Friday, May 2

A Horror Story and a Meme!

I'm wondering why people take advantage of other people. Is there no such thing as respect and honor left in this world. Though I'm not one to complain about things, I'm hopping mad.

I am a person who will give anything to anyone or do anything to help anyone. I should have learned my lesson a long time ago, but being a giving person, I have never given up on people. Let me tell you what has been happening over the last few months and also what happened today.

We rent our upstairs apartment out to help us make ends meet. Last September, the apartment became vacant. Hubby knew a young man who was going to be put out on the street, so he offered the apartment to him. When I met this person, I had my doubts about him. However, hubby wanted to give him a chance, so I agreed. We rented him the apartment.

When we had to have some work done in the house for the fire department to bring all electrical up to code, I was horrified to see that the apartment was a mess. I don't mean clutter. There were pizza boxes, fast food containers and food on the living room coffee table. As nicely as I could, I told the young man that he needed to clean up the apartment. Two months later he took eight bags of garbage out of the apartment.

While we were on vacation last January, the tenant put his garbage out on the upper deck. The deck was constructed to give the tenant more living space and a place to sit out at night as there is no yard for the upper apartment. Over the next four months, the garbage continued to pile up there. First we had raccoons, then mice. I asked the tenant to get rid of it in February. He told me that he would get rid of it come spring when it had melted. Hubby insisted the tenant would clean it up, so I let it be. Last Monday I told hubby it had to go. The two of us went up there and cleaned up 14 bags of garbage with a shovel. There was even cat litter on the deck. I was horrified.

The other day I went out into the front hall to gain access to the front door because it was raining. I wasn't entering the tenant's apartment, as the hall is a community space. However, we don't use it often as we feel that the tenant should have privacy. I was appalled when I stepped through the door. There must be 6 months of junk mail sitting in that hall on a bookcase that belongs to the tenant. This is a definite fire hazard.

The day we cleaned up the 14 bags of garbage, I heard the tenant come in and went into the hall. His words to me, "I have a little b*tch to clean up after me." I was horrified. I told him outright that I was not his mother and would not be cleaning up anymore of his garbage. I told him nicely and asked him to clean the hall up because if the fire department came in they would have a fit. He said, "Well these aren't all my fliers. Some of them came out of your mailbox."

I held my tongue and replied, "I was nice enough to clean up your garbage. It's your place to clean up the hall."

The hall is still full of newspapers, which are going into the garbage tomorrow morning. Yes, I will clean it up but I am not going to search through all of it to see if there is something of his in there. It will just all go into a garbage bag and be put at the curb garbage day.

For the last few months, the tenant has been late with his rent - as much as two weeks late. He promised me he would be all caught up on May 2nd, which is today. We never heard from him and when he came in at dinner time, hubby asked him if he had the rent. He said no and he wouldn't have any for another two weeks.

Sorry friends, but I lost it. I told him that he'd promised me the rent would be caught up on May 2nd. His reply, "Tough luck for you."

I went ballistic and told him that he would be out of here. He gave me the finger and went into his apartment and closed the door.

I have made up his eviction papers. Hubby will sign them when he gets up tonight and I will serve them to him after midnight. According to the Ontario Rental Tribunal, I have to give him 14 days to pay, or at the end of that time he has to be out. If he doesn't move, I have to pay to go before the Tribunal and have him evicted. Total time frame: approximately 2 months. Total cost to me: About $300. Total cost to the tenant: 3 months free rent.

Now, I've said all of this to make a point. This is a young man who we gave the apartment to so he would not be living on the street. We treated him as a son, helping him out whenever we could and even giving him food when he didn't have any. Why is it that he repaid our kindness by dumping garbage on his deck and not paying his rent? I truly cannot understand people who deliberately take advantage of others. Not only am I bewildered and frustrated, I am hurt that he would do this. We have been nothing but kind to this man. This puts a definite strain on us financially and he knows it. After all, he was supposedly hubby's friend.

I would like to hear your opinions on this. I will keep you updated on how things progress.

Now, on the lighter side of things.
Storyteller asked her readers to participate in 'The Meme of Fours' after being tagged by Ivanhoe. So here goes:

4 Places I've Been:

I have traveled in both the US and Canada. My favorite places are:

* Tennesse

* Arkansas

* Cape Breton Island in Canada's Maritimes

* Cranbrook, British Columbia

4 Favorite Foods

* Fruit of any kind, especially fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries plus apples, oranges, bananas, kiwi and a host of others.

