Tuesday, April 29, 2008


FMD To The Rescue

I'm at home Monday afternoon, my day off, working on a ridiculously annoying jigsaw puzzle and observing the antics of one Ms. Winfrey when the phone rings.

"What are you doing?" It's Weezie, my baby mama.
"Laundry, a puzzle, Oprah, and just about to get dinner started."
"I need your help."

So here's the scoop. Weezie had her oil changed on Sunday. I mean that in the literal sense, not the bow-chucka-waw-waw sense. Her first mistake was that she had it done at the Hooterville Canadian Tire. Now for those of you not from Canada and not familiar with Canadian Tire, well, suffice to say most people lovingly refer to it as Crappy Tire. It's a Canadian institution up here. They have everything for your automotive, sports, camping, painting, cooking, wiring, plumbing, and so-forth needs. They are known for fairly reasonable automotive...ahem..."repairs". Though anyone I've ever known bitches about the work done.

Monday morning came along and Weezie packed up the kids, and made the one hour drive to The Big City, dropped the kids off at daycare, and continued on to work. On her way that morning, she detected a smell. Sort of like the SUV was overheating. Immediately, she suspected the radiator. When she arrived at work, she lifted the hood and noticed something wasn't right. She called Canadian Tire in Hooterville and told them what she found. She told them that although they did the work and checked all the levels of everything, it smelled like it was overheating and that she noticed that they forgot to replace the cap. There was some fluid sprayed all over her engine.

The mechanic she spoke to told her to pour some water in and that should temporarily help until she gets a new cap put on that night. So Weezie poured in some water. Ya, unfortunately, it wasn't the rad. The cap they left off was actually the oil cap. That's right, she poured water into the engine.

She asked me if it would do any harm if she drove it with water in it to a nearby Canadian Tire. Some people never learn. I told her not to drive it, but to call a tow truck. Unfortunately, she was in a parking garage and there was no way a tow truck would be able to get in there, so she had no choice by to drive it down the parking garage and onto the street.

This is where I came in. I had to meet her at work to get the carseats from the SUV, install them in my car, and pick up the girls at daycare while she waited for the tow truck. Once I got the girls picked up, we headed to the local Canadian Tire and waited for Weezie to be towed in. After about 20 minutes or so of hearing Brynn whine "where mama? where mama?", I see the big-ass flatbed tow truck with Weezie's SUV on top.

The driver got the SUV off and into the garage and Weezie came over to express her disgust over the whole situation and to say hi to the kids. She said the mechanics probably think she's some stupid woman who doesn't know what a radiator is, but by the same token, how stupid is a mechanic who doesn't know enough to put the oil cap back on? And he was apparently a professional who works on cars every day.

She headed back to give the driver a tip, and as soon as she walked away, Brynn started crying for her mother. We're talking panic attack, full tears and all. She's such a dramatic little thing. Where does she get it? Weezie finally made her way back to the car and she told me that they probably need her vehicle overnight. They'll need to flush the engine. I'm hoping they also plan to shampoo the engine and replace all her belts too, since they've been sprayed with oil. And the Hooterville store will be footing the bill.

I drove us all back to my place, the whole while listening to the girls nattering, singing, crying in the back seat. They were getting pretty hungry, it was already past their bedtime. How does she do this every night? She usually drives an hour, I was driving about 20 minutes or so and I needed some Advil. When we got to my place, I handed over the keys and let Weezie be on her way with my car to get the kids some food quickly and get them home and ready for bed.

I haven't heard from her yet whether or not they will have her SUV ready by the end of the day. If so, she's driving to get me at work after picking up the kids, and I'm taking her back to Canadian Tire to get her SUV, and we'll both be on our merry way. If not, she's hanging on to the car for a while.

It's a good thing I live across the road from work.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Freak On Line One

Sometimes advertising doesn't pay. We've been running a few ads in the local rag the past couple of months and we've had mixed results. The first month we showed a collection of war medals that we've framed, and that brought in a few people with medals and photos to frame. This month we ran a picture of a violin that we framed.

