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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Yesterday afternoon, we began the process of moving all the plants and decorative items out of the sunroom.  Monday our contractor will begin demolition of the existing structure with the exception of the roof gable.  It will be reconstructed from the ground up, made slightly larger to square the foundation to the house and redesigned to have a knee wall under the windows.  Once completed, it will be a true 4-season room.

I have beautiful faux wicker furniture that has been in storage for 10 years that will return to this room.  The furniture was an early graduation present from Stan when I earned my MPA in 2006.  We needed a place to winter over our plants and got a little carried away.  We were saving annuals that could be replaced every year just because we could once we put the furniture in storage.  We have decided that we are retired and can put new plants in the baskets.

There are two large plants that will need a 2-wheeler to get them moved to a shady spot in the front yard.  We have about two more hours' work to finish.

Stan is going to Dallas with a neighbor this morning so she can have a pic line put in prior to some pretty major surgery.  She is very young (30s) and this is going to be pretty serious stuff.  He is very familiar with pic lines since he's had three separate instances for various infections.  She has bad veins and this may be more of an IV catheter.  His lines were run from the right arm to very near the heart for antibiotics. 

Stan is a really good guy.  He does so much for other people.  He took a relative to Baylor Dallas three times a week for check-ups after transplant surgery.  He never got a single thank-you for doing it.  He's taken another neighbor for doctor visits when she wasn't strong enough to drive.  He believes in helping others.

All that said, I guess I'm pretty lucky to have found him!

Posted by stormi36 at 8:56 AM CDT
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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Life is good.  Stan is doing well and I've recovered from the 100+ days.

I have been having so much fun with my Cricut learning how to use dies and embossing folders.  I still need a few embossing folders but am pretty well set with dies unless something new catches my eye.  I stocked up on papers when Hobby Lobby had them 50% off a few weeks ago.  I did a tussie mussie and gift tag for a birthday present and Stan even commented on how nice it looked.  I even cut balloons out of one of the craft papers I had used and put them on the card envelopes.  I learned how to do rosettes and put one on the front of the tussie mussie.  My $15 craft table is perfect for doing paper crafts.

Stan has been doing a lot of work in the yard, within his doctor's and Jan's imposed limitations, that is.  He is allowed to lift 20 lbs. now.  He seems to be feeling a lot better.  There is a new asthma medication that I want him to check into.  With the heart issues being addressed, maybe it's time to work on the lungs.  He is holding at 165, so all is good.

We haven't seen mama cat and the two surviving kittens for a week or so.  I think she has taken them out into the world to teach them to fend for themselves.  There are several people who keep cat food out, so they should do well.

We have some excursions planned, but I won't post anything until afterwards.  It's not a good idea to announce to the world when and where you are if away from home.  We do let neighbors know and they watch our house.  This is a pretty friendly neighborhood.  We really enjoy where we are.

I think it's important for one to enjoy their place in the world.  If you live a good life and don't reach out to others with hate (you know who you are), God will take care of the rest.  Your heart makes you a good person, not how often you attend church.  


Posted by stormi36 at 9:40 AM CDT
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Thursday, 2 August 2018

The last couple of weeks have been "interesting."  We had a power outage this week from 2:00 pm until a little after midnight.  We made some new friends (ONCOR) and visited with quite a few neighbors since almost everyone was out at one time or another due to the heat.  We didn't open the freezer or fridge, so everything fared quite well.

Stan was released to do almost anything except lift over 20 lbs.  He seems to be feeling a lot better than he had been.  He's working in the yard a lot more and enjoying life a little more.

The cooler weather the past few days has finally perked me up some and helped motivate me to make plans and get things done around the house.  I have begun making Christmas gift tags and have some layouts planned for Halloween Tussie Mussies.  I've charted out a fall cross stitch and have started on a cute one that will be a Christmas present.

We've had a really tall evening primrose that came in the wildflower seeds we planted.  It is approaching six feet.  I went on line to see what they attract and found that butterflies and hummingbirds seem to like them.  I didn't know if I should collect seeds or buy new ones next year.  The first site I visited sold seeds for $24.95/lb.  I think I'll collect seeds!  Our perennials have survived the heat but not thrived.  I think they will welcome fall.  We had an irrigation system put in last fall and it has made a world of difference in the health of the trees and grass.  All the trenches from the installation have mostly seen the grass cover them.

