Saturday, January 31, 2015

Kurt Vonnegut is Correct On This One!

"Go into the arts.  I'm not kidding.
The arts are not a way to make a living.
They are a very human way of making life more bearable.
Practicing an art, no matter how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven's sake.
Sing in the shower.  Dance to the radio.  Tell stories.
Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem.
Do it as well as you possibly can.
You will get an enormous reward.
You will have created something."

--Kurt Vonnegut

A New Way To Post

"I will be posting telepathically today, so if you think of something funny, it was me!"

(thanks for this email forward, Kay)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sorry People, But I Really Don't Know How I Feel Right Now

Over the past week a number of people have enquired as to whether or not I am excited about our upcoming move.  I am so embarrassed that at this point I really don't know how to answer that question.

When we came here it was a huge shock, not at all what we expected was going to happen and while it has worked out okay, I had a tough time getting used to the whole idea.  I threw up at least once a day for 2 weeks before we arrived and for more weeks than that after we moved in and got settled.  The difficulty was a result of having my life of contentment and fulfillment and usefulness pulled out from under me.  I didn't handle it well.  The idea that God could possibly be in it was not something I wanted to acknowledge or accept for the first few months.  

Once my life here got rolling I settled down and coped with a new reality, particularly in ministry.  I found my place and it has been mostly over the internet, telephone and travelling to visit friends and family far away.  This has been a perfect place to have time to concentrate on the people in my life who need my support, who have supported me in the past, to deal with health issues and some personal and family crises.  There have been very few local distractions to take my mind and heart away from the task that was set before me here.  

And now it is time to move on once again.  The problems of the past 5 years have taken a toll, particularly emotionally and I truly do not have any great excitement about our new city of residence.  I don't have any dread either.  I don't have much in the way of emotions at all right now in relationship to the move.  Numbness is about the extent of my feelings.  I am not sure if I am afraid to get excited in case not much changes in my own life, or if I have just been so busy preparing to go that I haven't spent any time luxuriating in the thoughts of what wonderful things and people could await. There is also the possibility that I am simply that much older and more tired out than I was when we came here.

When people ask me if I am excited about moving on, I stand there gaping like a fish, stammering and stuttering like a complete twit.  It is a perfectly innocent and reasonable question that I should be able to answer somewhat glibly.  But I can't.  So, please don't be offended if you ask me how I feel about moving and all you get for a response is some kind of babbling nonsense.  I will sort it out, but for now my emotions have to do their own relocating to a new place. Hopefully they will arrive at the same time as the rest of me.  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Great Idea My Friend!

A friend from Vancouver read my blog post today about simplifying housework.  She phoned to let me know I should market the idea online...ten cents per hit, fifteen cents for returns.  We put our heads together on this idea and realized I could make some money with this:  maybe as much as a dollar and ten cents! 

 I think it is a fab idea, how about you?

Got Muh Glasses At Last!!

It's a happy morning!  The tech from the optometrist's office called today to say the problem with my new glasses had been straightened out and they were ready for me.  Off I went immediately to get them before anything else could go wrong.

O my goodness....I love the colour of course, but they also fit my face, they are tight enough to stay in place and I can see clearly for the first time in 3 years!!  I didn't realize what a nuisance the old frames were the entire time I had them, damaged from the day of pick up.  Everything is so clear.  I am delighted. No more constant pushing at my frames trying to get them to stay in place when I want to read or to drive at night without double images.

Guess it is time to put a new photo on this blog and I promise I will get to it in a few days.  The photo on there right now is 2 pair of frames, 3 hairstyles and 60 pounds ago....and about 10 years in age as well, sigh....well, 3 out of 4 "ain't" bad, right? haha

The sun is shining and it isn't too cold yet.  2 days of snow starting tomorrow, but it has been a rather spectacular January for weather and I am very grateful. I am also grateful my husband is able to drive with other people to his annual church camp board meeting on the weekend....a 5 hour round trip where he doesn't have to be behind the wheel driving through the drifts.  

There is much to be thankful for usual.

Housekeeping Made Easy

I have discovered the secret for making housework simpler and less time consuming.  Simply pack up 2/3 of your belongings, including all photos, artowrk, ornaments and pottery.  Wrap them in bubble wrap and tissue, put them into boxes  and stack the boxes along one wall of a large room.  Then dusting is restricted to the necessary furniture only and the floor area needing vaccuming is reduced.  Once the boxes are stacked do not ever move them until a moving truck arrives to take them away and just vaccum around them.  Easy work done in 1/3 of the time! Bathrooms can also be less hassle to clean.  Open up the 4 drawer plastic storage bin that you probably have all ready, because when it comes to bathroom storage such bins are ubiquitous, push the towels, facecloths, handtowels and hair appliances aside, force the Q-tips, fancy soaps and medications in around them  and voila, your shelves are now free of all those little items that need to be wiped down each week at bathroom scrubbing time. The best part  of a move is the last 3 weeks in the old house when most of the extras are packed up and out of the way.  It gives you hope for that final clean to go fairly painlessly and quickly.  Which reminds me of another hint:  clean the oven a month before you leave and don't use it again!  Makes the move out cleaning easier AND forces you to be more creative with stove top cooking.  When you finally move to a new place don't ever unpack!!  Don't thank me,  don't thank me, it isn't, isn' come on now....the standing ovation is....well, it is over the top, no....sit down....really...I mean it, take your seats....oh, oh...oh..well....thank you, thank you....awww's nothing....truly it isn',  you can't hear me over the applause....sigh.....well then...thank you  and thank you again.....teehee...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yippee! All Set To Go!

So happy that the movers responded to us today. They can come the day we need them to come and the lapse between pick up here and delivery of our "stuff" there gives us a chance to clean up the rectory properly right after the moving truck pulls out.  

It is saving us one trip back and forth that week, although I am going to have to do some fancy dancing with the medical system to get some lab work and tests transferred from here to there on the day they are supposed to be done.  Fortunately my incredibly busy doctor is able to see me a more than a week ahead of that time, so we will see what she can help me work out.

I feel great just knowing the biggest piece of the puzzle is now in place.  Since we are taking a lot of the kitchen and bedding supplies to our new home a week ahead of the "big move", we won't have to stay in a hotel while we await the moving van delivery.  Thank you God....I am beyond grateful for how things appear to be going at the moment.  Yes, I know there can be last minute screw ups, but so far so good.  
 So many friends are praying for us and/or wishing us well.  I wish we could tell everyone in person how humbled we are by your interest in us and for your friendship and care.  It is all helping us cope with leaving yet another place and another group of sweet people.

Girl's Day Out

I have been missing my friend Patty a lot lately. When we lived in the same city we got together several days a week, were on the phone almost every day and generally had great times.  We giggled and acted silly, but also dealt deeply with our issues in life and career.  And then we moved far away....

Life here has been good but in a different way.  I have missed having a BFF right here where I live, but other things and other aquaintances have filled my time and consumed my energies.  Just kicking back with a close friend has not been as large a part of my every day existence.

