New Year

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This is what I did New Year’s Day; skated in Mississauga’s Celebration Square. I used to ice skate every week when I lived in Birmingham, but since moving to Canada, which is covered in ice and snow for several months, I think I have skated only three times. Once was on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, which was wonderful, I think in Montreal one time, and New Year’s Day 2015.

My first week back at work has not been great. Temperatures plunged, so did parents tempers, Becky had several appointments, and I had to take my bus to Toronto unexpectedly. It was on a day when Becky had an appointment, but I was told I would be given another bus to drive. No problem. I dropped off my bus, a little later than expected due to snowy conditions, and waited for another bus, and waited, and waited. An hour was long enough. I asked what was going on. “We can’t start the bus we were going to give you” the mechanic said. “I have to go”, I told him. After a bit of a discussion, I finally took my bus back to Mississauga. What a waste of time and then I had race to get Becky to her appointment. It was a long appointment and I basically dropped her back at home and raced off to do my afternoon bus route. I was managing on half a cup of tea and a slice of toast, which I’d had at 6 am!

So as the days become more stressful, I think about ice skating. I remember the beautiful Christmas lights, the crisp air, and the feeling of freedom as I skated around and around without a care in the world. Lovely.

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New Year’s Resolutions

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What do we think about New Year’s Resolutions? Well, basically, I think they’re a good thing , but I never make any myself because I’m practically perfect anyway ( translation: I don’t have the time or energy to work on self improvement).

I don’t need to lose weight as it hasn’t changed much in the last 25-30 years and Becky is my personal guide to becoming a better person. I also have 12 mini guides (students with special needs) who travel on my school bus every day. They all have personal challenges that they approach with smiles and generosity. I am constantly humbled in their collective presence.

So where does that leave us? I usually make a list of things I think I may achieve in the next year. It may be something as simple as; install two new basement windows, or as involved as; get a part-time job, which involved retraining and upgrading my drivers license. Either way, they are things that need to be accomplished in a certain time frame. It helps me focus what little energy, or financial surplus, I have, into something productive.

The photo that heads this post is a statue of Peter Pan that I found in a park today in St. John’s. In my head this little character sums up my thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions. They are mostly fantasy, but we enjoy them all the same. They never grow old, so we keep making them, and mostly, we love this idea that anything is possible. “We can fly, we can fly”!

If you do make resolutions, remember that there are no Resolution Police. For the rest of you, I know you are wonderful anyway and do not need to promote change.

For Becky, her goal is to walk. This year she had some treatment that will help her achieve that. I think it is unlikely that she will attain this huge goal in twelve short months, but she is certainly capable of making smaller changes that will enable her to walk in the future. Ultimately, she will be loved whatever happens. This one physical act does not define her as a person.

As we approach 2015, part of me hopes that nothing changes as we are so happy right now. So rather than hoping for a better year, I think I am hoping for a similar year. 2014 was a good year for us, and I am sad to see it leave. Realistically, I know that change comes regardless, but perhaps it can wait a little longer….

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Christmas and New Year

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Believe it or not, Becky and I are at opposite ends of the continent. She is spending the holidays in Arizona with her Dad. I am in the north east in Newfoundland.

I have two weeks vacation from bus driving and two weeks away from Becky. I spent a few days in and around Mississauga, and then flew out to St. John’s.

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I came out here a year and a half ago and loved it. I jumped at the chance to go back again. It’s such a beautiful place full of friendly people.

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I spent about nine hours walking today. I went up signal hill, which you can see in the photos above, then I went to the art gallery and museum, which is the three Christmas trees, and then I walked around Quidi Vidi Lake. It was snowing and the sun was setting. Beautiful!

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I am looking forward to seeing Becky’s pictures when she gets back home. I’m sure we will have lots of stories to share. Until then, I wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year!

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Wonderful Weather

After a crummy summer, the weather turned beautiful about four weeks ago; just in time for Fall. We took advantage of the sunshine and went apple picking.

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After Becky filled our bag with apples, we headed to another farm for a well-earned cup of tea and a pumpkin muffin.

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One if the reasons we love this particular farm is because they also have a gift shop. There are lots of home made jams, pickles, sauces, and pies. Yum! There are also unusual things like this

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Bacon Hot Chocolate! Of course we bought it.

There’s shelves and shelves of treasures which we like to look at but rarely buy.

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We mainly bought cookbooks by local chefs such as Michael Smith and Lynn Crawford. They tend to use local products and cater to out weird Canadian palates.

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I think we will be spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Maybe I’ll post one of the recipes we cook.

