Friday, September 23, 2011


I have come to love Portulaca Grandiflora, or Moss Rose.

It's planted all over the front yard but absolutely thrives in hot, dry, sunny locations! This patch is at the end of my walkway, amongst the sedum, allium and Black Velvet petunias.

There's a small chance it'll survive our Zone 3 winter, but only if it gets sufficient cover.


Hens & Chicks, planted in the front yard

Years ago, while Bill was fighting Tina for custody of Emily, he experienced another loss. His ex-wife Susan was struggling with Tina's erratic behaviour. Susan had married Bill a few years earlier, when Bill's plans included a career with the RCMP, and together they'd had a daughter named Betheny. The death of Susan's father, her mother's quick rebound within weeks of his death, and Bill's resignation from the force broke apart the marriage.

Three years later Bill found himself in a custody battle for Em, and Tina began calling Susan. Most of the calls involved accusations against Bill and made the other family very, very uncomfortable.

"She won't leave us alone," Susan explained. "My fiance is in the RCMP and he's a good man. He wants to raise Betheny as his own. She doesn't have to grow up around that, Bill."

When Betheny was four, Bill signed away his parental rights.

Just a few weeks ago, they made contact. Susan has agreed to bring Betheny, 17, to a coffee house to see Bill.

Thirteen years! Bill is so happy and excited to see how she's grown up. We knew this day would come...and we hope things go well when he meets her this month.

Friday, September 9, 2011

alberta reynolds museum

Jamie, Bill and I drove north to Wetaskiwin in June to see Sensei Marr, shop at Liquidation World, and visit the Reynolds Museum, which has both vintage cars and aircraft.
This was one of my favourite cars, because it takes such interesting photos.
I'm so accustomed to plastic/vinyl sterring wheels that I found this one to be stunning! Also, some of the cars felt as though they still carried energy from their previous drivers.

If you're ever near Wetaskiwin, it's worth the trip to see the hundreds of reconditioned cars, trucks and farm equipment.

I've had a camera since last January but to be honest, I wasn't interested in using it. It's not just that I was busy with work, but has more to do with my husband. Bill is the most wonderful man I know, and over the last few years he's gotten better in every single department except one: he has a problem with certain boundaries.

For example, when he gave me the camera, I really wanted it to be mine. I gathered up all the camera related stuff (the disc, the instruction manual, the cords) and put them in the desk where I'd be able to locate it when I had a moment to look it over and figure out how to use it. The next few weeks were busy with work and kids and snowstorms and before I knew it, the camera had been taken out. The manual was lost, as was the disc.

Six months later, I was able to round it all up and start again. I do resent when Bill or the kids just automatically assume that what's mine is theirs - whether it's my laptop, my phone, my camera, or my other gifts. Last Christmas the kids gave me an indoor herb garden and within a few weeks Bill had taken it out, planted it and set it on the window sill. Is it petty that I never even looked at them? They died a few months later.

Obviously, I'm going to have to bring this up again before Christmas, lol.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

house leeks

I really enjoy growing Hens & Chicks. There's something about the way they send out these little babies, easily removed and replanted somewhere else, that makes them so much fun. Three of the ones I removed last year sent up blooms.

Others, like the ones shown here, just cluster a littler tighter. I think I have twenty or so right now and it'll be interesting to see how they fair over the winter. We drop down to -35°C and it always surprises me to see what comes back and what doesn't.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

the kids

Yay! My old JS friend helped me figure out how to post using IE9. Here's a pic of my oldest daughter Jamie (L) another friend, and Emily, on the right, at a wedding a few weeks ago.

long time, no see

flowers by the front porch

The flowers in the pic are Malva, which I started from seed in May. To be honest, I had no idea how tall they'd be! I have tried keeping up with heights, widths, sun exposure needs and watering needs, but there is a LOT to remember!

These sprung from three or four seedlings that were about an inch tall when I planted them June 25th. Currently they stand about 27" or 28" and are covered with thousands of little pinkish blooms that draw bees by the dozens. Thankfuly no problems with the bees, lol.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I couldn't post anything yesterday, so I thought I'd try with a pic today. The publish button just didn't work!
This is my hubby, Bill, in his work truck. I hate the sunglasses, but they're a necessary evil for a driver on Alberta roads.
Anyway, he's a handsome guy in his uniform. Next week, on August 9th, we celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary! Hard to believe how time flies.
Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

burning bridges

photographer unknown

Generally, I don't like to do it, and it always blows me away when a company like Vitalaire does it. It's been two weeks since I lost my job, and while I'm okay for the most part, it's taken it's toll on my confidence.

You see, the Regional Director had spent over thirty minutes going over the "upcoming meeting" with me, which was to include the CPAP specialist, Bill and the respiratory therapist and mostly deal with safety and how I was to spend the last three months of my contract so that they could re-organize the Red Deer office.

The same day, the Regional told the others that there would NOT be a meeting. When Bill called him about it, he was told to stay away. The following Monday, the respiratory therapist was told to stay away, presumably to keep me from talking to her. I spent the day alone.

On Tuesday Morning, I was trying to get some points together for the meeting and also trying to finish up some paperwork when TWO managers showed up from Edmonton. At this time, I STILL thought the whole branch could meet to discuss some of the problems - but they brought chairs into my office, left the others out front, and shut the doors behind them.

All they really had to do was let my current contract expire, but I think they had to make an example of me. Anyway, what a shitty way to handle things.

Today I have an interview with the competition, and I hope that I get it. Even if I don't get a company car, I'd be okay with that. I just hope that their hourly wage is close to what I was making before! Bill and I want to buy a decent car this year.

Wish me luck! I really need it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

july 30

photo by Crystal Graham

We've had hail three times this week - my plants are shredded.

I've spent the last week and a half doing housework, writing resumes, and watching a Six Feet Under marathon. The SFU is something that always pulls me out of whatever problems I'm having at the moment, thank god.

I've applied at several places but can't call because the listing states "only those selected for the interview process will be contacted", although I did call the oxygen supply company. The manager was harried and barely wanted to speak to me.

"Where'd you send it? The resume?"


"They haven't communicated to me in a week."

"Would you like me to send it on to you?" I asked. "Do you have a few moments now?"

"No, I'm too busy. Send it to me though."

I also applied at a farm dealer, as a warehouse manager. For that, I may need to take a forklift course, but I'm totally willing to do something like that. Sounds like fun.

Today we're going out to see my mum, since I haven't had the chance since losing my job (and company car) and I have some new sheets for their beds. I want to wash the floors, too.

Have a nice Saturday!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

vitalaire healthcare lost a good employee today

Last week I lodged a complaint against the area manager for Vitalaire in Southern Alberta.

The big kahuna came down from Edmonton today, to let me know that ALL my claims were unsubstantiated and he believes it comes down to a personality conflict. He gave me two weeks notice, which I declined. They'll pay me out.

He had a cab waiting for me, as he was taking my company van and cellphone.

I'm not sure how I feel - certainly, I'm disappointed that it came to this. I'm really going to miss my customers! But I will NOT miss Karim, the one I've been writing about under the pseudonym Omar.

