Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Holidays

Both boys are still home.  Computer Dude returns tomorrow but Engineering Guy will be with us until Sunday.  It's been wonderful to have them home.  They have both grown into great young men.

Engineering Dad spent Christmas Day at work - something to do with exploding electrical bits which even I know is a bad thing.  We had our Christmas supper on the 26th.   He was bummed but all he really missed was the very LOUD sounds of Guitar Hero and Rock Band.  I suck at both.  This surprises me as I used to be a band geek.

New Years Eve will consist of a steak supper prepared by Engineering Guy followed by watching the Canada vs. U.S. Junior hockey game.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blowing off the cobwebs

My empty nest is full for the moment so it's funny that now I have the time to blog.  Both boys are done exams.  Computer Dude will be starting his work term in January and Engineering Guy will be heading back to school to finish off his first year.

Computer Dude found this term a real struggle but I am proud of the fact that the "Q" word hasn't entered his vocabulary.  He'll work for four months, regroup, get a tutor for the course he is struggling with and he'll persevere.  He can't imagine studying anything else but computer science so he'll figure things out.  

Engineering  Guy has found his first term of university to be everything he had hoped and more.  He's having a lot of fun, managing his heavy course load, and finding time for hockey and hanging out with friends.  It helps that his best friends are fellow engineers who also have a heavy load.

We have our new puppy home now and we are all in love with him.  Well it did take Mindy a bit of time to warm up to him but she is a lot less lonely now and she plays -which she has never really done.  I can't resist showing off the picture that made our Christmas card this year.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time Flies

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  It was great to have both of the boys home.  I haven't spent Thanksgiving with my parents in probably ten years so that was nice too.  Engineering Guy's high school commencement was on the Friday night (weird I know).

Yesterday was Engineering Guy's 18th birthday.  He was in class from 8:30 - 5:30 and had a midterm at 7:00 so I didn't get to talk to him.  I hope to catch him tonight.   It's hard to believe that my baby is now 18.

We went to visit our new puppy on the weekend.  His name has morphed into Max.  He's even cuter now than he was.  I can't wait to have him home.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Full Nest - Yay!

Not only are the students returning to the nest to be fattened up over the long weekend but my parents are paying their once in every ten years visit.  Not only that we get to go and see the new puppy on the way to pick them up.  Life is good.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Filling the nest

We miss Zeus.  Nothing will replace him in our hearts but we decided that for our sanity (and for Mindy's) we (well I) needed another doggie to love on.  

Presenting Barney/Rusty/Ringo.  He's a week old and just too precious for words.  He's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel like Mindy.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Benefits of an Empty Nest

I think we are starting to get into a bit of a routine.  I am noticing some benefits of having just two of us.

1.  The house pretty much stays how I left it.
2.  If we want grilled cheese sandwiches or soup for supper we can have it without feeling guilty that the athletes in the family aren't getting enough protein.
3.  Our lives no longer revolve around hockey.  Therefore I have time to do some things that "I" want to do.

Both boys will be back in two weeks for Thanksgiving.  Engineering guy has his commencement that weekend.  I'm certainly not counting the days though.  My parents are also coming for the long weekend.  Only their 2nd visit in the ten years that we have lived here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm back

Things have settled down a bit around the empty nest.  After dropping both boys off at school Engineering dad and I left on a vacation.  We figured we'd earned one after helping two kids navigate successfully through the school system.  We had a lovely week sailing.  Most nights we had anchorages to ourselves.  It was very relaxing.  

We came back to real life with a bang.  Our 11 year old Golden Retriever had started to fail this past summer.  When we picked him up it was clear he hadn't had a good week.  As it turned out he was just waiting for us.  He spent a few hours at home acting nearly his normal self and then he just lay down and didn't get up again.  We called the vet the next morning because it was clear that he was suffering and there was nothing we could do.  He was scheduled to come to our house at 11:00 a.m. to euthanize Zeus.  At 10:55 a.m. with both Engineering Dad and I by his side he lifted his head, looked at me, put his head in my hand and drew his last breath.  We knew this day would come but it didn't make it any less sad.  Rest in Peace Zeus.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hell Week

This has been the week from hell and it's only mildly related to the fact that our nest is now empty.  Computer Dude finally left for good yesterday after multiple trips back and forth with stuff.  I have my own vehicle again (yay!).  I am hoping to do something about the fact that my own vehicle is a minivan now that I don't have to haul sports gear around - I'm thinking two seater convertible.

