Monday, January 25, 2016

A Little Drama......

So, it was a busy, busy weekend.

We started it out on Friday,...one of Don's few remaining Friday's off...yes, the company is putting the kibosh on Fridays off after March.....sigh...not happy....
Anyways, Friday morning we met with our financial advisor and received some good advice on how to go forward since they're not allowing Don to retire.....then Don suggested some lunch at a restaurant nearby....it was lovely.....then he suggested seeing a movie that I had been wanting to see...Brooklyn......it didn't start til four though so we had some time to kill....we went and looked at porcelain tile that we want to put down in the bathroom....then we went to my sisters and helped her with some appliances that she needed moved....well, Don helped.....then we went back to the movie theatre where we met my sister and daughter Maya....they had also wanted to see it.....then, sister hadn't eaten supper yet so we went to yet another restaurant....Don and I just shared an appetizer and dessert ( we were still mostly full from lunch).....then finally home...a long but enjoyable day....

Saturday dawned bright and early, I will admit that we lazed about for most of the morning then accomplished a few minor tasks before Jenn and Ryan arrived to deliver sisters' island that Ryan made for her...he did an amazing job...







- today the granite comes to be installed on top!

Then, Jenn and Ryan left with the baby to go and visit friends overnight while we kept their boys here...oh, and the dog....you really need to experience three large sheepdogs in a small house...all at once....

On Sunday, some went off to church and in the afternoon, we were planning a small birthday celebration for our grand daughter Juniper....it's her first birthday this Friday...Don and I won't be able to travel up there , so we had a mini pre birthday celebration before they left to travel back up north.

We (I) decided that I was really too worn out to cook so thankfully a good amount of one of my pension cheques was still sitting in the bank so we decided to splurge and order in supper!
The decision was made between Chinese and Pizza and it was decided that Chinese was the favoured choice.

There were a lot of people in our little house, which wasn't unusual....17... Although two were at the local ice arena for awhile because Maya had to timekeep some hockey games and Ben decided to go and watch.

Since there were so many of us , which would require hauling up and extra table from the basement, I decided to just go buffet style and those, like the little kids, could sit at the table if they like and the rest could park themselves where they wanted to......the table was full of kids and Ryan and Jenn....Leslie and I were in the living room, and Don and son in law James were kind of standing about....

Leslie's daughter Verity, casually came into the living room and mentioned to Leslie that she might want to check on Jairus...he was in the bathroom making a funny noise....Leslie immediately went to check, and a moment later we heard her frantically imploring Jairus to unlock the door.....unbeknownst to any of us, Jairus had left the table, where he had been eating and gone to the bathroom....food was caught in his throat....he opened the bathroom door and Leslie and James rushed in to help him....he could still breathe but was obviously still having a problem with something in his esophagus ...it wasn't long before the ambulance was called and I had about ten ( no exaggeration ) emergency personnel trooping thru my little house and down to my tiny six by nine bathroom! Jairus wasn't in distress or anything but they thought to be on the safe side...to take him by ambulance .( in case he started to choke) to the hospital....Jairus was able to walk out , on his own and climb into the ambulance where they took him off the McMaster Childrens hospital.

Unfortunately, Maya arrived home before they left and totally became upset at the thought of something wrong with her nephew and that he was in the ambulance....Maya doesn't deal well with emergency things and it's become even more sensitive, since her illness.

We sat at home and waited for news....James (Jairus' dad ) had travelled in the ambulance also .....so eventually , we decided to go on with Junipers birthday stuff and have opening of presents and birthday cake.











We still waited....Ryan and Jenn, and their kids and dog, left....then when the discussion of how late it was becoming, and the rest of the kids were getting tired....Leslie remarked that even after she bundled up the rest of the kids to go and get James and Jairus ( when they were ready) they'd have to go back to our church to get James car, before heading home....fortunately, they had the car keys here at the house, so the decision was made for Don and I to travel to the church, pick up the car, take it to the hospital for James and Jairus to get home with, and then Leslie and the rest of the kids were able to get home....it was getting late and it's normally a 45 minute ride to their house from ours.

