It’s only when you start living with someone that you find out that something that might appear perfectly normal to you, might look weird to someone else.
With my partner and me, one of those things is cereal.
My partner typically eats cereal in the morning as many people do. But for myself, any time is cereal time.
However, I had no idea that my way of consuming this crunchy goodness later in the day would raise eyebrows in the way that it did.
It was when I confessed to him that I rarely ate cereal before noon that I seemed to truly go… against the grain.
The reality is that while I was growing up, the health food store was a regular stop on our weekly errands, long before health food stores gained the popularity that they attract today.
On grocery day, it didn’t matter how many cereal commercials I could quote from my Saturday morning cartoons “as part of a balanced breakfast”, brown eggs, yogurt and protein shakes were the preferred breakfast options in our household. Continue reading
At first, I started wondering if it was just me who was losing his marbles.
For someone who has always kept a close eye on the clock and the calendar to ensure the timely completion of tasks, rarely did I ever lose track of the day of the week… except maybe around national holidays which often messed up the natural order of things.
But in retirement, it’s a different story. With fewer deadlines to anchor my sense of time, there have been weeks when I couldn’t tell my Tuesday from my Wednesday.
It didn’t take long for me to see the sharp contrast between my work life and my retirement life to understand why this happens and how logically, it makes perfect sense… at least in my mind.
The routine before the pandemic
Before the pandemic, it would have been unthinkable to go a full work day without checking my calendar at least a few times. Just the process of keeping an eye out for that day’s deliverables and the ones in the coming days provided multiple reminders to reinforce what day of the week it was.
On top of that, each day of the week had its fixed milestones, such as weekly meetings, the delivery of weekly status updates on key files, or the completion of time sheets at the end of the week. Each of these tasks served as additional points of reference in the constant juggling act of time management. Continue reading
In the five years since Ivy the Wonder Cat’s adoption, most days I would think that Ivy is one of the coolest, calmest and most predictable cats on the planet, given her innate ability to stick to a schedule which includes 14 hours of sleep per day.
When I say stick to a schedule, I mean you can set your watch by her. God forbid if I should miss her 9:00 p.m. treat time or should slip by more than five minutes for her regularly scheduled feeding times. Let’s just say my extroverted cat is not terribly subtle and if I am ever late, her mild meow builds up to a full ambulance siren within a matter of minutes.
I often ask myself who is the trainer and who is the student?
With a cat whose routine is so deeply entrenched, we are fortunate that harmony is a two way street. She knows when it’s her humans’ bedtime and she doesn’t typically wail by the door. She seems to understand our work-from-home routine and keeps herself quietly entertained during business hours. And she doesn’t usually beg for food outside of her appointed meal times.
But with that strong sense of structure, a sensitivity to disruption may be part of the package deal. Every November and December, as the holiday decorations go up and our schedules stray from the normal routine, she does get a little discombobulated, but then again, don’t we all to some extent? Continue reading
Filed under Cats, home, Humour
With renovations completely behind me, the house was ready for showings.
One might think that this might be the easy part. With the house de-cluttered, with the cat living it up at her cat hotel, and with the house staged to help prospective buyers see themselves living at this address, what else was there to do?
Well… a lot!
Ironically, the first thing was to minimize signs of someone actually living here day-to-day.
Planning elaborate meals that would require serious cleaning time afterward was completely out of the question. I had already thought of that and prepared large quantities of food ahead of time, stored in single-serve containers, ready to go from freezer to microwave to stomach.
I even reverted to my young bachelor ways of eating certain meals right out of the containers to cut down on the dishes that would be needed afterward.
Next, my game plan was to keep to a minimal number of core activities that wouldn’t mess up the house. The home routine became eating, sleeping, reading, watching TV, using the computer and working out to my exercise videos. As I yearned to extend the core activities, I had to keep reminding myself that this was temporary.
Every morning, before heading off to work, I would set aside 30 minutes (which turned into 45) for a quick dusting, a quick vacuuming to restore the splendour of vacuum tracks into the carpeting, and a quick once over here and there with Windex or Fantastic. I finished by cleaning the bathrooms to reduce the perception that someone just got ready to go to work. Continue reading
It is a mystery that repeats itself often enough that an intervention by Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot could be warranted.
Over the years, in an attempt to be more eco-friendly, I must have acquired at least 25 reusable fabric grocery bags. Yet how is it that I often find myself without one, where and when I need one?
When I first jumped on the reusable grocery bag bandwagon, I bought three, thinking that this would be enough for all of my grocery needs. “Never would I buy more than that in one grocery run, for just one person”, I thought to myself.
While that may have been true in theory, it didn’t account for the possibility of having something like a meat product or a dairy product drip.
