Sometimes, while driving, the “JERK!” is you. This time it was me.

Dear Guy in the Pick up Truck Leaving the Parking Lot,

The time was approximately 6:43pm on Thursday evening. I was pulling into the parking lot off of Civic Centre Road, while you were waiting to pull out of the same  parking lot onto the road. I failed to signal my turn. It was 28C (after reaching a high of 35C earlier in the day) and both of my front windows were open. As I turned into the lot, you said, loudly enough to ensure that I heard you, “nice signal.” Kind of snide, maybe unnecessary, definitely infuriating, but you weren’t wrong. I was.

Without hesitation or a moment of self-reflection, and for that split second, without regret I answered, equally snidely and loudly enough to ensure that you heard me, “Oh, shut up!” Then, for a few seconds, we were driving parallel to one another, you on the road, me in the parking lot, separated by the tree-lined grassy swale. I saw you look over and with my arm out the window, hanging down the side of my door (out of sight of my children, but still, right?), I flipped you off.

A moment later, I parked my minivan, unpacked my brood, found a spot at a picnic table beside the pitch my son would be playing at and finally, after a very long, full day that started at 6:30 am with four kids, and peaked three hours before soccer with a drive to and from Thornhill during rush hour, while one kid puked in a  bag and the other three alternated between squabbling, singing too loudly and starting car games with ever-changing rules (sometimes all at once), I finally had a moment to breathe in deeply.

And then I was mortified. At the exchange that I had just participated in and escalated with you, a complete stranger. So I am writing this letter of apology, to you, the guy in the pick up truck, leaving the soccer fields by the ROC on Thursday evening. I was in the wrong, I didn’t signal my turn and caused you to delay your turn onto the roadway unnecessarily. What if you were just trying to get home after a long day of your own? In that moment, I didn’t care. I was fed up with being in a car, I was inconsiderate and thoughtless. Rather than throwing out a quick (yet sincere) apology to acknowledge how I inconvenienced you, I reacted defensively, even aggressively. In that nano-second, I justified it with righteous indignation  because how dare YOU have the NERVE to call me out on my mistake/shitty choice/inconsiderate action?

I behaved in a way that is diametrically opposed to everything that I believe in. In direct opposition to the lessons that I spend my days teaching and encouraging my children to learn about how to react to criticism, real or imagined, deserved or harsh. About how to deal with conflict and how to treat others.

So, I owe you an apology. I am sorry. The lady in the blue minivan was 100% in the wrong and you were right.

I will use this event as a learning moment for myself and endeavour to govern myself with the dignity, grace and kindness to which I aspire. Especially in situations when I’m (rightfully) called out for being the jerk.

I wish you a trouble-free day on the roads and the safest travels.

Yours truly,
The imperfect, over-tired, over-heated, and grumpy minivan driver.

P.S. If it makes you feel any better, I was faced with the most obnoxious and unnecessary high beams from an oncoming car on the way home later that evening. I pulled over to the side of the road to wait (driving blind is ill-advised) and didn’t flip the bird as they passed.

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

Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos everywhere, other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems). Please feel free to like, comment on and share any post, for any reason, including mockery.

 

Deep Dish Rhubarb Pie Recipe

Despite my best efforts, I lose a majority of scraps of paper that I commit very important information on. This has led me to ditching random scraps and jotting everything down in notebooks. Since this recipe still only exists in scrap paper form, I’m adding it here so that I can’t possibly lose it. I’ve hung onto the printed off email for 11 years now but my lucky streak could end at any moment. I know my limitations.

This recipe was emailed to my husband by his mum, at his request, when we first got married. I’ve pretty much used it ever since. We have some amazing rhubarb plants that provide us with lots of organic rhubarb year after year with zero effort or cost to us. They are givers and we are grateful receivers. I use the rhubarb to make pie, bread, and an altered version to apple cripple top. It’s all good, all the time.

Farmer Miranda with the rhubarb harvest, August 2017

Deep Dish Rhubarb Single Crust Pie

Preheat oven to 400F

Prepare filling and then the pastry.

