2017 or as I call it – A LONG TIME COMING

Well, it has been a long time since I did this. Putting pen to paper – as it were. So much has happened since I last recorded anything on my blog.

Since I last wrote, we have been in our home for almost 5 years.  Nykie, our beloved fur baby crossed the Rainbow Bridge,IMG_0254

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and how much he was loved and how much he loved us.

Alex has had major health issues – thankfully all are under control now but, it has been a long slog to get him through the myriad of health issues.  But, my husband, if nothing else, is a fighter (as some of you well know).

Back in April, 2014, he came down ill with Infectious Gastro-Enteritis.  It took almost 6 months of visits to the ER and to various medical specialists to actually diagnose what happened to him.  We spent the next three and a half years fighting to get him well.  We have almost succeeded. The downside, though, was the aftermath of all the fighting with the medical system and the various governmental entities.

Alex found he was unable to work due to the various afflictions he was now burdened with.  I won’t go into details as that is his story to tell, not mine.  Suffice to say, he struggled valiantly to regain some semblance of a normal life.

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My husband is one of the most resilient men I have ever met.

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I, myself, had my own health issues – no nothing major (thank goodness).  I had a bout of kidney stones in 2013 which laid me out for almost two weeks.  In 2014, I had a bout of bronchitis – another week and a bit of being sicker than I have been in decades.  As a result of Alex’s diligence and persistence,  I was able to finally secure a health practitioner – the next best thing to a doctor.  She was able to successfully treat my hight blood pressure and prostate issues – hello drugs for the rest of my life, but, thanks to those drugs, it should be considerably longer than without them.

On to other stuff now:

Since writing last, I have come back to IRIS the Visual Group.  I could not be happier.  When I left IRIS back in 2009, it was to follow a new path.  One that was, supposedly, going to fulfill my  every need – financially speaking.  I was promised a bed of roses by a former friend and other than being subjected to a bunch of pricks, the prophecy did not come to fruition.

After struggling with (she who shall not be named) for 3 years, I was able to get away from her and her toxic life and began to rebuild my own.  I was able to find gainful employment.  I struggled to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up – apparently, being a firetruck is not a suitable or realistic goal to achieve.

I was able to transition from Volunteer at the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society into a part time office manager / race registrar gig.  That was a wonderful opportunity to put my administrative skills to use.

I was then able to secure a part time gig at Earth Options Pet Products – a company that I am still with today.  This was the brand of dog food that Nykie was on for the last 8 years of his life.  The quality of the product line is unsurpassed in animal nutrition values.

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I then created a trifecta of work by going to work for one of my oldest and dearest friends – Elaine.  Elaine purchased a small consignment shop back in 2012 and was looking for someone to help out occasionally with some general sales duties and to help organize her paperwork.  That shop is East Side ReRides now located just off Main Street in Vancouver.  Working here and for her has been a true joy.  I am able to stretch my selling skills and work with some of the most interesting people ever.

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Fast forward to 2014 – IRIS the Visual Group suffered a tremendous loss in the untimely death of their President – Dr. Francis Jean.  I contacted my amazing friend (friend doesn’t begin to cover my relationship with her), Debbi to express my condolences.  We spoke at great length about Dr. Jean’s legacy and the future of IRIS.  It was shortly after that conversation that Debbi offered me a new opportunity back in the IRIS family.

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I jumped at the opportunity to work with Debbi again.  We have worked together at 4 different organizations over the years and we have always worked well together.  That is an understatement.  We ROCK when we work together.  We have been working on IRIS’ Corporate Eyecare Benefits Program and have turned it from a small little benefits program into a Juggernaut with sales in the multi-millions of dollars annually.

I have come full circle and couldn’t be happier.

So, that has everyone almost caught up with what has been going on until 2017.

2017 has been an amazing year for Alex and I.  We have been in our home almost 5 years and it couldn’t be better.  Yes, we have had a few challenges.  We have had two separate floods but thanks to insurance and great restoration services, we were able to replace all the floors in our home.

The furnace died in 2015 – the end result of that was a new furnace and very strained relations with my family – some irreparably harmed, others are slowly coming back to where they should be.

The hot water tank turned into a rust generator – again another major expense to replace, but, glad it is done.  I was getting covered in so much brownish water from the old tank, I was coming out of the shower looking very tanned.

We have increased our menagerie.  We have two adorable rabbits – Caramel and Patches.  A couple of beautiful does who reside in a massive hutch Alex built for them back in 2014.

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We have two budgies – Lucky and Tiny.  Lucky came to us as a result of being caught by Nykie back in 2013.  Tiny joined him about 6 months after that.

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3 aquariums and one pond rounded out the crew.  That is until Nykie left us.

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Alex was lost without his furry buddy.  Thankfully, Alex found Phantom and Beau through a rescue foundation – Furever Free Dog Rescue.  Our two boys were rescued from the streets of Tijuana, Mexico and came to us back in March of 2016.  Our lives have been forever changed as a result.

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We have been to the Maritimes in 2016 – an adventure one I will never forget or repeat.  Suffice to say, I am no longer the apple of some of Alex’s family members. A story for another time.

Alex’s BFF, Angela has moved back to the Maritimes and so now we actually have a reason to consider going back there.  The next trip there will be under completely different circumstances and on our terms – not anyone else’s.

2017 also found some great financial rewards for Alex and myself.  With some serious saving as well as Alex FINALLY getting his long term disability income, we found ourselves DEBT-FREE – other than our mortgage and car payment.  The weight of the world is off our shoulders now.

So, next year – EUROPE!  I have been promising Alex a trip to the Netherlands since we got married and next year, we will be able to afford it.

Then a trip to Costa Rica – a whole new adventure awaits us there.  We are looking at moving there when I retire, but, first a trip there to see if it is feasible.

This year, I had a number of trips to Edmonton to visit my mom.  She is struggling with dementia and it is definitely taking a toll on her (and by virtue of proximity – my siblings and their spouses).  I expect to be doing a number of those again in 2018.  But, it is an opportunity to keep my mom connected to the here and now.  Something, I am very grateful for. Her 91st birthday is in February and I am hoping to take Alex with me to go and visit her then.

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We also had a camping trip to Edmonton in August and got to hang out with one of my best friends, Pat.  He is an amazing man who has put up with my shenanigans for almost 40 years now.  How he does it, I will never know.  I suspect it is due to drinking….

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We were able to take the dogs with us and Pat was able to see how wonderful they were.

I have also just come off a very successful run in the theatre world.  I have been a stage manager for a number of organizations for the past 10 years.  This is a labour of love for me, but, all things must come to an end.  Sadly, I am going to be on a sabbatical from the theatre for at least 18 months.  Stage Managing is brutal and takes a lot of work and time and effort and all three plus working full time have taken their toll.  So, my last show is my LAST show (for 2018 – I did promise my director – Alison Schamberger that I would be back and I can NEVER say “no” to that woman.  She is one of the most amazing directors I have ever had the privilege to work with)

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for us and I hope to write more (and hopefully better).

 

 

 

 

Published by Al Zylstra

a somewhat erudite wannabe writer with aspirations of not putting people to sleep with my prose....

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