Renovation Complete

Thursday this past week, saw delivery of Ikea furniture to complete the floor, painting, furniture project. We’ve now spent about $5,000 of the renovation. Much of that will pay out in a substantial rent increase to cover the flooring put down last week.

As of this afternoon (Friday) my library project is complete. I’ve always wanted book cases to showcase my personal book collection. I was impressed as I stacked books today, that I have read each and every book in my library, whether for class, or for personal gain. Even these two book cases did not complete the job, as we still have a box of books that did not find themselves shelved. Me thinks another book case is in the plans later on. But they do look beautiful.

Over on the right you can see the new cabinet we purchased for the electronics that connect to the flat screen television. We took the old stand and employed it for the computer tower and printer in my office space.

The old white desk that was taped together with duct tape is gone. I only kept the cabinet because it was still in tact, because I needed some extra storage space at my desk. The desk is brand new, and is handsome itself.

Next week, (Tuesday) Ikea will deliver the last two pieces of furniture that still need to be replaced. Huby calls them the horseshoe of depression. The dining table his parents gave him when he moved in here 19 years ago, and the pantry cart that holds stacks of food boxes, cookie containers, and the cutting board for holiday dinners. Both will be replaced with new furniture which has bee on a “want” list for as long as we’ve been together.

IKEA furniture brings with it the ever present challenge to “Divine” what those little picture books tell us to do, WITH NO WORDS, only PICTURES.

I have to say, we almost lost it over putting the desk together. We got through 95% of the build until I lost my cool, because I could not get the last two hinges in the desks door (on the right) … I almost lost it.

The book cases took us all of twenty minutes to build. The first one went together so fast, that hubby turned the shelves backwards, so the backs were facing outwards, and we only realized the error when we nailed the final nails in the back panel and stood it up for the first time.

“The refrain went something like this FUUUUUUUCK !!!”

We did not make the same mistake twice. In the end, all it took was a little original thinking to make it look complete and error free. We took some black shoe polish and “polished” the backward facing shelves so they look like the others.

Mischief Managed !!!

We now live in a totally renovated space. We have a photo album I gave hubby when we got married of the wedding pictures and a photo book containing all of hubby’s early photos I had found and put in book form. And in that book are photos of what this place looked like 18 years ago, when I moved in. Both of us were getting sober together. And this apartment was a little dirty shit hole.

There were 300 beer bottle piled on the balcony, we had a rabbit that shit all over the place. The furniture was old twenty plus year old bamboo furniture that was falling apart and was being held together with duct tape.

It was a complete mess … It took us years to start renovating in small areas. We changed appliances, and electronics as we could afford them. We cleaned up the space, the rabbit eventually died, and went to SPCA heaven.

But as of today, everything we have always wanted to do is done. Save the table and pantry coming next week.

We’ve spent many years as “Have Nots.” Which has kept us humble and appreciative of all the good graces we’ve had from our friends over the years, because when we needed, the hand was always there. Thank the program for that grace. If it were not for my friends in recovery, we probably would not have made it to this point.

Today we “HAVE” modestly. We live within our means, and all the money we pay out in taxes and social services over the year prior come back to us. We can file all kinds of exemptions to the taxes for drug payments that we pay out of pocket every month, and other ancillary services that are ot covered by government programs.

Tonight we talked about God. And I figured something out that I had not thought about before. And that is this … A very long time ago, memere had a conversation with God about me, and it has taken me 52 years to figure out what He was trying to show me my entire life.

I can live, and trust God, and I have survived this far… By the Grace of God and the Fellowship.

Gratitude overflowing.

It was a great day, it is slowly getting warmer, but it still is gonna be a few cold days. Spring will come eventually. And won’t we all be glad for that.

More to come.


Christmas Day 2018

Merry Christmas friends, fellows, ladies and gentlemen. Greetings from Montreal, this very bright and sunny Christmas afternoon.

This watch was one of my gifts from hubby. A MVMT Watch. I had visited the site and had chosen 4 watches for hubby to choose from to get me this year, since I have been relying on my I Phone for time since I got it.