One of the very first things he ever said to me was "What is your status and why are you driving one of those new vans?"

The next was to tell me that I was a "dominant woman" and had to back off.

He yelled at me every time I called to let him know I was working overtime.

I hope my next position is easier than the last few I've had. I know that I can have problems with bad managers but otherwise I am an awesome catch!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The last few weeks have been brutal at work.

Omar was never friendly, warm or helpful toward me before, but once I kept having to work overtime, things deteriorated fast.

It's a vicious cycle; Bill's truck suffers some kind of breakdown (lately it's been the lift at the back. Once that goes, just try getting anything in or out of the back. It's very dangerous as well and must be fixed immediately.) When that happens, he will dispatch me to deliver to the hospitals and depots on his route. Invariably, this adds two to three hours to my route, which means I work through my lunch and at four o'clock, I have to call Omar.

"Hi Omar, Kate here. I'm into overtime."

"Why are you working overtime?"

"I'm delivering to the Prairie Depot."


"Bill delivers to them on Tuesday but that is the day his lift broke and he had to get a rental. He didn't arrive until after 6:00 pm and by then everything was locked up and he couldn't deliver."

"I meant, why are YOU doing it?"

"They called the answering service last night. They're out of oxygen and need it today."

"You didn't answer me. Why are YOU doing it?"

"No one else can do it."

"Why isn't Bill doing it?"

"He won't return from the east until 6:30 tonight. Prairie is another 90 minutes to the south, which would put him over the fourteen hour limit."

"This is unacceptable. I will have to come up there to see where these inefficiencies are coming from."

The thing is, he knows. Bill keeps him apprised and often leaves him messages breaking down all the details of the breakdowns and resulting changes to our routes. He's always friendly and helpful toward Bill, but openly hostile toward me.

At the end of last week, things got even worse, and I had to refuse some unsafe work. I just hope that everything can start to settle down a bit after this!

Some good news I have is that I recently gave up caffeine, as it's been causing reflux since I quit smoking four years ago. I've been trying to figure out what my pain was all these years, and one day Jamie saw the topic discussed on Dr. Oz.

I looked into it, spoke to a pharmicist, and went decaf the next day. What a difference! I had a few days of withdrawal but I feel pretty good now.

Our whole family was able to go camping last weekend - it was fun, even though it rained the first night. We rented a little cabin out by the lake near my parents farm. We had a fire and Jamie made S'mores (which I tried for the first time) and the next day, we all rented paddle boats and cooked ribs on the fire outside.

As I write this, Bill is unloading the dishwasher and Jamie is still asleep. Em is staying with Bill's sister out on the farm, so it's a lot quieter, lol. I think I see some laundry in my immediate future, so happy Saturday!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here's a grainy pic of Emily, myself and Bill at Christmas this past year, which was held at Cathy's farm out near Rimbey. Christmas was kind of the start of integrating Bill's family into our lives.

Not that we were avoiding them or anything...okay, maybe a little.

With Bill just coming out of two years of isolation when we met (he'd had a helluva time getting custody of Em and trying to find a job that would work around having a six year old. Daycares don't usually accept kids at 4:30 am, which is what time Bill had to leave when he was welding) he decided to lay low.

Lay low from his sister Cathy, who'd witnessed his struggle while she went through her own, working in Alberta while her kids stayed in Newfoundland. When she settled down here, it took another year before we got a call from their mum, Margie, to get together because Cathy's son was in the hospital with appendicitus.

It didn't take long before Bill's mum & dad came out, and as of last week, his cousins out of Labrador. To be honest, the whole family is awesome. I've enjoyed meeting and talking with all of them, and just love the whole culture, from the food to their interesting dialects.

I'm off to work for awhile. Happy Sunday!

Sunday, June 19, 2011


a pic of Dale's wedding band, taken before I had to sell it

While it's true that life was never the same for my mum after Dale's death - well, for any of us, I have to admit that the quietness that came was healing.

Life went on. My step-dad continued to farm the land and the look after the cows, even if he was down to half a dozen head. My mum toodled around the house, took up crossword puzzles and lottery scratch tickets, and started sending Jim to get the groceries while she sat on the deck checking out her Peonies. For awhile, us kids prodded her to quit smoking and give up beer, but after a few years we realized that you can't change anyone, least of all your mum.

The last few days have helped me calm down too.

Yesterday I called her to follow up on the shower chair I took last weekend. "Mum," I practically yelled. "You have to try the chair before I come on Sunday. Sunday! If it's too big or too wide, I'll bring it back and exchange it."

"Do I have a shower chair?" she asked.

*sigh* Things went better with the bed. "Also, can you throw the sheets in the washer Sunday morning? I'll put them on for you."

This time, I could hear the smile in her voice. "Okay. I'll see you then!"

Now that she's accepting our help, it makes it easier for me to offer. And I'm going to take out some petunias for the front yard, and hang the lanterns I got for Jim for Father's Day. I'm looking forward to going out, once Bill returns from the shop.

Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sundays at the Farm

My late husband Dale with his Sensei in August, 2002

Last week, after Cathy, Jamie, Bill and I finished cleaning, Cathy commented on how quiet my mum was.

"She just sat there with these big eyes," she said. "Has she always been so quiet?"

I explained that she'd been almost 73 when Dale got sick, and to be honest, Dale was the glue that held our family together. Sundays at the farm usually started around 11:00 when Debbie would show up with her kids, David and Mercy. Dale, Jamie and I would show up within the hour, and everyone sat around the kitchen visiting while the kids chased around the handful of cats and kittens.

Sometimes we moved out to the deck, but most of the time we stayed inside because Mum would have a beef roast in the oven, and Daole would want to make Yorkshire Pudding. Debbie would start cooking some kind of desert, and I would put on a pot of veggies and stand by to make the gravy.

Debbie's husband, Dean, would show up by 1:30 and by then, dinner would be ready and we'd all have this huge feast.

In the last few years when he was chronically drinking, things slowed down a bit but didn't completely stop until he started going blind in April of 2002. This is when Mum started getting really quiet. She suffered through his illness and death almost as much as me.

In the months and years that followed, I couldn't go out there because of the ghosts that lingered. The men stopped helping as much as they had before - well, Dale was the one that helped the most. Helped look after the cows, mend the fences, build the deck, fix the roof, AND keep the cats under control.

In the almost nine years since Dale's death, the farm went to hell in a hand basket, and now it's up to me to suck it up and start helping on a more realistic basis. I began by going out yesterday and changing the sheets on their bed, doing some laundry, giving Mum a pedicure and cleaning their bathroom.

I hope things start to brighten up again, before either of them pass away.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

she's not heavy, she's my mother

photo by Linda Goodhue

I've been thinking about my mum for days, as well as my sister, Deb. Since Mum didn't have sheets on her bed when I was down on Monday, I thought I'd better call again yesterday.

"Mum, I know Debbie said she'd take care of your hair & feet, but I haven't heard from her in awhile."

"I don't know what's going on with her," my mum replied.

"Me either. I'm just going to come out and do it - I don't want to confront her or anything, I'm just going to do it. How many sets of sheets do you have for the new bed?"

