I Don’t Know Whether To Laugh….Or Cry

The shed that was……..

IMG_5077 IMG_5078

So much for having someone come and take it!  The shed was very sturdy…..the roof exceptionally heavy apparently…..too heavy for anyone to get off.  So they hooked it up to a pulley thing and tried to pull it off……it still didn’t come off!  Finally had to get in there and do more cutting.   Tried again and it lifted the entire shed, base and all off the ground….at one end.  The roof was still on.  They tried to pull it off yet again….and it did come off with a thud but then the rest of the shed came with it in bits and pieces.  What a shame!

Needless to say, they guy didn’t want the shed anymore.  It had to come down one way or another but I don’t think this was quite the way to do it.  But what do I know?

All I have now is a mess unfortunately…..and it’s raining to make matters worse.  Everything is going to be twice as heavy as it was and cost MORE to get rid of now.

This is when I really need Ken.  He would have had a solution to this dilemma.  I don’t know what to do!

My builder is coming at 9 this AM.  He originally was going to take the shed down but yesterday someone offered to come and take it……but that didn’t work out too good.  I hope Rhys (builder) has some good ideas.

If the walls had at least been left intact, I think it would have been relatively easy to load up, but now I have enough firewood to last someone years and that would take me forever to get rid of myself.   After R has a look, I’m pretty sure he’s going to suggest getting a junk removal guy in.  There’s just too much of it for me to load up in my little truck and each trip to the dump would probably cost just as much or more than having someone get rid of it for me.

Ah sigh…….

This AM I’m off to city hall with my plans……hopefully they’re all good to go and I have my permit by tomorrow.  Something has to go right, right?

My basement is full of stuff, my new patio is full of stuff……I feel like I’ve been living in a mess for months….and I guess I kind of have.  Very depressing and the weather is NOT helping me deal with this…..argh.

I’m trying desperately to find the positives for today……..I know there has to be something!

L.

A Pretty Wild Day Yesterday!

http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2015/08/vancouver-wind-storm-power-outages/

Thankfully the wind ended by early afternoon.  My only casualty was part of the backyard fence, thank goodness.

Fence gone!

Fence gone!

The CofL yesterday for Dianne, was in a church by candlelight.  The slideshow of course didn’t happen, which was too bad because I know a lot of work went into that.  The church ladies came through though with all the goodies at the reception after…..including tea (gas stoves are a good thing to have at times like this!)

After the CofL we took a little drive around town…..what an incredible mess!  Lots of streets blocked off because of trees falling on power lines.  A lot of cars UNDER those trees!

can't appreciate the wind in this pic....had to take the birdfeeder down, the umbrella, move chairs etc.

can’t appreciate the wind in this pic….had to take the birdfeeder down, the umbrella, move chairs etc.

My niece had one fall on hers, breaking out the back window.  Another friend had a maple tree come down on his truck.  I was pretty lucky considering all the big trees we have around here.

The power was out here until almost midnight, so a good 12 hours.  I’m glad I have a BBQ!  I had found the old camping coffee pot while cleaning out the shed and thought I’d hang on to it……good thing I did!  We used it to boil water for tea.  All the electrical is underground but I guess if the main transformer goes, it doesn’t really make any difference.  Last night we could still see the odd big, bright flash off somewhere in the distance, so I guess, even though the wind had died down, there were still lines going down.  At one point the radio said there were 400,000 people without power!  I think most of it has been restored this morning but I know of a few people that still don’t have any…..hopefully soon for them.

Having cordless phones means that you have NO phone when the power goes out.  I’ve still got one good old plug in, which is good to have in situations like this.  I had to charge my cell phone in the car!  A good reason to get out and clean up a lot of the mess in my front yard while it was charging.  The odd big branch but nothing too drastic…..just a LOT of leaves and sticks.  I had to make sure the street along the curb was cleaned up as we were expecting a lot of rain last night and the last thing I needed was the gutters backing up and flooding my driveway.

improvised lighting!

improvised lighting!

After dinner, my daughter and I rigged up a “flashlight chandelier” in the family room, along with a bunch of candles, so we could play cards.  We hadn’t done that in years, it was lots of fun.

We’re supposed to have more rain AND wind today, but not anything like yesterday.  What a strange summer we’ve had……the longest, hottest dry spell in years and then a week of rain and storms, like storms that we see in October, NOT August!!

