Summer Goals – HA!

Perusing through blog entries from years past one might notice I had a tendency toward setting goals for my summers off. Part way through and at the end I would update how I was doing. Sometimes well, usually not so well, depending on how enjoyable the goal was, lol! I’ve never been a true goal-setter; one of those people who set goals with specific timelines and then breaks them down into smaller milestones, and then breaks those down so they know every minute of the day what they should be doing toward the accomplishment of their goals. Part of me admires these people, because I am not one of them, and part of me just doesn’t get it at all. It’s great to have ambitions: I remember when I first started driving school bus our trainer talked about where you wanted to see yourself in five years. I asked her how long one had to drive bus before one could become a trainer. She thought I was joking. I wasn’t. I accomplished that goal without angst and timelines and bullet journals and micromanaging everything. Part of that is my Leo-ness – we decide what to do and we do it. The end.

I find myself now a week into my summer vacation and it’s been a freaking amazing week in which I’ve done a lot and accomplished things I’d let slide, so I decided it would be a plan to take stock, see what I’ve done, what needs to be done, and determine what I’m going to do to accomplish those things. You don’t need to read any further if you find this sort of thing boring. Consider yourself warned.

My main objective quite frankly is to thoroughly enjoy this final summer with Sean at home before he is plunged into the adult world of university, summer semesters, and co-op. I read recently that you really only have eighteen summers with your kids, so cherish each of them because they will end. I never understood parents who didn’t want their kids around in the summer, who scheduled week upon week of camps and programs, and who celebrated “the most wonderful time of the year”, thank you Staples, when the kids went back to school. I get that if you work full time you need to have something in place for the kids, but as a stay at home mom I enjoyed having my kids home with me all summer and don’t tell anyone, but I cried every year when they went back to school. This week has been great. We have had two campfires out back, we have been swimming/floating in the pool almost every day, we have been planning meals to clean out the fridge and freezer, and we went out for breakfast today (primarily to get out from underfoot while our Most Amazing Cleaning Lady did her thing). So yeah, so far so good.

Many of my past summer goals involved weight loss in some form. I have spent most of my adult life battling my weight. I have decided that I want a different focus and want to focus instead on being healthy. Eating properly and being more active are the two main areas here. Now that my foot has healed and my knee is improving (since I’m not walking weirdly to compensate for the foot) becoming more active is possible. And this week I have been in the pool every day because quite honestly, while I want to be more active I am not into self-flagellation and doing anything more strenuous than breathing while floating in water this past week of heat would be downright idiocy. But I floated and moved around in the water, so it’s a start, hey.

Scrapbooking. Ha! I’m winning this one! I love to scrapbook but sometimes we women don’t set aside the time to do the things we love because we’re so busy doing things for those we love. My goal this calendar year was 52 layouts – averaging one each week, not necessarily done once a week, but totaling 52. At this point I could not scrapbook until the first of October and I’d still be on track to meet this goal. So yeah, this is good. I’ve done five layouts just this week.

De-cluttering made a regular appearance in those seemingly ancient summer goal blogs but I’m proud to say it won’t be in this one – wait – it kind of is – only – not. I can honestly say I have done major de-cluttering of my home over the past six years since we renovated, to the point where other than tossing something when it breaks, no major work is required in this area. I do have some closets and cupboards I want to sort through but that’s more to remind myself what’s there and tidy it up.

And finally – Stephen and I have a couple of fabulous camping holidays planned and I intend to ENJOY myself and forget entirely about any goals while I’m doing it!

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“There is no reason to lower one’s standards simply because one is camping.”

Thus speaketh the girl who swore she would never, ever go camping. How things change!

We took our new trailer to Port Burwell Provincial Park last week for a shakedown trip to make sure everything worked and fit. Which means we finally got the last of the trailer stuff out of the garage and into the trailer! Which also meant we spent one full day at the park sorting through everything we had loaded into the “basement” of the trailer (front pass-through storage section) to figure out what we stillĀ  needed and how to best stow it….

We went down on Sunday and both hitching and unhitching went smoothly. Monday morning was my first shower and I’m delighted to say it went perfectly! Water was the perfect temperature, lots of room, and the skylight overhead was delightful! No more curtain-burrito, no more treks to the shower house, just no more! Yay!