"Just one, I think."

"Were they in the wash then? When I was there the other day?

"I don't know."

Mum is 84 and very frail.

"I was at the Sally Ann today and got some beautiful soft sheets for you. Yes! I got them for your bed. NO, YOUR BED." (She's hard of hearing, lol)

I'll be going out on Saturday to do a pedicure and put on the new sheets. Bill will be pressure washing the deck and checking the filter in the furnace.

I'm still mad at my sister, and to be honest, I think I will be for awhile.

Monday, June 6, 2011

awful realization

I did some reading on Saturday and now realize that my brother and my parents are cat hoarders. They fit the entire profile - the good intentions, the way they tried to feed and administer medical care but lost control.

We knew there was a problem, my sister and I. In some ways, we're responsible! I feel terrible and I've been terribly anxious these past few weeks. It disturbed me this morning to realize that I'm scared of my brother, Steve.

At any rate, we're going out there today to clean - let's hope he doesn't come home while we're there.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

update on Em

Emily's Para-Troopers: On a Mission to Overtake the Kitty House

Em has been doing very well since Tina's death last year. We passed the one year mark in March and while she often thinks about her mom, she knows that Tina is at peace now. For several years prior, Em had heard us speak of Dale and how we were working on forgiveness and living in peace - each day we strive for it and now Em does too.

When she moved here in 2006, she was eight years old and had trouble fitting in with the group of kids at her school. Today she is fourteen and still has the same class of kids. In the last year she has drifted apart from them; many of them are experimenting with sex (oral or digital) relationships (Em's BFF is on her fourth boyfriend, Em isn't permitted to have a boyfriend) smoking or drugs.

Jamie approached us in October to plead Em's case for a transfer from the Catholic School Division to the Public School Division. There's an International Baccalaureate program as well as all kinds of options for music and languages. We met with the school last month and it looks like a go-ahead. All her classmates are jealous, lol.

Today we're headed out to Cathy's farm, first to visit a greenhouse and later for supper. Tomorrow we're doing the big clean out at my parents' farm. Jamie, Bill and Cathy will be joining us; Em is glad to have school :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Apparently it snowed early this morning - I'm so glad that it didn't stay!

Man, what a week. Just dealing with Mum and Jim and Steven wasn't enough. On Thursday, the owner of one of our competitors came into the office to confront us about a bunch of rumours he's been hearing. Most of the stff he threw at us I'd never even heard, but still, he wouldn't let it go. I asked him to leave, he wouldn't. I told him he was trespassing and he took a step toward me. I called the R.C.M.P.

OMG what drama! After calling the police, I had to speak to my boss three times, my boss's boss three times, I had to write out an incident report and a statement for the police (which btw, was "the best incident report" Constable Anderson had ever read. "Wow!," he exclaimed. "are you a writer?!")

Yesterday I got a text from my sister saying that she wasn't able to pick Mum up on Monday. I'd been hoping that Deb would take her up to her house while we do all the cleaning at the farmhouse, and maybe cut Mum's hair because she's been wanting it cut for over six weeks now. "Mum won't go anyway," it read.

I called Mum and asked her outright "did Deb ask you about getting a trim on Monday?"

"No. But someone's got to do it, it's too long."

"I'll do it. I can do it when we come out Monday."

My sister has been neglecting our mother for over a year now, ever since she started to reno the new (to her) house. The other day I called her to ask if she'd keep Steve's cat overnight but she refused, saying that her husband wouldn't allow it, in case the animal "contaminated" the ground at their acreage. Yesterday she was in the mall with her 16 year old daughter and almost walked into Jamie's store but when they saw her they stopped and went the other way. It hurt Jamie's feelings and when Jamie told me, it hurt my feelings.

I feel like she's mad because I "stirred things up." I think she'd rather forget Mum because Mum doesn't fit into the "class" she lives in now. My parents are poor but they're not stupid. I know Deb can't stand Jim - hell, sometimes I can't stand Jim, but he's my step-father and my Mum made that choice in 1974. Now Mum is 84 and needs us.

Shame on her. Shame on Mercy. I don't know how Dave got to be such a good kid, but thank god he was around to help us.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Here's a picture of Rogue, the kitten we rescued from the farm six months ago. Although she still suffers from an upper respiratory issue and requires a shot of penicillan every month, she's got it pretty good with us.

Update on the kitties at the farm: My nephew called me Wednesday morning. We'd been waiting for my brother to come home and go back before beginning the clean-up but when Dave got out to the farm with his buddy they decided to go ahead.

They were able to euthanize over 80% of the feral animals, but it came at an emotional cost. Dave is the same age as Jamie and the two kids grew up together; weekends were often spent at the farm and cats have always been one of the draws for the kids. Once the cats got out of control Dave couldn't face going into the house anymore. This past week was so tough on him - not just the act of shooting the cats or burying them, but having to face what had happened to his grandparents and their home.

"I'm a little messed up now," he told me. "There are a few left, but I can't go back."

"I'm so sorry Dave! What you did for Grandma must have taken heroic strength. You saved them, and you saved those kitties from suffering."

"I know. Half the damn things couldn't breathe anymore. Still, what a fucking thing to have to do."

"I'm so sorry. We can't thank you enough. Don't worry about anything else - Bill will look for females on Monday. We're taking a cleaning crew out there."

Yesterday I stopped at Cathy's (she lives on my delivery route) and she's ready to come out with us and clean walls and floors. Today my step-dad and his brother are ripping out carpets and putting in laminate.

Somehow, I have to figure out how to seal the dirt basement. Anyway, things are happening quickly now. My parents sound happy on the phone, and that's a good thing.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the bright side

It's true that the week ahead holds a lot of horror for Bill and I.

It's not fair that it's going to fall to us and to my sister's boy and his friend to euthanize those animals, but I've discovered that life isn't fair anyway. The upside to everything is that I'll be able to go in there afterwards and clean.

It's been traumatizing just going out there to visit and realizing that the air quality in my parents' home not acceptable. Knowing that dander and feces may be coming up out of the heat vents from the basement. Knowing that the house that my step-dad has lived in his entire life could be condemned - it's even scarier than having to euthanize all those animals. We're looking forward to being able to help them in many more ways than this.


In other news, I wasn't able to get a new netbook. The dividend cheque was only $130 due to a terrible fiscal year, but I have another plan. There's a place that sells refurbished netbooks for $230 and they'll take it in two payments, so that's what I'll do. Bill got his guitar this year and Em got her netbook this year, so I'll not feel guilty at all. Much.

I just need something to look forward to.

Monday, May 30, 2011

thanks for nothing

The call from the SPCA Peace Officer didn't go well.

"Let me guess," she began. "Your family has let a cat problem get out of control and now you want us to come out, clean up after you, foot the bill and look the other way on charges -"

"I made the call because my parents have lost the ability to take control. And yes, I'm looking for help. I don't know who else to call and we need help."

"Who's paying the vet?"

"That's why we called. If I had the resources; if they had the resources, I wouldn't be talking to you."

