House of Horrors

This week, my house became a house of horrors.

It started in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, while darkness still cloaked the world. While most of the town was still snugly tucked into bed, Hubby was running a gauntlet through a cluttered maze, hand over mouth, as a savage beast completed its hold over his body.

Only an hour before, a terrible foreboding woke me. I dismissed it as a silly notion, adjusted my sleeping position and rumpled bedclothes, and drifted off to sleep.

Hubby woke me with a start just before 6. Soft morning light was just beginning to illuminate the room through the curtains. He shared the details about the vicious attack he had sustained earlier, and asked me to wake him at 8. Meanwhile, something was already begin to wrap its talons around my insides.

By 7, I lay groaning quietly in my own bed, desperate to drift off to sleep for the final delicious moments before heading into my day. But every time I settled in, something squeezed my insides and I was forced to run my own gauntlet.

I caught Little Guy standing frozen on the landing at 7:30, mouth gaping as he stared in shock and disbelief at the ominous sounds erupting from behind the bathroom door. He knew, instinctively, that no human inhabited that tiny space. Only once a foul wisp of vaporous gas assaulted his sense of smell and the tears began to well in his eyes, did he find his legs beneath him, and he fled the scene in terror.

Creepy door

“Opening the Door” by Photographer, Laura Billings, 2008

* * *

I left with house with Little Guy around 8:30 to take him to camp. My head was pounding and I had already endured several attacks of my own. I had tried in vain to ward off the waves of nausea with a piece of toast, but I only managed 2 bites before I had to set aside the crispy slice. I was only armed with a pink plastic bowl, my purse, and my work lunch bag. Hubby had issued a caution as a stepped over the threshold: “If you’re in any doubt, don’t go to work. When it hits, there’s no warning”.

Little Guy safely delivered, I stumbled into a tiny neighbourhood convenience store for a 2L bottle of gingerale. I wondered if I looked as bad as I was beginning to feel. The clerk had stepped back noticeably as I shuffled to the counter, and smiled weakly as she passed me my change.

I made it home.

For the next several hours, Hubby and I took turns bowing over a white porcelain chalice in our ugly “vintage” bathroom. We only have one!

We did not speak, save once. I heard the floorboards to my bedroom snap, but by the time I rolled over, no form stood in the doorway. It was then I heard Hubby calling my name, like a question? “Jenn? Where are you?” Fearing that he was now delusional, or worse, was passing into the next life, I slipped from my bed and faltered my way to the top of the stairs. He had heard a thump in the dark, had feared that I had lost consciousness in my travails, and was looking for me. He did not see me amidst the tangled knot of sheet and quilt, and pillows, and had in his weakened state, had gone looking for me.

He loves me.

The trip to the community centre to pick up Little Guy is a blur now. Hubby had considered coming with me, but abandoned the notion when he had to sit down half way up the stairs. We slept the remainder of the afternoon way, and thankfully, I woke up in time to fix Little Guy some supper, before slumbering on the couch until darkness started to set in.

Every now and then, Little Guy crept over to the couch to gently rub my forehead. I think he was checking to make sure he wasn’t an orphan. Then, in an extraordinary act of kindness, he helped me drag the garbage and recycle containers to the curb before he tucked himself in bed.

* * *

I awoke the next morning, still a zombie; Hubby was recuperating. And so, I have remained, back at work now, but still subsisting on the golden elixir, gingerale, and tiny golden fish crackers.

I have boiled the bedding, but I have yet to face the gory focal point of the day’s deadliest attacks where, no doubt, the evidence of our torture clings in the shadows and underbelly of the portal. Our house was truly, a House of Horrors.

* * *

If I do not return on Monday, then I have undertaken the final cleaning task, and did not survive the great peril. Please know that writing my blog and interacting with so many of you has been both a joy and a pleasure. My final word of advice for surviving your mid-life crisis is this –


Compliments of

Happy Weekend!




Weekly Photo Challenge: Details

“Details create the big picture.” – Sanford Wells

Viewing the details is my favourite way to view the world. I frequently take nature photographs that focus on the details (like frost on the flowers in winter, or bees on the flowers in Summer), but for this challenge, I experimented with something tasty!


