Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Getting Things Ready

I am usually so busy that when I clear my calendar I don't know what to do with myself!  The house is clean, the laundry and ironing done, bills paid and I have cooked dinner two nights in a row!  Ted has taken over much of the cooking so between him and eating out, I don't cook too often.

I have been doing the pre-op exercises as shown in my info book and hopefully that will help my recovery.  

Thursday I had my pre-op appointment which included urinalysis, blood work, EKG, BP, heart rate, weight and height.  There was lots of paperwork and many instructions.  The night before I have to shower with a special liquid soap, sleep on clean linens in clean PJs with no pets in the bed!  Then I have to repeat that the next morning.  And we have to be there at 7 am.  I will be attending PT class with all the others getting new joints while in the hospital.  Party Time!

Friday I had a Board of Directors meeting followed by a much needed haircut.  Then I made my way home through what seemed like two dozen school zones.  It took forever.  We had made arrangements to visit Tommy and Susan at the campground and have dinner.  The traffic was so awful that we all decided to stay close by to eat rather than fight the traffic. Saturday was Susan's birthday so we took her a cake and had dessert back at their motor home.

Terry had been on a golf trip in the Carolinas and the group broke early because of Joaquin.  Not much golf during a hurricane!  Ted had been scheduled to pick him up Sunday evening but was working at the gun club on Saturday so I went to get him.  He was so happy to see 72 and sun after his soggy week.  After church that afternoon we all went to one of the best steakhouses in our area to celebrate my birthday.  We had a wonderful dinner together and they gave me a very generous birthday gift.  We talked about 1961, the year when I started dating Ted and they were married.  We have all been together a long, long time.

Ted usually shoots on Sunday so Susan and Tommy invited me to lunch so I wouldn't be alone on my birthday.  When I told Ted he said he told the fellows he would not be shooting so we both went to lunch after Susan presented me with a pot of beautiful bronze mums.  We both have Landry cards and with Ted, my and Susan's birthday in one week's time, we both used our birthday reward.  Our bill was less than $5, theirs less than $10.  Another nice birthday gift!

Monday morning I answered a phone call from Kristin on Ted's phone.  She said my phone was going right into voicemail and had been since Sunday!  I inadvertantly turned on Do Not Disturb.  It was then I found out how many birthday calls I had missed.  This new phone is taking some getting used to.

I worked my last event on Tuesday until after I recover from surgery.  It was the Senior Bingo/Lunch at the Lutheran Church.  It was a nice affair and the ladies did a lot of running for me throughout the morning.  I do have a meeting to attend and then I will be out of the loop until November sometime.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Decision Made

I did literally nothing the rest of the week except kept another appointment with Dr. B.  I told him I stopped all the medicine but my cholesterol pill.  He said that explained the drop of 35 points in my BP.  It was obvious to us that I would not be able to control my hip situation with normal anti-inflammatories.  And Dr. C had warned me that you can ruin your kidneys, liver and stomach taking them long term.

I knew this fall was the best window of opportunity I had to get my hip replaced.  So the decision was made and 10/21 is the date.  I had done a good job of keeping my calendar cleared but Ted hadn't.  He has lots to do this month.  I told the doctor after 10/20 would work and he said that was perfect.  We need the time for insurance approval, pre-op testing and he had one spot left on 10/21.  I hope that is God's way of saying it is time to do this.

Afterwards we had lunch at Willie's and stopped at Kohl's to get Ted a new belt.  I wanted one of those pedi things I have seen advertised on TV to smooth the skin on your heels.  We found them both plus a pair of shoes for me before coming home.

I checked my calendar and only had one appointment to cancel, beg off hosting Shanghai at the end of October and switch taking food to a meeting from November to October.  This timing allows Ted to make 2-3 business calls and keep his commitments to Mike at the gun club too.  

