pain that I experience and tried to go to sleep...only to be awakened by searing pain every where in my body that the Tylenol wasn't preventing. I realized that for the two hours I sat there and the hours before, I had held my body rigid and tense...and now it was screaming back at me.

Yes, everyone is a victim of mental illness, everyone is affected in some way, shape or form.....and it will never be accepted by will always have a stigma to it.....there are always going to be people that are afraid...afraid that It will happen to them.

~ Marie

Monday, May 2, 2016

Mothers Day.

One would think that if you have NINE....count 'em.....NINE children....that you would LOVE Mothers Day!

You would think that every advertisement leading up to THE day....would certainly put you in the mood to look forward to the day....
It leads to your children....well, some of them, thinking.....oh, it's that time again.....what do we get her...well, we certainly can't afford that....maybe a nice card....oh shoot, forgot to get the card,...oh well, I'm saving the environment, don't ya know....a phone call....that's the ticket....I'll just call....what do you mean, why didn't you call my mother....what...yes, I know it's my mother, but I forgot...I was hoping that you'd remember...what time is you still think she's up...I have five minutes.....and on it goes....

Laying stress and guilt on the assorted Wettlaufers...well, on some of them anyways....some of them....couldn't care less and you'll never hear from them unless they've had an accident and want you to come and perform last rites or something...or final forgiveness for all the nasty stuff they've done to you over the years.....

As for the mom.....well, the mom is filled with dread all week long, even weeks before when she's reminded through all the confounded commercials telling people to show their love....after's Mother's Day!
Why, why is she filled with dread.....because...from the time she wakes up in the morning til the time she goes to bed on that Sunday....she waits and waits for those four words.....

Happy Mothers Day , mom!

......and when she doesn't hear from all of her children,....she wonders why....why couldn't they be bothered....she gets depressed, she gets down in the dumps.....she goes to bed sad.

I went to a funeral of an elderly lady a few months me she had nine kids. At her funeral, one of her grown kids.....very grown since this woman was a great grandma.....said...'well, got your always said that you'd love for us all to come to church someday.....well, here we are'!
There was uncomfortable giggling but I thought it was kind of had asked for one Sunday...that's all...she wasn't looking for extravagant gifts or cards...just one Sunday...that's all. Well, I guess they all finally came, but mom wasn't there to see it, not to have the pleasure of having all her kids around her.
Kids don't realize just how much joy that it would have given their mom.....

You see, I really can't speak for all moms...but I'm pretty sure that most moms are just looking for affirmation.....
Affirmation that even though she made mistakes along the way, after all, she was human.....that her kids were affirming that they knew she tried her best, that she didn't give up, that she tried to be the best mom that she could be....and that they appreciated her.

.....and on Mother's Day .....that affirmation comes in those four words.

That's it...that's it in a nutshell.

~ Marie

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Latest....

The latest mini renovation in our house is the main bathroom...when we bought our home 35 years was the only bathroom! Our home is your typical three bedroom bungalow built in the 1950's. Back then, they weren't thinking 'spa oasis' like they so often do now, they weren't thinking, spacious, 'we've just have to have double sinks to save our marriage' ...they were thinking 'practical' ' compact' ....a place where you certainly didn't go to luxuriate! It's tiny, tiny, tiny......about 9 x 6.... Feet, that is.

About ten years ago, we did another little reno in this tiny bathroom.....we were putting two additions onto our house and decided we'd throw the bathroom in for good measure...we couldn't make it bigger, so we updated...we replaced the tub and the tub surround, the vanity and sink, the toilet and the flooring....we also pulled all the plastic....yes, plastic tiles off the surround walls! We replaced that with wainscotting.

At first, I liked the linoleum that we put on the floor but unfortunately it didn't stand up to our many dog and people traffic, and I'd always thought that one day I'd like to replace it with something more durable....after much research I decided that porcelain tiles were the golden ticket!

That idea went on the back shelf until two things happened in the last six was, since I hit the grand age of 65 , I was now entitled to Old Age security pension and Canada Savings pension. Now, in case you think I hit the lottery, believe me...I didn't. But....since even though I've worked , looking after ten million kids for the las 42 years, I haven't held an out side job in that time frame....when you don't have an outside job then you're not putting anything into the government coffers, so when it's time to collect these two pensions, well, there's really not a lot to collect from!

