The Time We Drank Some Scotch and Got Out the Guns.

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I’m wondering if you have experienced the loss of a loved one. If the answer is “yes”, I’m wondering if you were the one responsible for the disposal of the stuff. You know, the house, the car, the office; taking care of any animals etc. If so, you know that it is very difficult in those moments to know what do with it all.

Did you find yourself asking questions like: “Should I keep all those old golf tournament photos?”; “What should I do with all of these files? Do I keep them in case they are meaningful to the estate?”; “Marie Kondo says I should thank each item for giving me joy and then throw it out; but I am not feeling any joy right now so what do I do?”. Here’s what we did: we emptied a 5000 square foot house and a 1/4 of a floor of an office tower in 7 days. It took an army of family and friends and lots of booze (the hard stuff). A lot of the items went to Habitat for Humanity, GoodWill, and The Women’s Shelter. My brother took some things and I took a bunch of stuff and put it all in a storage locker. I could barely close the door. And then I left it there for 12 years. Yes, that’s right; 12 years. See photo of said locker:

IMG_0029In fact, my husband did make a trip to the locker after about 10 years – I think in a fit of desperation. You know, “We have to clean out that locker.”; followed by “I am going to clean out that locker – it really makes no sense to keep paying monthly to store all that stuff.” He had a point. When I actually went to clean out the locker, the manager of the storage company told me that she came across my husband in the hall and observed him rummaging through the locker muttering “What is all this junk? Seriously, Heather!”. Poor man. He did give it a go, though.

What was it that made me decide to finally follow Eminem’s advice and clean out my closet? I’m not sure. I suddenly had the energy and the desire to get it done. It took myself and my friend 4 hours to clean the locker out. Most of it went in the garbage. The rest I brought home and displayed around the basement. My children selected a few things. My brother selected a few things and I was left with the rest of it. I came upon a box and found within some wonderful, old black and white photos. I also found this:

This photo made me laugh out loud! What on earth was going on that prompted my Dad and my Grandpa (I would estimate Grandpa was in his 80s at the time) to put on cowboy  hats and get out the guns? Oh yes, that is probably where the scotch came in. My brother told me that he was the one who took the photo. He would have been a teenager and I bet he was sneaking some scotch while the big boys weren’t looking. It hit me that three generations of Heasman men were involved in this photo. When I reflect further on this photo, I know it’s also about forgiveness. My Dad and Grandpa hadn’t seen eye to eye on some things and perhaps this elaborate dress up took them back to a time when those things didn’t matter. I was then struck by the fact that both my Grandfather and my Father died in exactly the same manner: they both dropped dead of massive heart attacks and they were both alone when these events occurred. I remember my Dad being really upset by my grandfather passing alone. Isn’t it interesting that my Dad met the same end. So, I also look at this photo as a reunion of sorts: “Hey, buddy, that dropping  dead thing wasn’t too bad, was it?”. Now I need a scotch.

I am sure that I saw this photo 12 years ago and I am sure that I did not appreciate all that it stood for in that moment. Imagine if I had followed Marie Kondo’s advice and thrown it away? I would  not be feeling the joy that I do as a result of sharing this story with you.

So, if you’re going through something like this; I get it. Try not to be too hard on yourself. If the things really are junk; get rid of them. If you’re not sure; hold onto them. You’ll know when you’re really ready to deal with the big “purge”. And, to those items I have chosen to keep; thank you for giving me joy and don’t worry – you’re safe from the bin for a while.

So this happened….

Hi everyone! Thanks for those of you who have been contacting me and asking for more posts on Seriously Heather. I apologize for the absence. I wish I had a really valid excuse for the sojourn; you know, something like: “When the American people realized that neither Hillary nor Donald would fit the bill, they called on the only Canadian female for the job: me!”. IMG_5544

Just look at me: I’d make a great President! Suffice to say that this is not the reason for my lack of posts on Seriously Heather. The sad truth is that I forgot the password to my own blog and thus could not add any content. Has this ever happened to you? It seems to be happening to me quite often.

If you’re a blogger and you’re reading this, I am sure you are shaking your head. You’re probably thinking: “Seriously, who is this person?”.
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Well, “Hi! Here I am and stuff like this happens to me all the time.”. I am pictured here at the Foo Fighters Concert – that’s Dave Grohl in the background. Suffice to say that I’m a fan.

Anyway,  as I was desperately trying to reset my password, I couldn’t figure out why the original password was no longer working. I kept getting notifications that my fans (yes, it appears that I have fans) were leaving all these wonderful comments. Turns out that I was trying to login to the incorrect WordPress site. Yup. Seriously.

So, thanks again for your patience and please stay tuned for more content.

Shot Clock

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Hi, everyone. I wanted to thank everybody for your comments of support and also for asking me when the next post would be appearing. Life got a bit busy and this little project of mine fell off the radar for a bit. I suppose you’re wondering what this has to do with the “Shot Clock”. Well, nothing really; however, what I would really like to write about my Shot Clock experience at my son’s lacrosse game this evening is:
SHOT CLOCK: WTF???
And that’s it. I’m out.

