Category Archives: Experiences

And this is Karma

After 13 years of living in my home, I’ve recently been replacing some household items. It started last August with my new flat screen — 32 inches of pure HDish viewing. I know 32 inches doesn’t sound like much, but I’m a girl and the tv fits nicely in my livingroom.

A month ago I discovered why I had bad vacuum karma* and cleansed myself with the purchase of a Miele S7 upright, which I don’t mind telling you, I sometimes catch myself  just sitting and thinking about. That may sound weird, but Miele owners will understand my passion and enchantment. I found it well within my price range at Future Shop and because I bought it in the month of May, I received an extra 5 years warranty, free of charge.

Last weekend I replaced a decades old dehumidifier which was a hand-me-down housewarming gift. I missed the free one offered by my friend Jeff by about 3 hours, but hooked up another friend who was also looking for a water sucker for her new dog salon. Come to think of it, Jeff also told me about the Miele. I think that officially makes you “my go-to guy” Jeff (if you don’t mind).

Six years ago, we moved my lovely formal living room sofa (hide-a-bed) to the basement and brought the rec room sofa to the living room. Just in case you’re wondering, barley walls, rose carpet and a brown sofa do not match. To add salt to the wound, the rec-room sofa also became the favourite scratching post for my loving cat who is oddly immune to spray bottles. I’ve resolved myself that the very heavy and awkward formal sofa shall never again grace my livingroom in this house and so began my search for a slip cover. A little online research uncovered one of interest. I hit the bargain basement today and the only slip cover there to fit a sofa was the exact one that endeared me online. It fits perfect…a tad wrinkly right now, but I’ll iron it the next time I wash it.

Turning outside, the grass on my postage stamp of a backyard was at least 2.5 feet high and with a break in the weather, it was time to stop putting off the inevitable. After filling up another housewarming hand-me-down with gasoline and oil, the gas cap literally disintegrated in my hand. It was time to replace the old 30 minute pull start lawnboy that gave me such a great workout for the past 5 years (13 years – 8 years that it wasn’t my chore = 5 years). I found one on Kijiji in my neighbourhood and made the purchase from a very nice person, who, as it turns out, worked with my BF for years. To kick it in gear, his son builds things; like fences, which is the next replacement on my mind, right after that one rotten deck board which I can fix myself because; well, my Dad was a carpenter. (I say that a lot when I’m drunk.)

A good neighbour, who facilitated the purchase and installation of my new windows last year, came to my rescue and helped me lift my lawnmower out of the back of my car…thanks Shawn. And, as if that wasn’t enough, when I looked up from my first pass with my new-to-me Poulan, there was a man in a truck collecting metal. He graciously took the old lawnboy and the old dehumidifier off my hands, which was such a relief because I had no idea how I was going to lift that monster up the stairs and something tells me the garbage guys wouldn’t have taken kindly to a lawnmower spewing gas and oil all over them.

That’s karma, my friend. It’s everything that happens. It’s not bad, nor good, it just is. It’s everything we attract through our thoughts and experiences. Today, I let go of expectation to enjoy the blessing of my Karma. I wish the same for you.

*a Filter Queen purchase in 1987 paid for over 3 years at 35% interest.

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Fashionable moments

Rarely will I talk about my work on my blog…ok, I rambled on a few weeks ago, but I don’t usually talk about what I do. Today is different because we launched a micro-site that features fashion collections inspired by the women of the G8 summit, which is taking place in Canada somewhere this week. The politics don’t fascinate me but the talent of our Nova Scotia fashion designers is inspiring.  I have seen these items in person and gently touched them. The Michique handbags are equally stunning on the inside.

If you already own a Michique handbag,  LouLouBell accessories, Donna Hiebert jewellery or glass and beads from the Glass Harp Gallery, consider yourself lucky. The rest of us now have something to wish for.