There was enough excitement yesterday to last me a long time!  It was pretty scary when those big gusts came along.  It was also a good reason to remember why we should all have emergency kits of some sort handy.  I hated opening the fridge and letting out what cold air there was in it.  Having lots of canned goodies, candles, flashlights etc. on hand is a good thing.   On top of the wind storm, there was an earthquake that was felt not far from here too!  One more thing to add to my “to do” list…..emergency preparedness kits.

L.

Crying…..Sad AND Happy Tears

Today is the Celebration of Life for my friends Bev’s sister.  These last couple of weeks have been tough for Bev.  I wish there was more that I could do for her…..she’s been busy with her brother-in-law and other family.  It’s hard to know sometimes what to do.

I know there will be lots of tears today……sad tears.  Dianne was a lovely person….a “people person” as Bev said.  Whatever her issues might have been, when you seen her, she always had a smile on her face and was genuinely happy to see and chat with you.  There will be a lot people today.  She and her husband belonged to the local Lion’s Club, there will be old neighbours and old co-workers, friends of her husband, friends of her kids, friends of Bev…..yes, there will be a lot of people and a lot of tears.  We live in a relatively small suburb and if you’ve lived here long enough you get to know a lot of people…..they will all come out today to pay their respects, not only being lucky enough to have known Dianne, but to her husband and to my friend Bev.  People go to CoL’s for those that are left behind.

New blinds!

New blinds!

I much prefer happy tears……those ones that just pop out when one of your grandkids says or does something, or when you go to weddings (I always cry at weddings…..even one I see on TV!!), or when you are just so happy about something that it has to overflow somewhere!

I actually came close to shedding a happy tear yesterday when my nice new blinds were finally installed!

There are also tears of frustration……they’re not really sad tears but pretty close.  I’m not really a crier or weepy person but frustration has had me close to tears a lot of times.

left side....how it should look...sort of except for being a bit crooked!

left side….how it should look…sort of except for being a bit crooked!

Sometimes anger can cause tears too, but it depends on what you’re angry about….once I was sooooo angry with someone at work I just about cried, which made me even more angry…..but then it was at myself for letting this person get to me!!

right side.....how it SHOULDN'T look....and this is where it gets really crooked!

right side…..how it SHOULDN’T look….and this is where it gets really crooked!

Lately it’s been my carpet issues…..a little of both frustration AND anger….or maybe it’s all the same thing!!  Luckily HD seems to have come to a solution and I’ll have my new carpet by Wednesday!

Today will be tears of sadness.  Life is so short isn’t it……you really do have to make the best of every day……I remind myself of this all the time…..one of these days, it will sink in!

L.

Rain, Rain And More Rain…..I’m Afraid!

I really don’t like rain.  A day of it here and there is OK, and goodness knows we need it right now, but not days AND days of it!  And there is supposed to be a LOT of rain, not just a shower 😦

YUK!

YUK!

Rain for more than a day or two starts to depress me.  It’s dull, grey and generally cooler.  You can’t enjoy the flowers, only a bird or two ventures out from under a snug branch to visit the feeder, everything is wet……and it’s DARK.   This is when I start to think too much…..about anything and everything.

To make this even worse, to me, is the fact that Home Depot is frustrating me to no end over that stupid carpet.  Long story short…….if I don’t hear some good news from them today, I’m going to ask for my money back…..I’ll get into more of the gory details tomorrow if I’m still not happy.  My new blinds, also from HD,  are FINALLY being installed today.  I really and truly hope that there are no problems with them because I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with HD right now and this might just send me over the edge…..not sure what I’ll do though….or can do!  Cursing and swearing on the phone is not a good thing and solves nothing but they may hear a choice word or two!  I really don’t like things that I have no control over…..and this is one of them…..argh.

And the Structural Engineer did NOT have my garage plans ready yesterday, like he said he would!  Some kind of emergency…….just what kind of emergencies do SE’s have???  They’ll be ready by 1PM today, then my BIL has to have 3 copies made, then we have to get to city hall before it closes so I can hopefully get my permit by Monday now…..already a day behind schedule.

