My mother-in-law: A short story by LG

Posted on

I’m going to start by stating that I hit the jackpot when it comes to my mother-in-law. She’s pretty much the nicest, kindest most thoughtful person you could possibly meet. She helps us out so much with the dogs and is just so incredibly thoughtful. Thoughtful occasionally bordering on hilarity – like in December when she went to Costco and bought us 48 rolls of toilet paper, ‘just because’.

Along with all kinds of wonderful, she is also a little… slow on the uptake, let’s say. Now, my husband claims she is a very different person since she had a brain aneurysm about 15 years ago (surgery, coma, rehabilitation – the whole 9 yards) but I never her knew her before. I think like many aging parents, there is so much in her head, occasionally thought processes aren’t as clear as they once were.

Am I being harsh? I hope not. Anywho… now a little more back story.

I get up early – like really early. My most productive time of the day is from 5 or 6am until 11am. No phone calls, the dogs are mellow and few emails mean I’m taking care of business left and right. After walking the dogs and lunch, maybe 1 – 2pm-ish, I’m pretty burnt out, as I usually fall asleep around 11pm, so I like to take an hour and just chill. If I fall asleep -awesome!

I come from a family of nappers. My father napped every afternoon (self-employed) as did his father (politician, funny but true), so that and combined with my work habits and sleep patterns, I really don’t beat myself up about this hour of afternoon luxury.

It seems like just about everyday someone calls during my moments of down time. It’s usually either my mom or my mother-in-law. I swear that they have some sort of ESP when it comes to the worst time to call.

So… now the story. To set the scene, I’m a little groggy as I had just fallen asleep… and the phone rings.

LG – Hello?

MIL – Oh hi Liz, I’m not bothering you am I? (see, like I said, seriously nice. If she knew I was indeed napping she would have felt terrible for days and might try to make up for it by buying us tomatoes or something).

LG – Nope, just working away. (at napping, damnit!)

MIL – (laughing) Oh, okay good. I’m just wondering, can you get right to I-75 off the bridge now? (The bridge to the US had a major change a few years ago, FYI)

LG – Yep, coming off the bridge you have two options, just take the option for I-75.

MIL – You don’t have to go around anymore to go north?

LG – (ummm… you never had to go around to go north, only south… through a sketchy neighbourhood – Hotel Yorba anyone?) Ummm, nope.

MIL – So you can get right on I-75 north from the bridge?

LG – (ummm… well known fact if you live where we live… you take the bridge to easily go south on I-75, and the tunnel to easily go north on I-75… it saves merging 4 times through downtown Detroit…) Yep.

MIL – Oh, that’s good because I’m going to Ann Arbor.

LG – (ummm… Ann Arbor is nowhere near I-75 north or south) Oh, well then you’d want to take 1-94 west.

MIL – I-94?

LG – Yep, like you’re going to the airport, but just keep going. It takes you right near Ann Arbor.

MIL – Ohhh.

LG – It’s easy to get to right off the bridge.

MIL – Oh, that’s good.

LG – Whatcha going to Ann Arbor for?

MIL – Me and Elsie are going there for lunch. (I look at the clock… it’s 2:30pm…)

LG – Today?

MIL – Oh no, maybe in a week or two. I might be going to London next week.

LG – (Oh, I understand the immediate need for directions then… ) Oh, what’s in Ann Arbor?

MIL – There’s a great fish and chip restaurant in the south, I forget what it’s called, but in Michigan it’s called The Chop House.

LG – (Well, that makes perfect sense… a fish and chip place that sounds like a steak house). Well it must be pretty good to make that trip (Ann Arbor is about 1.5 hours away, plus any time delayed at the border).

MIL – It really is. Plus I’m thinking about it now because I’m hungry because I’m on a diet.

LG – (Ah… it all makes sense now!) That sounds good. Howabout next time I’m over I pull up Ann Arbour on a map so you know where to go.

MIL – Great, thanks! Okay, well, I’ll talk to you later then, have a great day.

LG – Thanks, you too.

Yep… just another day in the life. Honestly I appreciate the entertainment, however poorly timed!

