Sunday, June 06, 2010

Dale R.I.P. - July 24, 1992 to June 4, 2010

Dale passed away quietly on Friday morning. He has been part of my life for close to 18 years. No need to say that I will miss him dearly.

I remember going to pick him and his sister, Chip, out. He was the eldest of a litter of four. The first time I saw him, his eyes were not open, yet, but I immediately fell in love with this kitten. Two weeks later when we went to see the kittens again, his eyes were open and I saw two shiny green beads staring at me. He came straight to me and meowed at me with his tiny voice. I picked him up and he fell asleep in my hands. His ears were still round shaped so that he looked like a little black bear. I was hooked. I knew he was going to be my cat.

Chip left us first in 2004 at the age of 12, shortly after our move to Reinach. Dale had always been the strong, healthy one, but a couple of years ago, I noticed that his coat was getting felted and he was often quite agressive. We brought him to the vets to get him combed (Dale would NOT let us comb him) and have him checked. As a matter of fact, Dr. Buser (our vet) had to sedate him in order to groom him. That's when we found out that Dale suffered a) from spondilytis and b) of hyperthyroidism which, at that age, is often linked with kidney problems. Both conditions could however be kept under control with the help of medication.

In the past few months, his hind leg muscles started to deteriorate faster and he seemed to have more pain, so we increased his pain killers. As of last week, he could no longer jump on the sofa or on the bed, and was eating less and less, thus not taking in much of his medication. Last Wednesday when I came home from work, Dale came to greet me, meowing as ususal, but then as he walked towards me, his hind legs failed twice on a distance of about 15 feet. I knew that was it, so I called Dr. Buser on Thursday and got an appointment for the Friday morning.

I decided to spend my last night sleepingon on the couch to be closer to him. In the morning, I fed him, but he wasn't really hungry. He went outside any layed in the sun, soaking up the warm rays. When the time came, my good friend Diana picked us up and drove us to Dr. Buser. I'm so glad that she was able to come with me and stand by my side while I said my goodbyes to Dale as he fell asleep. Thank you so much, Di! I really appreciate it.

In a way, I'm glad it happened this way. Now, I can concentrate on my return to Canada and don't have to worry about Dale's condition. It was already clear that it was not an option to take him with me to Canada or for O-X to take him to Holland. He would not have survived the stress.
Now he's in kitty heaven with his sister Chip, TBFs King, Hélène's Merlin and is most likely chasing whatever cats chase up there. He was more than just a cat to me; he was my soul mate. I really, really miss him.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

How do you mend a broken heart?

I've been wanting to make this announcement a few weeks ago already, but I was still too confused, angry and hurt. It would have been a very ugly post.

I hope you're sitting.

*Taking a very deep breath* Orange-X and I are splitting up. Yes, you read that correctly.

Although we've never mentioned it on the blog, we have been going through a roller coaster these past few years. Me leaving my job in 2006, the burn out following that, not being totally happy in my new job, our return to Canada being postponed because of O-X's ex-wife being diagnosed with terminal cancer and his daughter still having to finish her studies, etc. However, I truly had the feeling that things had improved a lot in the past 6-9 months in 2009. But then, I was really sure that all was going to be okay when O-X went through all that trouble with the video and asked me to marry him.

I was obviously wrong. Six weeks after the proposal, he announced that he was leaving me. I was shocked. I can't understand it. Still not. It's very difficult for me to post this news and I am still shattered after four weeks of knowing that he has taken this decision, but I'm slowly picking myself up again.

I've booked myself a flight to Canada and will be spending two weeks during the Easter break with my family and friends. I'll also be looking at job opportunities there, and hopefully can go back before the end of the year and start a new life there.

In the meantime, we are still sharing the apartment until I return from Canada and know more. No use in me taking a new apartment here for a few months only. I'd have to buy a whole lot of stuff, not to mention electric appliances that would be useless in North America. It's not always easy, but O-X tries to go to Holland every second weekend, so that we are not too much in each other's way.

These past four weeks have been hell. I still don't know what hit me, but I'll get through it. I have to focus on my future and look after myself, now. Easier said than done, but I'll manage.... Right?

Friday, December 25, 2009

The most fabulous Christmas EVAH!

