Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Choose Your Own Adventure Book Called LIFE

Remember those books you used to read when you were a kid, where you could change the ending depending on which 'path' you took in the story.

One seemingly small decision could completely change the course of events for the Hero/Heroine.

Have you ever noticed how life is like one of these books?

Each decision you make affects another link in the chain of events.

A Choose Your Own Adventure book book called, LIFE.

Every day, I stop at Wilsons Gas Stop.

They knock $0.02 off your gas if you pay with cash or Debit. I like that!

Not *my* Wilsons, but one like it. Pic taken from HERE

Some days, it's unfortunately more out of habit than need, but nonetheless, either in the morning on the way to work, or afterwards on the way home, I stop.

My particular Wilsons is on the corner of the main intersection of the community.

You have a Sobeys, Tims, Subway, liquor store and bank machines in the same area.

BUSY spot!!! Always.

It also has a McDonalds attached to it, so that brings in extra cars as well, especially on a Friday or Saturday.

My usual routine on a Friday is to stop in on the way home, after picking up Adam, anytime after 5:30pm.

I'll get gas for the weekend, a lottery ticket, cigarettes, and something at McD's if that's on the menu for traditional Friday night takeout.

This past Friday night was different.

The boys were with their father and I had worked late.

It was closer to 6pm when I reached one of the two exits that would take me home.

At that point, I had a decision to make.

Go to Wilsons now, or later. One exit would take me now, the other later.

Alec had a basketball game at 7pm at the Community Centre.

The centre was down the street from the gas station, so if I didn't make it now, there would always be time later.

It was raining, windy, miserable. Had been all day.

What did I want to do after working all day ... head straight to the warm house, or out into the cold rain to pump gas.

I needed the gas regardless. Now or later.

Being the procrastinator I can sometimes be, and big wimp in the rain I can always be ... I chose later.

I went home, worked around the house a bit, packed the boys bag for the weekend, then headed down to the game.

Afterwards, I went straight to Wilsons.

Or, that was the intention at least.

Until I got close enough to see it was in complete darkness, with emergency pylons blocking the entrances.

Was the power out?

I quickly looked across the street. Nope, everyone else had lights.

And then, through the sheets of rain, I saw it.

Remember I said it was windy?

Well, the wind was SO strong, that part of the roof/shelter over the gas pumps was no longer OVER the pumps, but on the ground.


The roof fell off!

There aren't many moments I wish I had the camera feature on my cell phone, but this was definitely one of those times!

It was dark, and almost impossible to see through the sheets of rain, but there it was, parts of the pump shelter all over the ground.


I certainly hope nobody was filling up their car at the time!

Or simply driving past the pumps to get to the McD's.

There would have been damage for sure!

No wonder the place was closed!

Obviously I wasn't getting the gas, so I drove straight by and went to the Tims instead.

Which was stop #2 on the to-do list anyway ;-)

I also called the ex, who was still at the CC and suggested he take a drive by on the way home, since I knew the boys would appreciate the 'wow' factor of the scene.

He said he knew about it already, as it had happened shortly after 6pm.

He had heard, thankfully and AMAZINGLY, nobody had been hurt or cars damaged.

Despite being peak time on a Friday night ... nobody had been in the path of the falling roof.

On the way home, it hit me.

Had I made a different choice, and gotten the gas before going home, I would have been there during that time frame.

Whether or not it would have been that EXACT time, who knows.

Who knows why NOBODY was in it's path at that EXACT time.

What seemingly innocent decision they made, which ensured they were elsewhere at that precise moment.

Just like I did.

How many times over the course of your life have you said 'WOW! 1 or 5 or 10 minutes earlier/later and I would have ....'

On a 'normal' Friday night, I wouldn't have been there at that time. Having worked late put me off schedule, and could have put me there, but for my being a procrastinator and big wimp in cold rain.

I ... and everybody else who would, could or should have been there ... wasn't.

For whatever reason.

Because of whatever decision that was made, that sent us down that particular path in the story.

In that book we didn't even know we were reading.

That Choose Your Own Adventure book called, LIFE.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Perfect Jewel For His Rose

A couple of weeks ago, Adam and I are on our way home from basketball practice, when he pipes up from the back seat, 'Hey mom, turn the music down.'

That's Adamspeak for 'Hey mom, turn it off cause we're going to have a serious conversation now.'

He wanted to know if I had any jewelry he could have, to give to his girlfriend, Rose.

His ... g-i-r-l-f-r-i-e-n-d ... !!!

Yeah. The boy will be 10 in two months, and is talking a rock for the girl!

I told him I had nothing.

He'd already cleaned out my jewelry box of all it's non-precious belongings in grade Primary, when he decided he was in love with little Susie*.

