Friday, August 25, 2017


Rats ate the wiring harness on our car. Yup, you heard me right. I couldn’t believe it when my husband told me, but that’s what happened.

We had been vacationing in Newfoundland—like we do every year—and he had left a few days earlier. At the airport in Toronto, he mistakenly grabbed the wrong suitcase. He wasn’t home five minutes when he got a phone call—the lady had his bag, he had hers. He agreed to meet her halfway and went back out to meet her.

The car was hard to start and sputtered. He thought that it was because it hadn’t been started in two weeks. He continued, but just down the road it started to smoke. He turned around and managed to get back home. He called the woman and told her what had happened. She told him not to worry, she would come to him; it was on her way home anyway.

After the exchange, he called the tow truck and had it towed to the garage.
The mechanic told him that rats had eaten the wiring on the car from one end to the other. My husband couldn’t believe it, so they showed him. They had it fixed within a few days, but the bill was most discouraging: $2500.00.

We had left our car on numerous occasions and nothing ever went wrong. This time, you see, while we were on vacation they had done some construction near the garbage area, and instead of contacting us to have the car removed—yes, they had our phone number—they just left it. While under construction, they must have uncovered a rat’s nest and those rats chose the closest shelter they could find, our car.

My husband spoke with the property manager, but they would not do anything to compensate us in any way.

We now park across the parking lot and hope that no other creature comes near.

Friday, June 9, 2017


I remember the first time I saw you. You were driving a pick-up truck and you were at Flat Bay Pond. I thought that you looked sexy and beautiful, but out of my league, for sure.

Then, I saw you a few years later behind my house talking to my brother and I thought, "Why not?" It was fate. We talked and laughed and did quite a few other things before we decided to make a life with each other. 

We had a lot of bumps on the way, but we also had a lot of great times to go along with the bad. It's hard to believe that the road has taken us to almost twenty years together. And with those years we have a beautiful son to show for it.

I truly enjoy being around you and being your friend to share everyday things with. You have always supported me in my endeavors; you're just that kind of person. I can't imagine waking up without you and not coming home to tell you how my day was, and I look forward to hearing about your day.

I love you and can't believe how lucky I was to have you come into my life. I look forward to growing old with you and making new memories to share with our future grand kids. The day is never boring with you in it and we are destined to have a lot of adventures in the future. 

Happy Birthday, Baby! I love you and I will be there next year saying the same things!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


For the past few years I had been having pain in the upper right quadrant of my tummy and at one point the pain was so bad that it sent me to the doctor’s office. My doctor sent me for an ultrasound right away and within a few days I was back in his office listening to him tell me what the ultrasound revealed.

There appeared to be multiple stones in my gallbladder and every time I had pain it was a stone being lodged in the bile duct. He explained to me that I had had a gallbladder attack, and presence of the stones meant that the condition was getting worse and my gallbladder had to be removed as soon as possible. He explained that the condition, if left untreated, could cause more intense pain, digestive issues, and infection.  He referred me to a specialist and encouraged me to have the surgery right away.

Well, if you are anything like me, you want a second opinion. I went home and immediately researched the symptoms, causes, and complications of gallbladder removal surgery. Then, I sat in front of the computer reading countless reviews and experiences of people who had gone through it. I decided to wait until the appointment with the specialist to decide what to do.

It was a few weeks before my appointment and by that time I had spoken with several people on the issue. I believe that the more info you have the better to make an informed decision. By the time I arrived at my appointment, I had already made up my mind to get the surgery. When the doctor explained to me the advantages of getting the surgery, he made the appointment on the spot, and within a month I was lying on the operating table telling the nurse how beautiful she was and how I loved her so.

When I woke up, the nurse told me that there were no complications and I could go home within a few hours. I was still a bit groggy, but feeling fine. My husband was there to take me home. It took at least a week before I was able to get in and out of bed without any help, but that was because my bed was so high. My entire tummy area felt very strange, as it had been blown up so that the surgeon could manipulate his robotic arms to cut and remove the gallbladder. I didn’t have that much pain, and I felt very positive about the whole thing. I knew I had done something good for my body. In two weeks I was back to work, being very careful not to strain, stretch, or overdo it. I was only a part-time worker—five hours a day—so it was easy to do.

The most advantageous part of getting the surgery was that my digestion had seemed to become more efficient. Within a few months, I had lost about twenty pounds, I didn’t have any bloating after eating, no gas, and no nausea after eating—symptoms I had had for the past ten years. I prepared my digestive tract before surgery and followed doctor’s orders about how to reintroduce foods back into my diet. That meant small meals, low fat and low salt, high fiber.

