Final day in Montreal.  I am Vancouver-bound tonight!

This morning I woke up to this…

Freshly squeezed orange juice

My mother used one orange and three tangerines for this single glass and it was delicious.  I don’t understand how some breakfast places can get away with calling their orange juice “freshly squeezed” when the taste is so damn different.  I can only assume “Freshly Squeezed” is a reference to a brand name.

Mom, meanwhile, enjoys her morning coffee.

Last night, mom was watching Murder She Wrote when a commercial came on for one of those assisted living facilities.  It featured uplifting interviews with the presumed children of the elderly parents being put away.  All seemed very pleased and couldn’t say enough nice things about the place.  One woman happily chatted away while, beside her, her mothers sat silently staring off into space, possibly hatching her escape plan.  As the ad cut to a montage of seniors “enjoying themselves” (ie. watching television, walking around, talking to each other – all things they no doubt couldn’t do on their own), my mother commented: “And then, when no one’s looking, gli schiaffi incominciano (literally: the slaps begin).” an obvious reference to the accounts of elderly abuse on the part of caregivers.  Mom has made it mighty clear that, when the time comes she can’t take care of herself (And I can’t imagine such a time.  She turns 80 next month!), she aint going into no “old folk’s home”.  In her eyes, fobbing your elderly parents off on a nursing home is a North American thing.  In Europe, where many men live with their parents well into their 30’s [More than half of Italian men live with their mums – The Local] and aging parents move in with their married kids, the workings of the family unit are very different.

Whenever we touch on this topic – at least once or twice every time I visit – the conversation inevitably turns to MY future and, specifically, my mother’s concern that I don’t have a senior fallback plan of my own (a.k.a. kids).  I keep trying to reassure her that you blog readers are like children to me and that you’ll all be more than happy to bathe me, feed me, and tuck me in at night when the time comes – which, I’m thinking, may be some time this summer as I could use a good vacation.


Ralphie without sis
Ralphie, ready to hit the slopes.
Ralphie, ready to hit the slopes.
Ralphie - warm ear version.
Ralphie – warm ear version.
Putting Felix's boots on.  A lot trickier than it looks.
Putting Felix’s boots on. A lot trickier than it looks.
I’m going to miss this guy!  Oh, and mom.  And sis.

For our last night in Montreal, Akemi and I went out to dinner with one of my oldest friends, Lawrence, and his lovely wife Melanie.  They’re back in Canada after spending three (four?) years working in London.  They’re both huge Coronation Street fans.  No, really!

‘ello guvnah!  Smashing kippers, wot?

We enjoyed a late lunch of spareribs, brussel sprouts, green beans and a surprise dessert –

1Yes, Cookie Dough Carly cupcakes from Jazzycakes [] compliments of blog regular (Sneaky) Sylvia!  A half dozen!

Cookie dough!  On the INSIDE!
Cookie dough! On the INSIDE!

Terrific!  I had two!

Thanks, Sylvia!  For the cupcakes AND the corn soup six years ago!  Now YOU are someone who can take care of me.

38 thoughts on “January 3, 2014: Au Revoir Montreal!

  1. Having had a pretty good amount of experience dealing with special care (and soon nursing) homes recently, I can say that although it’s clear they are run by humans and are far from perfect, the care is actually on average pretty darn good. As for my step-mom, the care that she got at the special care home she was in was beyond reproach. Administratively, there could certainly have been improvement, but the people working on the floor were great. If there are any issues with the system, they are the way elder care in general is managed in the province (and I suspect is the same everywhere). Worst is, I’m not sure how it could work differently. It’s seems to be almost an untenable problem.

    I will say that how much an elderly resident enjoys one of those places is really dependent on them. I know some where my step-mom was there were those who rarely left their rooms, while others socialized all the time – just like they probably were most of their lives.