My husband , the accountant already had those wheels spinning as to what these extra few pennies could go towards....' We could put some aside for this, and maybe some for that '......"Whoa," I said....."I haven't collected any outside money consistently since before I was married! I kind of like this feeling,..I'd kind of like a say in what I can do with it!"
The second thing that happened was our old dog Maggie....11-1/2 years old and in the last two months she's had two bladder infections and this normally urine holding dog, was relieving herself whenever the urge the house...ew....yes. One time, was when husband and I were out, and the kids were suppose to be watching the dogs....ya....right. We came home to liquid , on the floor of our tiny bathroom, where it had run under the quarter round trim beside the bath tub. When , Don pulled up the quarter round trim to clean the area well, the trim also pulled up some of the linoleum! It looked terrible....I was in teeny tiny bathroom looked gross.
Brilliant light bulb went ping! I can use my two pensions to get new tile...porcelain tile! Yes!
The plan was put into motion....we went and chose the tiles....then we chose a tiler to install them....there was no way the accountant could handle that!
Then.....I got the idea into my head that since we had this lovely new tile that we should get a new vanity that looked a little more up to, we went back to the tile place, and chose a new vanity and sink....not an expensive one...the pension only goes so far...and it is a tiny I've mentioned a time or without further ado...some pictures to show the process and the final look! ( if I can get them uploaded, downloaded or what you want to call it!

First the accountant removed toilet and vanity and used a heat gun to painstakingly remove all the old linoleum .....

Then Ted, the tiler....came and put down the mesh.....

...then the 'scratch coat '.....

...the next day...( this was a three day process) , he came and laid the tile

Isn't the tile lovely....good old Ted, with the bad knees, did a great job!

..All done!...except of course for the grouting, which he came and did on the third day.....

We passed on the $1600 vanity the accountant liked, and chose this one...much more in line with my pension! :-)

The very important toilet was reinstalled so that this old lady didn't have to make any more precarious, dangerous trips downstairs, in the middle of the night, with a flash light ( yes, we did eventually install a second bathroom in the basement in the last 35 years....having lots of kids kind of forces your hand on that)....

Then yesterday afternoon, the accountant husband and the sound engineer son in law, put together and installed the new vanity....and voila! My new bathroom is put back together...fully usable and lovely! Still tiny, but sometimes tiny is good...less space to clean, don't ya know....!

Isn't it phystarious!

~ Marie

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Half Way Thru February......

I will freely admit to anyone that cares to listen that the first three months of the year, are not my fact on my best day...I endure them.
I just want to get on with spring...which is my favourite season, and I realize there have been many cold Aprils, it doesn't matter....April is Spring...c'mon Spring.....
No more heavy, cumbersome coats, mitts,!..even though I own a pair, I rarely wear them unless I'm absolutely forced by the weather, to do so.....aren't you about ready for the flowers to be coming up buds on the trees, the grass greening up and milder temperatures? I am!

Today, it's snowing! We really haven't had a lot of snow this winter...eldest son, who lives three hours north claims that we really don't know what winter is truly all about...and that's just fine by me! He can keep his -35 degree Celsius temperatures!
We had a mild spell a few weeks ago and the robins returned they are so confused...I can just hear one saying to the other...whose brilliant idea was it to come back early! Can't you just hear the bickering and the pointing of the beaks!

Oh well, as in other years, this too shall pass.....hopefully, sooner, rather than later....we will once again enjoy the lilacs blooming and the daffodils coming up...the lily of the valley taking over my garden and my beautiful tulips nodding at me as I walk down the front pathway....

~ Marie

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Little Drama......

So, it was a busy, busy weekend.

We started it out on Friday, of Don's few remaining Friday's off...yes, the company is putting the kibosh on Fridays off after March.....sigh...not happy....
Anyways, Friday morning we met with our financial advisor and received some good advice on how to go forward since they're not allowing Don to retire.....then Don suggested some lunch at a restaurant was lovely.....then he suggested seeing a movie that I had been wanting to didn't start til four though so we had some time to kill....we went and looked at porcelain tile that we want to put down in the bathroom....then we went to my sisters and helped her with some appliances that she needed moved....well, Don helped.....then we went back to the movie theatre where we met my sister and daughter Maya....they had also wanted to see it.....then, sister hadn't eaten supper yet so we went to yet another restaurant....Don and I just shared an appetizer and dessert ( we were still mostly full from lunch).....then finally home...a long but enjoyable day....

