Monday, March 26, 2018

Ottawa Home and Garden Show

I managed to win a couple of tickets to the Ottawa Home and Garden Show and I got my hubby to take a day off so we could go. He chose Thursday, opening day, and we picked up the tickets across town from Ottawa Home Services shortly before the doors opened. I thought perhaps there would be a long lineup for the opening but if there was it was gone by the time we arrived and it wasn't crowded in there at all. It was great to be able to wander around and see everything without having to wait for others to get out of the way.

I've been to the EY Centre for other events at one end or the other but was pleasantly surprised to find that they could open sections up and make the display area bigger. This show took up three areas, side by side, connected by doorways I never knew existed before.  No wonder it didn't seem crowded!

I had seen pictures on social media of the work being done to construct the garden area. That was quite impressive, and the results were stunning. There were food concessions over in that section too, but by then we had already eaten.

One of my friends mentions he never goes to these events as he generally ends up buying something he later wished he hadn't. I talked to several tradespeople about some jobs that need doing around our place. I gathered cards and brochures, was given a collapsible plastic water bottle and a bookmark ate some of the candies available at the displays and filled in a few contest forms. I saw one or two products that I would happily have brought home but I wanted to see everything first. I've learned that if I jump on a deal too soon I find something I'd rather have had later so I always like to see everything that is offered before I make my choice. I often manage to talk myself out of such purchases before going home too.  Hubby, however, was quite taken with a silicone squeegee that got windows and mirrors spotlessly clean with no streaks at all.  I was even given the chance to clean a window myself and I have to admit it worked far better than my current method, Usually, I have to rewash some of my windows a few times to get rid of the streaks. Of course, there is always this deal where they offer you more if you buy it during the show, or in this case, if you are one of the first 50. The price was really high enough that I'm sure there was no real deal to be had, but we have two very large windows and one of them is very difficult to clean from the outside. The very idea that this tool will help is what sold us. It will be getting a good workout soon.

Earlier in the day, I was able to dodge a bigger bullet as I was scooped into a chair where a guy applied a product under my eyes that magically removed all traces of any bags, circles or wrinkles. He just did one eye first so I could see the difference. Well, there is always a difference with my eyes anyway, since I've had Bells Palsy and the other side of my face is ageing faster than the side he chose.  So yes, I saw a dramatic difference between the two eyes. I did, however, tell him that I would have been more impressed if he had done the bad side. So then he did that one too, which was good as I didn't want to walk around the rest of the day looking totally weird. The product did it's magic and made that eye younger too. He started to tell me which other products he would be throwing in as part of their early bird special. I said something about how I expected this all to be rather expensive. He said, "Oh, no.  Botox would be expensive and this is much cheaper." The price came in somewhere well over $300 and while he went to fetch a bag, I was able to escape from his chair. He seemed totally surprised that I wasn't taking him up on this deal. While it looked like it would fix any issues I'm starting to see in my face, I still think I'm doing rather well for my age. There is no way I want to start spending that sort of money knowing full well that once you start you would never suddenly want to see those wrinkles again when you ran out of the product in 6 months. I had a hard enough time growing out my natural hair colour!  This product pulled the skin tight and was not at all soft to the touch. I knew I had made the right choice when the product cracked and created verticle lines under my eyes. That certainly isn't becoming, not is it a natural look. At least not for me.  I'll keep my wee lines. I've earned them.

It was a lovely day out, but of course, by the time we paid for gas, lunch and the window washing system, it was hardly free. Maybe I'll win something.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Trick of the Eyes

