Category Archives: Trust

Only Child considers a bucket list

Only Child's home and garden respite - part of the "bucket list" already done.

One of my cousins has a bucket list  – you know a list of things you want to do before you die. Up to now I haven’t really given it much thought. My parents died in their sixties and I’m getting very close to the age when my mom died. And when you are busy dealing with the daily crap coming your way, it almost seems redundant to consider a bucket list.

But my cousin has got me thinking. I have a bucket list, for want of a better word, for my writing, but it doesn’t go beyond a year. I think I’m afraid to think beyond that because it might throw a curse on it. Looking at her and other cousins’ travel photos, I started asking myself – where would I like to travel? I’ve been across Canada both ways and the only provinces I haven’t seen are Saskatchewan and Newfoundland; I also haven’t been to any of the three territories. I would like to go to Newfoundland and Nunavit Territory (both preferably in summer). I’ve also been to England and Wales. And I like to ride on the train. I’d also like to return to the other Maritime provinces – a grade school friend is travelling in his RV to the Maritimes and I read his blog and I think I would like to go back there. You can take a train into the Maritime provinces. You can also take a train out west – takes a few days but the scenery and the experience would be more interesting than a five-hour plane ride where you look down and maybe see toy-sized buildings if the clouds don’t get in the way.

That is some of what I would like to do. I know I don’t want to jump from a parachute or go bungie jumping but I’d like to ride in a helicopter, even though I chickened out 15 years ago. I don’t want to go canoeing, camping, but maybe I’d like to go fishing. Perhaps the clue here is to brainstorm for a so-called bucket list and then prune it down. As for “scheduling” when I would do what – that would depend on time and money. Right now I just don’t have the money to travel a lot beyond southwestern Ontario to visit my cousins (but I get my train ride and some interesting visits with my family). And there is my house and garden, something on the “bucket list” already achieved. I’m living where I want to in my retirement home, a small bungalow and have slowly cultivated my garden of perennials, vegetables, fruit and herbs. The garden also provides a serene place to sit and read or just enjoy the flowers, butterflies and birds.

And maybe that is part of the answer. Try to take each day as it comes. If you plan too far into the future you can get screwed.

What do you think?

And my friend’s Maritime travel blog is Thinking Inside the Box at http://phil-brunette.blogspot.com/

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Bucket List, Cousins, Death and Dying, Family, Gardening, Home and Garden, Maritimes, Newfoundland, Nunavit, Only child, Only child memoir, Peace and quiet, Reading, Retirement experiences, Risk taking, Seniors, Train travel, Travel, Trust

Only Child on getting lost

One of the places in North Toronto Only Child was trying to find

Lately I keep getting lost when I venture somewhere in the northern parts of Toronto. Before I leave, I make sure I have the address, check it out on Google and Mapquest and even ask for directions from the person I’m going to see. I might as well be wearing a blindfold. Is there some reason I’m not supposed to be travelling “up north in Toronto?” Or is there some other deeper reason, like maybe I’m feeling lost in some part of my life?

Perhaps these current electronic guides  just don’t cut it like my late Mom did. Mom and I would travel around Toronto together and I don’t remember us ever getting lost. As I write in my memoir You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons

To get around in life you need guides, signs and a healthy dose of paying attention – on all levels.  As Dad was to riding the rails, Mom was to city transit. Travelling by the feat of my public transit savvy really began when Mom and I trekked around on Toronto’s buses, streetcars and subway. She was my guide. I just didn’t realize then how much of a guide.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

In the here and now, I had quite the “merry” journey trying to find my new opthamologist’s office. Armed with the online map printed out and the knowledge that I visited that medical building seven years before, I headed “up north.” When I stepped off the TTC bus and started walking towards the specific street I didn’t recognize the area – more tall buildings had sprung up. Okay. But I saw no street sign; however did turn and walk along that street  until I decided I was in the wrong place, so headed back for the bus stop, boarded the bus back to where the medical centre street crosses the bus line. When I got off I had to take stairs down to this street and had no clue where to go from there. This street crisscrossed many other roads and street numbers didn’t help. I started asking others. An older lady going for a walk had to literally show me the winding way. Yup. You guessed it. I had been on the right nameless road before – if I had continued another block and a half I would have found the medical building. I arrived late.