    As far as living with relatives go – I certainly wouldn’t turn my step-mom over to most of my married siblings. Yikes. And the reality is that when and elderly person’s care levels reach a certain level, at-home (by relatives) care just isn’t feasible. Staying at home would require professional care coming in, and that is expensive! Not to mention the sometimes extensive renovations that would be required to accommodate accessibility needs. When my Dad was in the hospital and initially refused the idea of going to a nursing home, I was going through ALL the options. ( I wish now I had’ve pressed harder to get his approval to arrange placement – he would likely have wound up at least getting out of the hospital before he passed away. I had no choice though but to accept that he was free to and quite capable of deciding what he wanted to have happen. )

    As you mention, this has been a bit of a worry for me lately, since I don’t have any kids either that would be a “me” in the same situation. I’m hoping I just go quick or I plan really well beforehand. In some ways, my experiences with my elderly parents have probably helped me know what to do in that regard. Or hey, if I commit to taking care of you Joe, will you do the same for me if the situation is reversed? 😉

    Wow, talking about this is stirring up lots of memories and emotions. *locks down*

    Of course, for you guys my door is always open.

  2. Travel safely.

    Some assisted living places are fairly ideal– allow independent living with nursing/transportation other help so that people don’t have to live with their kids. Expensive, but it’s unfair to think that NAmericans shove all people into those. We fought with both my mother and mother-in-law to come live with us (or in the case of my mother, also option 2 other sisters). They loved where they went. The staff where my mother was were sitting in the hallway crying harder than the family was when she died. They often took her home with them on weekends, btw. In fact I had to deal with my own hurt feelings that she didn’t WANT to live with me. My MIL’s place was like a danged resort. Only wish I could afford to live that way, lol. Own small apartment but could eat all meals in superb mouth-watering dining room. Both had health/physical issues that made living alone not safe or simply undo-able. My dear neighbor, Mr. Bill, however, held out on his own for almost 93 years and had to go into assisted living the last 6 mos because he needed round the clock care.

  3. Oh, I meant to add – have a nice and safe trip back! I envy you going to somewhere where it isn’t #$%#$ freezing cold!

  4. I would care for you, but alas I will be needing such care as of next Tuesday! I’m having my second total knee replacement. Since I don’t have any family on this side of the country I’ve had to hire someone to care for me in my own home for two weeks at least! Maybe that is a way for you to go when the time comes!

    You have a lovely family and I can easily see that behind all the banter, you love them dearly! Your a good man Joe! 😉

    Safe travels home to Vancouver.

  5. Ralphie has more clothes than do…

    Safe travels…


    P.S. – My computer froze so you may get my comment twice, just delete the first one(plus it had a link so it may have gone where linked comments go to die)

    P.P.S. – couple of days ago you asked for book recommendations, the Bloggess did as well (Xmas day), you could check the comments to see if any interest you.

  6. Is Ralphie tan or gray? Depending on the lightening, it seems to change. He’s a cutie and so well dressed!

    Cupcakes again! I’m happy you tried the cookie dough. It must have been delicious for two helpings.

    I’ve only visited one assisted care facility and it seemed pretty nice. Everything was clean, the patients seemed happy and they had all kinds of activities they were chauffeured to. I’d consider one of those places for myself, if it had a pool.

    I’m glad your mom is going strong. Even with diabetes, my 81 yr old mom is still a pistol. After dealing with my dad’s, and both my in-laws being terminally ill, I’m so grateful for my mom’s good health. She’s the only one that didn’t smoke.

    Das: I’m exhausted reading your chores today. Also, a little jealous of that catnap. 🙄 Give your hubby a hug, from me please, for helping at the church! With all that snow, are you staying in?

    I’m older than you are Mr M.! You’ll have to visit me at the home.

    Safe travels!

  7. I keep trying to reassure her that you blog readers are like children to me and that you’ll all be more than happy to bathe me, feed me, and tuck me in at night when the time comes –
    i think that would depend on who is in your will & what they’re getting. i’m sure you’d plenty of offers for just the booze collection alone.

    Putting Felix’s boots on. A lot trickier than it looks.
    no kidding.

  8. I bought Tangerines today as well! I missed having them for Christmas, so when I saw them today, I couldn’t resist. Maybe I’ll juice them as well.

