A blank canvas

Refresh
Yesterday my neighbour took me out furniture shopping. I had printed out what I wanted so it would be easier when I got to the store. I went to one that Dad dealt with because 1 it’s big and 2 they have good customer service. The dining set that I liked would have been too big for an apartment so I went with a round table in wood with black leather “parson” chairs. I bought a loveseat that pulls out to a double bed to put in the office bedroom so guests. Originally I was going to get grey and have an accent wall purple but when he showed me one that came in purple I changed my mind. So comfy too. I also bought an ottoman for the front entry to sit and take off shoes. My neighbour was having fun trying out the furniture. When I was done paying (a ding to wallet!) my neighbour said come try this chair out. It’s a recliner that has different adjustments.

I still need curtains for my bedroom. The office bedroom has blinds so I assumed both did. We went to a paint store and got paint chips too. The woman tried to presuade me against yellow “it’s not a colour we paint a bedroom” but I love the colour I have now it reminds me of a sunrise. And shouldn’t your room make you happy? No idea what colour to paint dining room because there is no natural light in it. The colour she suggested is actually the colour I have at home.

While my apartment is a blank canvas it also represents my new life. My neighbour thinks that I should have told my nosey neighbour that I’m moving. But I know that it would make any difference because no matter how often I tell her that it’s going to happen she can’t accept it. This is hard enough for me to leave my home without having to try to ease her into it.

This is my life now. I get to make my own decisions. It was funny picking out paint colours and my neighbour said “I’ll have to ask my husband” I don’t have to do that! There is freedom in not having to ask anyones permission.

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Can’t conceal my excitement

Conceal
Countdown is on to moving day on Friday. I’m excited but anxious about getting everything done. Because I’m putting the house up for sale after I move I don’t have to worry about moving everything because I can go back and forth.
I’m excited to buy new furniture and paint my apartment. No ideas for dining room. I like the idea of red but wonder if I would tire of it? I think I’m just going to do an accent wall in the office. My neighbour asked if I needed help with anything so I may ask her to drive me out to a furniture store. I found a really nice dining set online. I will go to the store but I wanted to get some ideas before I went. I know that I want to buy a loveseat for the office that pulls out for guests.
There is a feeling of contentment knowing that the estate can be finalized soon. That my life can move on.
This is a commercial that I have seen a few times lately. It’s so poignant and it makes me cry every time.

How to decide what has value?

012Frivolous
Throughout the process of cleaning out my family home I have to figure out what I’m going to keep and what I’m going to either throw out or donate. But what I consider “valuable” is probably worthless to someone else. Baby bracelets, a quote from an Oprah magazine that Janet wrote out on a post it note, my Dad’s ratty gardening book. Frivolous is something that has little value. But all of these things are priceless to me.
I have included a picture of a manicure. Something that many would consider frivolous. For me it’s a treat. For one hour I get to be pampered. I can let the outside world drift away. Last year I finally got up the nerve to have a pedicure and it was heaven!
When I was in my early twenties I used to buy a lot of magazines. Oprah mostly but would buy soap magazines too. A couple of times I downloaded it onto my Ipad–no paper waste. But it’s not quite the same as holding a magazine.
Pretty soon I will be able to sit in the park and write in my journal with a cup of coffee. It’s something that I haven’t had time to do for a long time. I avoided doing it at home because when I sat on the deck all I could think about was the grass needed cutting or weeds needed pulling.
It’s the little things that I value but sometimes they become BIG things.

Easter brunch

Edge

Just back from Easter brunch. I got my usual waiter. Yes I have been there often enough to be a regular. Of course I get the wobbly table. I always seem to get the wobbly table…mom and I got it last year. I was the only person there by themselves. I wore Moms fushia pink top that I would have purchased for myself but she already pick it up at the store. It was my way of having her with me…plus its clean!
They had much the same foods as last year. Caesar salad, orzo pasta salad, quinoa salad. I like quinoa salad if someone else makes it. I have a box in the cupboard but have never got up the courage to make it for fear it would be too dry. For main course I had roast beef and bsby carrots. They should have had mashed potatoes. My only complaint!
I had a piece of cake for dessert. By that time I was so full. I got my rewards card out and the waiter was teasing me that I remembered. I don’t even know how many points you need.
At about noon they had a guy playing the piano. They have him play every Sunday. As I was getting my coat on he was playing the song “in my Easter bonnet…” I had to rush out because I was about to cry. I remember Mom singing that. Mom did not have a good singing voice so most of the time we told her “please don’t sing” but that wouldn’t stop her. When she was young they always bought a new hat for Easter.
I didn’t take my camera this year because I could share the photos on Facebook but it isn’t the same.
Happy Easter Dad, Mom and Janet.

Holidays

Footsteps
It’s Easter weekend. Mom and I didn’t always go to church on holidays after Dad died because we would sit and look at all the families and it was a reminder of what we lost. I can’t do church on holidays alone now.
Tomorrow I am going to the Inn down the street for brunch. It will be hard because Mom and I went last year. I took pictures. I thought it was a good picture of her but she thought she looked old. I guess you could say it takes courage for me to go and eat alone. As my Dad would say “hey, you gotta eat!” The other day I remembered when we had the food channel and Dad really liked watching Emeril. Emeril would say “and I said to myself SELF” and Dad would yell out SELF. I don’t know why thst popped into my head but it made me laugh.
This past month has been like a roller coaster. Days of feeling quite overwhelmed, the stress of finding a place to live, income tax, cleaning out the house. The joy of finding a place to live and buying new stuff. The excitement of being able to do things that I had to give up.
At the same time I know that after I move it will hit me that I’m leaving the only home I have ever known. Keeping busy means that I can partly avoid it.
The prompt for today is footsteps. I was going to title this post walk with me. I know my family walks beside me. I know my friends do too.