We woke this morning, and I called my friend Juan, to wake him up, and set our time for our Christmas dinner together.

Then we made some coffee and set out to open presents.

I got a MVMT Watch, a new deco lamp for my dining room, an electric carving knife (I had actually thought about finding one for myself) but hubby beat me to it.

Nothing too extravagant.

I got hubby some new Canada cozies, Rafa got him an adult fantasy coloring book with added art pens to color with. He got a new fry pan and a salad spinner (since we axed salad from our nightly menus recently).

We don’t go out and spend tons of money because we really don’t need a whole lot, since we have so much to be grateful for as it is. We have life, good friends, and family to celebrate the day with today.

That is enough for us.

We got lots of little doo dads from the family in Ottawa and Guelph this year. Gift cards that will be put to good us soon, and some beautiful serving dishes and candles.

Christmas is a simple affair. The only heavy lifting is the roasting of the turkey, which is a fine art here. Since we have a small galley kitchen, making an entire holiday dinner is a logistical dance of perfection.

Thank you for all my readers who come and read and for all of you who subscribe to my little story telling exercise.

Thank you and now on to 2019 already !!!



Thursday – August 30, 2018

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I haven’t written in a long while. Not that I did not have content to talk about. But life, as it has happened over the last little while, has not been easy.

I’ve not been feeling myself, for the last little while. I need medical attention, that we cannot afford at the moment. And as of 2 days ago, that need became seriously magnified.

Over the past couple of months, my husbands office, has gone through serious changes, and to that effect, by Monday afternoon, all the furniture in the office had been liquidated, and sold off. All the employees have been working from home, which has turned the office into no-mans land. Several employees quit, and on Monday night, hubby came home and was sullen and depressed.

Before dinner, he turned to me and said the following …

“They’ve sold off all of the furniture and computers. The refrigerator had been emptied and turned upside down, over the tub, in the bathroom, to defrost it. All the employees have vacated the premises.

By the close of business Monday evening, hubby was the last man standing in an empty office. The only furniture left, in the place, was his desk and his computer. He then told me that Tuesday, would be his last day at a job, he has excelled in over the past four years.”

On Tuesday morning, I was up before dawn, watching cruise ships sail into Nassau harbor, via web cams on my desktop. One, I could not sleep, and two, I had to be up to make sure hubby was alright and mentally prepared for the day as it was to transpire.

Sleeping in, and leaving him alone with his thoughts was not what I wanted for him.

We knew going into Tuesday that a severance package was in the works. As the last man standing, he was offered a healthy severance package upon departure. In the end, he was retained on a part-time, freelance option.

The office has been closed. And the other employees, that were let go, will be afforded a flex space in Old Montreal, for important face to face meetings, with the company owners.

For all intents and purposes, the company has folded major operations, and only a few employees remain. Hubby will work from home, on a part-time, 20 hour work week, making good money for the hours he is billing the company to remain, partially employed.

We will lose our much-needed insurance, that pays for our medications. Which prompted an emergency call to our pharmacy, and we ordered three months of medication to be provided in one drop, because the insurance is going to lapse, and while it is still in place, hubby decided that we should fill as much medication as needed, hoping that he lands in a new position, in that three-month period of time.

Meanwhile on Stream B, hubby had applied at another media firm, that he had researched and sent his updated cv and coordinates. He is able to see, in real-time, how many people have looked at his papers, and their movement up the chain of command.

I am told that this company may take its time in responding to a job inquiry, so he is in a holding pattern, for a second job, while working part-time to keep the money flowing from stream A.

His intention, from the very beginning, was to figure out all these problems by himself and not bother me into worrying about the job, the money and the loss of insurance, hoping that he would have heard from Stream B by now, but that did not happen, as he planned it. In the end, he spilled the beans in an emotional flush of words.

What was I supposed to do now ? All I could do was listen to him talk, and to be present in that moment. Once again, as I look back over the past week, and for the last portion of our lives, Someone Much Greater than we are, is watching us.