Raspberry on white tea cup

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The best part of this challenge was eating my muse! Yum!

To see more “details”, click here.

10 Minute Monday: Passing it on

I’m not sure who was more excited, Little Guy or me. It seems just like yesterday that he was in the youngest group at Vacation Bible Camp (VBS), enjoying crafts, games, stories, and silly songs. But last week, Little Guy was a Junior Leader-In-Training (LIT).

Every morning during the car ride, we discussed some of the things he liked and disliked about his week. We decided, when you are serving others through volunteering:

  1. It’s not always about you. Chasing balls, blowing bubbles, and picking up wet sponges after little kids in the summer heat for 3 hours, was sometimes tiring and boring. Leading sometimes means doing dirty jobs behind the scenes. But it also means getting the job done, setting others up for success, and making happy memories for others along the way.
  2. No job is too small or unimportant. From teaching memory verses, leading songs and preparing snacks, to painting sets and running games. Every job is important. If no one had set up the sidewalk chalk, there wouldn’t have been any beautiful drawings.
  3. Age is irrelevant. Too many people make excuses. The volunteers last week ranged from 10 to 70+. While not everyone could do every job, everyone had a job to do!
  4. Many hands make light work. When everyone works together, the job gets done faster…and it can be more fun! (Sometimes there’s even pizza).

Teaching our kids to be leaders is like running a relay race. As adults, we need to strive to pass the baton to our young runners. We can’t just teach them with our words; we have to train them up by modelling a servant heart and a servant attitude. One day, in the not-so-distant future, Little Guy and the generations after him, will be in leadership positions; how I ran the race and passed the baton will be just as important then, as it is right now.

Little Guy had a great week and great leaders to train him up. I’m so very thankful!

FInd a Mentor


This has been a “10 Minute Monday” post (where I write about whatever I want for a minimum 10 minutes, no editing – mayhem, memories, maudlin mumblings, or  “mwa ha ha” moments.

The photo above came from Pinterest (something new I’ve just discovered, along with choco-coco ice cream.

Wilderness Wednesday: Red Admiral

The Red Admiral (vanessa atalanta) is a popular butterfly in North America, Asia, and Europe. It is a docile butterfly that often frequents gardens. The males, in particular, are territorial and can be found in the same location day after day.

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This salty dog has ragged edges – wonder what kind of adventure has he been on? Wonder if he’s having a mid-life crisis too?

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“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happy Wednesday!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up!

It seems I’ve been looking up lately. Just last week I posted photos of fireworks on Canada Day and a series of stormy clouds. The week before that, I participated in the DP Challenge, Clouds.  This weekend, I amired the way the sun streamed from the clouds after the rainbow.

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What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me
The Rainbow Connection

To see more Look Up photos, click here.

Not a Clue

Several people have asked me “what ever happened with that bride?” I can’t exactly call her “bridezilla” since she wasn’t overtly “obsessive or intolerably demanding”. But her lack of communication, her indecision, and her (dare I say it? why not?) stupidity threatened to push me over the precipice into a bottomless pit, where there would most definitely be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Well, the wedding was June 25, and with any luck, today will be my final encounter with her.

I am “The Gatekeeper” to rental contracts for the church, which means I field calls from the sublime to the ridiculous, and the following is a true story:

I received a voicemail message on January 29, saying Someone had booked Bride’s wedding at our church –  could I forward the Rental Contract. I immediately had words with Someone! It turned out Bride & Groom stopped in during an evening rehearsal and looked around. [Mistake #1: Letting them in the door}. Someone told them the date looked free and to call me in the morning to go through the details.[ Mistake #2: Never suggest the date is free]

I forgave Someone.

So I emailed Bride the approval process, attached the requisite documents, and listed 14 basic questions so we could get acquainted. The questions included silly things like name, time of wedding, and needs (minister, organist, audio-visual technician).