    I keep trying to reassure her that you blog readers are like children to me and that you’ll all be more than happy to bathe me, feed me, and tuck me in at night when the time comes

    So does that men you’re adopting us? If so, I have a gift request for my up and coming “sweet 49th” birthday! 😉

    Have a safe flight!

  9. I’ve got about 10 years on you, Joe. How about I name YOU my executor and/or guardian?

  10. JeffW said: “Upon further review, YVR does not have flight training. The closest training airport appears to be Boundary Bay (12 miles southeast of Vancouver). See:

    I might have to stop in there on my next visit to Vancouver…”

    If I remember correctly, that’s likely close to where Stargate was filmed at Bridge Studios. Sounds perfect for Joe. We’ll get you flying yet, Joe…one way or another.

  11. Forget Felix’s boots . . . is he wearing a bra?

    My grandmother has only just moved out of independent living at 95. It was her decision. She realised she wasn’t coping anymore. She seems to be really enjoying her new home and is a lot more active than she used to be.

    But I don’t think I’d like to linger that long. Unless someone invents rejuvenation and I can have the body and mind of a 20 year old again I hope I pop my clogs before I get too old.

  12. Joe and Akemi, your wishes are my command.
    It is my honor to serve, and my pleasure…too. But, not too sure about the bathing part. Do I get to play with the puppies too? Wooo hooo.

  13. @gforce, which end of PEI are you in? The less than 10 cm end or the 20 cm end? Wishing you luck!


  14. The U.S. is frozen in, flights cancelled. Any effect on Canadian travel? As for nursing homes, there are nursing homes, and then there is assisted living. There is a BIG difference, in price as well as quality. The better places are not a bad place, especially with reasonably healthy elderly without relatives. The low end…. well, it might be better than being homeless, but only maybe.
    Hope you’ve had a good vacation, and have a safe trip home.

  15. Happy New Year to you Akemi and your family. The food looks amazing and the cupcakes…that’s a food group isn’t it?

  16. I’m glad you got your cookie dough cupcake. It looks simply scrumptious. 😀

    Sure we’ll take care of you. We will bring our cats and all our stuff and just move right in. 😀

  17. Welcome home! Thanks Mrs. Mallozzi for a lovely time.

    Even that glass of orange juice makes me drool – it looks sooo good. So you got your cookie dough cupcake after all. Awwwwe. That was literally very sweet of Sylvia. Maybe Deni’s grandson can take care of all of us in about 30 years. Deni did I miss a 1 year photo of Michael?

  18. Just checked out that Jazzycakes link and I agree those cakes look great, the New Years ones, and the Pink Lemonade ones look creative.

  19. Hey! My mom will be 80 in March! She moved from Kentucky to California last summer and moved in with me. You can join the club but you’ll have to negotiate kitchen time. You’re not allergic to cats, are you?

  20. Fresh squeezed by commercial companions brings much doubt about freshness, however is of course total bullwhip by the companies hawking it. By the way, I might be open to having some cute pooches to veset

  21. I don’t have kids and I can already tell I can’t maintain this house alone. All steps in and out and steep basement steps. Like my father, I won;t want assisted living because I have too many cats. He had live in help, although that wasn’t ideal, it was what he wanted.

  22. @sylvia:



    I think Boundary Bay Airport is south of Vancouver (south of Delta) while Bridge Studios is due east. It should be about 40 minutes travel or so if I have the distances right.

    I’d take Joe up for an introductory flight, but logistics (FAA vs CAA Pilot’s License) and local FBO rental checkout/transition training would make it easier to just send him up with a Flight Instructor from the flight school. Most flight schools offer intro flights for a very low price (my local flight school offers them for $49).

    Joe, if you like on my next visit to Vancouver I’ll go with you to the flight school and interpret all the pilot-ese if needed. Just let me know if you have an interest.

    And welcome home!


    I commend you on your diligence in researching the options for your step mom. It is a difficult decision made all the harder by stigmas and guilt.

    As you also point out, a lot of the decision rests with the parent and sometimes they’re not inclined towards living with relatives. My mother, who passed away a few years ago, had no interest in living with us. She very much valued her independence and while wanting to live near by me, she only wanted to live in her own apartment.