One never knows what the next day will bring. Sometimes it's something good you weren't expecting and sometimes it's quite the opposite.
One day, more than 15 years ago, during a routine eye exam, I was told I had developed cataracts. For a few years, I was told to get my eyes checked every six months. OHIP covered that and I suddenly no longer had to pay for eye exams while my hubby still did, at least until he was 65. The cataracts have never developed to the point where it was time to have them removed and eventually the eye exams became more of a yearly thing.
This year, when I went to have my eyes examined, the optometrist discovered there was elevated pressure on my eyes and she sent me to a specialist. There I discovered that the cataracts were actually pushing my irises forward causing the natural fluid drainage system to be blocked. I was told I had closed angle glaucoma and was being scheduled for laser surgery. The idea was to prevent damage to the optic nerve so I wouldn't go blind.
I always say that no matter how healthy you are, by the time you turn 60 your body starts to play tricks on you. One moment I'm fine and even my cataracts aren't ready to come out, and the next, the darn things are creating another way to cause me to lose my sight.
It took just over a month to get my laser surgery. In the meantime, I had a chance to do some research. I found that they would freeze my eyeballs, just like when they did the pressure test, and then I'd have my eyes zapped and it would all be over in less than five minutes. The operation would create a new hole in my iris so the fluid could drain into my bloodstream and relieve the pressure.
There were all kinds of warnings to follow the doctor's instructions after the proceedure. I also read warnings of how I might experience scratchy eyes, blurred vision and/or bloodshot eyes. All this would last just a matter of hours or at most, a couple of days. I felt well prepared and not nervous at all, though I wasn't sure we could still enjoy the evening out we already had planned for that night. We were scheduled to celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary, which was the very next day.
We showed up at the hospital where I was given registration documents and told to go up the stairs and proceed three-quarters of the way down the hall until we came to a big eyeball. We went all the way but found no such symbol so we found someone to direct us. Once seated in the waiting area we had been sent to I noticed a sign that listed two doctors whose patients that area was meant for.  My doctor was not one of them. I went to a deserted registration area down the hall where I had to ring a bell and disturb someone who told me that was the right place to wait. Several minutes later she directed someone else to the same area and told him to put his registration forms in the bin hanging on the wall in the corridor leading off the main hallway just across from where I was waiting. I still had my forms as no one had told me to do that. I deposited my forms into the bin and hoped that I was doing the right thing.
The area was getting more crowded as everyone came with another to drive them home. Eventually, a man came out with a handful of registration forms and started putting drops in all the waiting patient's eyes. Everyone but me, that is. As he walked away everyone turned and stared at me. I had heard him say the drops would take about 20 minutes to work so I said, "You are being dilated. I'm going to be frozen."  Freezing only takes seconds I discovered when it was done during the examination I'd had previously. So, of course, I got called in first.
The doctor explained that some people have told him they feel "something" like a little electric shock or a pinprick perhaps, while others don't feel anything at all. He just wanted me to be aware that I might feel something and not to worry about it. He did not freeze my eyes. He just shone a light into each eye and told me to stare straight ahead and then zapped me. I felt nothing in the first eye which he said went easier than expected. I felt it in the second one, however,  and he actually zapped that one twice. I wouldn't call it painful though. 
He said he would send a report to my optometrist. I am under no restrictions and can even resume my exercise class. I have no drops or follow up visit to make.  He said he doesn't need to see me again and the next time I'm to go to my regular optometrist is next year for my yearly exam.
I am not bloodshot, nor do I have scratchy eyes or blurred vision. The whole experience was very quick and easy and the threat of blindness has been eliminated. I was not expecting any of this but it has a  happy ending. I am very thankful for modern science.
I wonder what trick my body will play on me next.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

When the Cat's Away....

This week there was a bit of excitement in our village. I had been downtown and when I came back there was a police car parked on the road in my general neighbourhood. I say on the road as it was not exactly pulled off to one side. It was empty and that seemed to indicate that the police officer made a hasty stop before exiting his vehicle. I could not tell where he was or which of my neighbours I might need to worry about.

Eventually he came back out to his vehicle and moved it to a safer location at the side of the road.  It seems one of my neighbours was on vacation and when the person who came to check on the house got there, she discovered the window at the back had been broken by someone who wanted to gain access. I don't know at this point what, if anything, might have gone missing in the process, or what other types of damage may have occurred.

Now, here's the thing that I want you all to understand, and the very reason I'm writing this particular blog: The owner of the house mentioned an intended vacation a few days ago on Facebook, and has since been posting pictures of a a beautiful southern location. That's like advertising that the house is empty and apparently someone saw that and decided to take advantage of the situation. Personally, I would not have known the house was empty myself if I had not seen those posts.  Probably the friend  alerted the owner of this problem and a perfectly good vacation has been ruined. The owner arrived home the very day after the police were there.

Please people, when you go on vacation, don't post anything about it until you get back. That's a much safer time to share your pictures and stories. Enjoy your holiday, but keep safety and security in mind and keep your travels off social media until you return home.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Not All Hearts and Flowers

A couple of weeks back I mentioned that I had joined a group that was sharing cards (mostly Valentines) during the month of February. We were not allowed to post them before the end of the month in order to insure that we didn't spoil the surprise for anyone. Well, the month is up and though Valentines Day is long past, I do feel the need to share these lovely cards with you.

This is my second exchange, and I am finding I learn new tricks with every card that comes in. One of these is actually a small painting of a rose tucked into a slit in the top of the card so that it is framed within the card itself. I think I may have some of this sort of card around here somewhere as I remember sending family pictures as Christmas cards like that many years ago. I'd forgotten that such cards even existed. In the picture I'm sharing you may also notice that I have actually framed one of the cards myself. It was just the right size to fit into a frame I picked up at IKEA recently, and because it features teapots, I now display that one in my kitchen. A lady from Mumbai, India sent cards featuring hand painted scenes from her city, complete with a note inside explaining what the picture was. The one I got featured Marine Drive, also known as the Queen's Necklace because at night the lights look look like a string of pearls from elevated points along the road. Another cleaver person managed to tie Valentines to the Olympics, which were happening this same month, by simply turning one of the rings into a heart. That is so clever. I would never have come up with an idea like that!  A more classic one came from the only person who had also been in my last exchange group. It featured a cute bird with hearts for feathers and was made even more special with a good sprinkling of glitter.

I made some cards too, of course, and mine are totally different from the ones I received. In fact, my own cards are not even all the same style or medium either as I was experimenting with alcohol inks and a stamp I carved. Then I "found" flowers on another one, used a pinched toilet roll to stamp some hearts, and even did a bit of line drawing.  It was great fun. The only thing they had in common was that I was going for reds and pinks.

I even hunted out some more flowers and made a birthday card for a family member while I was at it. It's just plain fun to find things in random patterns.

I can hardly wait for the next exchange. It will have  a spring theme and take place in April.