Thursday, October 30, 2014


NOTE TO SELF: Pile the rest of the wood.
TAKEN: OCTOBER 30th, 2014
Like most mornings, I watched the sun come up from my desk. I sat there in my jammies enjoying my hot cup of coffee while gazing out the window at the glorious sun rising. Yup, I greeted my new day completely and unconditionally lost in my thoughts. When my daydream ended, I grabbed my camera and headed outside to snap my pic.

I’d like to say that it was because the natural light was perfect for the filter I had on the camera lens; but that would be a lie. I was simply using a point and shoot digital and my windows need cleaning. Had I of taken it from my desk, it would have been brutal! 

Staying on the “total honesty” bandwagon, I should probably admit that I slept in this morn. Where I live, the days are quickly getting shorter, so I ventured outside shortly after 8am. Why so late rising? I couldn't sleep; therefore, I couldn't wake up.

It's really hard to turn the mind off of a results driven individual. Just doesn't happen. 

The tough lesson I've learned in these last couple of years is about my personal expectation of those around me. As a die hard optimist, I have realized that there will always be personal dysfunction. It's called life. However, in Business, systemic dysfunction is much harder to fix. 

What I am trying to say is that when something (internally) in Business is perpetually broken, the only long term fix is to start at the beginning. Either start over, or walk away from the investment and passion of the effort.

Personally, as a middle aged woman, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've just recently had to apply those specific philosophies to my personal life. Peeps... Never lose sight of the fact that trust is earned. Once broken: more often than not irreparable.

So believe me when I admit my 'better late than never' acceptance...

Is why I had a really great day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The very first Christmas that my husband and were dating still remains the singular time that we’ve done our holiday shopping separately. I remember it specifically because my mother was terminally ill and she personally chose a yellow cable knit sweater for him. It was December of 1986.

There were a number of 'lasts' for us that Christmas. All these year later, him buying any sort of clothing for me is still firmly planted on that list. It’s not that I wasn't appreciative of his efforts in '86 but what he’d purchased were downright gaudy. By that, I mean they had definite Hallowe’en costume potential and it was Christmas!

Joking aside, I should share that we’ve always shopped together. As an example, when I've needed something specific, he's enthusiastically participated by holding up the items he likes... Only to have me scrunch up my nose, making a face, and shaking my head in disagreement. Which is my personal code for... are you freaking sniffing glue? 

Flash forward to the summer of 2014. We were shopping for my daughter before she left to move West and I came across this really neat pair of swim shorts for him. I held them up for his approval and he gave me a little of my own medicine. He made a face and shook his head. He HATED them. So, like any good wife, I bought them anyway.

When we got home, I showed them to him. He was miffed, so I said “I’m the one that has to look at you in them and I think they'll look good... So how be you only wear them when it's just you and me at the cottage?” 

He wouldn't budge, so (even though they were just very colourful swim shorts) I had to go with... I think you’ll look really sexy in them. After a bit of coaxing, he agreed to wear them for l'il ole me.

Well, that specific style of bargaining brings me to last Saturday.

Who'd a thunk it?
TAKEN: OCTOBER 28th, 2014
With our trip happening in the next minute and a half, I wanted to buy a couple of new swimsuits. We looked in every store in town, saving my very favourite store for last. 

As we looked through the racks at Bliss Boutique together he held up a suit that he really liked. It was nothing like anything I’d ever worn before, so I gave him my standard look of NOT A CHANCE IN HELL. He carefully moved into my personal space.

Looking me straight in the eye and inches from my face he asked, “do I have to come back tomorrow and buy it ?”

“Rhondi, I’m the only one that wants to see you in it” he mockingly said. "I'll only expect you to wear it twice while we’re away...!”

So I bought it. I bought it without trying it on. When we got home he asked me to model it. I tried it on and it looked FAB ~ I was a little shocked. I couldn't see it but he could. I can't believe how much my treadmill has slimmed me down. I'm still amazed.

Will I let him start picking out my clothes now? HELL NO... Getting lucky once in twenty eight years on the fashion front does not a fashion maven make!