So yesterday was particularly special and fun. One of our parishioner couples wanted to spend some time with us yesterday.  While her coin collector husband spent a few hours going through my husband's small and rather worthless collection, consisting mostly of coins with family memories attached, she and I spent a happy afternoon running our own errands and window shopping together. She is redecorating her home, so we had a great time looking for accent table runners, vases, picture frames and gee gaws of all kinds, picking up a few groceries, chatting with friends met along the way, etc.  A few hours flew past quickly.

It was great to be able to get our heads out of our upcoming move.  How wonderful to take time out from getting quotes from moving companies, judging how soon it is safe to pack up the remaining items in the house, being tempted to worry about this and that and the other thing.  

Another cool thing is that my son's Christmas parcel that went missing in Brooklyn back in December was returned to me in yesterday's mail.  Happily unexpected.  We will be able to resend the contents to a different and more secure address at my son's place of work.  

So, for the most part a wonderful day yesterday.  Soon I will be living much closer to my friend Patty once again, so we will be able to get together at least occasionally to have some fun and fix the problems of life and work together once again.  I will be living closer to all my friends from that part of the province, only 45 minutes away and a good highway in between us for travelling on.  

When we lived in Calgary and Vancouver and Tokyo and and and and, 45 minutes was not a long drive across the city to visit friends or go shopping.  That highway is going to see a lot more travel once we get moved, that is for sure.

Hey Alberta Health Services: I Am Not Impressed

I am not thrilled that my bone specialist in Calgary feels forced to retire because of the way he and his colleagues are being treated by Alberta Health Services, but yesterday AHS added insult to injury for me personally.

In my mailbox I found a bill for nearly three hundred dollars for my last visit with my specialist, earlier this month.  Whaaaa????  I know they are desperate for money but no one informed me at the time of booking the appointment, at the instigation of his office rather than myself, that I would be responsible for paying for it.  I have had no correspondence from Saskatchewan Health Care to tell me I am no longer covered for such appointments.

So, I know the billing was a mistake and SHOULD be easily rectified since I took the steps requested if a bill is sent in error. However, with AHS reputation of late, I am just hoping and praying I do not have some kind of battle on my hands.  I also know mistakes can happen anywhere at any time in any office.  If AHS acknowledges a mistake was made and that is the end of it, I will be happy.  Unfortunately, based on past dealings with them, it is hard to relax and expect the proper ending to what should be a simple matter to clear up.

Here's hoping for the best........ 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hoping the Son is Safe!

Don't get me wrong....I love my son with all my heart, but I have to admit he can be completely oblivious at times to what is going on around him.  He isn't big on paying attention to local events, like weather reports for example.  At the moment the storm of the century is raging in his home city of New York and the subways were shut down at 11pm today by order of the mayor, who has declared a state of weather emergency and will allow only emergency vehicles to be out and about tonight.

Why do I have the strong sense that my son is stranded somewhere between New York city proper and Brooklyn where he lives?  For him, growing up on the prairies, 2 feet of snow is no big deal.  In fact for him, at least until recent years of residing in Vancouver, 2 feet of snow has been a minimum amount of the white stuff to deal with each winter.  He is armed with a gorgeous and practical red plaid lumberjacket and heavy black winter boots, but is he armed with the strength and fortitude and awareness of his own safety to make it back to Brooklyn if the trains stopped running before he got home tonight?  Knowing him as well as I do I can't help but wonder.

No offense aren't stupid, just possibly unaware of how those less intimate with the trials of winter storms are rather unprepared to deal with them.  Although you are a very capable adult for the most part, I can't help feeling concern when you are so far away in furious blizzard conditions in a city that isn't used to coping with it very well.

I have my temporary crown in place for the next 9 days until the permanent one goes on.  What a relief to be getting that work done.  My dentist is just so professional and so quick and so unflappable.  I enjoy not only her excellent work but I enjoy her as a person in her work environment.

I suppose I should have told her that the time spent drilling out my tooth for the placement of the crown was not as painless as it should have been.  Occasionally I have trouble with the freezing and it just doesn't "take" the way it should.  It happened again today so I received a second dose and she let it set up for a good long time.  It seemed to have taken until the last minute or so with the drill when she was getting down deep into the tooth.  Owwww.....thankfully it was partially frozen or I would have risen completely off the chair with pain, but it was bad enough just for a few moments.  

I am stoic at the dentist's.  I don't think she noticed the tears forming in my eyes before she was finished with that drill.  Being naturally tense anyway she wouldn't have noticed much change in my body language. Maybe next time I will let her know, but she was so close to the end of the procedure I decided to just stick it out.  I am so grateful the attachment of the permanent crown requires no freezing.  The nerve pain that comes along for a couple of minutes when the room temperature crown is pushed onto the tooth is not unbearable. It only makes me feel kind of skootchy for a minute or so.

So, another appointment, another crown.  I am tempted to try to continue seeing this dentist even though she will soon be nearly 5 hours away from where I live....dentists a person like me is comfortable with are few and far between. It might just be worth the trip and the hotel room and the gas mileage and the restaurant meals and the loss of  2 days just for a checkup and a cleaning and the occasional broken juuuust might be worth it.....  

Back to the Dentist

This afternoon it is time to return to the dentist for more work before we move.   I have a broken tooth.

Okay, I confess: it actually broke on Christmas Day, but it hasn't bothered me and I have been too busy with other pressing things to do much about it.  

Last night I realized I was becoming aware of the tooth's existence so I called the dental office this morning, expecting to go in sometime later this week.  To my relief, the office manager told me they could squeeze me in at 2pm.  YAY!!!  I am assuming it will be able to be crowned.  Sure do hope so because there is a huge empty space on one side of it and there is no way my husband's insurance is going to cover any of the cost of a bridge right now because of all the other dental work I have had done in the past year.  Plus I won't be here long enough to complete the procedure.
Prayer request: Crown and not bridge.....

I am hoping to get my glasses this week at some point as well.  When I checked with the technician on Friday, the new frames had indeed come in but were not exactly the same shape for putting in the existing lenses that came with the first pair that the tech managed to break last week before I even had a chance to wear them home.  

I am getting a bit suspicious about what is going on with these frames and the tech and the whole place.  My present frames were damaged at the same place, the very day I got them, because the lenses had not been centered properly when they were ground for progressives.  For the past 3 years I have been wearing bent frames, obviously bent frames that have had to be tightened over and over again to keep my vision clear.  Due to other more pressing health emergencies I never did return to straighten out that mess.  I don't want to have to wait until we are moving to find out that I can't get these frames after all or that there is some other problem.  I don't want to have to get all huffy and tell them to cancel my order and no I will NOT pay for the lenses they ground for me.  That is not the way I want or like to be, particularly in a town this small.  An angry minister's wife is not a grand picture to leave the local business community with when we move away.  Sigh.....

Everything else is going so well right now.  I hope these glasses will be one more good thing.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Busy Days Now and Beyond

It has been a very full weekend of activities and we are exhausted.  In a few minutes we will take a break and call our son in New York City to see how he is faring with the possibility of huge storms heading into his area.