So, that's what we did....when Don delivered James' keys to him in Emerg, the medical staff was just getting ready to take Jairus to the surgery to see what as in his throat....
When Jairus was born he was born with significant breathing difficulties and we've always known that he has some swallowing issues, especially if he puts too much in his mouth at one time and then tries to swallow it....when he was 14 months old, Jairus had a doctor name Walton, who inserted a Mickey opening connection , to attach a G tube for tube feelings .....well, last night, the doctor who,was at the hospital, that ended up,working on Jairus , fourteen years later...was Dr Walton! He was able to clear Jairus' esophagus of ' a lot of food' ( they put Jairus out for it) and then afterward he told James it went well....a few hours later, Leslie was able to text that they were coming home .

So, glad that Jairus came thru it all just fine....he's such a special young man and we all love him dearly.....





Never a dull moment at our house!

~ Marie

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

They said no!

The last two posts have been filled with all the thoughts and concerns about Don being offered an early retirement package from work...they had a fancier title....Voluntary Separation Agreement. The first step after you get this offer is to sign a letter of interest. That is handed into HR...then you wait a couple of weeks to see if you are approved or not.....now to me...that's a lot of work for nothing.....in Don's case, he found out on Friday that they're not prepared to let him go yet....simply because over the years Don has perfected his job, established certain ways of attaining the information they desire for pricing analysis and projections...he's also the guy they want in their pocket at negotiations because he can plug numbers into his formulations and quickly tell them the numbers they need....the trouble is, they've kind of turned a blind eye to this all, haven't really noticed that he's getting up there in age, just three years from 'official' retirement age.....and they've done nothing in regards to training someone to do his job!
So, they said no.......if I had been them I wouldn't have offered it at all until I had a plan....but...big business doesn't operate that way...the computer puts you on a list of people over a certain age and so all those people receive notification.
Personally, this also gives us time ..... Time to get some debt paid down..before the next VSA comes out, time to perhaps save for another trip because we realized that with our finances the way they are now that if he retired , there wouldn't be any more big trips...there still might not be but at least now there's a possibility....
......and hopefully big business gets their act together and starts training someone else, because Don asked that if another VSA comes out that the next time they won't turn him down....I think he was really getting the idea that retirement would be really nice....he also wants to get another part time income generating position going....he loves his continuing Ed teaching he does in the evenings but it's not dependable, semester to semester...

So, right now.....it gives us a little breathing room, so to speak.....we'll still keep our appointment with the financial advisor this Friday and get some advice on the next steps....sometimes it's helpful to get objective advice...

So, ya......changes not so huge coming along, but this is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for when they do....this is OUR wake up call.

It's a good thing. :-)


~ Marie

Monday, January 11, 2016

So.....last week,Don and I went to our financial planner....his name is Dom(Dominic).... Dom kind of reminded me of our dentist....let me explain.....I've known my dentist for over thirty years...we went to the same high school, at the same time.....I will admit that sometimes I wonder if he is a good dentist....some of the work he does on my teeth doesn't seem to last very long and I end up going back to him....but that's beside the point....he talks.....and talks....and talks....and of course because he's got his fingers and tools and cotton tubes in your mouth....you just have to listen....it was kind of like that last Friday when we went to see Dom....I was hoping for answers....what I got was a whole half hour of the financial climate of the world , especially the United States and the politics of Canada and the USA....then there was some talk of our finances....only enough to realize that Dom doesn't have the answers we need yet....he needs numbers....lots and lots of numbers....before he can give his opinion on whether this is a good move...for Don to retire...at this time.....he says that Don's skills are highly transferable ...meaning that he can easily use the skills that he's used for the last 30 years to obtain some employment elsewhere...not full time ...maybe 3 days a week....enough to help out to pay the bills that won't stop coming in even if he retires....
Dom also talked a lot about the man that owned the financial company that Dom works for....he died over the holidays...58 years old...cancer....it laid heavy on my heart....you see, part of me is concerned about the future if Don retires and the other part is concerned if he doesn't.
Don is coming up on his third anniversary of his surgery for Crohn's Disease...
Three years ago the doctors assured us that the question wasn't IF the Crohn's came back but WHEN.....
I don't want Don to continue working and the disease comes back and the quality of his remaining years is poor.....I don't want the working years to continue just for my financial peace of mind at the expense of Don's quality of life.....
Don and I are a married couple that truly enjoy each other's company....we enjoy being together, sharing little day trips on his Friday offs....which apparently will come to an end in April, whether he retires or not.....the company has decided that they don't want employees working longer hours and getting every other Friday off anymore...doesn't work well with their plans ....so, everyone will go back to working shorter days and working every Friday...so, gone are our little day trips, every other Friday...they are kind of a sanctuary for us...to get out of the house and away from the kids for a few hours.....
We enjoy getting away for longer trips, we enjoy travelling.....we enjoy going to things closer to home....concerts with the local Philharmonic, live theatre, movies, trips up north to visit the other grandkids that we don't see as often, sitting in the living room, having our tea and talking...just talking......or even just sitting in front of the television, holding hands......watching a show or a movie....

