Bonding over the flu bug

What do bonding and the flu bug have in common?  Not much, except when you and your family members spend 24 hours looking after each other.

My son started feeling the flu bug symptoms first in this household.  Around 9pm he complained that his stomach felt bad after an evening snack.  He started vomiting violently shortly after.  I had gone for our usual one hour walk with my husband, but could not muster the energy to complete the usual trek half way through.  I guess my body’s energy level was being used up trying to fight off the flu bug.

I had gone for our usual one hour walk with my husband, but halfway through could not muster the energy to complete the usual trek.  I guess my body’s energy level was being used up trying to fight off the flu bug.

Although I did not understand why I was so tired at the time, it quickly became apparent on our return home.  If my other son, his girlfriend and her 3-year-old daughter had not been sick with the flu the previous week, I would have attributed our illness to the salmon the members of our household ate for dinner a few hours earlier.

I went to bed exhausted around 1130 pm, and soon after the vomiting started.  My husband started vomiting around 2am.  Luckily we have enough bathrooms to accommodate three sick people at the same time; it was not a pretty site.

A kind neighbour brought (left it on the doorstep and rang the bell) over Pedialite freezies, Gatorade and gingerale to keep us hydrated throughout the 24 hour ordeal.

I posted a similar story a few years ago.  When I worked in the health care industry, the flu shot was mandatory each year.  The occupational health nurse went around the hospital I worked in, inoculating members of each department.  It was quick and convenient.  Since retiring, I see the advertisements for free flu shots at local drug stores here in Ottawa each fall, but never seem to find the time to stop in to get one.

After this ordeal, I will make sure I get my flu shot next year!

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Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially the surprises

This week I am in Corpus Christi, Texas to help my sister celebrate her 60th birthday. My niece planned the party; my job was just to show up.  I flew from Ottawa to Chicago to Houston to Corpus Christi, landing a mere 45 minutes before the surprise party started Saturday afternoon.  My sister’s birthday is not until Wednesday, January 13th, but we decided to make it a birthday week…

Flying into Corpus Christi, I could easily see why it is dubbed “the sparkling city by the sea”…

 

Arriving at the restaurant where the party was held just 10 minutes before the guest of honour, my brother and I took our positions behind the bar pretending to be bartenders.  Our sister arrived, was greeted by her friends and family who guided her to the bar for a margarita. The expression on her face when she realized the bartenders were her brother and sister visiting from Canada was priceless…

 

The surprise party was a huge success, just the beginning of a wonderful week spent with my sister I haven’t seen in several years.  Stay tuned for more pictures as the birthday week goes on….

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

 

Hearing a great eulogy makes you want to be a better person

I recently listened to an awesome eulogy for a man I hardly knew and came away wanting to be a better person.  I was at the funeral for the father of my husband’s close friend.  I had only met this man a few times, but his life story, or at least the manner in which people close to him recounted it, had a tremendous impact on me.

There is nothing more uplifting than a great eulogy.  Great eulogies make you want to make your own life count for something in this universe, to make a positive and profound impact on the people around you.

To make that impact I believe you should maintain a healthy balance between family, work and fun.  To earn the respect of your family, friends and coworkers, you must respect and value them in return.  It is also crucial to realize what is important in life.  Appreciating and cherishing family, friends and the small things life has to offer instead of materialistic things is a step in the right direction.

I read this quote in a recent blog post and thought it appropriate to reblog it here:

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Are you doing your best to make the world a better place?  How will people remember you in your eulogy?

My Grandparents’ Farm House

The following article was written in the Seaway News:

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Howard Beaudette may have chosen to be an accountant for his career, but his second calling was to be a gentleman farmer, or by his description, a farmer wannabe.

Howard, his wife Noreen and their daughter Suzanne have lived on their 150 acre “hobby” farm on Pleasant Valley Road near Ingleside since 2007. The house is located on a 50 acre tract with adjoining outbuildings, combined with another 100 acre parcel used to grow cash crops and raise cattle.