"This is going to take several officers, several vans, a couple vets...thousands of dollars! There's only one of me - I'd have to bring in people from Edmonton and Calgary. I think you're going to have to take care of it yourself. Honestly, the most humane way to go about it is to get the help of a marksman."

In my mind, I'm thinking to myself Seriously?! Seriously??!!

So in the next week, my husband Bill and I, and my nephew and his friend will be making trips to the farm each night to systematically triage, treat, OR euthanize over 110 feral cats suffering from various illnesses. We're creating a new pet cemetery and Bill will be on hand to say several prayers after the burial.

It's agonizing to even think of it. I know that perhaps I was naive thinking that there'd be help, but I didn't really expect what we got when we called - nothing. No help, but threat of criminal charges if we don't comply. I think I know why it took us so long to act! In any event, our concerns lie with my parents and those animals.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


random garden pic

I made the call to Animal Services yesterday.

I began by saying that I was sure it was not animal hoarding, even though my brother Steve has been trying to feed and care for them all. It began years ago, when my folks were still in their seventies. One neighbour dropped off an un-neutered Siamese, which got several females pregnant. Many of those animals stayed in the outbuildings and those kittens got pregnant. And so on.

We started talking about getting help last year. This year, it became unmanageable.

At any rate, after the first few minutes, the officer explained that since Steve is the one that tries looking after them, he'd be the one facing charges. At that point I got very upset and pointed out that Steve is a caregiver for our aging parents - he cleans the kitchen and floors and bathroom and also helps with yardwork and snow removal. He drives 100 miles round trip every week just to help Mum with the dishes and to change her bedding.

It's taken us years to act on this for this very reason alone, but now it is more important to improve quality of life for my parents.

Animal Control asked about adoption - did I think if they got several agencies involved, could they be rounded up, treated and adopted out?

"Maybe a small percentage," I replied. "But most are infested with mites, fleas, worms and disease. Personally, I think over 90% of them need to be euthanized."

They asked for a legal land description and I couldn't give it - yet.

"I need time to talk to my parents and my sister. They have one dog and three cats that are fixed and need to be removed before anyone shows up."

"We wouldn't seize that first day," she said.

"I need the weekend. Here is my on-call cell number and my husband's. If you don't hear from by Monday at noon, feel free to contact me."

I have to say that making that call was scary. I didn't cry on the phone with the officer, but did cry talking to my sister. Later, when Bill's sister Cathy offered to help clean the farm afterward, I cried again. "It's so bad, Cathy - I don't know if I could bear taking you out there."

I called Jim (step-father) to let him know that things were going to be proceeding quickly once the address was given. "I want for you and mum to be able to stay in that house. Also, if we had left it and someone else reported it, you would face charges because you're the landowner."

"I don't want the house condemned."

"I know. Don't tell Steven."

"He'll be here Monday night to clean but will leave again Tuesday morning - "

"I'll let them know. Debbie will take Buddy (Steve's cat) and Cathy is taking Lucy. We'll take the other two cats that are fixed -"

"They can stay here, in another room."

"I don't think so - they recommended we have those animals completely removed so as not to hinder the seizure."


The next week is going to be long and hard. You know, if you had told me this would happen when I was eighteen, I would laughed in your face. Back then, Jim made sure the cat population was under control! It's scary seeing what can happen, once you get old! I hope my kids are around to help us out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

no sharing!

Back in the old days, I had a desktop computer, a keyboard, a digital camera and a program to edit photos. I miss it a lot! Bill even gave me a new digital camera when the old one gave up the ghost, but of course both computers are in bad shape. Bill used my laptop so much (and downloaded P2P file sharing as well as games) that it crashed within months. I gave it to him.

I use an old system hooked up to the TV to play on FB or write posts, but I don't really like it. What I'm hoping for this week is a sizable dividend cheque from my local Co-op. You see, we have these grocery stores/gas stations/liquor stores/home building supply stores that are owned by members like me. Twenty years ago I purchased a membership for $1.00 and every year I receive dividend cheques that range in amount from $35 to $350.

Since I drive a company van and use a company fleet fuel card, I've been filling up to the tune of $150/week since last August. 5% of that is $255.00 plus anything I purchased in food or liquor...I'm hoping to get at least $350.00 tomorrow. If I do, I'll be getting a little netbook that can be for my own use only.

It must sound selfish, but in a family like mine, you need to have your own stuff. Seriously, as much as I love Bill, I do NOT want to share a comp with him. Shoot me.

Today is raining but I'd love to be able to pick up some bedding plants. I know, I know! It's a problem. I'm hoping to be able to take some pics this week and post them so you can all see my gardening efforts.

Happy Victoria Day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the farm

Photographer unknown

Rain is usually a good thing, but if it keeps up this afternoon I won't be able to plant anything out at my parent's farm. I've had plans all week to dig a long flower bed beneath my brother's window (wild flower mix, some perennials) a couple smaller beds beside the gazebo (vines, one is beans the other an annual purplish flower) and a few small beds around the out-buildings for Lupines, which I started in April.

Yesterday I planted my own seedlings! There are Bachelor's Buttons, Blanket Flowers, Malva, Purple Bells and Hosta (that came as five seedlings in a plastic bag for $10! Usually I pay a minimum of $6 for one.)

I hope that most of them survive.

I'm also getting nervous about the farm because this year, I am calling Animal Control for help. Longtime readers might remember that since my parents' health has declined, they have not been able to handle the cats that are reproducing at an alarming rate - at last count, there were over fifty coming in & out of the house and another fifty outside. This is up by 100% from last year! My brother works away and has been providing food but cannot keep up with medical intervention. In the past he has taken various animals to be spade or neutered; he also gives them shots of penicillin at home but there are outbreaks of worms, mites, fleas and disease.

I've informed my sister but not my brother because he will be the one to fight me on it. I think he's trying to avoid a kitten massacre but at this point it is more humane to euthanise. I just hope that the govt. body understands that my parents have had no control over it - we do NOT want them to be shamed publicly, either on the news or in the local papers. My mum is 84 and very fragile.

If I do go out there today, I might bring it up again just so that they know we're serious about it. We need to make sure that they can stay in that house until they die, which is their wish. It's the only way it's going to happen - even now, the air quality is questionable due to all the dander and waste. BUT we can do a big clean once all the animals are removed (with the exception of Lucy, the border collie that was Dale and Jamie's and two other cats that are fixed.)


Enough of that!

This is May long weekend, so I have tomorrow off as well. If I can't plant today, there is always tomorrow. Have a good one!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring is in the air. Sort of.

photographer unknown

In the last year, I've become extremely addicted to gardening magazines and landscaping. This isn't a good thing for someone who owns postage-stamp size front and back yards, but I do have access to my mom's yards and that'll go a long way in keeping me from withdrawal, lol.

This year I'm planning on planting a LOT of flowers and perennial plants in and around their deck and to help me save on costs, I have started a crop of seedlings inside my house.

Right now I have Lupines, Blanket Flowers, Bachelor's Buttons, Phlox and Globe Amaranth growing in containers on every window sill in the house! I also have packets of seeds for all kinds of vines and poppies, which can be sowed directly to the ground.

I'm looking forward to May 25th, which is when the threat of frost is completely past.

