The Darkness before the Dawn

It’s been a strange weekend. Last week, on Tuesday, I met with the estate lawyer to discuss the final things that need to be done before we can finally move on from this. One of the massive pieces left is the final accounts for the estate. This task has been given to me, as I’ve been the keeper of the accounts all along. I had spent many hours putting something together and was feeling pretty confident in it when I arrived at the lawyer’s office after work that evening. I had no idea how far off I was. It’s sort of like thinking you will nail an exam and are totally when you walk into the room, and then once you see the exam, you see how screwed you really are.

What I had put together was sort of like an essay outline. It didn’t have nearly the amount of detail that was required of me. So, I was broken down and provided with lots of good tips on how to make it what it needs to be. I took that home and sort of poked at it a few times during the week. On Thursday, the Lawyer called and informed me that we needed this task mostly done for this coming week. Nothing like a deadline to get me going.

So, like tackling an essay for my very tough University program, I started with a plan. First, I would clean and reorganize the office (Always need a tidy place to work, otherwise I can’t focus.), then, I would go through everything I had from the estate. And I mean EVERYTHING. Photos, boxes of random crap, all the way up to the filing cabinet in my office. Why? Just to be sure I wasn’t missing anything. Then, once everything was tidy and organized, I would start. Good plan, right?

Me, in my final year of University, watching a lecture and working on essays. Super organized...right? Right.

Well, last week was rough. The lawyer’s appointment forced me to look at the whole estate business again. I had to go back and look at things that occurred the day Mum died, and onward. Then I got together with one of my oldest friends, Tyler. Tyler and I have known of each other since Grade 2 (we were in class together), but we weren’t actually in the same social group until Grade 9 (when I first crushed on him. He took me to the Grade 9 formal, as a favour to a friend), which brings up all sorts of nostalgia and thinking about our old group of friends and where we all ended up.

Tyler and I, a few years ago

Work continued to be difficult, and I was suddenly hit by major holiday blues. By the time Friday rolled around, I was emotionally spent. So, I took the day to clean our main floor and relax a bit. By Saturday, it was time to tackle the office, and get to work on the hard stuff. By the time I was done with the initial draft, I stared exhausted at the time – 1:30am.

Today I emailed the draft to the lawyer, with a ton of notes and a massive list of homework for myself left to do. I have to call a couple banks, wait for a response from an Investment group and hope that in the mean time, more drama doesn’t explode. I still have to figure out how to buy a week’s worth of groceries in between paycheques (after bills, meaning limited to non-existant funds), and get some baking done for a charity bake sale my husband is participating in.  I don’t feel like I’ve had a weekend at all. I’m so…spent. I just have to keep focusing on the positives:

  • The estate is almost done. The harder I work now, the sooner and the better the end will be
  • Once the estate is done, that drama is out of my life for good
  • In January we can wipe out the majority of our debt and start renovating our home

We will get there. I just need to fight through this last final stretch. The hardest stretch. The most thankless. I can do it.

Wednesday Day Book

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): Recovering. I was very very sick last week and am on the mend. Still feeling off and weak. Didn’t get any cleaning done at all.

I am thinking… about the meeting I’m going to have today with my boss. I’m being put in charge of social networking for our department and I’m hoping to ask for some more responsibility on top of that. Things have been a little odd in the office lately, so I’m nervous about this discussion.

I am thankful for… ginger tea, my husband, my best friends, and the deep well of calm that I seem to be able to tap into when drama rears its ugly head (happening more and more frequently it seems)

From the kitchen… Actually cooking a lot lately. This week we did the Baked Spaghetti again, pork chops in a mushroom gravy with rice and fajitas. This weekend I’m planning on a chicken enchilada bake.

I am wearing…my brown dress with my schnazzy bedazzled cami from Ricki’s underneath. Again. Hrm. Apparently, I’m in a wardrobe rut.

I am creating… a big craft project, details to come.

I am going… to my SIL’s birthday party this weekend.

I am reading… Dance with Dragons. Just started last night. eee!! Also reading some mindless fluff, Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong.

I am hoping… for my body to calm down. I’m sick of feeling sick. Also, for some peace. Seriously, I need it.

I am hearing… Weepies. With the recent stress and drama I wanted something to both calm me down and bring me back to a happy place, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my last trip to Calgary to visit my sister.

Around the house…Dust hippos, dirty dishes and clutter. I really need to get my ass going and do some cleaning.