Here is what I helped to craft to showcase the Nova Scotia Fashion Industry. I hope you enjoy checking out the collections:  NSFashion.ca


The Fact of the Matter

I don’t have a rolodex. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do, but it’s covered in dust.  The business cards I collect sit neatly in a pile on my desk in no particular order. I spend most of my day in front of a computer corresponding by email.  I realize I could add contacts to my address book and fill in all the little blanks, but I use Outlook as my email client and have not figured out why I have three address books:  Global, Frequent and just plain Contacts. Even when I do add people to my address book, finding them later on is a frustratingly painful ordeal. 

So, my inbox, out of sheer necessity, has become my rolodex. If I need to reach someone, I find an email they’ve sent me, head to the bottom and pray their alternate contact info is included. Often it’s not. Why is this? Even for internal emails where I delete my long-winded signature block that causes carpal tunnel in Blackberry users, I at least put my extension.

Please be kind to the hurried and busy people who want only to hear your voice.

Oh and even if we are related or talk every day, please don’t assume I will remember your number.


I think I want an alligator

After  the kids lost their Nanny, they re-started asking for a kitten. I love cats, but not wet food nor kitty litter, so I clung to the excuse that we couldn’t have one with Mandy because there was no place to hide the food or the litter. But, over the past little while I started to soften and became a little attached to the idea myself. 

Early in April, I took a trip west to see a friend. I promised the boys when I got back we would think about getting a kitty. First phone call home, Justin asked if I had given it any more thought.  

I arrived home on Thursday and Saturday we found Caramel. The cutest little blonde. I call him Mel, goes better with Mandy. He’s relieving the top of my dishwater of papers and pens as I type this, oh and now clawing my back. I just love him and he and Mandy have bonded quickly. When Mandy gets yelled at, he runs to her side. When Mel falls off the window ledge, Mandy tries to pick him up. They even lick each other. I’m amazed. We didn’t try to keep them apart, just let them adjust.

Mel has his own room, a basement closet, with a kitty door, where his food and debris are safe. However, cleaning out the closet started the perfect storm of spring cleaning.

Justin and Korey decided they wanted separate rooms. Justin chose the playroom, which meant 8 years of toys needed removal. The whole thing went something like:  first, clean up the toyspot in the rec-room (1 day). Then, go through the toys in the playroom and sort for keeper, garbage or yardsale (3 days). Then, move dressers, beds, bookshelves, lego tables and replant toys to rec-room (2 nights till 1:30 am). 

They are both very pleased with their own space and after a few timid moments last night and three books, Justin fell fast asleep in the bed my Daddy made me. Korey crawled in with me after his midnight trip to the washroom.

Outside, the anti-garden is complete in the front. Last weekend, I tore out the overgrown mess of shrubs in the front of the house and bought 4 nice little Alberta spruce trees. I then graded the bed, layed down the fabric to stop the weeds, edged it with plastic edging and filled it in with peastone. The side of the house received the same treatment and next week, the entire perimetre of the backyard fence will look the same. I like it and it turns out I like gardening and landscaping.  

The hardest part was getting the staples out of the coil of edging and keeping Justin entertained. Seriously, in the span of 2 hours he drove his bike, got the mail twice, played basketball, helped me dig, didn’t help, watered everything, rollerbladed, bounced on the trampoline and told me story, after story, after story.

I’m tracking a certain flight from western Canada tonight. Tomorrow is my reward. Breakfast in bed from the kids and then they are off with Dad a little bit earlier than usual.


Until there’s no one to remember you

Korey and Justin lost their Nanny last week and I lost someone who, thinking back, was a great, generous gift to me. 

Brian called me on a Friday night to let me know she was gone. The kids were asleep by then and we decided to tell them together in the morning. Morning came, and with my secret bulging from my heart, I tried to keep them calm and relaxed, knowing what they were in for. Justin, for some reason, wanted to pull out all of the Hallowe’en stuff, especially this motion-sensored tombstone with hands that crawl up and down while exclaiming, “I’m not dead yet, let me out of here.” He said he wanted to scare Daddy. I encouraged him that it probably wasn’t the best day to do this. “Oh,  because Nanny is sick and going to die?” he asked. I just nodded.