Saturday dawned bright and early, I will admit that we lazed about for most of the morning then accomplished a few minor tasks before Jenn and Ryan arrived to deliver sisters' island that Ryan made for her...he did an amazing job...

- today the granite comes to be installed on top!

Then, Jenn and Ryan left with the baby to go and visit friends overnight while we kept their boys here...oh, and the really need to experience three large sheepdogs in a small house...all at once....

On Sunday, some went off to church and in the afternoon, we were planning a small birthday celebration for our grand daughter's her first birthday this Friday...Don and I won't be able to travel up there , so we had a mini pre birthday celebration before they left to travel back up north.

We (I) decided that I was really too worn out to cook so thankfully a good amount of one of my pension cheques was still sitting in the bank so we decided to splurge and order in supper!
The decision was made between Chinese and Pizza and it was decided that Chinese was the favoured choice.

There were a lot of people in our little house, which wasn't unusual....17... Although two were at the local ice arena for awhile because Maya had to timekeep some hockey games and Ben decided to go and watch.

Since there were so many of us , which would require hauling up and extra table from the basement, I decided to just go buffet style and those, like the little kids, could sit at the table if they like and the rest could park themselves where they wanted to......the table was full of kids and Ryan and Jenn....Leslie and I were in the living room, and Don and son in law James were kind of standing about....

Leslie's daughter Verity, casually came into the living room and mentioned to Leslie that she might want to check on Jairus...he was in the bathroom making a funny noise....Leslie immediately went to check, and a moment later we heard her frantically imploring Jairus to unlock the door.....unbeknownst to any of us, Jairus had left the table, where he had been eating and gone to the was caught in his throat....he opened the bathroom door and Leslie and James rushed in to help him....he could still breathe but was obviously still having a problem with something in his esophagus wasn't long before the ambulance was called and I had about ten ( no exaggeration ) emergency personnel trooping thru my little house and down to my tiny six by nine bathroom! Jairus wasn't in distress or anything but they thought to be on the safe take him by ambulance .( in case he started to choke) to the hospital....Jairus was able to walk out , on his own and climb into the ambulance where they took him off the McMaster Childrens hospital.

Unfortunately, Maya arrived home before they left and totally became upset at the thought of something wrong with her nephew and that he was in the ambulance....Maya doesn't deal well with emergency things and it's become even more sensitive, since her illness.

We sat at home and waited for news....James (Jairus' dad ) had travelled in the ambulance also eventually , we decided to go on with Junipers birthday stuff and have opening of presents and birthday cake.

We still waited....Ryan and Jenn, and their kids and dog, left....then when the discussion of how late it was becoming, and the rest of the kids were getting tired....Leslie remarked that even after she bundled up the rest of the kids to go and get James and Jairus ( when they were ready) they'd have to go back to our church to get James car, before heading home....fortunately, they had the car keys here at the house, so the decision was made for Don and I to travel to the church, pick up the car, take it to the hospital for James and Jairus to get home with, and then Leslie and the rest of the kids were able to get was getting late and it's normally a 45 minute ride to their house from ours.

So, that's what we did....when Don delivered James' keys to him in Emerg, the medical staff was just getting ready to take Jairus to the surgery to see what as in his throat....
When Jairus was born he was born with significant breathing difficulties and we've always known that he has some swallowing issues, especially if he puts too much in his mouth at one time and then tries to swallow it....when he was 14 months old, Jairus had a doctor name Walton, who inserted a Mickey opening connection , to attach a G tube for tube feelings .....well, last night, the doctor who,was at the hospital, that ended up,working on Jairus , fourteen years later...was Dr Walton! He was able to clear Jairus' esophagus of ' a lot of food' ( they put Jairus out for it) and then afterward he told James it went well....a few hours later, Leslie was able to text that they were coming home .

So, glad that Jairus came thru it all just fine....he's such a special young man and we all love him dearly.....

Never a dull moment at our house!

~ Marie

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

They said no!