In that instance, it didn’t feel terribly eco-friendly to wash just one bag in a wash load nor did I want to combine it with a load of good clothes. And hand washing anything that involves bleach scares the crap out of me for fear of creating a bleach stain on whatever I happen to be wearing at the time.
So I decided to wait until the next convenient opportunity for the grocery bag to hitch a laundry ride with the eco-friendly washable dust rags. But that was still a couple of weeks away. I placed the bag under quarantine (in a plastic bag, I’m sorry!) and that was when my three grocery bags became two.
It didn’t take long for two to become one, as history repeated itself, which then raised the urgency level on the grocery bag wash, for fear of not being able to continue doing my good deed for the environment. Continue reading
Filed under Cats, home, Humour
From the time when Ivy the Wonder Cat joined me, I have to admit that my floors and I have been pretty lucky.
With only a few rare exceptions, it seems that she has a stomach made of steel, metaphorically speaking, of course.
And as much as friends and colleagues warned me about volcanic eruptions of hairballs and everything that comes with them, Ivy has been pretty good in that department as well.
Funny enough, it’s when she is nervous about something, whether it is change, disruption, car rides or temporary relocation that I can almost guarantee that she will need to barf… three days later.
Why three? I don’t know.
But it isn’t a problem, it’s not her fault. That’s her stress reliever.
If that’s her way of doing the Taylor Swift “Shake it off” to move on with her life, all I can do is to empathize and to clean it up. Having experienced anxiety issues leading to severe knots in the stomach and eventually throwing up, I completely understand. Like father, like daughter. Continue reading
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I have been enjoying the experience of reading a print version of the newspaper again, as a more relaxing way to enjoy the news.
But each time I start reading one, I cannot help but remember some of the less-than-relaxing mishaps I have encountered over the years while trying to get a copy of the daily paper.
I was a subscriber for many years and home delivery was so punctual you could set your VCR to it. There may have been the rare production issue, vehicle issue or weather issue when the newspaper might not show up exactly on time. Things like that sometimes happened and we understood.
Just the same, I wouldn’t have wanted to be the person at the telephone switchboard. I’m sure some people would get pretty huffy about a postponed periodical or a tardy tabloid especially in the pre-Internet age.
I mean today, we lose our… ahem… we lose our marbles when the news page takes longer than 6 seconds to fully download. I think patience was in greater supply back then.
In my first apartment, there were days when I’d open my front door to find that my newspaper wasn’t there. A gentle call to the newspaper confirmed that it wasn’t due to a production issue, a weather issue nor a delivery issue in my area. It was likely a neighbour, especially when the disappearing newspaper trick would happen in cycles. Continue reading
1. For a cat, life is pretty simple.
2. She doesn’t linger about the past.
3. She doesn’t worry about the future.
4. She lives in the moment.
5. She is a constant reminder about keeping things in perspective.
6. She reminds me not to sweat the small stuff.
7. She doesn’t judge me… or at least, I don’t think she does.
8. Transporting those 33 lb bags of kitty litter keeps me fit.
9. The loud meowing greeting I get when I get home from work is always a treat! It could be that maybe she’s just hungry and wants her food now, but I hear “I missed you” in every meow.
10. When I come home from work and I need to make the immediate transition to cat dad, it helps me to leave the office at the office. Continue reading
I admire those people who say they are going for a “quick run”.
They are those phenomenal runners who stack up personal best after personal best, while barely breaking out in a sweat, who can simultaneously update their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds with professional-grade photos of wildlife, beautiful scenery and gorgeous skies.
They can carry on a conversation without ever being out of breath. And they look so graceful, from the beginning to the end of the run, like gazelles out for a joyful dash through the savannahs.
They inspire me! I love them and I am incredibly jealous of them.
Meanwhile you can find me at the back of the pack, fiddling with something or other, or holding a part of my anatomy that’s complaining, wondering why a 3 kilometer run takes me an hour… or two.
Here they are, my top 10 reasons why going for a quick run is impossible (for me). Continue reading
When I first met Ivy, she was sitting in upper bunk of her cage, supervising the goings on at the pet store, like a queen on her throne overseeing her subjects.
She wasn’t terribly responsive to my first attempts at getting to know this beautiful rescue cat. She just looked at me and didn’t say a word, which seemed a little odd compared to the other recue cats who either sniffed me or stuck their paws out of the cage as if to say, “Take me home!”
The same thing happened on my second visit. I thought to myself that maybe she was a little shy or perhaps just calm, cool and collected. Either way, that was OK with me and perhaps what I needed in a cat.
After a couple of days of thinking about it, I called the pet store and asked if she was still available. She was. I asked if she was always this “chill”. They said she really was that mellow and, in their observation, didn’t seem nervous about anything, even other cats and dogs visiting the store. I told them that I thought she was “the one” and that I’d pick her up after dinner.
The minute she was in the car, everything changed. Continue reading