Saturday, December 10, 2016

House Frau

Something happened to SM along the way this year.

He got old.

Or at least that appears to be the only reasonable explanation

This summer SM had his first bout with sciatica, which he recovered from only to develop a bilateral shoulder issue.  After several months of pain, SM's primary care Dr gave him a shot of cortisone in each shoulder and told him it was bursitis.


So another month or two goes by with SM still in pain and expecting things to resolve on their own like the sciatica did.  

I, being the good wife, suggested that maybe he needed to see a specialist, which got poo-pooed for another month or so until I sent my baby an email with a list of in-network Ortho Dr's and told him to pick one.

Subtle aren't I?

Anyhoo...SM does my bidding as he see's he has no choice in the matter.  The Ortho guys puts him on a ramped up anti-inflammatory and gives him exercises to do and says he'll see him around Christmas for a follow-up and decision making appointment.

IE: MRI imaging and potential surgical intervention.

SM's regular xrays show that his bones are in alignment and he has a "smidge" of arthritis in one of the joints.  

I'm pushing for the MRI to be done as it will show soft tissue damage, tears and nerve impingement.  

"You just want me to go under the knife."  SM accuses.

"You'll go under the knife with me or with the Doctor.  Pick one."  I fire back.

SM says he feels like he IS getting better but he's frustrated at how S L O W the pace seems to be. 

(Tell me about it! You think HE's frustrated?)

The Ortho Dr gave him Tramidal (for pain) and a muscle relaxer to help him get through all this and Dr Tami makes him go see a massage therapist several times a week.

Which helps.

SM has had to face a new reality.  He can't get comfortable regardless if he is in a chair or in bed, so restful sleep is a rare thing.  This makes him a bit cranky.  

I know ALL ABOUT cranky having gone through the sleepless nights and intense hotflashes of menopause.

"Just roll with it."  I advise.  "Don't get angry, just absorb it.  Sleep when you can regardless of the time of day."

"I'm becoming a House Frau."  SM complained to me the other day.  

He's been self employed for years now and does a lot of ladder work, electrical wiring, crawling through attics and crawl spaces (which no doubt created his condition.) And since he is in SO MUCH pain, he is on hiatus for now.

"I love that you're a House Frau."  I say to him giving him a hug.  "You are helping me out so much!"

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I mean sure...He's helped out before but (like most women) the bulk of the household work typically falls on me.

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Not anymore.

SM does the grocery shopping, cleans the bathrooms, vacuums, does the dishes.

He even decorated the Christmas tree.
Which is a first.
He's never done that before and I must say it's the prettiest tree we ever had.

I want him to get better of course...
But on the other hand...

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mary, Mary...

I've been a closet fan of The Great British Baking Show on BBCA for a while now.  

While Paul and the "Ready, Set, BAKE!" team are a delight, I tune in mostly for Mary Berry.

Love me some Mary!  

Just imagine having your "bake" criticized by the sweetest lady on earth.  And her British humor shines through in her critiques. 

I wouldn't want to disappoint Mary but if I did I would know that I could at least laugh about my failure. 

And now the US has lured Mary over to judge a new batch of amateur bakers on ABC's The Great American Baking Show.

Will TGABS be a hit?  

Time will tell.  

I watched the 2 hour premiere the other night and it felt a little flat.  
Was it the bakers?  
The challenges?  
I'm not sure.  

They copied the British version right down to the big white tent and rainy weather.  


Good GOD!  

The Brits are used to baking in the rain, but us poor Americans avoid it like the plague.  No wonder the "Show Stopper" cakes looked so bad. 

But there are some stellar bakers in the batch that pulled through to make America proud.  

I could never pull anything like this off.
But it just might inspire me to try!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Sound Of Silence

“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.” ― Norton JusterThe Phantom Tollbooth

Writing is something that both comes naturally to me and something I have to force myself to do.  