The last two posts have been filled with all the thoughts and concerns about Don being offered an early retirement package from work...they had a fancier title....Voluntary Separation Agreement. The first step after you get this offer is to sign a letter of interest. That is handed into HR...then you wait a couple of weeks to see if you are approved or to me...that's a lot of work for Don's case, he found out on Friday that they're not prepared to let him go yet....simply because over the years Don has perfected his job, established certain ways of attaining the information they desire for pricing analysis and projections...he's also the guy they want in their pocket at negotiations because he can plug numbers into his formulations and quickly tell them the numbers they need....the trouble is, they've kind of turned a blind eye to this all, haven't really noticed that he's getting up there in age, just three years from 'official' retirement age.....and they've done nothing in regards to training someone to do his job!
So, they said no.......if I had been them I wouldn't have offered it at all until I had a plan....but...big business doesn't operate that way...the computer puts you on a list of people over a certain age and so all those people receive notification.
Personally, this also gives us time ..... Time to get some debt paid down..before the next VSA comes out, time to perhaps save for another trip because we realized that with our finances the way they are now that if he retired , there wouldn't be any more big trips...there still might not be but at least now there's a possibility....
......and hopefully big business gets their act together and starts training someone else, because Don asked that if another VSA comes out that the next time they won't turn him down....I think he was really getting the idea that retirement would be really nice....he also wants to get another part time income generating position going....he loves his continuing Ed teaching he does in the evenings but it's not dependable, semester to semester...

So, right gives us a little breathing room, so to speak.....we'll still keep our appointment with the financial advisor this Friday and get some advice on the next steps....sometimes it's helpful to get objective advice...

So, ya......changes not so huge coming along, but this is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for when they do....this is OUR wake up call.

It's a good thing. :-)

~ Marie

Monday, January 11, 2016

So.....last week,Don and I went to our financial planner....his name is Dom(Dominic).... Dom kind of reminded me of our dentist....let me explain.....I've known my dentist for over thirty years...we went to the same high school, at the same time.....I will admit that sometimes I wonder if he is a good dentist....some of the work he does on my teeth doesn't seem to last very long and I end up going back to him....but that's beside the point....he talks.....and talks....and talks....and of course because he's got his fingers and tools and cotton tubes in your just have to was kind of like that last Friday when we went to see Dom....I was hoping for answers....what I got was a whole half hour of the financial climate of the world , especially the United States and the politics of Canada and the USA....then there was some talk of our finances....only enough to realize that Dom doesn't have the answers we need yet....he needs numbers....lots and lots of numbers....before he can give his opinion on whether this is a good move...for Don to this time.....he says that Don's skills are highly transferable ...meaning that he can easily use the skills that he's used for the last 30 years to obtain some employment elsewhere...not full time ...maybe 3 days a week....enough to help out to pay the bills that won't stop coming in even if he retires....
Dom also talked a lot about the man that owned the financial company that Dom works for....he died over the holidays...58 years laid heavy on my see, part of me is concerned about the future if Don retires and the other part is concerned if he doesn't.
Don is coming up on his third anniversary of his surgery for Crohn's Disease...
Three years ago the doctors assured us that the question wasn't IF the Crohn's came back but WHEN.....
I don't want Don to continue working and the disease comes back and the quality of his remaining years is poor.....I don't want the working years to continue just for my financial peace of mind at the expense of Don's quality of life.....
Don and I are a married couple that truly enjoy each other's company....we enjoy being together, sharing little day trips on his Friday offs....which apparently will come to an end in April, whether he retires or not.....the company has decided that they don't want employees working longer hours and getting every other Friday off anymore...doesn't work well with their plans, everyone will go back to working shorter days and working every, gone are our little day trips, every other Friday...they are kind of a sanctuary for get out of the house and away from the kids for a few hours.....
We enjoy getting away for longer trips, we enjoy travelling.....we enjoy going to things closer to home....concerts with the local Philharmonic, live theatre, movies, trips up north to visit the other grandkids that we don't see as often, sitting in the living room, having our tea and talking...just talking......or even just sitting in front of the television, holding hands......watching a show or a movie....