Filling
9-11 cups 1-inch sliced rhubarb
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 grated orange peel
8 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Pastry
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup cold shortening (can use part butter, part shortening, if preferred)
4-5 Tbsp very cold water

Washed stalks then chopped and ready for pie.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all pie filling ingredients well. Transfer into a deep dish (When I don’t draw a blank and screw it up, I use a 5-qt cast iron dutch oven, without the lid).

Roll out your pastry large enough to lay on top of the rhubarb flat to the sides of the pan and up slightly over the top edge of the pan. Crimp to hold the pastry to the lip of the pan as the rhubarb cooks down. Using a sharp knife, slice a few vents into the pastry.

Bake at 400F for 40-60 minutes (depending on how “done” you like your pastry.

Enjoy!

Notes: Combine all pastry ingredients (I use my Kitchen Aid mixer) until a dough forms. Having chunks of butter or shortening in the dough is perfectly fine and in some cases preferable, as it will help to create a bit of ‘flake’ in your crust. Roll out about 1-inch larger than the circumstance of the pan you are using so that it will sink with the filling as it bakes.

For a regular pie, reduce your filling ingredients to:
3 cups rhubarb
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
3 Tbsp flour
dash of salt

For a double crust pie, double your pastry ingredients and use a traditional pie plate.

 

I tried to buy something and failed. Of course.

Anyone who knows me (all three of you), knows that I am obsessive about wearing my sunglasses anytime I am outside. Sunny, cloudy, sun up, sun down, I have them on. I stop just shy of  pulling a Corey Hart and wearing them at night, but I am not far off some days. Aside from how badly the sunlight just plain hurts my eyes, I have been lead to believe that people with blue eyes are more prone to sun-related eye damage and disease (and oh, hey, lookit here, it just may be true!) and I aim to keep my eyesight intact for the duration of my breathing days.

Accepting the truth of my previous statements, one would think that I must invest quite a tidy sum in sunglasses, yes? Well, one would be wrong. For the past ten years, I have been wearing $5.00/pair Giant Tiger sunglasses, and I have purchased four pairs (two identical pairs at a time) over the course of those years. They are durable, claim UVA/UVB protection on the tag, and have nice, dark lenses. Perfect. Or, they were until recently when I realized that the coating on my last surviving pair is bubbling and peeling off. Ugh.

I’ve now officially turned the mundane details of my life into a real thing. Someone save me from myself.

For the past three or so years, I have been debating with myself, thinking that just maybe it is time to buy actual real, quality adult sunglasses. To that end, I regularly check Costco online and this week, when I did, I found these with a cash and carry price in-store of $79.99. Expensive enough to qualify as ‘real adult sunglasses’ but not so expensive as to send me into a full-blown anxiety attack over spending so much money on something I could buy for $5.

Made in Italy. Nice and dark, nothing too flashy (don’t want anything TOO fancy that will compete with my sparkling personality), and just 80’s enough that they make me crave leg warmers and mini skirts again.

As luck would have it, our children continue refusing to give up eating and our rapidly depleting fresh food supply dictated that I was due for a shopping trip to Newmarket, and Costco was on my list of places to hit (5 lbs of organic baby carrots, you say? Yes, please!). So off I went. I pulled into the parking lot, scored a sweet parking spot without having to fist fight a senior citizen for it and wheeled my cart straight over to the optical  counter. I found the sunglasses, tried them on, decided that while I liked the frames, I hated the solid grey arms, so I tried the same pair in a slightly different colour and decided it was a go. I anted up my credit card to the tune of $90+ (tax, dontchu know?), I finished the rest of my shopping (baby carrots, 2 lbs of spinach, parmesan cheese, Skinny Pop (on sale!) and headed back to the mama-van.

It was a super bright and sunny day so I decided rather than saving my new sunglasses for another day (which historically is my m.o. with new things), that I was going to wear them right away. I unzipped the clunky hard case they come in, removed them from the plastic bag and cardboard packaging, put them on and, hated them instantly. The arms were SO long, much longer than the ones that I tried on in the store. They sat funny (and no, it wasn’t just my face, I checked in the visor mirror, the glasses were wonkier than my face). They just didn’t feel right. I debated with myself for a few seconds (I think I may do this more often than is healthy), and then jumped out of the van, locked up and headed back inside to return my disappointing purchase.

