The “Assumption of Retirement”

No matter how much I look at this picture I only see the young woman… yet I know there is an ‘older’ women in the picture. It’s all about perception I suppose.  

Lady_Granny

We have often heard ‘retired’ as to our personal lifestyle and how we live every day… So here’s a story for you….

Assumption, A Dog & A Rabbit

A few years back, my husband and I were out to dinner with another couple, friends of ours. My husband’s friend was the head of animal control for a very large county and always had some interesting stories to tell. This night the couple happened to be a bit late. When they arrived they were both laughing and said “Boy, do we have a story for you”.

Our friend had employees who were friends with a couple who owned a dog. The couple’s dog liked to jump the fence of the neighbor next door and try to play with the neighbor’s big white pet rabbit who was often in the neighbor’s backyard. The dog never hurt the rabbit. He just wanted to play. The couple’s dog would race around and just wag his tail at the rabbit. Even still, this was obviously a problem for both couples, but somehow they were able to coexist. The two couples and neighbours never got to know each except for the occasional fence jumping and separating of the two pets. This went on for a few years.

The couple with the dog had come home late one night and let the dog out to play in the back yard. They were tired and paid little attention to their dog’s activities. They heard the dog frantically barking and growling and went to see what was going on. In their dog’s mouth was the white rabbit. The rabbit wasn’t moving; he was really dirty and a bit rough for wear and tear. They were horrified and panicked. OH MY GOODNESS, our dog has killed our neighbour’s pet rabbit.

The couple removed the rabbit from their dog’s mouth, put it in a box and stared it. Their dog just whimpered and was acting very strangely. The couple asked; “What should we do?” They talked for a long time wringing their hands, feeling terrible about the rabbit. The big question was what WERE they going to tell their neighbors.

In the meantime, they had noticed that their neighbours weren’t home, and it appeared that they hadn’t been when their dog had jumped the fence. The couple came up with an idea. They talked about it for a minute, deciding what they would do.

The couple washed the rabbit, blew-dried his fur, combed and fluffed him up to make him look like he was still alive. It was a masterpiece. Leaving their dog in the house, they snuck over to the absent neighbors backyard and carefully place the cleaned up, fluffed up rabbit in a place he would usually play. Then they snuck back to their house and waited…, and they wait… for what must have seemed like a terribly long time. Then they heard the other neighbors arrive…, and they listened. Nothing happened. So they went about the evening but kept an ear open for any noise just in case they heard something.

Then it happened. The woman neighbor started screaming. She was obviously very distraught… DUH. The couple stared at each other and decided they needed to go ASK “Whatever was wrong.” Leaving their nervous and agitated dog in the house, they went out to their adjoining fence, peered over they saw their neighbors staring at the fluffed up dead rabbit. Their neighbors were frozen in place not moving towards their pet. They were just staring at it. Then the couple asked in the most casual voice they could muster; “What’s wrong?.” The woman neighbor stared at them for a bit and said. “He came.” The couple with the dog looked at each other, and then the dead rabbit and asked; “What do you mean?.” The neighbors explained; “What we meant was our rabbit passed away yesterday and we buried him near his favorite spot. When we came home, there he was…. ,” pointing to the fluffy dead rabbit. All the couple with the dog could say was “Oh.” The neighbor’s husband then moved towards their deceased fluffy dead rabbit. He realized the rabbit was still dead. He looked upset AND very confused.

That was when the couple with the dog noticed the hole in their neighbor’s garden. The couple stared at each other then gave their neighbors their condolences in the most sincerest fashion possible. They turned and went back to their house, closed the door, stared at each other again and then busted out laughing.

We later learned the couple had surmised that their dog had jumped the fence found the grave of his rabbit friend and dug him up. The dog was upset that the rabbit wasn’t moving and brought him to them for help, which explained his strange behavior. The couple never did tell their neighbors what they had done, how could they. They just keep it their private secret. The rabbit was reburied in a different place. A new fence was put in place of the old one; a higher fence this time so that the dog couldn’t find himself over in their neighbors yard.

 

It begins with a thought on “The Friendly Giant & a Harpist”

friendly giant

Today’s blog starts begins with the TV program I watched as a child – The Friendly Giant and a Harpist.