Yesterday I was able to pack up some more household items while my husband raced to complete an article for publication and fine tuned his sermon for this morning.

Late in the afternoon some local parishioners picked us up and drove us to our other church to enjoy their annual roast beef dinner fundraiser.  Between the great crowd of visitors in the church hall and quite a few take out meals to be delivered to seniors and others, that small church group fed well over 100 people last night.  They made some good money for the church in the process and they are such fun to work with that they ended up with a fair amount of assistance from community members and members of other churches in the town.  It was a great evening of fun and amazing food!

My husband was so tired this morning I wasn't sure he would make it out of bed and off to the 2 towns he serves, but he got through both services just fine. After lunch we completed our inventory for applying for tenant insurance and will take that into the insurance company tomorrow sometime.

By the time we were done with it my husband looked like he was on death's door, he was so very tired, so he had a nap and has just completed a marvellous dinner of leftovers from the fundraiser last night.  

As soon as we have called our son we will begin the inventory of our belongings to send in to 3 different moving companies for quotes and availability of trucks for the days we need to move.  

It seems that contained in all the packed boxes decorating the rectory should be pretty much everything we own.  However, we still have just as much to sort through and pack....aiii are we ever going to cram even the necessities for our daily living into the little townhouse we have rented????  I don't know how many more items we can realistically eliminate before moving.

Since my husband will be working right up to and through the actual moving time and will be hard pressed to do his own packing and pitching out, I decided the least I could do this afternoon was to put all the moving boxes we have collected over the years back together.  Now he won't have to tape boxes back together, just fill them as soon as the time comes.  

I surely do hope the half ton truck we are borrowing to fill up with as many boxes as possible the week prior to the moving truck coming will hold ALL the boxes I have packed. hahaha My husband actually thinks he can come close to getting them all in. That will save some time, energy and money when the professional movers arrive.  My fragile pottery and art works are going with us in the half ton because I have moved them so many times I know how to pack them well and keep them from breaking.  It will be great to be able to unload the first round of boxes the day we take possession even if the rest of our stuff doesn't show up until the next week.  We will have time to unpack those things and get them out of the way.  The truck is big enough that we will be able to also pick up the new furniture we are getting in the city.  YES!!!!

So, onward and upward and away we go..........I wonder how many days we will have to collapse before my husband's new job kicks into high gear???

Friday, January 23, 2015

Another Layer to the Answer

My husband and I were talking this evening over dinner about the question posed in my last blog entry.

We decided that the transformation aspect of that connection with an "outside of ourselves" power would most likely depend on recognizing a love relationship with that power...the security of knowing we ourselves are loved would give us the impetus to share that kind of love with others.

I am so glad our friend told us about his study project this week as he attempts to write something really intelligent about the whole subject of spirituality in today's world.  It certainly has set my little pea brain to thinking......

Good Question

Someone asked me the other day how I would define the concept of "true spirituality".  

That is a lot to think about but I think the short answer would be this:
it would be a consciousness of a power, or force, or God if you will, that operates in the universe outside of/apart from ourselves and that we discover a deep connection with; a connection that causes us to be transformed from selfish, self-centered ways of living into people who want to sacrifice our own desires and needs in order to bring a better justice into the lives of those around us and into the world at large.

Evidence of that kind of transformation is one way to identify for ourselves if our ideas of spirituality are only ideas or if they are actually transforming our lives in a positive way.

Early Valentine's Day

The other day I stumbled upon the perfect message from me to my husband in a Valentine card.  Neither of us is into celebrating that particular greeting card buying day, but this card said exactly what I would want to say to my husband had I thought of writing it in those words myself.

Since we will be in the throes of packing up and getting ready to move all around Valentine's Day, I gave him the card all ready.  It was fulfilling to see how much the messge meant to him and he ended up giving me a valentine as well:  in the process of tearing open the envelope he managed to create a flap that, when opened up, turns the envelope into a perfect heart shape with one flat edge underneath it so I can stand it up on the table.

For my delighted husband, THAT is the perfect Valentine card: no wordy message, no mushy sentiments and no cost!  hahaha  For those of you who know my husband you will be giggling with me about how apropos the heart shaped envelope is.  I think I will save it and put it out on the table every year on Feb. 14.  It says nothing yet says it all.  hahaha

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Travels With the Bishop

I have a serious case of the giggles right now.  teehee  It concerns travelling my husband is likely going to have to do as he accompanies his new boss, our beloved Bishop, on Diocesan "errands".  His excitement over this new possibility of a trip has him behaving like a 5 year old who has just discovered hidden, secret surprise, plane tickets to Disneyland in his mother's purse.

When he was told there was a fair amount of travel involved in his new position, my husband assumed it meant all around our Diocese.  There will be some of that of course.  However, it seems our Bishop is expecting my husband to also broaden his travel horizons.  He did invite my husband to accompany him to a conference in Texas next month but my husband said "no" because next month is our last one with our present parish and he is not keen to lose time with our congregations before his new job even begins.

Then this afternoon came a new request for later this spring:  a trip to Burundi for a conference and checking out the possibility of our Diocese building a hospital there.  My husband recommended a couple of other folk in the Diocese who have medical backgrounds and who he felt would be more well equipped to assess hospital needs, but neither of them is free to go.  So, unless that changes or some other problem arises, my husband will be bound for Africa in a few months' time.  

When he realized he can likely go on this trip, my husband's face lit up like a neon sign.  Pure joy!!  He has always wanted to travel the world, but other than a few years in Japan and a short jaunt to study in India he has had little opportunity to go anywhere outside North America.  Being the kind of person he is, he will not be devasted if this doesn't work out, perhaps only mildly disappointed, but I am praying it will indeed be possible for him to go.  Africa!! How wonderfully exciting for him and for it to be for such a good humanitarian cause as a hospital build puts the icing on his happy cake.

Personally I am grateful it is him and not me who is planning to go.  On one hand I would love to see more of the world, but on the other hand I am not a good long distance flier no matter how accommodating the airline or how plush the airplane.  Deep vein thrombosis is a possible problem for me due to some meds I can't go without for as long as this trip is going to be.  Trying to juggle diabetic friendly meals when I do not know what I am eating is also a hassle I can do without.  I also admit that Africa terrifies me....while I could probably find ways around my 2 big medical issues that interfere with my travelling comfort and safety, I am not sure I would do it to go to Africa.  I have known so many people who have lived and worked there over the past few decades, they love Africa and I admire them, but it isn't a place I want to visit.  Africa is a great place for armchair travelling, at least it is for myself.

So, I am praying all ready that this trip will work out for my husband.  He has all ready sent the Bishop his passport info and tomorrow will be looking into what kind of innoculations he needs that he doesn't all ready have.  He has done well in the past with his malaria meds so if he needs to start them again I think it will be okay.  Oooh, I am so excited for him and he is going with a wonderful travelling companion in the Bishop.

Please Lord, if it is possible, let it be.............

How Does a Person Live a Spiritual Life in Today's World?