The clerk who sold me the glasses was busy with another customer by this time, but another clerk listened to my story, then opened the glasses to look at them, while telling me “you know, we can adjust them” as they fell from  her hand and hit the cement floor, hard. Um, no thanks. I for sure do not want them now that you’ve dropped them on the floor. But I had to say that politely because a) my money had not yet been refunded and b) she was bigger than me. The clerk bent down to pick them up, without a word, all the while acting like she didn’t just drop them, blam! on the floor. She extended the arms and said “these are  stretched out. You know we can still adjust them.” She gave me another pointed look.

Proud to say that I was very adult in that moment and did not scoff, roll my eyes and start my response with “ah, yeah but duh, you just frickin’ dropped them on the floor” but rather, maintaining eye contact (but totally not a creepy, serial killer gaze) I said “actually, this is a rather big purchase for me, and I think that I would like to give it some more thought before making my final decision. Thank you anyway though!” She looked at me like I was a dirty criminal who had stretched out the glasses and was now trying to pull a fast one over on her, but Costco policy reigned supreme and my money was refunded.

And that, long and drawn out story is why I am still wearing my five-dolla Giant Tiger shades and also why it is a very good thing (for me) that society defines ‘adult’ by a person’s chronological rather than mental age, or I would be so totally kicked outta da club.

Crying with my sunglasses on is still better than not having any sunglasses at all. That’s what is called being positive, Janet.

~A.

There is no point to this post

I am a weepy, sad mess today. I want to be invisible, quiet and alone. I won’t be though. I’ve felt it coming on for a few days now, but have ignored the signs and powered through my days, not allowing the tears to come, not allowing ‘it’ to win.

Today, ‘it’ is winning. Yes, I’m telling myself that ‘it’ isn’t real. That ‘it’ too shall pass. That ‘it’ is just part of me, a part that I control and doesn’t control me. But today, ‘it’ is winning.

I know this dance, it’s the one I know best. I will continue to go through the motions of my day. I will make breakfasts, lunches, dinners. I will mediate arguments, delegate chores, repeat myself numerous times, give hugs, soothe boo-boos and fold laundry. I will gather up my youngest four and head to Mass. I will smile. I will have conversations. All the while, I will be folding up inside myself, feeling the twisting and turning in my stomach, bending to the hold that ‘it’ has on me. I will argue with ‘it’ all day and into the night. And no one will know. I won’t share it with those around me, who need me, who love me, who are looking to me to make their worlds right. I won’t burden them with ‘it.’

Today I am especially grateful to have a home to hide in, an endless supply of music to help me steady myself, and access to language and words to write in a feeble effort to begin to untangle the furled crepuscular mass of anxiety, fears, sadness and uncertainty that is tightening its ever-strengthening grip on my inner world.

Yes, today ‘it’ is winning. But I know that ‘it’ won’t always win and that I will find my way back to the resplendent hopefulness and happiness that I know just as well as I know this darkness.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas, 1914- 1954

Today I have thoughts but not too many, don’t worry.

The title is a little mis-leading. Almost every day I have thoughts. But today, I have the presence of mind and the resolve to torture others will them, so here we are. Random thoughts, up for grabs. Since we no longer have pennies in Canada, I’ll take a nickel for them.

First:

I generally do not blow dry my hair. This is probably less to do with the wash-and-wear habits I formed when I was under time constraints juggling four babies aged five and under and more to do with sheer indifference. However, I find myself with a daughter who is blessed with a head full of gorgeous, yet unruly curls and ringlets, which, left alone quickly become a tangled, matted mass of dreadlocks. So I decided to try to find a proper hairdryer in order to be able to (occasionally) tame her hair (the mini travel dryer just makes the chaos worse). Now, I am not sure if I have mentioned this a thousand or so times before, but I LOVE online shopping and hit up Amazon before ever setting a foot outside our front door (always keeping in mind that the best price will trump all else). So that’s what I did and this is what I was met with:
DUUUUUUDDE! I just wanted to buy a hairdryer with a diffuser (for her curls). I wanted to choose from a maximum of FIVE, reasonably priced, limited fire-risk hair dryers. When faced with 831 potential options, my commitment to the purchase (and by extension Miss Moon’s hair), wavered and I felt the need for either a strong drink or a good nap (spoiler alert: I had neither, go figure). I do not want, need or care to look through 831 products in order to buy a hairdryer. Honestly, we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars buying our house and did not even look at five of those. Long story short, spoiled for choice, I folded like a cheap lawn chair and thus we still do not  have an appropriate hairdryer. Just thinking this through now and it occurs to me that she does look adorable with dreads…