Besides, I still haven't told him yet that he was right about the bathing suit.

Why would I want to rush two twenty eight year milestones in one week?!?!

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Let me start by saying that I have been friends with Rod Bullock since Public School. 

Actually, I asked him this morning when he started working for Mr. Burton at Centennial Coin Laundry, and together we figured out it was the Fall we were in grade nine, which was 1979. All of Mr. Burton’s customers loved him. So, no one in town was even remotely surprised when Mr. B sold the business to Rod. That was over thirty three years ago.

I don’t think I've ever shared this before but about three years ago I started doing my laundry at the laundry mat. I never really knew what the going rate for doing laundry outside the home was (and with Rod’s parking lot always full) I found myself next door at Fabricare for almost a year. Then, in the late Fall of 2012, my husband realized a couple of hours a week WAS much more efficient and agreed to help. The first thing he did was switch us over to Centennial Coin Laundry so that he could visit with Rod.

Well, when I changed jobs last year, my husband’s job also changed. Now he was the one that worked a few hours every weekend getting his guys ready for a smooth running Monday morning, so once again I assumed the laundry duties. Well, last Saturday, Rod’s was totally jammed, so I found myself next door at what-cha-ma-call-its. When I entered, I discover I was all alone; the only person doing laundry in a facility that feels twice the size of Rod’s.

The first thing I noticed was the price of the washers. The second thing I noticed, was a label on the dryers stating that I should expect to pay three plus dollars to dry an average load of laundry. I found that odd, because I normally only pay $1.25 to dry a load next door. I’ll be honest and admit that this post isn't about the money as much as it is about the way I was treated.

I’m in Sales & Marketing; I ask every single person I meet how business is multiple times a day. Doesn't matter if you’re a pizza delivery guy or an investment banker, in my opinion it’s all relative. So, as the only patron in the facility, I couldn't help but notice the level invested dollars I was surrounded by and (in the couple of hours I was there) the fact that the only revenue being generated was thanks to my dirty laundry. Curious, I asked... “is it always this slow?” 

I am a very happy Centennial Coin Laundry CUSTOMER!
Taken: October 26th, 2014
(CLICK HERE to read Stephen's DAVID v. GOLIATH Post)
Main Street Retail: David v. Goliath in a Small Town
“Depends…” was the passing reply. (Matter a fact she was just downright rude.)

“I couldn't help but notice how busy it was next door” I continued.

“Well, those people aren't use to the experience you get here” was her pretentious and very condescending reply.

It was her tone. Those people… Those people… Those people. I was gobsmacked. I couldn’t believe my ears. THOSE PEOPLE!!!

Without missing a beat I responded: “I feel the need to tell you something,” I said. “I am only here this morning because I couldn't get in next door. It was totally packed!”

She shrugged her shoulders and walked away from me. I was her only customer. I was solely responsible for the only revenue generation to pay her wages. Didn’t matter. I gave her the chance to redeem herself yet she didn't. After all, I'd disclosed that I was one of THOSE PEOPLE!

Anyway, when I was greeted by an always busy Rod this morning, I asked him what’s the best time to arrive to do my laundry;  then I told him my story, and that I was going to Blog about it. He in turn produced a post that one of his very successful cottage clients wrote about him this last Labour Day Weekend.

I wonder how Stephen will feel knowing he too is one of THOSE PEOPLE from across the alley?! Hopefully he's as proud as I am to be one. 

Keep up the GREAT work Rod! You've wholeheartedly earned & deserve my business. 

Monday, October 20, 2014


It's official. Booked and paid for, I'm taking an exciting last minute vacation next month!

It wasn't something that had been on my radar but as I looked at spending a boatload of money for an extended stay in February, I slowly began analyzing. Turns out there's a significant cost savings taking two one week vacations (a few months apart) rather than two weeks together mid winter.  

Truth of the matter is, last year I realized a week just isn't long enough in February. We're so far north, we lose two travel days getting there and coming home; then once you've decompressed and get into a routine, it's time to start packing to come back home to the snow. 