A friend of ours is currently on a week's study leave and is using his time to do some writing about the question above.   Someone he deals with presented that question to him and has challenged his thinking.  My goodness, what an open ended question filled with possibilities and frustrations for anyone trying to answer it!

How would "spiritual" be defined?  That word can mean so much and so little all at the same time.  How a person defines the word or the concept of spirituality would be quite dependent upon his own world view, presuppositions, religion or lack thereof, life experiences and ideals.  Trying to define the word and attach a concrete concept as well as a philosophical and theological one could take years from a person's life!

Once a definition and attached concept are reached, then comes many hours of figuring out and researching ways to live within that concept appropriately and fully.  

I admire our friend for taking on this assignment.  The question is not as easy to answer as it appears on first reading.  "Spiritual" is a word that can convey deep meaning and bring boundaries and definition to a lifestyle,  or be used as a way to render true spirituality completely meaningless; a way to generalize personal beliefs for the purpose of not having to live them out in any particular way, with any particular boundaries, or having any sort of accountability for one's actions to anything or anyone outside of oneself.

My friend has started the wheels turning in my own head. I do not have the ability to write about such things as he has, but at least he has me thinking outside of myself this afternoon...a good thing at a time when self-focus is a real temptation in light of the changes about to occur in our own lives.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Eyes and Eyes and Eyes

Had a phone call from mom and dad this afternoon.  Yesterday after our lunch together they were heading to the eye doctor for checkups due to some issues they are both having with their vision.
Today they called to report on the appointment results.

Dad's glaucoma is getting worse quite rapidly.  The pressure in both eyes has risen substantially so the drops he has been using to lower the pressure are not working any more. Fortunately he has been given a brand new drug in drop form to try and his progess will be checked again in 2 weeks.

Mom thought she was developing a secondary cataract on one eye and has been just miserable now for a couple of months, unable to see to read properly and feeling intense eye strain.  She not only has a secondary cataract on that eye, but a secondary cataract on the other eye.  Sigh....she went through so much after her surgeries for cataracts 2 years ago and now here she goes again. However, her current eye specialist does laser cataract removal himself and so he will be doing the surgeries this time.  Since mom had her first surgeries she has had bad reports about that first laser clinic she went to and has been panicked about the secondary cataract removals. What a relief that her new specialist, a person she is so comfortable with, is going to do the second set of surgeries, starting next month.  She is not at all afraid this time around.  That in itself is worth a lot.

So my dear parents are struggling these days.  Dad was so worn out yesterday from being driven across the city for his appt., after the excitement of an unexpected lunch with us beforehand, that when his bath lady came today he wouldn't allow her to dress him. He put his pj's back on and went back to bed.  He was still in them when he called me at 3pm and was on his way back to bed again after our chat.  It appears we are poised on the edge of the next crisis with my parents' health that may precipitate a move out of their current condo, but how I hope it isn't quite time for that yet. They both looked so well yesterday you would never know they are both nearly 90 years old.

As for myself, today was my day to pick up my fancy new eyewear.  Sigh...kind of a disappointment.  The frame needed a bit of tightening and in the process the dear technician managed to break one of the lugs right off the front piece.  hahaha O how I wish I had a video of the expression on her face when she came to tell me. hahaha  It was priceless. She was holding the 2 pieces in her hands and looking totally bewildered.  She couldn't believe she had done that and was so embarrassed. No worries, such things happen when we least expect them to and the new frames will be here in a couple of days time.  I am still giggling about her reaction despite a bit of disappointment for myself.  Guess I will have to put on this same purple outfit once again on pick up day. haha  Well, I wanted to match the frames......ya' know.......

Got the utilities set up for our new digs in Regina.  What lovely customer service reps I talked to for Sask Power and Sask Energy.  If the two women I spoke to are typical of the way those companies train their reps, then those 2 companies should be applauded.  Both women were just wonderful to deal with, efficient and yet without sounding like they had sticks up their butts...the Saskatchewan Advantage! (Sorry Alberta, but your Advantage is all in your wallets instead of your attitudes toward customers. I still love you best, but....ya' know....)

Well....THAT'S a Relief!

As I read the Canadian news this morning I took a look at an article about the closure of the Canadian Target stores.  According to Heather Kirk, a financial analyst for Bank of Montreal, the closure of these stores is not a tragedy.  Target had managed to purchase some of its lease space from the old Zellers stores and were paying out those leases at low rates set up many years ago.  The total amount of Target's monies in leases amounts for several financial investment firms to less than 2% of their total investments. So, no huge losses and no tragedy.

Well, isn't that wonderful for the investment companies and financial advisors. 

Thrilled as I am for them, I wonder if the over 17,000 employees who are facing possible unemployment are just as thrilled about and in agreement with the idea that no tragedy is occuring here.  I suppose if every one of those employees is able to pick up another job readily that is comparable to their present jobs with Target then all will be well.  Considering the state of retail sales all over this country I question whether or not all of them will attain that state of bliss in time to have no gap in monthly income.  I truly hope that turns out to be the case and hopefully they will receive sufficient income up to the pay day cut off date in May to carry them through a few possible lean weeks.

I have been through tough times more than once due to unexpected job losses and the often "interesting" pay periods when self-employed. There can be a tremendous amount of fear during such times, even if the finances end up coming in at their usual steady rate.

Good for the investment bankers and companies that they will not lose out due to Target's closing in Canada, but I admit my concern for them pales in comparison to the possible plight of over 17,000 Joe and Jane Worker folk.

Dicey Ice

We have been blessed with good roads for most of our travels over the past week.  Only yesterday caused us a bit of stress when we ran into an ice storm on the way to Calgary and that only lasted for a couple of hours.  Around the half way point in our drive the ice was so thick on the road that I could only "safely" drive at about 60km an hour and even at that rate of speed I slid right past the turn off I was trying to make.  Fortunately I stayed on the road and was able to regain control, slowly back up to the corner and make it around.  A woman ahead of me was not so fortunate and she ended up skidding across the road, crashing through a metal barricade, then flipped her car upside down.  It righted itself as it came to a stop in the field beside the road, she was just fine with no injuries, but her car was totalled and was still sitting there in the field this afternoon when we drove home again. Other than that bit of driving drama the January road conditions this year have been amazingly good.  Today, driving home on that same strip of highway, it was wet rather than frozen and we were able to get home safely once again.

When we arrived home we realized there had been freezing rain in town during our absence.  When I got out of the car to open the garage door for my husband, the ice was so bad I couldn't walk on it to get to the door.  He managed to skate over it in his heavy driving boots while I waited by the car, he got the door open and we both rode into the garage.  There is a big bag of ice melt in there so I was able to toss handsful of it onto the ice.  Tomorrow I am going to have to put some crampons on the bottom of my own heavy boots and remove the icy snow from the front walk so that pedestrians can  manoeuvre their way past the house without falling.  It is going to be ugly out there until spring.  Last winter we had this kind of ice cover from the end of November, so we can't complain that this winter it waited until mid-January to arrive.  I decided that I have enough room in the garbage can outside to hold one more week's worth of garbage.  It means I don't have to crawl over the ice at 7am tomorrow to drag the bin to the curb.  I am exhausted and want to sleep in instead of setting an alarm in order to get the garbage out in time.