The original 200 acre property ( Lot 28, Concession 5, of the former Osnabruck Township) was granted by Crown Patent to Louis Gautier in 1797. It came into Howard’s mother’s family – the Hodgins – in 1852. Howard’s great-great grandfather was a stonemason, and he was the one who built the original home in the 1850’s. Constructed with stones quarried locally, it had two sections, with the summer kitchen without a basement being a later addition.

Windmill Construction began the building of a modern addition to the original home in 2006 and the family moved into it in 2007. Only the most discerning eye would know that it wasn’t part and parcel of the original structure where Howard grew up with is farming parents and seven brothers and sisters. Although the original house was built using stone from the area with mortar produced from a lime kiln located on the property, stone from Quebec was used for the new structure.

The summer kitchen is now the dining room with new pine flooring over the original wooden floor beams. All the paneling is made from butternut, and the 22 inch thick walls make for deep window sills. In keeping with the history of the house, the room is decorated with antiques, including an old wooden ice box that has been converted to a liquor cabinet.

A narrow door in the dining room opens to an equally narrow staircase that leads to a guest bedroom, the only other part of the original farmhouse that is currently being used. TheBeaudette’s have yet to decide when, or how, to renovate the interior of the remainder.

When Howard bought the family farm from his siblings in 1984, he had all the stone work repointed. He first rented the old farm house while he and his family lived in Ingleside, putting in long hours to upgrade lawns and farm buildings. When they made the decision to move back to the country, they hired an architectural designer, Charlene Zanbelt, to draw up plans for their new home. The design came as a result of many discussions with Howard and Noreen as to what they wanted in their new home. They wanted lots of light, lots of room and lots of storage space. Noreen insisted that the bathroom on the upper level have a window, and she got one. It actually looks down into the great room/sitting room, but the window is indeed there.

The home is filled with character, with all the modern conveniences blending in with the old country look. One of the walls in the new kitchen is the outside wall of the old summer kitchen.

The new addition is an open concept post and beam construction, with the two main centre posts measuring 25 feet in height. The combination great room/sitting room, kitchen, eating area, laundry room, bathroom and storage area complete the main floor layout. All the cabinetry in the house – the dining table, hutch, benches, built-in spice cabinet, coffee table, etc. were designed and built by Dave Fougere, Cabinetmaker. The original design called for a fireplace to the ceiling but the Beaudettes chose to install a propane unit which is surrounded by a stone wall and hearth, built from stones from the area, so that the corner beam remained exposed.

The barn on the property is newly constructed from materials taken from a century old 80 foot bank barn from the MacGregor family farm, near Martintown. However, it blends in like it’s been there forever. There is also a grapevine covered stone wall, which has been restored by Howard.

Noreen, who worked as a hairdresser for 20 years, showcases her decorating talents throughout the house, and has certainly made the house a “home”. Noting that she learned a great deal about country living from Howard’s mother, she enjoys some of the “old time” skills, such as pickling, preserving and making bread and pies.

The Beaudettes have 20 head of Scottish Highland cattle and a few pigs and chickens on their so called “hobby” farm. They also plant a forty acre plus cash crop which varies from year to year, and maintain large vegetable gardens and apple trees.

Moving back to the country just came naturally to the Beaudettes. It was just like “going home”

My mother was Howard Beaudette’s sister.  She grew up on that farm, and although she couldn’t wait to move to the city of Cornwall as a teenager, we (my parents, siblings and I) went to visit my grandparents there often and have many fond memories of the farm.  I am certain my love of gardening and the appreciation of the beauty I see in nature came from this portion of my family history.  After my grandfather died in 1984, I went there often to visit my grandmother and to take her to run her errands. Her commentary as we drove by the local landmarks is still very fresh in my mind.   I went back to the farm for a quick visit this past weekend, which was Thanksgiving here in Canada.  Although many things have changed, the memories came flooding back.  My mother’s name is still hand written in the cement doorstep outside of the barn; I guess she wanted to leave her mark there after all…