I’m not in the best of moods right now to start so I think these next few days will be a test for me.  We’ve had such good weather all summer, which I’ve loved every minute of, I hope I’ve gotten myself into enough of some sort of routine that will get me through these next few rainy days.   I can’t, or don’t want too, do things outside but I do have a lot of indoor things that I could be doing.  I was saving them for days like this…..I was just hoping that those days wouldn’t be until October!!

There are drawers to clean out, closets and kitchen cabinets to go through…..my little pantry cupboard is a nightmare!  They’re all on my rainy day “to do” list.  Today though I think I’ll just get caught up on my laundry….and watch TV!  That is unless there is a problem with the blinds……which I know I shouldn’t be anticipating but my confidence in HD is pretty low at the moment and I’m expecting the worst but hoping to be pleasantly pleased with the blind people…..as opposed to frustrated and annoyed with the carpet people.

This is when I wonder how different a rainy day would have been if Ken were here.  Would we have gone out somewhere, would we have just made another pot of coffee and hunkered down in front of the TV, would he have been puttering around in the shed and me sitting and reading?   What??  Would he have been dealing with HD on the carpet issues?  I know he would have been working with his brother and the engineer on the garage plans…….

See…..I’m already in a bummer mood!  I need to get up, have a shower and get dressed, make my bed, clean the kitty litter box, put Roomba on.  That’s what I’ve been doing for weeks now…..only usually a little later in the morning because I’d spend an extra hour or two enjoying the deck!!  I think the positive….because you always have to at least try to find something positive…..is that this will give me another hour or two of productive time….although I am retired so not quite sure just how productive I need to be!!

Blinds open, lights on…..I can handle this rain…….I can!

L.

So Not Appreciated!

It takes a while before you really……really start to appreciate what you had!

the future "rock garden" moved to the corner.....the tennis ball is to give perspective to the size of some of the "rocks"!

the future “rock garden” moved to the corner…..the tennis ball is to give perspective to the size of some of the “rocks”!

Something as trivial as moving all those stupid rocks/boulders is a good example.  It was incredibly tedious…..I could only move one, maybe two, at a time.  I was only moving them 10-15 ft or so, but it was quite back breaking……up, down, throw, up down, throw…..or in some cases just roll.

As I started moving all the rocks, I realized just how carefully Ken had put them around that stump…..he took time to get them to fit together, a big one here then a couple of small ones there.   When he was doing all this, it just seemed like any other weekend backyard type project.  I know I didn’t help him…..I was probably doing laundry or maybe just sitting around reading…..who knows, it was just no big deal however many years ago it was.

My plan was always to use those rocks to create some low maintenance rock type garden in the corner of the yard that you see from the deck…….because you want something nice to look at.  Moving all the rocks has made me appreciate so much more than I ever did, what Ken put into creating that “pile of rocks”.  It makes it all that much more important……to me…..to use them for my garden.  It will remind me every time I look at them, not of MY pain in the back, but of Ken’s care and time spent using those rocks to make something nice.

Then you start to think about all those other things……things that in our old normal life were just things that husbands did…..everyday type things that you just take for granted.  Baseboards, tiling, painting, mouldings here and there, putting up new lights, fixing plugs…..the list could go on and on.   I thought for the longest time that this was all easy peasy stuff….and it might have been for him…. but I’m learning now, just how much effort went into all of it.

I certainly appreciate it all more than ever…….which is kind of sad because I guess I should have appreciated it all so much more before.  I did appreciate it, I really did and always said how lucky I was that he could do so many things.  Those things meant a lot back whenever but now they mean even more.

I’ve now emptied the shed of everything except the tool chest and set of old kitchen cabinets that were in there for storage, which try as I might yesterday, I could not budge myself.  They’re solid wood cabinets from our old house (35+ yrs ago!)…..they don’t make them like THAT anymore!!  It’s supposed to rain all weekend but I’m going to have to wait until then to get some help…..my son probably or maybe a BIL…..or I could ask a neighbor.

storage area under the stairs......jam packed!

storage area under the stairs……jam packed!