We stayed overnight last night in the home of long time friends.  What a treat!  Seeing them before we move farther away again was a true blessing.  Today we picked up some takeout lunch after my doctor's appointment and ate it with my parents...a short, sweet visit to surprise them with.  

Tomorrow I would like very much to just rest and do absolutely nothing, but with the move coming up so quickly I have to get going on the details.  Where to start....that is always the question when there is so much to be done.  Maybe after a good night's sleep I will be able to get organized.

My husband and I were so tired on the way home today that we resorted to playing games in the car.  We played our own version of "I Spy", more like "I Think Therefore I Am".  My husband was thinking of a concept rather than an object and it took a long time, many questions and a lot of consideration to guess his thought: he was thinking about thinking.  Aiii yiiii.....BUT the game kept us both awake.

It is hard to believe we get to stay home now for a few days.  We have been travelling every day for the past 10 days.  So much to do, so little time...well, there is time to sleep and it is time to go and do that right now!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Text Message From God

God has sent us an amazing TEXT message:  it is called The Bible.

C'mon now....think about it.......heehee

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Q. Why Did the Anglican Cross the Road?

A. He was taking the chicken to a pot luck!!!

I can tell when my husband has had a bad scare: he starts making up silly jokes...although this one had a lot of truth to it!  I don't know if Anglicans or German Baptists would win the award for most potlucks held in a year. haha

The bad scare came this evening while driving home from the city.  Just about the time the sky went from the dim light of evening to the pitch black of night we noticed something sticking up on the side of the road just ahead of us. From a distance it appeared to be a small mound of snow but just before we came abreast of it, the "mound of snow" suddenly started moving out in front of our car!!

It was a huge porcupine attempting to cross the road in the glare of our headlights!  My husband swerved the car into the oncoming lane so quickly that we came within a few centimeters of driving right into the ditch on the far side.  He corrected just as quickly and we rocked 'n' rolled back into our own lane.  Somehow he managed not to overcorrect and flip the car into the ditch on our own side.  The porcupine was saved, we were fine, but we couldn't stop shaking for quite awhile afterward. That is when he made up the joke above. haha  At the time it seemed far more hysterically funny than it actually is...hysterical being the operative word here.  Brrrr.....we were paranoid the rest of the way home, thankfully only 100 km. Every small gleam in the headlights we assumed were the eyes of deer or antelope just waiting to leap out in front of us.  I don't think my husband has hugged the brakes so frequently in a long long time.  

After we arrived home we still couldn't stop shaking, but that was because the temperature inside the house was only +9C! Earlier in the day there had been a split second power outage and it must have happened right when the furnace was in the process of heating the house.  It seems when the power goes out at that point in the heating cycle it triggers the off switch on the fan ignition and no more heat comes until my husband takes off the furnace panels and restarts it manually.  I know the outage was a split second because only the stove and microwave clocks had gone out.  The rest of the clocks in the house require an outage of at least 3 seconds before they lose the correct time.  Thank the Lord we returned home this evening. Had we waited until tomorrow all the water pipes in the house would have been frozen, possibly some of them burst and water and ice could have been everywhere inside.  Whew!  Both the porcupine and ourselves dodged bullets tonight!

I had a cup of hot milk within minutes of getting home so I feel pretty warm and toasty. I have thick socks and my warmest sweater on.  My husband brought the space heater from the church into our office in the house and it is belting out all kinds of wonderful warmth. 

It is getting late, my husband is trying to get some important emails answered before bed and has to print off his sermon for the services tomorrow.  After church we have to head off to another city for an early morning appointment the next day. I have my final appointment with my osteoporosis specialist before he retires, followed by a quick lunch with my parents before we drive all the way back home again.  

Then comes the fun of getting our tenant insurance and utilities for the new place set up, applications to Revenue Canada in regard to our housing allowance, getting mail forwarding set up at the post office etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  I always forget how MANY places and people have to be informed of our change of address.

Crazy, FUN, times!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Another Cool Possibility in the Works

Turns out the management company we are renting from takes willing employees and tenants to Mexico a few times each year to build houses for needy families.  When my husband was told about this I could see his entire body become more erect, a gleam glow in his eyes and a joyous aura emanate right from his soul. hahaha  If it works out for him sometime later this year I know he will be joining the team.  Wouldn't that be fantastic??!!?  Talk about "right up his alley"!  O how I hope he gets that opportunity sometime in the next year or so.  I won't be able to go with him, but can happily cheer him on from back at home.

I may not be able to accompany the team to Mexico, but I all ready have found an opportunity for personal ministry in our complex.  As we were signing a lease today the customer service manager we were with suddenly started telling me about her wayward son and asking if the way she is handling him is the right way to go about helping him.  O my.....she has had a tough life.  Her son has reacted badly to his home situation...and now I have the honour to pray for him and his mom.  My husband got into a long spiritual discussion with another of the customer service reps while this was going on.  Each time we go over to the office we see more and more reasons why we seem to have been "placed" in this particular complex at this time.  It adds to our sense of peace about it all now that we have faced and worked through the emotional difficulties in returning to a landlord/tenant situation.  Sensing a purpose in our location gives us hope for our time in this city.

So Far All is Tickety Boo! Yahoo!!

Plans for our move continue to move along more smoothly than we dared to hope.  Of course there are glitches that can still happen, but so far the only one is around my next quarterly lab work at the hospital that falls right on the day we are in the midst of moving and likely to be on the road that very day.  This too will be solved, no doubt.

We have all the paper work we need for our Revenue Canada applications to do with housing, I have a "meet and greet" set up with a doctor in the city, my husband has had some productive meetings about his new job and about the future of our present parish, we have eaten some wonderful meals, figured out what we are going to need for furniture and cabinets for the new home and where we are most likely to find them, are enjoying amazingly good January weather and finally starting to get a bit more excited about all the upcoming changes in our lives.

Today I was able to enjoy a ton of exercise and will be able to do so tomorrow for several hours before we leave for home again. So far the weather is holding well for the drive.  

Found the cutest, funkiest dress today in a boutique here in the city. Until today I had exactly one dress in my wardrobe and in rather desperate need of at least one more.  A half price sale took care of that problem this afternoon.  I found a little denim look cotton dress that can double as a knee length top with skinny pants and also a fuzzy, mohair-like looking black and white dress that makes me look like a skinny Yeti.  It is going to look great with my new glasses that I am picking up next week.  At my age it is my last chance to do "funky" and get away with it.  I am going to appear eccentric enough to get away with this look on occasion.  teehee  If I don't look completely ridiculous I will post a new photo. haha

So, today once again it was all good.  So so so grateful for that.  Stress relief was becoming a large need and that need has been met so far, thank you Lord.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

To the Moon and Back...Tale of the Bouncing Blood Sugar

I admit to having had far more successful weeks in controlling my diabetes than this past one.  Sigh.....  This past couple of weeks I have been learning first hand about the knowledge I was taught in diabetes class about how any sort of ongoing stress effects blood sugar levels.  I haven't been conscious of a lot of stress, but over the past week I realize I have not slept properly at night, have been feeling a LITTLE bit crabby for no reason and have been settling for food that is less than ideal for me...not going crazy on the cheating, just not being as anal...oops, I mean careful, about what I ingest. 