* Pizza

* Homemade apple pie, using sugar substitute

* Mom's holiday dinners, which usually consist of turkey, dressing and all the fixin's.

4 CDs

* Roy Orbison

* The Gaithers

* Celine Dion

* The Rankin Family (Canadian Celtic group)

4 Jobs I've Had

* Nurse's Aide

* Taxi Owner Operator

* Baseball Stitcher for Spaldings - stitching hardballs for the pros

* Retail Manager

4 Things That Make My Day

* Hearing from my online or real world friends

* Enjoying fun time with my grandsons

* Doing a random act of kindness

* Blogging

4 People That I Tag

I don't like tagging people, so I'm going to amend this part of the meme. If you participate and leave me a comment saying that you have, you can help yourself to a copy of the award below.

Enjoy taking part in this meme. It will help your blogging friends get to know you just a little better. Have a wonderful Saturday, stay safe and enjoy your time off from work. ~Blessings, Mary~

It's time for Show and Tell Friday. If you would like to participate, drop over to Kelli's at There's No Place Like Home.

The above photo was taken in 1940. The young soldier in the photo is my Dad. He and Mom weren't married yet, but this photo of him in his uniform was taken at my maternal Grandmother's home. The old car is in the background and if you look closely, you can see the corner of the chicken coop.

I am very proud to have this picture of Dad when he was 24 years old. Dad died on August 29, 1981. I still miss him.

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend. Take time to relax and stop and smell the roses. Our lives are hectic in today's world and we need to take time to enjoy the beauty of the earth. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, May 1

Thankful Thursday

Today is Thankful Thursday. It is a day when we list the things we are thankful for. If you would like to participate, be sure to stop by Sting My Heart and pay Iris a visit. You can find out all the information there.

This week I have a lot to be thankful for. I am always greatful for blessings received and don't take anything for granted.

1. I'm thankful for the researcher who realized that animal therapy could help us cope with both physical and mental disabilities.

2. For the people who run the farm where the boys go for their animal therapy each week.

3. For the animals that give of their love and affection to help the boys through the hard times that they experience. Both boys love the animals but they have especially helped Brandon cope with his Asperger's Syndrome.

4. I'm thankful for having legs that can carry me wherever I want to go. Many aren't so fortunate and though my legs sometimes cause me a lot of pain, I can still use them to get around.

5. I'm thankful for my eyesight and the eyedrops that keep my eye pressures low. Yes, I have been remembering to use them everyday.

6. For blood sugar levels that are not as high as they once were. I started taking a new medication two years ago and the results have been amazing.

7. For friends both online and in the real world. Friends are the blooms in the garden of life. Please be sure to take a copy of the button for your blog if you'd like.

8. I'm thankful that my aunt who has bone cancer is still with us. She has some pain and she's been told that the cancer will never go into remission, but she is holding her own - she's always been a fighter and not one to give up.

9. For answered pray, whether or not it is answered in the way that I was hoping for. God knows what's best for us better than we do.

10. For having the freedom to worship as I see fit and for the soldiers who risk there lives for us to continue to experience that freedom. Also for the ones who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Please leave a comment telling me what you are thankful for today. ~Blessings, Mary~

Wednesday, April 30

Animal Therapy for Asperger's Syndrome

April is Autism Awareness Month and as it is drawing to a close, I wanted to post at least once more on autism and the way it affects individuals.

Many of my readers already know that my grandson, Brandon, has Asperger's Syndrome. In March 2007, I saw an article in our local paper about the farm where I take the boys. It focused on animal therapy for individuals with disabilities both visible and invisible. It mentioned that animal therapy could aid those on the autism spectrum. I phoned the farm and made an appointment for Brandon to be assessed.

The farm accepted Brandon for animal therapy. Shortly thereafter, I had Jordan assessed. Both boys were eligible and so started our weekly trips to the farm.

At that time, there were numerous goats and horses at the farm. The boys saw pregnant goats, met the babies when they were born and experienced farm life. They bonded with the animals and learned about life and death. Because I grew up on the farm I wanted them to experience the circle of life and to understand that life is fragile. I also wanted them to benefit from the animal therapy.

Brandon has come a long way in the last year. He has learned to do things that he said he would never be able to do. He learned that he could sit with a baby goat on his lap and whisper his deepest fears and his secrets in its ear. He had no fear of that baby goat telling anyone what his feelings were. He didn't have to worry about the goat laughing at him or bullying him. The goat didn't care that he was different or that he thought a different way. The goat only wanted his love and to return that affection.