This was the most fabulous Christmas! Not only do we have Ma here with us during the Holidays Season, but last night, short before midnight, I was speechless and THAT does not happen often.
After a late dinner, we started unwrapping the Christmas presents. At some point, Orange-X gives me what looks like a CD. I unwrapped it and found a blank looking recordable DVD with OX's hadwriting "Play this video".

I was really wondering what mysterious message this DVD would reveal, but I was about to find out. I started the said DVD and within a few seconds, Orange X appeared on our 42" screen, greeted me and told me to follow his instructions. So there I am, sitting on our sofa with Ma on my left and OX on my right (and on our TV, of course). I was to pick a red cubic parcel with golden deco from underneath the tree, pause the DVD and open it. I did as I was told. Huh?? A box of tissues?? O-oh. I was obviously being prepared to catch some happy tears, but why?

I re-started the video and my next instruction was to get a parcel of the same size and then pause the DVD again. This time I had to pick it from the cupboard to the left of our TV set, bottom left door, please. The box was the same size and shape, only it was wrapped in blue and gold. I started unwrapping the gift and pressed play again. What... Another box of tissues?? No wait. I had to look IN the box of tissues. Ahhhh!

I opened one of the of sides of the tissue box and found a small box inside. By then, my heart was pounding out of my chest. My hands were shaking, but a managed to get the wrapping off and this is what was in the small box:
Then, in a soft voice, he said: "Will you marry me?" Well, let's just say that between the excitement, the tears of joy, my reply didn't sound much like a Yes, but it definitely was!
If THAT wasn't a perfect Chrismas?? BTW, it was a good thing that I had so many tissues at hand :)
Orange-X, Dale and I wish you Happy Holidays and send you our best wishes of good health, happiness and sucess for the new decade!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Catching up - In a Nutshell

I don't really remember the last time I put up a post, and can't really say why I haven't. I mean, it's not that nothing happened since July 2009.

Looking back, I must admit that the whole year was very hectic and when we did have a break/a weekend with no plans, we used the time for us. Sounds a bit selfish, but we needed it. I have however been following your blogs, eventhough the comments were sometimes sparse.

So let me pick up where we left off. We left for Canada two days after Pa's incineration, which means that the service was held on the Friday, we drove back to Basel on the Saturday and flew from Zürich on the Sunday.

We had a fantastic time there with family and friends. A few highlights in Canada there were:
  • a lovely evening with Christine (my ex-sister in law), Bernard and my adorable niece, Camille,
  • an unforgetable evening at Roxane and François',
  • some golf for Orange-X,
  • our family (mother's side) Summer Christmas Party held at Rachel's,
  • a day in Ottawa and meeting up with blogger Jay from "Kill the Goat"
  • Orange-X's short tour of the ER of our local hospital,
  • dinner with Christiane, Robert, Sonya and Christian
  • a day at lake Craig with a bunch of close friends
I'll have to do individual posts about all of the above - if I ever get to it, that is, but I'm hoping that O-X will help a bit.

Anyhow... Canada was not the only activity we had this year! We drove to Amsterdam a few times and took Ma back with us to Basel twice, we both quit smoking (yes, you read that right!), bought new bikes, we organized a grill party to thank O-X's work colleagues for good results is the first half year, Orange-X spent a weekend in hospital in following an allergy to antibiotics (this one really worth a post of its own as it all started in Canada!), had O'x's daugthter and her Mom over for a weekend in Basel, bought an elliptical trainer and spent last weekend with Pinki and Andrea in Bad Fischau/Wiener-Neustadt, Austria. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, too.

This week, I've been stuck at home with the flu and I'm finally starting to feel better. It's about time! BTW, I'm not adding any pictures to this entry, because it would simply be too much and probably confusing, too.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

For my dad...

I'd like to thank you all for the expression of your sympathies in every way possible in the past week. You have reached CS and me through e-mail, a short note on Facebook, personal and also via the blog and it helped us to stand strong at my father's funeral. Your energy has contributed to write and speak the eulogy at the moment of the final goodbye.

This one is for my dad. Thank you dad, for all you have done! We'll meet again some day and catch up on lost times.