Last night before bed I had a sneaking hunch I might not be doing so well, so I grit my teeth and did a test.  It wasn't good.  My sugar was nearly 2 points higher than usual for that time of night.


I sat down and thought about what I had eaten that day and no wonder my count was high:  an extra bread carb at breakfast because Texas sized slices appeared in the breakfast room at the hotel and without thinking I ate the entire slice instead of only half, missing the fact that the bran cereal in the breakfast room has some added sugar, a large sized doughnut hole at Robin's when we met the cousin for coffee in the afternoon (just to be social you know), and at supper I ate too much of the white bun on my beef dip, followed by too much of a muffin for an evening snack because...well....because nothing...I didn't even think about how it could effect me because it was a small one. Duh!!  The stress effects the sugars even without dietary slip ups, but add in 2 or 3 of those in a single day on top of 4 days of insufficient exercise and a person is flirting with danger.

So this morning I have my stress under control because we have secured a place to live, I had a good sleep last night, my sugar is less than a half point higher than it usually is in the mornings before breakfast and I controlled myself at breakfast.  I skipped the cereal and brought back 1 slice of Texas toast and a single sized peanut butter container, 1 cup of skim milk and a napkin to my room. I added in 3 small prunes and 3 tablespoons of yogurt that I brought from home and that was my breakfast today.  More like at home for carb count and amount.

Running about during the day to view accommodation possibilities is not the same thing as a half hour of concentrated exercise after lunch and after supper.  Walking the halls in this particular hotel gives me an eerie feeling so I haven't been doing it very often.  I depended more than I know I should have on doing an extra set of stretching exercises after lunch.


So, my husband and I have set a schedule for today that will get me out and about on my feet for more than a half hour after each meal today.  We have a series of furniture stores to visit, outside malls of big box stores to tour about, parking in a central location in the parking lots and then walking to the stores farthest away.  We have some internet business here at the hotel to accomplish, but it is mostly  my husband's work.  I can do some walking in the halls and some jogging in our room while he is doing his work.

Today I feel confident that my self control has returned and I scared myself sufficiently with my blood sugar count last night to stay on track between now and when we get home.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Delicious Beef Dip Dinner

I rarely order beef dip in restaurants any more.  Real sliced beef and sturdy sandwich buns have been replaced in too many places with deli meat and skinny buns that are so light and tasteless that eating them is like running into the wind with your mouth open.  I used to love having a beef dip once in awhile until so many venues chose to "cheap out" and serve dreadful substitutes for the real thing.

However, the other night we had dinner at a small pub beside our hotel. O my...a return to my favourite kind of beef dip dinner: back to slices of real roast beef, proper deli buns and au jus made from the beef roast drippings....SOOOO tasty!!  I can manage to not eat at least half the bun for the sake of the diabetes, but I couldn't manage to leave so much as one single bite of the roast beef that arrived at the table in an amount at least twice the portion size I am supposed to eat at one meal. O dear Lord above, it was heaven!  It was so good in fact that tonight we returned to that pub for dinner and I had the same meal again.  If I like something to eat, I like to eat it again and again and again.  At lunch time we returned to a restaurant just a few blocks away and for the second time this week I enjoyed wonderful sauteed bassa fish with stir fried veggies and a small slice of fragrant herb bread.  Soon I will be living here and able to eat out occasionally at places where I know for sure I can get a meal that is at least somewhat diabetes friendly.  The East Indian meal we had the other night was not quite as friendly because it was a buffet and I could not resist eating a rather large helping of naan bread...well, that was MY fault and not the restaurant's.  heehee

Thank goodness my husband's salary will not permit a lot of restaurant meals in the course of a month.  Even after we move here I should be able to maintain my weight loss and my blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.  For this week only I am reveling in having some decent restaurants to eat at, some wonderful ethic foods and the knowledge that there are many yet to try even in a city this tiny.

Icing on the cake was having coffee today with my husband's cousin. She works with the local police force and was able to find out we are moving into one of the lowest crime rate areas of this city.  That is great news because you always wonder when you move somewhere that is known for having a high crime rate and lots of gang wars.  

There is some pretty great shopping here and there are some very nice people in this place that is stuck out in the middle of the prairie lands.  I am finally starting to look forward to a brand new life once again.  Now, if I can find doctors and dentists anywhere near as competent as the ones I have where we live now....that may be difficult and I wish I could just move those wonderful folk here with me...along with all our present parishioners. Think I could convince them to come along??

Success on the House Seeking Front

As of this morning we are happy campers indeed...mostly because when we move to this city next month we will not need to be camping!!  After a long and exhausting search we did find an adequate place to live for us to move into before my husband has to start his first day at work in March.  So happy and grateful to our concerned friends and family who helped us search, prayed for us and generally encouraged us.

We found an aging 3 bedroom townhouse to move into.  It is an end unit so we only have neighbours along one wall.  It is airy and bright, it faces onto a main street and I have a bus stop right outside the front door, separated by a nice green strip...well, right now it is a snow strip, but whatever....3 blocks away is a different bus route stop that goes in a different direction so I will not be stranded when my husband is travelling with the car, except on some weekends when there is little bus service available.  I will cope!  There is a nice grocery store, medical clinic, dental clinic, liquor store and pharmacy between 3 and 4 blocks away, accessible on foot even in winter for me.  My husband will be living less than a kilometre from work and so will be able to walk sometimes even in winter on days when he doesn't need the car.  The people who manage the complex are on site 7 days a week, they are most accommodating and seem to care about their work and the buildings they manage.  We liked the unit and them right from the start.  

Once the stress of the search ended earlier today we began to relax.  We had dinner last night with the Serbian financial officer my husband will be working with and she served a Serbian meal.  It was delicious!!  Lots of pickled things that made the meat dishes taste spectacular.  She warned us that Serbians enjoy salt and she was right about that:  I am not going to take my blood pressure for at least a week so it has time to return to normal!!!  Aiiii yiiiii....but o my it was wonderfully tasty!!  Later today we are meeting up with a cousin of my husband's.  She also lives here in the city and is a real hoot.  She is very excited we are coming here to live and so we hope to be able to spend some fun times with her.  Tomorrow we are going to see a young couple we have known for some years and they are the nicest pair, so that will be relaxing and fun too.  At lunch today we went to a restaurant and ran into a pastor that used to live in the town we are moving from.  He and my husband had some great visits there and now they have reconnected. He lives in a town close to here so they can get together occasionally.  

In our neighbourhood we have met a couple of folk all ready.  In the grocery store we met a lovely elderly man from Beijing who has lived here only a few years.  He was so interesting to talk to as he told us about his former city and what it is like to live there compared to here.  We met the manager of the liquor store as well and she is a fascinating middle aged woman.  Shannon likes to travel by herself and has trekked for 2 months across Africa, bungee jumped in New Zealand and is on her way to Ireland for 5 weeks of adventure there. She has been all over the world adventure touring and loving life.  Really hope we can get to know her better. She knows our wine importer friend and carries a lot of his product in her store so that is another good connection.

