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Just another Friday

Friday morning is our shopping day at Sobey’s, during the senior’s dawn patrol. Unfortunately my wife has a new fracture in her arm, and can not push a supermarket trolley, so I had to do it alone, rising at 6:15 am, a lot earlier than normal. Fortunately we have a very sophisticated shopping list on a spread sheet that can easily be modified as we realise a new need during the week. It was updated on Thursday night, and as I entered the supermarket I remembered it was still on the kitchen table. I did the shopping anyway and more or less got things right.
Once the groceries had been put safely away, I proceeded to the planned activities of the day.
About 20 years ago the concrete steps to our front door had tilted, due to frost heave, to the point that they had to be removed, and they were replaced by wooden steps and a covered porch. On each side of the steps was a wooden grid, presumably to prevent skunks from moving in. Over the years a couple of trees had started to grow under and through the steps and the grid, a fact I could no longer ignore. I discovered that I could remove the grids to get access to the trees, but they suffered in the process and needed repair. Being a complete incompetent as far as carpentry, I went to a local hardware store and asked about buying some replacement strips (which I now are called lathes) for the grids. I was told that they came in bundles of 50, and why did I want to use them anyway. It appeared that I could buy a four by eight foot grid for only $9. That seemed
much more sensible, so I bought two of them. I then realised that 8×4 grids would not fit in our Honda Civic, so I had to call a friend with a pickup who kindly “volunteered “ to come down and pick them up.

We loaded the grids and went back to the store to pick some other stuff up, and then as I was about to drive away, the car shuddered and there was a grinding noise. Another car moving in to the adjacent parking space had not noticed the bike rack protruding from the back of my car. He hd ripped open the panelling on his doors. He was very upset and apologetic, he was 91 and had not had an accident in 65 years, we exchanged insurance information, and I realised that bike rack was dead, After phoning my insurance company, I went to the bike shop to try to buy a new rack, they had one at a reasonable price, but they could not get the old one off. I had not taken it off during the winter as I still bike then, and the attachment to the car had firmly welded itself together, brute force did not work to pull it apart, I finally found a friendly service station who removed the whole thing from the car and by use of heating managed to open up the connection, and replace the important bit on the car. So I could now buy and install the new carrier.

Now I returned home and settled down to trying to paint the new grids, cut them down to size and install them all in more than a days work. Fortunately the man with a pickup also had a very fancy saw which he plugged in and removed the trees under the steps.

It was my turn to make dinner so I felt that my problems were over for the day, until I got the refrigerator crisper drawer jammed on a box of spinach, and an entire box of blue berries spilled and rolled all over the kitchen floor.

I felt fully entitled to my post dinner scotch.

An arm in harms way

A year ago in March, it was not very nice,
When on a frosty morning my wife fell on the ice.
I rushed her to emergency for assistance for my bride
While her left arm was useless hanging by her side.
After she was x-rayed sadly it was spoken
That in several places her left arm was broken.
They took her into surgery to minimise the harm
And used metal for replacement in her elbow and her arm
It took a while for her to heal and use the arm herself ,
To button up a blouse or to take things from a shelf.
By Christmas it was nearly healed and she could dance and sing
Looking forward to the chance of biking in the spring
Winter went on for ever but in April there was hope
That with May’s arrival with biking she would cope.
We took her bike down to the store, who fixed it up like new
So we could ride together as we liked to do.
The first rides went quite easily around the country side
The two of us together, riding side by side.
But then came a disaster as we rode out of town
I heard a crash behind me as my wife came tumbling down.
She lay there on the roadway, underneath her ride
Tangled in her bicycle her arm clutched to her side.
A lot of helpful people came rushing to our aid
To help her from entanglement. The Covid rules were stayed.
I got her to the doctor and then on up the hill,
For X ray at emergency, while trying to keep it still.
I left her at the doorway, with Covid rules in force
I couldn’t go in with her to stay with her of course.
They called for me to fetch her back in about an hour
I sped up there to get her as fast as I had power.
Yes she had a fracture higher up her arm
Than where she broke it last year. She accepted it with calm.
So now we hope recovery will help her without fail
But don’t be too surprised if you see a bike for sale