After I couldn't solidify the February plans, I started to reflect about our Christmas vacation of 2012. (We'd packed up our pups and headed to a house on the beach in South Carolina.) Having that shot of Vitamin D before the real crux of winter hit was amazing. Then, with the thought of how truly perfect that trip was, got me to thinking.

...Which brings me to today.

Right after I see another 'Bucket List' concert, I'm heading to YYZ the following morning and jumping a 7:30am plane. In less than a month from now, I'll be running along an amazing stretch of beach in the Caribbean. Screw my new treadmill... I'll be running and singing, while baking in the morning sun!

I don't know about you, but for me, there's something about the planning of any kind of time away, that makes me reflective of the adventures that I've already had.

Like anyone, I'm sure vacation moments are memorable because they've had some sort of defining personal moment; others, just seem to jump out as memorable because you know you'd never want history repeat itself. I try not to draw comparisons but over time I've developed a pretty specific 'must have' list.

So, once again, down to two and over thinking which resort (resulting in numerous phone calls throughout the process) my husband reminded me that the most important 'must have' was already in place and the the rest of the little shit won't matter.

"We'll be together" he said.

And just like that I handed over a credit card number... because that kind of logical thinking made the decision for us!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I had a couple of meetings this morning. In my second, a colleague and I were chatting about a High School friend that dropped dead of a massive heart attack on Hallowe'en night.  After reminiscing about how amazing he was, we realized that it had been almost fifteen years since we’d lost him. After that realization, she and I just sat there speechless. Even today, I remember his laugh like I heard it yesterday.

Why so glum, chum? In less than a week I have received enough personal bad news to last me the rest of my life. Three people that I love with all of my heart have fallen unexpectedly ill; and, an indescribable tragedy claimed the life of our thirteen year old nephew. All of it, simply sad and so terribly unfair.

With Taylor laid to rest, instinct has me wanting to help all the others but I'm not entirely sure how I can. It's hard to explain, each of them are so close, yet so far. I'm sitting here typing feeling a little helpless. Yes, you've read that right, the consummate problem solver doesn't have a solution. It's painfully heartbreaking.

Every single one of the three I am speaking of have contributed to who I am today and ALL have provided life lessons. Admittedly, some of their lessons took a little longer to resonate than others, but none of them ever stopped teaching, nor ever gave up on me. I love them all very much and in a nutshell my life would suck without them in it!

As I quietly type and reflect, I can't help but be reminded of one very obvious fact. That life as we know it isn't always fair. 

...Doesn't mean a wouldn't gladly beg borrow or steal a little fairness tonight if I could.

Once again, thanks for listening.

Monday, October 13, 2014


It's not closed... More emptied.
How perfect was it that the sun came out to greet me as I left?
TAKEN: OCTOBER 11th, 2014
Well, when my husband and I awoke to pouring rain this past Saturday morning; we immediately cut our spooning/catch up session short, to bite the bullet and officially move me home.

You know what? 

Even though I had started packing the week previous, I had no idea the amount of crap that still had to go up the hill. I've always steadfastly held the ground that I am not a pack rat but more than eight trips after the fact, I was still finding stuff that I didn’t want to leave behind.  Don't tell anyone... but it was a little embarrassing. All I kept saying to him was “HOLY SHIT... I honestly had no idea!”

Not because I thought he was mad but because I knew it was something he didn’t want to be doing on his Saturday morning off. So, to help curb the volume of potential whining, I offered he to do the packing of the kitchen while I did the crappy lugging up the fifty five steps. It's mornings like last Saturday that make me realize we really are a pretty amazing Team. 

No one can ever accuse me of making my husband do anything he didn't want to. He’s always been his own person, and over the years I have learned to become mine. After twenty eight years together, we have finally discovered, that even though we have different interests and varying circles of friends, communicating to one and other the wants and needs we both have, make our quality time together pretty amazing.

He really didn’t want me to move to the cottage this summer but I know he’s glad I did. It not only helped us evolve to the next level as a married couple…. But as a the great Team and best of friends we'd somehow lost track of being thanks to everyday life.