The night before, at dinner, Justin said that Nanny had to go into this thing called a coma and she wasn’t going to wake up. Korey was defiant, “Yes she will, you stupid idiot. She’ll wake up again. What are you talking about?” And then he turned away, very angry at his little brother for suggesting such a thing. With his heart breaking, he asked me if that was true. I told him that she might not but she might, we don’t really know. She did actually wake up briefly just before she passed away.

We sat them down Saturday morning and Brian explained what had happened. Justin started to cry immediately. Korey remained quiet and then said he wanted to get on the computer and asked if he could change his password to Nanny. That broke the floodgates and he sobbed uncontrollably for about 10 minutes. But, they both said they still wanted to go to the funeral, which we had talked about in preparing them.

After assessing the clothes required for the service, I was on duty to get new shoes for Korey and a tie for Justin. He wasn’t sure if he wanted a bow tie or a long tie, nor did he really comprehend the difference. But, he felt a long tie would be better. “Just about down to here,” he said, motioning to his belly button.

On Sunday night, I stopped in to see my nephew and his wife who were expecting a baby. She was so ready to deliver and with her due date on Tuesday, I wanted to see if I could help with a massage or some therapeutic touch. She had spent the day roaming the RV show trying to get things going and well, the combination worked. At midnight her water broke and she called me at 7:30 in the morning to say she was 4cm dilated. At 8:49 Nora was born. A healthy baby girl, one day early.

I picked up the boys after work and we went to meet her. Justin decided to wear his new tie for Nora. He also chose one of his favourite toys to give her, a Sesame Street Fisher Price camper. In the hospital he said that he was sad that his Nanny died but the baby helped. During his bathroom time he explained that, “Laurie’s in the hospital but she’ll be going home, cause she isn’t sick. My Nanny was sick, but she didn’t get to go home.” I nodded that he was right.

He then said to my sister, “Did you see my name in the news? Do you know why it was there? Cause my Nanny died. When you die they always put your name in the news.” He was talking about the obituary which Brian had cut out of the paper the day before.

The day of the funeral, I got them all dressed up to go and their Dad picked them up. Little troopers. I didn’t sit with the family but from 4 rows back I could hear Korey sobbing and choking on his tears. It broke my heart. Afterward, Korey wanted to leave straight away. He was too upset to attend the reception. I loaded them into the car and asked if there was anything that would help. Lego was the medicine. They picked out some LegoRacers at the local drug store and we were on our way. I strapped Justin in and closed the door. As I walked around the back of the car, I could hear him screaming and looked to see his hand jammed solidly in the top of the door. He was ok though, nothing broken nor bruised. 

The boys changed their minds about going to the committal service with their Dad and we joined them later at the family gathering. Brian thanked me for being there, saying it would have meant a lot to his mother. She was devastated when we separated, worried so much about the kids and how they would fare. But Brian and I always put them first. We have a good relationship and the ability to work together to ensure they are safe and secure. Brian always tells them that even though we don’t live together, we are still a family and we take care of each other.

I had the rest of the week off for March Break and Korey had a hockey tournament. We got an extra game on Thursday morning and he scored his very first goal— on defence, from the blueline. We watched the video last night and you can hear the coach yelling, “Put it in deep Korey.” And then you can see the puck going toward the net, but the camera didn’t actually catch the goal, nor Korey’s reaction. He said he fell as soon as he shot it. His teammates were all excited, “Korey scored. Way to go Korey. Great shot!”  What a proud moment. His friend Josh also got his first goal in the same game.  It is very true that any hockey is good hockey as long as it’s evenly matched. Watching these 7 year olds live or on video is just as exciting as an NHL game, in my opinion.