A couple weeks later when I headed to my new lawyer’s office – again in North Toronto – I had no trouble finding the building with its number big and bold on the side, which I saw once I could figure out how to exit the subway station. However, getting to the actual building proved a big problem as I came to  an overpass but I stayed on the same street because that was the building’s address. As I neared the building I couldn’t see how to get from the sidewalk to the actual building as there was a slight hill with trees and grass up from the sidewalk to the building and no way in. I kept walking and finally found an entrance on a  side street. I arrived late.

Yesterday I had to interview an optometrist for a story I’m writing for a magazine. After lunch with my son and his girlfriend, they dropped me  at a subway station before they headed up further north to visit Martin’s dad. This “getting lost” must be family-contagious because Martin took the wrong entrance to  the subway drop off — yet he had been there many times before and said he always got the entrance wrong.

Continuing in this vein, when I exited the subway, I started walking in the wrong direction. Because  I was early I had decided to surface a stop before and check out a small shopping mall. I finally found it but when I wanted to go back on the subway I couldn’t find the passenger entrance to the subway, just the bus entry. I walked north a block and found the subway station’s back entrance. Because entry was automatic, I had to use my pass electronically and it didn’t seem to work – another passenger had to slide it through and, of course, the revolving door magically opened then.

The optometrists’s office? No problem finding it or the mall it is in.  I arrived 15 minutes early.

I’m beginning to see a pattern here. As an only adult-child. out of necessity, I’ve become used to manouvering my way around alone. Obviouusly I need a guide like my late mom. The question is who? Sure, I did get lucky in a couple of the above instances and with the third (the lawyer’s office building) my own persistence paid off.  Maybe the lesson here is to be open to help from unexpected resources. Certainly many of the expected ones don’t pan out. I ask my friends for help and sometimes I receive a no. True, they have their own lives to lead and unless they break promises made to me I can’t hold it against them.

Or maybe the answer is to tap deeper into my own instinct and not panic. Especially as on my way to and from grocery shopping later yesterday my intuition was bang on about when buses arrived – including one showing up three minutes early.

Or I could stay out of North Toronto.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Cities, Direction, Getting lost, Only child, Only child memoir, Public Transportation, Toronto, Trust

Only child takes another whack at trust

Only child contemplates water and trust - from main floor

I must have hit a common issue with last week’s post on water and trust – going by all the hits. And thanks to all who read my posting.

The water-trust saga continues. Lots more water did get in on the Saturday and I am so grateful for the help I had from my friends next door. Tanya mopped up while I was at a workshop I had to be at – my East End Writers’ Group was sponsoring it. I took over the mopping up with towels and mats when I returned…and continued with towel changes every hour or so until 1 a.m. when I finally went to bed.  It took until late Sunday until all  had completely dried on the leaky side. Total estimated water in my basement room equals at least eight pails full. The suggestion for protection from my masonry guy obviously didn’t work. He has another temporary fix – if he gets here today to do it – he’s postponed the day/time twice already. We have more rain coming tomorrow and Thursday and still the ground is frozen and the big fix can’t be done – the big excavation on that far side of the house and sealant put on that wall all the way down to the bottom. And of course, I will go deeper in debt to pay for this.

So, where does trust come in? I think it is really learning to trust in yourself and a few close family and friends who have proven they can be trusted. All the “putting it out there” and praying for help in the world doesn’t seem to work – at least for me. You have to be more proactive and make it happen – or in my case, not happen, or at least try. How you do this is up to you – each individual situation is different – based on who you are, what life has shoved at you, etc. For me it is accepting that I will need that excavation done and going into more debt. Also taking another look at my budget. I am big on budgeting, thanks to my late mother’s legacy.As I write in my memoir:

Late at night, long after my parents think I’m off in the land of nod, they discuss the family finances. Their loud whispers seep under closed hallway and bedroom doors.

“But we can’t afford that,” Mom says.

“We need . . .” Dad’s voice seems to hit the hallway door.

I throw off my bedcovers, sit up and strain to listen. I never get a clear idea about their plan until it happens or my parents discuss the revised version at the dinner table the next day.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, Copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

Mom did better than I, but then she had funds on hand. But I will prune and delete where I can.

