Monday, November 26, 2012

Had to Share

Hubby's grandmother is 92 years old and still lives in the house her husband built after they emigrated to Canada. Her health is slowly declining, and truthfully, I don't think she'll be here to celebrate her 93rd birthday.

A week ago Sunday, she had some sort of episode and was taken to hospital. She hates hospitals. They were diligent in checking her from head to toe, but are still unsure as to what was/is wrong.

As the doctor was doing a routine examination, he was getting her to do some things so he could check her reactions for brain function. He asked her to 'blow out her cheeks'. She heard blow out your teeth, and promptly spit them out onto the bed! The doctor and my MIL were laughing so hard, they had tears in their eyes.

I love this woman immensely, as she welcomed me and my children into the huge family that they have. It never mattered to her that her grandson and I are not legally married, or that my older children are not blood-related. My only grandchild was born on her 91st birthday, which made his birth that much more special. My son loves to visit his 'big gramma' (he can't quite say great-gramma) and they have such a special bond.

Some of hubby's family is in total denial about her decline. She likely needs full-time care, but I suspect that the time for a nursing home has already passed. I know that the waiting lists are long, and they have missed out on that opportunity.

They are having some disagreements as to how to best care for her. As of now, they are having someone spend every night with her at her home, which I'm sure she wouldn't want at all. I'm still wavering on the decision if I should take a shift at her house.

I'm hoping that one day this week, we'll be able to bring DS, DD1 and grandcub over for a short visit. I'd like to see her smile watching the kids play. I want to make her some rabbit stew for dinner. I want to hold her hand, and tell her that her family will be okay. I want her to know how much she is loved.

Maybe work will be kind to me this week, and give me a day or two off so we can go see her.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

We're getting there!

Today, we reached a milestone.
I came home from working, and Hubby asked me to see what he had written down. It was a list of the bills that he had paid.
Added to the list of bills I had paid off Friday.
We hugged and cried together.
Wow, does that feel good to say.
We're not done yet, but we are making progress.
In 2008, we were approximately $60,000 in debt.
Today, that total is approximately $15,000.
We've paid off two vehicle loans.
We've paid off three extremely large (for us) credit card balances.
We've paid off two store credit cards.
We pay our bills monthly, and on time.
We have money in our savings accounts.
We are setting some money aside for retirement and our children's post-secondary educations.
We are saving for a down payment for our forever home.
What a great day.
Thanks to all of you who are sharing in our success.

Friday, November 16, 2012

I saw the best thing today...

I was driving down Springbank Drive, headed for the cemetery, when traffic was slowing down and merging into one lane. Driving a mini-van sometimes gives me a height advantage so that I can see what's happening up ahead. Lo and behold, a police car had a cab pulled over.

I grinned, smiled and thought to myself, it's about time.

I'm not sure what the cab drivers are like in other cities but here in London, Ontario, the majority of them are atrocious drivers. I'm not sure if it's because they are running a business driving cab/taxi, or if they are just plain ignorant, but most of the taxi drivers barely follow the rules of the road.

There is the speeding issue. There is no excuse for driving 20 - 30 kilometres over the posted speed limit, regardless of what the reason may be. This is coming from a woman who does an absurd amount of driving as part of her job. Unless you're driving an ambulance with lights and sirens going, slow down!

Seat belts are another issue. Everyone in a vehicle equipped with them should be wearing them correctly. Passengers of taxicabs are not exempt from this law. If you only knew what damage is caused to the human body when it is ejected from a rear seat after the vehicle travelling 80 kms/hr has stopped suddenly due to a collision. Let me tell you, it isn't pretty. I've seen what happens to people who are not properly belted in, and believe me, you do not want me to be your last ride.

Aggressive driving is also a pet peeve of mine where taxicab drivers are concerned. And the lack of use of turn signals. And the general attitude that they own the road.

I hope that driver was duly fined for whatever infraction caused his little roadside vacation. Thank you to the police officer for upholding the laws of the road.

If you drive, please continue to do so safely. I don't want to be picking up anyone I know.

Ok, rant over. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Still here, still working, still doing

I spent several hours yesterday driving through southwestern Ontario. I made my way from London to Windsor, Tecumseh, Amherstburg, and then finally Sarnia before I headed home again. Most of the drive was during daylight hours, so I was able to see a lot of sights. Houses that valued in the millions, and a block away small houses that were probably only valued at $60,000 or so. But they were equally beautiful.

Hubby and I have been talking about the type of house we would like to buy. At this point, it still dream-talking as we know we are no where near prepared to buy a house yet. I have been saving small amounts in a daily savings account that is registered, so that someday we may just be able to purchase a home.Twenty-five dollars per pay cheque really does add up and eventually it will become our down payment.

We will soon be in a position to pay off the remaining of our consumer debt, and then just as quick, add on more. We are in the market for a new-ish mini-van, preferably a Dodge Grand Caravan with Sto-N-Go. This is the vehicle that is as much a need as it is a want. I have to have a certain type of vehicle to work, and the Grand Caravan fits the bill. Certain dealerships now do leasing again after having to stop that program when the economy tanked. Something about a bailout or something, I'm not really sure.

I'm working on a plan to get the rest of the debts paid off, one at a time. I'm still working the system the way Gail taught me, albeit slowly. But I'm still doing it.

Have a fabulous day.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Knitting Top Ten

Top Ten Ways Knitting has changed my life:

1.      The constant exercise of my fingers and hands while knitting has staved off the effects of arthritis. I have less pain in my hands and therefore can knit more.

