The Recliner

What to do, what to do???

the Princess and her Grandpa....

the Princess and her Grandpa….

I really don’t like that recliner….Ken’s recliner.  It was his favorite chair.  It made me angry…..more than once.

I never liked that chair to begin with and in the end it just seemed to make me dislike it even more.

Twelve or fifteen years ago we’d had the TV room carpet replaced and gotten rid of the old furniture that was down there.  We’d bought new bookshelves, bought a new TV that we could put on the wall over the fireplace to give us more room and just generally tidied it up.

We’d bought a fairly nice black leather sofa which was pretty comfy in the store, but I guess that one had already had a lot of bums on it to wear it in.  Ours was not very comfy….especially after sitting on it for a while.  And the bumpffy thing on the top of the back made you kind of look down instead of up…..which was not a good thing with TV over the fireplace!

He came home from work one day and said he was going to stop by the La Z Boy store because they were having a big sale and he thought he’d have a look at some recliners.   The next day he came home and said he’d found one….good deal, regular over $1000 on sale for half price.  We had talked about getting one at one point and had even gone and looked at some…..some very nice leather ones that would go good with the sofa.   So I had just assumed……

The next day I come home from work and there, in our TV room, sat the ungliest recliner I’d ever seen in my life!  If was kind of velour-ish and BLUE.  We had absolutely nothing in our house at the time that was blue….certainly not this blue.  I hated it and told him so.  It was a pretty comfy chair, I must admit but U G L Y!  And HUGE.

Good guy that he was, he took it back and came home with another one that was black and burgundy but still velour-ish and still HUGE.  He’d tried out the leather one but thought it just too “cold”.   I didn’t like this one any more than the blue one, but at least it matched, somewhat….AND he was the one that was going to be using it!  I was still not a happy camper and told him so.   I had really thought he was getting a leather one…..especially for that price.  It is deluxe as far a recliners go, I guess, but I didn’t like it and still don’t.

He loved that chair!  And after he got sick that was where he spent a lot of his time.  I didn’t begrudge him that except when he was supposed to be getting out and about, getting some exercise, keeping flexible and all that.  He’d sit for hours on end starting with after lunch.  Sometimes it was really hard to get him to get up and moving around.  If you sit anywhere for long enough everything starts to seize up, making getting up more and more difficult.  Moving around, walking, riding the recumbent bike, exercise of any kind is supposed to build up your immune system….I tried to encourage him to do it.  And he even admitted himself that he felt better when he’d done something other than sit in that comfy chair all day.  I wanted to throw that chair out so many times, I can’t even remember…..it was too comfy.

But when you wake up feeling crappy it’s hard sometimes to get motivated, even when you know it will make you feel better later.  I understand that now.  I tried to be encouraging without being pushy.  I can’t say it worked too well.

So I have a love/hate relationship with this chair.  As much as I hated it, he loved it.  I would love to throw it in a dumpster somewhere but that just seems so wrong because it was such a part of his life that last year.  That’s where he was the most comfortable…..that’s where he always wanted to be.  The grandkids loved cuddling with him in that chair….it was big enough for him and all 3 of them.

Just what do I do with this chair?  I am redoing that room and after I’m finished it will go in there even less than it did before but, I think besides his tux, this will be one of the hardest things to let go.  I don’t want it.  I do want it….no, I don’t want it.

It’ll be a while before I am finished down there and will need to start thinking about new furniture….maybe I’ll have this dilemma sorted out in my head by then……

L.

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Taking Over The Closet

I did that yesterday.   When I opened the doors, all I seen were hangers….just empty hangers.

There are still a few things in there…a couple of sports jackets and his tux, baseball caps and some old jeans.  I will work on all that over the next little while….everything except the tux.  I just can’t seem to think about parting with it.  I know it’s probably silly to hang on to it and he really didn’t like to wear it that much but when he did wear it he looked so good.  The saddest thing is, I don’t even have a good picture of him wearing it!

My coats and skirts have taken over one side of the closet now.  I also moved some of my things into the empty drawers.  Only a few things though…….it didn’t seem right to just fill them up right away.

The closet and drawers don’t smell like him anymore….they did for a long time.  Maybe I just noticed it more before.  I was kind of sad that they didn’t……

It rained all day so not the best time to do this, at least for me.  But I did do it…..its one more thing done, so I’m hoping it’ll make it a little easier next time I open the doors or drawers to put in more of my things.

Neither can just stay empty forever!

I didn’t get the clothes out to the thrift store, it was just too miserable to go anywhere….that really needs to get done next weekend.  I reorganized the TV room so at least I’m not looking at them as soon as I walk in.

