Pass the Shovel, Please.

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When I was still working, my friend Julie used to say on rough days that she was “digging deep.” For more energy. More patience. More whatever internal resources she needed to navigate whatever trying situation life had thrown in her path. I noticed that Annie Green used the same expression on her blog post when I read it this morning. So. Let’s talk about digging, shall we?

Before I go any further I should tell you that nothing bad has happened. Mum is fine. Progressing, gaining strength slowly. She will be assessed this upcoming week to see if she is ready to be moved to a rehabilitation ward. She is still happy to be where she is, although getting a bit bored, I think. Note: Must send more books.

Hubby is getting his first vaccine shot tomorrow. His second shot is booked for July. I don’t know yet when my age group will be eligible. The powers that be can’t seem to make up their minds about the AstraZeneca vaccine. Sigh. But we’ve been waiting this long. What’s another month, really?

But here’s the kicker for me. I am feeling in a bit of a muddle. Partly that’s because I have let other things slide while I’ve been on the phone these past two weeks.

Seriously, it seems that I am permanently glued to my phone. Social workers, nurses, family, care companies, family friend who is an accountant and does Mum’s taxes, banks, plus government departments both provincial and national.

For example: In order to get mum’s financial situation reassessed by the New Brunswick government so they can increase her home care, we need certain tax information. Family have been digging around Mum’s files (Mum is a meticulous file keeper) for the needed info. No luck. And accountant neighbour does not have the info. So, unable to procure said info, I literally spent an entire morning on the phone with Revenue Canada finding out that they couldn’t help me because I don’t have the right permission forms submitted to them. Then it took two days to get ahold of the right person at the New Brunswick government department to find out if we could substitute other info. We could. So family friend went digging again, compiled info and delivered it. Check. That’s one thing accomplished.

There are others still in the queue. But I won’t bore you with any more detail. I know that many of you have been in the same boat as I am. Far away, trying to help with an elderly parent’s affairs.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone I have spoken to at agencies private and public have been wonderful. Friendly, patient, wanting to be helpful. The lovely girl at Revenue Canada works in Montreal and has family that she can’t visit in Moncton, New Brunswick. She totally understood my situation. She did her best, but rules are rules. And for a good reason. So I poured another cup of tea and placed another call to the N.B. government department which will be doing Mum’s financial assessment. When the woman called me back the next day, she was lovely, patient, and helpful. And on it goes.

I have never in my life had my cell phone in my pocket more than the last two weeks. At night it resides on the chest of drawers by the bed, instead of in the den where it usually lives. In the morning I pop it into the pocket of my robe. I’m waiting for a call back from Mum’s doctor. My niece Tammy and I had a good laugh on the phone the other day about taking the phone into the bathroom so I don’t miss a call. But praying it doesn’t ring while I’m in there. Ha.

In the meantime, I feel as if everything else in my life has slid sideways. I said “feels as if” quite deliberately. No one else notices this but me, I know. But there ARE other things in my life that I need to do. Want to do. Like getting organized, checking Mum’s things off my list, getting stuff done around the house now that we are supposed to have a spell of good weather, and doing behind the scenes blog stuff.

I haven’t neglected the blog, exactly. I have been posting on my regular schedule, mostly. But I feel as if I have been lurching from one hastily written post to the next. And I hate doing it that way. Hate doing anything that way, to be honest. Besides, the weather has been cold and miserable, and I have not felt like donning outfits and taking photos. My spring wardrobe remains in storage. And because other stuff is foremost in my mind, my creativity has gone down the drain. Plus COVID cases in Ontario have risen alarmingly and we are back in lock-down for a month.

All of this whining is to say that this week upcoming I am going to dedicate to getting my house in order. Literally and figuratively.

To that end I’m going to take a blog break for a week. I’m going to dig deep and get myself out of the muddle I am in. I will reprise a couple of old favourite posts. Many of you will have read them before. But if you’re new around here, I hope you enjoy them.