Today when I picked the boys up for the farm, Brandon was having a bad day. By the time we got to the farm, he was having a meltdown - not a major one, but a meltdown just the same. He said he was tired. He said he was sad. He didn't really know what he wanted to say, nor did he know what to do about it. At first he wouldn't get out of the car and so Jordan and I got out and left him. Sometimes that is the best thing we can do - give Brandon some quiet time. It didn't take long for him to get out of the car and we went to the barn. It was a chilly day with a strong wind and he complained all the way. I just kept the boys moving.

Once we were in the barn, Brandon headed to the stall where Matthew, the lamb and Chrissy, the baby goat are penned together. The babies were vying for Brandon's attention and it wasn't long until he was interacting with the animals. Then we saw Crackers lying in the paddock. I immediately wondered what was up as horses don't often lie down. We kept our eye on her and eventually she got up and was walking away from us. She was walking funny and I wondered if she was having some problems, but the more we watched her, the more we realized that there was something wrong with her back leg. She was lame and limping.

Brandon got so caught up with the animals that he forgot about his own troubles. He was in a much better mood as we headed home. The animals had worked their magic in his life once again.

Animal therapy has helped both of the boys a great deal, but I think it has helped Brandon the most in some ways. They are both learning lessons in the realities of life by watching the happenings on the farm. I would recommend animal therapy for anyone who is experiencing either physical or mental challenges.

Research has proven that animal therapy is good for people who are on the autism spectrum and Brandon has definitely benefited from having the animals in his life.

If you would like to read more about Asperger's and animal therapy, there is a good article HERE! Have a great Wednesday and remember to be kind to those who are different. Wouldn't this world be a dull place if we were all the same? ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, April 29

Desktop Capture and our American Eskimo

Mike at Rambling Stuff challenged everyone to take a photo of their desktop. Now I had taken up a challenge from Hootin' Anni some time ago and she taught me how to do a screen capture.

This is what is on my computer screen at this time. I change frequently. If you would like to see the first screen capture that I took part in, go HERE! It is a photo we took a Disney's Animal Kingdom when we were there earlier this year. But I like to change my desktop frequently - about once a month, and since I like old steam engines, I saw this one and added it to my desktop. If anyone would like to give a screen capture a try, here is how you do it:

1. View desktop and press the Print Scrn key (located in the upper right corner of your keyboard on the same row as the F12 key).

2. Open a graphics program (like Picture Manager, Paint, or Photoshop) and do a Paste (CTRL + V).

3. If you wish, you can “edit” the image, before saving it, but it is best that no icons be deleted before the screen capture so as to add to the element of fun.

If you decide to give it a try, please let me know in the comments. I would certainly enjoy seeing what is on your desktop.

In 1987, my daughter and I purchased an American Eskimo puppy from a pet shop. He stole our hearts immediately upon seeing him. When we walked out of the mall, it was snowing so hard we could only see a few feet in front of us. As soon as Michelle saw the snow, she named this little white ball of fluff Snowball.

Snowball was born on September 1, 1987. He had a few problems when we first took him home and I soon realized that he'd probably come from a puppy mill. It cost us a few hundred dollars to get him in optimum health but once we did he had very few health problems. We took him for his annual vaccinations, rabie shots and heartworm tests.

Snowball was a wonderful companion once we taught him that puppies are not allowed to eat shoes, slippers and legs of furniture. The vet told me that in order to cure him of his chewing problem, to put tabasco sauce on items we knew he was going to chew. Snowball was a smart dog and soon learned that lesson.

For 13 years, Snowball was a loyal companion. He had two bad habits - he liked to bark at everyone and everything in the neighborhood. For some reason he thought that the entire place was his to protect. Any stranger walking by would have thought he was going to be eaten alive. The other bad habit was not his fault. When we first got him, he was about 8 weeks old and we tied him out in the front one day. The mailman came along and Snowball barked at him. Now he was only tiny and weighed about 7 pounds if that. The mailman was frightened of him and kicked him. I saw it and ran up and down that mailman's back like a cat's claws on a scratching post. But the damage had been done. Snowball always hated the mail person whether they were male or female.

In the spring of 2000, Snowball began urinating in the house. He had never done this in his entire life, no matter how long he had to wait for someone to get home to let him out. I phoned the Vet and he asked me to bring Snowball in for some tests. When they came back the news wasn't good. Blood had been found in Snowball's urine. (Try to get a dog to pee in a margarine container.)