One of my favorite things…Watching TV with my husband. Lately we’ve been catching up on Dexter (season 3), True Blood (the current season, season 4) and Dr. Who (season 2)

A few plans for the rest of the week: Hopefully some cleaning, attending a birthday party this weekend and then prepping for my dear and darling L who’s visiting next weekend.

Here is picture! Yay!

A recent picture of me getting some kitty love from my man, Byron.

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Another Monday

I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.

Mine was a strange blend of absolutely crazy busy and mind-numbingly relaxing. Friday, Pat was home sick and I went downtown for my regular waxing appointment (PS, I totally noticed a difference in not taking some Tylenol before the appointment. Ow). Afterwards, I hung out at bridgehead and had my 2nd favourite iced chai in the world (only topped by the one I had in New Orleans).

This? This is heaven.

I then met up with Pat’s Work Wife, Ali, and one of their co-workers, Young Pat. We had a quick lunch together and then I left them to finish off their work day. In the evening, Pat and I had to do some running around for the estate. Saturday we did major weeding of our backyard and a quick mowing. In the evening, I tried out a new recipe that I’ve been eyeing for a while (yet another find on pinterest). I am a big fan of cauliflower and would eat it in everything. Absolutely everything. My husband? Not so much. He was really unsure about this dish.

Roasted Cauliflower (in a tomato sauce)

I’m not up for stealing a recipe from one blog to another, so I’ll just tell you about basics of the recipe:

While you roast your cauliflower in the oven (BTW, I totally felt that one head of cauli wasn’t enough. Get a giant head, or double the recipe. Seriously. Or, you know, keep this thing as a sidedish rather than your whole meal), fry up an onion in some olive oil. I used 6 shallots or so instead of the onion, as that’s what I had on hand.

Once the onions/shallots start to change colour and get soft, add about half a big can of diced or chopped tomatoes, juice and all (or one small can, as per the recipe). Add your tsps of sugar, a dash of salt and your fancy vinegars. I used balsamic vinegar, regular white vinegar and some white wine that was on its way out (about a week since uncorking). Don’t judge, it’s better than wasting, right? Reduce all of this stuff down and then purée.

Cook some garlic in some olive oil, add your tomato deliciousness and let it reduce down to a thick goopy sauce. Add some chili powder for spice. Once it’s nice and sticky, add the roasted cauliflower. Coat well, serve, NOM.

So, Pat wasn’t sure about this. I knew I’d like it, but I wasn’t sure about love. Verdict? I LOVED it. Aside from cauliflower soup and au gratin, this is my new favourite cauli meal. I would eat this ALL THE TIME. Pat’s opinion? For cauliflower, it was ok. The sauce would be awesome on pasta. Or, you know, something else that didn’t suck.

After dinner, a bunch of Estate stuff came up which kept me busy long into the night. Sunday morning we SLEPT IN. It was glorious. I felt awesome. Afterwards, I mowed the front lawn while Pat started work on my car. You remember my car, right? We bought it last year.   About a month or two after we bought it, we started to notice it had some issues. Last November, it almost completely died.  It stranded us at a pet store far from home. Basically, that model and year of car is known for transmission issues (which we didn’t learn until the issues started for us, about a week after our one month warranty ended). A friend of ours, a Subaru fanatic, thinks that we might be able to fix the issue with a transmission fluid additive, which will help all of the seals. I’m not convinced this will fix the issue, but it’s worth a shot. I haven’t been able to drive in about 7 months, and have been reliant on Pat and his car to get around (it’s standard, which I don’t drive. Have no desire to learn. Long story, but it’s too stressful for me to take on right now).

Pat under the car

My reaction to this whole thing

Pat, out from under.

Will it work? Who knows. We’ll have to wait and see. This week doesn’t hold any set plans, so we’ll see what we end up doing. Happy Monday everyone!

Tuesday Day Book

Things have been really busy and really intense the last week. I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from journalling, as I don’t have much more time for myself than to sit down and eat.  Here’s the daybook post for this week to catch you up.

