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Covid Air Canada Supplement

When I published my blog this afternoon, I bewailed the fact that Air Canada’s special deal on cost free flight changes did not apply to me because I had purchased the ticket a while ago, and I had to act two weeks before the flight I wished to change. Since I wrote that I have had no less than three emails from Air Canada. The first offered me the chance to upgrade my existing reservation, an offer I declined. The second told me about a new policy that seemed to mean I could get a refund, but I could not get through to it. The third email was to tell me that the flight I was booked on had now changed its departure time, and offered me options, including cancelling the flight, When I went to that option I was offered a partial refund, or a complete credit against a future flight this year. I took that option.
It is nice to know that Air Canada reacts so positively and fast to my blogs!

The Covid 19 challenge

Sometimes being organised can be a distinct disadvantage.

It was last November when I received the official invitation to an event for those at my College starting their degree between 1955 and 1960 . A group of men either in their 80s or close to it. Probably the last one that I would be invited to as it would normally be 5 years at least between invitations. It would also be the last opportunity to see many of those of my university contemporaries still surviving that enjoy meeting over dinner and an extended post dinner scotch hour. So I accepted the invitation and paid for a room to stay overnight in the college, and also took advantage of one of Air Canada’s offers to purchase my ticket to London. I also noted that the play, Upstart Crow, would be having a limited run in London at the time I would be there. I therefore purchased two tickets for a matinee so I could take one of my sisters in law to see it in return for the use of her spare bedroom while I recover from my overnight flight. I also planned to go and stay for a couple of days with another of my sisters in law who is now 91 and suffering from Parkinsons Disease, while I was over there.
All carefully organised.
But it is not just me
My middle daughter was scheduled to cover in a conference San Diego this week, but that was cancelled yesterday. Both oldest daughter and youngest daughter have entries for the Boston marathon, and the oldest has also been entered for the world age group Marathon championships at the London marathon, now both at risk. Youngest daughter is also meant to give a course in England in May, also probably at risk .
Now comes Covid 19, and a dilemma. Do I go, and risk being quarantined while over there or on my return, and risk catching the disease myself and giving it to others? I am after all in the most vulnerable age group, even if I try to ignore it. I gather that I could rebook my Air Canada ticket without penalty if I make the decision two weeks before my scheduled departure, which is now 8 days away, and the UK situation is still not clear and the event for over 80s has not been cancelled, yet. Actually the cost of the tickets is trivial compared to the loss of capital in the last couple of weeks. On balance I think I shall wait a while to decide.\
Now comes a new feature, an email from Oxford saying they are not sure about whether the dinner will go ahead, and the final decision will come on Friday. They too must be conscious of the vulnerability of 80 year olds. This sounds like a cancellation to me, and if it is cancelled I shall postpone my trip to the UK. As I was forced to do last year as well.

I have mailed the Upstart Crow tickets to my London sister in law so that with luck she can use them with a friend, but the way things are going they will probably close the theatre.

I am pleased to say however, that both my wife and I are healthy and not self isolating, yet!

A sinking feeling

We bought this house to live in in 1973
It had sufficient bedrooms for my wife, the kids and me.
The basement partly finished one room behind a door
Had paneling upon the walls and carpet on the floor
The laundry floor was with plywood raised a little bit
The washer and the dryer sat on top of it.
One of the sheets of plywood made a different sight
For some unknown reason, partly painted white.
In the rest of the basement, the concrete was quite bare
And so I poured some paint on it to provide a little cheer.
After 47 years had passed the paint began to peel.
I needed to replace it to improve the floors appeal.
I bought some floor paint for the job, it is a brownish red
I poured it out upon the floor and used a brush to spread.
When the concrete floors were done, some of the paint remained,
So I went into the laundry to where the floor was stained.
By using a paint roller the red was then applied
And covered up the white bits, or at least I tried.
I had now a red roller, to clean it I did think
The best way to do it, was in the laundry sink.
Alas a lack of planning made my cleaning go astray
As the paint was too waterproof and would not go away.
So now the sink itself sadly it is said
Was covered up with patches to match the floor in red.
My wife then suggested that this is not the way to be
And trusted it would be remedied, presumably by me.
I’ve tried out several strippers, of paint that is of course,
And after soaking in the paint you scrape them off by force
I’ve spent a long time scraping stripper I have used up lots
And now we have a laundry sink that’s grey with reddish spots.

