Monday, January 23, 2012

January's chill

The weather prognosticators kept saying that we were going to have a very very cold winter, yet as the days sailed by we continued to experience extraordinarily warm conditions, unheard of for January in Wood Buffalo.  Heather and the boys made great progress on their growing snow fort as conditions were absolutely perfect.  Then the bottom fell.

In what seemed like an instant we went from freezing rain to welcoming an arctic cold front which make things feel like -47 at one point last week.  The sheen of ice that resulted from the pelting showers has become hard as rock and just as slippery at the entrance to the snow palace.  And just as quickly as it came, the deep freeze has retreated leaving us a thermometer that starts its day around -10C.

I feel so Canadian beginning a note to family and friends talking about the weather.  What is it that they say?  If it wasn't for the weather, 95 percent of conversations would never get started.

I've begun to get up earlier in the morning.  As Dylan and Ben get older, they need more bathroom time to get ready for their day.  I've been finding myself shut out and running later and later for work.  So now, during the week, I get up at 5:30 am.  It's no skin off my nose as my body begins to emerge from its deepest sleep well before that as I wake up and check the clock every 5 minutes or so.

This is my time to get caught up on emails, Facebook and Twitter.  I read the local paper which now gets delivered (digitally) in the middle of the night.  I do some writing and enjoy the solitary hour before Ben pops into my study for his morning hug.

As part of what will become a yearly physical, I went through a battery of tests.  Everything was 100 percent except for the ECG reading which indicated an irregularity.  A stress test followed along with another ECG to confirm the results.  Dr. Khinda says I have something called WPW (Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome), or a racing heart anomaly.  The good news is that the echocardiogram test indicated (at least according to the technician) that my heart is in perfect structural shape.  It was a weight off my mind to hear that news.  Next will be a follow-up appointment to hopefully find out that we're going to do sweet tweet about the WPW and carry on as normal.

We have some history of heart issues on my mom's side of the family, so I'm being extra cautious.  And despite the discomfort of some of the tests and procedures, especially the one that came with the snapping of the latex glove, I feel good about doing the due diligence.

As I get older, so too does Son #1.  Dylan is absolutely a teenager now, though he won't turn 13 for a few more weeks.  He's taller and hairier, his voice has dropped as has his energy at certain times of the day.  Gone are the days of showering a couple times a week, replaced by mandatory daily soaks.

It's been great to see Dylan grow into a reading machine.  He conquered yet another Harry Potter novel over the weekend and is now on to the second to last in the series.  And right out of the blue, he seems to have an expanding social circle.  He was at a friend's place on Friday and a different friend was over at the house on Sunday.  Things are changing so fast I can't keep up!

We are anxiously awaiting our Mexican trip, now a week and a half away.  We will travel together starting on February 5th to Melaque, just north of Manzanillo and south of Puerto Vallarta, and for a week the boys and I will hang out on the beach as Heather teaches yoga.  She'll stay on an extra week as the boys return to Canada on our own. We are looking forward to this authentic Mexican adventure as Melaque is a relatively small town.

I was supposed to be traveling down to the states this week, but those plans were tossed aside because of an important Council meeting and a late week visit by the premier and a bunch of ministers.  I'm happy to have stayed home, as there is more than enough travel coming up in the next while.

The painting bug that hit over Christmas has continued into the New Year with mixed results.  I quite like the one I did of boxer Mike Tyson.  In fact, Lyle Romaniuk from back home was clammering to buy it as he is a big fan.

I did one the other day that is rather interesting.  Though it resembles the late aviator and billionaire Howard Hughes, it is supposed to be Johnny Depp.

I'm so happy to report that Dad is doing pretty well, now into his second week of taking chemo pills.  That he has both the energy and the spirit to get up and out of the house on a daily basis, I am grateful.  The visit to the oncologist provided no surprises about the road ahead and a menu of options for slowing down the spread of the cancer.  Your prayers, your positive thoughts, and all your communication is making a difference.

We hope you are enjoying a good start to 2012.  We'll touch base in a couple of weeks with lots of pictures from our trip down south.

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