Our new place is not that far from the main highway, a direct road from there to us that will make it very easy for friends coming to visit us from a town of residence that we lived in prior to our present location.  It will only be a 45 minute drive between there and our new location so we are all ready reconnecting with good buddies.

This morning we started looking in various furniture and home outfitting stores as we will need a bit of furniture and some display cabinets. My husband spent a happy half hour in the Rona store deciding what kind of shelving he wants to build or buy for the basement we now have for our use.  So happy the washer and dryer are included along with all the other necessary appliances.  There is room for a table and chairs in the kitchen, but we will put a portable counter and food prep area in there and eat all our meals in the little dining area.  I saw some awesome large "throw rugs" we can put down in there to protect the existing carpet.  We've been pricing out window dressings as well today.  Is there anything more fun than moving into a new space?  We have repeated this process over and over during the past 20 years and it is always fun to start over.  Sure there are frustrating details like getting utility hook ups arranged, getting a moving truck and making sure the "big boys" like Revenue Canada and all the insurance companies get our change of address in plenty of time, but the rest is fun fun fun.  I particularly love deciding where to hang my art photos and art pieces and we are allowed to do that in this place.  It is mostly the outside appearances the management company are sticklers about so I will be dumping our satellite dish and there will be no more bird feeders, but that is fine...another new era of living.  We get basic cable tv and internet included as part of our rent package so we are not losing anything, gaining a bit financially actually.  As seniors we only had to pay about 1/3 of a month's rent for our security deposit, so that is a huge and unexpected bonus.  The housing boom here has slowed considerably in the past few months so many large complexes are offering some financial incentives to keep their units full. Thrilled to have been able to take advantage of some of them.

So it is all good news.  Now we head for home and start the rest of the "details" of moving while my husband prepares the main items of his present work to be continued after he leaves with the least amount of inconvenience to our parishioners.  He hates leaving them in the first place, let alone that feeling that always accompanies a minister's move that he is leaving them "in the lurch".  Hoping to build positively into their future from his new position as he certainly knows their hopes and fears and has some idea what kind of minister they next need.

Time to meet that cousin for coffee so will end this post with a lot of rejoicing about the near future.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Braving the Cold and the Rental Management Companies

We have endured so many days of freezing cold weather over the past couple of weeks that it is seeming to be the norm, the expected, the usual. And of course that is correct because this is January....the month that crawls past at snail's pace in terms of the cold weather, but passes with the speed of light when unsuccessfully seeking rental accommodation for the following month!

Right now my husband is online finding us a week's worth of hotel accommodation in the city for next week.  We HAVE to get into the city for more than 8 hours at a time to look for a place to live.  Calls to suggested landlords have gone unanswered, as have calls to friends who were going to recommend more landlords for us to contact. Where'd everybody go??? hahaha It just means that God is at work preparing a place for us.  If we can just pay attention and heed his direction over the coming week all will be well and all manner of things will be well.  This type of circumstance has developed into a well worn path over the years in our lives.  What we think is going to work for us doesn't at all and the last thing we would ever expect is what propels us into the middle of what God has for us.

Hopefully we will find a place in the first 48 hours of our search next week and we can cancel the remaining nights' hotel room and come home again for the rest of the week.  We are needed here too, even though it would be okay for us to take the week of vacation left over from last year if we need to.  We have been on the road so much in recent months that my suitcase is becoming my wardrobe and dresser as easily as the actual pieces of furniture I have in my bedroom.

If all else fails we will start contacting rental building management companies...not our first choice but perhaps the wisest in this case where time is a bit of a factor now.  So far peace of mind and heart is reigning and I pray we can stay strong and trusting in the Lord while we walk through this process.

Whatever happens with housing, we have to be in the city again next Saturday for my husband to participate in a Doctrine and Worship Committee meeting.  If we aren't still in the city at that point we will have to leave at 6am from here at home that morning to be there on time, then return home after the 4 hour meeting so that my husband can do church the next morning.  After those 2 Sunday services we have to hustle ourselves another 5 hours away in the opposite direction to our "other city" for my final appointment with a wonderful bone/osteoporosis specialist who is retiring soon.  

It would be grand if our travels could then be over with for awhile, but no such luck.  There are out of town meetings, hours and hours away, the last 2 Saturdays of this month as well.  I am starting to dread Saturdays, to be honest.  I don't always have to attend the meetings, just assist my husband driving all those hours so he doesn't wear out and sometimes it is difficult to find places where I can amuse myself while his meetings are going on in various teeny towns.  We love travelling together though and that makes it a lot more fun dragging ourselves around in the winter cold.  Once we are living in the city, many of the meetings will require no travel at all as they often happen in the Diocese office.  Not having to spend so many Saturdays driving all over creation is an appealing thought for us both.  This new job will require all that travelling on SUNDAYS instead!!  hahahahahahaha  Aiiiii yiiiiiii......

There is a lot coming up over the next few months that we are very much looking forward to. What is difficult is realizing that once again the people we are used to seeing each week will no longer be part of our daily lives.  That is always the worst part of any transition and this one is no different. 

For Introverts

 A friend sent me the link below.  As an introvert myself, I think the 14 points Susan Cain mentions in her book are fairly accurate descriptions of an introvert's characteristic social interactions.  In one of the points listed the word "confident" is used incorrectly. The word should be "confidante".  Looks like another spell checker error that no proper proof reader caught before the website published the article.  Other than that small and rather jarring technicality, I enjoyed reading these 14 points and can confirm their truths, at least as far as my own personal experiences would indicate.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Lot of Not Much

Our January weather is typical this year.  We have had a long week of temperatures in the -20C  to -35C range with wind chills in the -40C's.  There is enough snow to cover things nicely, although not nearly as much as at this time last  year.  Today most of the province's highways are in poor driving condition with strong winds, blowing snow and icy patches, some of them bordering on closure.  The best part is that we really only have another couple of months of needing to be concerned about these sorts of outdoor conditions.  Our decision has been made for us as far as whether or not to travel into the city again to seek housing.  It isn't safe to be out there and so we will stay home today and do necessary church work as is usual for a Thursday.

We had a wonderful spaghetti supper last night with our Bishop.  Quite a few parishioners stayed afterward to observe in the meeting betweeh our Bishop and the Parish Council members.  Hopefully everyone understands the hope for the future the Bishop presented to them.  We pray that hope has all ready taken on legs with the arrival of 2 families at the dinner and meeting who have not attended church in many years but are presently feeling they need to return to this place of their spiritual roots.  Lord, may they actually do that and receive a warm welcome back into the fold.  They may be our hope for the future in their ability to influence other younger families to seek a spiritual home.  Some decisions about what path to follow for the future of the parish will need to be made fairly quickly by the vestries and council, but the fact that they have choices at all is a testament to how God has been working in this diocese in recent years.  My husband came away from the meeting greatly encouraged.

