Monthly Archives: February 2016

The bleedin’ obvious!

The ‘she shack’ renovation entered its final stage this week, the flooring. The project itself actually began because we decided to restore the dining room floor. My new craft room used to be an incomplete room that’s attached to the dining room, the new tiled floor will continue from the dining room into it, with under floor heating of course. Our contractor has been great, but that is exactly what he is, he has done most of the work to date, so now it’s the tile guy’s turn to takeover.

For almost 4 weeks now my contractor & his son have been working in an un-insulated shell of a room, with an outside door open, some days in cold weather. It’s quite a large room & although we have big cast iron radiators, it is not really enough to heat the room effectively. However, I’ve not had one single complaint about this, they just got on with it. Today, while I was stood in the line up at the bank (cashing a cheque to pay the tile guys!) my contractor called me. I was on my way home after dropping the kids & walking the dog, so he had let himself into my house, with the tile guys, & disarmed the alarm. At first I thought he must have set it off again, which he did accidentally a couple of weeks ago, but after skirting around the real reason why he’d called, he finally asked me if there was anyway to turn up the temperature in the dining room because the tile guys were cold!

SERIOUSLY?

Well pardon me for pointing out the bleedin’ obvious here, but as I pointed out to him, that is why they are fitting under floor heating!!

Well you can just imagine what I really wanted to say, it would have been choice that’s for sure, but as I’ve mentioned, he’s been really good so I didn’t want to spoil the good relationship we’d built up. There was a lengthy silence on the end of the phone, so long that I’d thought we’d been cut off. I think he felt a bit stupid having asked the question without thinking about it first. He was quick to say ‘ok, goodbye, see you later,’ & funnily enough, the subject wasn’t mentioned when I returned home a short while later.

Just what the doctor ordered…

When I can’t be a part of family activities I don’t see why they can’t enjoy themselves without me. Yes we all wish it were different, and as it happens my younger son didn’t want to ski today anyway, so we got to hang out together. My elder on the other hand saw big fat flakes falling from the sky & there was no stopping him – which is great. So off hubby & no.1 went into the unknown, because for most of the day you wouldn’t even know there were mountains it was such a white out. No.2 & I packed up & checked out. We then strolled across to Blackcomb to meet a friend for coffee. The mum who makes your ears bleed but is interesting & entertaining with it so I don’t mind hanging out with her.

She started by apolising for texting me so early (9am, so not that early when you have kids!), she was desperate to meet at her hotel so I could see the room they’d been upgraded to… it was only the penthouse suite! Apparently because they had arrived so late the night before, & the hotel was overbooked, they were the last to check-in which went in their favour. Her husband & daughter, left early this morning to go skiing. He’d made her promise that she would check out on time & not continue her total lock-down. He also had to remind her that she had something in every bathroom – all 3 of them! Honestly, a bathroom each for goodness sake. She had decided not to go skiing so she could enjoy the free luxury. I was totally with her, why not, I would!

We order coffee & the server asked for her room number – she had no idea, having been so taken with the room itself she hadn’t taken a blind bit of notice. She then continued to talk about her upgrade, this time even making my son laugh. When she checked out she had promised to text her husband to confirm that she had left the room willingly & not frog marched out by security.

It was just what I needed right now. My knee is swelling & is achy more & more each day, along with the rest of my body. Having coffee with someone who can completely take your mind off it all is just what the doctor ordered!

Sat on by a hippo!!

Evil invisible critters that make my body ache more than ever. Last night I only managed one glass of wine before I had to head to bed. This is clearly not like me, rarely is a bottle of wine left half drunk. I didn’t sleep that well either, but then none of us do when we’re not in our own beds & all four of us are in the same room together. The boys were awake far too early, but there was no way they were putting lights on at 6.30am. When I finally managed to raise myself out of my pit, I felt like a hippo had sat on me in the night.

After packing everyone off to the slopes again, I showered in the hope it would loosen me up & make me feel more human. Nope! But I still strolled out with Tess. I was a bit mean and popped her coat on so I could let her off leash on the Valley trail & she wouldn’t venture too far. Needless to say she wasn’t happy. Normally I would need to wear layers & layers of Icebreaker, & use toe & hand warmers. I knew something wasn’t right when I had to take my gloves off in a chilly temperature of only 2 degrees. I had to unzip my jacket, & I was only wearing a thin long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. At one point I began to feel dizzy & had to sit on a log for a few minutes.