We just enjoy one another.....so, when we are scheduled to go back to see Dom , the financial planner again in two weeks......hopefully to get more answers this time....and Don may hear from his bosses this week, to see if they're going to agree to his retirement.....at first, I was filled with kicking and screaming...metaphorically speaking....at the idea of him retiring...but now that the shock has worn off......I'm content....content to see what the next few weeks reveal...to see just how our lives are going to change.....because it's not all the things I spoke about in the last post....it's not the trips, it's not the material things, it's just not.....

It's all about being together , realizing and accepting that this time in our life has come and stepping out in faith and courage and just enjoying the moment.

The sun is shining this morning, it's very cold......we shall see what today brings....and hopefully not worry about tomorrow.


~ Marie

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Changes, Changes, Changes!


There are big goins' on in our household right now.....huge!

Our lives as we've known them for the last 42 years are about to change.

Don has been offered another Voluntary Separation Agreement....the first time this happened was last February ......we were knocked off our feet....Don's good work friend, Suzanna, was also given the offer back then and she decided to take it....she's a few years older than Don, her husband's been retired for a few years, and she's been threatening to retire for awhile....so it wasn't a big surprise that she took the deal.

The Deal........isn't such a great deal for working just over 30 years for the same company, and it's the same deal they offered the last time....so, there's nothing more sweetening the pot......

.....so, why is this time different then the last time.....disgruntleness, I'd say....
I don't think that's a word...I just made it up....plus Don is tired of all the work politics.....

It's a HUGE decision......for one thing.....Susanna doesn't still have any dependants living at home....we do......three of them, that put our monthly running costs up more than if there was just the two of us.....yes, they pay rent every month, but it really doesn't cover everything.....like Maya's supplements...( a huge cost, those things aren't cheap) food, hydro, water...Don just spoke to Ben the other day because he leaves the faucet running water while he shaves....well, we have a monthly water bill...we pay for it coming in, we pay for it going out ( sewage) .....hopefully he stops but Ben gets things into his head about how he does stuff , in his words, ' I always do it that way', might as well be written in stone!
Our mortgage is still really high.....why?.....because almost ten years ago, we realized that these guys were getting bigger, adult size, and because of their delays, they won't be leaving here anytime soon, so we had to enlarge the living space of the house.....unfortunately that put our mortgage way up there...where it still is...you know how it works, most of the time you seem to be spending all the time just paying the interest......so, that's a concern...not that we thought we'd have it paid off in three years ( the time he'd traditionally retire at 65)... But....we thought we'd have a few other financial obligations paid down by that point too.

We had plans.....yes, plans, you know those things we all make in our lives...some good, some bad....but, still...plans.
You know what they say about the best laid plans......

-1- more travelling....we like travelling...it gets us away from things for awhile, develops great memories, gives us some alone time....well, we had some travel plans ...going back to Maui with Don's brother and wife, another river cruise, back to Tanglewood for a concert with the Boston Pops, out to the Seattle area, down to South Carolina.....and we can't forget the River Walk in San Antonio...one of my favourites.....

-2- upgrades on our house....we've had dogs in our family for thirty years....our hardwood floors LOOK like we've had dogs for thirty years....they need replacing....because they're so old, they just can't be sanded and redone.....we were going to enlarge our back deck....in preparation to retirement..( we figured we'd be spending a lot of time there) ...we may still try and do that because we will probably have to give up our trailer....the place where we go in the summer for our family holidays ....it's very expensive to keep it where it's parked, where we've enjoyed our summers for 38 years.....our roof....even though it was redone when the additions were put on, I see the shingles not looking as smooth as they used to...so, you know that's going to need doing......

-3- vehicles...right now we have two....a van and a car...both are older ...'06 and '08....they're not going to last forever ....we still can't go down to one because as Don pointed out to the financial advisor yesterday...I'm chief administrator for all our kids programming....that means a lot of driving and meetings....... What to do, what to do......