I slept better than I had in a long time.  From 10 pm to 7:30 am.  Unheard of for me!  I think the weight of the decision allowed my brain to rest.  It is hard to sleep when your brain never shuts up!

Saturday we were invited to meet our camping friends in Seabrook for dinner at one of their favorite spots.  It meant not going to church Saturday night so we went Sunday morning.  It took us a good while to get there but it was a great time with the four of them and really good food.  Susan brought a birthday cake for Ted's birthday and we had a fun time.  We planned to go to the Boardwalk but we learned it was Beerfest so it would be very crowded and a long walk from any parking.  Since I never know how long I can go before the hip gets the better of me, we decided to pass and came back home.

We went to church at 9 am and Ted left afterwards to visit his friend Randy who had open heart surgery before continuing on to the gun club.  I straightened up then went to Walgreen's to pick up two prints I had made.  I was talking to Eileen on my phone when I picked them up and did not check the envelope.  Sure enough, when I got home, I had an 8 x 10 of a bride and groom I don't know and none of my family!  I called, they reprinted my order and I made a second trip.  

We were invited to Terry and Carol's for dinner to celebrate Ted's 71st birthday that was today.  We had a good visit but came home by 9:00 because Terry has a 5:30 am flight to Myrtle Beach to golf.  Their brother Kevin will be meeting him there along with other Cincinnati looks.  I hope they have good weather.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I took the new BP pills W-Th-F.  By then I was retaining water, a side effect I had been warned about, couldn't sleep and felt like my body was buzzing.  My pressure was way up Saturday morning too!

I had enough!  My BP was perfect in May when I was at the doctor before all this pill crap started.  So I decided except for my cholesterol pill that I have taken for 10 years, I was not taking any medicine.  Maybe not the wisest choice but I know how I feel and it wasn't good.

By Saturday evening when we went to dinner with Terry and Carol after church, I was feeling much better.  Sunday morning, after lots of bathroom breaks through the night, I felt like my old self again.  My plan is to monitor my blood pressure a few times a day, deal with any hip pain with rest, exercise, heat, cold, Tylenol.  If that doesn't work then maybe it is just time to get it replaced.

Ted had his end of season luncheon for his shooting group.  He made BBQ and added a pound of chopped brisket to it.  I made beans for him and he bought potato salad.  Not too much trouble.  While he was gone I started getting things ready for my Bunco group due here on Monday morning.  I used some of the blueberries we picked in Michigan to make muffins.  I also went to the store for tea, lemonade, fruit, quiche makings, etc.  The hard part is having the house in order, Bunco tables up, food ready and yourself dressed by 10 a.m,

At 6:00 Sunday evening we went to the visitation for a friend who succumbed to brain cancer after a two year battle.  She was only 64.  Then I learned another friend's 40 year old daughter died from cancer too.  This is all so sad and it is hard to stay upbeat.  My prayers are with both families.

When we returned from the visitation we were invited next door for the evening.  The couple have three homes and a house sitter for this house.  All three of them happened to be in town at once and wanted to talk to us about visiting Michigan.  We had a very enjoyable visit and appreciate getting to know them better.  All of us are gone so much I thought maybe our house sitters know each other better than we know each other.  But apparently not!

I met my 10:00 deadline Monday morning with Ted's last minute help making our bed, emptying garbage, etc. and then made himself scarce.  I have no idea where he went!  It was the start of our 15th year of Bunco, there were three subs and we had a great time!  Needless to say, I was pooped and took a nap in the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Medical Week

There are 5 days in a work week and I have 4 days with medical appointments!

Monday was the dentist.  They had called me in June when I was due but she phoned while I was working at the Thrift Shop.  By the time I got back to her it was too late to schedule before we left town again.  On our return I called and got this appointment.  Everything was OK so I am good for six months.  By then I will be in Progreso and will see Dr. Flores for $25 versus Dr. S for $205!
Next up was PT at 9 am on Tuesday instead of the 7 am I had been doing.  She put me through my paces and then we talked about where I am on this.  We agreed the consensus was forming that this is a hip issue, not my back, and I will not come again until the two doctors agree it is warranted.  If I need a new hip, no amount of PT will fix it.  It has been a whole lot better but I don't want to push the inevitable down the road as I quietly get older in the meantime.