When we got back to the hotel, after walking for over an hour, I felt terrible. I was so hot & sweaty that my shirt was stuck to me, and sweat ran down my brow. I immediately jumped in a cool shower. With the balcony door wide open and sat in only my underwear, I finally cooled down. After more painkillers for my poor achy joints, I began to feel better, fuzzy, but better.

After being around sick people for the last 2 weeks, including my eldest, my compromised immune system finally couldn’t cope. It’s interesting how I don’t seem to get the nasty cold symptoms everyone else gets, my body just feels worse – a lot worse. I think I’d rather have the cold to be honest, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve been trampled on. I wish there was some way of treating that, the painkillers help but they’re not miracle workers. Hopefully after my quiet day today – writing of course! – I’ll be over the worst of it, just in time to start dealing with increasing pain in my knee again!

Blasted Church!!

Today we were very naughty parents & took the boys out of school so we could go skiing. We were going away anyway this weekend, but when hubby had the day off, post call, it seemed rude not to take the opportunity, and have an extra day. Once again I was left behind, which saddens me greatly, especially when they return tired & full of stories with the bruises to match. Instead, Tess & I walked the Valley trial before pitching up at the hotel to blag an early check-in. It was just my luck that a large conference had just checked out & all the rooms had been occupied the night before. Not only that, but all 5 million of the candidates were camped out in the lobby where I was hoping to vegetate & write while I waited. Normally I would be fine & move onto a coffee shop, but with having the dog I couldn’t go anywhere else. Also, our hotel does pretty good free latte’s, so why would I pay for them?

The receptionist took pity on me & at least found me chair, while promising to have the room ready within a couple of hours, this was at 11.45am. A short while later, while perched on a plastic chair next to a pile of ‘Peak’ magazines, I learn from the group next to me that they are waiting for the bus to pick them up at 3pm – NO WAY! Just when I thought that sitting the car might actually be a more comfortable, quieter option, the large crowd that were hogging a sofa on the other side of the lobby begin to gather their things, they were going for lunch – YAY! I gather up bags, coffee, coat & dog ready to stake my claim on a spot. Fantastic, the entire sofa to myself, a coffee table, & now a quieter lobby, until…

Less than an hour later when they all return! It would appear that I became invisible while sat there. The same crowd that had vacated that spot earlier parked themselves in the exact same spot, & almost on me. Some guy produced a board game & that was that, my bags were trod on, sat on, had coats were piled on them. Then there was my poor dog who was lying quietly at my feet one minute, only to be bombarded with people wanting to pet her. It is also important to mention that the people nearest to me had some personal hygiene issues, don’t these people know that soap & deodorant are very inexpensive essentials. Honestly, we go on about areas being free from cologne because of allergies, why shouldn’t it be the same for body odour? However, I wasn’t giving up that spot. I even had a go at the guy next to me, who was a particularly ripe specimen, about not having respect for my personal space. I claimed that spot after they’d left, therefore it was MINE! He apologized, but did he move, heck no, just turned back to the coffee table & continued playing.

It was almost regular check-in time, 4pm, when I finally got the all clear to go to my room. Wouldn’t you just know it, at the same time the bus arrived to pick up the fermenting conference goers, & by now the lobby was packing them in like sardines in a can. At last, I was leaving. Then, just as I unloaded the last couple of bags from the dolly, my tired & hungry skiers walked out of the elevator. Great, there was cheese & wine set up in the lobby now, we can grab a free glass of Blasted Church on the way to the hot tub, & then everything will be right in the world again… until I discovered that I’d packed everyone else’s swimwear but mine!!

Completely out of place!

The mystery of my knee continues, to the point that my doctor is sending me to see a colleague of his for another opinion. It is now much better than it was a few weeks ago, but when my doctor examined it today his very words were ‘it’s completely out of place!” This is reassuring in that I’m not imagining it, & you can actually see that my knees are asymmetrical, but it’s also a little bit scary that even my rheumatologist is stumped as to what to do with it next. The joint was injected a month ago, took 3 weeks to respond, which then gave me about 10 days of relief, & now it’s slowing creeping back to how it felt in the beginning (when I ignored it because I thought I’d just twisted it). It’s highly likely that I’ll need it injecting again – oh joy! -but this will probably be the last one. A third stab at it puts me at high risk of rupturing something, which would be all I need on top of everything else.