Work is work, and while I still enjoy taking care of my clients, my boss is still a dink. Even when he's seemingly nice, you know that it's coming eventually.

Yesterday I got a call late in the afternoon from a woman that had moved into a supportive living facility. In the past, we were told that we'd lost the oxygen contract and that we must pick up our eqipment if one of our clients moves in there, so when she called, I was apologetic but firm.

"I'm so sorry Ella! Please talk to your nurse."

That nurse called me back ten minutes later and gave me the go ahead to deliver O2 and explained that her wing fell under a different government agency. Yay!

"If you want to keep this client," she advised,"you'd better show up today. And bring some better equipment! That concentrator she has is too loud."

Damn. This means a call to the dink.

In our company, anyone that wants to deliver the smallest, newest concentrator has to get special permission from the area manager. We think that our company is afraid of making these machines the new "standard" because even though they're nicer, quieter and smaller, they break down a lot more. Still, since other companies readily supply them, we're under a lot of pressure.

"Kat-ty," Omar says in this Middle Eastern/French accent. "You do not have the medical expertise to deliver this equipment."

"What?! I deliver this kind of thing several times a week. I do equipment education almost every day!"

"Where is the respiratory therapist?"

"She's doing assessments an hour away."

"Why is she out of cylinders?"

"Because she just moved."

Twenty minutes later (all in overtime by the way) he relents and "lets" me go. *sigh*

Bill's parents are still here, they're staying out at Cathy's place. We're going out there tomorrow for Mother's Day and for Em's 14th birthday (hard to believe she's 14 already!!)

I believe we're going out to see my mom this afternoon.

Happy Mother's Day!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

corporate peon

The featured photo is an oxygen regulator, since I am at work this morning.

I finally got over last Thursday, which was ruined by my boss. He was here to give my co-workers their evaluations and to humiliate me and put me in my place.

At least, it seemed that way.

At one point, he interrupted a drop in visit from our tire guy to tell me I did not have time to speak to him; then again thirty seconds later to "insist". Even when I tried to explain that I was trying to save us over $120/month in service fees, he still ordered me back to my computer in front of the guy. The tire guy had no idea what to say or do!

Ten minutes later, while I was trying to load my van, he came out to the warehouse and asked me to come back into the office with him so that we could "talk." Basically, he held me responsible for the fact that one of our new RRT's is not as "dominant" as I am and that if I do not back off, there could be "serious ramifications" for her. Then he reminded me that I am only "temporary."

Temporary for nine months now.

My temporary contract runs out on July 15th and he says he wants to be able to offer me a permanent position, but I think he's going to miss being able to threaten me, to keep me in line.

I really have no one in power to support me or help me in any way. If I go above his head, I'll be labeled a troublemaker. If I let him threaten me or abuse me I lose my self worth. I dunno what will happen next. Bill says he wishes we could both quit at the same time so that they know just how much we do, but we're just now getting back on our feet.

Tyranny really sucks.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

the more things change pt 2

webcam pic, 2003

I've been pretty worried about my weight lately.

In the pic, I was twenty pounds lighter than I am now and had a handle on my hunger. In fact, due to the anorexia I was suffering from at the time, I welcomed the hunger; looked forward to hunger!

Then things normaled out.

Bill arrrived in 2005, Em arrived just two months later. Jamie and I stopped eating Lean Cuisines and started buying beef, chicken & pork. I stocked the once-empty pantry with cookies and muffins for lunches, bought potatoes, rice and cheese for family dinners.

In 2007 I went on Jenny Craig and lost that twenty pounds, but the cost of food was extremely cost prohibitive at $510/month. I quit and slowly gained it back over the next two years.

Last summer I started working at the same company as my husband Bill, as a Customer Service Technician. I look after O2 equipment like concentrators, regulators, and compressed air cylinders. I do homecare deliveries, some administrative work, and oxygen starts for the hospitals.

For the first six months I was so busy that I didn't have time to eat and I was much too tired to cook! Also, we were so poor for so long that even if I had a five dollar bill in my pocket, I was afraid to spend it.

It was easy to lose that twenty pounds.

At this point I am twelve pounds up and last week I vowed to lose at least two pounds but that didn't happen. I'm going to try again this week.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the more things change

...the more they stay the same.

Since Em is getting ready for Band Camp (she leaves tomorrow and comes back on Friday) I bought her some clothes last night. Very reminicent of what I used to wear, inspired by Flashdance! The ripped/cut sweatshirts, the skinny jeans, tops hanging off one shoulder.

I have to bite my tongue to keep from saying "I used to wear this stuff..." every time. I remember rolling my eyes at my mother and I won't have her doing that to me.

At least to my face, lol.

Monday, April 4, 2011

one minute post

Photo courtesy of Jim Donaldson Photography

I had such a busy weekend that I didn't have time to blog! One of these days, I'm going to get an iPad then you'll be seeing way too much of me :P

I'm at work right now and don't have time to write very much, but here's the most important piece of info: the snow is melting and the temps are 7°C. Yay!

Back later.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

the angel closes her eyes

my "Simpsonize Me" pic from a few years ago

If you happen to be a JSer, then you know that we lost one of our own this past week, likeisaid, or Betty. I was completely gobsmacked when I read that Betty had passed on in her sleep - it seems as though she'd just lost her beloved husband, Paul. My heart goes out to her two sisters, Sally & Paula. Some of my favourite posts were from these southern sisters! Old black & whites from the 60's and 70's (loved those little shift dresses!) blurry coloured pics from the 80's, posing with their men and their cars.

Paula and Sal - if you're reading this, I am so, so sorry.

As always, work is really busy and we spend our time trying to get more things done than we did the day before. I'm used to this kind of pace and it doesn't stress me out very much. I do get stressed by my boss, though.

He's calming down a little (dare I say, he's even getting a little beat down by the amount of work?) and he's lightening up a little. Yesterday when he called me about another conference call I was late to he actually laughed when I said "holy crap, another one?"

At home, the big project involves a visit from Bill's parents and his younger brother, Craig, In April. They'll be spending the odd night at our house here in the city and that means painting the downstairs, converting the downstairs living room to a studio apartment for Em, getting Jamie's room ready (she's moving back after the last semester ends and staying until July or August) buying a new bed for Em's old room and getting the carpets cleaned. So far, we have the new throw rugs, lol.

I'll be waking Bill from his nap in a few moments. What is everyone else doing?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


photographer unknown

Swiped from Silvertag!