And every so often, that Power Greater than ourselves, sends us a sign. A physical sign that we are not alone. The last sign we got, was at the end of the trip to Hamilton in May. That trip was a shit show, but when we got home, a concrete sign was sent to us.

I know that we are not alone right now, for sure.

And at dinner tonight, I spoke these words to hubby. Reminding him that he was not alone, that I was here, and that someone is keeping an eye out for us.

On Stream C, all my kids returned from summer vacations, as school begins the next week for them. We have been welcoming them back a few at a time, over the last little while. The last remaining folks return tomorrow, Friday …

We are all reconnecting. For a handful of graduates who have moved on, they are all relocated in jobs scattered all over Canada and the U.S. Everybody is still sober and that is a good sign, going into the Fall.

**** **** ****

Yesterday around 3 p.m. I was sitting at my desk, and in moments, the sun disappeared from the sky, and it got very dark, very quickly. Environment Canada sent out an emergency storm warning across the web and via text.

As it was dark outside, I stood at the windows and watched the rain move from East to West, across the sky. A rush of wind blew, and the demolition site, just up the block, where they are tearing down the former Children’s Hospital, the wind was blowing so hard that the mounds of dust and debris from the site, began to fly into the air in a flurry of motion.

The rain began to fall, earnestly. Had I not been watching the progress as it happened, I would have missed it. A few hundred yards from the building, I saw a rain cloud open and drop a burst of rain, falling so hard and so fast, that it obscured the sight-line of the buildings and land beneath it. I’d never seen so much rain fall in one concentrated spot like that before. It lasted all of twenty minutes.

Then it was over.

When all was said and done, over 100,000 Montrealer’s from on the island to off island were without power. Many trees were felled. Many roofs were knocked off their buildings, cars were destroyed by falling trees onto cars.

A man on a construction site, here in the city, was injured as he was hit in the face by a two by four, from debris flying through the sky, in his direction.

Off island, several barns were destroyed, including several houses. There was widespread destruction all over the place, from a storm that hit and only lasted mere minutes.

We know today that a type two tornado had dropped from the storm and severe destruction happened.

This was the second Micro-burst storm to hit this city. The last one to hit, had hit the city, West of downtown, in a section of town called NDG. In that storm, it dropped serious rain, and the micro burst destroyed a park full of century old trees. Snapping them into pieces like match sticks.

As it stands, the city is trying to decide what to plant in their place to repopulate the park with trees.

Right now, I am trying to remain calm, and not lose my mind, with the thought that these problems won’t go away very quickly. All we can go is just cope the best way we can, and not get stupid mental over the fact that shit happened in the last week, which we are totally powerless over.

Sometimes God needs to shake the tree because growth is needed, in one area or another. We may not like the tress shaking or the uncertainty of life, but I also know that someone, something greater than we are, has our backs.

At least I can trust God, as I understand Him.

I cannot afford to lose my cookies at the moment.

Forever ???

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At the wedding reception on Saturday, family and friends shared stories about Melissa and Stephan, and their many years of being together, prior to their wedding day. And in fact, The date … May 5th, 11 years prior, was the day that Stephan had asked Melissa to be his girlfriend.

Most couples meet at some point in their lives, and date and later marry. Melissa and Stephan met in high school. There is an old Facebook photo from that time period, long ago, of the two, standing in front of a “Just Married” sign. Portents of the future, they say now.

Who knew that back then, that eleven years later, they would meet in a chapel to make it official. There is a history there for sure.

Both sets of parents had introduction stories about the “other.” When they either first met Melissa, in Stephan’s parents case, or when Melissa’s parents first met Stephan. We got to hear what the parents were thinking at that time, and their concern over “longevity of such a young relationship.” Who could tell, if they would make it, or survive the test of time, and still be together.

A few years into Stephan and Melissa’s relationship, Stephan went into free fall. He was not sure that he wanted to be with Melissa forever, since he had NOT had another girlfriend before, and wasn’t really sure if “this was it …” so to speak.

