Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I'll Remember Harvey

By Friday morning the rain started in earnest.  Little did I know it would be late Tuesday afternoon before the sun would peek out again and display blue sky.  We were told to just stay home.  So we did.  By Saturday the rain was off and on but we saw the devastation taking place down in the Gulf.  It wasn't raining too hard so we went to church and out to dinner with Terry and Carol.  We had to use umbrellas but it wasn't too bad.  Terry and I ordered Hurricanes, the drink of the day, mostly because they were $3.  They were too sweet so one was enough!  The restaurant was closing early by the time we left.

By Sunday we were tired of non-stop coverage but it was hard not to keep up on what was happening. We realized even if we wanted to go somewhere, we couldn't get more than a mile or two in any direction.  Stores were closed and they continued to tell us to stay home.  Ted went to check the RV and found it okay.  We had read some surrounding streets were under water so we didn't know if he could even get there.  

Monday things got a little more concerning.  They were going to begin releasing water from Lake Conroe and two reservoirs so the dams would not fail.  They talked of many more homes being  flooded.  We didn't know just where this released water would go.  

I gathered my insurance policies, some other papers, my dresses and shoes for the two weddings  plus two changes of clothes.  Kara's friend invited us to their house in Temple if we needed to evacuate.  Luckily for us, the water released north of us flowed to a river that took it west to Lake Houston which flooded complete subdivisions.  People went to bed and woke up to step into water!  The rescues on Monday continued all day with some absolutely nail biting situations.  By the end of the day I think there were 16 confirmed dead.  I really dread what they find when the water recedes. There are so many abandoned cars and houses with water to the eaves that can be harboring dreaded finds.  

Tuesday was pretty much more of the same.  Ted went to the grocery for me and Carol.  There was no bread, chips or peanut butter but he got what he could from our lists.  By dinner time the sun was shining a bit and eventually blue sky was visible.  

We have not had mail since Thursday, probably because the trucks could not get into or out of the city to deliver the mail to outlying post offices.  Eventually it will catch up with us.  

I cannot begin to tell you how proud we all are of the coordination of the rescues during the flood.  So many citizens both locally and from across the country worked shoulder to shoulder with first responders from many different agencies.  My favorite photos appeared under the heading "What happened in Charlotteesville is not America.  What happened in Houston is!"

Our new sod behind the deck was damaged by sod webworms.  They sprayed it right before our portion of the 11 trillion gallons of rain came down.  Right now I don't know what is going to do it in first - the sod webworms or rot from it sitting in water so long.  I guess we wait to see how it turns out. Maybe we will need new sod.  If that is our entire loss from the storm I will consider us very lucky.

Here is one more great photo showing Houston's spirit.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Boy Is It Hot!

Every time we go outside we are reminded of why we are usually not here in August, or for that matter, most of the summer.  It was 97 at 8 pm last night.

Wise woman that I am I stayed in all day but Ted went to the gun club where they were having an open house of sorts.  He is trying to sell three shotguns to help finance his newest purchase that should arrive on Monday.  I guess trap and skeet shotguns don't hack it for sporting clays!!  This is my brother Dan's fault.  He switched and now has four couples going to Nationals in San Antonio in October.  We have gone for Ted to shoot skeet but this will be a new contest for him.  This is the belt buckle he won several years ago along with his 100 Straight pin.

I am really looking forward to their visit here the week before and then our stay at a 3 cabin resort in New Braunfels.  It sleeps 12 in all so we have plenty of room for 8 - Compliments of a business associate of Dan's!  I hope my back allows me to show the ladies a good time.  There is so much to do in the hill country.

We went to church and then out to dinner with Terry and Carol.  We took them to the newest Mexican restaurant we found since our old favorite changed hands.  They were busy and we had to wait a bit for a table but once seated the service was really good.  Ted had fajitas, I had gorditas, Carol a burrito and Terry enchiladas.  We all were very pleased with the food.  I think they will go back.  

Sunday Ted went early to shoot and I just stayed in.  It is too hot to do anything outside.  He asked me if I wanted to go anywhere when he came home but I declined.  He didn't argue!

Monday Isabelle called to say she would come at 4:00.  I know that makes me third for the day and they are all tired.  So I cleaned the office, sitting room, dining room and 2 guest bedrooms.  It was good for me and will get them on their way sooner.  Then I went to pick up my two plants from Judy.  The bromilaid isn't looking too good but there is a pup started so that may be what we will have to work with. The anthurium looked fine but dry so I gave it 5 ice cubes which is what the directions say.  They are going to Gerre's on Friday for about six weeks.  She has the greenest thumb so I am anxious to see how they are in October.  