I read an article called, “The Harpist and The Harp” by Annie Rosenberg.  She shared memories of her mother- The Harpist.  A Mother, who played her harp in Operas and ballets but was famous for playing the harp music in the opening theme music for the TV program: The Friendly Giant.

The writer shared that her friend’s parents came home at six o’clock and did ‘the grind’, as I call it: dinner, homework, TV, bedtime stories, laundry.  Her Mother sailed out of the house, often at 6 pm, lipsticked and perfumed, black skirts swirling around her, to play a show.  Annie Rosenberg’s memories of a Mother’s career and her lovingly moments with her, shared life having a different a mother compared to her friends more traditional parents.

Anyone reading my blog knows I’m a non-traditional parent having the role of ‘going to work Mom’ while Dave had the ‘stay home Dad’ role.  Not so uncommon today but certainly it was 15 years ago.

So what will my children say? What will my Grandchildren write?  All I know is that I have loved being a non-traditional Mother to my kids.  Our interesting life maybe leading us on a journey of new adventures, with a daughter wanting to be in Europe for school and a son and his wife already there.  We will have new adventures as their parents where they are the nucleus of the world(s) in which Dave and I swirl around.   Moving within their worlds of school, jobs, being future parents themselves.   It’s exciting to dream of what to do and how to manage our time and work life. So what does the next 5 years look like?

It starts with a dreaming list of places, ideas, ways.

  • Housesitting
  • Having a purpose like hiking; cooking with locals; slow travel; motorbike riding; learning
  • Train travel
  • Weather research
  • Eat out in locally own restaurants only (no chains)
  • Teach English for free for free cooking lessons
  • Wine: Portugal, Spain, Georgia, Serbia, Italy – to name by a few
  • Farmer markets
  • Coimbra – Skopje – Sibiu – Kosice – Kutna Hora – Cesky Krumlov – Ohrid – Nis

I know one thing for certain that my children (and future Grandchildren) will share – ‘her favourite possession was her passport!’

passportused passport

I missed the memo


silly motherinlaw

I missed the memo “Bring Wine, you’re having dinner with your Mother-in-Law (MIL).”

Apparently it was really a shitty deal for MIL that we 3 Grants went travelling for two months and shared one month as 5 Grants.

Did we send postcards? – YES.

Did we write emails? – YES.

Was it enough? – NO.

I have always known that MIL loves her one and only son more. His sisters have always joked he is ‘the favoured one’.   He (which includes me) have lived for 20+ years around the corner from said MIL and she loved having him close. I mean who else would take out her garbage? The last 5 years we have been within 45 minute drive away from her.  My husband, aka “the favoured one” did regular phone calls, lunches out, and helped solve TV remote control issues over the phone at 8 am.  He has been kind, patient and gracious and sees her at least once a week and pub lunches are abundant.

So… I sat there as MIL had at least a ten minutes rant about her abandonment by “us” – while talking at ME directly the entire time. Apparently, we can go away but only for one month at a time. (WTF? I thought we paid for this trip.)  I do believe it was said that there was no way I could understand not seeing your child for two months. (WTF? – my son lives in Poland).

I suppose I could have simply shut up and listened but I’m just not that kind of DIL.   Instead I reached for a glass of wine part way through MIL’s diatribe of abandonment and calmly acknowledged her feelings (See previous paragraph on how that went over.) When that didn’t work, I calmly reminded her that when she was in her 50’s, with children that were launched-adults, she and her husband travelled and did whatever, whenever, however.   I was politely corrected that travelling in a motorhome, going to Hawaii via a cruise and all that they did was NOT the same thing as our trip because we were in Europe. (again – WTF?).

Ahhhh family dinners?   Welcome home!!

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P.S. I may have to mail a postcard to MIL from the next trip that states the following:

nice mother in law

 

 

Which Way

 

IMG_0094

The one thing that we have experienced since being home is the question of who we are and what we’ve done, how our life looks and choices we have made to ‘get there’ by our choices.

One of our biggest changes we made was our decisions on ‘stuff’.  It is entirely a choice by so many people, to keep stuff.  Let’s face it, reality TV shows depict the crippling effects of hoarding of stuff. For us, I personally feel we’d be in the “no way” can we travel had we needed to keep ‘stuff’.

We have had the pleasure of experiencing our 2 months of travel because we chose ‘the other way’.