We had invited our friends, Graeme and Ann, out to our site for dinner Monday and Stephen made poached salmon with rice pilaf. We had wondered if our dining table would be comfortable for four people, even though it comes with four chairs, but we needn’t have worried. We had plenty of room and the chairs were so comfortable we actually stayed at the table talking for ages after dinner before I suggested we move to the “living room”. So that’s a real win! Over dinner Ann shared a story about a camping trip from years ago during which they watched the family across the way set up a proper English afternoon tea, complete with silver tea service, china teacups and scones. In conversation later, the gentleman explained that “There is no reason to lower one’s standards simply because one is camping.” I love that saying and have adopted it as my own. I may have it put on a sign for the trailer.

We must have already been feeling the spirit of that saying before we headed out because Stephen had decided there were a couple things he simply wasn’t going to be without at the trailer any longer. So off we went to Canadian Tire on the Saturday before we left to purchase a knife block and a coffee maker. Not just any coffee maker for my guy though – we now have a Tassimo T12 living in our trailer. It’s smaller than the Tassimo we have at home but according to him it brews a better cup. I wouldn’t know because a) I don’t drink coffee and b) we couldn’t find the Tassimo hot chocolate or teas anywhere we looked. I have a new mission…..

After we arrived on Sunday it was time to find homes for all the things (both old and new) that needed to live in the various cupboards. We had acquired a new cutlery set which needed to be put away. Sounds easy. Not when each piece was wrapped in a slender plastic baglet which had to be removed before the item could be placed in the tray! And that knife block he bought? Twelve knives and a pair of scissors. Each one had a small plastic shield on the tip; the blade was covered by a thin cardboard sheath, and the whole thing was in a snug plastic baglet! Stephen came in, all done outside, expecting coffee and cookies, and I was still taking plastic baglets off things! My garbage can was overflowing with plastic!

That Monday evening dinner went on quite late over coffee and wine so on Tuesday morning we were feeling rather lazy and had breakfast in the swivel chairs. There’s a big window at the back of the trailer with two comfy swivel rockers in front of it, which can be turned to face either in or out. Our view out the back was forest, no other campsites – so very tranquil and peaceful. Those chairs are also a real win!

We went for a leisurely drive through the park – site-shopping, actually. There had been a massive thunderstorm system stalled over the area overnight Monday which dumped a great deal of rain so we figured it would be a good time to cruise the park and note which sites to avoid….. It was a great time of year for birdwatching. We were looking at one site and Stephen pointed out a pair of cardinals at the back of the site in the trees. Then we realized there was also a pair of goldfinches closer to the ground. And then – a sudden flash of bright blue! It was an indigo bunting! I had a small emotional moment when the first thing I thought on seeing it was, “I wish Mom could see this!” She loved birds and I still have her big bird book. We ended up seeing the buntings several more times during our week there.

I think the funniest thing happened on our way home though. We stopped at a restaurant along the way for a late breakfast and while paying at the cash register Stephen was of course chatting and laughing with the ladies behind the desk. As we turned to walk away, one of them exclaimed, “What a beautiful wedding ring!” Now, my wedding and engagement set is unique and, frankly, quite striking, and I receive a lot of comments on it, so this was nothing new to me. I turned with a smile and said, “Oh, thank you.”
“Oh,” she said, “I actually meant your husband’s ring. I didn’t even see yours but his is really pretty! Can I have a closer look?” I swear, I stood there with my mouth open, gaping like a fish, as Stephen stepped forward to show her his wedding ring.

And just like that, the 2018 camping season has begun.


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And the week just keeps getting better!

Disclaimer: the contents of this blog entry are true. I could not make this up.

Loyal Facebook followers will recall my post from yesterday regarding an email I received. To recap – I ordered scrapbook papers online and am eagerly awaiting their arrival so I can use them. I received an email yesterday from the company with the subject line: “Instructional Video for your recent purchase”. Um…if I need to be instructed on how to use paper, maybe I shouldn’t be buying paper. I found the email hilarious and it made my day.

Fast forward to this morning when I received a text from Stephen. Background information: lately Stephen has had issues with remembering his coffee. Specifically, putting it in the microwave, forgetting it and driving off. He has been going through a great deal of paper towel lately cleaning his microwave.
This morning he texted me: “Banking app is down. Remind me to pay those bills tonight so I don’t forget. Heating a decaf in the microwave right now. (I took my shoe off to remind me but I got a sock dirty when I did my pretrip walk around.) Oops.”
Next text: “Where the hell is my shoe?”
I sighed, shook my head and replied: “Shoe is in the microwave. Put on clean bills and pay the socks.”
He responded: “Coffee is cold but the shoe is toasty.”
All I could envision was him being pulled into secondary inspection at the border and the border guards going through his phone messages. Can’t you just hear them howling in the back room?