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): Very very stressed. Some major estate drama, followed by helping out some friends and family. Pat’s Aunt Mary is having major spinal surgery today to remove a benign tumor. We spent a few nights at her place last week, helping her set up and get prepared for her return home, post-op. We also had to remove the last few things from my Mum’s place as it closes next week, and in doing so, borrowed Pat’s BFF’s van. To repay her kindness and to give us a bit of a break, we spent the weekend mostly at her place, helping her with some housework, moving one of her daughters’ bedrooms and hanging out by the pool. I’ve also been trying to sort out plans for our anniversary weekend, while trying to take care of myself (booking massage and therapy appointments, etc…)

I am thinking… about this weekend, and how nice it’ll be to be away for a bit. How I can’t believe it’s been a year already since we got married! I feel like it was yesterday that I was picking dresses with my Mum. I’m thinking about what we’ll do once the estate is over with, and how I’m scared about the battle I’m about to start.

I am thankful for… finding the love of my life at a party when I was 15 years old. I’m thankful that after all of my mistakes, he took me back time and time again (though it took a bit of convincing the last time).

From the kitchen… Nothing I haven’t had much time to cook. I did try this recipe, but found it bland and way too greasy for us.

photo by bell'alimento

I am wearing…a dress! I’ve been wearing dresses at least once a week this month :D

I am creating… nothing. Been too busy :( I’ve been working on a summer playlist for work though. That’s something, right?

I am going… to Merrickville for our anniversary :) Can’t wait!

I am reading… Clash of Kings. Great second book so far :D

I am hoping… for some resolution to these ridiculous issues that keep popping up. Some peace would be nice too. Or some civility. I think I may be asking for too much. How about a lovely anniversary weekend? That would be nice.

I am hearing… More The Weepies, lots of Sarah Harmer. She is my go-to for summer tunes.

Around the house…Lots more stuff from my Mum’s place. Plans for working on the deck and to make a useable outdoor space.

One of my favorite things…Mental health days. Tomorrow I’m having a massage, a therapy session, a waxing appointment and time to work on the estate, Hopefully, this will also include a trip to Bridgehead and lunch in Westboro (my favourite part of town).

A few plans for the rest of the week: The busy times continue! Tonight we’re off to celebrate Litha with my girlfriend L and her husband S. Tomorrow I have a day of mental health, followed by getting the house clean and prepping for our weekend away. Saturday, I have chiro and Pat has karate, followed by our trip to Merrickville for the night. Sunday, we return home.

Here is picture! Yay!

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June has been kicking my butt

Man, this month has been brutal so far, and it’s only the 8th!

Last week on Friday, I left work early for a doctor’s appointment. I was super excited, as I’ve been trying to find a new doctor closer to home for a couple of years now. One had opened up in the walk in clinic I normally go to, so I was thrilled to be meeting with her. On the way to the bus stop, I had a misguided construction worker decide to flirt with me by “saving me” from a bus that he sent to hit me. Yep. He grabbed me out of the way once he realized what was going on, and took advantage of the moment to put his arms around me. Awwwwkward. Grumbled at him and then fled to catch my bus. Turns out the route changed, so I barely made it on time to my appointment. Unfortunately, once there, I very quickly realized that she was NOT the doctor for me.

She argued with me about my cancer risks, told me that depression can ONLY be treated with specific medications and that therapy doesn’t actually work. Also, I was told that while I am not too obese (?!), I’m not currently a risk for diabetes. Oh, and the kicker: When talking about TTC (that’s Trying to Conceive for those of you not familiar with the lingo) tips, her response was: Have sex every other day and remember not to use a condom. Also, when she asked me if I was taking folic acid, I told her I was taking a popular prenatal multivitamin. She then responded with this nugget of wisdom: prenatal vitamins are crap and that if I continue to take them instead of straight up folic acid, my baby will be deformed.

Yeah, not going back.

I bused home and was heart broken to discover our A/C was broken. Yes, it was a good start to my weekend. Add to that the following: Injured husband = Heather does all the yard work and house work, serious estate drama which may result in the estate being dragged out an extra year, husband potentially having rheumatoid arthritis in his right hand according to his chiro, 5lbs gained by me (making the grand total a lovely 20lbs since my wedding), stressful party planning, and my dead father’s birthday.

This week hasn’t been much easier so far. The temperatures are insane right now. We are as warm as New Orleans today. NEW ORLEANS. Let me illustrate the crazy for you:

Yeah. Something about that isn’t right. So, it’s crazy effing hot all week, there’s 5lbs more of me to be sweaty and grumpy and we don’t have A/C. I’ll tell you what we do have though: A sweltering townhouse, full of angry furry hot animals, with new and awesome water damage in the basement, potentially caused by the broken A/C. Yaaaaaay!!

So, on top of this tender piece of greatness, estate stuff has been bad and my ability to take crap is at an all time low.