Letting go of his things was not an easy task.  I just can’t imagine doing this 6 months ago.  I think waiting did make it a little easier…….I’m more rational, realistic, practical or whatever, than I was then.  You do get stronger as time goes by but………

L.

Ashes For The Trip

I managed to get two of my MUST do’s done yesterday…..and a couple of things that were on the list but not must do’s.  So all was not lost!  And the grandkids spent the afternoon here.  It was a fun and busy day.

The place I go to get my hair cut was sold a couple of months ago.  New people have taken over, with new hairdressers.  I had “Nancy”.  She’s Persian, from Iran, but fled there almost 40 years ago as a young women.  Very interesting to chat with in that she’d been to many of the places I went to on my trip!  After Iran, she lived in Paris for many years then emigrated to Canada a few years ago…..she’s had quite the life.

She did a great job on my hair!  But it took forever…she talks a lot…with her hands!  My haircuts usually take, at most, half an hour.  I’m in an out, with wet hair, come home and blow dry it myself….all in under and hour.  Yesterday I there for OVER an hour!   I’m not very high maintenance when it comes to how I look, no face makeup, a little mascara and that’s the best it’s going to get.  She spotted that right away!  Threading is a big thing now…..she suggested my “mustache” and eyebrows could use it.  I told her that I was just fine dealing with those things every now and again with my tweezers.  While I was waiting (?) for the special shampoo (?) to do whatever it was that it’s supposed to do, she offered to thread my mustache for free, so I agreed.  She said it would hurt a little…..she was wrong….it hurt a lot!  I was sure there was blood.  I’ve recovered from that trauma today, and I think I like being mustache free but not sure I’ll work up the courage to ever have it done again.

The next stop was the funeral home to drop Ken off.  I met up with Sam, who was our director last year for everything.  He was incredibly helpful then and again yesterday.  He told me they do this ash separating thing quite often so no problem and NO charge for doing it!  He’ll take out one or two small scoops to put in each of the six little plastic bags, each of these are then put in beautiful little dark red velvet pouches.  They’ll put all of those in a bigger bag along with a copy of the cremation certificate for me to take on the plane.  It really takes special people to work at a place like this.  I don’t know if there is any training involved for dealing with the psychological stuff involved but they’re all so nice, have wonderful soft, calming, soothing voices and they say the right things that make this whole process more manageable.

I just ran out of time in the afternoon to get those old packed up suitcases out to the thrift store.  I should really get that done today.  They’re sitting in the TV room so I see them every time I go down there….I don’t like that!

Other than the mustache threading, I was having a great day yesterday.  On the way home from dinner with the kids, all the golden oldies were playing on the radio.  I had to turn it off.  It was one song after another….they brought tears to my eyes.   That’s all it took to flip my mood switch from high to low in a matter of minutes.  Incredible!  Just still so fragile, really.

Today is a miserable day….rain, rain and more rain.  Not good for getting me motivated but I will get myself up and going, eventually…..after another cup of coffee!

L.

“To Do” Today

Hair

Ashes

Suitcases

That is all I have on my list that MUST get done.  There is more of course, but if I get to that, it will be a bonus!

I would like to do a bit of closet reorganizing too.  My clothes are jammed into both, my closet and my dresser.  I have coats hanging on that back of doors!  There’s lots of room in Ken’s closet now so really need to take advantage of it and move some of my stuff.

BUT…..as silly as it might sound, it sort of seems weird doing that.  Both of them are MY closets now, as well as the armoire, and I do need them.  I’m sure I’ll get over this and do it of course.  It’s like doing something alone for the first time…..once it’s done, you’re over it, right?

I have a ton of laundry, mostly just ironing now, to do and it will be a treat to not have to jam all the nicely ironed things into over stuffed drawers and my closet.  They’ll actually look like they have been ironed when I go to wear them if they haven’t been all crammed in.

There are only 10 work days left in my work life!  Wow….that is still unbelievable to me.  With being so busy there, working on this project, I’ve kind of let my work life get the better of me the last few weeks.

Maybe it’s just a combo of that stress and a little bit of the “unknown” retirement stress.  Although I don’t think I’m terribly worried about that….starting with a holiday will make that easier….I think!

At work though I take everything I do very seriously and if it’s something with my name on it I really want it to be done right.  We have some roadblocks right now and I don’t like how things are being done and have been very vocal about it.  That is what stresses me out….I like things done the way I think they should be done….not some weird work around that will get us through “this”.  I hate that!  And truly, it just all ends up creating MORE work or inevitably comes back to bite you later.  Some how though we (for work I use that term rather loosely) never really learn from these exercises….ah sigh.

