Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And fries the nerves.

As of today my husband has been away 40 days.  Quite a few important things have happened since he was last home.  I turned 53.  Our middle daughter moved to Ottawa.  Our 35th wedding anniversary came and went.  Many, many tears have been shed.  There have been sleep filled days and sleepless nights.  And if all goes well I will pick him up at the airport 7 hours from now.

If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know this hasn’t been the roughest time of my life for sure. Not even close.  But it has been trying.  I think I shall never agree to move a child any distance alone again.  I haven’t talked about that week from hell but I think now that my husband is on his way home, I can talk about it without crying.

Hannah is our middle daughter, fourth child and has been in love with Canada since she was about 12.  Since her cousin introduced her to hockey and she was immediately in love with all things Canadian.  She is now 24 so this move has not been on a whim.


Doesn’t she look happy?  At this point in the trip we were smiling to keep from crying.  In public.  The trip, as I have said, has been in the planning stages for many years.  And Hannah has saved her money, kept a 4.0, applied and was accepted to Carleton University in Ottawa (GO RAVENS!) for the Fall and Winter semesters.  All her financial aid transferred without a hitch.  She got in the dorm she requested (miracle), all but one credit transferred (REAL miracle) and so tickets were bought, bags were packed and off we went August 28th.  The day before her 24th birthday.  We had flights to Burlington, VT because I wanted to rent a car in the US and Ottawa is just a 4 hour drive.  Our trip to Burlington was smooth and uneventful.  We arrived on time.  Our luggage however, did not.  Well, two pieces of the 4 we checked arrived.  It’s okay we said.  This happened to Dad once and they will deliver it tomorrow to our hotel in Ottawa.  So off we went to our first night spent in Burlington, with plans to drive on to Ottawa the next morning and surely our luggage would arrive that evening (Wednesday) if it didn’t beat us there.

We both knew in the back of our minds that things had just gone too smoothly.  We kept asking ourselves and each other what was going go wrong.  We didn’t want to jinx ourselves but come on, for real??? TOO smooth for comfort.  But we woke up on Wednesday morning, Hannah a year older and anxious to celebrate her birthday in her new country.  So off we went.  We get to customs and immigration at the border.  And again, smooth as silk.  All the papers were in order. Hannah had done her homework on this.  The border patrol was even duly impressed with her thoroughness. So student visa in hand, border patrol happy to give us passage, we were back on the road.  But before we get going, let us call home to check on Ben since Hurricane Issac was threatening.  Oh, did I not mention a hurricane headed for home?  Yeah.  Icing on the cake.  Huh?  Phones don’t seem to want to work.  Oh well.  We will check the setting when we get to our hotel.  Probably don’t have something set correctly for international calls.  No biggy. Oh and I can’t talk to my husband because they are moving his rig and he has no communications.  Yay.

Still, all in all, a very uneventful trip.  Could have been SO MUCH WORSE.  You have to tell yourself that.  Constantly.  And knowing that is true doesn’t really help in that moment.  But we arrived at our hotel, without getting too lost in the big city.


Lovely hotel.  Middle of Ottawa and not far from Carleton.  Perfect.  Almost.  Canadians don’t  really understand the amount of air conditioning that I require but that is just a small thing really.  Comparatively.  The front desk clerk, who we quickly were on first name basis with (Alex) assured us that he would ring us the minute our luggage arrived.  We got ourselves cleaned up and set out for a birthday supper for Hannah at The Black Tomato.  WONDERFUL food if you are ever in Ottawa.