My biggest fear was that I would suffer from diarrhea for the rest of my life. I had read countless reviews that people who had had their gallbladders removed suffered from diarrhea. I believe that because I was diligent about eating the right foods that my body accepted my new diet and adapted. It’s just common sense, really. After all, the adage goes: You are what you eat!

A small scar just below my sternum is all that remains.

Monday, April 17, 2017


On April 12, we were on a plane heading for our tropical island getaway to Punta Cana. We made reservations for The Grand Bahia Principe Resort in the Dominican Republic. After the accident, we felt we really deserved the mini-vacation.

Once we arrived, we were disappointed to see that it was a rainy, gloomy, damp day. And there were some really annoying young men on the bus that were driving us crazy with their loud, obnoxious behavior. I remember thinking, Oh, God, don't let them get off at our resort. Well, the Lord must have been in a good mood, because I got my wish.

Our hotel room was amazing. Clean, colorful, and tastefully decorated. By the time we unpacked the rain had stopped and the clouds dissipated. It was great to see that beautiful Caribbean sun. My hubby and I went out for a drink and a walk about while our son kicked off his shoes and relaxed.

The resort was beautiful. There were three swimming pools, including a swim up bar. It was late afternoon and we surmised that guests were in their rooms showering off the days activities and getting ready for dinner. We went back to the room and did the same.

The restaurant was great, the entertainment was spectacular, and the food was delicious. After our trip to Cuba, we were not sure what to expect, but it turned out to be five stars as advertised.

The next day was beautiful and we found our way to the beach, which was a bit of a walk, but trolleys made the trip up and down the cobblestone the whole day. It was a large resort and fairly crowded, but we made our way through. We did not worry about not finding a chair, as we offered up money to the staff and they found us chairs with no problems. The beach was lovely, but very crowded. The water was just as we remembered: above 30 degrees, clear, aquamarine, very salty.

We had a great stay. The evening entertainment was wonderful, the drinks were tasty, the food was delicious, and the staff went out of their way to accommodate guests. I would definitely recommend this resort to anyone.

Here are a few pics of our stay.

Friday, March 24, 2017


It was exactly one week later, and we were still brimming with excitement from winning $12,100.00 at bingo. I had left work at the end of my Friday night shift at 8pm and went to pick up my hubby at his workplace, which was not far from where I worked.

As I drove along, our conversation turned to food and we decided to grab a pizza before going home. As I approached a traffic light, a driver at the other side was in the left turn lane and seemed to be turning. I applied the brake and he stopped. The light was green, so I continued to drive. As I accelerated, the driver came right out in front of me. My hubby yelled, "Look out!" I turned the wheel to the right, but could not avoid it.

I was screaming, my heart was pounding in my chest, my legs were burning, I was stunned by the air bag, my wrist hurt, and I was going into a full-blown panic attack. My hubby got out of the car and came to my side to calm me down. He called 911.

As he was trying to calm me down and checking me for broken bones, the driver from the other vehicle got out and asked if we were all right. I started yelling at him. My husband did his best to control the situation, but the driver knew not to come forth. I was livid.

Everything after that is a blur. The police arrived and took statements, the ambulance came and took me to the hospital, the tow truck took the car, and within an hour, my hubby was driving a rental. I could not believe how efficient the situation was handled. 

After my wait at the hospital, I became calm. By the time I saw the doctor I had realized that I did not have any broken bones. My leg was starting to bruise, my wrist was swollen, and my neck hurt, but nothing was broken as confirmed by the doctor on call. I got a prescription for inflammation and pain, and was sent home.

The police told my hubby that the driver of the other vehicle was a young man who was only licenced to drive six months ago and that he had just drove that car off the dealership lot just an hour before. He admitted that he was at fault and he did not judge the distance properly.

The next day, everything hurt. My hubby’s legs were also badly bruised from the air bag. I was still trying to process the whole thing. And once again, we were back to our philosophical conversation about God, the universe, and why things happen. But we were okay, and that’s the main thing.

Our insurance providers handled our case promptly and we received a cheque for $12,217.56, almost the same amount I had won at bingo the week before. 

Friday, March 17, 2017


I got up this morning and decided to go to the bingo and for some reason my hubby wanted to go with me. It had been a long time since the both of us had played bingo together and it was nice to spend some quality time. I didn’t have to be at work until later in the afternoon and my hubby decided that he would start his job a little later.