Ted left before lunch for the gun club because his new gun was to be delivered by the end of the day.  I reminded him of our TVs 9 end of day arrival that turned into 9 pm.  After I picked up the plants, I stopped at the bank and came home to wait for Isabell who arrived at 5:00.  They were in and out pretty quickly but Ted didn't arrive home until after they left and it was late before we had dinner.  He loves his new gun!

Tuesday was a really quiet day.  In fact, we didn't do anything.  We found we have sod web worms.  I thought it was just the tremendous heat and upped the watering but the fertilizer guy showed me blades of grass chewed up and down the sides.  Plus there were little moths flying out of the grass when he walked through it.  All my beautiful sod is thinning out and turning brown.  He put down some sod web worm killer so here's hoping it comes back.  Our growing season will continue for 2-3 more months so we can hope.

Thursday was blood work and Mahjongg.  I drove to the lab by myself and they took 11 vials of blood. I think that is how many tests are scheduled.  We will see the doctor next Wednesday.  This will help determine if there is something in my blood that has affected the clotting factor.  

Ted brought the two sets of card tables and chairs in for me from the garage for my Mahjongg group.   I stopped at the store for a few items before the ladies came.  You need so little in food and drinks for this group.  I was a tile away twice and that was as close as I got all day to a Mahjongg.

I did laundry on Thursday while Ted went to the store and gathered our hurricane supplies.  If we lose power we will try to leave and head north to a campground that has it.  This is what we did last time with Ike.  No A/C or C- Pap for Ted makes life miserable!

Check back again to see how we rode out the storm.  Biggest thing is flooding.  A normal rain causes Houston to flood.  This could be very devastating for the area.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Starting To Feel Close To Normal Again

First up I have to share a heartwarming gift I received.  Remember the photo of all the handprints from the reunion that I missed?

Well here is what my brother Dan's wife Sue did with it and gave to me.

What a blessing to receive it.  It is priceless!

Monday our project was to buy a new dishwasher.  Our first stop was at Sears Appliances.  When I said I wanted to buy a dishwasher the fellow asked me which one!  No mention of features, better versus best, etc.  We moved on to Home Depot.  A young lady was more helpful but didn't know as much as she needs to.  Next stop Lowe's.  We waited for several minutes in the middle of the aisle in front of the dishwasher display.  A man was talking to an associate at the cash register and a lady was sitting with a lady going over some plans.  Ted went to the restroom and finally, just as he was returning, the associate interrupted the man he was talking to and asked me if I needed help.  No, I just stand around stores for the fun of it.  When I said yes he started toward me and the man stopped him saying he wanted to buy that dishwasher so back he went.  The lady associate just disappeared without saying a word.  Finally a man came who obviously didn't work in appliances but he was helpful.  He had to keep going back to get answers to our questions.  It took 30 minutes to get the paperwork printed - and we were in the computer already.  The icing on the cake was at checkout where the lady rang up installation and said our bill was $134.  We said no we bought a dishwasher too and the man said it would pop up when she scanned the bar code.  She flipped through it and didn't seem to know what to do and then finally she hit something and there it was.  Talk about poorly trained employees!  I had my fill today.

We ended up going to Mass in the evening.  We had planned Tuesday morning but my dr appt was 1:00, not 11:00 so we switched.  We had some much needed rain but it didn't rain long.

We spent much of Tuesday morning communicating, but not with each other. I was giving my brother the run down on Nashville Shores, the pros and the cons and answered his questions.  Ted was negotiating the purchase of a new gun.  I think it is a shotgun for his renewed interest in Sporting Clays.  

We finally had to leave for the pain doctor.  He was upset to learn of my recent episode and said the ball is in the cardiologist's court.  We talked about the use of Tylenol and Tramadol to keep me moving. I know I am at less than half of the daily limit of Tylenol and I have only used Tramadol three times since I saw him last.  He suggested half of each to see if that would keep me going an entire day.  Thursday when I work at the Thrift Shop will be a good day to try that out.

We stopped for a late lunch at a Houston institution that just opened a place here close to home.  Goode Co. BBQ.  We have eaten there in Houston once a long time ago.  The food is good but rather expensive I think.  We will try it a couple more times.  It's not like there isn't another BBQ place on every corner that doesn't have a Mexican restaurant on it!