I suspect that you want to know more about said Shot Clock experience (and I will continue to use title case for “Shot Clock” because that is how special the “Shot Clock” is) and so let’s begin.

It all started innocently enough when an email arrived in my inbox entitled “Volunteer Roles at Game Tonight”. I chuckled and thought – of course we will have to do something tonight. My better half is out of town and I will have my younger son in tow at the game. Sure enough, as I perused the email there it was:

Shot Clock: Vankka

Sigh. And then I thought: “How hard could this be?”. I’ve run the time clock before, kept score and manned the penalty box. I could do this. Right?

Fast forward to 7:00 PM. I arrive at ARC (Acadia Recreation Centre for those of you who didn’t grow up in my ‘hood) with two kids and a bag of jerseys in tow (on time, I might add). We meet the coaches, I hand over the jerseys, one child disappears into a dressing room and I casually say: “So, I’m on the Shot Clock tonight. Is that a hard thing to do?”. The blank stares I received from the coaches followed immediately by the shifting of feet as their gazes met the floor tells me that this might be the first time a female has been on point for the Shot Clock. I get the distinct sense that this is a job usually taken care of by “Dad”.  “Alrighty then.”; say I. “I’m going to be at the vending machines for a bit.” Seriously? Did I really just say that? Am I in Junior High? UGGHHH. My young son, however, is thrilled, just thrilled that we are going to the vending machines. So much for the apples and cucumber I packed for him.

We still have some time to kill so my son and I take a seat in the stands and watch the few remaining minutes in the game that is currently taking place. I scan the box and locate the fellow who I believe is holding the remote that controls the Shot Clock. At first it seems simple. I start to notice the correlation between the whistles and the Shot Clock stopping and starting, the shots on net, the breaks in play etc. Just when I think I’m getting the hang of it, it appears that all hell breaks loose. There are too many whistles, too many back and forths, people are yelling and the refs run over to the box and lose it on the gentleman who is running the Shot Clock. Oh dear. In this moment when aggressive parents were pounding on the glass; when coaches were yelling at the refs; when refs were yelling at the people running the clocks; when my son was into his second bag of BBQ chips; I thought to myself: this is going to be a disaster.

And then it was my turn. I was up.

Let’s talk about what I was wearing for a minute because, if you hadn’t already guessed, fashion is an important part of lacrosse. You know, I had been having a very nice day. It was really my first “free” day since wrapping up classes at the University and I had met some dear friends for lunch. I hadn’t bothered to change before the lacrosse game because, frankly, I didn’t have time and I thought – I’m going to be sitting in that box and no one will really see what I’m wearing. So, when I discovered that the person running the Shot Clock (you know, the one usually run by men) must stand ON TOP of the bench in the penalty box in order to clearly see the refs (and therefore be in plain sight of EVERYONE), I was regretting that I hadn’t changed from my nice skirt into jeans; that I hadn’t taken off some jewelry; and thinking that perhaps I should have worn some flat shoes. Lessons learned. Oh yes, lessons learned.

Are you starting to get it?

SHOT CLOCK: WTF???

I was introduced to the refs. One said:”Am I going to have to yell at you all game or are you going to make my job easy?”. I replied: “Oh, I suspect there will be some yelling.”. And with that, I gingerly stepped up onto the penalty box bench and held the Shot Clock remote at the ready.

I won’t bore you with the details of the game. In fact, I couldn’t tell you much about the game. I was too busy watching the refs and trying to decipher their signals for when it was time to reset the Shot Clock. For those of you who don’t know much about the Shot Clock, it tracks the time allowed for one team to have possession of the ball. The time allowed is 30 seconds. 30 seconds – not 29, not 24, not 31 – 30 SECONDS. I will tell you that I learned how important this whole resetting of the Shot Clock is to many people. Based on my experience tonight, I would report that for some individuals, it’s a bit of a life and death, 911 kind of situation if that Shot Clock is not reset at the correct point of play. I mean the train is coming off the tracks; the hens are out of the hen house; the sky is falling; MAY DAY, MAY DAY, MAY DAY!!!! Yep, that about sums it up.

Now, I wasn’t in the penalty box alone. There was another volunteer with me. This person was a lovely mom, who clearly knew her lacrosse. She was very encouraging indeed. And of course, my young son was hanging out with us too. In the end, I made it through; although, sadly, our team lost by one goal.

I was clambering down (not so gracefully) from my standing position on the bench and had released my death grip on the Shot Clock remote when I accidentally said out loud: “Thank God that’s over. I am going home and I think a glass of wine will suit.”. This other mom looked at me empathetically and said: “I know. Our first loss of the season. This is so stressful. I totally agree with you.”.

I JUST LOOKED AT HER. I made some kind of non-committal noise and for once in my life; I said nothing.