We got to the bingo hall and bought our cards, placing them on the table along with our Tim’s and dabbers. We talked and sipped our coffee while the caller recited the rules of the hall.

I laughed as my hubby recalled the time we went to another bingo hall where a little old lady repeated the numbers as they were being called. It was both annoying and funny, so funny that it just became one of many memories of good times together. Another time we had gone, we had won a thousand dollars. I don’t remember what we did with the money, but at that time we had just started living together and talked about buying a car.

The first game started and as the caller called the numbers and we dabbed it on our cards, I recalled all the times I had gone to bingo, winning a few dollars here and there, nothing to write home about.

My hubby was dabbing and got set, then bitched when his number didn’t come up and someone else yelled, “Bingo!” Then he turned to me and said, “Come on, Lisa, we got to get the jackpot for a trip back to the Caribbean.”  I just looked at him and laughed.

But, what he said kinda stuck in my mind and as I was dabbing, visions of last year’s trip to Cuba came flooding my brain with scenes of salty, aquamarine waters that were 30 degrees and higher; white, hot sandy beach as far as the eye could see; and the bright sun burning my skin. As I was dabbing, I was visualizing these things. I started smelling the salt air, feeling my skin burn, and seeing the ocean waves roll in. And when I looked down at one of my cards, it was almost full. I had three numbers and within three calls, I yelled “Bingo!”

I wasn’t sure how much money I had won. I didn’t get too excited as I could have made a mistake on one of my cards, but when the caller yelled out that it was a good bingo, well I started to shake uncontrollably. I covered my face with my hands and cried.   

This is how much I had won.  When we got home, we started planning our trip to the Caribbean.

Friday, January 27, 2017


On Fridays, I work an afternoon shift from 3-8 pm (Monday – Thursday 10-3). I punched my card and headed to the pharmacy department--I work at Shoppers Drug Mart. There was a shift change for the pharmacists and as one was starting another one was finishing. I made the usual salutations and placed my water jug on the counter. The pharmacist who was leaving took me aside, gave me a red envelope, then gave me a quick hug.

“Put that in your pocket,” she said.

I had no idea what was happening, but said, “Thank you.”

She left quickly while I stood there puzzling at the gesture.

I began serving customers and doing the job, forgetting all about that red envelope. 
The evening went by quickly and when I got home and undressed, I felt the red envelope in my pocket. Curiously, I opened it and found a twenty-dollar bill. My son, who had been passing by my bedroom, saw the red envelope.

“Who gave you that?” he asked.

“One of the pharmacists at work,” I replied.


“Yeah, well she’s from Taiwan.”

“Mom, do you know what that is?”


“Mom, tomorrow’s Chinese New Year!”

Oh, gosh, did I feel stupid then. I totally forgot about Chinese New Year, but I still didn’t understand why I got the red envelope. I had never seen it before.

Then, my son, being the walking encyclopedia that he is, decides to inform me of the Year of the Rooster and the red envelope tradition.

Apparently, Chinese people love the color red, which is the symbol of happiness, energy and good luck. When you receive a red envelope, the person is wishing you good luck. The money inside is not as important as the color of the paper. Those who receive a red envelope are wished a safe and peaceful year.

My son told me that you should not open a red envelope in front of the giver and boy, was I glad that I didn’t, as it is improper and in bad taste.

There are rules regarding who to give to and what amount. I am not Chinese, so that does not really matter. However, I thought it all very interesting.

Later that night, I lie in bed thinking about how lucky I truly was to be thought of in that way. This lady is a wonderful being, a great mother, and a very knowledgeable and experienced pharmacist. Everyone asks for her at the pharmacy. She has a great sense of humor and is an organized and meticulous worker. I have learned so much from her in my two years at the pharmacy.

Now, I have a new-found respect. And I am truly blessed to be working with such a beautiful human being. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017


It is sometimes amazing to me how quickly an accident can happen. You're going along your daily routine at work, doing the same things, working on the same machines, just minding your business and getting the job done, when suddenly, the fork on a Raymond Reach jiggles loose and you don't make it out of the way in time. This was the case with my husband today.

I had arrived home not ten minutes when I get a call from him; he needed a ride home. When I asked where he was he calmly said he was at the hospital, and of course, upon hearing this I was quite alarmed. He said that he was fine. I hurried to the car and went to pick him up. 

When I go to the hospital, he wobbled to the car and carefully got in with his right foot bandaged. As we drove home he told me what had happened. It was nobody's fault, just a freak accident. 