Funny how those light bulb moments sneak up on us isn't it?

Thursday, October 9, 2014


It’s with great sadness that I report that the day before yesterday was the last time I got to enjoy my beloved outdoor shower. Don’t fret, I’m not all stinky and stuff. I have a bathtub and shower in the upstairs bathroom that has no commode. That much needed plumbing friend of mine, is located downstairs; all alone, with only a pedestal sink to keep it company. Sounds a tad convoluted but it really is quite practical from a day to day living stand point.

I love to sing in the shower... Just like it when I can't be heard!
Even with the indoor plumbing, for as long as I can remember, I've always loved to shower outdoors.

It’s started with a garden hose and an attachment that I used to use to bathe the dog with, that graduated to a rainfall Waterpic on the end of a hose that hung from the upper deck using a rope, and so on. When I lived out here in 2012, building a real outdoor shower became a personal mission.

Because this summer was so brutal weather wise, I put up walls that maintained my view but kept the majority of the elements out. If you look at my photo, you can see on the left, that I've tacked an old bed sheet up to keep anyone from seeing in. 

It’s not that I’m a prude. Hell, I’m anything but; BUT, after a week of catching my crazy neighbour raking the same 2 x 2 piece of his lawn (as I prepared to get into my shower) I figured it was time to shut the Show down.

He’s a piece of work. Before I went the bed sheet route, I’d go as far as to announce “I can see you over there…” but it made no matter. He never took the hint. The fact that he’s an old bird, I suppose I should have given him the benefit of the doubt that he couldn't hear (nor see) me but the idea of it all just generally bugged the hell outta me. With the cottage outdoor shower season over, before I return home Saturday, the walls will be taken down and stored (have a steel roof that would decimate them in the Spring if I didn’t).

Next summer my goal is to build a deck into the hill and put a clawed foot bath tub on it. That way, I can enjoy my view as well as my beloved bubble baths while I'm living here. I've decided that the only fencing that will be constructed will be a large privacy fence on the property line so my time is privately mine. 

Who wants to bet me that my neighbour loses his rake AND his desire to do yard work?

Ya Gotta Laugh About It...!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


After blogging last night about being out here alone, once I posted, everything very quickly calmed down. So much so that I didn't have to stock the woodstove to sleep and when I got up for the day, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t need to spark it up then either. In a nutshell, today, unexpectedly, turned into an absolutely glorious day!

Puddin' soaking up the sun & enjoying the day!
TAKEN: OCTOBER 10th, 2014
I don’t know about you... But I have always loved the Fall. So, when I was thrown a very yummy weather nugget this morning, I decided to take full advantage of it.

To accommodate my already full schedule, I knew it would have to be a tit for tat day. Two very long ‘lists of things to do’ running parallel with both of them being worked at equally. I'd work on some SEO optimization, then packed excess clothing that has to head home. Spent an hour on a conference call, then went outside and raked the lower areas where I struggle to keep my footing on this anything but flat piece of land I am living on.

Part way through my second exercise, I was reminded, as I am every year, that I think I’m a bit of a freak. Just like shoveling snow, I really do love to rake. (As you can see by my pic, I had lots of help.) As the next thought grazed around in my mind, I couldn't help but chuckle with laughter.

Why? Well, you see, I have a very sexy rake. In a way, it’s very large tines (that fan so beautifully) remind me of the back of a really great convertible sports car. Seriously, as I was using it this morning, I had to admire it. Not only is it extremely stylish, it's much more practical for me this time of year.

PLUS... It's a thousand times sportier than the stinking all purpose corn broom I can usually be spotted riding around on the rest of the year!


Monday, October 6, 2014


Next weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving. With impending travel on my horizon, I had to be practical about an end date to my ‘co-operative cottage placement’. So, when I landed back here mid-afternoon last Saturday, I knew this had to be my final stint for 2014.

For whatever reason, today has felt a little eerie here.  The wind’s howling, and for the very first time this season, I sense that I am truly alone. As silly as this may read, I’m sure the dogs are sensing something too.