So that’s it, my friends. Pass the shovel, please. I’m about to dig in. See you on April 13.

Oh, and Happy Easter to everyone. Hopefully this Easter Hubby and I won’t be stuck in a snowstorm, like that fateful weekend in 1985 when we tried to go brook trout fishing. A pinch early. Ha.

Just before the blizzard. Easter weekend 1985.

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69 thoughts on “Pass the Shovel, Please.”

  1. Totally understand. Take as much time as you need to get back on track, we will be here when you are ready. It is good to hear that your mom is on the right track. You put so much effort into the blog for all of us that I wish I could send you some extra energy and calm. This new lockdown is another set back but fingers crossed it helps and the more vaccines that arrive the better we will all feel. I was standing in line outside the lab this week and the woman in front of me said she had no intention of getting the vaccine or any of her family and I tell you I wanted to smack her. I am just glad I am getting my first dose on Monday but wll have to wait 4 months for the next one. Do take care and we will be waiting for your return. Happy Easter

  2. Have a productive week off, Sue. We all occasionally need time to regroup. So happy to read that your mum is doing well. Happy Easter! 💐

  3. Self-care is important, Sue. Take time to recharge and regain the happiness that writing gives you. I have a shovel (or two) hanging around the place. Give me a shout if you want to borrow one. ;}

  4. Mary Lou Hartman

    So glad to hear your Mom is doing well. It is certainly time to prioritize some self care which is so important especially in these unusual times. Happy Easter

  5. So pleased that your mum is improving. Caring for elderly parents at a distance during a pandemic must take a huge emotional and physical toll. You are wise to take some time to catch up. We’ll all be here when you return. If you’ve been producing hastily written blog posts, that’s totally escaped my notice. I hope your break allows you to do what you need in order to feel more organised. Happy Easter 🐣 🐇🌼

  6. Wendy in York

    I’m glad your mum is on the mend . The fact that she’s bored is a good sign . You do right to have a break – we certainly don’t want any below standard blogposts around here !
    As far as the AZ jab is concerned I would not worry if that’s what you are offered . There is a great deal of hysteria in Europe , not helped by the politicians but in the UK it seems to be working . The UK has had a death rate of over 20 per 100,000 of the population . Of the 18.8 million vaccinated with the AZ we’ve had 7 ( unsubstantiated) deaths due to blood clots . In fact we have far more chance of being killed or receiving catastrophic injuries in a car crash but we’re all still driving . On Jan 20 this year the UK death rate was a dreadful 1823 – yesterday it was 10 . It isn’t over of course but vaccination is having a real effect & AZ is a major part of that . Sorry to throw statistics at you but it’s important to look at the facts . There seems to be no hesitancy here at ground level to be given AZ . We accept that all drugs even paracetamol come with risks , albeit very small , & the benefits are worth it . We might not trust our politicians but we do trust our scientists .
    Enjoy your break Sue , bask in all these good wishes & we’ll see you soon

    1. Thank you for the stats. It just reinforces my goal to be vaccinated with what is available.

    2. Thanks, for that, Wendy. I was going to email you, actually, about the feeling wrt to the AZ vaccine where you live. I’m not eligible for the Pfizer yet.. too young. 🙂 But I’ve signed up to get AZ when the pharmacies in Ottawa get a supply.

      1. I had my first AZ jab last week. The only discernible side effect was sleeping a lot in the afternoon of the next day! Not a bad side-effect to have 😉

    3. Thank you for the information Wendy. My Husband and I are planning on taking whatever is offered and it is nice to have the reassurance if what we are offered is the AZ.

      Enjoy your much deserved break Sue!

    4. Thanks Wendy … really useful and positive information. Definitely beneficial for people to read this as opposed to all the news reports, not based on scientific facts!