I had a “chat” with myself the other night when I got home at 9PM!  This is absolutely stupid.  Not the work, that needs to be done, but why do I care so much?  I’m ultimately not the one making the decisions….regardless of whether I agree with them or not, I just need to do what needs to be done.  If it’s half assed and that’s what THEY want and are happy with it, then so be it.  In my head, this doesn’t make sense….but then it doesn’t make sense to stress about it either….I WON’T be there to deal with anything when it comes back….NOT MY PROBLEM!

I felt much better yesterday because of my “chat”.  Sometimes you just have to sit yourself down and have a talk like that.  Whether it’s work or just your life in general.  Putting everything into perspective….sitting down and having the time to do that….really helps.  Most of the time, and for many years, I just did things because they needed to be done…..I didn’t have time to sit down and think about them, or whine about having to do whatever.  Home and work were both like that.

Stopping for a few minutes and taking a good look at everything is really helpful.  What do I have control over?  What can I change?  Does whatever it is, matter….really?

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I’ve had a few of these chats over the last year.  They’ve certainly helped me get through all this.  I remind myself that it is what it is…..and I can move on.   Think about what will be or can be.  You can’t fix or undo what was….it’s a waste of energy and brain cells trying to do that!

L.

Almost Time to Pack

I have a couple of weeks left but I’m determined to not leave this until the last minute.

Hawaii is pretty easy to pack for….a couple of bathing suits, capris (don’t do shorts anymore L ), tshirts, sandals, flip flops and maybe a skirt.  The best part of it all is that I’m not wearing any of this stuff now, so it’s all ready to go.

Sunscreen is a must of course and I’ll have to pick some of that up.  But I wonder who will put it on my back this trip?

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That was Ken’s job!  I won’t be able to take over this one.  For a number of years I did often wonder why I had some strange tan lines on my back, but after seeing this pic from one of our holidays, I figured that out!

Tomorrow I’m taking the ashes to the memorial place where they’ll take out some of them to package properly for the flight.  I don’t know just how much yet, but it’ll have to been enough for me, the kids, grandkids and Ken’s brothers to scatter.  Just how we’ll do that I haven’t quite figured out yet.  It’s not legal to just scatter them on the beach.  You’re supposed to be 2 or 3 miles out to sea.  We won’t be doing that.  So however we do it we can’t be terribly obvious.  I also don’t want to be stressed out over getting in trouble either so I’ll get that all worked out somehow.

I’m a bit torn with this vacation.  I really am looking forward to getting away….sun, beach and warm weather but we’re going and leaving a little bit of Ken there.  He loved Maui so I know he’d be happy about that…..one of his “happy places”.

I want the grandchildren to share in this experience but I don’t think they’ll really understand.  I’m hoping that they’ll just be playing in the sand, building sand castles or digging holes and they can sprinkle some “fairy dust” on whatever they’re doing or building.  One day, when they’re old enough to understand we can tell them that it was Grandpa.

April 20th will be the day.  That will have been a year.  It’s hard to believe.

L.

Throwback Thursday

1987....our "new to us" real camper van in the background.

1987….our “new to us” real camper van in the background.

Even though this camping trip was eons ago, I remember it pretty good thanks to pictures and the fact that we had a really good time.  It was just about the whole cul de sac that went.  First we met up with one couple and spent a week camping just outside Victoria then, the second week, we all headed up to Parksville to meet the rest of the gang.

There were 5 families from the cds plus one couple’s parents……..13 kids between the ages of 3 and 9!  We had a week of glorious weather….except for one night when there was a wicked thunderstorm.  Everyone had different modes of camping vehicles at that time…a tent trailer, a truck and camper and one deluxe motorhome!  Two of the couples rented trailers at the campsite. That year we had moved up the camping vehicle chain to a real camper van with a mini fridge!!  We also had a couple of tents that most of the kids took turns sleeping in.  We’d bought the van in the spring of that year and Ken spent the next couple of months just about gutting the inside of it and getting it ready.  I made new seat covers and curtains.  This was our first “official” camping trip in it.

Because there was such a big group of us, we had to reserve spots at a private campsite, so it wasn’t the roughing it kind of camping like we normal would do in the Provincial or State campgrounds.  We could actually hook up to water and power in this private one.  There was a big communal campfire area, which we used every night.  And the best part of all…..the campsite was right at the beach!