After the game, we went to the canteen and there were lots of people sitting around waiting for games to begin. My BlackBerry pinged and I chose to respond to a message from work. The kids were running around. I told them to stop running.  A few minutes later a gaggle of kids had joined them in their running game. I got up to tell them to stop and when I went to take a step, I tripped over my feet, or the chair or something and landed on my knees on the tile floor— the rest of me landing face first with my arms stretched out overhead. I could hear myself saying as I was going down, “I told you to stop running.” I’ll never forget the look on this little girl’s face before they all scurried off.  My demon BlackBerry slid across the floor, almost going under a vending machine. I lay there in pain for a few seconds, unable to get up and then trying my best not to cry, I limped back to my seat, feigned the “f” word and resumed my message. I apologized to the parents sitting there (who didn’t even try to help me, by the way, mighty neighbourly) and held back my tears. The kids resumed their running elsewhere. I then wobbled outside full of pain and embarrassment. My sister had a good laugh when she got back to the canteen and the kids told her what happened. One guy who witnessed it couldn’t contain himself and laughed right along with them.

That was the same day,  in the middle of a happy moment, when Justin stopped short, turned to me and with a very perplexing look, said “You know Mommy when someone dies, it’s like it really didn’t happen. Like the person who told you was lying. But then you know it’s true.” I told him that was a very good way to explain it.

I also told them that it is normal to cry when they think about their Nanny being gone, but as time passes, there will be less tears and more smiles when they remember her.

My kids will never forget their Nanny. They loved her so much. “I still have two Nannies. One is in real life and one is in my heart,” says Justin.  I think his Dad told him that.

I’m learning a lot from my kids. I enjoy their honesty and let them talk, cry, get angry and just be quiet. Whatever they need at the moment. But one thing I won’t let them do is forget how important she was and how she’ll always be part of them.

What a busy week. Today is my reward. I’m still in my jammies and it’s almost time for bed again. I think I deserve it and a trip away in a couple weeks to visit a friend.


Medavie Bluecross isn’t really there for me

Last month I began massage therapy to fix up a whole bunch of problems probably related to my less than ergonomic desk set up. After two sessions, I took my receipts to our Medavie Bluecross Quick Pay office and was told that I needed to have a form completed by the therapist in order to submit my claim. “I will give you one form, but for any further claims the therapist will have to provide you with one. She’ll have to order them from us.”  I thought the response was odd, but the person seemed cranky and I was on day 2 of not smoking, so I took the form and left, tail between my legs.

My massage therapist completed the form on my next visit and back I went, this time with three receipts. I was greeted with the bad news that the form wasn’t completed properly because the benefit code for massage therapy wasn’t included. I asked if they knew it and was told there were different codes for different types of massage. The claims officer tried to reach my therapist, but, she was, as therapists usually are, probably therapying on someone else. So, I left again, tail between my legs and rightly frustrated.

My therapist called me with the code and suggested the claims officers know the code and there’s no reason why they couldn’t have completed it. So, down I go again to the Quick Pay office and present them with the code. To which, the claims officer says, “I’ve never seen this code before.” And, she refused to pay me.

Ok, I’m pissed off at this point, can you really blame me? She suggested I leave the claim with her and when she reaches my therapist she will call me or mail the cheque to me. I told her to call me when it is ready and I’ll pick it up.

My therapist called again and said that the person she spoke with at Medavie Bluecross apologized and suggested the reason for the confusion was that there was a relatively new person on the case who didn’t know they could fill in the code.

So, for the fourth time and 3rd time today, I returned to the office and very sternly asked for my money. The claims officer looked at me like she didn’t know what I was talking about. I gave her the correct code and then they all gathered to explain that it was my “plan” that was keeping them from paying me. My “plan” didn’t allow them to pay claims without the code. Then, the supervisor called me Ma’am. Never a good idea. No one apologized to me.

The point is:  The claims officers knew the code all along. All massage therapy is covered at the same percentage. They could have entered one for me, paid me and then followed up with my therapist to confirm. That would have been the client-centric thing to do. I was going to get my money in the end, why they made it so difficult for me just doesn’t make sense.