Kinda gross, isn't it? I thought so, too. Later that night, we couldn't help but start a philosophical conversation about God, the universe, and why these things happen. We just give thanks that it wasn't worse. 

For the next two weeks he bitched and whined about how his toe looked. And at work, he never let his guard down again, always anticipating the dangers.

Saturday, January 14, 2017


I remember the day that the paving crew came through my hometown of Flat Bay very clearly. Big machines, loud noises, people hustling about, shouting, and the smell of tar. I remember it so well because it was also the day that I remember my arm getting pulled into the rollers of the old washing machine. I was no more than 4 years old, but remember it well. Oh, the horror!

Oh, yes, wash day. The five-gallon bucket full of Javex water and yellow cloth diapers, the deafening swish-swash of the agitator (if you were lucky enough to own a machine), the basket full of damp clothes to be pinned on the clothesline. And, of course, who doesn’t remember the double action on the washboard? Good times.  For my mother, it was an all-day job. The washing started at sunrise and was finished with the last bit of ironing well after sunset. She was meticulous in her work, and it showed in the white socks, stainless cloth diapers, and perfectly ironed shirts. (She would even iron the underwear.)

Since I was the oldest—and the only girl—in the family, I was handed down the precious duty of laundry. I hated the ironing, hated it with a passion. But, so it goes, the jobs we hate to do are the most valuable ones. (I wouldn’t be caught dead without an ironed work shirt!)

Now back in the 60s and 70s clothes detergents still contained phosphates (the chemical that got the clothes clean and bright). It was a great time to do laundry. That was until scientists found that phosphates promoted the growth of algae—killing fish, stagnating water, and turning lakes into swamps. Phosphates - not toxic to humans, only toxic to the environment.

It took a while to phase out the use of phosphates in detergents and I believe Tide was still using them back in the 80s and 90s, which is why I suppose they were the number one detergent on the market. I really didn’t notice the difference when laundering my clothes when I was single as my clothes were just smelly from clubbing, back when smoking in clubs was cool. It wasn’t until I had a child of my own that I really started noticing.

Since clothes detergents no longer contain phosphates, nothing seems to get the clothes clean and bright. Have you noticed how many laundry products there are on the shelves of your local supermarket? I want to throw something at the TV every time I see that commercial for Oxy-Clean. What a joke! It’s like pre-washing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher, which is what I have to do with my laundry: pre-wash. And most times, I find myself scrubbing on my own stained clothes in the sink because the stains will not come out in the pre-wash or the regular wash. I’ve tried to find a washboard like my mother used so long ago, but to no avail. I’ve tried all kinds of detergents, and boosters, but nothing will get the clothes that level of white and bright I remember.

And those front-loading washers! Sure, wonderful, let’s save the planet’s water supply. What a crock, we’re not going to run out of water (not anytime soon). How can a litre of water get a washer full of clothes clean? It can’t. If you put too much clothes in the washer, the middle may stay dry and unwashed because there is not enough water to get through the load of clothes. I’ve noticed on the internet that more and more people are ditching those front loaders for the conventional agitator type models. And just because you use one of those doesn’t necessarily mean that you are using too much water, after all who can afford these outrageous water bills anyway!

Doing laundry these days has become an art form, an all-day job once again. (Well, not all day, but you get what I mean.) I get up early on Saturday morning, and while drinking my first cup of coffee, sort the clothes and pre-wash any soiled or stained clothes by hand, and pre-soak socks in Javex water for a bit. Then I roll the hampers to the laundry room. I use my regular detergent—nothing else is worth the money—and boost that with just plain, old-fashioned baking soda. One-half cup gets the clothes from looking dull and old to half decent. For whites, I use detergent, baking soda, 

and my old friend, Javex. To add fragrance, I find that Unstopables in each load does the trick. Liquid Snuggle or Downy doesn’t work to provide fragrance, nor do dryer sheets. Thirty minutes later my clothes are washed. The white sheets haven’t come completely white, but besides spending more money to have the dry cleaners add whiteners once a week, it will do. The socks are still lightly soiled, but they “feel” clean. I transfer wet clothes to the dryers and I add dryer sheets to each load because I cannot handle static cling. If I’ve missed a stain, I take the piece(s) upstairs and scrub again, using dish detergent Dawn (as my dry-cleaning guy told me to do). Then I’ll just hang that on a hanger in the bathroom to dry. Forty-five minutes later I take the clothes out of the dryer and start folding and putting away. And there you have it, clean clothes for another week. I iron only clothes that need to be ironed and I do not iron underwear.

And that folks, is the art of doing laundry.