We have been feeding the wild birds really good stuff over all summer.  I have white-wing dove that are the size of pigeons.  There are some sparrows that are approaching the size of mockingbirds.  We have a grown downy woodpecker and two immature ones.  We also have two hairy woodpeckers and an immature one that doesn't quite have a full red spot on the back of his head.  The male cardinal is still feeding two babies that can fly and follow him around.  We have a female squirrel that will almost take peanuts from our hand.  The mama cat that brought her babies to our yard after they were born next door may have moved on now.  We haven't seen her or the two kittens for a couple of days.  We don't feed the stray cats because of the birds, but several neighbors do.  Strays do come by to drink out of the water feature in the front yard.  We really enjoy watching the birds and spotting species we never noticed in our landscape before.

Ah, now off to expend some of my extra energy doing laundry and ironing!

Posted by stormi36 at 8:32 AM CDT
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Sunday, 22 July 2018
One Day at a Time

Stan is beginning to feel a little better.  He has been so sore from the surgery that he hasn't been able to sleep well.  It has been eleven days now, and he feels like he is turning the corner.  Last night I asked him if he feels like his health has improved and he noted that he has not been short of breath since the surgery.  We have been out some and he seems to handle the heat pretty well.  Stan mostly needs lots of rest so he can heal properly.  His next doctor visit is Wednesday and we will see how he is doing.  The will probably do an EKG and I hope it shows improved function.

I have had time to start on a few Christmas projects.  I'm learning how to make gift tags with my Cuddlebug, dies, embossing folders and stamps.  It's fun but not too easy to do some things with arthritic hands.  I am able to do embroidery and cross stitch pretty easily and really love to do cross stitch.  I have tons of stuff I would like to do.  The heat has helped to keep me inside from noon on, so I have felt more like working in my craft room.

And now, just waiting for fall!

Posted by stormi36 at 5:52 AM CDT
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Monday, 16 July 2018
Busy Week Ahead

We have a busy week ahead.  Today, I have jury duty in Watauga.  Tomorrow, I have my bi-annual visit with the dermatologist.  Stan will be home supervising the power washing of all the stained surfaces on the house Tuesday.  Thursday, Platinum Painting will be redoing the stain on the cedar.

Stan is doing quite well.  He is feeling pretty good except for a little soreness.  My annual with my Oncologist Friday went well also.

We are feeling really blessed that most things are going really well.

Posted by stormi36 at 7:56 AM CDT
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Friday, 13 July 2018
Home from the Hospital

Stan didn't tell me until night that he had been pretty worried about the procedure because it was his heart.  He is much more relaxed now, but pretty sore.  He has been sitting outside most of the day just enjoying life.  The doctor said the procedure went really well and the monitor tech said it is working properly.  He showed us how to set up the monitor that sends data to his doctor.  (Basically, you just plug it in.)  He will have his arm in a sling for a week.  He can take the bandage off and shower on Tuesday.  I'm going to try to keep his arm in the sling until he sees the doctor on the 24th.

I have my annual appointment with my Oncologist today, so Walter is coming over to try to keep Stan out of trouble.  I made them chicken and dumplings with an extra serving for Walter to take home.  I also made sweet potato casserole - one for today and two for Walter to take home.  Stan won't eat sweet potato anything and I used real brown sugar, so I can't have any.

Everyone says he will have more energy and feel better because of the pacemaker aspect.  It will stimulate the lower chambers to pump at the same time.  

Posted by stormi36 at 11:11 AM CDT
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Tuesday, 10 July 2018
Surgery Tomorrow

Stan was supposed to have had surgery today to implant a defibrillator but they called late yesterday afternoon and moved his surgery to Wednesday.  We had already done all the stuff that needed to be done considering he will not be able to do any lifting, yard work or carrying things in like water or bird seed.  He won't be allowed to put his arms over his head for either a week or a month.  The two doctors had different instructions.

 I used today to get a whole list of pesky chores done.  I cleaned up a little in the office, got the laundry done and did all the hot glue projects that had accumulated.  I hate getting the hot glue gun out so I keep a list of all the things I need to use it for and do them all at once.  It worked really well.  I fixed a jingle-bell necklace, put beads on Kathy's Readers Digest Christmas tree, put moss hair on a soda pop bottle doll, upgraded a fall wreath, and made some fake cotton stalks.  I used oak twigs and cotton balls for the initial stage.  The cost was pretty minimal - free twigs, 20 cotton balls, and 1 glue stick.  To make the seed pod, I will use felt and craft glue.  I'm guessing I'll have 6 stalks for way under $1.

