A Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
Hang on to your hopes, my friend(s)
That’s an easy thing to say
But if your hopes should pass away
Simply pretend that you can build them again…
Seasons change with the scenery
Weavin’ time in a tapestry
Won’t you stop and remember me?
Leaves are brown
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter
Fresh off their successful maiden voyage in the new RV, and having escaped the expected Murphy’s (bed) Law syndrome, CC and DD settled down (in the basement) to map out their itinerary until the move back home in July 2022. Okay now that we had a place to live until next summer, let’s plan some road trips.
First up on the Agenda would be a trip back to Ontario to visit family and then back to BC and then depending on Covid etc. a trip south might be in the offing. So off we set on September 29th in our new wheels for 7 days on the road in the “Zamboni”. Now driving in a puny little car on twisty mountain roads might seem like a bit of a hoot, it also comes with a realization that you are just about the smallest vehicle on the road. There are a lot of big bad trucks out there. For most travelers this might not be a big concern, and from a safety point it wasn’t. However with the DD seriously overreacting to even the most minor driving transgression of every other driver on the road, it can very quickly have one thinking about the peace and quiet one might enjoy, if one were to decide to walk instead.
Fortunately it never came to that so when DD took over for her shifts behind the wheel, the Captain was able to activate the “cone of silence” and just go along for the ride. With this harmonious truce now achieved we quickly made our way across the prairies and quite enjoyed our overnight stays in “fancy motels”, as opposed to noisy Walmart parking lots , to which we had been accustomed. A bonus was the incredible difference in gas mileage from truck to the car. In addition, the weather was great and we just cruised our way to our first stop in Thunder Bay to visit DD’s cousin Cathy and her husband Joe, who although a Montreal Canadiens fan is still a great guy and wonderful host.
As always, we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 days with Cathy and Joe before heading south east with an ETA at MODDs of October 7th.
Two Crash Test Mummies and One Dummy
In my never ending quest to maintain 60% Canadian content as per CRTC guidelines I have entitled this section as Crash Test Mummies with a nod to the likely little known Canadian band, the Crash Test Dummies, whose most notable hit was Superman’s Song. Definitely worth a listen IMHO.
Crash Test Mummy 1 (Rocky)
We arrived late in the day for our 7 day visit with MODD. Shortly after unloading our bags (mostly DDs) we immediately noticed that MODD appeared to be getting ready for Halloween early in that she was sporting a new Rocky (as in raccoon) look. DD immediately initiated a thorough interrogation of MODD to get to the bottom of the crime. As it turns, out there was no crime in the true sense of the word, although to DD there seemed to be little distinction to be made.
What had transpired was MODD (remember this is a 94 year old woman living on her own) having decided to Swiffer her floors had somehow managed to get the Swiffer caught up under a chair causing her to trip while attempting to extract it. The result was a head first “crash” onto the dining room floor. Inexplicably (and thankfully) MODDs injuries were not too serious, just a couple of black eyes, bruise on her head and arm, and general aches and pains. I suspect the subsequent tongue-lashing MODD received from her daughters was far worse than the crash itself.
Although she had received a bang to the head, MODD showed no signs of slowing down as she continued her furious knitting pace “purling” towards her goal of 100 pairs of mitts and hats for the needy and 24 bonnets for premature babies. What a woman!!!!!!
And speaking of “what a woman” (DD aside) MODD is also known for her voracious appetite and although she has slowed down a little you wouldn’t know it when it comes to pumpkin pie covered with a virtual Mt. Everest of whipped cream. Even CC has a problem keeping up. So our short visit passed too quickly as always. Even the list of chores for CC (window cleaning etc.) seemed shorter than usual. We did also fit in visits with several other of DD’s Oggorfian Clan. Space travel is a wonderful thing.
First a short interlude
The Aud One (after the passing of the Coach) had to look for an assisted living type of accommodation as she would be unable to live in and maintain the Bath House on her own, even with quite a bit of home care services. Thanks to The Don and Sister Barb (who was staying at the Bath House and helping Mom out) we were able to find a beautiful Retirement Residence and the Aud One made the move on August 27th. The next 6 weeks were quite predicatively very emotionally difficult for the Aud One, but as the time got closer to our visit on October 12th she was starting to settle in. Thankfully The Don, now retired, was close by for regular daily support visits and the rest of the kiddies phoned as often as possible.
As we would not be able to stay in the Bath House or the Retirement Residence while visiting Mom we made arrangements with The Don and Sylvie to camp out in their basement bedroom. Gee another basement! No complaints though, even if the family dog Jessie was initially somewhat leery of having us in the house, she soon came around as she could tell that we were doggy people. Well one doggy and one froggy for sure. Now back to the story.
Crash Test Mummy 2 (the Tragically Hip)
DD and CC were on the road and about an hour out of Kingston when The Don rang us up and asked if we were intending to stop and see Mom first before going to his place. HMMMM. Because if that was the plan, then Plan B would have to be activated. Seems the Aud One had a fall when going back into her room and was being transported to hospital for xrays etc. Definitely not the way to start our visit and worse for Mom, because if it was serious it would be a major setback for her.
Within a few hours we received an initial diagnosis, treatment plan and recovery plan. A fractured hip, partial hip replacement and a fairly lengthy rehabilitation but the prognosis for a full recovery was good. This information seemed pretty positive given our collective understanding that fractured hips in elderly people are difficult to recover from. We were all keeping our fingers and toes crossed.