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Making it Work

The first week at work continued to be hectic. I was either driving the bus or driving the car to appointments. Becky’s regular helper has been away the whole time, so there’s no breaks for me during the day. On Friday, my students cancelled, so I was given a different bus route to drive in the afternoon. I had to learn a new route with several pick ups and drop offs in two hours! It started an hour earlier, which threw off my schedule with Becky.

This week has been slightly better. Still no helper, still running to appointments, and still having new routes thrown at me. Becky is now in her second cast.

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These are to straighten her foot, so she will be more comfortable in a splint. Over time, the muscles tighten and she goes through this process to stretch them out. It involves weekly casting up to eight weeks. Each cast has to be monitored for 24 hours to make sure that circulation is not being cut off and there is no pain. It’s a very tiring process for Becky now she has extra weight attached to her weaker leg, and it’s restrictive for both of us.

By the time we get to the weekend, we are both ready for something different. Lately, we have been cooking. Last weekend we made Tapas , salsa, and bread dough. Last night we made cinnamon rolls ready to pop in the oven this morning.

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They were delish!

We also roasted a whole bunch of tomatoes.

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We are going to make these into pasta sauce later today.

Life is very tiring and restrictive at the moment, but we always find a way to make it bearable. Bon appetit!

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First Day

Tuesday was my first day driving a school bus as a job. It started off alright, safety check, drive to first pick up, load students, and then I went to drop the students off at the school. “No. We can’t take the student in a wheelchair as we don’t have the facilities to accommodate them”, the teacher informed me. This was a temporary location while another school was under construction.

I waited about thirty minutes while various staff came and went and said they were trying to figure out what to do. I finally got the nod to take the student home. No problem. I drove the student back home, completed the drop off and headed back to base. I arrived home at 10:30 am instead of 9:30, which was what I expected.

Becky had an appointment at 10:30 and we weren’t there. I called to let them know we couldn’t make. I was told that there was another opening at 11:10. “We’ll be there”, I said. I ran around putting on Becky’s splint, changing wheelchairs (another story) and packing everything we needed. We arrived at 11:05. Am I good or what!?

Appointment complete. We arrived home ready for lunch. Once we’d finished that, it was time for me to head back to work. So far, so good. I was a little frazzled, but okay. I started driving to pick up the students from school. It started raining, and raining, and raining, and flooding.

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It wasn’t quite that deep, but there were several inches of water on the road. Traffic slowed to a crawl. I heard that traffic lights were out in several places across the city. ‘Not the first day’, I thought. I was already nervous about driving a bus and starting work again after five years. I really didn’t need the added stress. I went slowly and made it. Then I had to wait twenty minutes as I was at the back of the bus line. The school seemed to load one bus at a time, so it took a long time to load the ten or twelve buses ahead of me.

I got the student home, and I got me home, an hour late. Then I threw some food together because Becky’s attendant was due. I finally collapsed about 7 pm. What a day! I was really hoping the rest of the week was going to go a little smoother.

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Keys to the Bus

It’s official! I picked up the keys to my school bus this morning. Yeah! It has been a bit chaotic, of course, as the bus company changed and cancelled routes. Becky has started new treatment on her left ankle to straighten it out. She has tightened up this year and I can’t get her splint on. This is great news and Becky is really excited about having her, “stupid foot straightened out”. Unfortunately, it means weekly trips to Toronto for the next two months. She’s also got some dental problems so she has to go for appointments for that. I needed to know details of my bus route so I could figure out how to get Becky to these things.

I was offered a route about three weeks ago so I started planning. It was going to be tight but we could just squeeze in the visits to Toronto. I then waited for the company to call me in to practice the route. Instead I got a call on Tuesday offering me a different route. It turns out that my route had been cancelled. Why I wasn’t told, I don’t know. Anyway, I asked about the other route. Too late. It had been given to someone else. I was gutted. Complete shock. I was unemployed before I had started.

At 5 pm the same day, I got a call about a temporary route and to come in on Thursday. I was now freaking about Becky’s appointments. How was this all to be sorted out and me learn a new route in four days?

I won’t bore you with the long wait, craziness, crowded experience at the bus company. I did get a route, but I can’t work Becky’s Toronto visits into it. I asked a couple of people to help me out, but that didn’t get me anywhere, so we’ve decided to cancel the first appointment and rebook the rest.

It was a relief to see I have a fairly new bus with no eccentricities or rust. Did I mention I’ll be driving students with special needs? I have a bit of experience with that. I can’t believe it. I actually start work tomorrow. After a week of stress and sleepless nights, I suddenly feel relaxed.

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