I'm a slow writer.  
I read what I've written.  
Get up, walk away and then come back again and re-write, edit, think some more.

My brain is sometimes my own worst enemy.

That and an unaccustomed laziness that has descended upon me these last few months.  

At work, I chug along at a pace that makes my coworkers shine as the mere mortals that they are.  

I've often thought that my employers got a bargain when they hired me.  Two for the price of one sort of thing.

But when I'm not on the clock, things are vastly different.

I have time off at home to do what I please.

And what pleases me now is not much of anything at all.

Which is weird.  
I'm usually a "project" sort of girl.  
Line things up, tackle them and move on to the next big thing.

Looking back on my blog silence these last few months, I can see how it can be seen as something negative.  Something must be wrong.

Not at all.
It keeps on going around us.  
And mine has too.

Sometimes life needs to rest like Winter.  

Sometimes life is in transition like Spring or Fall.

After five long years of not sleeping well (due to "The Menopause"), I have rediscovered the joy of sleeping again.  

And of dreaming.  

I'm not sleeping through the night like I did when I was younger.  I doubt that I ever will again but it is a joy to wake up at 1 or 2 am and roll back over and sleep some more.

I'm almost hungry for it.  

Which makes sense in a way.  
Menopause denied me a good nights rest for a very long time.
I was in transition with the mood swings, hot flashes and lack of sleep.

I feel that I'm settling into my new body, my new spirit.
It's not laziness.
It's peace.

It's a centering of my soul that allows me to observe the insanity of the world around me and smile.

There is a silence in me now that sings to me of softness, stillness.

And peace.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wedding Vows 2 .0

SM has had his first bout with sciatica this summer.  
Poor baby.

For the past two months, SM has been moaning and grouching and sighing over his pinched nerve, back pain, foot pain, knee pain, shoulder pain....

Did I forget something?

Oh yeah, butt pain.

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Some days are better and some days are worse but the general cure for such maladies is gentle stretching, gentle exercise and time.  Lots of time.

We went out shopping early this morning and SM had some difficulty getting in and out of the Camry.  He's used to his SUV and Minivan which have the higher seats.

Anyhow, we get back to the house, unload and SM announces he's going to do a lap around the neighborhood.

He sits at the kitchen table to put his shoes and socks on.  I look over and he's bent over trying to put his sock on his left foot (which is the sciatica leg). He can't reach it.  He sits up and see's me looking at him and holds out his sock to me.

"Well, this is an new one."  I say struggling to get the sock on his foot.  "Need me to wipe your butt yet?"  I asked laughing.

"No.  I would never expect you to do that."  SM said.

"Why not??  I asked.  "I meant it when I said that I'd love, honor and cherish you.  I'm in it for the long haul mister."  I say pointing my wifely finger at him.

"Well, I don't remember that being in our wedding vows."  SM pauses.  "You know, it's been thirty years.  Maybe we need to update our wedding vows.  The 2.0 version."

I start laughing and say..."I promise to love, honor and wipe your butt?  Is that it?"

"I ain't wiping your butt.  But I will stick you in the shower and hose you off."  SM replies with a grin.

"Thanks Sweetie...I knew I could count on you."

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Doomed I Tell Ya...

Well...What is there to say about Summer in the Carolina's that hasn't been said before.

It's hot.
It's humid.
We need rain.

The garden is chugging along thanks to the occasional random thunderstorm and (if rain is in short supply) my valiant efforts with the garden hose, which keeps things alive but doesn't do much for production.

At this point in the game we have had a bang up year in terms of summer squash and spring planted carrots.

The zinnias are doing their thing as usual...

But I got a late start on the beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe and cucumbers.  

The plants are looking good so far but what's that I see?  

Temperatures hovering between 95 and 100 for the foreseeable future.  Makes me want to move to Minnesota...(HA!  MP)

The most fun I've had this past month has been watching my grey lady, Sweet Ginny Girl, recover from her stroke.  

