Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on June 8, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with one comment


70 years. A long time on the throne.


Did you watch the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations on the weekend?

Neither did I.

I opted for a lovely walk on the boardwalk at Pomquet Beach.

I mean no disrespect to the Queen and would like to apologize to rabid monarchists. I think the Queen is a remarkable woman. I’m sure that she must have a sense of humour and wouldn’t mind me having a teeny bit of fun at her expense. She has managed to reign over the Commonwealth for seven decades which is a remarkable achievement by any measure. One has to wonder how things will go with the royal family when her steady hand is no longer on the tiller.

Seventy years on the throne. Now that is an astonishing accomplishment. My bathroom breaks typically last less than five minutes.

I’m sorry but every time I hear the expression about the Queen being on the throne, my silly side gets the best of me.

Five minutes, you say? I am quite certain that I have mentioned this at least a half a dozen times over my many years of writing these posts. I grew up in a small house with one bathroom. I realize now that this was a luxury as many people from that era still used outhouses, replete with Sears and Roebuck catalogues. However, with 10 souls needing to use the bathroom, often at the same time, (especially on school days), time was of the essence. In order for all of us to get to school on time, we were “on the clock.” If you lingered one second beyond you allotted time in the bathroom, there would be lots of pounding on the door.

So, you guessed it. Today’s post is mostly potty talk.

Because I live alone, bathroom etiquette is not nearly as important as it once was. There was a time when not putting the toilet seat down was almost a criminal offense. I would hardly say that I entertain lavishly or frequently, but from time to time, members of the opposite sex (usually my sisters, daughters, or granddaughters) come to visit, and this is when I go on high alert. Prior to them coming, I practice putting the toilet seat down just to retrain my brain. It hasn’t happened very often in my 70 years on this earth, but those times I did forget to put the seat down and a female ended it up with her butt nearly touching the water, there was hell to pay.

I remember this lovely old couple that I once met. They had been married for 70 years and I asked them about living with someone that long. The elderly gent said that it was seventy years of him putting the toilet seat up and seventy years of his wife putting it back down. I’m surprised the marriage lasted a week. Hell hath no fury.

From time to time, I have these existential crises that I put out there for my loyal readers to weigh in on. What is the proper way to put the roll of toilet paper on the holder? Should the roll be positioned with the sheafs pointing down or should it be the reverse. I know the correct answer, but I will leave it to you to tell me what you think.

Enough potty talk but thanks to the Queen for giving me the idea for today’s post.

One more thing.

A few weeks ago, I went to see the virtual Van Gogh art experience in Halifax. Of course, I know very little about art. I am familiar with the music of Art Garfunkel and the antics of the Artful Dodger but beyond that, I’m an art neophyte. God bless Sister Mary Roderick who taught art in elementary school. I was a pro at making stick figures, yet Sister Roderick typically made a comment something like this on my report card:” Len is making progress.” I know that Roman Catholic sisters are not supposed to lie but this comment stretched the bounds of credulity. How was it possible to make a better stick man?

It’s not possible for me to describe this incredible, immersive experience. It closes on June 26th so if you haven’t been there yet, I would encourage you to Gogh! You won’t be disappointed.

Have a great weekend.

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Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on June 1, 2022 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with no comments yet


The urge to purge


As is often the case, it started out innocently enough.

I was sitting in my apartment one day last week staring into space. Retired seniors are afforded this luxury. It’s part of the job description. Actually, I was looking at a picture on the wall. It was a picture that I didn’t particularly care for, so the only sensible thing to do was to take it down. Forty-eight hours later, I had completed one of the largest purges in the history of mankind.

I have been looking at the same pictures, knick knacks, and furniture for what seems like decades. After I took down the first picture, I looked around the apartment and realized that it was high time to do a reboot and change things up again. Now, most reasonable people might view this as a two- or three-week project and would make subtle changes to refresh the décor.

Reasonable people.

One other thing I realized was that my apartment was on the darkish size. When we sold our house in 2015 and moved into a small apartment, we took whatever furniture would fit. This furniture was designed for a large house. Some of the furniture came from our office. It was big, bulky and the wood was what one would expect. Dark.

I started with the easy stuff, first removing pictures, knick knacks, about a thousand seashells, beach glass, rocks, driftwood, small pieces of stained glass and dust bunnies. Lots and lots of dust bunnies. I even removed (gasp!) a part of my “wall of fame”. For the first time in 7 years, I could actually see my walls. I had a maniacal grin on my face. When I get in purge mode, nothing, not even back pain will derail me.

My writing desk (formerly my office desk) has a hutch on top of it- a very large hutch which no longer serves any useful purpose other than a place to display memorial cards. If you aren’t a Catholic, let me explain. When a Catholic dies, the funeral home arranges for memorial cards (they look like baseball cards without the home run or ERA stats) which are distributed at the wake or the funeral mass. They contain a picture of the deceased along with their date of birth and death. Vital statistics but no RBI’s! There’s usually a short passage from scripture on the back of the card. In my youth, I collected hockey cards (to get my hands on the sickeningly sweet gum inside the wrapper). Getting a Gordie Howe, Jean Belliveau or Bobby Hull was an orgasmic experience, long before I understood the meaning of orgasm.