The saga still has no end in sight, & now I will have to add another appointment into my diary. I can’t complain really, I have every confidence in my doctor, & respect him for getting a fresh pair of eyes to look at the scans etc. Maybe this guy will see something, or have some suggestions as to cause, diagnosis & treatment. To be honest this is now been a problem for 5 months now, I’m passed the point of wanting to know why, I would just like it to get better.

DIY music…

Until ‘it’ began to rule most of my life, & the kids took over the rest, hubby & I used to enjoy the challenges that decorating our home presented us with. We’ve always owned old properties, & therefore always had something we needed to update/repair/renovate as a result. I used to love helping my mum decorate when I was young, & fortunately for me I enjoyed it enough that I haven’t forgotten what she taught me. Essentially it’s all in the preparation, just like many things I do daily like following a recipe or making a card or scrapbook page. If you take the time to prepare the job in hand it will make the actual task itself a lot easier & probably be more successful. It’s now been nearly 2 months since I began stripping the wallpaper off two of our bathrooms & now one is almost finished & the other is in the final stages, about to be painted.

As you can imagine it is not only physically challenging for me to be doing this type of DIY, it also has brutal consequences that can last days, even weeks, after just a few hours of painting. That’s one of the reasons it’s taken me so long. Part of me just wants to get on with it & then I can recover, but then sometimes I find I just can’t bare the thought of inflicting more pain upon myself. Today was a rebellious day for me I decided to just crack on with it, the result being that I’ve now maxed out on the number of painkillers I can take. However, the satisfaction of now seeing that all the hard work & pain was worth it is a feeling I haven’t felt in years. It brought back fond memories of hubby & I embarking on some very time consuming projects that would take months to complete. We always had music playing while we worked, the songs now remind us of those individual projects, for example, we were stripping wood & decorating our bedroom in the Victorian terraced house we owned in Liverpool when Nickleback first became big in the UK. Right now I’m into Ed Sheeran so ‘X’ will always remind me of decorating the bathrooms & the renovation of our dining room & my ‘she shack’.

So much of our lives can be associated with certain songs, or pieces of music, it is a very powerful tool that I always try to use in my writing. You can usually tell  who or what I was into at the time I wrote a particular novel because somehow I will have incorporated it in the story; this was very evident in my first novel ‘Bruises’, which was named after one of my favourite Train songs. It was actually listening to music while walking my dog that inspired me to write.

Mouth before brain – AGAIN!!

It was far too early to be stood on the side of the pool this morning; 7.40am & only 3 mouthfuls of coffee had been consumed. The last school swim meet of the season for child no.1 & school had requested parents drop the competitors at UBC aquatic centre – otherwise it would have been an even earlier start if they’d taken the school bus. At some point in the last couple if weeks the teacher who coaches the team asked for parent volunteers to help out with timing. I don’t remember actually saying I would be able to help, I think I mentioned that I might be able to. It would appear that might actually really means can!

So there I am hanging out with some of the other poor unfortunate mum’s, & it was a relief to find that one mum in particular was also there. When I say she’s a mouth on legs, I mean it in the nicest way possible. Although my ears are bleeding by the time we part, she is always very entertaining & can turn the most tedious of situations into quite the event. While stood talking (believe it of not!) we witnessed one of our rather substantial grade 3 students pull out a large tub of gummy worms & proceed to offer them around – FOR BREAKFAST. It was barely 8am for the love of god! As you can imagine neither of us could understand why a parent would allow their child to even bring such a thing. It was another one of those moments when my mouth worked faster than my brain. I turned to her & declared that having candy for breakfast was clearly why he was overweight, but at least he won’t sink. After almost inhaling coffee she agreed with me, I apologized for my mouth, & she announced that she thought it but her mouth hadn’t had as much caffeine as mine yet.

Fast forward to the first event that this child was competing in. I’m stood with my clipboard looking all official, & I’m partnered with another mum from our school. The gun starts the race & the child belly flops into the water. It was painful to watch, but at least the kid was trying. He’s going flat out, but stayed in the same spot. When he was almost at the end, myself the other mum cheered him on, she declares how awful & embarrassing it all is to have him on our team because he’s overweight. I reply by saying that it’s not surprising he is when he eats a pot of gummy worms for breakfast. What followed could have quite easily been even more embarrassing for me…

The mum was furious with her child for bringing the worms without asking, & who knew they were not supposed to be taking them to school or to any kind of school activity. She was actually quite glad I had shopped him. I had a sudden moment of wanting to jump in the water & drown myself but thankfully she was more furious with him than with me – PHEW!!