Enough already

Posted on

This winter has been bad! Really bad! Record snowfalls, record cold, and I’ve been record cranky about it! There’s been days when I could have gotten out to walk the dogs, but there is no where to go that isn’t covered in a foot of snow or more. Shank doesn’t care, but Halia and I certainly do!

I think we’ve received close to 70 inches of snow this season. Our norm is around 35. Super.

Here’s a picture taken during the latest snowfall – about 7 inches.

photo (3)We’re supposed to get a few more inches tomorrow. Boo.

I snapped this pic last week. Funny thing… I live in ‘The Municipality of the Town of Kingsville’, my phone number is ‘Cottam’, my mailing address is ‘Essex’ but the (barely) a village I’m closest to (like 1/4 of a KM) is North Ridge (North Ridge, hence the hill in our yard). Here’s a pic of the village’s sign:

photo (1)That’s a lot of snow.

I did take Mr. Shank out for a walk on the week-end to Sutton Creek Golf Club – I just can’t stay away! Even in the winter! I thought the walking would be easier in the ditch (frozen solid obviously). It wasn’t easier, but it was definitely pretty!

photo (2)During the last snowfall I was stuck inside and a little cranky, as I really wanted to go into town and run a few errands… I’ll preface this by saying a) they are very nice neighbours, b) they might have been going to deliver food to shut ins, or donate blood, or serve at the soup kitchen… I’ve only been inside our local Mickey D’s 3 times and I’ve seen him there twice… that’s the disclaimer…

Best neighbour ever! A little while later guess who snowblowed our driveway so I could get out! Yay!

photoWell, that’s about it for today. It’s true, I really don’t have much else to talk about beside the weather.

Life’s (brr) good.


A dog’s conversation

Posted on

This is a dog conversation that occurs pretty much every day.

And yes, my dogs do communicate telepathically.

Halia – My Liz just went upstairs, what do you think she’s doing?

Shank – I’ll go look!

Halia – I’ll go with you!

Shank – She’s in the bathroom! That’s a good sign!

Halia – What’s she doing in there? Go in.

Shank – The door’s closed, so I’ll push it open.

Halia – Push it open and I’ll go with you.


Halia – That could be a good sign, or a bad sign!

Shank – That could be a good sign! I’m going to start wagging my tail!

Halia – She’s not telling us to leave. That’s a good sign! I’m going to start wagging my tail and dancing around a bit.

Shank – Me too! I’m getting excited.

Halia – SHE’S GOING INTO HER CLOSET! This is getting good! Follow her!

Shank – OMG! SHE’S CHANGING HER CLOTHES! I’m starting to lose it! I might bite you because I’m so excited!

Halia – I’m excited too! Don’t bite me! I’ll growl and bite you back!

Shank – I can’t help it! I’m overwhelmed. I bite! I bite!

Halia – I’m going to dance around more!

Shank – Me too! I’m so excited!

Halia – She’s going for the entry closet!


Halia – Control yourself! She needs to put my collar on!


Halia – Let’s run for the garage door. I plan on tripping over you, growling, and whining.


Halia – She’s going for her shoes!


Halia – She’s opening the door! Be sure to get into the garage before she tells us no! Push, run, shove, whine!


Yep, pretty much everyday. Entertaining to say the least. Except on those occasions when I’m not taking them with me. Then they act like the most neglected, saddest, depressed canines ever.


More blogging guilt

Posted on Updated on

I’m still here.

I have over 100 items to read in my Google Reader – yikes! Normally I would read through them all before I blog – in case I’m missing something – but either I blog or I read, so I choose to blog!

William and I were having a risky date night at home – risky because he’s on call – and guess why I’m writing – because he was called out – Boo!

Life’s good. Fast, busy, fun.

I’ve taken on a project at work that’s been a ton more work than I was expecting – mostly because I’m not familiar with the workings of the website. I’m almost done, which is perfect timing, as we’re leaving for TN on Thursday afternoon for more than a week, and as long as things go according to plan, I will be totally done setting them up by the time we leave.  By we, I mean Billy and I – it’s the first time since like 2004 we’re going to be in TN together! I can’t wait – it’s going to be so much fun! The country club/bar (where I found Shank more than a year ago!) is changing owners and we’re going to the last night it’s open – a Halloween party! Golfing, chilling – fun!