And, if this pops up on your media monitoring Medavie Bluecross, do feel free to comment. I’d love to hear the response to this blatant lack of respect for my time and blood pressure.  And, before you tell me that the “plan” is your client, remember, I pay premiums too and I had an extremely poor customer-service experience today in your Halifax office. You’ve got to do better than that.

PS:  I wrote the title of this post before I went to the Medavie Bluecross website and discovered their tagline. Spooky!


It seems forever….

Since I’ve posted. I promised a note on my court experience. I’ll try to remember the salient details.

After my guitar lesson and moral support from Roger. I made my way back to the office to finish up some work before my court appearance at 7:00 pm. I was a bundle of nerves. When I got in my car, I sat on my sunglasses and broke them in half. Then, I drove down a one-way street and had to back up half a block to get turned around.

Inside the courthouse I met other very nervous people. One guy broke the ice with, “So, who was going the fastest?” We all grimaced and wrung our hands. On the way in, I spotted an RCMP cruiser and wondered if it was my constable. From the long list of appearances, I was the only one he was there to see that night. I hoped he had just forgotten, was out of town, transferred to another province, whatever. On the other hand, he was very nice as I remember, and my single-mom head was thinking it would be great to see him again. I honestly couldn’t remember if he was wearing a wedding ring the day he stopped me.

He entered the waiting area. “Ms Hindle?” We went into the foyer and he asked if I was fighting the ticket so that I wouldn’t lose my license. I told him yes and he said he would talk to the prosecutor to see if it would be ok for me to plead guilty to a lesser charge. He disappeared and I waited anxiously. Reappearing, he motioned for me to move into the prosecutor’s meeting area. Inside were a dozen police officers and sherriff’s deputies. All those guns in such close proximity were getting me all excited.

We talked while we waited and he was just as nice as I remembered. He told me he wrote over 60 tickets in a 2 month span on that stretch of road over the summer. Which no doubt is the reason he’s been spending a lot of evenings at the court house lately.

The prosecutor was quite approachable and accepted the plea bargain. He put me near the top of the docket so we wouldn’t have a long wait in court. 

The legal system is fascinating. It was entertaining to watch the couple of cases before me. One guy had a lawyer and got his court date put off. The second wasn’t present but had his friend there to request a later date. The judge seemed a little bewildered by this one, but accepted the request. 

When they called my name, the Prosecutor announced they wanted to change the offence and the judge confirmed that with me. So, I won’t lose my license, but still have to pay a $220 fine. She asked me how long I needed to pay it. I asked, “What’s reasonable? Six months?” She said, “Six months. Don’t you work?” She then suggested three months. Which works ok. I’ll throw it in with the Christmas bills.

After it was over, the nice officer and I left the court room together. I thanked him for suggesting this and apologized for making him spend another evening in court. He does get paid overtime, but still he said it  gets tiring. He told me it was no trouble and that the system is set up for this. It’s my right to go to court. He also mentioned it was the quickest court night yet.

We then went for coffee and have been dating ever since. So, that’s why I haven’t been around these here blog parts lately. I keed, I keed. But, what a nice little story to tell the grand kids. Come to think of it, I still don’t know if he was wearing a wedding ring (with apologies to any potential significant other for the fantasy portion of this post).

 It’s good to be back!


Look what she did

Hey, my friend Susan jumped out of a f***ing plane the other day…check it out.

I have a few other friends who have done this, but it wasn’t caught on camera. I can’t say it’s anything I ever wanted to do, but watching her makes it more exciting than scary. Definitely a life-altering experience.


Certainly

Korey turned seven yesterday and Justin is two weeks at five. I can remember being five and seven, so I’ve been thinking that from here on in my footprint on their lives is permanent.

In fact, I remember some pretty important moments from my early childhood. Many have stayed with me. Some for the better and some it’s taken me nearly 40 years to erase. I better choose my words carefully and make sure they understand how important their self-esteem is to creating a wonderful life for themselves.