Don would have to get some part time work to supplement things...which he's more than willing to do, to add to his second career ...that's teaching continuing education at two local colleges in the evening...but those positions are sporadic....depending on enrolment ...so, something a little more stable must be procured....

So, yes....huge changes in our household...huge...big decisions to make here....a little overwhelming is an understatement.....but that's where trust comes in ....we are trusting that our Father will give us the direction in which to go....we are trusting in our financial planner to give us good advice...we are trusting that as we have to stop travelling, give up our holiday spot, our trailer, our PLANS......that we will have a peace about this, a peace that passes all understanding . Philippians 4:7











~ Marie


Monday, October 19, 2015

Mondays

There are only a few Mondays left before our newest grandson is born....we've been told that the baby is doing well, growing well, good heartbeat.....

Two weeks ago, this baby's father died....he was in the local jail, on many charges...he'd been there since June...his court date was scheduled for October 30. He died of a drug overdose.....he was twenty years old.

Before you feel any kind of sympathy feelings toward him or to his unborn son, you should know that this wasn't his first time in jail....it was at least his fourth, that I'm aware of. He was a young man with a volatile, explosive temper....a temper that he took out on our daughter...many times ...and on our unborn grand daughter...last year...before she also died, as the result of a terrible fall her mother had.

I will admit to not feeling sad when I got the news two weeks ago, but when I attended his funeral with my daughter, a week later, I felt sadness....sadness for his father, who stood at his grave site..looking bereft.....I felt sadness that this young man, foolishly threw his life away before he really experienced true life.

Before you feel sorry for his unborn son, growing up without his father....don't.

Last year, he was a terrible father towards his unborn daughter...a wee tiny baby who was born covered in bruises....and they weren't all from the fall....no doubt, this young man had severe mental and emotional problems that caused him to have absolutely no respect for human life, caused him to render blow after blow to the pregnant belly of our daughter that resulted in bruises on his own daughter.

If you feel anything for little Malachi, for that is what she's chosen to call her son, feel concern for his life as he grows up with a mother that is far too immature to parent a baby, a mother that can barely look after herself, a mother who is quick to blame others for her sorry, messed up life. If you pray to God, then pray that Malachi will be safe, that he will be fed properly, that he will be sheltered , that he will be loved.

His grandfather and I will do the best we can......but with the responsibilities of three intellectually delayed adults still living in our home, the amount and the frequency of how and when we can help is questionable.

We pray for him, we pray that he will be safe.......

Little babies deserve so much more....so much more.

Malachi's delivery date is set for four Mondays from today, on the sixteenth of November at 2:00pm.

May God have mercy on him.




~ Marie

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Another Thanksgiving has passed.....Don and I were grateful for many things....we were grateful that six out of our nine children were able to come to Thanksgiving dinner.......we were grateful that the weather was so absolutely gorgeous that you couldn't have asked for better...well, maybe a little less wind, but other than that...perfect.

We were grateful that we chose to have Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday, that meant that we had a semi relaxing day for Monday....perfect.
We were grateful that when we figured out the timing for cooking the turkey that we realized that we needed to stay home from church...no, that wasn't the grateful part, but....after we got the bird in the oven, we were able to sit out on the deck, enjoying a cup of tea, relaxing and just chatting about a myriad of things.....a perfect moment in a day that became wonderfully noisy when all the grandchildren arrived.....

We did miss Paul, who was away receiving and taking more training with the Canadian Army, but our new daughter in law Sara felt comfortable enough to join us and I was so pleased...guess she's gotten used all of us! :-)

As a mother, this was probably not what you would expect me to say....but I was glad that the remaining two absent children were unable to attend....I know!.... Did you ever think those words would come out of my mouth.....have you ever had people that just carried too much drama with them and make everyone around them just feel on edge? Well, these two kids are like that...so..when they chose not to come I will admit to feeling relief.

Don and I were very pleased to get to know this little one a tiny bit better....





She's our youngest grand daughter....a few times she looked at Don and I with that look of 'I'm not so sure who these people are...where's mommy or daddy' look....but we did get some big smiles, and cuddles.

So, all in all, it was a lovely Thanksgiving.....soooo much to be grateful for....so glad that we could all get together before the snow starts to fly and travelling becomes difficult for eldest son and his family who,we jokingly say , live in the northern tundra.....