We’re also going to Nashville (Smashville!) on Saturday and Sunday night – hang out at some bars downtown, (good country music!) and check out the tailgating the next morning. We’ll either snag scalp tickets (TN is playing Chicago) or find a sports bar – I think one of William’s random friends might be either meeting us at our place, or in Smashville, so that should be fun fun fun.

Last week-end we were in Cleveland again, and yes, they won! The atmosphere in the stadium was like they won the Superbowl! Even the new owner who was there, stated the vibe was more like a win for a team heading to the SuperBowl (as opposed to the first win in 11 games!). Friends came with us who had never been before, and they (although Lion season ticket holders) were pretty shocked at the awesomeness of the tailgating and the city in general.

Oh really… apparently it is illegal to drink in the muni-lot, but it’s ‘overlooked’  – meanwhile there are a bunch of police in the lot and I’ve never once seen them hassling anyone. Imagine a lot that holds thousands of cars – at $25 bucks a pop. That’s some serious money for city – so…. they ‘overlook’

There is always something new to see in the lot – this was new for us – the players were quite serious!

Later that wooden structure was FULL of drunken dancing people – it wasn’t there last week-end though…

We had the best seats I’ve ever had at that stadium – 7th row, 45 yard line on the visitor’s side –

Although my friends and husband abandoned me outside the stadium in favour of the restroom, I managed to get a good picture with Chomps!

The guy behind me is not staring at my ass – he’s looking at Chomps’ ass – much better than mine in those tight white football pants!

We went to a stadium Backers party the night before the game, and they were selling tickets for a Browns frame picture signed by 9 Browns – including Kosar! Well, our friends won it, and gave it to us! It looks so awesome in our bar (next to the Cribbs one William bought me two weeks earlier – same framer, same signature pen!)

But I hate that bar stool!

We hit the Cleveland Chophouse and several other random bars, well supporting the local economy! Man, we dropped a bundle! Lots of laughs, great food and drinks!

Funny – William’s ‘random’ friend that might be meeting us in Smashville was in Cleveland that week-end, but William didn’t have his cell on him! He was literally minutes behind us in two different bars! Haha!

Dogs are good, and I’m going to miss them so much while we’re gone! Not so much getting up early to let them out, feed them, and entertain them – but I’ll miss them anyway!

That is my constant view on walks with the dogs. Dog bums.

So, life is good.

Just so random

Posted on

Yesterday I finally finished a small work project I was working on. No big deal really, but it bothered me all the time! When I wasn’t working on it, I was thinking about it. I finally sat down and got it done. I thought I would feel great having this thing done, but I don’t. Maybe it’s because William was away, the weather, who knows.

I feel so behind on everything (well, now actually I’m caught up on work). Each day I work on the computer, then take the dogs for at least an hour  walk (if it’s just Shank I walk for 2 hours). Sometimes I’m so beat when I get home I can’t function! It may have something to do with the dogs getting frisky around 5am – however, they sleep most afternoons!

Speaking of taking the dogs for a walk, yesterday we went to a crappy dog park, and I decided it wasn’t enough stimulation for them, so I went to a nearby beach. The dogs had a great time despite the swarms of flies (at least the flies weren’t biting!). Shank and even Halia (who doesn’t usually like to get any part of her body wet) ran through the low surf, having a grand time.

Then Shank saw a goose in the water.

Shank has never swam before.

He failed…

Poor guy – I hope he’s not scared of the water now. He came out and was like W-T-F! He coughed and shook a bit, and never went deep again!

So anyways, the weather has improved in the last couple of days and I feel like I should be outside working – but yesterday afternoon I was too tired, and I’m gone from Sunday until Wednesday this week – making me feel even further behind! Ack!

William is home from TN. He had a great time. Apparently when they were in Nashville the other day, John Rich jumped in with the band at Legends and played a few songs. Sweet. That’s pretty cool. I know he’s happy to be home, and I’m happy to have him home.

Tomorrow is our season opener at the club – it’s going to be great! Sunday I leave for PA for a work thing. It’s my first work road trip ever!