Memories of Victory

 

It is May 8, 2020. Seventy five years since the war in Europe ended. We have seen the old news reels, heard the old speeches and heard Vera Lynn sing “We’ll Meet Again” again, for those of my generation, we also have our own memories of those momentous days when the war came to an end. My home was in the London suburbs, not a particularly popular target for the Luftwaffe, but still subject to bombing by planes that were lost or avoiding the greater flak risk of central London. Like most of the hoses in our neighbourhood we had received significant damage
for the bombing and the V1s and V2s, and by May 1945 there were already builders and decorators at work repairing the damage, paid I presume by the Government. In our house all the interior ceilings were cracked and need to be replaced. This meant that plasterboard replaced the plaster and lath construction that had previously been there. This in turn meant that there was a large amount of discarded wood around, not only from our house, but others on the street. It was decided to have a neighbourhood bonfire to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. Using a hand cart a mass of combustibles was collected and take to a vacant site just down the road. A scarecrow type reproduction of Hitler was hung from a telegraph pole outside our house, with a message on a sheet of paper pinned to his chest, it read “mit me 7:30, watch me burn 7:45″. At 7:30 we duly processed down the road with the neighbours and a magnificent blaze ensued. I have no doubt that the adults carried on a more alcoholic celebration later that night but it would have been after my bedtime.
VJ day came 3 months later, I remember that I was playing with a Meccano set in the living room with the radio on when the announcement came through. I remember going into the kitchen and asking my mother if now that the war was ended would my father still have to go to work! I was a little naive back then.

What are we missing

Back in the days pre Covid, we all would gather round
And over cups of coffee discuss what we had found.
Or in the bar just after work exchange our current views
On weather, personalities and what’s featured on the news.
We had a chance behind our hands to wonder if its true
What Mr X with Mrs Y were rumored wont to do.
Expressing fears that love affairs might just be going on
Not simply sharing training for some future marathon.
But that we are all locked up, at least six feet apart
How can such information we legally impart
Alas the times are changing and sadly it is said
As a victim of the virus gossip is now dead.

You win some, you lose some.

As old age crept up on us we sometimes felt forlorn
And lazy so we hired someone to maintain our lawn.
The mowing was just part of it, there was another thing
A fall clean up to remove the leaves, and one in the spring.
The past two years the clean up failed to happen in the fall
When falling snow submerged the leaves in early winter pall.
The clean up crew arrived this week, fulfilled their task, hooray!
Here in time to beat the snow that just arrived today.

A Covid challenge

We all now know that Covid can do more than make you sick
It creates some other problems that you have to lick
Before they over take you with troubles unresolved
These other complications must be swiftly solved.
I’ll give you an example, hand washing 50 times a day
Creates demand for drying in a fast efficient way.
We decided that paper towels could solve the problem best
And then addressed the problem where the roll of towels should rest.
We parked them by the toilet, while we thought what we should do
They solved themselves the problem . They fell into the loo.
Supplies of paper towels now are not simply found
So we must resuscitate the roll that had been drowned.
Carefully unwrapping the wet and soggy sheets
I hung them over chairs upon the backs and on the seats.
This morning they were all dried out, and despite my many fears
None were stuck on seriously to any of the chairs.
I still don’t have a handy place for storing them, meanwhile
I’ll leave them on a chair seat in a tall untidy pile