 

 

The fine line…

Why does my body punish me for enjoying some time away? It doesn’t always happen, but more often than not. Parts of my spine were so stiff today that my pilates session was almost as brutal as having physio. I now ache so much I don’t know what to do with myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone & done the things I needed to do after the class, but I can’t win, if I sit around & ‘rest’ I get stiffer, but if I do laundry or run some errands I also feel beaten. So what am I supposed to do? I don’t know where the fine line is between too much & not enough, & after all this time you would have thought I should. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe it will never matter what I do, if my body is ticked off with me it would feel like this regardless.

I guess I just have to ride it out & hope that tomorrow is a better day…

Real Friends…

I’ve written about them before, but I think it’s good to reinforce how important it is to acknowledge true friends – because I know they read this. I find it difficult to believe people who say they have lots of good friends. Often what I think they mean is they know a lot of people through social media. They also might have several people with whom they spend time, but wouldn’t call on them in times of need, confide in them or have the same in return. I could say I have lots of friends, & yes I do use that term because that’s the way we tend to describe those we allow into our lives. However, I don’t know those people well, & they don’t know me in spite of the fact they follow my personal Facebook feed or I chat with them everyday in the playground at school. Then there are the ones with whom your friendly with because of work or circumstances, but you would not normally choose to be.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of true friends I have. I don’t need many, what I need are people I can laugh with, cry with & count on to be there. Of course it’s a two way street, I will always be that person in return, and I hope I am. I have just spent the weekend with two of my closest friends. One lives near me, & the other in the next province, she was unable to join us last fall for our usual girls weekend in Vegas, so instead she flew down this weekend. It doesn’t matter that it’s been almost 18 months since the 3 of us were all together; we just fit like it was only last week. We all have kids & busy lives that are all quite different, but when you put 3 mum’s together who know each other very well, you discover that really we are all dealing with the same stresses of everyday life, they just present themselves in individual ways. We can spend 3 days together & there is never a moment in which we don’t gel, we share a room, we shop, we eat & drink, we have serious conversations, & the most important part is that we have fun!

It only takes a couple of days of pure escapism for each one of us to recharge enough to then return to our busy lives more positively. The same issues are waiting for us, but because we’ve taken time out, we deal with them a little better than we did before the weekend. For me, it begins the second I walk back in through the door, I’m right back into cooking dinner, arranging packed lunches, doing the dishes, & making sure everyone has what they need for school/work. Among the normality of home life, I recount the events of our mini getaway before it’s time to say goodbye at the airport & we go our separate ways. It will be several months before we hopefully do this all again, but we know that at anytime we are always on the end of the phone for each other. I am very fortunate to have my other very close friend nearby, a friendship that is invaluable; there have been times when I don’t know what I would have done without her support, I certainly wouldn’t be as strong & sane as I am that’s for sure.

 

 

The Spa…

We all wish we could find a tranquil place where to enjoy the ultimate chill out. There is a Swedish spa just outside Whistler that used to be one of the resorts best-kept secrets. It is set high enough that you can truly escape, but not so you can’t look up to snow covered mountains of the biggest ski resort in Canada. One of the rules begins before you even set foot through the door, talking is not allowed. This might seem a bit over the top, especially when your having a mini break with a couple of girlfriends, but we all needed some downtime from life, and we can make up for it at other times of our little get away.

It isn’t necessary to splash out on a massage, although I can confirm that they are worth it. Just paying for the use of the baths is enough to reap the benefit, & there are enough of them to soak away 2-3 hours. A steam room, sauna, 2 hot tubs, 2 plunge pools (which I avoid especially in winter or I would literally turn blue), outdoor fire pits, hammocks, & solariums for cooling down before you do it all again. You could put theses facilities anywhere & enjoy them, but the setting of this beautiful peaceful place is really what makes it so relaxing.

I haven’t been able to ski at all this season, I don’t manage many days normally now. So having somewhere like this to retreat to means my husband doesn’t feel guilty anymore about leaving me behind, & although I would happily sit all day & write while the family is out, it isn’t good for me physically. I come away from the spa feeling calm & rested mentally, but also more comfortable physically. At almost $70 a day it’s really not something I can justify doing regularly, but it’s cheaper than physiotherapy, & a lot more enjoyable. To be honest when you’re me, being pain free & comfortable really has no price limit, would I do it everyday if I could? Hell yeah!