Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The bank is empty.

I don't use a lot of big words. But I do like etymology, which in itself is a big word, but simply means the origin of words and phrases.

Haven't you always wondered where the phrase "caught red handed" came from? It happens when you've just killed someone and still have their blood on your hands.

And what about "goodbye"? It was originally "God bless you." Some will argue that it became shortened when people felt obliged to use the customary term but didn't actually want God to bless the person. Hence, the word goodbye is actually a curse.

I love to think about words, and I enjoy writing them. Speaking them - not so much. I feel like I only have so many verbal words allotted each day, and when I use them up, I'm done.

When we have needy customers at work that just seem to be there to waste our time, we call them "time pirates" and it makes us a little reluctant to help them the next time they come in. However, I think it's not my time that I begrudge them, it's my words.

Yesterday I had a customer who just didn't get it when it came to taking care of his hot tub water and I had to explain in ridiculous detail the procedures. I had to talk non-stop for over half an hour. "Big deal," you may say. However, for me, it is a big deal. That's was my whole day's worth of words.

After he left, I turned to Nikki and said, "Don't talk to me again today." I think she was a little offended because, she on the other hand, gets allotted about 30 times the number of words I do each day.

Even by 10 o'clock last night I still hadn't managed to recharge my word bank. I came here to the blog site with the full intention of making a new entry. I was home by myself and the house was quiet and wine glass was in hand. This is my most ideal setting when I write. I logged in. I opened a blank page. And I stared blankly. Even though I wanted to, and it had been a while since I made an entry so I felt obliged to, I had nothing. So I went to bed. Goodbye.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The bucket list.

It often seems that after someone dies suddenly, you notice little things they had said or done that sort of "prepared" the way for them. I think it's for this reason, subconsciously, I've always dragged my butt about updating our wills, life insurance and papers and stuff. I think that as long as I'm not "preparing the way" then it won't happen to me. It's just my twisted way of thinking, I suppose.

Last spring we went to see The Bucket List. I really like Jack Nicholson. For reasons unknown, he reminds me of Albert. Ever since then, on occasion I think, "I should make a bucket list." But then I think, "No, that would sort of prepare the way... I'm not ready for that."

However, even though I haven't written out things on a list, I do have 2 items waiting to be added:

Zip Trek at Whistler. This is where you spend the day riding zip line swings back and forth across the canyons. Whenever I do make the list, this item will be last because surely I shall die of fright on such an excursion.

Writing a book. I'm gonna write a book one day. When I went back to school a few years ago, at the beginning of the class we had to introduce ourselves and tell everyone why we were in the program.

Everyone had lofty reasons - start a career, change a career, make money, avoid entering the workforce etc. Then it was my turn.

"My name is Liana Ziemer. And I want to see it written on a book cover some day."

That's it. No ambitions. Just selfish vanity. I have no idea the content or purpose for the book, other than just to see my name on the cover.

Then a couple of years after that, I bought a book by Sue Buchanan called Duh-votions. I think I hadn't even finished reading the introduction when I exclaimed, "This is the book I want to write." Dammit. Sue beat me to it.

Basically it's not much different than my blog. It's 60 random one or two page ramblings from her life. Except that she's added a one-line prayer to the end of each. And she's become rich and famous because of it.

Perhaps it would get boring when each chapter of my version ends with "Dear Lord. Help me not to kill Jed today. Amen."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Some things you are better off not knowing.

Sometimes time is worth more than money. That's why we decided to hire a drywaller to finish the suite. The extra charge for him to paint as well was practically inconsequential.

The guy we hired has 30 years experience and Alb has worked along side him on a couple of reno jobs he's done for other people so he felt comfortable with his ability and work ethic. (which means speed with which he will perform at a reasonable cost that doesn't increase after the initial quote)

Turns out the guy has hired an assistant to help him increase his production. They came in the first day and got started after I handed over keys to my house so they could come and go as needed. I was introduced to the assistant, whose name I cannot recall because as the words, "Nice to meet you," were rolling off my tongue my mind was scrambling to assess his character. Sadly, as is typical of human nature, I immediately formed an opinion of the guy who has a total of seven teeth.

Alb was not home that day and as I left for work with strangers in my home, it was a bit unsettling for me.