I am pruning and prioritizing in other areas of my life – work, included, so that there isn’t too much overwhelm and I can focus on the most important problem. If people don’t like it that I can’t get to them and their requests and other stuff immediately, too bad. I have also started buying lottery tickets again. I know some of you are thinking “big wishful thinking.” However, I  can afford one $3. ticket a week and no, I don’t expect to win big time. Don’t want to – just enough to get out of debt. But I’m not counting on it. I’m just trying to do something about my situation or should that be situations?

Speaking of which, I better make sure I have dry towels lined up along the rec room walls overnight. And stay put for the next few days so I can mop up. And perhaps take comfort in that I am not alone – a heck of a lot of people had water come in their basements, mostly (my ex husband had water come down his fireplace chimney – scary stuff) last Saturday. The insurance companies have a name for this (and for tornadoes, hurricanes, earth-quakes, etc.) – they call these Acts of God. I am not making this up. Check your residential insurance policies.

So, the bottom line right now is – trust down and water up. Let’s hope that can be reversed.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Debt, Floods, Gratitude, Insurance, Life learning, Only child, Prayer, Trust, Water

Only Child views trust and water

Only Child's house almost smack against the neighbour's.

The washing machine fiasco got solved on Friday – the repair guy replaced the part, gave me the seniors’ discount and I even had enough money to pay by cheque. But that’s not the end of  house-related grief.

Most people get bad things happening in threes. I’m “blessed” with the onslaught of four. This time it was water leaking again – but from outside the house into my rec room overnight Sunday. Not a heck of a lot but enough to scare me and anger me. Why? Because there have been basement floods before, including the big one in November 2005. But I’ve had all the necessary work done since then – inside and outside – to prevent floods in the basement – including some digging, grading, caulking, patio slab slanting, etc. June 2008 on that side of the house. Until last night it worked – that side of the house did not leak in water – until Sunday night.

So much for trust that things will work out if you take the precautions and ask/pray that these disasters won’t happen again. I might as well be screaming against the cement wall where the leak occurred. And it’s not as if I didn’t check the floor every day- just in case. Of course I didn’t expect to see water.

Fortunately my friend and masonry expert came over after my frantic phone calls yesterday. He thinks it might be due to some of the caulking missing and the sheet of whatever (this is how much I don’t know about this) shrinking, a gap between the windowsill and the patio, and one patio slab under the window heaving so it slides towards the window. We hope. He will fix some of it this week and the caulking when it warms up to 10 degrees (that’s 50 degrees F). I do not want or need the big dig – big machines coming in and digging trenches . There is no room for that between my house and the house next door. Maybe deep digging by hand could be done.

When I was growing up in a bungalow very similar to the one I live in now, my parents had no water leaking in the house from outside. The closest to that I can remember is a leaky radiator in the newly-built rec room. The plumber, a friend of my dad, had put this second-hand sucker in, so he had to fix it. The difference here is my parents had each other (well for a time until Dad died of cancer; then my mother fell apart) to talk over these stressful situations. I have no one – not only am I an only child but I don’t have a life partner. And as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have a son who helps where he can, but he has his own life with his girlfriend – although they got an earful about the water situation over dinner last night when I took them out for their birthdays (his is Feb. 17; hers is today). Thanks to the leaky basement I thought I might have to postpone.

Which brings me back to this trust issue. No matter what I do, say, read, or am told, it boils down to this. From my experience in all areas (including health, finances, family deaths, family betrayals), life is a land-mine. I have to come prepared, and at the same time, I have to realize that any amount of preparation won’t keep the baddies at bay.

The basement leak was No. 4 – in this set of baddies anyway. However, I’m not looking forward to this coming weekend of mixed precipitation.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Believing, Betrayal, Floods, Only child, Trust, Water

Only child seeing believing and washing machines

Ringer washing machines - longer lasting than today's automatics?

I’m getting another instance of  “can you trust the future” on a personal level. My 10-year old washing machine started leaking from the bottom and the ensuing events have morphed into something out of The Twilight Zone or a weird variation of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

First of all it shouldn’t have happened. The washing machine is a Maytag. And I also “pray” (ask, put it out there, whatever you believe in) that my appliances keep working okay and so they should as they are all four months to 10 years old. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but not to someone who has to live frugally. And I know my Catholic upbringing is showing. Some of it still sticks.