Sorry, Bud. This time, he was on his own.

Once he realized he wasn't getting anything from my stash, and that I wasn't agreeing to BUY her something from him, he announced, 'Well, I have $17 in my allowance. I'll just use that. Earrings or a necklace. And it has to come in a little box. And it has to be blue, because that's her favourite colour. Just like you, Mom.'

And before I could say anything, he added, 'I want it to be nice, and I want her to wear it on special occasions.'


And with that last line, the argument about why he's too young to be buying jewelry for girls just died on my lips, and was replaced with an, 'Awwwwww.'

Mushy sap that I am.

So, the next night, off we went.

In search of the perfect jewel for his Rose.

The most perfect jewel he could find, within the $10 limit Mom had insisted on.

He looked, he debated, he looked again, and yes, even asked for my opinion.

And this, is what he came away with for Rose.

He worried about giving it to her.

He worried she wouldn't like it.

I saw him looking at it before going to bed, and before leaving for school.

I worried for him. And his little heart.

Shortly after school, I got the phone call.

She loved it.

Had it been a different time, a different place, I might have let a few tears escape at that moment.

I was so happy for him that she liked it.

I was also reminded, in that same instant, that my baby just keeps growing up on me.

Today, it was the little blue necklace.

But before I know it, it's going to be '... something borrowed, something blue ...'

OK, someone remind me of that feeling, right there, the next time he's done something that makes me want to ship him off to the Gypsy's!!!!! ;-)

Kidding! You know I luvs ya Babe! Smooches!


* - No, her name wasn't Susie. I couldn't tell you WHAT her name was. I'm sure Adam could though ;-)

P.S. Yes, this post has been published with Adam's permission.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Little Paranormal Activity Perhaps?

Do you believe in ghosts?

I do.

No, I'm not like the Osment kid. I don't see dead people.

I do however, believe spirits exist.

Good and bad.

And for whatever reason, some are more forceful in making their presence known, and some people are simply more susceptible to seeing and sensing them.


That's MY belief.

The first really scary book I read, at 13, was The Amityville Horror.

Shortly after came Carrie.

That was it. From then on I was hooked on the possibilities of the 'other world.'

Please don't send me email advising me to seek psychiatric care, or a priest.

I believe what I believe, and I believe we have angels on our shoulders, and shadows in our Korners and we simply all have to learn to live together.

I have also always believed that animals are super sensitive to ... things.

Once again, I believe what I believe.

So, all this spirit talk brings me to last night.

I'm sitting in the (w)rec(ked) room, on the computer, half watching TV.

Belle was curled up on the couch.

All of a sudden, she began growling.

Not the snarling, teeth bearing growl, but a really low, slow, deep in her throat growl.

I thought she was dreaming.

She'd take a breath, then start the low rumbling again.

She did this half a dozen times, before I finally leaned back in my chair to get a better look at her face, and realized she wasn't asleep at all.

Her eyes were open and focused on the other side of the room.

In the corner of the (w)rec(ked) room, sits the 100+yr old rocking chair that was in Dad's family, and an entertainment unit.

Belle was staring from one to the other, and growling and growling ... and growling.

I looked up the stairs, thinking maybe one of the boys was on the landing. But knowing at the same time she wouldn't growl at THEM anyway.

I looked over into the dark corner. Nothing. Obviously.

Belle wasn't as convinced.

She completely ignored my 'what is it girl', and in slow motion, uncurled herself, almost one paw at a time, off the couch and slowly approached the corner.

The low growl upped a notch, as she sniffed her way along the edge of the unit, and over to the chair.

Stopping. Staring. No more growling. Just staring. Then sniffing again.

Then, all of a sudden, she looks over at me, I gave her a 'what?' and she flies across the room over to my side, giving a backwards glance to the corner, before putting her head in my lap.

I won't lie. The whole thing was a little freaky.

I stared over into the corner.

What the hell was over there?

A little paranormal activity perhaps?

Then gave my head a shake, reminded myself I didn't want to know what was over there. Could live the rest of my live very happily, should I never experience it's wonder.

There's absolutely NO Ghost Whisperer blood in this chick!

And let me say it again, I don't see dead people, nor do I ever want to!

But ... the creepiness doesn't end there, my friends ;-)

For her good guard dog spirit, I took Belle upstairs for a treat.

I came back downstairs, settled myself at the computer again, and not ten minutes later, one of the cats comes along.

The quiet one.

The one you never see.

The one you never hear.

She comes out when SHE wants to and ONLY then.

I didn't notice her at first. I wasn't looking in her direction.

I had no idea she was there, until this strangled meowing burst through the room.