The next day, he broke up with Melissa. He went home that night and told his mother what he had done. And she asked him bluntly … what the hell did you do that for ??

Thankfully, he had been talking all along with Jessica, Melissa’s younger sister, and his closest friends about the breakup. After receiving wise counsel from all, he had decided that Melissa was the girl he wanted to be with for life. He had to devise a plan to “get her back.”

With Jessica’s advice he went out and bought a “Promise Ring.” The very next day, he met with Melissa to give her that ring.

With that promise of love and devotion, Stephan and Melissa began walking the long path of 9 more years to the altar.

Stephan had figured it out. The girl he asked to be his girlfriend ended up being the woman he would marry on Saturday, last.

A moment happened at the reception that I had Stephan to myself. Oddly, during that night, people had the opportunity to speak one on one with bride and groom, individually.

When the moment came for me, I hit my mark. I told Stephan the story about the “wedding vows on the fridge story.”

Yes, you both had eleven years together before the wedding. You hit some hard times, well, things that were hard on lives so young. You built businesses, and then found a home together. Now you are married. And this is where the “Rubber meets the Road.”

They did not recite the traditional wedding vows …

Wedding vows may also take the following form: I, ____, take you, ____, to be my lawfully wedded (husband/wife), to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

They instead, opted for the HANDS reading that I wrote about the other night.

So I told Stephan about the vows as they are stated. And that now they were married, what happens when shit really hits the fan? What happens when good goes bad, easy goes hard, wellness turns into sickness. When better gets worse, when richer goes poorer, such and so forth.

I told him about people I knew, who got married, because it was the “thing to do at the time.” They really did not think about Forever very well. And for some of them, when things did go south, as they sometimes did, they did not make it, and for many of those couples, break up and divorce was in the cards for them.

I warned him. Told him to be vigilant. To Be a good Boy Scout and “Always be mindful and prepared” because you never know when shit is going to get real.

Right now, in Hubby’s family, shit is getting real. And the writing is on the wall, and death is a forgone conclusion, for Hubby’s Mom. She is frail, and weakening badly. She is not eating. (Once a sick person or an elderly person decides to stop eating) you know, the end is not far away.

My father in law, over dinner, with all of us sitting around him, related my Mother in Law’s frail condition. At one point he was free, and I implored hubby to go talk to his father, and tell him what he needed to hear from hubby. Which he turned around and spat words in my face to the effect that … “I should butt out of his family life…”

He did go talk to his father in the end. And when he left the reception we both spoke to him, offering them whatever help they could ever need, that we would be ready and willing to do whatever needed to be done, when it was necessary.

We are going to lose a family member, the question is When ???

So we are steeled right now for the inevitable. Many of my nieces and nephews are young, many of them have never experienced death in real-time. Stephan needs to know what to do when this event comes around. And how he is going to support Melissa when the time comes.

Warnings that Wedding vows talk about.

Marriage is not always a bed of roses. Life has a funny way of throwing wrenches into life at the worst possible moments.

One never knows when shit is going to get real.

Hubby strode up behind us while I was talking and rolled his eyes at us, and turned to Stephan and said … “Ignore everything Jeremy has just said, because he likes to talk.”

He was afraid I was putting the Fear Of God into our young married man.

Forever is a long time. And Marriage is Forever.

We only hope that Stephan and Melissa last the test of time, till death they do part.

Friday: After the Honeymoon Ends …

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The fact of life, when you are sober is, Life Does Not Stop, It Keeps On Going.

I know that feelings pass, as the days go by. The less we hold on to impermanent things, the better off we are. I’m sad about the death of a man who was uber talented. But that was yesterday. Being so many degrees separated from the epicenter of tragedy, tells me that I can mourn and move on.

So we move on.

I left really early, so I could commune with the dead via music. I arrived at the church with PLENTY of time to do my thing, ALONE. About ten minutes to seven, I was finished setting up and I went to sit outside.

Squirrels were bouncing through the tree canopy. And something very spiritual happened. Something I know to be true to me, that hasn’t happened in a very long time.