I’m beginning to think my late mother had it better with her ringer washing machine. Although you had to physically operate the machine, it did a good job and seemed to last forever. True you had to watch where you put your fingers. My mother told me tales of friends who didn’t.

I called the appliance sales and service place where I bought my washing machine – not to get any discounts – but to give them the business. I’ve bought all but one of my major appliances from them. The fellow there didn’t want my business. First, he asked me what type of heating I have and when I told him hot water gas, he went into a spiel about with radiators they can’t (by law) service washers and dryers in the winter unless the boiler has been checked and certified and proceeded to rhyme off a phone number to call about that.  He did tell me what they would charge to look at the washer, gave me the name of another appliance service, and then hung up – or we were disconnected. I tend to believe the former because I was very persistent about them removing the old freezer (per their agreement) when I bought a new one from them last October. So, I figured he has me labelled “troublemaker.”

I called the heating company who installed my new furnace and do annual cleanings, check-ups. They’d never heard of such radiator-winter nonsense but said the only test required by law is the Carbon Monoxide one and they’d done it. (I have written proof). I tried a couple more appliance repair businesses, including the Maytag one, and about fell on the floor when I heard the service charge – just to show up and diagnose the problem was $90 to $109. None of them had heard about the “law.”

I went back to the flaky company to get the phone number for the appliance repair service he’d recommended. I told him that I checked with my heating company and they did the only check required last November and I have the written proof. Now this fellow told me they were very busy with their other location and there was only one guy there. I asked for the phone no. of the other repair service. It turns out that was the number he rattled off before but not in connection with the company. This guy clearly needs some training in communication and consumer law.

I called the recommended company. Their service charge to show up and diagnose is a little higher than the flaky company but I booked an appointment. I did tell them the washing machine make so hope they can fix it okay without any other tangents. But I’m not holding my believing breath. Past experience has shown that when I trust that it will work okay, something often happens to mess it up. And no, expecting the worse, doesn’t stop it from happening; it just helps prepare you.

Meantime, I’m taking notes on all of this – just in case I have to go to a consumer advocate to straighten out the situation. I will also call my friend next door to see if I can maybe do a few loads of wash there this weekend. So far the washing machine leak is tiny and no big deal, but who knows what will happen after the service person arrives and takes it apart – if he has to put it together while we wait for parts.

Seeing is definitely believing with me. Too bad. It would be wonderful to do the opposite but the track record isn’t good for me. Once upon a time  I believed … until I saw, over and over again.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Believing, Consumerism, Only child, Prayer, Trust, Washing machines

Only Child looks at water and trust

Only Child with her late Mom and Dad

Water and trust are connected – at least in my mind. As many of you probably gathered, I’m not big on trust. I trace it back to my late mom lying about my dad’s cancer and finding out the truth from my best friend, The Bully. In spite of, or perhaps because of, my Catholic background I do a lot of praying. But the results, a batting average of 15 per cent positive, don’t give me a  lot of trust in the ask and receive route.

Take broken water mains. Probably a fear of being stranded or stuck motivates me to put it out there (to the universe, God, whoever) that I would appreciate all the utilities work – and no broken water mains and the ensuing floods and water-shut-off to fix the sucker. You’d think I’d be immune to this after living in Aurora, Ontario where broken water mains were a common occurrence. Nope. As soon as the city employee knocked on my door this morning, I filled tubs, pails and pots with water – even washed a potato for tonight’s supper – at 9 a.m. The fellow said it would be about two hours but of course untrusting me knows better. I was right – but on the wrong end. The shut-off lasted barely an hour.

This nonsense got me thinking more about all the floods happening throughout the world, particularly in Australia. Every night on the late news I watch the newest developments and two thoughts strike me: the people in Australia (and also in parts of New Brunswick, Canada which have had several floods) have lost everything – their homes. And while there is water everywhere (very muddy) it is contaminated, so unlike the water shut-off before  fixing a broken water main, they can’t collect water. It will take years to get these areas of Australia back to normal.