Second:

Reading. Oh how I have missed you. In the past month, I have read TWO for real adult (not that kind of adult) novels and it has been marvellous. While I used to read five or more books a week, for now I must be satisfied with two books a month. I have now started two more and find that it remains so much more satisfying and therapeutic to lose myself between the covers of a book than it is to watch television, surf the internet or follow social media drama. For me, a good book wins, every time. Now that my children are older (youngest is almost eight – *insert crying face here*), I can sit in a room with them and read my own book while they read or do other activities and it is no longer considered neglectful or CAS reportable. I remain available to mediate my kids’ disputes, listen to their fart jokes and referee the inevitable outbreak of wrestling when one of them sits too closely to another, but for the most part, I can get a chapter or two read before any major wars erupt. This month, I read The Nest which, while not a challenging read, was enjoyable and well written. Family dysfunction is always entertaining, yes? I also read Two Steps Forward by the author of The Rosie Project (which I devoured and was completely obsessed with about a year ago). Two Steps Forward is a bit more intricate and challenging than The Nest, which I truly appreciated. In a nutshell, it is the story of two people, strangers to each other, who each choose to walk the Camino de Santiago, a Catholic pilgrimage from France to Spain, and how their journeys intertwine along the way. I plan on sharing more about this book in a later post, but for now, suffice to say, I was enchanted by this book, the story, the writing, the very idea of the Camino. Sign me up!

Third:

Thinking that one is funny and smart (in a witty, humorous way, rather than a brain surgeon way) while also suffering from a poor self-image and almost crippling shyness, is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who really, truly wants to entertain and share with others. Any thoughts around dealing with this one?

Fourth:

With five kids ranging in ages from 8 to 24 years-old, why am I still carrying around a purse the size of a diaper bag? I have so many cute purses to choose from (not a lot by hoarder standards, but I am not deprived of choice), and yet here I am tethered to carrying what is basically a suitcase with a shoulder strap. Just in case, I tell myself. In case of what? I have no idea. Has my purse become my security blanket? This is not good news. I am regressing. Maybe I truly did take the “Let’s Make a Deal” game show of the 1970’s/1980’s, that I grew up watching, way too seriously and somewhere in my subconscious I really do think that I will be out somewhere and a Monty Hall wannabe will walk up to me and offer to make a deal IF I can produce three blue elastic bands, a toothbrush, a toy car and a stick of gum from my purse, at any given time. “Um, I think I’ll choose what’s behind Curtain Number Three, please Monty!” What a numpty.

LET’S MAKE A DEAL, Host Monty Hall, 1963-76

Fifth:

Words and music swirling around inside my head like one of those kaleidoscopes children so enjoy. Day and night, night and day, awake, asleep, alert, distracted, always swirling, twirling, and spinning. So many stories begging to be crafted and told with those words. So much music waiting to be written. It is all *right here* inside my head, inside my heart, permeating my soul. And yet, here I sit. Stagnant. Helpless and hopeless. Neither creating nor creative. Powerfully powerless. Watching the words fluttering around my mind. Feeling the music, so clearly, that it turns my skin to goose-flesh. So many good intentions. So many plans, ideas, notes. So many days that pass with not so much as a journal entry to show for them. Why do I prioritize vacuuming, cleaning, care taking, above all else? Who will remember that my stairs were vacuumed this week? No one. Who might remember a shared experience, a shared moment in time or glimpse into the mind of a kindred spirit? Potentially many. I wonder what force will be great enough to propel me forward, to achieve the goals which I harbour within.

And those are my thoughts today. What’s on your mind?

Join me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sometimes, I post info, ideas or photos get everywhere, other gems (and duds) only get posted in one place. Some things are totally worth skipping, occasionally there are things well-worth sharing. Either way, I’m happy for the company (as long as we can both stay in our own homes, in our jammies, with no actual face-to-face contact. #IntrovertProblems).

