What a year it’s been! Frankly, I welcome a fresh New Year. ....Oh Hello! And Joyeux Noel by the way! I hope this letter finds you well and ready for the Xmas Season. It sure seemed to sneak up on us. Or am I just reluctant to admit to getting old? They say time flies the older we get. Well I for one say we just learn to process every given moment a lot faster due to gained wisdom. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
About this year. Let’s just say our coffee pot earned its keep. Why you may ask. Well Chris and I drink instant coffee. Yes, I know, I heard many of you cringe just now. Truth be told we aren’t that fussy about our coffee. So our coffee pot only comes out for company. However this year it kept a few teams of people happy and hopping.
Last March we woke up to a flooded basement. Five inches of water is enough to destroy a fully finished basement. Fire dept pumped out the excess water and checked for sparks. Now I am the first person to appreciate a uniform but not in my home wading through my basement in their rubber boots! Home insurance sent a team to pull up floors and rip out all the lower walls. Sure, I had visions of redecorating the mundane beigeness that was my basement but not like this. Watching all the demolition to ones home is heartbreaking while another team of people pack all that you own. It was both a relief and overwhelming. So, to feel helpful and grateful, I can’t count how many trays of coffee and cookies I brought downstairs.
Fortunately both Cleo and Mahault moved out of the house to live in Montreal before this happened. Or should I say, what a waste of a good flood that could have been used to get them to move out? Hard to believe that Cleo just turned 21st last Sept. At that age, I was traveling across country to end up living in Quebec. That was..*&?%&.. yrs ago! Yes, time sure flies, seemed like just yesterday I was arguing with Cleo about the merits of better choices and consequences. Oh, wait, it was just yesterday! At any rate both Cleo and Mahault are going to UQAM (University of Quebec in Montreal) Cleo is in her 2nd year and Mahault, Chris’ daughter is in her 1st. At least they were both spared the whole renovation process. As I was saying....
You know that moment after cooking something on the stove, when you finally turn off the Fan...and give a sigh of relief....AHHHH! Well imagine 7 HUGE fans on full blast for 7 days & nights to dry out the downstairs. So the AHHH moment when they were finally turned off was more like, OMG! MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!......OH IT STOPPED..?..CRUD, MY EARS ARE STILL RINGING!
Then the real work begins, after the insurance appraiser, the bank inspector and the contractor have all done their rounds. A long process begins. Rest assured I always had coffee & cookies at the ready. First was preventing a repeat of the flood. As attractive as an indoor pool sounds, swimming among xmas decorations and couch cushions just doesn’t cut it. I think there was even a mouse in the storage area on a Barbie canoe paddling to safety while cursing a blue storm. I assure you it didn’t get that language from me... ahem, but I digress. So we had to have a whole new drain system installed. Meaning one side of the house was dug up completely to fix the blocked drainage. Granted I always wanted my own castle but I was never partial to an actual MOTE. Thankfully it was only temporary.
You know how it is. Once started, it quickly becomes a Now or Never opportunity or obligation depending how you look at it, to consider that (One day we plan to do this, List) As the side was dug out, we decided to put in an Exit from the basement in order to conform to security measures needed to put a client in a room downstairs. Having both my daughter Cleo and Chris’ daughter Mahault, leaving the nest, going to University in Montreal. We had two empty rooms. While we were at it, let’s put in a bathroom where there was none! The expression “Hemoraging Money” comes to mind as these things are out of pocket. But having said that, the investment in our home is worth it and we received a security stamp of approval from the Fire Department and my employers crediting us with an additional space for a potential client when one needs placing.
All in all with stops & starts for whatever reason, the rebuilding took over 6 months. Over which time, every coffee trip downstairs had me familiar with each worker by name. I saw photos of children, was told of break ups, saw video of a grandmother celebrating her 100th birthday! Heard about vacations, renovations, trials and tribulations. I’d bet that some work took just a tad longer than it had too because they all let it be known how much they enjoyed working for us. I also learned that it takes a village to rebuild part of a home. Carpenters, helpers, Electricians, Drywaller, Painter, Plumber, Tiler, and the Contractor that coordinates the whole symphony to perfection. They all worked hard, worked well and I know exactly how each one of them takes their coffee. The whole crew were all really nice gentlemen. When all was said and done, it was bitter sweet saying goodbye but I did a happy dance at the added counter space when we finally put the coffee pot back in the cupboard in mid September!
This year brought much sadness with the loss of 2 members of our family. My godfather Ed Spence who’s wife Simone is my mother’s sister, passed away in April. I was able to attend the services in Penticton BC and spend some precious time with my aunt and see cousins I hadn’t seen in way to many years to count.
My mother lost her husband of 32 yrs. My stepfather Ben was a big part of our lives. He shared in our growing up and had a good life with our mom. His own children were an addition to our family. I was able to spend a week with mom and see my sisters and step siblings. It’s sad that it takes these difficult times to reunite family after years of absence but it also reminds us how good it is to see each other again.
This year I was reminded how important it is to nurture the relationships we have. Time gets away from us until years pass and we realize we aren’t getting any younger and we have lost touch with many people we care about. Yes, life gets in the way but at the end of the day, our relationships also enrich our lives. With today’s multimedia it’s a lot easier to keep in touch. Drop me a line sometime.
From my family to yours, we wish you a Joyeux Noel and a very Happy New Year.