Now I am going to be honest, the rest of that week is a bit of a blur in my memory.  When I say I was stressed, I am not kidding.  I will spare you all the details and bumps in the road but let’s just say we didn’t have any cell phone communication until I bought two disposable Canadian cell phones.  Verizon did everything they possibly could to rectify the situation to no avail…until after I was home.  We drove BACK to Burlington on Friday and picked up our two, beat to hell and back, pieces of luggage that had been to four different airports, in three days, none of them Ottawa.  Let’s see…Detroit, Montreal, Laguardia and finally to Burlington.  When we found out they were within driving distance we said “KEEP THEM THERE!” we will come and get them.  So, when Hannah got out of orientation on Friday afternoon.  We set out for Burlington.  Yes that was August 31st.  And what weekend is that??? RIIIIGGGHHHT…Labor Day weekend.  So we spent nearly 3 hours at the border waiting to cross.  Bright side: by 11 p.m. we had the missing luggage in our possession.  Oh, I didn’t say, all of Hannah’s prescription medication was in one of the lost bags.  Uh huh.  I didn’t know she checked it and she didn’t know not to.  That will never happen again.  While we are in the states, we try again to get the cell phones working.  Nope.  Okay, we can’t worry about that any more.  No more energy on something we can’t fix.


So back to Ottawa we go. We only have a couple of days to spend together so we were going to try and enjoy them.  All and all we had met a few challenges but so far we hadn’t actually come unglued.  It was touch and go there for a while, but we are strong women.  We weren’t going to be broken. By the way Ottawa is a beautiful, clean city and one of the most multicultural places I have ever been.



Honestly, picture taking was the last thing on our minds most of the time and I didn’t get nearly the pictures I had planned to.  But next trip I will 🙂

Saturday night we enjoyed another meal at The Black Tomato with one of Hannah’s long time friends and begin to unwind and relax a little.  We had several real, sobbing melt downs during the week but we made it.  We came out on the other side and Sunday I headed back to Burlington for my return home Monday morning.  It was a beautiful drive down through the Champlain Islands and on to Brandon for a very brief visit with my friends there.


Hurricane Issac spared our area and for that I am thankful though very devastating for so many along the Gulf coast 🙁

Two more weeks have passed.  Some crying on both sides.  Hannah experiencing some homesickness.  Me missing her terribly.  But this is a chance of a lifetime and I am happy she is getting the opportunity to experience something outside her comfort zone.

So here you have the condensed version of our adventures in Canada.  With Jerry coming home this afternoon, don’t be surprised if I am scarce for a few days.  We have a lot of catching up to do.  My goals for today are: Get myself presentable, get food in the crockpot (meat for the guys ~ veggies for me), pick up over the house, wipe down the bathroom and not burst into tears when I see him.  As much as I have cried over the past three + weeks, I expect to be a bit emotional at his homecoming.  We had all intentions of starting a remodeling project when he got home and had talked about it almost every phone conversation.  But by yesterday’s phone calls we were to the point of  “maybe we will just hang out and do some gardening”.  So I will have garden updates for you but I would imagine the remodel will be for another time. I have missed my husband and he has missed me.  And just hanging out is underrated 🙂

Have a great day.  Eat good things that are good for you.

With warmest regards,


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Wow! Talk about action packed, emotional weeks! You’re a brave one, I have to say. SO happy for you that your husband is coming home. Enjoy!!! And best of luck to your girl!

Oh Susan, I am thinking your husband must be home by now and you are happily nestled within his loving arms and all is well. What a stressful trip!!! You got through it though, and are on the other side of it, so that’s good! It is never easy experiencing one of our chicks flying the nest and when it’s so far away it’s even harder. However, my brother lives in Ottawa with his wife and four daughters, all lovely people. (I know I am biased.) I can give you their number and I just know they would love meeting Hannah and that they would be a great help to her should she ever need help of any kind. Just let me know! It would be nice for them to meet up as well. My sister in law’s father was a professor at Carlton for many years and my sister in law and all her siblings graduated from there. I, myself, stayed in the dorms for several nights on a school trip back in the early 70’s. I am sure it’s change since then though. I love Ottawa. Nice city, clean and comfortable, but very cold in the winter with lots of snow. Hope she’s prepared!! Sending you lots of love and many, many hugs! xxoo


I’m so proud of you and Hannah! And am thankful that Jerry is now home safe and sound. As always, LOVED your post.