Everything that is of value (I think!) I’ve moved into the house and stored under the stairs…..which meant I had to move a lot of suitcases (4???), golf clubs etc. into the laundry room.  All the other stuff, mostly outdoor/garden tools, are under the deck…..on the new patio…..on the shelving that I moved from the shed.  I’ve tried to tuck anything that could be stolen under or behind something else……if anyone needs a leaf blower, weed eater or lawnmower that bad, they can help themselves!  There was a “head”, which is apparently some kind of car part.  I’m sure it was either from, or for, the old Mustang…..that is on the bottom of the shelf behind all the camping stuff…..it weighed a ton…..hopefully no one needs one of those.

I’m just about ready now for the garage work to begin!  The structural engineer didn’t have the plans ready yesterday so I’m hoping he’ll be done today…..early in the day and we can then submit the revised plans to city hall.  The planner told me that it would only take a day to review them and if all was good I’d have the permit by Friday.  My fingers are crossed!  The excavator is ready to go Monday if we get the OK.

My builder said he’d get rid of the shed for me, which is great because I didn’t want to even have to begin to do that myself.  My DIL said we could put it on craigslist, but not sure there is time to do that now.  That shed has more than paid for itself over the years so I don’t feel bad about just getting rid of it.   I’ll be the “clean up” person for the project, just to save a few bucks and I have a lot of “dump” experience now so I don’t mind doing it.

I just hope the weather cooperates over the next couple of weeks.  It’s been great all summer but it’s supposed to cool down with some rain next week…..I’m hoping not too much.

L.

The Rock Pile

…..one day to be the “rock garden”!!

big rocks and boulders.....moving them will be an

big rocks and boulders…..moving them will be an “advil” event!

Many, many years ago, we had an old aluminum backyard shed.  The base was rotting out, the doors wouldn’t close properly, the roof had a few leaks…..it had seen better days for sure.  And we thought the neighbourhood skunks had set up house under it!

After years of fighting with the rickety doors, let alone all the rusty garden tools, we tore it down.  In the process, we didn’t find a skunk home, only the neighbours old cat, or at least part of it, that had gone missing 4 or 5 years before….I guess he thought that was good place to go to hide and die….

Under the shed and all around it were rocks…..big rocks, some you could even call boulders….small boulders but definitely not just rocks.

While prepping the area for the new shed/workshop we headed to the landscape place to get the pea gravel for the base.  Ken noticed the pile of rocks they had….big rocks.  They wanted anywhere from $1 – $5 for each of the rocks, depending on their size.   Because of that, Ken thought we should keep our rocks and besides, it was going to cost a fortune to get rid of them.   So we ended up with our rock pile that Ken painstakingly created to try to hide the ugly old stump from a big maple tree that was taken down.  For many years each summer I put a big flower basket on it…..it actually looked pretty nice….added a bit of colour to that boring little stump.

When Ken looked after the yard, he carefully restacked rocks that tumbled down every now and again and made sure that grass and weeds didn’t pop up around it or in it.  But when we finally hired someone else to do the lawn, they didn’t appreciate that little rock pile………weedeating/whacking was no longer being done to the Ken’s exacting standards, but it was what it was.  It, and the rest of our yard, was slowly falling into a state of chaos and mess.

Those rocks will have to be moved for the garage work, so today that will be my chore, along with getting the last bit of stuff out of the shed.  I’m moving them to the back corner in the hopes that they’ll eventually get used to build my rock garden…..some day….a project for next summer I guess.  The lower the maintenance the better for me when it comes to anything at all related to gardening.  I like a nice garden/yard but I’m just not a gardener.

My exSIL’s Oncologist appointment went really good yesterday.  I’m glad he convinced her to have her first treatment BEFORE she goes away on vacation.  She’ll have one treatment every 3 weeks, so the timing all works out good for her.  And, without even having to ask, he prescribed denosumab (Xgeva) for her bone mets…..it helps to re-ossify the eaten away bone, which will hopefully stave off any fractures, especially in her hip.  We then went shopping for her trip and out to dinner, so a nice day/evening spent with her.

My garage builder came by last night to review the site again and go over all the final costing.  No surprises, which was nice.  If all goes well with the plans at city hall tomorrow, I should have the approved permit in my hot little hands by Friday…..hooray!  If so, they’ll be here Monday morning to start work……I’m pretty excited about the whole thing…..although it was a lot of work and time…..almost 2 months….just to get where we’ve gotten so far!