I talked to Engineering Guy the other day and he is having the time of his life.  He has the official Queen's engineer hairdo (which really involves very little hair and what there is is in mulitcoloured spikes).  I hope the frosh leaders remember to tell them to put sunscreen on their heads or he'll really be a redhead by now.

Our 12 year old golden retriever is really starting to fail.  It breaks my heart to kennel him for the week we will be away.  We took him to the vet today and the vet says he is pretty good.  I'm hoping the fact he really hasn't eaten is because he's missing Engineering Guy but I have my doubts.

Work has been particularly hellish. Since it was my last day before holidays of course anything that could go wrong did.  Thankfully I do have awesome co-workers.  I hope I didn't leave too much of a mess but after twelve hours without a break my blood sugar was in the toilet and I had to leave to take our little dog to the place she stays.  Tomorrow at this time I'll be on a boat drinking wine and without cell phone access or internet (which will be tough) so work will have to wait a week.

Monday, September 1, 2008


The dropoff went well.  I know that Engineering Guy was a bit nervous but as soon as he met his new room mate he felt better.  The two of them appear to be twins separated at birth personality wise.  We spent some time with the boys and met the room mates parents for the "free" parent/student brunch.  We ditched the parents presentation since we had gone through it for the engineering college in May (not to mention last summer for Computer Dude).  We left the room mates dad helping Engineering Guy set up on the university network.  He would have managed himself I'm sure but the other parents weren't quite ready to leave and we had a longer drive.

We drove the five hours home, loaded up the van again this morning and moved Computer Dude into his new house.  I forgot how much I dislike assembly of furniture.  Blech.  Maybe one more trip tomorrow night and he'll be all set.  I want to make sure he has enough groceries and such.  I' beat now though.  I love both of my kids dearly and I'm glad they are following the path they are but moving them both on the same weekend is not recommended.  Computer Dude is still here because his bed doesn't get delivered until Wednesday.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Down to the Wire

I'm sitting posting this in a hotel room.  Engineering Guy and Engineering Dad are out for one last golf game before we drop Engineering Guy off at his residence tomorrow.  When did Universities start accepting babies?

Engineering Guy is excited (a bit nervous too although he won't admit it).  We're excited for him  and the wonderful opportunity that he has but a little sad that this part of our lives has come to an end.

I spent the afternoon walking around town while the guys were golfing and I have fallen in love with it.  I think he has picked his school well.  All the schools that he considered are highly regarded for his program but I truly believe that this will be the best fit for him.  The city is big enough that he can be somewhat anonymous (unlike our small town which is kind of like living in a fishbowl) but small enough not to be too terribly overwhelming to a small town boy.  The campus is considered medium sized by Canadian standards with about 16,000 - 18,000 undergrads.  

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Empty Nest Party

One of the things that Engineering Dad and I are going to do once both kids are safely ensconced in their respective homes for the school year is go on a holiday.  We are taking a sailing trip in the hope of deferring our empty nest for a week.  This last week has been so hectic - and next week will be as well with Computer Dude moving houses that we'll need a bit of a break.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Engineering Guy got his schedule today.  Engineering isn't for the faint of heart that's for sure.  All of his days run from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. except for Wednesdays that are 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.  I think he's a tad depressed.

In the car on the way to the ball game

Engineering Guy:  Do you know she's trying to get me to pack already (a mere week before he leaves)?

Computer Dude:  Yeah - I remember.  I just found out that packing early isn't a girl thing - it's a "her" thing.

Me:  What makes you say that?

Computer Dude:  My roommate just moved out and she says she never packs until the day she is leaving!