It's been 2 months and her appetite is back, she trots when we go out for a walk, and she doesn't pee her bed anymore.  What more could I ask?

Casey Pig is happy enough to be out this morning.  Little do they know that they will both be in the bathtub later.  Scrub a dub-dub.  Stinky Pig in the tub!

And I've been happy enough to sit out on our back porch and watch the birds eat our seed and hear the SNAP of the rat-trap I've set with peanut butter to kill all the field mice that have moved into our area.  

We have 4 homes that share a back ditch area and I've noticed a big ole pile of brush build-up.  Add to that the tasty yummies that grow in the garden and the birdseed...Well, we've seen the little bastards running through the garden and I've managed to kill over 20.  

Probably the biggest news for me is that (I hope) to be on the back end of a really nasty case of poison ivy.  It's been an itch fest around here the past 3 weeks.  I really didn't want to get on Prednisone.  Thought I'd suck it up instead.

I look like a kid with chicken-pox. 
So disgusting with the scabs and welts.
Oh well.  This too shall pass.

Didn't I say that about The Menopause?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Shady Side Of The Street

Today we have a bit of a rainy day forecast.  

It seems that there is a tropical depression forming off the coast of the Carolina's that is pushing a bit of light rain our way along with that moist humid air that makes the dogs pant and makes me run for the splendor of air conditioning.

SM remarked the other day how glorious it was to feel the heat of Summer.  I agree with him to a certain extent.  When the humidity is low and I poke my pasty white legs out into a sunny patch it does feel good.  But if I stick anything else out into the sun I get overheated too easily.

It seems that as I've gotten older, I've become allergic to direct sunlight. Even in the Winter, it heats me up too fast and makes me feel weird.

So I've come to appreciate days that are partly to mostly cloudy.  I can get a lot more outside work done on those days.  The Carolina's are blue sky country for sure.  In the Summer, I try to get all my outside work done before 10 am.  After that I head for the shade either under the porch roof or under the trees.

When we moved here it was nothing but hard concrete dirt.  Not a single tree or shrub.  We were told that this part of our subdivision was built on a farmers field.  Maybe he grazed cattle.  If he grew soybeans or corn then that might explain the depleted soil.

On a day like today when the rain emphasizes the "lushness" of my yard and garden, I've come to appreciate just how far we've come in the 18 years we have owned this property.  

Every bush, tree and flower has been bought and planted with intention.

We do have a cool line-up of naturally germinated Maples that we are allowing to grow.  It makes me happy to think that one day my backyard will be mostly shady.  I envision myself sitting out back with a book and an easy chair listening to the birds sing.

I'll still have plenty of sunny patches that will feel like an inferno within the month.

Still, it's kinda neat to think just how far we've come with this property.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Start Of Summer

One of the radio shows I listen to on the morning drive in said something about how "Memorial Weekend is the start of Summer because of our weather.  Other parts of the country are still in Spring mode, but in the Carolina's Summer is already here."

We've lived here 18 years now and I guess it's true.  
The garden definitely thinks so.  

Our peas needed to be pulled.  They did good this year but the field mice that moved in under the compost pile decided to take more that their fair share.  I've seen mice in the garden over the years and have taken a "live and let live" attitude in the past.  

But this year's pea annihilation got me mad enough to go buy a snap trap before everything else got cranking.  The thought of loosing squash and tomatoes to those little buggers was more than I could take.  Within hours I had my first mouse.  

In other news, Ginny continues to heal from her stroke.  It's been a slow process.  Just when she was getting better and could almost trot, she regressed.  SM came home to find her collapsed on the floor unable to get get back up.  We went back to complete bed rest for several days.  She's back up again, pacing the house as I write this but I don't think she's strong enough yet to attempt walking around outside.  When we take her out for bathroom breaks it's mostly standing around.  Poor Kid.  

Her best days may be behind her.