Today I was off work and so was home while they worked. This was slightly even more unsettling. Alb was in bed after night shift so I could not retreat to my room. I couldn't even busy myself doing laundry because my washer has died. So I sat 15 feet from where the men were busily mudding my new dining area and I worked on formatting Jed's laptop that he had managed to own for 22 days before he had it so screwed up that even the Dell technicians couldn't help me.

Working in such close proximity I couldn't help but be privvy to the conversation of the men. I got to hear how the hired guy reacts to various drugs. I also got to hear rave reviews of the rehab programs at Kingston Penitentiary - affectionately known as Alcatraz North. Apparently they offer great computer programs, and you can learn auto mechanics. You can't access the internet. The food is really decent. These are not things I want to hear from someone who has keys to my home while my husband is on nightshift.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's the thought that counts.

Autumn is upon us. That means it's time to put Betty the bike away for the season.

We decided to take her for one last ride on the weekend. We were going to go to Williams Lake and have dinner at the Laughing Loon and stay overnight but the weather forecast didn't look all that favourable for the Sunday morning ride home. So we decided we'd just take a day trip and head east to Mt Robson instead.

The pavement is new. The road winds and has some hills. There's not much traffic, and few inhabited areas. The scenery is beautiful and the ride fantastic. Of course hanging on to my leather-clad husband for 7 hours is a bonus.

With the full intention of having a meal when we arrived, we packed only a camera and a water bottle and hit the road.

The power was out at the Mt Robson cafe so our only option was a prepackaged sandwich and lukewarm coffee that had been sitting in the carafe for 4 hours. We sat and ate our little picnic and gazed at the majestic mountain. And then it was time to hit the road and head for home.

We wandered back to the bike to find a woman and her wheelchair bound father oogling over her in the parking lot. We had a nice chat and learned they were from Edmonton and the father used to hike the mountain in his younger, obviously more agile, days. Turns out we weren't the only ones whose destination was simply a glimpse of the mountain which provided completely cloudless view that day.

In the midst of our conversation the man who was verbal, but not completely literate (or whatever the word is for not clearly understood) pointed to my Harley boots and made some incomprehensible comment. Clearly he was as thrilled with the sight of them as I had been when I found them in a shop in Kelowna 4 or 5 years ago. Only, it was a cheap thrill for him. It cost me a hundred and thirty bucks.

They asked if we minded if they just sit and watch while we leathered up, boarded and rode off. We waved and we were off.

About 2 kilometers down the road I thought, "That was stupid. We should have put Alb's helmet on him and taken his pic with his wheelchair behind the bike so it looked like he was riding it." We could have emailed or mailed him a copy. Why is it when you have a good thought, it's always an after thought, but when bad things come to you, you spout them out without thinking it through?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The perfect smorg. And it's free.

I was out doing errands and grocery shopping yesterday. At one point I was starving. I considered running through a drive-through but I really don't need the calories, fat, sodium or extra swipe on my debit card. I considered running home to fix something but knew that if I walked in the door there was no way I'd leave again to finish my errands. I really only needed to hit up Costco then I'd be done.

And I really do like getting groceries on an empty stomach. I know they tell you not to cuz you tend to buy more things - but isn't that the point to grocery shopping? I hate it when you shop on a full stomach and get home and realize you really didn't buy much more than toilet paper and ketchup.

At the end of the first aisle in Costco someone was handing out sample bites of energy bars. I ate one. It tasted like grass but it took the edge off. I decided I could avoid having to go home and make something if I just wandered the aisles in search of the free sample ladies.

It was great. I had 2 bites of lasagne, a cracker with hummus, a bite of bread with a blob of almond butter (glad I didn't waste 8 bucks buying a jar), 1/2 a perogy and topped it all off with a mini cream puff. By the time I left I was feeling satisfied but not stuffed. It cost me nothing and I didn't have to cook. It don't get much better than that.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Self portrait is self explanatory.

Life with Jed has been and will continue to be an adventure. Depending on his mood and behaviours, on first impressions many people don't realize he has special needs and are surprised when I explain it to them.

I woke up to this image on my desktop this morning. I think I'll carry it in my wallet - it's pretty self explanatory:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

God is pleased. Amen.

I've taken on the role of official church decorator. Mostly as a safe-guard against having teaching Sunday School once again become a part of my official ministry duties.