    5. Exactly. There has been a lot of shrieking but if you look for it – and it isn’t that hard – the information about the vaccine is reassuring. All the years of fake news (grrr) have made people distrustful and afraid of the very people you should put your faith in.

  7. Thanks for the shout out! And go put your feet up, let your brain go into Idle and best of luck with all the confusing/infuriating/tiring/bloody annoying details that you are dealing with.
    You are not whining. You are telling us your story.

  8. Happy Easter Sue and Stu!
    Take a break as long as you need-one has to have time to think and rest and do whatever is needed and what one wants to do-we are here
    <3
    Dottoressa

  9. So glad to hear your mum is doing better.
    Getting the vaccine here in Ontario is really inconsistent from region to region. Here in York Region, my husband and I (aged 68 and 67) were able to get our shots (Pfizer) at the local mass vaccination clinic a few days ago. This was arranged through our doctor’s office. They were able to book appointments for the 65+ group if there were unused appointments, and our 2nd shot is also booked for July.
    Take care of yourself and have a good re-charge.

    1. Yep. The “extra” appointments here in Ottawa are for healthcare providers at the moment. And The pharmacies have only started booking in the last day or two.

  10. Spring and Easter are the times of renewal, hope and light….hopefully at the end of this long dismal tunnel. Gather your strength and you will move forward. Take good care of yourself as you attend to the needs of others. I will welcome your posts when you come back.

  11. Happy Easter,
    Happy to hear your Mum is getting better. We can find comfort knowing our home province has managed a strong response to Covid. I look forward to to reading your older posts from before we found one another again.

    1. Thanks, my friend. I love that line… before we found each other again. Makes me tear up. So glad we have reconnected after so many years. xo

  12. Take all the time you need. Your support group is out there. I had never blogged before this Covid stuff happened. But find I feel closer to some of the people whose blogs I read than real life people. A psychologist probably had a name for people like me,but who cares! It is very hard caring for an aging parent(now I find that I am one of those) whether at a distance or closer to home, because all the quirks can not be fixed. There is only one answer and we don’t like to think about that either. When I was dealing with my mother(who lived with us)there were not as many agencies available who knew what to do or how to help. Good advice is really cold comfort at times. All you can do is the best you can do,let the rest go,because you can’t fix it. That’s the hard part and she knows you are doing the best you can do. enjoy your break time. We all mean well. Best to you all!

    1. Thanks, Susan. I know that Mum is really grateful for my hours on the phone. I have started telling her I am her PA. That all the famous people have personal assistants, and I’m hers. 🙂

      1. Shall we all refer to you as PA now. One good way to think of it. I wasn’t a very good one when it was my turn,I’m afraid. There was no one around to tell me to pause,breathe deeply and let it go. I lacked a lot of patience,which I am sure you have in bundles nor did I have any siblines(spelling?) to share the responsibility with, only my husband who has infinite patience and our dog who did not pay any attention anyway! But be assured it does seem that you have a very good support group out here pulling for you and wishing you well.

  13. Thinking of you and your Mom. Take time and care for yourself. One cannot care for others if they don’t take care of themselves. ❤️🙏🏼❤️

  14. Good news your Mum is improving. Difficult times take their toll, and navigating a bureaucratic quagmire adds a frustrating layer. Creativity needs time and less anxiety. Nurture yourself, and enjoy the nascent signs of Spring.

  15. Sue,

    You are in the age group who can now get vaccinated at Shoppers Drug Mart. Go on their website and click on Covid Vaccine bookings. Your name goes in a wait list and they will text you with your date and you choose the time from those available. They have already started to give the vaccines.

    Best wishes for your Mom’s recovery.

    1. Thanks, Maureen. I signed up for SDM the other day. But have not heard back yet. The pharmacies here in Ottawa started vaccinated a day or so ago.