My other thought ties in with trust. How can you trust that these Acts of God (that’s what the insurance contracts call them) will not happen to you? You can pray until you go hoarse but that still won’t prevent them from happening. Never mind the cause – El Nino or whatever. They still will happen somewhere. The prophets – religious and otherwise – who predict a big flood in 2012 are now beginning to sound more realistic. They may just be off a year.

Scary thoughts. So what can we do? We can’t exactly change the weather. However, perhaps the lesson here is to follow an offshoot of the late John Lennon’s words of wisdom – life is what happens when you are doing other things (paraphrased). He is a sad example of that but he seems to have lived each day to the fullest. Maybe that’s it – live in the moment because tomorrow may come but we don’t know what it will bring. And I’m not advocating going on a crime spree or anything like that.

What do you think?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Floods, Life learning, Only child, Prayer, Trust

Only Child looks at Christmas “after shocks.”

Only Child's mystery gift

You know the saying, “The best made plans of mice and (hu)men… ” Christmas (so far) has been going like that and it’s made me do a combination of re-evaluating my attitudes and also confirming some of them.

My friend was feeling a bit under the weather Dec. 24 but she did come here Christmas Day; so I went to that Christmas Eve candlelight service on my own and while there lost or had stolen a leather bracelet I was wearing. And I have a mystery Christmas gift – one of two packages where the giver didn’t leave his or her name.

I’m glad my friend did make it here to celebrate Christmas Day and part of Boxing Day with me. She felt somewhat better and was quite chirpy – she made her mean stove-top dressing and we caught up on each others’ news. So, no regrets, upsets here. The other two – the bracelet and the present are something else.

First, the present -I know it arrived with someone who came to my annual Christmas Open House party earlier this month because it sat under my little tree since then. I’ve been playing detective but the “prime suspect” says it isn’t from her. So I will go back over my party guest list and do some more detecting. It’s important that I thank the giver.

The bracelet – in a church? When I told my visiting friend about this and added that I’ve had more luck when I leave things at the library – I always get them back – she made some comment about going there instead of a church. She might be right. Christmas Day in daylight, I retraced my steps to and from the church. I also phoned the church’s pastor yesterday; he took my phone number  and he said he’d check the pews and perhaps someone found it and it would turn up in a few days.

I have my doubts – partly because I’ve had items go missing before and the “return rate” is about 25 per cent maximum – the items sometimes show up months later and for that I am grateful. Maybe I’m going on about trivia, but I’m looking at the bigger picture and trying to see what it can mean. Sure, I’m getting older and anything remotely connected to memory can deteriorate. When I’m under a lot of stress and overwhelmed by too much to do, I don’t pay attention to every little thing. However, this wasn’t the case Christmas Eve. The church service was inspiring and relaxing.

No, the bigger picture seems to be a combination of  “life happens” and you gotta accept it. That’s the part I’m re-evaluating and trying to use. However, it also reinforces one of my beliefs based on my personal experience – about 75 per cent of the time – seeing is believing. In this case if and when the bracelet shows up, then I’ll believe it. Some of you reading this will think: shouldn’t the belief be the opposite? I’ve tried that, even envisioned the event happening. Sometimes it does but more often it doesn’t or it arrives late or skewed. That’s the attitude I’m reaffirming. Call me a jaded skeptic – being a journalist for many years plus bad life experiences will do that. I believe that many people can have good law-of-attraction experiences but I don’t seem to be one of those. I can envision something happening until the cows come home on roller skates (as my cousins on the farm used to say) but the latter is more likely to occur first.

And a few minutes ago I talked to one of my closest friends. She’s had a terrible December. She banged her head twice, fell inside her house once earlier this month. Yesterday, she had to go to hospital emergency with a broken retina (she had cataract surgery earlier this year) and her brother-in-law just died. I’m complaining about a lost bracelet? I feel somewhat ashamed and realize now I gotta get a grip on what’s important and what isn’t.

However, I still maintain my beliefs as mentioned above. My friend’s experiences are more proof of them than anything I’ve experienced so far this month.

So, what do others think? Ever have good law-of-attraction experiences? I’d like to know.

Cheers and Happy New Year

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Christmas, Gratitude, Life learning, Only child, Prayer, Siblings and friends, Trust