2.      I am able to make handmade gifts for loved ones and friends from the practical (dishcloths) to the frivolous (superhero cape).

3.      Recognising that I am a lifelong learner, knitting will provide me with years of education ahead. There are so many stitches to learn, projects to accomplish and yarns to work with that I will still be knitting and learning well into my retirement years.

4.      A project on the needles becomes a conversation starter. I am painfully shy at times, and am usually unable to approach someone I don’t know to begin a conversation. Whatever I am knitting usually attracts attention so that they will ask what I am making.

5.      Knitting has deepened the appreciation I have for my mother and grandmother and their respective fibre arts (Grandma was a quilter).  My love for knitting has opened my eyes to other forms of fibre art and textiles and wanting to learn more about them all.

6.      While I am knitting, I am able to let the continuous movement of the yarn and needles put me in a Zen-like state, giving my mind the freedom to wander and subconsciously tackle problems.

7.      Yarn stores. I love walking into a yarn section or yarn store to marvel at the array of colours, pattern books and needles.

8.      I have made many friends who share similar interests and have been welcomed into a ‘group’ of other yarn/knitting/fibre lovers. Their friendship and guidance means the world to me.

9.      I am a procrastinator by nature. Knitting helps me to avoid housework and other unpleasant tasks and provides me with the quiet time needed to build up my courage to tackle the realities of life.

10.   Through knitting, I am able to give back to my community. Keeping Kids Warm is a local charitable organization that provides handmade outer garments to homeless youth. Working with this group gives me immense satisfaction.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sealed Pot Challenge

Do you remember reading about the sealed pot challenge last year? SFT over at SFT's Life After Mortgage asked those who wanted to participate to find a jar or pot, put a hole or slot of some sort in the lid (for putting money in) and sealing it closed.

The idea is to add bits and bobs of money to your pot to accumulate over the year for a special treat of your choosing. Some folks are using it for a weekend getaway, others will use theirs for Christmas or New Years, and others won't make that choice until they know how much money is in their pot.

Reading back over SFT's posts, I realised that I never officially signed up last year, although I did get a tin ( a Christmas Kit Kat tin with slot already provided). I had taped the lid shut, but at some point over the year, I opened it and never resealed it. To be honest, I can't even remember what I opened it for (I presume I needed cash for something). I know I stopped adding to it for awhile because money was really tight. But I have since started adding to it again.

Well, the time is almost upon us to open our little jars of gold and see what we have managed to squirrel away over a year. I believe I had said (wherever I posted it) that I would like to purchase meat to fill the freezer to get us through the winter. Another post, I mentioned that I was waffling between a meat purchase and making an additional contribution to my RRSP. I'm still not sure what to do with the money. Both are really good ideas.

Have you done a sealed pot/tin before? If not, would you consider trying it?

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Hi all.

I've updated my blog list. I removed some blogs that have sadly come to an end, deleted some that I no longer follow (sorry) and added some new-er ones that I have found in my searches. Some blogs won't be to your tastes at all but I enjoy reading them.

If you would like me to add you to my list, leave a comment with a link to your blog.

Friday, November 2, 2012


On a whim, I decided to take the kids into the Optometrists office to schedule an eye exam for DD2. It's been a while since she's had new glasses, so she was definitely due. I scheduled an appointment for Cub at the same time as he has never had this done. I was surprised to say the least.

DD2 - well, I was expecting them to change her prescription and send us on our merry way. They also are referring her to a surgeon to shorten one of the muscles on her eye. She had this surgery six years ago so I wasn't all that surprised that it needed to be done again. I've left it up to her to chose if she wants to go through it or not.

Cub - he got his very first prescription for glasses. I had no idea how poor his vision was. The optometrist said, " I'm surprised he not walking into walls and stuff". Except he does that. Makes sense to me now that when we'd be driving and I would point at a horse or cow in the field along the road, he's be looking everywhere but where the animal was. Poor guy couldn't see past the car window.
At the playgroup we used to attend, he would play with cars, but not the same way other kids would. He would lie down on the floor, and drive the car back forth, inches from his nose. It was because he wanted to see the car.

His glasses make him look oh so cute, but I'm glad he was born in this era. If he was a 70's child, he would have ended up with 'coke bottle' glasses. (Picture the guy on the Trailer Park Boys- Bubba, I think). His teacher has already noticed a marked improvement on his ability to focus on tasks.

Interestingly enough, the first few days with his glasses was like discovering things with him all over again. "Mommy! Look at that! Look at this!" I would hear that over and over. He was seeing some things for the first time, I'm sure. What an experience to have with a child who is old enough to articulate. "Look at the red leaves on the trees, Mom! Are they on fire?" or "See how tall that building is Mom?"

Thankfully, DD2's glasses are covered by her fathers insurance coverage. For Cub, we had to pay upfront for his, and should be reimbursed from Hubbys insurance but I'm not sure at what percentage. I hope it's 100% but we will have to see. We paid nearly $300 for his glasses.Thank god we started building some savings and have been paying off our debt so that we are able to handle things like this. Four years ago, if we had been handed a surprise $300 bill for something, it would have thrown us off kilter. Now, not so much.

The optometrist has also referred us to a pediatric specialist for Cub, because she really wasn't able to do a complete exam on him. He is only 4 and has the attention span of a gnat. She also said that he will likely have to have surgery on one of his eyes to shorten the muscles so it doesn't turn in.

Now I'm afraid to schedule appointments for Hubby and me. I don't think I can take any more surprises.