So, now we just have to get through the birth of our newest grandson, Malachi.....he's due to be delivered on the 16th of November....have absolutely no idea how that will all end .....I just pray that it will be the right decision for this wee babe and for his life....
( it's unclear to all of us if our daughter Emma is going to be able to handle being a new mom, the decision is not in our hands and we don't have any control over the outcome....it's all a big question mark for everyone)

.....and then on to Christmas! ......and that's a whole new set of problems.....but....lets just dwell on our amazing Thanksgiving and all the goodness from the enjoyable time we had.

Yes, let's!

~ Marie

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The First of September

Today is the start of a new season. Even though the weather is still very warm out there today, and shall continue the rest of the week, we are told....it's September....the beginning of a new season, when summer is done...it always goes so quickly , and the fall or autumn season has begun. Now, it doesn't officially start til the 21st or 22nd of September...they always seem to be changing that day...or maybe it's just me and I can't keep track...I could google it but then some radio or TV person will talk about it closer to the date....I just know that it's around Lauren's birthday.....before that, definitely still in summer is Leslie's birthday.....the day before Lauren's is Pettis'birthday....he's Lauren's significant other....I was figuring out the years that all my kids were born in at 3 o'clock this morning....yes, it was a bad night for sleeping .....
Leslie-1974
Ryan-1976
Leah-1979
Corey-1983
Lauren-1986
Paul-1988
Ben-1991
Maya-1992
Emma-1993
Megan-1995

Yes, it was a busy household....although I think the largest number I had in the house at one time was six....so that's not too bad, although at the time I , and many others, thought I was crazy....still do.
( the worst will be if any of them read this list and tell me that I got there year wrong) :-(

It's still a busy household...partly because the three kids still left in the house, are each at their own level of being developmentally/ intellectually delayed...plus the fact that I'm much older myself...MUCH older...as the government sent me notification the other day that in honour of my sixty-fifth birthday, this November, that now, instead of being covered under my husbands work benefits for prescriptions, I'm now under their thumb..AND....I have the privilege of paying them $100 annually to be under this thumb...plus of course the dispensing fee...which, up until now was minimal....AND...don't forget the and....perhaps, some of the drugs that are required to keep me comfortable and breathing into my old age...just might not be covered by them.....

Well, Happy Birthday to me!

So, this month some changes are happening....after having my teenagers attending the local high school for over 27 years!....can you imagine that! After 27 years we've finally come to the last Wettlaufer, attending Orchard Park high school, for their very last year. After this last school year is completed, I will no longer have to call into the school when someone is sick, write notes to excuse someone for an appointment ( or as I've found out...have my kids write the notes, unbeknownst to me) , and teachers conferences,...oh, the teachers conferences......make sure somebody has caught the bus in time so I don't have to drive them 5 Kms away.....yes, THIS IS THE YEAR, people.....can I hear a cheer....well, actually I'm too tired to cheer so I'll just give a big sigh....

This year, Megan, my youngest is going into her Transition year....now I could make a lot of jokes and wise cracks about that but I won't....suffice to say, it's the year that they try to get a developmentally delayed young adult prepared for leaving the safe cocoon of their classroom that they've known for the last eight years and go out into the big, dark scary world. Also, in preparation to this end, and because Megan was granted something called Passport funding....we have been getting her involved in programs....programs to develop social and sometimes employable skills for DD adults.
Right now she's involved in these programs on Tuesday and Thursday's....so she will not attend school those days...plus, she's been taking a bus training course...no, silly, not to drive a bus but to hopefully teach her how to independently get herself to her programs....then I don't have to drive her...cause I'm getting old ya know....the government sent me an official letter telling me so....

Anyways, so that has changed for this momentous season changing time of the year. Ben, has also joined more programs with the help of his passport funding...yea! He's busy every day of the week now and not vegging out in front of the tv watching cartoons all day, and Maya....well Maya still has her two afternoons a week that she volunteers at the retirement home and she's trying to get employment...nothing too straining but just a little something to get her out in the community and give her a few extra bucks in her pocket. Unfortunately, Maya's passport funding has not come thru yet so she's unable to join in on the activities that are afforded to by Ben and Megan....but hopefully her funding will come soon....

So, it's a full month and it's only day one.....school is starting for the last time...yea! There are three birthdays to celebrate....we have to figure out when we can get 'up north' and get our trailer closed and winterized, hopefully fit in a trip further north to visit with eldest son and his family...I fear his youngest is never going to know who nana and papa are....

So, here we go....the roller coaster has begun....






~ Marie