The Happiest Year?

There was a column in the Times last week that reported a study had established that the happiest people were aged 82. As an 82 year old, I am putting my year in review.

I’m told a recent study, and hope that this is true,
Says that you are happiest when you are 82.
A valuable conclusion I am happy to engage,
Based upon the circumstance that is my current age.
My birthday’s in September, March is nearly here
I hope I have not wasted half this clearly special year.
As I review those recent months, since 82 begun
I realise I misconstrued some things that were fun.
Those strange and achy feelings I have in both my knees
Are really for the fun of it, a kind of cosmic tease.
I’m woken up each morning by my wife who says to me
Its time to put the kettle on to make your cup of tea
I make my tea and drink it, get out of bed and then
Stagger to the bathroom for acetaminophen
I cannot take an aspirin for any of my ills
It is contraindicated by one of my other pills
If that does not relieve for me the pain my knees are in
I find the other package, and then spread on Voltaren.
I haven’t had my breakfast yet, so I still have the time
For happiness to show up and celebrate in rhyme.
Morning spreads before me, I eat my toast and jam
And hurry to remind myself how happy now I am.
I turn on my computer so I can read the mail
Hoping that this morning the wi-fi will not fail.
I down load a newspaper so I can read the news
And then print the crossword, so we can solve the clues.
And so the day progresses, does happiness await?
This early in the morning its very hard to state.

If 82 brings happiness and I am having fun

I must have been quite miserable when I was 81.
But patience, we’re but half way through and if I remember
I’ll tell you how the rest has gone, when we reach September.

The steam room

I was sitting in the steam room
The heat was at its peak
When through the heat and moisture
I heard somebody speak.

How are you this afternoon?
Had a busy day?
Got your exercising done
Before you go away?

Do you enjoy retirement?
Is it something you’ve enjoyed
Or is it true as some folks say
You’d rather be employed.

I found it rather puzzling
This chatting in the fog
But still I felt impelled to
Make this a dialogue.

I wasn’t here on Tuesday
Or Saturday I said
The weather was so awful
I quit and stayed in bed

I do like the new treadmill
So I can watch the news
While pounding out the distance
In my running shoes

Do you get here often
Or only when by chance
Your personal ambitions
Include the fitness dance.

I hear the room door open
I am relieved because
He left me without saying
Who the heck he was

The New Loo

The new loo


You may recall I wrote a rhyme
Not so long ago in time.
In which I said I’d had a brush
At fixing up the upstairs flush.
I also said in that last verse
All I did was make it worse.
My wife then offered sage advice
Do not try to fix it twice.
I don’t believe you’d be a master
More likely you’d create disaster.
She said she thought that I should go
And hire a plumber, use a pro.
So of course I thought it nice
To accept my wife’s advice.
This very day with bold defiance
One replaced the old appliance.
Task completed then my bride
Turned the handle, flushed with pride.

The plumbing Klutz

We’ve had an interesting time for this past week or three
The heating was not working as its supposed to be
We had to bring a plumber in to find out what was wrong
And fix it so it heated up and stayed warm all day long.
I watched the guy while working, and I was quite impressed
As he had to change some of the things, and then left the rest
Now this of course involved electric power a special kind of threat
To amateurs who, fix things that are not trained as yet.
But I had a problem of plumbing yet to do
To find the right solution to the upstairs flushing loo.
No electricity involved, not difficult to see
The problem should be solvable by amateurs like me.
Each time you flushed the thing the water kept on flowing
Long after that the tank was filled it just kept on going.
I told the plumber all the symptoms I’d seen
And asked him for suggestions as to what it might have been
He said its very likely that you need a brand new flapper
To stop the water flowing when the tanks full in the crapper.
So I bought a brand new flap valve and installed it with great care
Following instructions that the package had to share.
I flushed, the water filled the tank it, I made triumphant cry
But when I tried it out again, I found the tank was dry.
Faced with this frustration just one way now remains
To get the upstairs loo to flush, turn on and off the mains.