One afternoon the guys went golfing and the next it was the girls turn.  We went on hikes a couple of the days and toured some of the unique little towns nearby like Coombs and the market   http://www.oldcountrymarket.com/   but,  Parksville has a pretty incredible beach, so that is where we spent most of our time.  It’s a huge, safe beach…..when the tide is out, you walk into the water for what seems like forever just to get to your knees!  We played soccer on the beach, hunted for sand dollars, dug for clams, built sandcastles, floated on air mattresses and one day had to go running out into the water to recover towels, clothes and beach toys that had gotten swept away when the tide was coming in.

When we weren’t at the beach, there were plenty of places for the kids to play and meet yet more kids there with their families.   They had a horseshoe pitch, so just about every evening before dinner we had tournaments, kids and all.

We had set up a big communal table and cooking area between our campsite and our friends next to us.  Between all of us we had a lot of tarps…..just because it was usually raining on our camping trips….we were always prepared!  They came in handy that thunderstorm night……we had to keep poking sticks up to get the water off so the whole thing wouldn’t collapse….the kids liked doing that.

The night this picture was taken we were having a crab feast.  We had gone a little ways further up the coast earlier in the day and bought a ton of it, for a couple bucks each, right from the guy that caught it.

After the kids went to bed at night, we’d sit around and play a game or cards and have a few drinks.  As much as I complained about camping, I always had a good time.  I miss those days!  Trips like this made for some great memories that still get talked about today, by both the adults and the kids.

L.

Long Day….

So of course,  again….nothing I planned to do got done.  Ah sigh.

Last night it was almost 9 by the time I got home.   Too late to eat a half decent dinner, so had a quick snack……popcorn and wine!  And to an insult to injury…..I burnt it!!

IMG_4784I was soooo tired last night I couldn’t think about anything….even trying to read before bed was hopeless.  This is not a bad thing, but not something I want to do for too much longer and thankfully won’t have too!

This morning I’m off to work nice and early to finish what I started last night and also with the hope that I’ll get out of there a little sooner tonight…we’ll shall see!

Since I couldn’t think last night I have nothing to post about….other than the usual not getting anything else done that I’d planned.

I do have some sense of accomplishment though…all work related, but I’ll take it.  It’s hard to believe I have less than two weeks of work left…..

L.

All Thought, No Action!

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I didn’t do a damn thing around here last night….what night was left by the time I got home.  After working late and stopping on way home to pick up a few groceries, there really wasn’t much of a night left.

I was supposed to phone the tax lady tonight, but it was too late to do that.  I still haven’t collected all the stuff I need anyway.  I’m sure I’ll leave that until the last minute and then be scrambling around, digging through those boxes full of paper looking for anything else I forgot.  I guess I should put those boxes on my “to do” list for tonight!  I’m the worlds best procrastinator!

Taxes were never Ken’s job, so this year isn’t really much different than any other…..a few more forms and T4’s etc. but that’s it.  I’m usually a little more organized than this especially when I know I’m getting money back!  I also usually do all the taxes myself but I’m not this year.   I’ll leave it all in someone elses capable hands.

Still very busy with the project at work and I think I’m still suffering that “feeling” from packing up most of Ken’s stuff over the weekend.

I’ve got to get on the car rental for our trip too….I can’t leave that to the last minute.

My problem is that I just think too much about what I should be doing as opposed to just doing it.  I really don’t have any excuse for not getting everything done, other than being tired…..and just a little lazy.  Some of this stuff really needs to be done sooner than later and none of it is rocket science!

I did get to bed earlier last night, so hopefully I’ll have a little more energy and brain power to get at all this tonight!

L.

The Bags Are Packed

IMG_4782But there is still more “stuff”.   I never realized just how much there was.  Or maybe I did and that’s really why I put off dealing with this task for as long as I did.  I’ll deal with the rest of it one of these days.

It’s been very bittersweet.  I’ve crossed one thing off my list but, for this job, it didn’t end with the good feeling of accomplishment I usually get when I manage to do that.

I emptied ¾ of his closet and another drawer …..AND another box full of shoes from the bottom of the closet.  Top shelf still to go…..lots of baseball caps from places we’ve been, “team” hats, old jeans for painting and I don’t know what else yet.  There are still a couple of sports jackets left too that I couldn’t cram into the suitcases.

There are three suitcases, jam packed and ready to go…..just as if he were going on a big, long vacation and needed every piece of clothing he had (except for underwear!).  I guess that is what it is…..in a way.  These are old pieces of luggage that we’d replaced years ago, so kind of killing two birds with one stone…….filling them up….I hope people that need new to them luggage shop at thrift stores!