I guess I'm busted!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

One more week until our nest is officially empty.  We picked up Computer Dude and drove to Toronto to see a Blue Jays game as our last family outing for awhile.  Engineering Dad as usual was in denial about the time it takes to actually get into the city (he assumes he can drive the speed limit all the way to the stadium).  Also the Blue Jays were playing the Red Sox so there were more fans than usual.  By the time we found a parking space and got to the stadium 2 1/2 innings had already gone by.  It was all good in the end though because it was a scorching hot day and even the baseball fans among us (that would be everyone but me) had enough by the end of the day.  Computer Dude rarely sees the light of day on purpose so he wore jeans and was even hotter than the rest of us.  The Jays won and a good time was had by all.  On Friday Computer Dude comes home for the weekend as he's between houses and babysits the dogs while we drive Engineering Guy the five hours to his college and drop him off.  

Monday, August 18, 2008


Computer Dude moved out of residence in April.  He was able to sublet for the summer but is moving into a townhouse with his former roommates in September.  The townhouse is unfurnished so Computer Dude needs some things - particularly a bed.  We went shopping to Ikea with that in mind yesterday.  I think he was a bit overwhelmed by all the selection (he's so not a shopper) but finally picked one he deemed suitable.  He was more excited about mattress shopping and had no trouble determining what he liked.  The guys are going to try and pick up a sofa but that's all they think they need (oh to be nineteen again).  They do have all the kitchen stuff from last year along with three TV's and multiple gaming systems (they are all computer dudes after all).

Move in day for both boys is getting closer.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Take My Son By The Hand

Thirteen years ago when Engineering Guy was getting ready to enter kindergarten his teacher sent me this:  I guess it still says something that I still have it and that it still brings tears to my eyes as I get ready to send him off to university.

Take My Son By The Hand

My son starts school tomorrow.

It’s all going to be strand and new to him for awhile and I wish you would sort of treat him gently.

You see, up to now, he’s been king of the roost.

He’s been boss of the backyard.  I have always been around to repair his wounds, and I’ve always been handy to soothe his feelings.

But now.....things are going to be different.

This morning he is going to walk down the front steps, wave his hand, and start on his great adventure that will include wars and tragedy and sorrow.

To live his life in the world he has to live in, will require faith and love and courage.

So, teacher, I wish you would sort of take him by his young hand and teach him the things he will have to know.

Teach him... but gently - if you can.  He will have to learn, I know, that not all men are just, that not all men are true.

Teach him that for every scoundrel, there is a hero, that afor every crooked politician there is a dedicated leader.

Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend.

Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick.

Teach him the wonders of books.  Give him his quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hill.

Teach him that it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat.  Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is getting on the bandwagon.  Tech him to listen to all men, but to filter all he hears on a screen of truth and to take only the good that comes through.

Teach him to sell his brawn and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob, and to stand and fight if he thinks it’s right.

Teach him gently but don’t coddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

This is a big order, teacher, but see what you can do.  He’s such a nice little fellow, my son.

Computer guy was lucky to have teachers who did teach these things.  He's such a fine young man - and I'll miss him.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Pile is Growing

With less than four weeks left until drop off day Engineering Guy's pile of "stuff" is growing.  It now includes a small fridge (for milk NOT beer) extra pillows (to be comfy while reading in bed - yeah right), actual school supplies (binders, pens, and the like), first aid kit that the mother insisted on, lots of deodarant, body wash etc. (heaven forbid he actually have to buy some of this stuff in the next eight months).  Somehow all of this stuff has to get up three stories of stairs AND fit in a double room.  Engineering Guy is very excited - Empty Nest mom not so much.

It was nice to have Computer Dude home.  We went for ribs and then went to see The Black Knight.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Home for the weekend

It's nice to have Computer Dude home for the weekend.  We had roast beef and cheesecake for supper at his request  - now he says he won't have to eat for the rest of the weekend!  

He's been playing piano since he got home.  It's nice to hear music in the house again.  I love Engineering Guy dearly but his piano playing is more noise than music (to be fair he is self taught and Computer Dude had several years of lessons).

The annual Ribfest is taking place in our closest city.  I think we will head there tomorrow.  Computer Dude wants to buy a new printer and a hard drive so we will take in Future Shop most likely.


Engineering guy finally got his room assignment yesterday.  I guess I won't have to buy a him a shopping cart and a box of garbage bags to hold all of his worldy possessions.  Unlike Computer dude, he will be living in a traditional dorm so it seems that he doesn't need a lot.  Still, we have a little pile of stuff which I'm sure will grow in the next month.