And I just received an email from what we must assume is a scammer, but I swear I was laughing so hard while reading it the tears were pouring down my face. I will share so you may have the same pleasure on a Friday morning!

The subject line is : Be cautions! ID TYd7s

And it reads:
My dear

Your computing device is attacked by the dangerous malware .

Whats going down?

I deposited my malware on a erotica site, you clicked on the entry and straightaway put the malicious program to your laptop .

This badware make your selfie-camera shooting so I enjoy a videotape with you masturbating.

During the next 4 hours the badware possessed all your contact numbers numbers.

And now, I got all your contact information and videotape with you buff the muffin, now if you have a desire me to liquidate all the contacts send me 436 dollars in BTC cryptocurrency.

Other way I am going to deport the video to all your contact numbers .

I give you my Bitcoin address – 12w5UZS4nGug2Jngbv4c8d1EphmntLRAdW You own 26 hours after opening it. In a case if I possess money I am going to eliminate the video for ever and a day.

I ask pardon for many grammar- Im from China .

P.S. this electronic address, I have pilfered it.

The only thing I can’t figure out is if he’s calling me Buff the Muffin, or if buffing the muffin is a slang term for masturbating….I’m inclined to the former, so on that note, this is Buff the Muffin signing off, hoping you found this as funny as I did!


PS: I guess I should probably do research prior to writing a blog entry. Buff the muffin is indeed a slang term for masturbating, so please ignore my previous paragraph…..

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It is the tree that never ends….

So you all remember that walnut tree that was the bane of my existence for many years? The one we finally had removed a couple years ago, and whose demise I have been celebrating ever since? I swear that tree has come back from the dead to haunt me and have revenge for all the horrible things I said about it over the years.

Sean drove me to work today so he could have the car and, being a good son, he returned to pick me up after work was finished for the day. He prefers to let me drive home, so I hopped in the drivers seat, adjusted the mirrors, put my foot on the brake and put it in drive. Or not. I tried to put it in drive but it wouldn’t. It just wouldn’t. Sean and I looked at one another. I put it back up to park then moved it slowly down. Reverse, yep, moves backwards, neutral, yep, does nothing, drive, nope, not happening, won’t even go into drive. I was baffled. I shut the car off – hey, don’t laugh, that’s what dispatch always tells us to do with the buses – and turned it back on. Still no drive. What the heck?

Sean was looking very worried by this point.
“Did I break your car?” he asked.
“No, I don’t think it was anything you did, but I don’tĀ  honestly know what it is,” I replied.

Luckily we just happened to be in close proximity to some incredibly great mechanics, and hey, a car can’t be that different from a bus, right? So I trotted into the shop, tracked down my favourite mechanic, and sheepishly explained my problem. He looked thoughtful, murmured something about a possible broken shifter cable and came out to take a look. Wouldn’t go into drive for him either, so he popped my hood and did something in the engine, poking and prodding into things I know nothing about. Meanwhile, I stood helplessly, with visions of tow trucks, rental cars and expensive transmission repairs dancing in my head. Finally he came out from under the hood.

“It was a walnut,” he said, matter-of-factly.
“A what?” I asked, like a moron.
“A walnut,” he replied and picked it up off the ground where he’d tossed it. “Guess some squirrel stashed it up under there and it was blocking your shifter from going into gear.” And he handed me the walnut. I didn’t quite know what to say, but I thanked him, we laughed, and he went off to get back to work on real mechanic stuff. As opposed to walnuts.

I’m glad I work where I do. Where the mechanics are willing to drop everything and give you a hand even with your personal vehicle, and where they accept that walnuts just get themselves wedged in your engine and don’t laugh at you. At least to your face. Thanks again for the help tonight! I appreciated it!

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All’s Well That Ends – no, make that -Continues Well

