Hi, good to see you.

I went offline for a while as you can tell from my posts.  I forget sometimes who I blog for ~ family and the few friends I have left in the world.  It is the easiest way for family to keep in touch aside from Facebook.  Although I use Facebook I’m not as keen on it as I am blogs.  Facebook does not have my best interests at heart and I always wonder what it is up to behind the scenes.  Canada has stricter guidelines regarding privacy and Facebook has run into a few problems that it had to sort out to be used here.  So, for quick updates on people it is useful but aside from that, not so much.

If you popped in periodically over the months, thank you for not giving up on me.  If you didn’t, well nice to see you again!  I keep in touch by reading my list of blogs to read.  Honestly though, some have gone so far to advertising and promoting a business that stemmed from blogging that I lost interest and ceased dropping in those ones.  When I have a moment I will update the blogroll I have as it is out of date and some of those blogs aren’t there anymore.

Today let’s do a recap of whatever is news.  The BIG one is this:

Kristen's grad

GRADUATION!  Yabba Dabba Doo!  Kristen and Mathew graduated from high school!

Both graduated with honours!  Mathew chose to ignore all graduation activities and instead spent time with movies and games.  Kristen participated in most events and thoroughly enjoyed herself.  I will definately follow with more (a special post perhaps).

This summer passed by quickly.  That happens when the weather is lousy and you get some nasty skin infection.  I also had 2 teeth pulled out and ingrown nails cut out.  Oh happy bliss just the way I wanted to pass the time.

Kristen got her driver’s license this summer!  About 5 minutes after that she drove off into summer and we didn’t see a lot of her until just before school started.  It was heart thumping handing over the keys to the car shortly after she got her license.  One minute they aren’t considered responsible enough to drive on their own…the next minute the government changes its mind and declares them fully capable.  The first time she drove off I had to push my stomach down out of my throat.  I know her driving is good (ahem, I taught her!) but what about all those other crazy drivers out there?  The drunk ones?  The sleepy ones or the psycho ones who don’t know the precious cargo that particular car has?  Be still my crazy heart!

I know what it means to let go and it isn’t easy.  I’m thinking it might be time to take up an evening sip or two, just to relax!!

The other huge change that happened is that Kristen left for University.  That’s right folks, our little bright-eyed happy toddler morphed into a beautiful young lady who left us behind!  She is now living on campus, studying her first year of psychology at Saint Thomas University.  It is a small campus/university adjacent to the northwest corner of the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton campus.  She is loving her world up there and we are thankful she is just over an hour away.  We were permitted to visit her once last weekend, which turned out very well for her as she moved residences that weekend…. she moved from an off-site residence to one located at the campus itself. 

To say that we miss her is an understatement.  Having once been her age myself (in the dinosaur era the kids tell me), I remember the impact on me leaving home wasn’t terribly traumatic.  I wanted to go and I loved the freedom but not the poor and broke status.  I didn’t exactly spend hours thinking about those I left behind.  So I wouldn’t expect that from Kristen as she heads off into her adventure.  It’s just that it SUCKS when you are the parent and it’s your beloved child who leaves.  We did our job well and she certainly was ready.  After about 10 minutes of shoving her boxes into her dorm room, she smiled grandly as she shooed us out the door and sent us packing.  Not ready!  not ready!  Not you, kid ~ us!!  When people warned us it was hard but we’d get used to it they didn’t quite explain the “hard” is more like a knife cutting a piece of heart out and watching it walk away.  The big hole that it left behind and the pain of its absence.

We are three weeks into her first semester and yes, it is a bit easier.  That feeling was helped by popping up to say hello last week and ending up moving her again plus hiking stairs and stairs and stairs.  With little things like fridges, microwaves, boxes of clothes. 

For Mathew, his path is a little different.  He hit the partial magical age of 18 where he is half an adult here.  Although some services are open to him now others won’t be available until he is 19.  We applied to the government for his disability and the medical board convened and determined he has a long and severe disability and is thus eligible for Social Assistance.  This is a monthly stipend from the government on which is he is expected to live and pay for everything.  The full and maximum amount he can receive is $614/month.  Yes, that is for accommodations, food, bills, clothing ~ you name it.  Due to him residing at home the government claws some back so he actually receives about $540 a month.  There was some kind of allowance just added, of roughly $80 month, to help cover the winter costs of higher heat and electricity plus winter clothing, etc.  As grateful as I am that he can collect money from the government that is a sad amount.  What would he do if he didn’t have us?  How on earth would he survive on that?

Mathew is now at a place called Key Industries.  It is a non-profit organization that has a silk-screening business as well as day programmes for its clients.  For now Mathew chooses not to be involved in the silk-screening side of things, so his structured day is more like a day camp.  He is happy there and enjoys the people he hangs out with.  There are classes on life skills, activities like library and art and excise classes.  Key Industries is about 2 short blocks from my work and I drop him off on my way to work in the morning.  John picks him up after he finishes for the day, or if he is working late then Mathew walks to my work and hangs out there until my quitting time rolls around.

Our next step with Mathew is to establish a trusteeship.  This will require visits to a lawyer and lots of paperwork.  Without it however, John and I only have an informal arrangement with Mathew to help run his affairs.  It isn’t enough though and we don’t have access to things like his bank account, medicare the government provides for him, etc.  It is frustrating that for 18 years we are his parents and caregivers then in the space of a day he is deemed fully capable of running all of his own affairs and we no longer have “legal” permission to do so.  The process isn’t easy and hey, trying to get lawyers to return phone calls?  Good.luck.chuck!

John finished his apprenticeship and is now a red seal journeyman instrumentation technician (technologist?).  It was a very long road and he worked hard to ensure high marks during the academic portions of the apprentice process.  We are very proud of him.  Another good chunk of time this spring and early summer was spent building a new deck out back.  John and his brother tore the old one down and put up a grand new one complete with glass railings.  A gazebo was bolted to the deck to provide shelter and shade with awesome results.  We adored the time we spent on the deck this summer.  What a difference it made to the appearance of the back of the house.  It even has a stairway leading to the back yard!  The original deck was only accessible through the house and didn’t connect to the yard at all.  This deck has the lovely stairs with white aluminum railings running down to the lawn.  Given our wet summer the deck was a saviour ~ the bottom of the yard and dock area was too wet and muddy to use this year, so we opted for the chairs under the canopy.  It felt like we were on a cruise ship because the view is of the lake.  The few sunny days we had were enjoyed to the max out there.

I have lots of pictures to update at a later time.  It’s late and slumber calls!  I will be back ultra soon for more.