I'm quite excited about the task (ask me again in June, though) however, I find it very distracting on Sunday morning during sermon time. Brian is a good speaker and I enjoy listening to him but it gets difficult to concentrate while you are trying to guesstimate how many feet it is from the plug-in on the ledge to the north wall. And what if I just inched the drums over a bit to the left. I could probably fit the Christmas tree in behind there - or maybe I could rig up a stand for it so it looks a little taller than it is.

One day last week I was seeking a moment of me-time and found myself inside Liquidation World. They had some really cool Thanksgiving items at clearance-clearance prices. I even found some Christmas things - I'm determined to redo the dilapidated looking wreaths at the church sometime in the next month. I got quite a bit of stuff for quite a little amount of money - even though they double rung in a couple of items.

I decided yesterday that I'd better go get my money back for the extra items they charged me for. It amounted to about 13 bucks - not a big deal, but a good excuse to go back to Liquidation World.

I walked in the door and it was like a large vacuum just sucked me right over to the blue-ticket-item section. There was a huge table of 5-cent items. 5 cents!! That's a nickel. You can't even use a nickel in a parking meter anymore. We're not talking crap here. This was good stuff.

I got 100 floral things for revamping the wreaths for 5 cents each. I had just bought 4 of them the other day for a dollar each. I got candle holders- great for spring and fall decorating. As I skipped with excitement towards the check-out I had to pass a whole new Christmas aisle. Oh lordy! When my cart became heaped to the point of spilling out, I just said to myself, "Enough is enough. Stop now." I just had to walk away.

I spent 32 dollars of God's money from the minimal church decorating budget and I got a full cart:

I think God is pleased with my good stewardship. Amen?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Respect the dead, but tick off the neighbours.

"Get up and show your respect!" was how I was awakened on Thursday. My son, who loves memorials, Remembrance Day, rescue missions and patriotism, goes on to remind me of the tragic events of nine-eleven.

While the event was indisputably tragic, I resisted the urge to remind him that nearly twice that many unborn babies are killed in America every single day, 4 times that many deaths have occurred in Afghanistan since nine-eleven, and, and, and....

As I left for work Jed was busily connecting to Limewire downloading the Star Spangled Banner.

Seven hours later I returned from work to find no one home. There was an American flag draped across my table like a tablecloth. The Canadian flag was pinned to the wall. The flag of Israel was hanging in the dining room window. All the dining room chairs were wearing assorted t-shirts: Fort George Highway Rescue, LAPD, Edmonton Firefighters, etc. Jed's Fireman's jacket was on a chair back, propped up on a shelf with some boards so it could be seen in the window.

All the windows were open. Jed's laptop was set up with speakers sitting on the window sill facing outside to the neighbourhood.

I shutter to think how many different versions of various national anthems my neighbours were subjected to over the course of the day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Shawn and James, I love you.

I am definitely not the most morally conscious mother on the planet. I do what I gotta do to accomplish what I think is best.

I remember back in the days of Jed and Tyler. (If you don't remember those days, you'll have to wait for the book to come out.) When they were in grade 1 and 2 or so, they both needed a lot of sleep to replenish the enormous amount of energy they expended during the day. I think their only saving grace was that they both did go to sleep quite well when I put them to bed.

On more than one occasion I remember being totally ready for the day to end by 5 pm. So we would eat supper and I'd let the boys go out to play for a while before bed. While they were out, I would go around the house and set all the clocks ahead 1 to 2 hours, then call them in to get ready for bed. Then after they went to bed I'd go through the house resetting the clocks to the correct time. It worked every time.

This could explain why Jed absolutely insists that the microwave clock be set on "Alberta time" and it runs 1 hour fast all the time.

Anyway, over the years I have had occasion to not exactly lie, but manipulate the thought processes of my son to accomplish what needed to happen. ...Okay, I admit, I flat out have to lie sometimes.

The last few weeks have been, um, let's say, not the most pleasant moments of motherhood that I've experienced. It's quite a quandary some days dealing with an adult child, or a child-adult, to know the best way to deal with things. And nine times out of ten, I probably don't choose the "best" way.