A. Age: 46
B. Bed size: King
C. Chore you dislike: cleaning the bathroom
D. Dogs: One Bichon-mix named Lola
E. Essential start to your day: Coffee
F. Favorite color: Cobalt Blue
G. Gold or silver: Gold
H. Height: 5' 7"
I. Instruments you play(ed): Nothing.
J. Job title: Customer Service Technician
K. Kids: Jamie; 22 Emily; 13
L. Live: Love & Laugh
M. Mom’s name: Olive Mathilda
N. Nicknames: Kate
O. Overnight hospital stays: tonsils, Jamie & gallbladder
P. Pet peeves: Drivers who change lanes w/o checking mirrors, drivers who don't signal, people that don't flush, young teens that dress provocatively, TV's blaring, neighbours that park in front of your house but don't like neighbours parking in front of theirs.
Q. Quote from a movie: "Get busy living or get busy dying..."
S. Siblings: One older brother, one younger sister
T. Time you wake up: Weekdays 6:45 am Weekends 9:00 am
U. Underwear: low rise briefs
V. Vegetables you don’t like: radish
W. What makes you run late: Blowdrying and/or flatironing my hair
X. X-rays you’ve had: On my teeth!
Y. Yummy food you make: Curried chicken
Z. Zoo animal favorites: Love big cats!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love the Weekend

Tokyo, in happier days. We still miss her a lot

My job keeps me so exhausted each day that I barely have time to make supper and collapse on the couch. It's just not good for blogging!

Here's my week in bullet points.

- We have one client whose daughter wants her to use a POC (portable oxygen concentrator) purely as a status symbol, yet her mom is most comfortable using the cylinders. We're not sure how to handle it because our boss has said he wants us to keep this contract no matter what, but they've been high maintenance since day 1.

It wouldn't be an issue if we didn't have clients who are aged with health problems. Some people need the POCs due to weakness in their wrists (it can be difficult opening the valves on the cylinders) or problems with their vision. We can't always provide them due to the ones that want them for convenience. Of course, those are the ones that threaten to vendor switch and they get priority. Frustrating.

- I spent several hours doing safety reports for my boss on Wednesday, who then bitched me out for getting a late start on my deliveries. *sigh*

- Lola got a haircut last week, but it may have been a bit premature. With the cold weather, we've been having to put a hoodie on her before she goes outside to do her business.

- I bought two winter coats on Wednesday; purple wool with an empire waist and black wool with zipper/toggles. Each one was $30 and I love a good sale!

- Jamie's loan is coming in soon so she won't be a broke college student for a few weeks.

- Em is participating in Science Olympics today and we expect her to kick butt against the two other schools competing.

- I have to do some cleaning before my SIL arrives. Mostly the floors, it's a good thing we have laminate.

Happy Saturday!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

weekend update

The last few weeks have been incredibly busy!

Work has been crazy. Last Thursday I was on my out-of-town delivery route and decided to cut through the city on my way through to Innisfail, which is a little town about half an hour south of here. While I was driving past the greyhound bus depot, a deer ran into the street and tackled my van. Took out the passenger front panel and the mirror, fell, then got back up and ran behind the Sun Life building. It was shocking and took awhile for the adrenaline to stop pumping through me!

We have two new RRT's (respiratory therapists) but one is kind of office-bound doing C-PAP fittings and since she's very young (twenty-one) she's dying to get out into the field and I'm worried that she will quit if if we don't find a way to get her out of the office. I know that she accepted the office job, but that was prior to finding out that she passed the board test and got her designation. Since then, she's been in contact with the local hospital and even set up a rotation to get some experience there. *sigh* I do not have complete faith that Omar will abide by it, but he's got to tread lightly with this one. She won't take his crap and has a lot more going for her than our company.

I've developed quite a good rapport with the other new RRT, Linda. She's in her late thirties and we have a lot in common, including familial problems (her parents could be a lot more supportive) and losses (her brother was much like Dale and died last year.) She tends to run late but works into the night, and I can usually cover whatever is happening first thing in the morning. She has also helped me an awful lot in the warehouse, cleaning and testing equipment that had been getting backlogged since two of our older nursing homes closed their doors for good.

I feel pretty good about the team we have now.

Emily has grown an inch since we last measured, and she is now 1/2" taller than Bill and 1 1/2" taller than me. We knew this day would come.

Jamie is busy writing mid-terms this week and continues to lose weight. Last week I picked up these two wool jackets on major clearance ($35 for both!) and she swiped the shorter one with the fitted, empire waist. I hope she keeps it up at this steady pace.

Bill and I are still doing really good. I worry about being too exhausted to pay much attention to each other during the week; so many days either he or I need to have a nap to get through the evening and the odd time we have to go to bed at 9:00 pm and pass out! Weekends are just what we need to relax, and this coming Monday is Family Day which means I get a three days off. Yay!

I'm off to read some blogs. Happy Saturday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

more moving

image by Jim Donaldson

I spent several hours last night moving the lunchroom at the office.

When Marianne started, we knew that she would rarely (if ever) climb the steep stairs that lead to the actual lunchroom, so we brought down the fridge and microwave and made one of the back offices the "lunchroom."

Last night I walked around the little kitchen upstairs and thought, this is really nice! Once I got the table and chairs moved in, the dishes and the tea kettle and coffee pot, it really started taking shape.

This morning all I had to bring was a few nice tea towels; I'm kind of excited to go looking for bowls and spoons later today.

The new administrative / OSA Specialist is pretty good, considering she is fresh out of school. There have been trainers here on & off all week and I think we expect more tomorrow. Let's hope we can recover some of the customers we lost when Marianne was here; we're afraid it might be a LOT.

With each passing day, more of her clients are coming forward to report terrible service and disorganization and it's been really embarrassing, we keep apologizing and wanting to move forward.

I'm off to work. Happy Monday!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

payment in full

image by Troy Kajala

March brings the one year anniversary of Tina's death.

Tina is Emily's mom. She was twenty-five and Bill was thirty when she born, and for the first few years it seemed as though everything would be okay. Not that there weren't huge red flags in regard to Tina'a mental illness (she was bi-polar with personality disorders and munchausen's) but then, it would be at least four years before it all fell apart and a bitter custody battle ensued.

By the time I met Bill and Em, they were living 5,000 km from Tina, and like the rest of Tina's family and friends, trying to avoid contact. By then she'd pretty much gone off the deep end, God love her. She'd become addicted to oxycontin, oxycodiene, zopiclone...I don't know what else. I do know about addictive behaviour and she was living the life. Almost a year after her suicide, there are only five pictures of her tagged on Facebook and a slew of private messages and emails did not turn up any more. It was like that with Dale too - we have precious few of him in the last two years.

Anyway, we've thought a lot of her in the last ten months. It's true that she was hard to deal with, and we often ignored her because even though she said she was calling for Em, she would ask mostly about Bill and what he looked like now, or what did I look like, or what were we doing.

We have some guilt around that, but mostly we have peace.

I'll never know if Tina knew she'd be giving us peace, but I know that Dale knew and he was okay with dying if that meant we'd all be free. Dale wanted Jamie and I to have a chance to start over. Tina had lived with the depression and mental illness since she was a child and had very little in the way of support.

Sunday Feb 6/11

Yesterday we had cable, internet and a landline installed again, after a period of (maybe?) three years! At any rate, I had to go to work afterward and wasn't able to finish my post.

I've been thinking a lot about Tina, though not steady. Sometimes weeks will go by and it won't dawn on me that Em was born to someone else! Then she'll laugh or run, or get mad and make that face where she purses her lips - and I will see Tina's teenaged heart shining through. I can see her before she became too jaded, before the illness seized and destroyed her. Before she realized that she wasn't strong enough to navigate this's so sad.