Life’s good.

Oh yeah – GOM, Shank likes your local prairie dogs!

What kind of crazy place do you live in? Missing women, crazy prairie dogs, near a dangerous town? Lol!

Stress balls

Posted on

Yesterday I started my day as normal checking emails. Surprisingly, it was one of those odd days when there was nothing ‘to do’ in my inbox. How nice for me.

I checked my ‘other’ email address, which I do everyday, but it’s mostly junk (facebook messages, groupon – that kind of thing). Because I didn’t have any actions to take work wise, I sifted with a bit more care through this inbox. No biggie, right?

I saw a statement of what I wrongly thought was our Tennessee phone/internet bill, which I opened just for fun. Now, a bit of a back story…

In the fall last year, I put the phone and internet at the house in TN ‘on vacation’ – so instead of paying about $90 a month, our bills would be about $20 a month. I planned on ‘turning it back on’ around now – mid April. In late February I received an odd (I’m saying odd because I don’t usually get them) bank statement from TN – our account was overdrawn. I was shocked and bothered and stressed to say the least. In the winter, we generally put enough money in the bank down there to cover all the aut0 bills that come (insurance, water, phone/interent, and power). After a little investigation I realized that the phone company never put our service on vacation, and had been charging us the full amount all winter long!


So I called the phone company, and of course they had no record of my request (even though the woman I spoke to actually called me at home in Canada, as she couldn’t put our phone on vacation unless we had ‘digital phone’ – which I agreed to)… blah blad blah. I actually had awesome customer service and the phone company agreed to credit us for a full 6 months of bills. Yippee.

So during this time our bank account was drained. When I was in Florida the first time, I sent a money order to cover the house’s expenses until we have some rental income. HOWEVER, I neglected to consider the other bills that came into arrears during that time, as well as the growing NSF charges. Duh! ARG!

Sooooo…. I opened our electric bill, which I thought was a credit for our phone bill, yesterday and saw a balance of $243, which is crazy, as our monthly bills usually top our at $35 a month! So again, more NSF charges, interest… blah blah blah!

So in a call down there I learned:

– I could not discuss the account with them, as the account was in PF’s name (I charmed my way around that… I think ‘my husband is going to kill me’ really helped).

– Our electricity was turned off as of March 15th. Awesome.

– They tried multiple times to call us, but had a WAY wrong phone number.

– They have our wrong address, so no mail!

So all in all, it was totally my fault. A completely stupid oversight on my part not considering all the other accounts in arrears with NSF charges. I don’t make a habit of checking the TN bills as I ‘know’ there is enough money to cover our expenses. Duh! That won’t happen again.

So (I need to wrap this up quickly), the phone company needed to call me back, and I attached the phone to my ass all morning and heard nothing. I learned when calling yet again, that their office can’t call internationally. Yeah, so I sat stewing in my stress for house! Super!

I could get the electricity turned back on immediately (paying the arrears plus a $30 charge) with a credit card (yeah!) – kind of important as the next bank draft wasn’t scheduled until April 29 – no good, as William arrives there on the 25th! And he would kill me if there was no electricity! I had Jen (PF’s girlfriend who lives in PA and obviously has an American bank account) fire off a big ole cheque to cover any other random charges. (I think we’ve paid more than $200 in NSF charges! Stupid!!)

The company also requires a SSN. Super. We’re Canadian. Kinda hard for us to have a SSN! Luckily PF has a US Tax Payer Identification Number, which works in these cases. If not we would have to pay a $300 deposit on top of everything else!


So trust me when I say I’m going to pay a lot more attention to what is going on down there! I have online banking for our TN account (it’s super crappy compared to what we have here), and I’m committing to checking it weekly! Our electricity will be back on today, and the woman I dealt with re-assured me that I’m not a complete moron, even commenting that in the 13 years we’ve had an account with them, we’ve never missed a payment. Still…

So it was pretty funny when William called me when I was in the middle of dealing with this  hot mess yesterday, and he asked, ‘how’s your day going?’ and of course I said, ‘good, good, not much going on really. How’s your day?’