~A.

This morning was hard and I owe them an apology. A letter to my smalls

Dear Mason, Deacon, Paxton and Miranda,

First, let me start by saying that I love you all, beyond reason and measure.

Second, let me admit to you all that I am human, incredibly fallible and flawed.

Thirdly, allow me to apologize for my outburst this morning. I could give you a hundred reasons why, lay blame on the four of you and others in my life, and make endless excuses for myself, but I will not. At the end of the day, I, just like everyone else, am entirely responsible for my feelings, thoughts, words and actions. This morning, I did not walk away, breathe, pray and ask God for the help that I needed in that moment. I did not keep my voice quiet and remain in control of myself and my feelings. I allowed myself to become overwhelmed by the chaos of my mind and my life and I brought you all along for the ride. And for that I am truly and eternally sorry.

I honestly do believe that as people, no one can “make us feel” or “make us do” anything. We have ultimate control over one thing in life. Ourselves. We choose our feelings, our reactions, our actions and our choices, and we always have more than one choice.

I promise to continue to strive to do better, to be better and to work harder to live the lessons that I try so hard to impart to all of you. Turn the other cheek, practice forgiveness and personal responsibility, be kind, always. Be kind even when, no especially when someone is not being kind to you. Think about what our purpose is in this life – to love, to take care of and be of service to others, to make our home, family and world a safer, better, more welcoming and loving place to be, for everyone and anyone who walks into (or out of) our lives.

I am enormously proud of each and every one of you, together with your brother Declan. The five of you, are collectively and individually, my entire heart, and are perfect both in your perfect and imperfect moments. Without you, there is no me.

You are, my beautiful babies, in three words, so wonderfully made.

Love,
Mummy.

Today is a good day

As an act of deviation from my usual modus operandi of bitching and moaning and generally wallowing in self-pity (and chocolate), I am here to share that today is a good day.

I am purposely ignoring my scratchy, threatening-to-hurt, throat. I am in denial that my youngest has screeched herself hoarse at her brothers’ every infraction, real and imagined. I have chosen to omit any and all parts of the day that do not fit in with it being ‘a good day.’

Because today is a good day. We are on day three of March Break. For the third day in a row, I did not make four lunches before 7:00am. I did not shuffle kids outside, in shifts, to wait for their school busses. I did not have to search through backpacks for notes home, permission slips, agendas and homework. I did not have to fill my dishwasher with countless containers and lids that never fail to fill with (and retain) water during the wash cycle. Today is a good day. My smalls (hardly small at all anymore, but I also refuse to admit that most days) are home with me. We had one friend over for a playdate, another friend invite one of mine to a movie, and there are plans in the works for the other two to meet up with friends over the next couple of days.

We are not on vacation, somewhere warm and wonderful, frolicking in the sun and sand. We are not en route to some crazy adventure (that would most likely end up with me being featured on ‘Fail Army’ – ” You alright, Cory?”). We are not throwing money left and right at our week to keep us occupied and busy. We are home. We are playing with friends, reading, seeing movies (thank you, Cineplex Family Favourites!), running around outside, eating at home, having sibling sleepovers and staying up just a bit past bedtime.

Um, you know what? I’ve changed my mind. Today is not a good day. It is a good life.

~A.

P.S. I post more nonsensical blithering and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. Because on far too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can manage to pull off. Life is good, not perfect 😂

Good bye, our Lucy

The Life and Times of our Lucy Liu, with us April 2012 – February 2018

The very thoughtful and kind gift from the 404 Emergency Vet clinic. Each of our smalls received one. Lucy 🐾

When we bought this house in 2012, it came with cats. Like fourteen feral cats with varying degrees of illness and disease. And in among the chaos of cats we were dealing with, was her. A small, black and white warrior, who survived despite her surroundings. She, who did not hiss, run or yowl. She adopted us quickly. The other cats were trapped and taken by Animal Control. Many went on to have litters of kittens shortly afterwards. Some were able to be adopted out. Others, well, I don’t know.