Then I start thinking about how alike Tina and Dale were, how lucky it was that we all ended up together. I have my two girls, Bill has the fmily he was wishing for, Em has a mother she can count on, and Jamie has a father that she can trust.

I have so much I can't even name it all here.

Because of that, both Dale and Tina are in a good place. By that I mean, we think of them often and wish them peace, we mourn the loss of what might have been in the future and we wonder if they come to visit us as often as it seems. We hope they know that whatever mistakes they made here on earth have been forgiven. They owe no debt to any of us. As each of them faced their moment of death, the slate was wiped clean.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Bill, at a Mexican restaurant

Bill and I tend to visit restaurants for birthdays and anniversaries because we're very busy and/or cannot afford to do so outside of special occasions, but I think that's more acceptable.

Back in the day, when Dale was alive and working as a pipeline consultant, we ate out three to four nights per week. I was working as a store manager and often ended up staying past 7:00 pm, I'd come home, pick up Jamie and take her to the steakhouse, or the all day breakfast place. This ended briefly after Dale lost the consulting job, but began again once he started his own consulting firm.

Back then, it was nothing to spend $300 to $400 per week on supper; I can't tell you what that would have meant to my family two years ago (or last summer, for that matter) I suppose it's been a learning experience for us all.

Here's what I've learned personally;

1. While I truly enjoy buying leather handbags, they're at least $70 more than I'm comfortable spending and a helluva lot heavier. I'm not saying that I will always buy cheap vinyl bags, but for now I'm happy if I can get a good cross-body bag that is well made and has the look I'm going for.

2. I can buy all the high heeled shoes I want, but that doesn't mean that I'll have the energy to wear them on the weekends. Pile lined hiking boots and decent sneakers will get me through anything this year, including nights out at the dance club.

3. I no longer have my 50% clothing discount but I know the sales cycles at most stores and can find name brand jeans, khakis and blouses for $20, $13 and $15 respectively. I also shop bra sales and recently found one in purple lace (regular $49.99, now 50% off the last marked price of $39.99) At American Eagle, I found Bill two pairs of jeans that had been marked down to $14.99 a pair.

4. Even though I'm still gainfully employed, I go through the grocery store with a budget in mind. I buy meat in large quantities, separate it at home and store it in our 7 cubic foot freezer. I look for "buy 1, get 1 free" sales.

5. I'm getting my hair done in a salon again, but this time I'm going every six weeks instead of once a month.

6. Jamie gave me a Student Price Card, which gets me 10% off at lots of different places, including a large department store at the mall. I think I've saved at least $30 since I got it.

My biggest expense these days seems to be coffee. I make coffee at the office in the morning, but by afternoon when I go out to make my deliveries, I'm looking for iced coffee to get me through the afternoon. Most days, I spend another $6 on fast food. Bill and I were recently discussing this and want to make some changes, like making sandwhiches or subs or something to carry on the road. Seriously, our cholesterol will thank us.

Since I started this post, a bouquet of Edible Arrangements arrived from my office (love those fruit bouquets!) and Bill arrived with my birthday gift. Bye for now!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

letters to Dale

Dear Dale,

It's been awhile since I've felt like writing you, but so many things cross my mind while I'm working and driving around town; sometimes I make believe that you'll be visiting soon and I can catch you up.

Tomorrow is my birthday, I'll be forty-six years old. Hard to believe that I was thirty-seven when you died! To be honest, I feel like I'm still thirty-seven, so I guess that's good. Remember how we used to celebrate together? I'm not sure if I ever said that some years, I kind of resented you for letting me pick my own birthday to ignore (weren't we always broke on mine anyway?) I sometimes hoped you'd say "Let's celebrate on January 31st this year" but of course, this never happened. It might have, had you not faced those issues with alcohol, but that's a point I try not to dwell on.

I saw Shane last week - I almost didn't recognise him!I never thought he'd ever shave off that mustache, but he did. He doesn't look like the Marlborough Man anymore; to be honest he's starting to look a little old. I didn't speak to him - I didn't like him when you were alive and not much has changed.

Kerry Wagstaff left me a facebook message a few weeks ago, asking about all those Led Zeppelin CD's I offered him after you died. I almost fell over...seriously? You've been dead for more than eight years and he just remembered?! Did he think I still had them? He's a nice guy, but has not changed much since our high school days.

Al's dog Wiley died a few months back, but I remember thinking that you would know that, knowing how much you loved him (and all border collies in general) Yanno, Lucy is nine years old now and she is STILL spazzy for a border collie...but Mum & Jim love her and take care of her.

The city has grown to almost 100,000 people and you would hardly recognize it anymore. They closed down two nursing homes (the one by Bower Mall and the one in Lower Fairview) and built a monstrous new facility by the old duplex. Who knew we even had the space, but they're building in all kinds of forgotten places.

Jamie moved out six months ago to attend college (!!!) and I think that she has finally come to a place where she's accepted that you were sick and it wasn't really about her, but more about you. She hasn't seen her own dad since she was 17, and she has accepted Bill and I as her only parents. You'd be so proud of her!

Speaking of kids, Jamie is here today and brought her new Wii for us to try so I should go join them.



Friday, January 28, 2011

new beginnings

Em, trying on a Southern Belle costume at Superstore, 2009

I'm currently torn between feeling a sense of relief at work, and worry, because Marianne was dismissed from her duties this past Wednesday. I'm not very worried about her replacement, as much as I worry it'll take Marianne awhile to find another position. To be honest, I think that she's unable to handle a full time job due to her mental instability.

She demonstrates signs of Asperger's, but she has never mentioned anything other than a history of depression. However, her behaviour has already driven off her two brothers and I believe that she sometimes emotionally abuses her mother, and I'm not sure how well she's going to adjust with this latest setback.

Today I'm looking forward to my four day weekend, which began this morning. Just after I accepted my six month contract extension, I requested four days of unpaid leave, which will serve as a mini vacation as well as mental health time. A person needs that in this industry!

Bill and I might go dancing on Saturday, to celebrate my birthday on Monday. Also, I'm really looking forward to three days straight spent with him, because even though we work together, we hardly see each other.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

it was an ativan week

out my bedroom window

It's 2 °C today, which is tank top weather for us! Thank goodness, because we've been totally stressed out by our co-worker at the office and this weekend needed to be relaxing. We didn't want to shovel snow or be stuck inside due to harsh weather conditions.

As it turned out, we had time to clean the house before I left to take Devon, my friend from college math class last year, out to lunch for her birthday. After returning, I did some laundry and sat down to watch Season Two of True Blood. Today we were going to take my step-dad's birthday gift out to him but Bill is sick.

I believe he'll be laying down again in a moment.

I'm obsessed with work problems as usual, only this time it's not the new, young, arrogant boss from Dubai or customers treating me badly, it's the lack of organizational skills possessed by our OSA Specialist (obstructive sleep apnea) and while it's been an issue for awhile, it came to a head this past week.