    The problem in the end was dementia, and by the time it was fully diagnosed, it had developed into dementia with psychosis and she was no longer able to live by herself without medical assistance; the dementia affected her breathing and chewing and she was suffering from aspiration issues that needed to be monitored by nursing staff.

    The psychosis element became the real issue though, since it caused regular breaks (fear attacks, breaks with reality, violent responses due to fear), and we found no way we could guarantee that my mom would be monitored 100% of the time at our home. Imagine waking up in the morning to find your mom had left sometime in the night due to a panic attack and break (where she didn’t know where she was). The anti-dementia drugs (which really only calmed some of the symptoms but did not eliminate them) also required constant monitoring, If my wife or I were trained in nursing, we might have been able to handle the situation, but we really had no skills to deal with this.

    After exploring the issues and options, we felt the only option open to us was a nursing home with a full-time doctor and nursing staff. Not an easy decision to make, though.

    My mom eventually passed away due to respiratory arrest associated with the dementia induced aspiration problem. Essentially, her brain and nervous system could no longer control her airways and her breathing.

    And Joe, sorry to get semi-morbid on you. Everyone’s situation is different, and it looks like your mom is sharp as a tack, so I wouldn’t apply my experiences to your (or anyone else’s) situation. We should take each day with our family and friends that we have and enjoy it as much as we can.

  23. @elminster: I’m actually in New Brunswick, I was just visiting friends in PEI last weekend. We’ve had so much snow recently, I’m not sure to which storm you’re referring! The one yesterday was only about 10cm here, but it was very windy so it blew around a lot. Also, the wind chill was about -30C. Blech.

  24. Hold on a minute Joey! I’m several months older than you. I expect you to take me in!

  25. Thought Akemi & you might enjoy this. My daughter, Bethany, is 15 years old. She’s been drawing for quite awhile now and this is what she does in her spare time. She loves anime and is hoping to become a voice over actress. This spring semester, she’ll be starting to study Japanese.

    It is going to be a very cold weekend and beginning of week here in NW Indiana. Monday is supposed to be -5 with a wind chill of -30. We have gotten lots of snow. We have been very watchful with letting our 2 dogs outside. Mushu is a shih tzu/yorkie mix and Holly is a rescue greyhound. I’m going to be working on getting my resume out the next few days. I just received my degree in Elementary Education last month and my license just went through. That was 6.5 years in the making. My oldest daughter, Marianne, will be done with her degree in 3 semesters. My son, Christian, just turned 18 last month.

    Glad to see that you had a good holiday. I know you’ve been looking for work and I hope that one of your projects comes through for you this year!!!

    from Indiana

  26. @gforce, sorry, thought you lived on the island. Ya, the cold sucks big time. Here in Southern Ontario we were -29c (-38c with the wind chill). And with the storms coming through in rapid succession it’s sometimes hard to know when one ends and the next one begins. We’ve got another one on Sunday night / Monday morning.

  27. Season 2 of Mushi shi just got announced and will be airing in April Joe. A 45 minute special episode aired recently and lo and behold.

  28. @JeffW: Sorry to hear about those trials, it’s not a fun boat to be in, that’s for sure. It was actually my Dad that I did all the research and preparation for. However, those arrangements (including getting my step-mom into the special care home to boost his priority in getting into the same facility’s nursing home, actually helped out a lot now, because otherwise her wait to get a placement would be MUCH longer. It’s really just a matter of waiting it out, now.

    Like you say, we need to live one day at a time, and appreciate it!

  29. @ Deni – Michael is so cute! He has a great smile. Please post pictures of his birthday party. Hope he felt better for it and could enjoy.

    @ Jen D. – Your daughter Bethany is fantastic! And only 15 years old? Send that girl to Art School. I hope she is in art classes at High School. She is really, really good!

  30. I’m sort of in the same boat, Joe. With no children who can care for us, we will just have to be okay (or find nieces/nephews willing to take the job). But since I have to stay alive and functional for as long as possible for Patrick, I have to take the NDCQ (never die, can’t quit) pledge like my fellow parents with kids with autism.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.