On Feb 3, Someone received a phone call – Groom would drop the deposit and contract on Sunday morning. I quickly forwarded my original email, politely asking again for information. She emailed back that she’d fax the agreement in the morning. It never arrived. Groom, however, arrived after Sunday service with the deposit and an incomplete page 1 (of 2) of the contract.

I got the answers to some of my questions on Feb. 15. I confirmed on Feb 24, that the wedding rental request had been approved,  and carefully reviewed the policies and fees again.


I waited a month before I emailed to review and ask for a signed contract. I also asked for answers to the rest of the questions… She emailed 4 days later to call her. Eventually we connected and discussed the fees. She didn’t understand why I couldn’t use the deposit toward the fees? (Umm…in case your uncle shows up drunk, barfs on the carpet and I have to get it cleaned early Sunday morning? I’m not paying for that!) Why do we need a custodian (Stupid people, question #2) when we can clean ourselves? Still feeling magnanimous, I offered to ask the Hostess to her waive fees (since she was also the organist). I waved my magic wand and made it happen. On April 7 she asked, “when can we meet to discuss the contract?”  Huh?  I explained we didn’t need to meet in person, and I provided options for getting the signed contract to me.

A month later, she asked me again to call her. We had the same discussion as above, over the next 2 weeks, resent the revised contract two more times. I finally got a signed copy by email on May 20, with the requisite insurance certificate BUT she also wanted to know why organist fee was not reduced (because the organist only waived the hostess fee?). Her fiance was told this would cost no more than $450 (not by anyone who works here) and the deposit wouldn’t be cashed (that’s not how it works and I was pretty clear about that …). I  threw her budget off (yeah, that was my personal goal).

eye roll giphy – gossip girl

By now, I was hearing gnashing of teeth – my own! I let her have it! Having a legal background made it easy. I laid it all out in detail, with the dates  and content of all our correspondence and conversations. I pointed out that we are one of the most affordable churches in the area. That our costs are fixed by our board and I can’t make any more deductions. That I can’t use their deposit as payment.  And finally, if they’d prefer to terminate this signed contract in writing, I’d be happy to return the deposit to them. I gave the pastor a copy of my email to review before I sent it. He thought I was being very nice!

The next day, she asked when can we meet – after 4:30 worked for them! (Why do they need to meet in person?) On May 26, an email  said the groom was coming the next day at 10:30. I made sure there was someone in the office with me, but he didn’t call or show up.

He showed up on June 1, the day my Grandmother died. He wanted to discuss the fees. We went through the why you need a custodian conversation again. He even went so far as to suggest he could tell guests they can’t use the loo.

“People should have chips implanted in their skulls that explode when they say something stupid.” – Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory 

Then he asked why Bride hadn’t heard from the organist? (At this point, I knew the organist had left Bride several voicemail messages, with no response. Groom left in a hurry – he had shorted us by $25.

Later that day, the organist told me she talked to Bride, and Bride would call her back. The next day, Bride informed me she didn’t need a pianist (pianist?) I asked for clarification – did she mean organist? It took a week and 3 emails to sort that out.

I met Bride for the first time on June 23 when she showed up unexpectedly to check on some measurements for decorations. If looks could kill, I’d have been a wet puddle on the carpet that the custodian would have to clean up. Her handshake was limp and she avoided all eye contact. She wondered when they could get in to decorate – I told them during the rehearsal or Friday during office hours. I just wanted this deal to be done!


The wedding was set for June 25 at 2:30. By 2:25, the staff and 1 guest had arrived. The wedding started at 3:20.  No one took down the decorations – the custodian had to do it. Only half of it was picked up the following week, after I had gone home for the day. They forgot their candlesticks!

I emailed this week to say their cheque (deposit plus adjustment) was ready. I didn’t mail it because of the impending postal strike and the missed decor. She agreed to come on Friday before 2, but was pretty sure I had miscalculated the fees. She was forgetting that if she wasn’t paying an organist, she was paying a hostess. I explained the breakdown, but she didn’t reply to my email.

I’m leaving today at 2 – if she doesn’t show up on time, I’m tempted to leave the cheque and candlesticks outside. Or give them to Professor Plum…


Thanks to Doug Savage at

Some people just don’t have a Clue!