Eulogy for my dad:
My father Robert, to many known as „Bob“, was born on the 21st of March 1932 in Bandung, Indonesia. He grew up in Indonesia and during World War II he spent a long time in a Japanese POW camp. When he was 16 years old he made his first long journey, travelling from Indonesia to Holland, where he lived all of his life.

Sunday, 19th of July 2009 he suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. During the preparations for the funeral the question was asked, who would speak in his memory. I stand here before you and I’d like to inform you that this speech can take some time. We have reserved the auditorium for the coming three hours, so I suggest you sit back and relax. No, just kidding, it has absolutely not been easy to find the right words. What can you say about a man who never wanted to be the centre of attention? What words do you use when your father has always stayed in the background? Pa definitely hated being the in the centre so I’ll keep it short.

Whenever we had a party, Pa was the one to sit in a quiet corner where he could see everything, hardly talked to the people and enjoyed all of it in his own way. We often asked him whether he enjoyed the party and he always answered: “Oh yes, I’m having a great time”. He was the one to sit around quietly without speaking much.

Pa was a man who always worried about his family. His family was his first, and it appeared to be, his only priority. His family meant everything to him and for his family he would do everything possible within his powers. That wasn’t always easy as he also was a proud man who’d rather not accept the help of other people. He struggled he way though life, always took care of his family and supported his children in everything they did. Even though he didn’t agree with everything.

In spite of his quiet character he was a very emotional person. In the earlier days we haven’t seen that often, but the older he grew, the more his emotional character took over. An occasion where the emotional character really showed was directly after he retired. His former colleagues had organised an surprise dinner. For my dad something totally unexpected and that was one of the moments you good clearly see how emotional he really was. The silent man with the big emotions...

Other times my dad and I talked about the future. Now you may wonder: what future? Actually we then discussed the moment he wouldn’t be with us anymore. He told me he that he had arranged for ma to be left behind without worries. A talk like that always ended with tears and once more he showed how important his family was to him, and his emotions showed again.

In the last years of his life pa suffered from a chronic pulmonary disease from which we knew he wouldn’t recover. His illness often limited him in his mobility, so ma often went out alone to just go for a walk or some shopping. At a certain moment we proposed to dad to rent a wheelchair or get one organised. Then again his pride showed as he thought it was absolutely not necessary to sit in a wheelchair. We used a bit of force and emotional black mail and we then were able to persuade him. After that moment it didn’t take long for him to find out it was actually very convenient to be driven around. We have lived through funny moments with pa and his wheelchairs. There were times we had to laugh so much that we laughed tears.

From now on we will laugh when we memorise, but we’ll do that without him.We have to let dad go for his last long journey. A journey in which he will not leave his footsteps anymore. Those footsteps are in our thoughts and in our hearts. On 19th of July he deceased and slipped away from us the way he lived his life: Quietly and without words…

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Farewell Pa - March 21 1932 - July 19 2009

Our dearest Pa (aka "Bob"), Ox's Dad passed away last Sunday, July 19, 20:35hrs, CEST (Central European Summer Time).

Pa was a very quiet man who preferred to sit "behind the scene" and enjoy, more than to be the center of attraction. Many didn't understand it, but he truly had a good time. His family always had utmost priority. ALWAYS.

We got a call from Harry, OX's brother-in-law, at about 9.45am on Sunday telling us that he was on his way to Pa & Ma's, because Pa was not feeling well. Like two other of his late brothers, he had been suffering of emphysemea for a few years already, but all was under control and stable.

The doctor came over and shortly after, he called an ambulance and Pa was taken to the hospital and put directly in the ICU. By 11.30am, we knew it was critical, so we booked flights to A'dam and arranged for Dale to be taken care of. We made it in time to see him, and although he was heavily sedated and sleeping, we knew that he knew that we were by his side. He was released to "freedom" at 20.30 pm the same day. Best of all - if there is such a thing in this case - was that he let go while his family (Ma, Orange-X & Bren, Harry and I) were by his side. He passed away silently and without pain, just as he had lived his life. I thank the Gods for having had that chance - to really say goodbye and accompany someone you love to the other side.

It's been a rough week for both of us, and I hope you'll forgive me for posting this so late.

Finally, he can rest in peace. He will be dearly missed. We love you, Pa.