Today I took this call:

Freaks R Us, how can I help you?
Do you have that picture?
Which picture?
The one in the paper.
Which picture is that?
The picture of the violin in your ad.
Ummm...we have a digital image of it.
What does that mean?
That means I have a copy of the photo we took in our computer.
Oh, because I'm looking for a picture of a violin.
OK...well, this wasn't a picture of a violin, it was an actual violin that we framed and took a picture of as a sample of what we do.
Yes, that's what I want.
You have a violin you want framed?
No, I just want a picture of a violin like the one in your ad.
Well, again, this wasn't a picture of a violin. Someone brought in an actual violin and wanted it put in a shadow box. That was just a picture that we took of it once we framed it.

Once this "Who's On First?" skit ended, she asked where we are located and I told her. She lives about two blocks away and she couldn't seem to get the directions through her head. I should have told her to just look out her window and I'd wave at her.

We've been here 15 years and she couldn't figure out where we were, even though there's a number of very well-known and established businesses and restaurants nearby thatI mentioned that she just couldn't place. I told her 3 or 4 times which plaza we're in, and she says "OH, near that thrift store?" They've been there about 3 months or so. "Ya, that's the place."

I can't wait for her to pop by to pick up one of those violin pictures. It'll happen. Mark my words.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Renos Are Coming Along

I have no idea how long we've been having work done to our house. I'm reluctant to look back in the blog to see when it all began. It's probably longer than I think and I don't want to confirm that. It's been dragging on because the guys we've got working on the place are doing this as a sideline to their day jobs, so they're here on the weekends only. The good news is that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Well...this part of the tunnel, that is.
The ensuite has come a long way these past two weeks. Our tile guy came in the previous weekend and did the majority of the shower tiling, but there were a couple of things that I wasn't crazy about.
This is how it should look. That rust coloured accent tile should wrap around as if the tile were bending around the corners.

This is what we got in one corner:

It's not so much wrapped around as it is a mirror image. I'm afraid the OCD in me wouldn't let me live with that. So we had to have those tiles removed and re-done.
Now that corner looks like this:

Ahhhh....much better.

Then there was the outside corner at the entrance of the shower. Our tile guy did this:

What you're seeing here is those tiles on the left side of the picture extend so that their UNGLAZED edge is flush with the face of the tiles on the right side of the picture. The problem here? Once the grout is on, they're still going to be UNGLAZED edges with little spacer nibs sticking out. It worries me that he didn't seem to see anything wrong with that.
This is what we finally got there:

Now we have a nice finished bullnose edge. Smooth, glazed, finished. Ahhhh.

The next step is to have the primed walls touched up a bit and have them painted, then the floor can go in, the cabinets and toilet can be installed, the lights, counter, sink, faucets,...ok, maybe we're not THAT close to being finished.

Once we're done in there, we can clear out the master bedroom, get our closet done, and paint the room and move in!

While all of this work is going on, the powder room on the main floor is also in a similar state. One day we'll be settled in here.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Up All Night

This past month or so dealing with my mother's sudden illness and subsequent passing has been somewhat of a living nightmare. Aside from all of the emotional and familial dealings, my physical self has taken a shit-kicking.

I have been travelling to Hooterville on a nearly daily basis ever since my mother was first admitted to the hospital. I would be there on my days off and I made the trek right after work pretty much every day. On my way, I would grab some kind of offensive food substitute to tide me over for the evening instead of the fairly healthy meals I'm used to having with The Squeeze. A burger and fries was often the choice for its ease of eating while driving and it's ease of access en route. Then there were the countless cups of coffee and donuts or cookies or whatever horrible thing my stressed body was craving. I admit it. I'm an emotional eater. And the dinner bell has been ringing loud and steady. Add to that the fact that I have had a pinched sciatic nerve for over a month that makes it difficult to stand let alone get on the treadmill as I used to every morning.

I've been noticing the pants are feeling a bit more snug, and I just feel kind of...well...gross. I hopped on the scale the other morning to find that I had gained nearly 20 pounds. I was startled, but not surprised. I managed to drag my ass onto the treadmill a couple of times this week, flopping my "pins & needles"-filled right leg around like something that was not of my own body. After a while I felt like how I imagined Terry Fox felt as he ran across Canada. Not to minimize his heroic effort, at least he didn't have a leg that pain shot through at every step.

I'm really trying to be good. I'm trying to get back in the swing of healthy eating, though I'm still making visits to see my father here and there. I just need to stay out of the drive-throughs.