COURAGE

Fearless
I wouldn’t consider myself “fearless” but I know that I have had to put on a brave face for the past 9 years. When my twin died I had to deal with a lot of stuff that I wish I never had to deal with. Even when I go to conference I now choose not to share the story of how she died. To me it’s such a small part of her life and I don’t want that to be how she is remembered. Even after going 3 times to Twinless Twins conference I still don’t understand what the purpose is. But it takes courage to get up in front of a group of strangers (who eventually aren’t) and share the most painful day of your life.

I was scared last year of being alone. I was scared of what was going to happen. This is now my reality and I have learned how to be resourceful, strong.

A friend of mine wrote that it takes courage to move on to a new place. I never thought about it that way. I also think it takes courage for people to stay in the house that they have shared with their spouse for 50 years. To live with the memories.

Courage means I’ve had to be “forceful” to people. My brother knows I’m moving but I haven’t plucked up the courage to tell him exactly when. Moving means I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Courage isn’t about being a superhero. It’s about doing the best we can each and every day.

With a little help from my friends

Help
In the past year I have done a lot of the work on my own of looking after Mom and the house. The woman from the moving company was shocked that I am cleaning out a big house completely on my own. The physical sorting is easier doing it on my own.

I have neighbours that have been really helpful. I currently have a cold but because I have high BP I’m limited to what cold medications I can take. Pharmacist recommended a nasal spray but they were all out. I was talking to my neighbour that day and she drove to another pharmacy and got me some. She’ll also pick me up groceries if she’s going out (if I happen to be talking to her). She drove us to the hospital so we wouldn’t have to take a cab. She also phones just to ask how I am.

My friend DKJ hasn’t physically helped a lot because she is very busy with school but we talk on the phone. Her husband has been a big help with financial advise. Plus listening when I am completely overwhelmed.

I have talked about my friend CB a lot on this blog. She is going to come and help me the day of my move. She took me shopping to buy lamps. She is also someone who has listened to me rant about well you all know!!

The superintendents at my new place have been so helpful too. I haven’t even moved in and it feels like family! I can’t tell you how many friends are so happy for me and my upcoming move. I know that they all feel I deserve some happiness.

I’m worth it!

Nerve
Another busy day. This morning I had a quote from a moving company. I phoned two and they were already booked so this was the third one. I don’t need a big van because I’m going to be buying new stuff. This is my parents furniture. It belongs with this house but I want to have a fresh start.

I’m starting to wrap my head around the fact that I will be living in such a nice place. That I deserve nice things. A chance to do whatever I want. It’s all very new. Over the course of this process I have talked to many women who have had to move their own parents or clean out a house after they died. The woman today said once you take the stuff away it’s really no longer their home. I think that’s what makes this process easier is that it became a house after Mom died. It has been a huge responsibility since 2008 when my Dad started having treatments for cancer.

I know my parents would think that I deserve this. I feel all of them so strongly which is why I had another dream last night. There will be red somewhere in the apartment because it’s Janet’s favourite colour. Their love will go with me. I know they are happy for me.

Price

Price

Growing up my Dad didn’t really have any idea of the price of things. He thought “well in my day it cost…” and hadn’t accounted for inflation. When Mom bought something and paid cash Dad would inevitably ask “what did that cost you”. She would always deduct about ten dollars off. My Dad was shocked at how much groceries cost and truthfully I’m kind of shocked some days too.
I’m not as careful with my money as my parents. I go out for dinner a lot more than they did. I go and have a manicure. The first time my Mom ever had one was when she was in Parkwood hospital. But she liked it. I’m also one of those people that buys a new outfit for conference because I don’t want to be photographed in the same thing twice. It’s ok because I got the skirt 40% off!
When I was first looking for an apartment I couldn’t believe how much a two bedroom cost. I really had no idea what rent was. And some were less but then utilities weren’t included. Housing prices are sky high. My parents paid 25,000 for this house 40 years ago. They had a mortgage for 5 years. Some people my age probably wouldn’t even be able to buy a house. And if they do they both have to work to pay for it.
I am proud of my Dad for providing for us. To him that was his job. I am thankful that they taught me the value of money.

My Mom, my friend

mom06bdayFriend
Today is my Moms birthday. It’s my first birthday without her. Last year I printed out a bunch of my blog posts and had it put into a book for her. I put this picture on the cover. “I don’t remember this. I look good!” Sometimes she would look at a photo and think she looked old.
The last time I went to the bank to meet with financial planner it was 12:30 when we finished so I walked over to a little diner near there. Mom and I had gone many times for breakfast. We used to go with Grandpa and Grandma. It was different going by myself. I miss going for coffee after going grocery shopping. I miss having someone to talk to while drinking my coffee, I miss having someone to sit at the table with. Growing up we always sad grace at dinner but I don’t always remember now.
she wasn’t just my Mom she was my friend too. She was a good friend to others. She used to sit beside a couple of women downstairs at coffee hour at church. They came over for tea after she had bladder repair surgery. She cries at funerals even if she doesn’t know the person that well.
My friends loved my Mom too. She was the type of Mom that everyone wished they had.
My Mom loved me unconditionally and that was a true gift.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you.