The new boss had been putting the onus on me to keep Marianne organized but that has been a nightmare; I'm out of the office doing home deliveries on most afternoons. The new respiratory therapist is out doing assessments and that leaves Marianne on her own to trash the office.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that! We have a fitting room, which she keeps relatively uncluttered, but the counters in the open office space, the mask storage room and the lunch room have machines, accessories, empty boxes, files, used tubing, instruction manuals, pop cans, gum and other debris littered all over them.

The new RT and myself decided to clean on Monday, since Omar (our new boss) was due on Wednesday. It took the two of us three hours to get it done and the very next day she started dumping again. Each time we'd ask her to tidy she'd snap at us. One morning she realized I'd put the phone book where it belonged, and she muttered "for fuck's sakes!" and threw it back where she'd had it before. To be honest, I think she uses that space under the telephone holder to hide bags of chips. *sigh*

Anyway, the straw that broke the camel's back was Friday morning. I'd been out all day Thursday delivering, and the RT called me at home that evening to say she'd had to go in to get pediatric supplies for an overnight oximetry. While she was there she'd noticed that several boxes had been pulled out, as well as several masks, and they were all left out on the table we use to seal equipment after being disinfected. She said she'd left a note for Marianne, asking her to put these items back in their places because hadn't been able to use the table.

I know that Marianne found that note at 7:45 am because that's when I arrived. I waited until 9:00 to say something.

"Marianne," I began. "What's out on the sealing table?"

"Oh," she replied. "That's some stuff I need to deal with."

"Can you put them away until you need them?"

"No, I am not finished with them yet."

"But you're doing the bank deposit."

"I'll do it later."

"Sorry Marianne but I've been instructed to keep everything to standard and I must insist."

At that point she jumped up and stomped into the room, throwing the boxes on the shelf as she went and yelling at me. I don't remember what she said, but I do remember thinking OMG! Dale used to do this to me to get me to shut up and go away and then I was just mad for having to be exposed to that kind of crap. I did everytrhing I could to avoid that kind of abuse in the last eight years and I am not taking it from a lazy, middle aged woman who still lives at home and makes her widowed mother pay for all her bedroom renos. (I am still really mad, obviously)

I guess we'll see how things play out because I contacted Omar and HR in the afternoon, and Omar seemed pretty happy to have more documentation on her. I am torn between anger at being subjected to her mess and always having to clean up after her, guilt for knowing that I probably gave Omar the ammunition to have her terminated, and worry, because I do NOT want to take over any of her duties. I have enough of my own.

I hope that Jamie comes over later today. I have to pick up my contact lenses at Costco and she loves that place.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

good news

photo by Cindy Kassab

My work contract ended yesterday and my company extended it for another six months. It's been pretty frustrating, so it came as a HUGE surprise that they wanted to raise my hourly rate by $3.60.

BIGGEST raise I've ever received, and takes a bit of the sting out of the way that they've been handling my whole situation. Now I'm only $0.90 behind Bill, which has him chomping at the bit to get his air brakes course, which raises his rate by a couple dollars.

The snow has been driving us all crazy again this year, and my front lawn is completely covered by 18" - 24" drifts. Yesterday when I let Lola out the back door, she couldn't get down the stairs or across the lawn, so I had to shovel. First the deck, then the stairs, then a trail to the fence where our trash pick up box is, then another trail in a circle so that she could get her business done. It's hilarious watching her as she tries to maneauver through it all, lol.

Our family has been talking about music a lot lately, and we were just saying how Em's generation is the worst one since ours (in the 80's) where the music is disappointing as a whole; major synthesizers, lots of computer generated crap and lots of covers. To be honest, I don't listen to a lot of teen dance stuff anyway, but if someone like Jamie can't handle the new stuff, there must be something to it. Both she and Bill are on iTunes and Youtube every single day.

Happy Sunday!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

ice land

photo taken by Arnel, in Calgary, AB, this morning.

Thursday's +0° temps created havoc all over Alberta! Snow that had been mashed into the highways all winter was melted by late afternoon and the next day when it began to freeze, it was bad. Add to that ten cm. of blowing snow and highways were closed by noon yesterday.

That put a damper on the Saturday I had planned with Jamie, which was lunch, shopping and haircuts in a town about half an hour north of here, but we made do. After cancelling and rebooking my appointment, I got on the phone with a few places here in town to find something for Jamie.

The whole time, Jamie was sending me texts.

Cancelling?! Noooooo Mum! I NEED this haircut! *sob*

She comes by the drama naturally, lol.

Anyway, we got her into Magicuts, even though I wouldn't normally book a cut there. Not that I have anything against chains, it's just that I don't trust your average stylist with the kind of hair that I have (and passed onto Jamie.) When we arrived, there were two stylists already working on others and Jamie was passed to this middle aged man who took one look at her hair and said something like "oh, it's so thick I'd better do it dry," and went to work. Jamie thought he'd do a shampoo and style and hadn't washed her hair so when he said he was finished we were a little surprised. Rather than cause a scene we paid the $20 and went to the mall to book a shampoo and blow out, which cost me another $26.

I don't know why I am always surprised when we get terrible service, but we let it go and killed time in between by shopping the lingerie and houseware departments. I even bought a black cross-body bag, which is something new for me - but the fibro is doing a number on my forearms this winter.

Today we're working in the warehouse, but have to clear snow from the sidewalks, back yard and deck. After that, I think Bill is picking Jamie up so that the kids can go sliding.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 7, 2011

good-bye to this week

photo of Banff National Park by Ben Chase

Thankfully, I'm feeling a little better today. The last few days have been stressful (due to my new boss, who keeps reminding me that Jan. 15th is coming up, while accusing me of favouring Bill by wanting him to have Personal Protective Equipment)

Between having to justify wanting Bill to have lined steel toed boots, working on Sundays ("I will okay it this time but not again") and not being able to get any answers or supplies, I'm almost to the end of my rope. Seriously, since when did it become so hard to find a good paying, decent job with a decent supervisor?

I am so frustrated! Thank goodness we have a new Registered Respiratory Therapist. Her name is Corey and she started on Tuesday; she might be able to help a little. Still, I know that I will have to come to help Bill on Sunday without getting paid and shut up about it or else he'll make Bill stay every night for an extra 90 minutes and forget about my ever seeing him.

Tonight Emily has a babysitting gig so Bill and I have the house to ourselves and might take in a movie and then hopefully, go dancing afterwards. Dancing is just the exercise we need! It always makes things better. Then tomorrow, I'm taking Jamie for a haircut & lunch, as part of her Christmas gift.

I hope you all have a good weekend. Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

under the weather

painting by Doron Putka

I felt something coming on yesterday and it seems to be on the verge of a full fledged bug of some kind; sore throat, fever, bit of a cough. Nothing major yet, I hope the rest of the night takes care of it. I have one more day off before we return to work, and I want to enjoy it!

I've been sitting in the office while Bill works out in the cold warehouse, sorting oxygen cylinders for tomorrows pick up. I've got hot tea with local honey and a little box of chocolates left over from Christmas, and I'm as happy as can be. In a few moments, I'll be taking some hot chocolate out.

Did you all do anything for NYE? Bill and I stayed in, visited with his sister Cathy, then later watched a Modern Family marathon on TV and were passed out by 12:08. I was fine with that, lol.

Happy New Year!