So, later on today there are more landlords to be contacted and arrangements to be made for viewings of a few places in the city over the next week. Our prayer is that we can see quite a few places on my husband's days off next week and get some kind of rental agreement in place so that this doesn't have to drag on when we have to still focus on the work right here at home.  

I now have 22 small boxes packed up, mostly from the kitchen and some small photos, pottery and knick-knacks.  My bedroom looks like a warehouse. haha  There is still SO much to be sorted through and packed and thrown out and delivered to second hand stores and and and and has been 5 years since our last move and I have become very spoiled in that length of time with not having to think about all this nonsense again.  Aaaaarrrrgghhh....and of course I am now 5 years older than I was for the last move.  

Have had some wonderful email conversations with our son this past week.  He is getting more settled in New York, loves his super busy job, is looking forward to some shorter hours next month so he can resume his own artistic endeavors and is meeting new people all the time.  He is exhausted from working between 50 and 70 hours a week for the past month, but so happy. That is all I ask for him.

Mom and Dad are hanging in fairly well this long cold winter.  They have been able to taxi and cadge sufficient rides from friends to get where they need to go when it is too cold for Mom to catch the bus.  We had a good talk last month about their living situation and have decided that for the moment it is best for them to stay where they are after all.  Life at their age becomes one of living as best as possible between crises and right now that time is fulfilling and relatively healthy.

My exhausted husband is sleeping in this morning.  When he begins his new job he will not be able to utilize longer hours in bed in the mornings when he has to work into the late evenings.  He will be working several days a week at regular office hours and that transition is going to be very hard on him, particularly when he will once again be in a position of rarely having more than one day off per week and unlikely to even "technically" have 2 days off in a row.  Praying he can make the change without setting off an episode of his CFS.  That is really my only concern about this new work.  Today he can sleep in and work late into the evening.  By March it will all be different so he is planning to begin a more compatible regime here for the next few weeks in hopes of making the transition easier.    

If I am going to get any packing or other work done here today I had best get at it before the morning escapes me and I fall behind on my schedule. Have a great day everyone. 


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Teensy Weensy World

This afternoon my husband had a visit from the Alliance Church ministers, one of who is just starting his ministry here.

My husband was delighted to come over from the church office to greet them and discover the new Anglican minister is a former classmate of his from seminary. They struggled together through an Old Testament class.
The guys had a great visit around tea and prayer.

As our guests were leaving we got talking about a job my husband had once at a church in Calgary, my home church from growing up years.  The new Alliance pastor was delighted to discover that it was the same church his great grandparents had attended for many years.  Turns out my parents were good friends of theirs and I remember them well from my years in that church.  Great grandma recently passsed away and my parents were very sad that they were unable to attend any funeral services for her.

I love finding connections between people that spring up that way in the most unexpected places, like in a small prairie town where we thought we had no connection to anyone from years past.  Surprise connections bring an added depth to new friendships because of that unexpected commonality......

"Surprisingly Unexpected!!" 

(Oops, sorry Moose Jaw, I don't really mean to make fun of you for your redundant town motto.....well, maybe I really do....?? heehee)

Starting With the Slag Heaps

We arrived home shortly before 1am and by rights I should still be sleeping since it was after 2am before I fell asleep, but my mind is awhirl over the rental houses and condos we looked at in the city yesterday, and how our original hopes and plans are going to have to undergo major renovation.  They can and they will.

How to describe our initial reconnaissance trip to locate city housing....hmmmm....all I can conjure for an accurate description is a never ending parade of sagging foundations, water damage, itsy bitsy 128 year old houses that any other self-respecting city would have torn down 60 years ago, garages so elderly they require assistance to stand, chipped paint, broken appliances, burnt out light bulbs, impossible parking arrangements, mismatched cupboard doors, ratty yards, no pet houses filled with cats and dogs, smoke free houses with nicotine and tar stains running down the walls, buckled floors, leaking rooves, basements filled with every imaginable kind of filth, rotting furnace ducts, rusty water tanks, filters that had not been changed in years, ant traps, baskets of pot pourri mixes attempting to hide the smells of mould and long term leakage, lights turned down or off completely in an attempt to hide holes in walls and all manner of unexplainable stains.

These places are the ones at the top end of our scale of affordable rent. 

What we realized as we dragged ourselves through one ancient cess pit after another, (and newer places that have no need of being cess pits all ready), is that without God's help we would indeed be in serious trouble.  I had a suspicion before we ever started that it was going to be this way so in that sense I was not disappointed.  

The disappointing part for us is that we did find one place that was ideal in many ways. The location was perfect, the size of the place and the number of appliances was perfect, the storage space was perfect, the parking wasn't great but that could be worked with, the rent was just at the top of our scale but not unreasonable for the particular place.  And then we met the landlord....sigh.....he seemed to have no interest whatsoever in so much as replacing a few light bulbs or having the place properly cleaned and even had the gall to tell us where we ourselves could get a cheap replacement for a broken stove our own expense of course.  He is so certain the downturn in the local economy is going to rebound quickly and he will once again be able to charge a ridiculous amount of rent, that he would rather keep the place empty in the condition it is currently in than put himself out a few dollars to make it actually worthy of being shown to possible tenants.  For his sake I hope he is right, but we won't be those tenants if that is how he is going to be.  We have been tenants for so many years and in so many circumstances that we are pretty good at reading landlords.  

The hope that the downturn in the housing market is very temporary after several years of being able to charge exorbitant rents for slag heaps also showed up in the reluctance to sign lease agreements for more than 6 months maximum before going to a month to month lease arrangement.  One fellow actually has a For Sale sign in front of his rental and while he swore to us he was going to pull it off the market for a couple of years "for you guys, my perfect tenants", he refused to even consider a short term rental lease because "nothing is more permanent than temporary right??"  We could blame his alcoholic haze for that mumbo jumbo, but we are not so stupid as to not understand what he was really saying: "I need and want this place rented out until I can find someone to buy it and put you out on your butts with 30 days notice!"  haha Thanks but no thanks.

Thus beginneth our search for housing in our new city; not exactly an auspicious start.  HOWEVER, we have been down this road before and know how much searching, how much time and expense and long distance driving is involved at times like these.  We were hoping to avoid having to book into a hotel in the city for an entire week next week but it appears that is what we will have to do.  At this point we are thinking we will give up the idea all together of any sort of comfortable living, go for a small apt and try to live with the "people noise", drag our old fading furniture with us one more time and sock away as much money as we can into our bank account for a year while we take time for a more leisurely search for next year's accommodation.

Tomorrow, if the weather and blowing snow permit, we will likely head back to the city for a couple of days, still in hopes of avoiding the expense and time required to stay there for an entire week.  

Yesterday was a good eye opener and now we have a far better idea of how to pray and how to search.  Today all we have to do is work work work on parish business in case we have to be away again tomorrow, prepare supper for 20 or so folk who are joining the Bishop for supper before the parish council meeting and try to stay awake until the evening meeting is over.  We can do it!!