The down side for CC and DD was that we would be leaving to go back to BC on October 22nd and would not be able to have a proper visit with Mom in her new digs. Compounding the situation were the COVID protocols at the hospital. Each patient was only allowed two named visitors, with no exemptions. As The Don was the only kid living in Kingston and had been providing pretty much all of the outside support to Mom, and would continue to do so, he was the obvious #1 choice. The Don also just happens to be the 1st born son so who were we to argue with him. Ha Ha. CC being the 2nd born son and because he always has to try harder was relegated to visitor #2.
The Covid Protocol as written was particularly hard on DD. We had spent the 2020/21 winter living (in the basement –of course) of the Coach’s and Aud One’s Bath House. During our stay there DD stepped in and un-selflishly took on the roles of cooking, doing laundry, barber/hairdresser and nurse. DD and Mom have always had a great relationship and not being able to visit Mom while we were there would be a really painful experience for them both. This was a situation that we would need to rectify if at all possible.
In the interim, on October 15th, the Aud One had her partial hip replacement done. The operation was successful and recovery would take at least a week before she could be transferred to the rehab hospital. That time frame would have Mom leaving Kingston Hospital around the time we were leaving town. CC was able to successfully plead our case to the powers that be at the hospital. DD would be allowed to take CC’s visit on the 21st as a onetime exemption from the protocol. Not the best remedy but for both DD and Mom it meant the world.
It was very difficult to leave at this point however there was not much we could do and Brother Jim could now be promoted from visitor #3 (no visits) to #2. Shortly after we left, Mom was transferred to the rehab hospital. After four weeks of rehab Mom was transferred back to her room at the Waterford on November 23rd. Skipping ahead a bit, we are happy to report that the Aud One has made a full recovery from her fall. Sadly this is Mom’s first Christmas without the Coach. Mom and the kids got together on Christmas via videoconference, and while not quite the same as being there in person, it’s far better than just a phone call. With the new Covid protocols in effect we wouldn’t have been able to be together in person regardless. Brother Jim had the honours of visiting in person.
Before closing off this section we again give our heartfelt thanks to The Don for his and Sylvie’s unwavering support to Mom during this time and also for taking us in off the streets and looking after us as well. Thanks to Brother Jim as well.
Crash Test Dummy – Pucks for Brains
Well it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who this little snippet is about. CC of course. I also am going out of chronological order here for the sole purpose of relating the Crash Test episodes as a package. This episode actually occurred on November 12th about 2 weeks after our return from Ontario.
Back in Vernon in the winter, for the first time in over 7 years, the Captain hauled out the old hockey bag to once again come out of retirement. Like a little kid still dreaming of Stanley Cups, CC headed to the rink to join the old guys (over 60s) for a good old fashioned game of shinny. And hey, it felt pretty good being out on the blades again and given the lack of recent competition this old guy actually didn’t embarrass himself too badly.
Three days later, with one game under his belt, CC headed back to the rink thinking that as he did so well the first time out maybe this time he might even get to touch the puck. And as it turned out he did get to touch the puck. Several times in fact and hearing the cheers of the non- existent crowd (Covid protocol) CC believed he might actually score a goal. Alas this was not to happen. The next thing CC touched was the boards (with his head and shoulder – no not the shampoo) and the next thing he heard was his groans of pain as he lay splattered on the ice. CC being the dumb ass he is tried to get up and rejoin the game but this was not to be. After crawling off the ice and managing to get home reality set in, or more likely DD came home. In that the Captain could not stand, sit or move because of the pain in his back and shoulder, DD delivered him to the hospital.
It is rare thing indeed for CC to believe he needs medical treatment but hey it never hurts to once in a while get a second opinion. At this point, the problem seemed to be specifically in the back and not the shoulder. Xrays showed nothing broken but the pain was still severe. So while sitting around waiting for the doc to figure out what to do next, the Captain was given some very potent pain killers. Now the Captain does not normally take any medications, of any kind. So perhaps his body overreacts when being drugged up. Needless to say within minutes of being medicated CC broke out into a serious full body sweat, passed out and lost control of some bodily functions. YIKES.
Well this little episode caused the emergency room staff some consternation and they decided to hook the Captain up to every available medical device they had and would keep him overnight for observation plus a few chest xrays. Luckily CC made it safely through the night and was released later the next day with a clean bill of health. Only I suppose, if not being able to walk due to serious back pain and not being able to lift your arm is considered to be a clean bill of health, then the Captain was good to go.
It’s been almost 6 weeks since the crash and the back is good. Shows snow shoveling is good therapy for something. The shoulder may take a little bit longer to get there but I’m a right handed shot so a return to the rink can’t be that far off. I just need to figure out how to get my sweater over my head. (and get out of the house without DD seeing me???????? and causing me further bodily harm)
Back to British Columbia
And back to the chronological order of things. I am going to cut this piece very short as I’m sure reading fatigue has probably set in by now. CC and DD made two pits stops on the way home. A two day visit with MODD and a one day visit with Cathy and Joe in Thunder Bay. We basically raced against the weather (snow storms on the horizon) as we crossed the prairies and Alberta and managed to miss most of the bad weather as we arrived home on October 29th which gave DD a day of rest before going back to work on October 31st.
We also wanted to get home as quickly as possible for another reason. While at MODD’s we received a phone call from our dear friend Pauline letting us know that Norman (Uncle Normie) had passed. While not completely unexpected news the shock and sorrow isn’t lessened and we wanted to get home to be with Pauline. I will be doing a short post later this week for our friend, my Uncle Normie.