Computer dude is blessing us with his presence this weekend.  As I was tidying up his room and making his bed I noticed that his dresser is packed full to overflowing.  Presumably he's not walking around naked so I'm going to motivate him to go through the clothes and only keep what he may wear so we can donate the rest.  I have somewhat ulterior motives.  His dresser is one we bought when he was born and I figure he can move it with him in September as the townhouse he is renting is unfurnished.  

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Engineering Guy will be leaving in just over a month and he still doesn't have a room assignment for residence.  Nobody does yet.  Luckily it isn't stressing him out.  As he puts it "Why worry about things you have no control over?" He's obviously never been a mother!  That's okay - I can stress enough for both of us.

His dad and I went on a sailing trip for a week and just returned.  Engineering guy stayed home and took care of the dogs.  I must say he did a fine job and the house was in good shape when we got home.

Engineering Guy and I drove down and took Computer Dude out for lunch today.  He'll be home for a few days just about the time that Engineering Guy leaves for school.  To that end we have done some shopping - new printer, various and sundry wires and cables, bedding.  He hopefully will have a room to put all this new stuff in come September.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Well engineering guy is officially no longer a high school student.  His last exam was Tuesday and prom was Thursday.  Two months from today we will have moved him into his university residence.  When computer dude went off last fall I already had started collecting "stuff" for him.  I haven't got one thing for engineering guy.  Denial I guess.  To be fair though he is going to live in a traditional residence (the dude lived in a townhouse style residence) so he won't need much "stuff".    Unlike his brother he doesn't mind shopping (if it's for him) so he doesn't even want me picking out his bedding (I'm sure the fact that I threatened a Toronto Maple Leaf or John Deere comforter has no bearing on that)!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Almost there

Three down and one to go.  Calculus exam was this morning.  Engineering guy was never stressed apparently (he leaves that for me for whom the mention of the word calculus causes hives).  Tomorrow he has english and then I will no longer be the mother of a high school senior.  How did that happen?  Whatever will I worry about?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Proud Mama

Can I just say how proud I am of engineering guy?  Of course I can.  I don't really have any readers so I'm not even bragging.

Engineering guy got a letter in the mail today congratulating him on being selected as one of only three North American scholarship recipients from my husband's company.  We have always thought he is amazing - it's nice to know that others think so as well.  Even nicer is the fact that it is a renewable scholarship.  His response was "Sweet - now I don't have to worry about not working much this summer"! Ummm - yeah but I don't think you got picked for your lack of work ethic kiddo.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Almost There

Not that engineering guy is counting but he has one test, one presentation, and four exams before he is no longer a high school student.  He seems to have found his motivation for the last charge and is working very diligently.  We plan to take him out to his favourite restaurant after his last exam and then later that week he will attend his prom.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Winding Down

School is winding down. Engineering guy seems to have found a bit of his lost motivation for his final English project (thankfully since english is so not his subject of choice).  His competitive nature has sprung up to help him get those last few things done.

Amazingly (since he is so cheap) he has decided to spring for a share in a limo on prom night.  I think it's kind of funny since the prom is literally behind our house but of course they are going out for supper first.  I'm glad he decided on this as I think he'll have a great time.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


I thought I was over this since Engineering guy is the second (and last) of my children not to have a high school graduation.  

I got to look at some fabulous pictures of the friend's Engineering guy had in grade three as they had their high school graduation this weekend.  If he is able to make the trip home (which would entail missing a day of school right around mid-term time) his school does have "commencement" in October.  Basically what it is is an awards night - the kids (that are able to be there) don't get all spiffed up in suits and gowns.  Frankly, I've been to the academic awards night for grades 9-11 students and it's far better done.  Last year at Computer dude's commencement the didn't even have all of the kids or the awards on the program.

I know in the grand scheme of things it's not that important but as a parent I will always feel ripped off.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Growing Up

Computer dude phoned home to wish his dad Happy Birthday today.  He has even agreed to come home for the weekend so we can celebrate as a family (either that or he wants some real food).