Yeah… live and learn. Life’s (still) good, just a little more expensive than it was!


This post is about that, but not what you think

Posted on Updated on

Whitney Houston – but please keep reading!

I don’t know if I’ve ever shared in my blog my experiences with A) Whitney Houston and B) Hypnotism – and yes, they are absolutely, completely, utterly connected. A quick search confirms my thought, that no, I’ve never discussed it.

In the early spring of 2003 (I started this blog in 2006, so maybe that’s why I’ve never mentioned my experience) William and I were on a Hawaiian cruise. Early in the trip and like most cruisers, we found ourselves one evening looking for something to do (mostly to keep us away from the casino – although on that trip, I was definitely ‘up’). We  saw an ‘adults only’ show featuring a hypnotist.

I had never seen a real life hypnotist, and I was probably the biggest non-believer in the audience. I knew a guy who in college was paid to act in a hypnotist’s show.

When the guy started to instruct the audience on how to relax, I willingly participated, being such a skeptic. Well, before I knew it I was on stage, sitting in front of hundreds of people.

I could go on and on about my experiences that night – but I won’t. Suffice to say, time passed quickly. Two hours felt like 5 minutes. Looking back at my time on stage is like trying to remember a dream. I was aware of the hypnotist’s suggestions – all I can say is that everything he said sounded like a great idea and completely logical. I did things in front of hundreds of people that I would never do in front of my best friends.

For that particular show (I learned later, having seen and talked to the hypnotist several times on the cruise) he had a singer friend who was preforming  on the ship as well. They decided to combine acts this once, and that is where my Whitney Houston – hypnotism story really starts.

Near the end of the show, I was told/convinced/believed with every fibre of my being that I was Whitney Houston’s greatest fan (which I am certainly not. I never really cared for her music, style, life, etc.). I was ‘glued to my chair’ – but in the ‘act’ I would do anything to be near/touch/talk to/ ‘Whitney Houston’.

So the woman (who looked nothing like Whitney Houston, save her skin colour) was introduced as Whitney Houston and started singing. I started flaying  around in my chair, trying to reach her. I was crying. No, actually I was bawling. Tears streaming down my face. Apparently my behaviour was really distracting to her, as she stopped singing a few times, and was quite entertained by my adorations (she later told me how incredibly flattering it was to be shown such love by a fan!). When in her performance she reached out and touched my hand, I went into hysterics. Seriously. When I would see this woman later on the cruise, tears would immediately spring to my eyes. I would laugh and apologize to her.

From that performance, many people came up to me during the two week cruise, joking/commenting/teasing about my behaviour. Several said they didn’t believe in hypnotism until they saw what appeared to be a completely normal, rational person transformed into a raving lunatic.

That cruise was nearly 10 years ago, and strangely, I’ve had 2 fairly significant side effects of the hypnotism (I knew a woman who had such terrible side effects that she had to see doctors and take medications!).

– The first is that I find myself VERY susceptible to being hypnotized. If someone is on TV ‘doing’ hypnotism I literally have to distract myself, and make a point to stay focused!

– The second and most disturbing is that until just around 2 years ago, I could not see a picture of Whitney Houston, hear a song sung by Whitney Houston, or have someone bring up Whitney Houston’s name in conversation, without becoming completely overwhelmed with emotion. Tears would come from nowhere. My heart would well up. I knew/know this was completely irrational behaviour, but honestly I couldn’t control it. A few times, just to be funny, William would start talking of Whitney Houston in front of friends just to show off my reaction. I would become flustered, throat sore, tears in my eyes, while laughing because I knew I looked like an idiot! Even now, it’s incredibly embarrassing to admit, but I have glassy eyes, and I feel a bit emotional. Ridiculous!

Suffice to say, I’m quite relieved that Whitney Houston died in 2012 and not in 2004 – as I would not have been able to function!

This is a pic of me hypnotized. It was not during the Whitney Houston part – but you can see how dazed I looked, despite being completely sober. A guy in the audience took the pictures for me and mailed me the CD – because he’d never seen anything like my behaviour.

Yes, I’m wearing a head-dress and conspiring to murder a fellow stage-mate, who was a cowboy.

Good times.