When I was five my grandmother passed away and I saw my father cry for the first time. I remember him standing at the back door window, his face shielded from his daughters, but his shoulders told the tale. I didn’t see him cry again until he suffered a stroke when I was 20. I grew up with no appreciation for the fraility of the male heart.

When I was seven, there were two elementary schools in my area. Our house sat right on the cut-off line which meant I was separated from my street friends during my first year.  But, in grade one they sent me to the “cool” school.  After the first week, however, they moved me back. I was crushed. That day, the boy next door came over and we played crazy eights, crazy nines and crazy tens at my back door until our Dads came home for supper. I learned how important friendship is and how simply sharing yourself with someone can lighten their load. It made me compassionate.

That year I had my favourite teacher. She taught me how delicious reading is. More pivotal, I learned that good things do follow bad.  

I’m also reminded how important my back door was.

 


Icing on the cake

Monday was JB’s birthday. He turned the big 5 and we had a digger cake. The same cake he and his brother have chosen for the past three years. I think it’s the dinkies on top that get them. What gets me are the mounds of icing. See, I love icing, it’s comfort food.

Today, we celebrated their birthdays with a joint party at the Superstore. Ten kids making pizza and decorating their own cake to take home, plus two birthday cakes, one for each boy. That’s alot of icing, but we managed.

Later in the afternoon we went to another birthday party, a pool party. I actually bought a new bathing suit and joined in the fun because the boys gave me a hard time after I didn’t get in the pool at the hockey pool party. I enjoyed it, it wasn’t over my head. KD told me my bathing suit was too small though. Damm, knew I should have gotten the larger size. No one else complained though and the girls stayed put nicely, even when the waves crashed around us.

After two hotdogs, some chips, pop and cheesies, we had cake. A hockey cake this time, chocolate underneath all that delicious icing.

Tomorrow, we have another party to attend. My great-nephew is turning 4. I’m assuming there will be cake, at least I’m hoping.

Sugar is not my friend, however, so I’m dropping acidophilus by the handfuls to try to rebalance the fun zone and keep me from getting too spaced out to think in a linear fashion.

I’m also trying to work on my taxes, not a great mix.

********************************

While I was racing through Wal-mart today picking up a bow and arrow set for the boys, I stopped short at the discount book bin. The title caught my eye, “You Can Heal your Life”. Strange I thought, that’s the same title as Louise Hay’s book. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was her book. I didn’t expect to see it there at 25% off. I love finding a bargain on things I’ve hummed and hawed about purchasing at full price and abandoned at “submit order”.

And, so I am, in real time, opening the book to the lesson I most need to learn today.

Make Room for the New (on the left). Right, ok, clean out the closets, clutter and stuff I haven’t touched in a while. I get it. A cluttered closet means a cluttered mind. Fuck, that’s what is wrong with me. I’m living in frustration because everywhere I look there is shit waiting to fall on me. Or, at least it feels like it.

Love Your Bills (on the right). This one is timely. I missed a power payment somehow over the past four months. I could have sworn I paid it, but the bank has no record, nor the power company, so I’m in arrears and that hasn’t ever happened before. It sucks because now I have to make a double payment next month and I have that speeding ticket (my first) to pay by July, unless I decide to plea NG. All these extras just when I was getting ahead too.

But Louise says we need to stop worrying about money, stop resenting our bills and be grateful that someone trusts us to pay. Only then can we release the beliefs that we don’t deserve and open up to receive the lavish abundance of the universe.

Which gets me to thinking perhaps I’ve been putting off doing my taxes because I’m worried about the outcome. And, that maybe I should clean out the clutter first and allow the universe to fill the empty spots with abundance before I settle in to count the beans. You know, just in case it ends up being a bill, which now will have interest attached and I’ll need some abundance to remit.

Yes, clearing the clutter feels good. Envisioning my dresser drawers closing all the way, being able to see the back of my closet, finding something, anything, in the junk drawer, organizing the medicine cupboard, nicely organized towels all facing the same way. The thought is making me calm.

Or, have I just found another good reason not to do my taxes tomorrow. This post was tonight’s.