Today was my GP appointment.  My problem is a vicious circle.  The anti-inflammatory pills for my hip cause my BP to raise and the BP pill I was prescribed in the Kentucky ER makes me cough like I have whooping cough.  I had stopped taking them and watched my BP to be sure it stayed down.  But as the prednisone wore off it became necessary to take the anti-inflammatory again and my BP shot up.  After only three pills I was hacking so bad I could not even sleep.

I had to bring Dr. C up to date on my summer and the pills I have been given.  I explained my problem and asked him to prescribe a BP bill that would not produce the Ace Inhibitor Cough.  He agreed all these pills are not good for you long term and if I need a hip no pill is going to fix it.  He prescribed a different type so I am keeping my fingers crossed.  My hip doctor appt. is the big one on Friday.

Thursday was our only day to have fun!  So we met our friends Jay and Stella for lunch.  They came home from Colorado for medical reasons and we were so pleased they called to ask us to get together.  We had a good visit and hope to see them with Tommy and Susan in a week or two.  

When we left them we stopped at Verizon to join the 21st century.  Until today we both used flip phones!  We had been looking at the various Smartphones and finally decided on the I Phone 6.  He said it would be so much easier for us to learn to use because we are used to the I Pad.  We'll see about that!  Our contacts are in there and I was able to receive and send emails.  So far, so good.

Friday's doctor's appt. was not as definitive as I had hoped.  He said there was arthritis in the joint but he has seen folks way worse who were willing to deal with it instead of having surgery.  I explained the medicine I have needed to take makes my blood pressure go through the roof so my choice is no pain meds and reasonable BP or manageable pain and worry about what the high BP will do to me.  And we still don't know how the new BP will work and if the cough will go away.  Then there is the matter of the back doctor and the PT.  He said it is entirely up to me what to do so I will be mulling this all over the weekend.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Hitting the Ground Running

We arrived home Wednesday about 2 pm.  After unloading the car I left for the nail salon before I put somebody's eye out!  I was in desperate need of a mani/pedi and had already broken a nail.  This was a desperate situation much like my hair was when we arrived home in August.

On Thursday I attended our ladies neighborhood luncheon and got caught up on all the local news.  Ted used his time to mail two packages, some letters and make a bank deposit.  When I got home he took my car to be inspected so I can get my plate renewed.  All these things pile up when you are gone.  

Friday I made a fruit salad for a funeral at church and after taking it there did all the laundry and then had dinner with John and Irene before attending a play at the theater.  It was after 11 when we got home.

Saturday Ted worked a fund raiser at the gun club.  I am glad he has this outside interest that he enjoys.  Everyone needs something to occupy their free time so you don't get bored or boring!  After church we went to play cards at Linda and Ray's.  Ted won at his table but I was knocked out of second place when I was caught on Hand 5.  We didn't plan on such a busy weekend on our return, it just happened.

Sunday I spent most of the time that Ted was gone shooting, working on a photo book of our cruise.  Because some of the photos were .png files, Shutterfly could not process them.  So I moved on to Mixbook which could.  It takes awhile to download what I had, grab some from FB and email then get them to Mixbook to use.  I have over 23 pages done but am waiting on Kristin's photos.  I have several pages of the other two families and need some of her and Larry.

Here are some random photos of us and the grandkids.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Arriving Home

We drove to Gulfport MS on Tuesday night and arrived home about 2 pm on Wednesday.  Ă›neventful drive except for a few 5 minute thunderstorms.

Here are a few photographer photos from the ship.  Kelly hasn't sent me hers yet.  Mine only include those Ted and I are in.