The view from my computer at 2:30pm today...
TAKEN: October 6th, 2014

I don’t care. I may be a little frazzled around the edges but I’m glad I am seeing my plan through. When I told my husband I was heading back in for another ten days, he wasn't near as enthusiastic as yours truly. Don’t misunderstand, he’s a 1000% supportive but he really doesn't love it here as much as I do.

Case in point, last week after my post about my former co-worker leaving the country and starting over, I had somebody forward me a clip art whooze-a-ma-whats-it that I shared with my husband. It read ‘…travel far enough, to meet yourself.'

My husband, like me, agrees that it isn't about the distance traveled, nor the number of stamps in your Passport  that defines your journey. It's your investment in yourself linked to the one that has your heart. Hell, look at me. I personally traveled a total of fifteen kilometers and accomplished the most amazing self-discovery imaginable!

What can I say? I believe that the only way to experience change is to seek it. The next important notable is that once you seek it you can’t stop it. You can only manage it.

...To the best of your personal ability!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Well, my lack of sleep, and plethora of outside stresses, have finally caught up with me. I’m officially ill. I’m walking around the house with a box of Kleenex stuffed up my sleeve, my head is so stuffy I feel like H.R Puff ‘n Stuff, and I have aches where I haven’t ached since… well, never mind on that one. Let's just say, I have aches. 

To make things worse, everything I touched today turned into a gigantic hunk of poo!!!

Special kinda hug? Pfft... Can't even get the old fashioned kind!
I’m bat shit bitchy, I'm wallowing in complete and total self-pity, and I need a hug.

A special kinda hug.

The kind of hug that leads straight into sex!

Problem is my husband got home from work, took one look at me and immediately announced he was sleeping on the couch. What the hell? DUDE…Suit it up and take it for the TEAM!

As a chronic hand washer I rarely feel under the weather. The last time I was ill was when I returned from Jamaica last February. I’m sure I had something incubating whilst I was there but was certainly glad I didn't spend big bucks to stay in water closet for almost a week. In this instance, I really do believe it's stress. Unexpected emotional stress. The kind of emotional stress that gets relieved by that special kinda hug I was telling you about.

This too shall pass. When it does, the first thing I'm doing is digging out my husbands very favourite piece of lingerie. I'm going to prepare his favourite dinner wearing only that. I'm going to pour some wine, run a bubble bath and light some candles. Only then, will I whisper into his ear, asking if he'd like the special kinda hug I'm telling you about. Once he whispers his answer back, I'll... 


What can I say? Turn about is fair play BABY... Turn about's fair play!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


What a day. What can I say? I didn’t sleep last night anticipating my lunch meeting with the former coworker I mentioned a couple of days ago. It truly was a luncheon date that was ten months late, but I'm a firm believer that good things come to those who wait. Today did not disappoint.

Restless that I would be emotional, mid morning, I called in my Crew (a core group of guys that I keep in touch with that have also moved on from our former employer).  I asked them to meet me to say goodbye. I called them in for a couple of reasons; I knew my friend would be delighted to see them but more importantly I wanted today to be a happy goodbye. I did NOT want to cry. Tall order for this cat from the get go.

It’s hard to describe the amazing energy we created when all of us were back together: in one word, powerful. It was heartwarming to see the excitement for our friend as he shared his plans for the next leg of his journey.


After the Crew left, he and I talked about why we never reached out to one and other before now. Surprisingly enough, the reasons were eerily similar. 

Because he knows I can look him in the eye and verbalize what he means to me, to reciprocate, he wrote me a letter.

It was perfect. Big surprise, I CRIED!

His words were very kind & impeccably written. I'm truly flattered.

I've said this before and I’ll say it again. There’s no sure recipe for starting over. You simply make up your mind. You dig in your heels. And you DO it!

To the Crew today I verbalized that I don't have a single regret moving on and starting over. The biggest thing that warms my heart? Neither do any of my FANTASTIC FOUR! I guess the good news is we're going to be golfing together. Matter a fact, it will be in the off season and in Grand Caymen.

Because THIS story is sooooo not over yet!