I thought:

  1. Really? Stressed out about the fact that we lost our first game? How about the fact that I just experienced this 90 minute game in 30 second increments? That alone is just cruel and unusual.
  2. Seriously? Stressed out about the fact that we lost our first game? How about spending the last 90 minutes living in 30 second increments during which one is trying to figure out those bloody hand signals from the refs. Was that slightly waving hand just at shoulder height a “RESET” signal or a “Gee, it’s getting hot in here because I’m twice the age of these kids and I have to run around a lot to keep up with them.” OR; was that whistle to stop the clock, call a penalty, and by the way, ref; WTF was up with your comb-over? That was seriously distracting.
  3. How about starting to feel some sense of control and pride when stopping the Shot Clock at the correct point only to notice that play had stopped because some kid was lying motionless on the ground with a bunch of people crowded around and then noticing that the shoes sticking out from that crowd of people belonged to your son?
  4. And finally, how about when one of the time keepers yells over to you: “Hey, Shot Clock, where did that little boy who was hanging around in the penalty box go? I haven’t seen him for a bit. Did you lose your kid?”. WHAT?? Did you just call me “Shot Clock”? Don’t worry. We found my son. He was just in the alcove behind the time keeper’s box playing in the recycling with the empty Budweiser boxes. Welcome to a typical Tuesday night at ARC.

So, you know what, I wasn’t too stressed out that we lost that game. I was mostly thankful that I walked out of there with the two kids I had arrived with and that I had not been egged or had things from the vending machine thrown at me. However, I will admit that we left the arena through the back door.

And for those of you who are interested, I am enjoying that glass of wine.

 

 

About the email…..

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Hi, friends.

I know many of you are probably wondering why I don’t have email associated with this site yet. To tell you the truth, so I am. So, I decided to make this my blogging adventure of the day. You know, get my email set up. Child’s play.

Here are some screen shots from the live chat I had with a seriously patient Media Temple customer support representative. The first shot is where I come clean with my superior skills in the site management world:

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It took him a while to respond to this. I am sure he was thinking: “Does this lady just want me to set up her email for her?”.  “YES!” the answer to that question was and still is: “YES!”.

 

This screen shot was taken about 20 minutes later:

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Now, this may look innocent enough. However, in one smooth move, I managed to delete myself as a user of my own account. Enough said.  I’ll be back to figure this out at another time. So, when I do get the email established, I will let you know. I would say that I look forward to that day. I will definitely consider that a win.

 

 

 

 

“We need to talk about Dad.”

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Unfortunately, my husband is one of the thousands of people who has lost a job due to the economic situation in Alberta. Thus, he is around a lot more than he normally would be. This has been great on so many fronts including the fact that he is now able to spend more time with our children. He is taking them to school, picking them up from school, taking them to dentist and doctor appointments and experimenting with the odd meal or two. I set the stage in this way so that you understand that which predicated the following conversation with my 14 year old son:

My son: “Mom – I need to talk with you privately.”

Me: “What’s up?” Now – of course that was not what I was thinking. I was thinking “Oh dear. What could this be about? A girl? Drugs? Alcohol? Gangs?”. It took a great deal of personal mastery to simply utter “What’s up?” in a calm fashion.

My son: “We need to talk about Dad.”

Me: I THOUGHT: “What did he say? He’s going to be a dad??” I SAID: “Pardon?”

My son: “We need to talk about Dad. Dad is around a lot these days and I know he’s trying to do all kinds of things he normally doesn’t do and that’s good; but he needs help. He needs help with this whole “Mom-Dad” thing- especially how to make lunches. You should have seen what he put in the lunches the other day.”

Me: “Oh….” At this point, I was trying very hard to keep a straight face. I was thinking “That’s awesome.” I said: “What do you think we should about that?”

My son: “I have no idea.”

And so it goes – this new reality of a “stay-at-home” Dad and a “back-to-work” Mom. We get it mostly right but sometimes really wrong and that’s ok. It’s in those wrong moments where we learn more about each other; in particular, our unwritten rules and family culture. This is priceless and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

So bring on the bad lunches, Mom-Dad. I can’t wait to see what you’ll cook up next.

 

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe for the Seriously Baking Challenged

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It’s official. I have found the PERFECT chocolate chip cookie recipe for those who are SERIOUSLY challenged when it comes to baking (i.e. me). If you also suffer from this affliction, I am here to tell you that this recipe is a SURE THING. Put all of your epic baking fails behind you and get ready to work some magic with these delicious and surprisingly easy to make cookies. The recipe is:

  1. 1 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar – cream these together. Now – don’t melt the butter in the microwave to soften it. That does not work (trust me).
  2. Add two eggs and 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture. Try not to get the shells in the mixture. Also, it’s a good idea to actually measure the vanilla instead of eyeballing it. They say baking is a science, you know.
  3. In a SEPARATE bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, a pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda together. I am pretty sure it’s 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  4. Stir the flour into the butter mixture. Add 2 cups of chocolate chips. Start eating dough immediately. Do not share.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I would love to know how to get the Fahrenheit symbol in this post.
  6. Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, 10 at the most. Under-baking is key according to my gorgeous cousin Miranda (why she wastes her time baking instead of taking over as a global super-model is not clear to me). Miranda also pointed out this recipe has been on the back of the “Chipits” package for years (take that Martha Stewart).

That’s it. Super easy and delicious. I would take a photo of these cookies to show you but my family has already devoured them. Good luck!