I have never been a ‘shit shuffler’ (Thank you to my sister for allowing me to watch her neighbour do this with his cars.)  Nor can I do “frisbee clutter”. Which means, do not offer to toss me your stuff, like a frisbee, that you no longer want as it will not ‘add’ value to my life.

I’m totally 100% understanding that some people like to add stuff to their life, which would be in stark contrast to my need to simply put in the alley and give away free.  I also appreciate that some people ‘need’ frisbee clutter and to be given stuff, as they have lost theirs, which is why garage sales, boot sales and church sales work so well!  And I am personally grateful to local thrift shops that ‘recycle’ my frisbee clutter.

We were recently told that if we need to and want to ‘do something’, all we have to do is “sell something”.   The irony in that suggestion is we have been doing exactly that, all along, to get to the “other way”… a place Dave and I have been good at creating a path to.

So…. STUFF…  it seems to be what is the factor in discussions of late.  In particular – to keep stuff, give away stuff or to sell stuff.  We make that decision based upon:

  • THIS WAY
  • THAT WAY
  • THE OTHER WAY
  • NO WAY

AND because of “OUR WAY”.

We are accepting of how people get to their “this way/that way/ the other way / no way”.  For us,  we take the path that is non-traditional and “our way” seems to work!   We have a week of give-away or sell-away as we are now beach house-less on a path to…..

ourway

 

 

Will This Matter in a Year from Now? 5 Years from Now?

eye map    Day 4 at Chez Grant….

Our bed is decadent and I’m still in love with the city of Vancouver.  My stove has had a bit of a work out and we’ve already seen and fed family, caught up with a couple of friends and had neighbours stop by to welcome us back.

We are being asked “Are you Happy to be at Home?”  And the honest answer is “yes and no”.  We have family here and we also have family in Poland.  We had an amazing trip and there were things that went totally pear-shaped and things that were spectacular.  Whilst I’m not ‘quite’ planning another trip, I’m sure the day in the future for that event will not be too far off.

For those who haven’t followed the one post I made, we 3 Grants travelled to the following places:

  • Vancouver – Torun – Inowroclaw – Gizycko – Sztynort – Mikolajki – Warsaw – Oxford – Stratford upon Avon – Chipping Camden – Moreton on Marsh – Bourton on the Water – Winchcombe – York – Leeds – Macclesfield – Amsterdam – Split – Omis – Cavtat – London – Vancouver.

Travelling to foreign countries is not meant to make you feel at home. The country is designed to make it’s own people feel comfortable.  You can merely hope to not stand out in big white American running shoes (aka trainers) which scream “I’m American” and we all know my feelings on being mistaken for anything other than Canadian!

We are not meant to go to Starbucks for coffee in Split.  Instead we should sit at a local café and to order a cappucinno.  When it arrives, look at it longingly, smell it’s glorious smell, take the first sip and think “WTF is this?” <best answer – you are not in Italy honey you are in Croatia – comes to mind!!)

Buon giorno. Cappuccino?

Buon giorno. Cappuccino?

 

Yesterday morning, I was told how ‘great and relaxed’ I looked!?!  confused-old-woman  Which is a by-product of swimming in Croatia, walking in England, Sailing in Poland and truly waking up with a new agenda every day.   Sometimes the days were simply sitting and reading and wondering how Donald Trump is making out as a candidate in the US Elections.  (Yes, I am following our Canadian ones also but they are truly not as entertaining as we are missing a guy like Donald to ‘shake things up’ a bit North of the border.)

We are back in the Universe of Home.  It is lovely and we a front yard full of leaves which is means we are moving into fall.  Pumpkins, school, pencil shavings left from home work (opps not anymore she uses a laptop and hits back space!).  AND thinking of new adventures both at home and away.

The 60 days and 60 nights of our trip have given me a ‘calmer’ inner-self.  When we were away the affirmations of finding ourselves in a challenging situation and working through whatever happened – you are given a life lesson on either a) going with the flow or b) yelling at the flow.  I did a bit of both but mostly the going with won out.

The two month travelling  “Will it matter in 5 Years?” and go with the answer.  If we missed a plane or train – certainly the resulting answer was “no”.  If we missed celebrating a birthday with Lara and our Polish family – the resounding “yes” won out!

The world at home was almost just as we left it and we can jump right back into it. On reflection, I think we should keep the good bits we really love.   It’s going to be a bit of work but we garnered the ability to see what will matter in 5 years from now!

five