Six years ago this weekend I was taking some rather momentous steps. I was preparing to temporarily move out of my house to allow for major renovations and repairs to be done. Luckily at the time I had no idea just how much of an upheaval and disruption this would prove to be….I might have done some things differently. But that’s water under the bridge.
What most people didn’t know then was that I had just started chatting with a charming gentleman online. When I say ‘charming’, I mean that I was impressed because he was one of the very few males in the online dating world who would type more than one or two sentences AND have it all grammatically correct. You can see the appeal…..
He was just embarking on his own life-changing events as well. On Sunday April 1,2012 the kids and I moved into our temporary home, and on Monday April 2, 2012, Stephen started trucking school.
With both of our lives in such disarray, our relationship developed slowly, which was no doubt for the best. It wasn’t always perfect. We are both Leos, and we are both very strong willed and stubborn, and we are both always right – even when we disagree – which can make for some tooth-grinding times. But we recognized that what was developing was something very special, and we ground our teeth and shook our manes and everything sorted itself out.
One of the things people kept saying to me throughout the renovation – and which quickly began to drive me nearly ballistic – was “oh, it’ll be so nice/worth it/wonderful when it’s done!” Yeah, I knew that, but the getting it done part was fraught with landmines that seemed to keep blowing up. And of course in the end they were right (do you have any idea how hard it is for me to type that???) and it IS nice, and it IS wonderful, and it WAS worth it.
Interestingly, the same thing applied to that budding, developing relationship. There were a few bumps in the road, but it IS nice, and it IS wonderful, and he IS worth it. And it’s not done yet, not by any means. There are many more years of nice and wonderful and worth it ahead of us!
Stephen thinks our anniversary of meeting should be dated from the day we actually met in person for the first time – a memorable evening, for sure – but I think we should date it from the days we first exchanged messages, because really, that’s when it all began, didn’t it?
So, it’s been six wonderful years since Stephen and I first met, and what a six years it has been! So many changes, so much growth, and so much happiness. We truly are soulmates, and we are so grateful for the circumstances that led us to one another. Here’s to many more years together!

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The Mysterious Manifestation of Sloth

In typical me-fashion, I came home from work this afternoon slightly dazed and disoriented, so I vegetated on the couch for a half hour or so before tackling dinner. I was heading back into the kitchen when I saw It.

It was an innocent looking green flowery gift bag sitting on the floor by my shoe rack. How odd, I thought. I don’t remember that. I’m sure I’d remember that. I peeked inside. There was a hairy stuffed thing, some candy and a card in an envelope.

I texted Brianna. “Did you leave a green Easter bag at my place earlier?”
She replied, “A green Easter bag?”
Guess not, I thought, and headed to Sean’s room.
“Sean,” I called through the door to the teen-cave. “Do you know anything about this gift bag in the kitchen?”
Rustling sounds of movement emanated from the teen-cave. He opened the door, then stepped out and closed it quickly behind him so the Cat That Isn’t Ours couldn’t get in. “Yeah, I found it hanging on the door when I got home so I brought it in. What is it?”
“I don’t know.” I replied, and together we went to investigate.

There was an O Henry bar, which I love, some Hershey kisses, which we all love, and some chocolate macaroons, which I also happen to love – and I don’t care if anyone else does because I’ve claimed them. And the hairy, stuffed thing? Well, it was the most adorable stuffed sloth with lovable big buggy eyes! Someone knows me well, I thought.

Now, there was no name on the outside of the envelope, so we tore into the card. And what should we find inside? Nothing. Yep, that’s right, nothing. We have absolutely no idea who left us this lovely gift bag. But you know what? That’s the really fun part! It’s kind of cool having this mystery on our hands!

My instinct says Heather, because she knows my love of sloths. Stephen thinks it’s Gloria and Miles, but it could also be Brenda. So, whoever it was who left the adorable sloth on my doorstep, thank you for making our night fun, and for being so thoughtful!

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On Wed afternoon, after we had evacuated and moved to the Best Western Hotel for however long, I went to work as usual and did my bus route. At one of my last stops a mom approached the bus.
“Is the evacuation causing any problems for the buses?” she asked.
“It is for some of the routes, but not ours.” I replied.
“Oh, good,” she said, then continued, “You don’t live in the evacuated area, do you?”
“Yeah, I do,” I replied. “I’m down in Eagle Place.”
“Oh no!” She looked horrified and came closer to the bus. “Do you have somewhere to go? Are you safe? We have a spare room if you need shelter. We’d be glad to have you.”
I was so touched by her compassion and generosity; tears sprang to my eyes. “That’s so kind of you but we’re ok. My husband booked us into the Best Western. They have a pool, so we’re kind of treating it as a mini vacation.”
“Oh, that’s going to be expensive – hopefully it’s not for too long!” she said. “Can I give you my phone number? If you guys need anything, anything at all, just call me!”

On Friday morning after the evacuation order had been lifted, she met me at the bus stop.
“Can you guys get home today?” she asked.
“Yes, my husband stopped by the house earlier and we’re fine. We have power. No gas yet, but that’s supposed to be up later today, so we’re heading home.”
“Was there any damage to your house?”
“No, thankfully, the flood didn’t make it that far.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful news! We’ve been thinking of you and hoping for the best!”
“Thank you so much. That means a lot to me. You’re very kind.”
“You’re welcome! Glad everything turned out ok! Have a great day!”
“You too!” And I drove off.

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