Back at the ranch Engineering guy seems to have taken his foot off the gas.  I totally understand this but his scholarship level depends on his end of June marks.  Four more weeks and high school will be all over for him.  Have I mentioned how much I'll miss him?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Mother's Day

So far Computer dude has lived up to his Mother's Day gift to me by calling me every week.  Yipeee!!  He's enjoying his job and I think the fact that he doesn't have to worry about studying and can socialize more.

Engineering guy continues to impatiently wait for the end of the semester.  He refuses to count down because it makes the time go too slowly.  I refuse to countdown because it depresses me.  I'm not looking forward to having just two of us tooling around the house.  Hmmm have I said that before?  I might be starting to go through a midlife crisis.  Today I was researching opportunities to teach English as a second language overseas.  That's all well and good except for the fact that I am an accountant!

Monday, May 19, 2008

The difference between computer dude and engineering guy

Well there are many but this is one that will affect me most this summer.  

When computer dude moved out last September he needed a lot of "things" as he was going to be sharing a townhouse with three other guys.  Since he is allergic to shopping he was more than happy to let me collect all the "stuff" he needed.

Engineering guy will be living in a traditional dorm so he doesn't need as much "stuff".  Apparently I don't get to be as involved either.  I just bought a new comforter for our bed.  His response was "oh mom - that is so hick".  Umm  - I guess the John Deere or Toronto Make Believes comforters I was choosing between for his bed won't cut it?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Engineering Guy

Eighteen months after his brother engineering guy came along kicking and screaming.  After a very volatile toddlerhood he turned into a pretty mellow fellow.  From an early age he was determined that his older brother would not beat him in any area and I think that is where his competitive nature came from (well that and his dad).  Now nearly eighteen years later I am getting ready to send him off into the big bad world to study engineering.  He could have gone to the same school as his brother which is arguably the best engineering school in the country but he chose to go to a different school five hours away.  It's funny how perspective changes because for the last two years he was determined to go to the west coast (which is half a country away) so now five hours seems like nothing.  I had a countdown timer on my desktop to help prepare myself for the empty nest but I found it too depressing.  It's time for him to go.  Even though he is only seventeen he is ready.  He has chosen what I believe is the best learning environment for him.  I'm proud of how hard he has worked to make sure he had choices.  I'm just a bit sad that they both have grown up so fast.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

We stopped in today to drop some things off for computer dude.  I was happy to see with my own eyes that he had survived the week.  When hubby and I got home (after being away for the weekend there was a beautiful orchid on the kitchen table and a Mother's Day card compliments of the baby (Hereafter to be known as engineering guy).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

So here's the thing

It just occurred to me that in 115 days I will be driving my baby five hours away, kicking him to the curb, and expecting him to fend for himself in Universitytown.  The fact that my "baby" is a six foot,  160 pound athlete and  honour roll student whom we affectionately call "dumb blond" seems totally irrelevant as any mom would tell you.  I'll try to start at the beginning.

Nineteen years ago (and two weeks late I might add) I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.  Eighteen months later I gave birth to another and realized I hadn't known the meaning of the word bouncing before - and for the next couple of years I wouldn't know the meaning of the word sleep.  Fast forward a few years - daycare, school, hockey, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, band, graduation!

At the beginning of September 2007 we dropped our first-born "Computer Dude" off at his university of his choice to study - you guessed it - computer science.  I have to explain about Computer Dude.  He had been ready to strike out on his own since he was about nine months old.  He tolerated us for the next 17 years or so.  The fact that he chose a university an hour from home made the transition easier for his dad and I.  He could easily come home for weekends............or not as it turned out.  He promised to phone home weekly (he lied).  He survived his first year and so did we.  He came home for a brief stint before starting his summer job in  *drum roll* a computer company.  He is living with two strangers (It's possible they are axe murderers) in the basement of a house (I wonder if there is a smoke alarm - I told him to check) with no mother to tell him to clean his room AND he is making money.  I suspect you can't get much closer to heaven than that when you are nineteen.  We are still negotiating over the how often to call home part (he's pretty set on never and I'm equally set on weekly) but he is close enough geographically that we can go and take him out for a meal - and he has yet to refuse a free meal.