 Stan has been through so much the past five years, but I think we can finally see an end to most of the bad stuff.  The defibrillator will resolve issues caused by a left bundle branch block.  (I know - doesn't even sound like a real condition.)  The lower chambers of the heart are supposed to beat together but this condition causes them to not be synchronized.  The defibrillator will have leads that stimulate the muscles and resolve that.  The third lead will be the one that will activate should he go into an irregular heart beat.  It helps prevent sudden death from arrhythmia.   The first two leads should help improve blood flow through his heart.  Both cardiologists said he will notice a difference once that happens.

 The surgery only takes about an hour, which is a real blessing for me.  I will be worried until I see his smiling face after the procedure.  

Posted by stormi36 at 5:38 PM CDT
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Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A month and a half ago, I started my own physical therapy to try to recover from the surgery.  I started working on the flexor tendon using exercises I found on line.  In a week or so, the pain was dramatically reduced.  I was able to do a lot more and walk almost normally most of the day.  My foot still hurts quite a bit in the morning, but gets better after being up for a few minutes.

 Two weeks ago, I decided to try walking.  I did 1/2 mile for a week.  This week, I did 3/4 of a mile on Monday and a mile today.  It hurt a little the last lap, but I kept going.  I may never fully recover from having a metal rod implanted along the length of my foot, but I am determined to be the best I possibly can.

Posted by stormi36 at 8:36 AM CDT
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Monday, 25 June 2018

Last week, I started walking again.  It has been fifteen months since the foot surgery and it sill is pretty painful some mornings.  I haven't need crutches when I first get up for about three months.  Last week, I started walking again.  I did half a mile four times last week.  This week, I have decided to go to a real track at the middle school and do 3/4 of a mile.  Today was good.  I'm definitely not as fast as I was, but I made it.  My goal for this week is to do that every morning.  Stan goes with me to be there in case I have problems.

 This weekend, I finally found the perfect work table for my craft room at a charity resale shop.  It was the perfect size an height and was only $15.  If I get hot glue or paint on it, no worries.

 Stan has an appointment to see about an internal defibrillator today.  He sees the foot doctor later in the week.  I am having to monitor him pretty closely because he thinks he's well when he still has a ways to go.  He tries to do too much and is getting a small callous on his foot.  I put him back in his altered surgical shoe for a week or so to relieve the pressure.   I cut an insert from two layers of heavy-duty craft foam then cut out an ellipse out where he needs to relieve the pressure.  I also bandage the callous with triple antibiotic cream, a non-stick pad, a cushioning pad an wrap it with a gauze bandage.  A week or two of that should help the callous go away.

 I made baked cod last week for the first time in almost forever.  There was enough left over to make fish tacos for lunch the next day.  We use La Tortilla Factory low-carb tortillas so one taco doesn't blow our carb count for the day.  Last night, I tried a new recipe - crock pot applesauce chicken.  It was pretty good.  Our meal plan is pretty set for some meals.  We have salmon with avocado salsa on Monday and trout on Friday.  We have oatmeal four times a week.  Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday are chicken days.  Wednesday is fish or shellfish and Saturday is beef.  We do have low-fat all natural beef lunch meat every now and then in a sandwich for lunch or rolled up as a snack.  Most days, we have salad or low-fat ham on sugar-free wheat bread for lunch.  I've switched to Miracle Whip light and don't seem to notice much difference in taste.  I'm not trying to eliminate all the "bad" foods from our diet.  I'm trying to be really strict on serving size and variety. 

 Well, off to make today's Jell-o and fix a morning snack.

Posted by stormi36 at 9:26 AM CDT
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Saturday, 16 June 2018
All is Wonderful

I really don't have much to say - all is wonderful.  Stan is getting better every day.  He is so much better now than before the hospital stay.  We are upgrading a few things around the house - mostly upgrades required due to aging infrastructure. 

After several years where Stan couldn't really do much in the yard, he has learned to do a little at a time and really pace himself.  I contribute more than I used to, and that helps.  The yard is really looking nice again, but still has a way to go.  The grass is still recovering from the irrigation system installation.  They did a lot of trenching.

I have finally adjusted, for the most part, to the constant pain from the metal rod that was installed in my foot in March 2017.  I am much more able to walk and do things now.  I learned from watching two acquaintances become addicted to pain meds that I don't want to use them unless absolutely necessary.  With all pain meds, I have to choose between pain and extreme itching all over.  I have a slight allergy to all of them and even Benadryl doesn't help.

I love sitting in our office, watching the flowers bob in the wind and the birds at the various feeders.  

Posted by stormi36 at 2:12 PM CDT
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