We just enjoy one, when we are scheduled to go back to see Dom , the financial planner again in two weeks......hopefully to get more answers this time....and Don may hear from his bosses this week, to see if they're going to agree to his first, I was filled with kicking and screaming...metaphorically the idea of him retiring...but now that the shock has worn off......I'm content....content to see what the next few weeks see just how our lives are going to change.....because it's not all the things I spoke about in the last's not the trips, it's not the material things, it's just not.....

It's all about being together , realizing and accepting that this time in our life has come and stepping out in faith and courage and just enjoying the moment.

The sun is shining this morning, it's very cold......we shall see what today brings....and hopefully not worry about tomorrow.

~ Marie

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Changes, Changes, Changes!

There are big goins' on in our household right now.....huge!

Our lives as we've known them for the last 42 years are about to change.

Don has been offered another Voluntary Separation Agreement....the first time this happened was last February ......we were knocked off our feet....Don's good work friend, Suzanna, was also given the offer back then and she decided to take it....she's a few years older than Don, her husband's been retired for a few years, and she's been threatening to retire for it wasn't a big surprise that she took the deal.

The Deal........isn't such a great deal for working just over 30 years for the same company, and it's the same deal they offered the last, there's nothing more sweetening the pot......, why is this time different then the last time.....disgruntleness, I'd say....
I don't think that's a word...I just made it Don is tired of all the work politics.....

It's a HUGE decision......for one thing.....Susanna doesn't still have any dependants living at home....we do......three of them, that put our monthly running costs up more than if there was just the two of us.....yes, they pay rent every month, but it really doesn't cover Maya's supplements...( a huge cost, those things aren't cheap) food, hydro, water...Don just spoke to Ben the other day because he leaves the faucet running water while he shaves....well, we have a monthly water bill...we pay for it coming in, we pay for it going out ( sewage) .....hopefully he stops but Ben gets things into his head about how he does stuff , in his words, ' I always do it that way', might as well be written in stone!
Our mortgage is still really high.....why?.....because almost ten years ago, we realized that these guys were getting bigger, adult size, and because of their delays, they won't be leaving here anytime soon, so we had to enlarge the living space of the house.....unfortunately that put our mortgage way up there...where it still know how it works, most of the time you seem to be spending all the time just paying the, that's a concern...not that we thought we'd have it paid off in three years ( the time he'd traditionally retire at 65)... But....we thought we'd have a few other financial obligations paid down by that point too.

We had plans.....yes, plans, you know those things we all make in our lives...some good, some bad....but, still...plans.
You know what they say about the best laid plans......

-1- more travelling....we like gets us away from things for awhile, develops great memories, gives us some alone time....well, we had some travel plans ...going back to Maui with Don's brother and wife, another river cruise, back to Tanglewood for a concert with the Boston Pops, out to the Seattle area, down to South Carolina.....and we can't forget the River Walk in San of my favourites.....

-2- upgrades on our house....we've had dogs in our family for thirty years....our hardwood floors LOOK like we've had dogs for thirty years....they need replacing....because they're so old, they just can't be sanded and redone.....we were going to enlarge our back preparation to retirement..( we figured we'd be spending a lot of time there) ...we may still try and do that because we will probably have to give up our trailer....the place where we go in the summer for our family holidays's very expensive to keep it where it's parked, where we've enjoyed our summers for 38 years.....our roof....even though it was redone when the additions were put on, I see the shingles not looking as smooth as they used, you know that's going to need doing......

-3- vehicles...right now we have two....a van and a car...both are older ...'06 and '08....they're not going to last forever ....we still can't go down to one because as Don pointed out to the financial advisor yesterday...I'm chief administrator for all our kids programming....that means a lot of driving and meetings....... What to do, what to do......

Don would have to get some part time work to supplement things...which he's more than willing to do, to add to his second career ...that's teaching continuing education at two local colleges in the evening...but those positions are sporadic....depending on enrolment, something a little more stable must be procured....

So, yes....huge changes in our household...huge...big decisions to make here....a little overwhelming is an understatement.....but that's where trust comes in ....we are trusting that our Father will give us the direction in which to go....we are trusting in our financial planner to give us good advice...we are trusting that as we have to stop travelling, give up our holiday spot, our trailer, our PLANS......that we will have a peace about this, a peace that passes all understanding . Philippians 4:7

~ Marie