Home Depot called yesterday….the store manager, who I finally had to end up calling….to say that they will NOT have to wait (almost 2 weeks!!) for the carpet manufacturer insurance claim to be processed BEFORE they order/install the new-new carpet.  That was a “well, dah” moment to me!  Why should I have to wait XX weeks for them to sort out that issue…..I’m the customer that doesn’t have what I paid for, so to me, this wasn’t my problem at all.  That said, it’s still taken 2 weeks to get this far and it probably won’t be until next week that the carpet is finally installed…..just a pain in the ass as far as I’m concerned.  I’ll certainly think twice about using them in future for carpeting…..or blinds for that matter.  Apparently with everyone on vacation, that 4 weeks for blinds is morphing into 6…..I am not a happy camper right now!!

I’m not going anywhere today……or at least I have no plans that include going out, so far.  I had a busy weekend and was busy Monday and yesterday.  I’ll be busy around here but at least I’ll be at home.

This retired life is a busy one…..having all this stuff for one person to deal with makes for never having a dull moment!

L.

PS…..the terrible brown patchy lawn is NOT due to my ineptitude as a gardener, it’s because of the current watering restrictions…..keeping grass green is something I actually can do….when watering is allowed 🙂

First Official Bear Siting Of the Year!

Last night around 10PM….

a big one!

a big one!

He was a big boy too!  The odd time we’ve had a bear around in the summer but it’s usually towards the end of September and into October that we get the regular visits.   Because it’s been so hot….and not to mention all the new home construction up the hill….their berry supply has ripened earlier than usual, or they’ve just dried up on the bushes, so the bears are probably having to get a little more adventurous to fill their tummies now.  This is one of the reasons that I’ll be happy to have my garage……nothing more exciting that pulling into your carport at midnight only to be greeted by a nice big black bear that’s just tried to get into your garbage!

New eco whatevers mean that we can no longer put food waste in our garbage, it all now has to go in the “green bins”, which used to be for grass clippings and garden waste.   When bears first came on the seen around here a number of years ago, before the bin rules changed……and after having to clean up garbage strewn all over my backyard once or twice, we had this spiffy guard put on the grey/garbage bin.  It worked great.

grey garbage bin on the left with the easy to use locks.....green bin on the right with the dumbest contraption ever!

grey garbage bin on the left with the easy to use locks…..green bin on the right with the dumbest contraption ever!

Then the bin rules changed and the city provided us with the stupidest bin guards ever…..the old ones just had clips that you unclipped when you needed to put stuff in….the new contraptions (should be conCRAPtions!!) are in three different pieces and the whole bloody thing has to be taken apart to put anything in the bin!!

This afternoon I’m off the Oncologist with my exSIL.  The appointment today is to discuss and set up the chemo treatment schedule.  She’s planned a vacation for the first week in September and doesn’t want to start anything until she back a couple weeks later.  I told her to not make any decision on that just yet until she knows what type of chemo they’re planning….if it’s oral she might be able to do both, the treatment and the vacation without any issues at all.  I hope all goes well and I just have to remember that I’m just there as support…..whatever she decides is her decision….not mine!

I’m spending the morning working on emptying out the shed.  Even though we got rid of all the garbage in there, there still seems to be a lot of bits and pieces of “stuff” that, to me at least, is or should still be garbage.  But since the brothers went through it all I have to assume that what’s left is of some value…..if nothing else, this is a good workout for my arms and the back of my legs.

L.

…..And Then There Was Grass

Hooray!

...now I just need to remember to keep watering it, but not too much!

…now I just need to remember to keep watering it, but not too much!

I’m so happy that it’s actually starting to grow.  I’ve tried the grass seed thing before without too much luck but it seems to be working this time.  I know it’s a slow process but it’s a start.  I’m hoping that there is enough of it, and it’s thick enough, come late fall when the rain starts so it doesn’t get drowned out.  This will hopefully stop it from getting too mucky around the patio….at least on this side.  I’ve still got two more sides to work on.

But the covered part of the patio will now be used for a storage area for all the stuff out of the shed that’s safe to leave under there.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll have the permit approved, and in hand, by the end of this week, so I’ve got to get cracking moving all the stuff.  I did start on the weekend but I must admit that this is a little overwhelming.