SM and I on the other hand are chugging along.  Annual physicals at the Dr's office are lined up and we are both aware that we need our butts smacked.  His appointment is next week, but I went in yesterday and got read the riot act over my weight gain and borderline cholesterol levels.  

"Are you making any effort to watch your diet?"  Dr Mc asked. 
"Nooooo....."  I replied breaking out into a sweat.  

Florescent lights, paper gowns...Ah, the humiliation of being a pasty white, middle aged, overweight menopausal woman.

I went home and promptly polished off half a carton of ice cream while I contemplated my sins. 

Eat, drink and be merry is my motto. 
Will I change my evil ways?
Pffft...Probably not.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Gosh And Golly Gee...

I find it hard to believe that it's been a month since my last posting.  

It's either been that nothing is happening...Or that it's been so busy that I haven't had time.

As usual, I think it's a bit of both.  
And I also think that I've been in a bit of a funk.  
Still am if I'm honest.

I think my "funk" began when we lost Scooter back in March.

Fortunately, he was fine one day and gone the next, so we didn't have a long drawn out illness.  For all that he was a pain in my tuckas, I miss the ornery little guy.

The garden was slow to start which was weird considering March and April were warm months.  I'm just now getting peas on the vine.

I wandered around the fruit trees yesterday.  Peaches were zapped by frost and while there are a few apples to be found, it's a disappointing year again in the apple department.

SM was remarking on the fact that the grapes have never really come through.  I told him I think it's a maturity thing and we have moved them which messes with their mojo.

I find that I'm moving more and more into flowers here in the garden.  I've got three flower patches going and I'm looking to plant a hydrangea patch in the shady part of the garden.

I'm not wasting time and effort on vegetables that don't produce well here.  This year I'm sticking with the tried and true...Lettuce, carrots, summer-winter squashes, beans and tomatoes.  

SM wanted me to order some strawberry plants but from a time management perspective (as in I've got none) I think it's easier to buy a gallon here and there from our local strawberry shack and fix them up that way.

I took my annual "staycation" here the last week of April and worked on repainting the house exterior.  It was a beautiful week and I got the front of the house and the sides completed.  

I also worked on creating a web page for SM's business.  I enjoy that sort of stuff and SM felt that it was past time that he "validated" his business online.  Funny how we used to go to the Yellow Pages to find the things we needed.  Now, it's all about a Google search.

So my week flew by pretty quickly.
And then Ginny collapsed on my last day of vacation.  

A few days at the ER Vet and the Neuro Vet (Yes, we saw a specialist) and he said it was something called an FCE - Which is basically a spinal stroke.  Quite common I guess.  She lost use 3 of her legs and bladder function but the Vet said that most dogs regain normal function given time.

He was right.  

The first 3 days were downright miserable (and sad) but then on the 4th day she stood up all on her own.  She needed to pee and was tired of doing it in her bed.  SM and I carried her outside and she squatted all on her own.  Did you hear us shouting?  Boy, was that a happy moment.

Since she is 55 lbs I knew I needed some kind of harness to help us to move her around.  The best I could find at the pet store was a life jacket for dogs in the water.  It's worked out well and I'm happy to say that at 1 week post-stroke Ginny is walking around the block and moving through the house normally.  Stairs are still an issue so we strap on the life jacket to help her up and down.  Her right front leg drags a bit but that may get better with time.

SM and I are SO grateful.  I think loosing Scooter and Ginny within a month of each other would have broken me.

SM and I reflect on how we are starting to "slow down" ourselves.  I turned 54 in April and SM will be 58 this Fall.  

We are having conversations more and more about how we hope our "retirement" will look.  This is our favorite time of the year so I think we both like to indulge in fantasies of "I don't need to work" and what we would do with our day.  Still way to early for us to quit work (need the $ and the insurance) but it is interesting having these conversations.

Sorry for the long post but I thought it was a good thing to play catch up since I feel like writing.

Who knows when that will happen again!  
Soon I hope ;)