PS: I also want to thank Mr & Mrs. TBF for taking care* of Dale during these difficult times, but also for the cat sitting during our holidays in Canada.

*Knowing how much he'll be spoiled, I hope he'll want to come back to us!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Three months flying by...and one more week to go!

Why exactly three months flying by? Let me tell you. I am a criminal. I have broken the law and for two years I'll have a criminal record. I confess, I plead guilty as charged! If I break the law again I'll be in serious trouble! I might even end up in jail. So what did I do to become a criminal?? In Switzerland it's easy. You take your car, drive a provincial road, miss out on the sign indicating the maximum speed and drive a bit faster than the assumed maximum speed limit. That was not a good plan. I drove that particular provincial road, assumed the maximum speed was 100 km/h as it was two lanes in both directions and added "a safe over the limit number of km/h". Wrong! Absolutely wrong.

I got my picture taking with a bright red flash and knew I was too fast. At that time, I didn't know how much too fast. That is, until the official letter of the police was handed over by the receptionist at the office with the words: "I thought I'd give it to you personally." I took the letter out of the envelope and my heart skipped a few beats. The "alledgedly" 100 km/h provincial road was an 80 km/h road and the "safe over the limit number of km/h" was way out of range. Ooops!

Okay, the damage was done, so there was no other alternative than to wait for the call of the police with the kind invitation to the companie's Director to come by the police station to identify the driver. What the police didn't know at that time was the companies Director and the person to be identified were one and the same person. Namely ME!

I got the call, went to the police station for the identification of the driver (myself!), and every scenario I played in my head was scattered into small pieces once I got the photo in which I had to identify the driver. My God, the picture was so darn clear that I could have used it for my passport. Okay Mr. Policeman, guilty as charged. I had to answer a three page questionnaire to indicate income, fixed monthly cost and variable cost. The sum of all would be the basis for the calculation of the fine. Ouch!

The kind officer at the desk informed me that the punishment for the serious violation of traffic rules in this case would lead to a minimum of three months loss of my drivers license and an unknown fine. The fine would be calculated based on the monthly income. The only thing I thought at the moment of filling out the questionnaire was: " Is there anything else I can list as fixed cost to get my income down?" I couldn't think of anthing else anymore, signed the statement of "truth and honesty", and could only hope for the best.

A few months later,the court verdict came by registered mail. I took the verdict out (five pages, 5 darn pages) and started reading. What a relief!! No mention of losing my drivers license. "Just" a fine of the price of two suits, shirts and ties of my favorite brand and a probation of two years with the possibility of going to jail for at least five days, pay another amount of money at the price of four suits, shirts and ties of my favorite brand. I was relieved. Feeling like a winner, I called my boss with the "good" news.

The feeling didn't last long. Two days later, I received the letter from the police with measures taken to punish me a bit more for this traffic violation. I was summoned to send in my drivers license for a period of three whole months. OMG! Being without my license for three months could be a threat to the continuation of my job. Luckily, my boss took it quite well. We set up a three month schedule for customer visits, defined who in the company would drive me to visit customers, and how I would get to the office and back home every day. It all worked out well and let me tell you, I could used to being driven around all the time! Now I have one more week left. Beginning of May, I get my drivers license back,and yes, I'm starting to itch. It will be quite strange to get into the car on the drivers side again... So, I planned on having two days in the home office on the 4th and the 5th of May to make sure I don't miss the postman when my drivers license comes back via registered mail.

There has been a good side to the whole thing:
- I got to the office early every morning. Pick up at 07.15 hrs by Manuel (Thank you Manuel!)
- I got home around 17.30 hrs every day I worked from the office. Driver: again Manuel (once more many thanks Manuel!)
- As I got home early anyway,I walked (yes, I walked) to the small shopping center in our village to do the groceries. About one hour of "outdoor activity"
- I enjoyed this daily "break" before continuing my work from home
- I will continue working this way as it is very relaxing
- CS took over all the driving during weekends, our holidays in Austria and our last trip to Holland, which was quite relaxing for me!

One more week to go and I'll be fully independent again. Even though this kind of independance is relative and the three months passed by in a rush, I am looking forward to driving my new car myself again. Hey, I only had it for two months beforeI had to send in my license. Can you blame me?