The Vet gave him antibiotics and this seemed to clear it up. We got another urine sample when the antibiotics were finished and everything was fine. That summer I realized that Snowball was going deaf and blind. I was saddened to know that he was entering the autumn years of his life. Then in September the urinating in the house began again. Another urine sample and more tests. Not good news. There was once again blood in Snowball's urine. He was diagnosed with Renal Kidney Disease and the Vet told us to enjoy his companionship until Snowball could no longer cope. We did just that and pampered him and paid a lot of attention to him.

Late in October, Snowball began to self-mutilate. He dug his backend until it was open. As November approached, I knew it was just a matter of days. I phoned Michelle and told her to come to see him and so she came with the boys to say goodbye.

Snowball passed over Rainbow Bridge on November 1, 2000. We still miss him and every once in a while I still call Meeko by Snowball's name. He has a special place in my heart. The above graphics were made from a photo I had of him just after he passed. Snowball will always be a part of our memories, just as he was a part of our family. Remember to treat your pets with kindness. They are an integral part of the family unit and deserve to be treated with dignity, love and respect. ~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, April 28

Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom

I never did get around to showing anymore photos of our trip to Disney World. I guess life just got in the way and I've been posting about other things. I was deep in though trying to figure out what I was going to post and started looking through the pictures on my computer. These are photos of our safari trip at Disney's Animal Kingdom, so come along with me on safari.

These beautiful white and black birds were everywhere around this water. I'm not sure what they are and it was hard to take photos while bouncing around in a safari truck, but it was fun.
I'm not sure if these photos will enlarge if you click on them, but if you look closely, you will see hippos in the water and more of those black and white birds.
It looks as if these birds are reading the sign. I thought it was a cute outlook on their location.
Gators, gators everywhere. I sure wouldn't want to have to wade through this giant puddle. The boys enjoyed seeing them in a kind of natural habitat.
I have a thing for oddly shaped trees, so just couldn't resist taking a photo of these two. Aren't they unique? The above photo is just one of scenery. I am not sure why I took it but it gives you an idea of the landscape.
I believe these are wildebeasts. They were laying in this area. There were lots of animals out and about because of the cooler weather.
The giraffes were fun to spot in a natural habitat. Did you know that giraffe's have a blue tongue? It is really awesome to feed them. We did that at Silver Springs the last time we were in Florida in 2005.
The elephants are on the move. These guys were walking away from us. Maybe they were tired of people looking at them. After all, even elephants deserve some privacy.
And he keeps going, not interested in the people who really want him to turn around to have his picture taken.
Here is a mother and baby and a few others of the elephant herd. They were all moving toward the same area.
And as we moved along we saw this mother and baby moving toward the rocks in the background.
The water in this area definitely looked blue. I like the blues, greens and browns with the contrast of the white birds. This was a little island and many of those birds had congregated there.
As we rounded the next bend, to the left was a lion relaxing in the shade of these giant rocks.
Don't they remind you of the scene in Disney's Lion King movie? Pride Rock and there is Simba himself looking down at us.
The boys, hubby and I were all amazed at this site. How often will we see ostrich eggs in the wild and Mama and Daddy are staying close by to make sure no one or anything messes with them. I wouldn't want to approach this nest. This was an awesome sight.
And then we rounded the last bend on the safari and as we headed back toward the drop-off point, this was what we saw. It was breathtaking. I love the way those vines hang down toward the water. What a marvelous sight!
I hope you've enjoyed the safari with us. We certainly enjoyed seeing all of these animals and birds roaming free. Take care and have a great week. ~Blessings, Mary~

Sunday, April 27

Green Thumb Sunday

It's Green Thumb Sunday, hosted by Tricia at As the Garden Grows. If you'd like to participate, just click on the link to find out how.

I was out cleaning up the flower beds and wanted to show you some photos of what is growing in my garden.
A few days ago, I raked a lot of dead leaves from last fall out of the corner by the back shed. My rhubarb was just peeking through the ground. Yesterday, I took a look to see how it was coming along and I was shocked at how much it's grown. I'm going to keep a sharp eye on it. I believe it needs to transplanted to an area that has more sun. Does anyone know when rhubarb should be transplanted. I'm guessing now would be a good time but I'm not sure. Any advice would be appreciated.
In my side garden, my tulips and lavender are growing. I can't believe how thick the lavender is. I'm thinking I should be thinning it out. Again, any advice would be appreciated.
This is the flower garden where two of my peonies grow. The one to the left is a pale pink color - the one in the corner is a dark red. I will show you these again when they bloom. I also need to take the rest of the dead stalks out of this area.

I hope you've enjoyed my Green Thumb Sunday for this week. Enjoy your day and get in some relaxation before the work week starts again tomorrow. ~Blessings, Mary~