Courtesy of pinterest, my new obsession.

Nice lead up to my birthday, which is this weekend, right? All I want for birthday is for the powers that be to stop shitting on me and my family. Yesterday, Pat and I protested the world and decided “Fuck everything, let’s eat meatloaf and watch the end of Supernatural season 5”. So we did. And it was good.

And on that note, let’s pretend it’s Tuesday!

A peek at the past week (how I’ve been): See above

I am thinking… About the estate, our lives and money. Big big stuff.

I am thankful for… the weekend I have coming up. I need friend time, badly. And booze. I think booze will help too.

From the kitchen… Nothing terribly interesting lately, though I’ve spied a few recipes on pinterest that I want to try. Namely Margarita cupcakes. Yummmmm.

I am wearing… No fancy under things. I’m in a brown summer dress to fight off the heat

I am creating… journal entries for the 30 day journal challenge.

I am going… to clean as soon as it’s cool enough to, and then enjoy the hell out of this weekend.

I am reading…  Game of Thrones. Almost done! Loook this book so far.

I am hoping… for some peace. I feel so overwhelmed by life right now.

I am hearing… The Weepies. Thanks to Tracy, they have entered my iphone music rotation

Around the house…HOOOOOOOOOT and damage and work to do. I hate it.

One of my favorite things…painting my nails. Took a couple hours last night and did both my fingers and my toes. My toes are a lovely dark purple and my nails are a purply grey. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tonight, Thursday and Friday: Cleaning and estate stuff. Saturday: Leelee arrives and I have girlie birthday celebrations with her and S! This shall include hanging out downtown, seeing Bridesmaids and going out for dinner/drinks. Sunday is unplanned so far, but will include dinner with the hubby, and potentially L if she doesn’t have other plans.

Here is picture! Yay!

Sangria, my true love <3

So, I lied

I’m sorry that I keep saying I’ll post and then not. I’m a big fat liar.

Yesterday was a busy day for me! We had an off-site meeting on Monday, so yesterday was spent catching up. After work, I had to rush home, take care of the critters and get myself ready. Once Pat got home we were out to Beer and Wings night with is work peeps (which was a blast. The conversations with those people are always amazing. Apparently, they have decided to get me completely shit-faced one of these days. Better do that soon folks, because I want to start baking a baby!). After that, I had to run to a near by mall for my ring cleaning (part of our insurance for my engagement ring, had to be done in May. I sure know how to cut it close) and then to the local shoppers drug mart for a stamps to get the baby shower invites out before Ze Big Postal Strike of 2011.

I feel like life has been super busy the last few months. I woke up this morning and it was JUNE. How did that happen? Where did May go? Well, now that I’ve got a moment to sit down and write this out, this is the post I promised.

It’s going to be a big couple of months for me. The weekend of the 11th is my birthday weekend and my close friends are in town to celebrate (namely, S, L and my guy, Isaac). The girls and I are planning on doing dinner and catching The Bridesmaids (which I hear is amazing) and at some point, I want to hit up a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try for years called Jean Albert’s.

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s supposed to be some of the best southern style comfort food in Ottawa. I think it’s the perfect idea for my birthday dinner with the hubby.

The weekend of the 25th is our anniversary weekend and we have booked a room at the lovely B&B at 142 Rideau.

One of the rooms @ 142 Rideau

We’re planning on having dinner at Gad’s Hill (A Dicken’s themed restaurant in the heart of Merrickville, and literally across the street from where I was married) and maybe going to see a movie during the day (our very first date was to go see Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Movie dates have long been an anniversary tradition for us).

A few days later, on June 30th, is the closing date on my Mum’s house. I am so completely torn about this. I mean, on one hand I’m obviously thrilled to be moving on with my life and to have this major obstacle out of the way as we complete the estate. I’m hoping, that if all goes well *knock on wood* We’ll be completely done by the fall.  On the other hand, I am completely heart broken to be losing the only place I’ve ever really known as home. I grew up in that house, and returned there whenever a roommate or apartment didn’t work out. It was my safe place, and the hub of the entire Sutherland family.  I always planned on having my children run through those halls and play in the basement, like I did. My brothers brought their first born children to that house, calling it home. Every single one of childhood and young adulthood firsts (past the baby stuff, I was 4 when we moved in) happened in that house. Every single holiday was spent in that house, with the exception of Christmas when I was 12 (the one and only time we went anywhere for Christmas, and it was never repeated).  Every single one of my birthdays too.  It’s hard to let go of all of that. I could close my eyes this very second and walk up to my room from the front door without stumbling or making a sound.