The bond between Lucy and ‘her kids’ was unbreakable, genuine and always loving.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not, by nature, a cat person. In fact, cats scare me, I never know if they’re about to attack. This cat though, was different from any other I had ever encountered. She very decidedly chose us. Lucy Liu (aptly named after the actress of the same name, by my husband, for her obvious, ‘Kill Bill’-esque ninja abilities) stayed with us and within no time at all, a matter of a few weeks actually, she gave birth to a litter of three kittens. We never even knew she was pregnant. She was just that tiny, undernourished and unwell. Immediately we could tell that she was an amazing mother. It was apparent that this was not her first litter. When the kittens were old enough to leave their mama, they were adopted out. But Lucy stayed with us. We had her spayed and microchipped and loved, cared and fed her back to health. She was amazing. She was also a bit blood thirsty, but only towards creatures we wouldn’t want in our house anyway. So we appreciated her huntress ways.

My husband snapped this picture on his phone a few days after Lucy had her kittens. We named them Squawker, Little Grey, and Butterball.

Lucy was never indifferent and uninterested in us. She trusted us with her kittens, she trusted us with her own care. She never fought or scowled at us. She would follow me down our driveway and along the road and around the corner to pick up our mail. She would respond to her name and come when called. She was the perfect blend of independent and social. She would join us in the living room for movie nights, lie on the floor with our smalls, she would even join us for bedtime story and outdoor movie nights. She was completely comfortable and at ease, blending in with our big family without missing a beat.

She was all in. Whether it was story time, movie time, playtime or sleeping time, she gave it her all.

Often in the mornings (during the months that she enjoyed the outdoors), she would walk with us down the driveway to see the smalls get on their school bus. She would check on the children at night, visiting each one of them after lights out. And sometimes she would stay with one or the other and sometimes she would settle in for the night in her own bed (a favourite cardboard box filled with baby blankets), or on a cold night, in front of the fire.

I loved when she slept like this.

She was definitely a cookie. If the box fits, sleep in it.

She would plank anywhere

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was an outdoor cat from April until October and absolutely agoraphobic between November and March. This always struck us funny, as before adopting us, she lived outside 24/7, 365 days a year. She rarely, if ever, really left our property. When other cats, both known to her and feral would approach her porch or deck, she would defend it with a fury that we otherwise never witnessed.

For such a tiny little thing, she sure knew how to walk menacingly.

She never grew to be much  more than 7 or 8 pounds, so stayed a small cat always. But she had the heart and spirit of a lioness and I often joked that one day we would look out and see her pulling a deer down the driveway after a day out hunting.

Lucy Liu, Boxing Day 2017.

Then, last night I had to rush Lucy Liu to the 24 hour, 404 Emergency vet clinic in Newmarket. She could barely breathe and was not acting like herself at all. She was immediately taken into an examination room and triaged and within 20 minutes of our arrival, Dr. Rebecca, very gently and kindly gave me the results of her assessment and the options available to us. There was very little doubt. I had to call my husband and let him know that it was probably best to get the kids (I had just put them to bed before Lucy and I left the house) and bring them down to say good-bye. Lucy’s chest was filled with fluid and making it impossible for her lungs to inflate, the most likely cause was cancer. Rather than putting her through endless tests and diagnostics and lengthy hospital stay with a poor prognosis and nothing but suffering on her horizon, we had to let her go. She deserved to go gently, without anymore suffering.

We were all with her to the very end, petting her, loving her and comforting her. When she was gone, we brought her back to the home that she loved and we will bury her here in the Spring. We miss her tremendously already. Today, our house is a little bit emptier and a whole lot more sorrowful.

Good bye our beautiful Lucy. We could not have asked for a better companion and friend than you. Thank you for all the gifts you brought to our family. We will love you always.

A disappointing find: Retail price cover ups in broad daylight

Oh Rexall, how you have let me (read: everyone) down.

I spend quite a bit of time making sure to find the best value for each and every one of our household budget dollars. I purchase very few things at full retail price and stockpile when regularly used items go on sale. I shop store sales, clearance racks, use coupon, price match and collect various ‘points’ programs in order to stretch our money further. This week, I ran out of children’s vitamin D supplements for my smalls, so while in Rexall (not my usual drug store), I noticed that they appeared to have a special on vitamins; some are buy one, get one 50% off, others are promoting an Airmiles special; spend $30, get 30 Airmiles.  I will also admit that after the big Airmiles shake up last year, they are no longer one of my go-to points programs, but still, if the price is the same or close to that of my usual store, why not take advantage of the Airmiles offer, right?