The James/Kneale family.

With my favorite redhead.

Not my best side (I don't have one!) but the Aquaduck was fun.  

Kara already posted this so you may as well see it too!

Our Formal Night

Getting on the ship in our Minnie and Mickey shirts that said 50 Golden Years

Pirates' Night

Had a great time and was worth every penny spent plus all the time and planning to make it happen.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Helping at Kristin's

Kristin wanted us to stay for a few days so I could help her with some decorating ideas.

She bought this desk on Craig's list and finished it herself.  We shopped a bit and came up with the following in Larry's office, not to be confused with his man cave that looks like a library and photo studio collided.  That will be another story someday.

The displayed cameras were Larry's grandfather's who was Head Photographer for the Orlando Sentinel for a lot of years.  The ribbon to the side is an award Larry won for his photo of two orangutangs at the Tampa Zoo.

These three photos Larry took while on their Hawaiian honeymoon trip.  He loves to surf but hasn't in awhile due to a sensitive back he doesn't want to aggravate.  The water action captured in the shots is outstanding.

Next up are the planter shelves in one of the guest rooms!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Somewhere along the line our time with Dad and Edna plus our days before the cruise including Universal Studios got deleted.  We had a great visit with Dad, Edna and Laurie, my sister.  After we went to dinner Laurie had us back to her house for dessert.  She and Spence have moved closer to her work and to Dad's house.  It was great to see them all but we missed Spence who was in Ohio helping get his mother settled back into her home after rehab.  He laid wood floors so she can use her walker safely.

Here is a picture of Dad, Laurie and her mother, Betty, that she shared recently.  I am 7 years older than her.

We left for Kristin's on Monday and I spent Tuesday doing laundry, cooking dinner for us plus a meal for Wednesday when the Dudas arrived and Ted picked them up at the airport.  They stayed at Kristin's for the night while Ted and I moved to the Doubletree Universal.  Thursday everyone else went to the Royal Pacific on site at Universal so they could enter the park an hour early and have front of the line passes for the day.  We spent a second night at the Doubletree and took their shuttle to the park in the morning.

Sam and Morgan have wands that can be used around the park to magically make things happen.  There are brass plates on the ground that shows the "spell" to make it happen.  We made it rain, turned lights on, destroyed and fixed things, etc.  Even I had fun with that.

Morgan wanted a cape from Hogswart but I can't remember what she is.  Giffendorf comes to mind but I know there is a Slitherin also!  I am not a big Harry Potter fan so am not "up" on all this terminology.  Butter beer is another HP thing so Morgan is complete here with her robe, wand and beer!

After 8.5 hours, Ted, Larry and I decided to leave because the weather was threatening.  As soon as we got in the car it let loose and rained as only it can in Florida.  With Friday night traffic and the rain, it took an hour to get back to Kristin's.  The others all stayed at the park until it closed at 8 pm.   We all were spending the night at Kristin's so we were together on Saturday morning.  Kara and family arrived Thursday and spent two nights at the Royal Pacific and met up with us at the ship on Saturday.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Day Six and Seven

We had a day at sea as we headed north for our final stop at Castaway Cay, the Disney private island.

We spent a lot of time in the pools, took more rides on the Aquaduck and paid a visit to the Rainforest Spa.  I banged my thigh as I got into the hot tub and was soon sporting a huge bruise!  

Dinner was in the Animator's Palette again.  This time we were asked to draw a person on a special piece of paper, staying within the blue lines.  After dinner an animated cartoon which had been computer generated using our drawings, was shown. There were four figures across, changing every few seconds, who danced, skated, ran, etc. across the screen to music.  It was so cute and fun looking for everyone's drawings.  I wish they had run it a second time!

After dinner we saw a production called Believe which incorporated many characters and music from different Disney movies.  The quality of these productions was astounding.