I eventually outgrew my passion for sports cards and then slipped into the dark, murky underworld of collecting memorial cards. A few cards turned into dozens as I stuffed them in the crack between my desk and the hutch. Why would any normal person want to stare at old buddies who were now golfing somewhere in paradise? This unusual card collection grew over the years. Now that I am older and the baby boomers are retiring, the number of cards has grown exponentially. I finally threw in the towel and decided to bury them all in an old filing cabinet. Someday, I might write a story about that filing cabinet. It no longer contains files. For all I know, Jimmy Hoffa could be in the bottom drawer. When I put my hand in one of the drawers, I do so at my own peril wondering if the hand will remain intact when I remove it.

With the help of my brother and a neighbor, we dismantled the hutch and moved it out into the hallway, its future destination undetermined.

Some of you may have one of those massive entertainment centres. You can sit your television on one shelf, your sound equipment on another and there’s even room for an overflow of memorial cards. The one in my apartment is massive. That was the next thing to go. Of course, this required moving a lot of wires including internet, and cable. With my gross incompetence around technology, I enlisted the assistance of my brother who is as comfortable and competent in a court room as he is taking apart the motor of a car. I didn’t want to be without cable or internet for the next 10 years. My main living area was starting to look bigger. I have always had a delusional streak in me.

My dining area is part of my living room. You can squeeze in 4 reasonably sized adults or six small children around the table. Let’s just say that that space is very small. Behind the kitchen table sits a bureau. Back in the day, it housed a priceless (and useless) china collection and everything that goes with that including table clothes, candles, place mats. There was even room for a few leftover memorial cards. After we came to our senses and realized that royalty would not be spending a lot of time in our 600 square foot apartment, the bureau became a place to house arts and crafts supplies – a much more practical use of this piece of furniture. Our grandchildren have outgrown this stage in their development, so I decided to turf this as well – the bureau, not the grandchildren! The increased acreage will now allow me to use the leaf for my dining table in case Charles and Camilla or the Pope decide to stop in for a bite when they come to Canada.

In addition to the purge, I was forced to do some dusting. There were several places that hadn’t seen the light of day in years.

I plan to give most of the furniture to a friend who is moving into an apartment. Everything else will end up at Value Village.

I kept my bed and my coffee mug.

“But wait, there’s more.” Cue the K-Tel commercial.

Wow. I kind of got carried away with part A of this post.

Part B.

A few days ago, I invited my brother to come with me to look at a friend’s cottage. It was a glorious sunny day. When we arrived at our destination, I warned him about the prevalence of ticks in this part of the county. From previous experience, I knew that there were ticks on my friend’s property. We tucked our pants into our socks, zipped up our windbreakers and put on our baseball caps. We probably spent a grand total of ten minutes including the walk to and from the cottage. When we returned to the car, we examined each other closely and were relieved that there were no ticks attached to our bodies.

My brother had scarcely turned on the ignition when we both discovered a tick on our clothing. Well, two ticks were not so bad, or so we thought. We got back to my apartment, and I invited him in for a stupendous lemon square. (Thanks CG) Once again, we did a thorough inspection and lo and behold, we found a few more ticks. We each did the honorable thing and stripped down to ensure that we didn’t have any on our skin. I threw my clothes in the dryer for good measure. While we were eating our treats, our entire discussion was about the scourge of ticks and how these critters were starting to become a serious deterrent to enjoying the great outdoors.

My brother departed but I remained a bit unnerved and with good reason. I walked into the bathroom and discovered a tick on my neck. I wondered if there were others lurking in my apartment.

The next day, I had a power snooze. I was lying on the couch in my living room. When I opened my eyes, I looked up at the wall and spotted something. It was a scene right out of an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. I hastily put on my glasses and sure enough, it was a tick. I will admit that I swore. I grabbed some paper towel and climbed up on the couch to remove the pest. There is a large piece of folk art hanging on my wall. As I tried to grab the tick, it somehow managed to escape my wrath and fell down behind the art piece. I thought it may have landed on top of the frame so now I stood on top of the couch. It was nowhere to be seen which meant it had fallen to the floor.

I have a sectional couch and as far as my memory serves me, that lovely piece of furniture has never been moved since the day it arrived in the apartment. There was no question that I was going to pull it out into the middle of the living room. To no one’s surprise, I found lots of dust. I also discovered the atrophied body of a wasp, a snail shell, a few fossilized shells (from the knick knack shelf), a few paper clips, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and $1.65 in nickels and dimes. The money must have fallen out of the pockets of my Scottish relatives. Where were the loonies and toonies?!

Alas, I couldn’t find the tick.

I reported these events to my brother.

The adult version of Tick Talk. (DMD)

Have a great weekend.

P.S. I keep my apartment clean. I put the toilet seat down and I own a plant. I am told that this makes me a “high-value” man!


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