Covid Shopping

Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, 20 centimetres of snow forecast for tonight and tomorrow.
So we went shopping at 8:15 am.
There was a socially distanced line up out side the supermarket, so I joined it so that my wife did not have to wait outside. After 20 minutes I was at the front of the queue, and she went into the store.
Knowing that there was a limit to how long my wife can tolerate shopping, I returned to the back of the lineup, so that I could relieve her after a while. This time it was 25 minutes before I got to the front of the line, washed my hands as instructed, put on my face mask,(a very pretty one made from, a pair of socks), and went in search of her.
As all the shopping aisles are one way only, it took me a while to find her, she had half the shopping done, but unfortunately a rather small cart.
I took over, and then had to wait a while for a very slow male shopper to change his mind frequently, thus delaying every one else.
I tried to be clever and bypass him, but found myself trying to go in the wrong direction down an aisle to the horror of other shoppers.
With the small cart it became rather hazardous to add extra items, but I managed to balance the eggs safely.
Finally I collected most of the items on the list and headed for the socially isolated line up for the check out.
Not wishing to repeat last week’s experience, when I had to sort out the pile of groceries myself, I succumbed to buying bags so that they would be packed for me.
All was run through and the time came to pay the computer screen said I had spent $509.15. I did not believe it and insisted on it being checked.
There was an item called groceries with a price of $300, where it should have been a pound of pears. They made the correction, and I got the pears for free.
It was 9:45 am, one and a half hours from the beginning

Under the Cushions

“Stay at home” leaves time to clean

Parts of home seen and unseen

The couch was there upon my list

Of jobs that I had long-time missed

Beneath the cushions, what surprise

Awaited there before my eyes

Pens and pencils, lady bird,

Paper, leaves and most absurd

In dust and sand were ten dried peas

Were they all carried in by fleas?

Did Tim and I eat supper there

And kiss, so we both dropped a share?

Or did the cleaners just for fun

Put them in there one by one?

The answer we may never know.

I’ll water them so they can gr

“Stay at home” leaves time to clean

Parts of home seen and unseen

The couch was there upon my list

Of jobs that I had long-time missed

Beneath the cushions, what surprise

Awaited there before my eyes

Pens and pencils, lady bird,

Paper, leaves and most absurd

In dust and sand were ten dried peas

Were they all carried in by fleas?

Did Tim and I eat supper there

And kiss, so we both dropped a share?

Or did the cleaners just for fun

Put them in there one by one?

The answer we may never know.

I’ll water them so they can grow.

Sheila- for a change!

The new shopping experience

On Friday I went shopping with my wife to buy supplies
Of food and such necessities on which one’s life relies
We used the supermarket nearest to our door
We understand the layout we’ve both been there before.
We parked the car as usual and then saw something new
The store door was not open, outside there was a queue.
The folks used social distancing carefully spread apart
And when the door was opened some movement could start
My wife does not like standing long so I went out to wait
So she could then replace me at my turn at the gate.
She then received instructions as to what she had to do
To follow all the arrows and ensuring bags were new
It was really quite confusing, going place to place
In the right direction, leaving proper space.
She was gone for 30 minutes so I then went in too
To takeover the shopping cart the least that I could do.
I finished up the shopping we’d carefully made a list.
With just some little extras, I could not resist.
The line up for the check out was clearly organised
I got there fairly quickly, pleasantly surprised.
Once the guy had scanned things he left them on the shelf
He told me that the bags I had I had to fill myself
So I just had to do it, it took a little while
To fill the bags with groceries from one unsorted pile.
And then there came the moment at which I had to pay
The bill was such that I hope now we won’t return till May

Just Zooming along

In the throes of isolation being urged to stay at home,
And limited when going out as to how far you can roam.
Shopping for necessities, you have to have supplies
And if you do it carefully, take some exercise.
So how then do we compensate for what we cannot do?
We try communication by systems, to us, new.
It started when a daughter a real computer whiz
Invited us and siblings to do a family quiz.
The inevitable consequence, a new toy in the room
We had to get instructions to log us in to Zoom.
The happy smiling faces of the young now we would see,
A contrast to my puzzled face just staring back at me
But things worked out better than they had earlier been
When they and not my own face stared back from my screen.
We all logged on, I think that’s right, its what you’re meant to say
And faced up to the challenge and entered in the fray.
She showed a set of pictures and we had to try
To see what people in them we could identify.
The answers were displayed on screen and not by voice
Selected from a set of four so you could make a choice.
The process seemed so simple, an easy way of sharing
But now all the children know the sloppy clothes I’m wearing