At ear piercing levels.

Over, and over and over and ...

I whipped my head towards the screeching, and there was kitty. Sitting in the exact spot Belle had been growling, sniffing and staring at.

My little mute kitty, staring and screaming at me, as if I'd just taken a hacksaw to the back end of her tail.

This went on for a good couple of minutes, until I did the only thing I could, that would undoubtedly end the madness.

I walked to the laundry room, shook the cat food bag, and topped off the bowl.

The sound of the bag was enough to snap her out of it, and send her running.

She was happy, I was happy the noise had stopped.

Whatever was in the corner? I'm hoping it's happy. Happy would be good ;-)

I know many of you completely disregard the possibility of ghosts and/or paranormal activity. And that's cool. I'm all for everyone having their own beliefs, and explanations for why unexplainable things happen.

For me, I still believe we have angels on our shoulders, and shadows in the Korners.

And considering over the last 30 some years, I've experienced my own unexplainable occurrences, and the fact this isn't the first time I've seen one of my animals act this way ... I'm sticking with the animals!

Now, where did I put that Dr Doolittle movie. Time to brush up on my Dog and Cat whispering ...


Monday, February 1, 2010

I Just Don't Get It

I think my heart literally stopped the other day.

Only for a moment.

But ... yeah ...

Around 3pm Wednesday, I went out to the car for my afternoon 'fresh air break'.

I'm sitting there, listening to my favourite country station, staring out the window, mentally shutting down for a few minutes, when I heard ...

"Hi, I'm calling from XXXX X XXXXX, and I wanted to let you know about an accident ..."

Suddenly my brain snapped to attention, I sat up a little straighter in my seat, that was Alec's school.

Then she continued with, 'A train has hit a car in XXX and ...'

And to be honest with you, that was all I heard.

Kind of like last summer, when Adam came home from a friend's place, with a towel wrapped around his hand, and I didn't hear anything else the dad said after 'impaled'.

The announcer repeated what she'd said.

A train had hit a vehicle.

In my neighbourhood.

On the same tracks we cross multiple times a day.

Here, for example.

And here ...

And here ...

This was not good.

I went back in the building, with the intention of checking in with the kids, and just as I reached my desk, I got a text message from Alec.

"going to be late'

I picked up the phone and called him.

They were still at school. The buses hadn't arrived yet due to the traffic jam caused by the accident.

I can only assume that the passenger train was blocking the crossing further down, and one of the main arteries of the community.

All the buses travel along this route.

And cross these tracks.

I believe I asked him if anyone he was with, knew who had been hit.

It's a small community. Everyone knows someone who knows everyone.

He said 'No' but that they heard it was a BUS that the train hit.

Wow. A bus.

That definitely wouldn't be good.

When I hung up with Alec, I looked at the clock.

It was after 3pm.

Adam has usually reached the sitter's and called me by then.

I called the sitter's.

No answer.

I looked at the clock.

He should be there.

That was the point I officially let 'that thought' cross my mind, and stopped breathing ... for just a sec.

I looked at my co-worker sitting across the pod.

I'm guessing I must have been sporting my best 'HOLY SHIT!' expression, because she immediately said, 'Kim, call the school. If it was a bus, they'll know.'

Good plan!

Smart co-workers! Thanks C!

After scrambling for a phone book, I get through to the school and they confirmed it was a car, not a bus that had been hit by the train.

My breathing officially returned to normal.

I was sad to hear that someone had been hit at all, but was relieved it wasn't any of the kids on their way home from school.

By the time I got home, the accident had been cleared, and the details were hitting the news.

A passenger train on it's way to Montreal, hit the back end of the car at one of the private crossings. A 60yr old resident of the area for 20+ years, who crossed those tracks every day.

The back end of the car.

I didn't understand that. I still don't.

There's NO way she wouldn't have seen the train coming at that close distance.

No way.

We may never know what happened.

But the possibilities have certainly been running through my head.

Was she trying to beat the train?

Did she have a heart attack, or some other medical emergency that caused her to hit the gas at the absolute wrong time?

Did she actually cross the track, then slide back down the hill?

Was she driving a standard and stall at the wrong time?

WHY the back end of her car?

Why to someone who crossed those tracks daily, and was aware of the train schedule.


I just don't get it.

And I may never get it.

Other than to feel bad for losing a member of our community, who was a regular fixture at our Community Centre down the street, where the boys and I spend much of our summer.

And I feel bad for the way it happened. So tragic.

Just not the chain of events you expect, for an otherwise normal Wednesday afternoon.

I suspect people will be taking that extra precaution of looking ... and looking again before heading across those tracks, now.

At least for a little while.

I hope.

Drive safe, People!