Our last cruise day found us docked at Castaway Cay, a large private island with several beaches, restaurants, music venues, etc.  There were hundreds of chairs, lounges, umbrellas, etc. for our use.  You could rent wave runners, snorkeling equipment, rafts, tubes, bicycles, etc.  There was even a souvenir shop!  Trams took you to wherever you needed to go but we stayed at the first beach where we had enough lounge chairs and umbrellas for everyone.

Poor Sam tangled with a jellyfish right off the bat!  We took him to First Aid where they put vinegar on the sting.  Once he settled down the others took turns using the snorkeling gear to investigate the grassy areas where fish gathered, to investigate the "sunken ship" and Mickey and Minnie statues under the water.  It was a great end to a great trip.

Our last dinner was in the Enchanted Garden where our first dinner had been the Saturday before.  The last evening production was a synopsis of all we had seen during the week.  

There is much to do the night before disembarking.  Packing and getting your bags out by 10:30 is first up.  Ordering your photos and CDs is another.  Filling out your survey, customs card, etc. and keeping it all together with your ship card and passport so you can exit is another.  We had to get up by 6:15 so Ted and the Dudas could walk off with their bags first because they had a noon flight out of Orlando.  

I remained behind with Larry and Kristin and rode back with them.  Ted was in their driveway waiting for us to arrive.  He is now nursing a full blown cold.  It is good we are staying for the Labor Day weekend so he can get better before we start our drive home.  I may be driving a lot of it!

Day Five

Next stop was St. Thomas, a much nicer island than the day before.  The Dudas went on an excursion to a sea life park, the Carpenters took a cab to Megan's Bay Beach and the rest of us stayed behind to ride the Aquaduck some more!   With so many off the ship, it was a perfect day to get in some rides.  We have been to St. Thomas a few times before and there was nothing special we wanted to do there.

Eventually Ted and I went to the adult pool where we had struck up a friendship with two KY doctors from Elizabethtown.  The ship sailed at 4 pm and soon we were getting ready for dinner.  The food has been fantastic and the service spectacular.  The first night Morgan said "he knows my name and it is freaking me out."  Sam was impressed that on the second night they knew he wanted no ice in his Sprite!  Our waiter did an excellent job of managing Morgan's gluten free needs throughout the entire cruise.  He ordered her breakfast and lunch items each day no matter where we chose to eat.

That evening's entertainment was a hypnotist who put on a great show.  I am impressed with the blend of adult and children entertainment Disney puts together to please everyone. Ted bought the Magic Dave CD for the kids and I think their mother bought them the Buckets and Boards one.

Every evening and into the night there was music in the Atrium where Disney characters were scattered for photos.  I have never heard any better music performed on any cruise ship in any clubs or venues.  

I slept well while we were gone, managed my hip pain with anti-inflammatories and mild pain pills and got along pretty well.  I will see the hip doctor upon my return.  If he agrees I need a replacement I would rather do it sooner than later.  I don't like taking medicine, it isn't going to fix itself and I won't be any younger down the road.

Days Three and Four

Ted and I had breakfast at the buffet and were joined by Kara's family before we finished.   The kids wanted to see Magic Dave's next show so we took them there.  We enjoyed him as much as the kids did.

Bingo was being played in the same lounge afterwards so Ted and I stayed to play.  They have electronic cards so you can play 24 games at one time because the machine keeps track for you.  I got down to one number a few times but never won!

We went to see another show that was very funny.  Michael Holly was billed as Physical Comedy but he did lots of silly things with the young children and we laughed so hard.  We told our kids to go see him in the afternoon.  While they did that, I took a nap!

Dinner that evening was in Animator's Palette.  It is an interactive restaurant and Crush the Turtle, along with others from Finding Nemo, swam across the screens and talked with people closest to the screens.  The kids really liked that.  Morgan liked the animation drawing classes.  She did really well.

The evening programs are running together in my head.  That night was a play called Wishes which was very good.  Some in our group didn't know if they would like it but they did and were glad they took it in.