However, long story short, my best threat is to offer to find him a new home to live in. I had an occasion to make such an offer last night. Okay, I flat out told him that I had called his social worker and asked her to find a new home for him. It didn't really resolve the problems of the hour, and neither did I fess up to lying.

This morning, he didn't want to get out of bed and shower for his scheduled 9 o'clock appointment. And I was still ticked off from the night before - partly cuz I was awake from 3-5 AM thinking about things.

When he did finally drag his butt out of bed 20 minutes before appointment time, the phone rang. He answered. It was for me. Coincidentally, it was his social worker. GOD BLESS HER.

"What did she want?" he inquired.

I thought about my morals briefly. I pushed them aside, and answered, "She has an apartment lined up for you." Of course I could have just left it at that little white lie, but I opted to carry it to its fullest potential.

"It's with 2 other guys, Shawn and James."

I have no clue where those names came from, they just spilled out of my mouth.

"It's over by Spruceland mall."

My conscience kept telling me to shut up. I ignored it and carried on with my story of how they are ready to take him in at a moments notice....

He freaked out on me. He apologized. He cried. He promised things he will never ever be able to follow through.
...and I felt the power. Ahhhhhh.

Although I didn't spend a lot of time with my son today, the moments we had were good. He even helped bring the groceries in.

Shawn and James, I love you. And I can see you will be a regular part of our lives from this day forward.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Book 'em Danno

I had my consultation and examination with the surgeon during a break from work the other day. When I got back to work my fellow employees, most of whom are about the age of my children, asked how it went.

My reply, "He said Book 'em Danno" was met with blank stares.

As if I wasn't feeling old enough having to have my breasts biopsied (I always have to think before I say/type this word cuz I wanna say autopsied) but I have to explain Hawaii 5-0 to a group of kids who weren't even conceived before the show, which I clearly remember, finished running its 12 year course.

The OR called yesterday. My boobs are booked for October 9th.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Everything in it's place. Eventually.

The appliances arrived yesterday. I paid the extra 50 bucks to have them delivered - Alb has enough to do.

I knew they were coming. I also knew we aren't ready for them but I'd delayed the delivery once already.
Alb had them set them in the main living area, then made the mistake of telling Jed that we'd move them over to our half of the basement later when it was time to finish the gyproc. So Jed took it upon himself to let the delivery boys know that "That is not where we want them. They need to be moved to the other side of the basement."

After they left we realized what had happened. I felt bad that they had to move the appliances again, but felt even worse that the poor guys were subjected to the dungeon side of the basement. Now I'm embarrassed.

Albert does he fatherly duties and rants at Jed for interfering when he shouldn't have, blah blah blah. So Jed now thinks that he was confused and Alb really didn't want the appliances over on our side - and he single-handedly maves them all back over the main room of the basement suite. No wonder the kid has hernia issues.

And now they all need moved back so the gyproc can be finished. Is it any wonder we are running a couple weeks longer than we had hoped.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Feeling claustrophobic in my own space.

I could put it off no longer. I had to clean out the "little room". It was to the point that I could no longer open the door.

Actually it was worse than that - the door was open and there was so much stuff in the room, I could no longer close it, which means everyone could see the disaster inside. It was time for action.

There are still piles of stuff left over from the wedding. Things with no home. As much as I try to resist the urge, there are baby items starting to pile up. The shop is full of Jed's stuff waiting for the basement to be finished so he can move it in. The basement, of course, cannot have anything stored in it while the renos go on. Jed has moved into the spare room so I can't store things in there.

The front wall has been replaced upstairs in my kitchen and living room and it awaits gyproc. (That's an entire story on its own) So the pictures and things from the walls are sitting in various piles in the living room.

We are using the new dining area even though it has no walls or floors.

What used to be the coffee pot shelf unit has now been crammed into the back hall to fulfill its destiny as a junk collector:
I didn't get a before picture of the little room. And I doubt I'd have been brave enough to post it for the world to see even if I had. Yes this is an after shot:

Look! You can actually see a little piece of the floor. Which means there's space for me to put all the stuff that's been piling up in my bedroom.

So while I haven't managed to remove much from my home, I have shuffled it from one room to another and I feel like I can breath again. For a few hours anyway.

Something's Not Right Here

Spoiler Alert: The temperature is in the 30's and I just spent the last two hours cleaning cat sh!t out of my sand box. I'm tired...