Since my “new” replacement carpet hasn’t been installed yet I’ve still got the recliner in the laundry room, coffee/end tables in the entry way…..so just a mess everywhere you look right now.  I really hate it.  But it is what it is……and sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, right?  At least that’s what I keep telling myself!

Lunch today with the retiree girls!  It will be fun to catch up with them.  Two retirees and two girls that are still working……I can’t wait to hear all about what is going on in the office…..I think it will make me even happier that I’m retired!

my morning happy place :)

my morning happy place 🙂

I so enjoy my mornings on the deck.  The hanging basket is just beautiful now, lots of different kinds of little birdies at the feeder….and the odd little rat!  But it’s so peaceful out there.   I could really sit for hours on end…..just sitting and thinking.  Which can be a little dangerous…..sometimes I think about Ken and what should have been…..sometimes this is where I hatch all my plans….next trip, next reno, next project.  There is so much I want to do and I can very easily get a little lost in this “thinking” or dreamworld.  Luckily, as the day progresses, I usually end up back in reality and my plans are just that…..plans for another day.

L.

Another Great Night With Friends

No pictures….totally forgot.  But dinner was good….really good.  Lots of great conversation and just a couple of bottles of good wine.

The weather was perfect, so we sat outside until almost midnight…..and luckily very few mosquitos!

After everyone had left and I’d done all the clean up, I went to get ready for bed and pulled the blind down in my room……literally pulled it down…..right off the thingies that hold it up!!  Why, or how, it decided that last night was the night it would finally come crashing down, I have no idea.  So there I am trying to get the damn thing back up…..it’s quite a big window and the blind is heavy….not an easy feat at that time of night!

Finally after what seemed like forever, my daughter, who was still here, heard all the cursing and swearing and crashing around and came to my rescue.  We did manage to get it back up but it looks like one of the bits that is attached to window frame is done.  I’m sure the same thing is going to happen sooner than later.  It went up just fine this morning but I’m not going to take any chances and will go and get a new one at some point today.  Probably HD, even though they are not my favorite people at the moment.

This will entail taking the old blind hardware off and putting up the new stuff…..which I think I’m capable of doing.

It just amazes me how these “things” pop up.  I don’t ever recall having a blind fall down when Ken was around, so why now?  Granted it’s old…..really old, but it was a great blind….one of those blackout kind and never gave me any grief so really had no need to ever replace it……until now!!

Oh well, another exciting day in the life………

L.

Dinner Tonight!

It’s going to be “Greek”.  Ribs, chicken, grilled eggplant, zucchini, potatoes and salad.  Unfortunately we won’t be having Greek wine.  As much as I enjoyed it….everyday…..when we were there, it just doesn’t quite make it here.  Definitely not that retsina, which tastes like Lysol cleaner to me.  Not that I’m a wine connoisseur by any means, but……  I’ll try to remember to take pictures!

I really enjoy doing this and wondered for a long time whether I’d be able to do it again.  So far, I’m not having any problems at all.  That’s because I have very good friends that I feel very comfortable with, even as an “alone” person now.

The plan was to talk about next years “big” vacation, but B & D won’t be able to go, which is too bad.  I’m sure we’ll still talk about it…..maybe just trying to change their mind a little bit….R & G will be here too.

My house is relatively clean, which is also nice……just a quick once over with the vacuum and a bathroom wipe down.   I can spend the day prepping everything and having a bit of time to just sit and relax.

Had dinner last night with my kids…….just the three of us.  I don’t think we’d done that for years!   I had a really good time.

Yesterday was a really busy day…..sort of.  I was ready to head out the door at 10:30…..dressed and everything!  This has not been my norm of late…..I enjoy my mornings on the deck so I’m usually a little late getting going most days…..just because being retired, there really isn’t any schedule or timeline that needs to be followed, right?  My BIL called just as I was going to leave…..I put another pot of coffee on….he came by and we made all our phone calls to the city and the structural engineer.  The garage builder then phoned to give me an update on his schedule, then I spent 2+ hours on the phone with my friend R (who is coming for dinner tonight!).  Bev had called, while I was on the phone, so I called her back….just a quick chat.  I finally got out the door at 1:30 to get my groceries, which included a detour to Pier 1 to check out the sale on patio furniture….still nothing at least not at their sale prices!

I think it was a good day…….I like good days 🙂

L.