Birds are a very significant signs in my life. As I was sitting outside on the steps, I looked in a tree nearby, and there was a Red Breasted Robin sitting in the branches.

She came out of the tree, and landed about six feet from where I was sitting. And she came close and ran around the ground around where I was sitting.

The red breasted robin is significant, because the robin is a spiritual manifestation of my grammy. When ever she comes to visit, it is the robin who shows up.

All my dead relatives came back as birds. My grammy, my grampy and Memere.

That was spiritually significant. I had not been visited like that in a very long time.

We sat a full house, and then some. Lots of visitors from out of town. We are amid the summer visitor rush. The Friday night meeting is unique in many ways. There is not another meeting like ours, in all the city, on the English side.

Tonight’s read spoke about: The Honeymoon. Or as some may call it, the Pink Cloud period that sometimes takes place, in the weeks and months following our entry into the rooms.

Once you sink into your chair and you find your voice, one begins to participate in greater abilities. It seems, for some, that the realities of life, have been suspended.

We spend a little time with our fellows, and some of those fellows become friends as we find our ways. That is a good thing. We may need a little respite from the insanity we have come to learn how to let go of.

My warning to newbies is always the same …

You might be sitting on your pink cloud and everything seems in order as the insanity you walked away from is abated for a while. But like all things natural, life does go on around us. It just does not take a vacation.

It is just waiting for us. And hoping that we’ve learned something minimal by now is the key, so that when the cloud edge comes, you don’t fall off of it, and hit the ground with a THUD. Some go back out, and drink and use again, shit happens.

I’ve seen this happen. So I encourage our men and women to stick close to others in the rooms. Find commonalities. Use the rooms as they present themselves to you.

You CAN, figuratively, GET anything you need from the rooms. That worked for me famously. But times have changed. The rooms fifteen years ago, are not the rooms of 2017.

For me, the first eleven months were really great. I was connected. I had a sponsor that i was connected to with an umbilical cord through my first anniversary.

Sobriety, like life, happens, and sometimes sober people do really Un-Sober things.

At the eleventh month mark, I met my then boyfriend, and the race took off.

That Christmas of 2002, hubby went home to Ottawa and he gave me keys to the apartment we live in today, and said I could stay here, while he was gone.

I never left … tee hee

That was the beginning. Once that train left the station, it never stopped.

The honeymoon was definitely OVER.

Learning how to have a sober relationship took A LOT of work. Learning how to be responsible for another human being, was the beginning of my reaching the point I had been looking for for the whole of my life.

When does a boy become a man ??? Gay or Straight, the answer is the SAME.

Boys become MEN when we learn to put the needs of our significant others before our own.

Putting a home together took YEARS.

This apartment was sterile, dirty white. Take out containers were all over the place. The tv was black and white and had rabbit ears. We did not have a computer. We did not have food in the fridge. We did not have two nickles to rub together.

There were 300 empty beer bottles on the balcony, that took months and months to return, so we could buy groceries. Hubby was a pot head, so we had to cleanse the apartment of weed, rolling machines and papers … UGH !!!

Yesterday I was reorganizing the closet and I found another rolling machine, and a package of papers … Does this ever end ???

Needless to say, it was one thing after another. Mental illness happened. I learned how to care for my boyfriend who was sick for almost a year. That was a huge challenge.

Then he woke up, and we got married …In November 2004.

The Honeymoon was deferred until December that year. Things were honeymoonish for a few weeks.

That did not last for long.

Thirteen years would pass, until that final PROMISE came to pass …

Fear of People and of Economic Insecurities will leave us …

The grind of life took us on a life changing journey together. And we survived it.

In year thirteen and beyond life got exponentially better.

It was clearly NOT a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination.

We both worked our asses off. Went back to school, we amassed 5 University degrees between us.

Sobriety grew on us and not without its challenges.

Life is SO much better today than it was a little more than fifteen years ago.

I had 11 months of non stop meetings. I had 11 months of a sponsor who was part of my life on a daily basis. I had aftercare rehab counseling for two years when I got sober this time. I had everything I needed and NOT a single thing more.