The Mustang is gone now too.  My son officially took ownership of that yesterday.

I’m not sure how I feel.  I’m sad that this had to happen at all…..ever.  I didn’t want to ever have to do this…..I never imagined ever having to do this!!  But it did happen and there is no going backwards so I have to move forward.  I couldn’t keep it all…..what purpose would it serve?  It wouldn’t change anything.  I don’t feel like doing this has meant I’ve let him go because I haven’t of course, and I don’t think I ever will. I’m not sure exactly what I feel.  It’s almost like I’m erasing part of my life…it’s hard to explain or put my finger on just what that feeling is.   Many teary moments…..  I know I have to be practical and realistic…which, most of the time, I think I am but that doesn’t make it any easier.  This just had to be done….period.

I did keep some of the shirts and t-shirts….the ones from our holidays.  I have a friend who does quilting, she said she’d teach me….a quilt made from all the logos on those shirts….I might do that one day.  I’ve already put that on my retirement “to do” list.  Will I ever really do it?  I don’t know and very likely at some point all those shirts will end up where everything else is, but for now they’ve take up residence in the bottom drawer.

It was a busy day and cooking was not in my plans so Bev and I went for Chinese buffet…..I’ve really got to stop doing this.  But it’s so close, so good and so easy.  And, for me, it’s almost like comfort food.   I can’t remember what our fortune cookies said this time but whatever it was we decided that we’d trade….lol.  Not sure if that counts or not.

Another couple vacation pics .  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.   This was an amazing church, with an amazing history.  http://www.seetheholyland.net/church-of-the-holy-sepulchre/

The stones on the floor are smooth and shiny from thousands of years of foot steps.

the stories these stones could tell!!

the stories these stones could tell!!

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Purportedly the tomb of Jesus.

Fun Picture Night!

I think everyone, at least those that didn’t doze off, liked my pictures!  I did warn them ahead of time that there were a lot of them…..but they all know me so knew that anyway.

The Western Wall in Jerusalem.  There is a his and hers side!
The Western Wall in Jerusalem. There is a his and hers side!

We had a great dinner, lots of chitchatting….and wine.

R is the gal that is retiring on the same day as me, so we finalized some of our plans for the trip to wine country on May 4th.  What started out as 5 or 6 of us is down to 3.  But that’s a good number.  We have 3 full days up there, so my theory is each one of us can take a day to be the designated driver while the other two do all the wine tasting….it all works good.  R is going to pre-prep a dinner for us for the first night we arrive and then we’ll just play it by ear depending on what we find at markets during the day.   I can’t wait!  Back to back trips, even mini ones, are fun.

Notes and prayers written and jammed into the cracks on the Wall.

Notes and prayers written and jammed into the cracks on the Wall.

Today is more cleaning and organizing and getting rid of things and stuff…..maybe even a car!

I’m on a bit of a roll and need to keep that going so I hope I don’t have too many distractions today.  Yesterday I found another receipt that I can claim on my extended health plan…..$160!  Maybe I’ll find more today!

I also have to get my income tax all sorted out and Ken’s too.  I usually use a tax program and e-file but this year I’ll take it to someone because it’s just a little more complex filing one for an estate of…..and I just don’t want to deal with that myself.

I found out about transporting the ashes yesterday.  Easy peasy…..next Saturday I take the urn/container into the memorial people, along with the cremation certificate, and they’ll take out and repackage however much I want to take with me.  They’ll issue another certificate verifying the contents etc. etc.  I was a little worried that I might be leaving this a little too late, but phew, it’ll only take a couple of days, so I can wipe my brow for that one!

I have emptied 3 of Ken’s drawers.  Not a terribly easy feat, but surprisingly not as emotional as I thought it was going to be…..there were definitely a few tears though.  The socks are gone to a good home (my son) and hopefully all the other things that I’ve packed up so far also find good homes.   There were a lot of ties.  Ken hated wearing a tie.  Years ago, he used to have to wear them to work, so a tie was always a good, easy, affordable Christmas present for the kids to buy him.  I know he was pretty happy when he could stop wearing them witht a move into a more casual office.  But why did we keep them for all those years after?  Don’t know……other than they were one of those things that had ended up at the back in the bottom drawer.  Out of sight, out of mind.  They were easy to let go of because he never liked them to start.  I know there are a couple more in the closet on one of those tie hanger thingies….the ones that he kept handy if he ever had to wear one.

So even though I’ve been busy cleaning, tidying etc. it still looks like a bomb has gone off in some places around here……ah sigh.  There really must be an end to all this at some point.  Maybe once I’m retired………

L.