Last night, my business partner and our Squeezes decided to go out for dinner. There's a roadhouse down the street from my shop and they recently delivered a menu and flyer promoting their specials. On Thursdays they have a deal on their burgers. Normally the burger and fries is $8.95, Thursdays, all day, they are $3.00. OK, so the fries aren't included in the deal, so that makes it $4.00. Five dollars if you want cheese. I thought I'd try a little appetizer they called "Hot Pepper Bottle Caps". I sort of imagined jalapeno poppers, filled with a cooling cream cheese. What arrived were disc-shaped slices of jalapenos, breaded and fried, with a ranch dipping sauce. The business partner and his Squeeze have wheat issues, so they couldn't help me, and The Squeeze isn't much into hot spicy stuff. He did try one or two, and I thought his eyes would fly from their sockets. It was left to me to polish off. They were mighty hot going down, but I figured I could handle it.

I had my burger and fries and a glass of beer and we decided to call it a night and head home. I got into bed and fell asleep around 10:30. I woke at 11:00 to the sound of The Squeeze snoring. I felt wide awake. I went down to the rec room and worked on a puzzle and watched a couple of TV shows I DVR'd that night. I finally felt tired again, so went back to bed around 1:30. I think I slept maybe another half hour and woke up again. I felt like I had a cannonball in my stomach. I think my stomach was fighting a losing battle with the hot peppers.

I made several trips to the bathroom last night, and at one point decided I'd just crawl into the bed in the guest room rather than disturb The Squeeze with my constant door opening and closing and hopping in and out of bed.

Let me just say that by the time early morning rolled around, the peppers had found their way out. And I thought they were hot going in! Were it physically possible for me to do so, I would have done a handstand in the shower to cool off.

I'm at work now, still feeling that cannonball in my stomach. I don't think those peppers are done with me yet. I have my "Back in 5 minutes" sign at the ready. Have at me peppers. I won't soon make that mistake again.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Gone Too Soon

Thank you to everyone who has been sending me warm wishes and praying for my mother to recover. Sadly, this post brings very sad news that my mother passed away Monday night.

We had a glimpse of hope last week when we met an oncologist who arranged another MRI and thought surgery and radiation might help. She was transported to a larger hospital for the MRI, but just a couple of hours after she was returned to her regular hospital room, the doctor called our family in. She was dying. Nothing could be done. Her organs were shutting down, and her lungs were filling with fluid.

We all drove there as quickly as we could. My mother was surrounded by my father, my sister, my three brothers and me, our partners, as well as many of her siblings and grandchildren. In total there were about 30 of us in her room. Her IV line and feeding tube were removed and she was given oxygen and morphine to ensure she wasn't in pain. She hung on for about 6 hours, with quick, shallow breaths, and an erratic heartbeat. My father quietly begged her to wake up and be alright. But we all knew she was on her way.

At 10:30, the nurses came in to move her a bit and give her another shot. When we walked back into the room her eyes were open and she was looking at my father. She hadn't opened her eyes for more than a few seconds for the past few days. He had renewed hope. I held her hand and kept my other hand on her wrist checking her pulse. She moved her eyes and looked at me. "We're all here for you Mutti," I whispered. "Everybody is here to take care of you. We all love you."

She closed her eyes. She stopped breathing. I lost her pulse.

Someone called the nurse who came in, put on her stethoscope and placed it to my mother's chest for a moment. The room fell silent. "She's gone," she said. I already knew. I think we all knew.

My father looked stunned. "What?", he asked the nurse in disbelief. "I'm so sorry, sir. She's gone."

I couldn't let go of her hand. I just kept holding on. And we cried. We took turns hugging her and giving her a kiss good-bye, and hugging each other to give support as much as to receive it. I leaned in to give her a kiss, and I whispered in her ear as I stroked her hair, "Zoe and Brynn are going to miss out on an amazing Grandma."

We all stayed with her in the room until well after midnight, and I continued to hold her hand until it was finally time to go.

We all went back to my father's house (so used to saying 'my parents' house'), and we discussed arrangements, wrote the notice for the newspaper, confirmed pallbearers, selected her clothing, and did all the other things that everyone hopes they never have to do.

Today we went to the funeral home to arrange the visitation and service and select her casket. Wednesday is the visitation, and Thursday morning is the funeral service.

I'm already exhausted from the emotional drain. These next two days are going to be so taxing to my entire family, especially my father. And my thoughts are constantly with him. My parents' lives revolved around each other. They were inseparable, and I just don't know how he'll go on without her.

We love you, Mutti. You will be missed.

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