I worked my ass off, for twelve years in sobriety, before BOB came into my life and turned my sober life upside down. I thought I was doing everything right, WRONG …

Bob introduced me to Intense Prayer and Meditation, like I had never heard before.

Three – Seven – Eleven …

My sobriety was definitely enhanced.

Twelve through fifteen was all about learning MORE about the book.

Year Fifteen has been one Hellacious, Terrible, Emotional, Nightmare.

I never want to go through this kind of pain ever again in my life.

In ten days, I will be Fifty years old.

Hallelujah !

It works if you work it.

Tuesday – When is Medicinal Marijuana Allowed ?

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When we put down alcohol, because we are alcoholics, we know that we can never pick it back up. And when we stop smoking POT we also know that we can never smoke again.

Times are changing, and the rules of engagement are also changing.

Living with AIDS for so long, in the very first few months, I was given medicinal marijuana because I was told that it would help me eat and bulk up, and not waste away and die.

So I smoked up.

When I stopped drinking – I had to stop smoking and using recreational drugs as well. Until the day my slip began, and I picked up and began using again, only that time, the using was far worse and had serious consequences when I was done.

When I finally relented and stopped drinking, I had not smoked a joint for over a year, the drink still existed, until December of 2001.

Fast Forward to 5:30 a.m. this morning.

I had gone through hubby’s backpack a couple of hours earlier, and found a zip bag, with all the accoutrements a good pot smoker would have.

As his caregiver, when his behavior changes and he becomes despondent and catatonic sitting in the same room, I needed to figure out what was going on.

He’s just been stoned …

When we met and began co-habitating, we got rid of copious amounts of empty beer bottles and all the pot rollers, papers and assorted other things.

Color me surprised when I made this find earlier this morning.

I was LIVID …

Hubby is smoking. He made an executive decision for himself, assuming that because I was clean and sober, that I would judge him and condemn his using, and toss his shit down the toilet. That was my first word in fact. Toss It …

He did not TRUST me.

Since he kept this a secret, I was absolutely angry and pissed off.

I tried to go back to bed, but only tossed and turned. He got up to pee at 5:30 and I called him into the living room and lit into him like a madman.

Words were said. Threats were made. Tears were shed.

Discussion followed.

Many years ago, in the beginning of his Bi-Polar disorder, he was drugged heavily for ten months until we found the mix that worked. During that time, the drugs emasculated him, robbed him of who he was, and left me with someone I did not know on the back end.

I had to mourn that loss, and decided to stick and stay, because I remembered who he was.

Over the last two or so years, his shrink has been trying to get him off all those pills and to give him back some of his “Self.” That has only worked so far.

Hubby found that the odd joint, now and then, made a real difference in his Bi-Polar state (read: manic depression) and his mental functionality, so he kept smoking.

He did this by himself, here at home, when I was not here.

We have a funny service in Montreal. Pot Delivery systems. You call, they deliver.

I’ve heard of this service from some of my guys before who used it themselves.

I may be clean and sober, that doesn’t mean I am a flag toting militant judgmental prick.

I think, when circumstances warrant, and choices of what we want to do for our personal health and well being, that decision IS up to US, and nobody else. Who am I to judge?

If that time came for me, I would want the same latitude and acceptance of the choices I make when the time came. I know, I am not going to mt death miserable and shitting in a diaper, nor deluded with dementia. I have already chosen my exit plan.

What was I supposed to say, after hearing his explanation of why he made that choice, and what it means to his mental functionality and his happiness ?

NO ???

Our Canadian Government is on track to legalize POT across the board in the next few month hopefully. But medicinal marijuana is available here in Montreal.

One can get a compassionate use card from Health Canada, and you can order pot online and have it sent to you through Canada Post.

There is no shame in being KIND and UNDERSTANDING.

Times are changing in many places, and we have to be accepting of those changes, knowing full well, that I cannot drink or smoke. Again.

In the end this is a Page 417 issue …

ACCEPTANCE IS THE KEY TO ALL MY PROBLEMS.