The next day was our first stop, St. Marteen.  We have been there before but Sam wanted to visit the Yoda Museum.  The gentleman who runs it was responsible for all the masks created for Star Wars.  Sam absolutely loved it.  It was necessary to take a water taxi to downtown but it was worth it to see Sam so excited.  I am no big fan of Star Wars so most of it didn't mean a lot to me but I went along for the ride!  Sam was so pleased with the amount of time the director spent with him.

It was extremely hot and there was not much else to look at besides jewelry so we returned to the ship.  Because of high winds the Aquaduck had been closed a lot so we returned to take advantage of the short lines to take a few rides.  It is a long enclosed tube that soars out over the ocean at one point.  There are photos on our CD the kids bought for us but I have to install it on my computer at home to access the photos.

Sam's next favorite thing was Buckets N Boards.  It is a Branson MO act similar to the Blue Man Group but with comedy.  The quality of entertainment was outstanding throughout the cruise.

We seldom stayed up much past the evening entertainment but the others did whatever they wanted to.  There were Disney movies constantly.  You could watch them on your TV, in the movie theater or on the huge screen out by the pool. We watched Hercules at the pool one day.  Disney Trivia games proved we don't know much about the last 30 years of Disney!

But that evening was Pirates Night.  Everyone dressed like a pirate at dinner and after the show there was a pirate bash on the 11th deck by the pools followed by fireworks.  I think it was the latest we stayed up.  

We tried to video the fireworks but had a setting wrong so we got nothing!

Day Two

We ate breakfast with Larry and Kristin in the Royal Court, toured the ship and checked out the Rainforest Spa and made a door hanger at crafts with Morgan.  Then we went to one of the two Adult Pools.  After lunch at the buffet, we went to see the Magic Dave show that the kids really enjoyed.  He was very entertaining.  You just never know how kids brought on stage will act.  

It was our one formal evening so we dressed up, had our portraits taken and took our bottle of champagne to the dining room.  It was a gift from the travel agent along with a $50 cabin credit and a day pass to the spa.  The kids had ordered a cake for us so we had a nice celebration.  

Our three daughters.

My three granddaughters.

The fellows and our only grandson.

Our table of 12 for dinner.

Head Waiter presenting our cake and waiter pouring our champagne.

The evening's entertainment was the Broadway show Aladdin and was a great production.  We turned in right afterwards.

Day One

It was a mad house of luggage on Saturday morning.  Kara and Bill had stayed at the Royal Pacific but the other 8 of us were at Kristin's creating three mountains of luggage, one for each family.  We left on time with Ted driving my Expedition and Larry driving his Subaru.  That gave us lots of room for all that luggage.

Upon arrival at Port Canaveral we gave the contents of both cars to the porters and the fellows left for our offsite, pre-paid parking.  Bill was right behind us in their rented car so the 9 of us waited for all three men to come back on the Shuttle.

We wore the shirts Kara's friend embroidered which elicited lots of comments and good wishes.  Our first group photo was as we boarded the ship in them. 

Another of her friends had sent along golden, 50 anniversary Mickey ears.  Ted agreed to wear them for the group photo only.  I hung them in our room.

Our accommodations are terrific.  We all have balconies and a split bath which is a toilet and sink in one, a shower, tub and sink in the other.  Ted has his sink, I have mine.  Kristin decorated our door.  This is a big thing on Disney cruises.

We had the mandatory muster drill and then went to dinner in the Enchanted Garden.  Disney has rotational dining.  We move each night to a different restaurant but our waiters move with us.  Their service has been wonderful.

The first night show was a Welcome Aboard variety show.  Disney characters are in most of the productions as well as having photo ops throughout the ship, throughout the day.  Most things are geared to children but there are plenty of places that are adults only.  Last place I would go would be the two kids' pools!  They seem to empty and clean them a lot.