My wife said will you never learn at fixing you’re a bummer

It really makes a lot more sense just to phone the plumber

Klutz denial


There have been recent allegations that I am in many ways an incompetent klutz, unable to undertake successfully the simplest of household repairs. Despite being one of the authors of these allegations, I am pleased to offer a categorical refutation based on recent successes with my trousers.

During the winter I prefer to wear cordoroy pants as they keep my legs warmer, and they are also washable, and do not show much innate grubbiness. I also use a belt, instead of suspenders to prevent the collapse of the aforesaid trousers down to my ankles.

I was very bored with having to frequently replace these belts, when the holes became enlarged and resulted in breakage, I was also annoyed by periodically having to create new holes. I was therefore delighted to see in my favourite Canadian Tire Store a new design of belt, that did not have holes, but ridges that were caught by the buckle structure, making the infinitely adjustable. Unfortunately the teeth on the buckle stop catching on the belt after a while as the end of the belt gets fatigued. This results in the buckle, and sometimes the trousers, falling off. In a stroke of genius I cut off half an inch of belt to get the grip back, it worked brilliantly. The only snag is that I will have to reduce my waist by half an inch every time the problem returns.

You may say, that the button at the top of the trouser fly would prevent the collapse of leg protection and public indecency. Unfortunately the button holding the top together is made of metal, and has worn out both the button hole and the cloth beyond it. Another disaster, calling for another stroke of genius. I bought some upholstery thread, and stitched back and forth where the end of the button hole would be, so I now have a new hole for the button. After four days it is still holding.
I am not a klutz, but a sane practical genius.

I spoke too soon, I went out in the car to go skiing, and when I arrived at my destination I discovered that I had left the boots at home. I went home, put on the boots, and tried again. I found that I had my wife’s skis, and not mine. I came home to make dinner and realised the slow cooking was because the pan was on the wrong burner. Clearly my pride led to my fall.

The Family Portrait

It’s a very pretty picture of the women in my life
All three of my daughters and of course mycharming wife.
The picture’s not a recent one, its from 1973
All of them much older now, the same applies to me.
Back in those days I wondered what the future years would hold
But now I have some memories and stories to be told.
My wife just starting studying down the road at UNB
On route to completion of a fine PhD.
And then as a professor, a career in something new
For eighteen years distinguished in her role at STU.
Oldest daughter Judy is an athlete all the way
I hate to think how far she’s running every day
She’s working for a sports store, and training on and on
Preparing to be running yet another marathon.
Her children, both grown up now in a life they have enjoyed
And thankfully the pair of them are happily employed.
Middle daughter Robin, an entrepreneur at heart
Practises successfully the photographic art,
Many thousand pictures her cameras have exposed
In developing reputation of her company Unposed.
Susan is the youngest one, one son is still in school
He’ll soon be like his brother at uni, that’s the rule
Susan’s a computer geek, coding well and oft.
Now she’s independent, but she was with for Microsoft.
She also is a runner, going on and on
And joins her oldest sister in the Boston marathon
As for me its 26 long years since I left my employ
And now in recreation my hours I can enjoy.
I used to be a runner as my daughters like
But now my knees have let me down, I only ride a bike.

The bedside table

Is there a little table right beside your bed,
And to see what’s on it, do you simply turn your head?
A place to store necessities you might need in the night
Carefully located so you do not need a light.
I have one by my bedside with everything I need
I’ll tell you all about it, and bring you up to speed.
A radio to turn on early in the day
To tell me what the weather’s like and what the news will say
A big electric jug like thing I turn on as I wake
A vital component for my cup of tea to make.
Assorted little bottles with assorted little pills
I’m taking night and morning for treating all my ills
Some are by prescription not all of them but then
I keep a handy bottle of acetominophen
And then there’s melatonin I also tend to keep
Since someone once told me it would help me get to sleep.
I even keep some tissues handy I can seize
If I have a sudden urge to loose an awesome sneeze.
An ideal situation, how could I ask for more
Until I knock a bottle off and spread pills on the floor.

But onwe more experience can be never spurned

If The jug is turned on we now both have learned

When my wife turns her heater on disaster will ensue

We’ll be plunged in cold and darkness , circuit breaker blew