Wrong. So wrong. First of all, the regular price listed was crazy high, approximately $4 higher than other stores ‘regular’ retail price (and remember, I only buy on sale, so the listed price was around $5 more than I usually pay). I was curious though and lifted the ‘special’ sticker and this is what I found:

Soooooo. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that the ACTUAL, regular retail price for these vitamins at Rexall is $9.29 but when they run a sale, they increase the regular price to $10.49, or $1.20 more? This is feeling a bit shady. I am pretty  sure that I want to pay $1.20 above regular price for a bottle of vitamins for the mere ‘benefit’ of receiving 30 Airmiles, if I spend a total of $30 of over-priced vitamins.

Quickly deciding that I would not be buying the vitamins at Rexall today, I was curious if other vitamin prices had been similarly changed. I randomly checked four more labels on the same wall of shelves and two were the same on both labels (yay!), the other two? Not so much. Boo.

These are some quite significant price hikes on ‘sale’ items. It would appear that the premium for receiving those 30 Airmiles far exceeds the value of the products on offer.

Now, I am not an expert on consumer law in Ontario, but I do know that when I find a store is artificially raising prices to ‘pay’ for incentive programs or offers, I shop elsewhere.

I don’t know if this is fraudulent, acceptable or normal retailer behaviour, but I do know that these practices just feel wrong and dishonest to me. Like neon leg warmers, frizzy perms and parachute pants of the 1980’s; it may not actually be wrong, but it sure looks like something that someone should be apologizing for.

~A.

P.S. I post more nonsensical blithering and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s worth ‘Liking’ ‘Following’ or just checking out The Keswick Blog on those sites as well. Because on far too many days right now, micro-blogging is all that I can manage to pull off.

Just sitting here raising a big spender, is all. Paxisms

I took my smalls on a mini-shopping trip on yesterday. They all had Christmas money that they were desperate to spend. So, at the second store, Pax finds exactly that he’s been looking for and it’s on clearance – bonus! This was our conversation:

P: Mumma, how much is this with tax?
Me: Um, just over $20, maybe?
P (looking impish): Well, I’m going to give her a $20 bill and tell her ‘keep the change’
Me: Hmm. Okay, big spender. Except that $20 isn’t quite enough, so there will be no change for her keep and you’ll owe her a bit more.
P (crestfallen): Well, I’m still going to give her a twenty. I’ll figure out the rest when I get there.
Me: (to self): Where’d this kid even come from? (While picture him wearing a fedora and making it rain in Mastermind Toys one day).

This morning, Pax came down stairs with a croupy-sounding cough and the saddest little face I had seen since he came downstairs yesterday morning. I felt his forehead, checked him over and asked him what he would like for breakfast. This was our exchange:

P: Mummy, do I have to go to school today?
Me: Well, probably Pax. We still have an hour until the bus, so let’s wait and see, okay?
P: (Tears welling up): But I’m really sick. My throat hurts and I’m walking really slowly.
Me: Walking slowly? Oh no! Well, let’s just see how you’re feeling after you’ve been awake for a while, okay?
P: (sniffing): Okay, but I’m pretty sure I’m too sick to go.

Within half an hour, he had eaten, gotten dressed and made no other mention of staying home. Had I just listened to my heart when that sad little face that first appeared in the kitchen, he would have been home today and full of energy and jonesing for fun, while I spent the day trying to confine him to the couch. So glad I remembered to pause and think before blurting out the first thing that popped into my head (which is a bit of a trademark of mine).

Now if only I could do that in other life situations, I just know that I would start to make some serious traction on this adulting gig. As it is, I got the garbage and the recycling to the curb before the truck came, so yeah, I’m already feeling pretty grown up today.

~A.

P.S. Immediately after writing that big “I’m winning at being an adult” brag, I spilled my drink down my front and narrowly missed dropping the glass in the process. So, right then, never mind. Still a dork. 🤦🏼‍♀️