It will be the closing of a chapter, not only for the estate, but in my grieving process. My father died in that house. The last time my mother laughed was in that house. I will no longer have to go to the house, which is a huge physical reminder, ever again. In fact, I won’t have any reason to go to the area at all. We have no friends or family in that part of town any more.

A few days after that, I am helping to host and organize S’s baby shower at S’s mother’s house. I’m really nervous about it, as it’s my first baby shower, and S has extremely good taste and throws the best parties I’ve ever attended. Standards are high here people!

The following weekend is my oldest friend’s wedding, which is going to be an incredible affair. She is a stationary and wedding invitation designer (and graphic designer) with incredible taste. The wedding is set to be in the rooftop terrace of the NAC. Going to be amazing!

The very next day, Pat and I are hoping to attend Bluesfest for one of my favourite bands, A Perfect Circle, as well as the Dropkick Murphy’s. The weekend after that, Pat and I are attending his work wife’s birthday cottage weekend. S’s baby is also due in mid-July.

Yeah, that’s a lot. There’s maybe a weekend or two in there where we don’t currently have plans.  I plan to do some baby knitting in there, and I’ve also decided to participate in the 30 Day Journalling Challenge.

I’ve got a fuckton of art supplies, sitting at home not getting any use. It’s about time I start using them. I also think it’ll help maintain my sanity during this time of grief, babies, music, family/estate drama, parties and birthdays. So, sometime tonight I hope to post my first page. I’m going to try to post them on the same day that we receive the prompt and write/create, but I may end up a day off. We shall see.

So, that’s the post folks! I’ll be back later with journal entries.

 

A better day

Yesterday was a rough day. I won’t get into details, but my spirit was near broken and I just wanted to curl into a ball and weep (followed closely by drink my face off and then collapse into a deep slumber for the next 5 years).  I spent the day powering through work, reading some fluffy urban fantasy (Kim Harrison for those interested) and talking to Tracy and the husband. My co-irker was lovely and got me a haagan dazs ice cream bar. Mmmmm.

After work, I went home and cleaned. I cleaned, and cleaned and cleaned. We found out that money is tighter than we thought, so I plotted dinner ideas for when Jamie comes over tonight using only things we already have in the house. I picked something that works (baked spaghetti/macaroni. Another one of my Mum’s old standbys) and then continued to clean. I finally gave up cleaning at 9, had some sleepy time tea, made some puffed wheat squares (another Mum favourite) and then went to bed at 10.

I’m feeling waaaay more at peace today. Funny how working on ones physical space can make sure a difference with moods and emotions. I also took some time to put up some things that I’ve been meaning to display. One was a soapstone piece that Pat inherited from his Dad. It’s now in the main hallway downstairs. I also put up our family besom (inherited from my mother. No idea what it’s made out of, I just know it’s always been in my family home, as long as I can remember) as well as a gift from the bestie, Leigh. I’ll try to remember to take pictures of these things tonight and share them with you.

I feel ok. Seeing the outrage that people had over how things have been has fortified me. I’m not sure if it’s a gemini thing, or just a me thing, but I constantly worry that I’m being overly sensitive or manipulative. I second guess my reactions all the time. It doesn’t help that I’m being accused of being these things, so having people tell me “No, really, this is nuts!” is a huge help.  I’m looking forward to spending time with Jamie and Pat tonight. I am looking forward to spending time with our Heart family (for my new readers, this is Pat’s best friend and her family. They’ve basically adopted me as one of theirs) this weekend. I’m applying for part time jobs for when my current one drops in hours in about a month.

Sometimes you have to fight for optimism, but it’s there when you’re open to it. I’m thinking about craft courses to take (quilting! Has anyone ever done one of these?). I’m inspired by Alicia Paulson and her beautiful home. I love quilts. My nanny made me one when I was a baby which became my favourite blanket. My Mum actually had to repair it when I was about 12 because it was all worn out in pieces. I also really REALLY want to learn to crochet. I really want to make this:

Another great Alicia Paulson pattern

Overall, I’m good today. I’m making plans, I’m thinking about the future in a positive way. I’m feeling excited about something.  I know that there will be good days and bad days, but I’m so very thankful and glad to have such incredible friends, family and readers out there who share their support. Thank you, so much.

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