  16. Happy to hear your mom is doing better! I really appreciate your blog — and totally support you in caring for yourself by taking a break. May I suggest something to you and your readers which has brought me an escape and joy? I discovered free live online tours less than an hour long (supported by tips if one wishes) and have watched the volcano in Iceland erupt, wandered the canals of Amsterdam and the walled city of Lucca, visited a market in Paris and learned about art nouveau architecture and even wandered around Machu Pichu! Check it out at http://www.virtualtrips.io — it’s a wonderful community and has provided a breather to so many folks. Started by two young fellows in London, one of them Canadian. (Yes, I’m shamelessly addicted.)

  17. Happy Easter. Love the photo of you in ’85. Love how you are so honest with your readers, it’s like we are visiting over a cuppa. Take all the time you need. You need to take care of you so that you can take care of everyone else. I will enjoy the old blog posts, and look forward to your return. I will be honest also, got my second vaccine yesterday, feel like a truck ran over me, but it’s all worth it for some return to ‘normal’ life. Here’s hoping and praying your vaccine comes your way this month.

  18. Take the time you need, Sue! Most of us have probably been in similar circumstances at one time or another and we’ll be here when you’re ready to connect again. In the meantime, so glad to hear that your Mum is okay!

  19. Hi Sue,
    What wonderful news that your mother is improving. You have been up to your eye-balls looking after so many things on her behalf. As you dig through your pile of stuff, give yourself
    a big hug.
    May you have a Blessed Easter.

  20. Glad to hear that your Mum is doing better. Her boredom sounds like a good sign that she is on the up. Take all the time you need as we will all be here for you when you return and take care of yourself. Many of us have been in this situation and it is especially hard when it’s at a distance.

  21. Dig deep, take as much time as you need. We will be here when you come back. Glad to hear your mother is doing okay and hope she continues to improve. Hope that you can get the vaccine sometime in the foreseeable future. Best wishes.

  22. Very glad to hear your mother is on the mend. It is tough when roles are reversed and you have to become the parent.
    Take all the time you need for yourself as you cannot help anyone if you become unglued. We will be waiting here for you and ready to enjoy more tales from the wilderness. Stat safe.

  23. Oh My! I understand about the glued to the phone thing (been there done that) and the many tasks that you never even knew existed until you try to get care for someone. You will get through this and get some semblance of your life back….

  24. Hi Sue, so good to hear your mums progressing well … I too, think her feeling of boredom is a good thing! I guess she’s imagining what she could be doing! Lol
    Good idea to take a “break” … at least from blogging. Important to take care of yourself too. Easy to become stressed and worn out at times like this.
    Adding to Wendy’s extremely useful and positive info … I’ve had my first AstraZeneca vaccine and apart from feeling wrecked for a few days, which I expected, I’ve been fine. I’ve always felt positive about this particular vaccine and have faith in the scientists at Oxford.
    I hope Stu’s been ok since his vaccination.
    Take care … hugs!
    Rosie

    1. Thanks, Rosie. Stu had his first shot yesterday. Says he is feeling fine. I hear the chainsaw outside so he must be well enough to cut wood. Ha.

  25. Did I read second shot in JULY?I thought they had to be 3 weeks apart!
    I just got my FIRST SHOT on SATURDAY……..YIPPY!!!GO back the 30th for round two!
    Parents and paperwork…………….it really is quite RIDICULOUS!
    As I recall it was A LOT OF HAIR PULLING!
    Glad she is doing well…………
    HAPPY you are taking a break as now maybe I can catch up!!!

    1. Yep. We have had such a shortage of vaccine here that they have decided to give as many people as possible their first shot, and push the second shots back. For every one but those over 90 as far as I know. Apparently new info says that is doable. And a large percentage of the population with 70-90% immunity from one shot is better than half number that with full immunity and the other half with none. 🙂

  26. It’s. Been. A. Year. And more. I am glad you are taking a week off, maybe even take two. You blog seriously and productively and vacations are important! I also really hope you can get vaccinated and up to see your mama soon. All the negotiating for her safety and comfort can take a toll. xoxox.

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