Wednesday was Mahjongg day and we joined the established group but I played with three other less seasoned players.  We play much slower than the others but we did get 6 games done in 3 hours versus the 10-12 games good players can accomplish.   I won TWO games, Deborah one, Jane one and two Wall games.  I think next week we meet here and after that we will all play together two Wednesday's a month.  Hope I can keep up!

Thursday morning I took a 650 mg Tylenol with my morning pills hoping it would allow me to be on my feet until at least noon.  Everyone at the thrift shop was so glad to see me but they wanted to treat me like an invalid.  I managed my two hours just fine.  When I came home I boiled eggs for a funeral on Friday.  When I peeled them and made the filling my back started hurting but I didn't have much else to do so I just put up with it until I finished and cleaned the kitchen.  Then I sat down.  I was glad I accomplished as much as I did with minimal medicine.

I was up early Friday.  I needed to fill the egg whites and put them in the plastic deviled egg dish that has a cover.  When I work at a funeral I save these when people buy deviled eggs at the store.  However, I always make mine.  The store ones just don't taste like anything to me.  Ted said he would take them along with two packs of water to church for me.

I was out the door at 7:45 for the 45 minute drive to the Forum sign up.  I had four months of slots to fill.  We need 4 more for December but that's it.  We are good through February and then only have April to fill and that will get done in January.

Photo from the second floor.

Gail tending our sheets while I went off to do my own sign ups.

The meeting following was long!  I learned we spent $42,000 on social programs, gave $10,000 to a community emergency help center and 45 $1,000 scholarships to area senior girls.  Our mission is to assist.  I think we are doing a great job!

However, 2+ hours on that hard chair did my back in.  I had to lie down when I got home.  Once it felt better, Ted and I went to the grocery but by checkout I needed to sit down while he finished up.  This arthritic disc is literally getting on my nerves!  The pain can go away as quickly as it comes.  I hope I can find the magic combination of PT exercises, medicine and some don'ts like carrying heavy things or squatting to pick something up.  I immediately can feel a squashing sensation in my lower back ... and then the pain begins in earnest.  Oh happy days!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Back To Busyness

My calendar was filling up the whole time we were gone.  I left knowing I had 4 Doctor appts when I returned plus various other recurring things starting up again.  Two big things coming up are the WOW Social where everyone signs up for the year's activities in our area and the Forum sign up for volunteer opportunities for the next 6 months.  

My bunco group is part of WOW so I will be at a table answering questions and taking names of interested parties.  Once my roster is filled I will complete what we call The Infamous Sheet that lists all members of the group with their info, the new list of subs with info, and the hostesses and dates for the entire year.  Everyone gets a copy including the newsletter editor.  This way she knows each month who is hostessing and can fill in our group's info with no further follow up.  This gets changed as people come and go from the group so I have a date and time stamp programmed on it so the ladies know if they have the most recent copy.  

Gail and I are in charge of Regent Care Nursing Home holiday parties this year for Forum so we will be at a table taking names for the first four dates.  I need to prepare all the computer and paper work for this activity.  This includes sign up sheets to begin with and then entering it all so people receive a notice they are signed up, get a reminder a week before and then divide up the things needed to be brought by the volunteers and relay that info to them.  When it is over a thank you note goes out.  The hours must be entered and forms for money reimbursememt readied for processing.  Whew!  And that's before we get the entertainment set up and decorations decided.

We arrived home Wednesday and my neighborhood ladies luncheon was Thursday.  It was good to see everyone but most of our conversation was around medical issues!  At least half of us are bothered with back pain.  Merry was really uncomfortable and doctor's names were being handed out.  I have an appt with the pain doctor Tuesday but it is my understanding I can't get an epidural shot while on Eliquis so I am not sure where we go from here.  I used an ice bag the entire trip sitting in the car so my pain was under control while traveling.  Tylenol and Lidoderm patches got me through the other times.

Friday night we were invited to Irene's for dinner and cards.  Five couples in all would be there.  We had her four bags of coffee so we took that to her.  After a dinner of chicken cordon bleu, scalloped potatoes and fresh corn, we played Shanghai.  I was in second place and on track to win money but for the lack of a 10 or Jack of Clubs in the last hand it didn't happen.  Easy come, easy go.  She served pineapple upside down cake for dessert with coffee.

Ted had a 4H gun shoot to work at the gun club Saturday and I did laundry and ironing.  We went to church, then to Walmart to pick up a prescription and then to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner.  I was ready for my couch because it was 8:30 by then.  We used to go out at that time!

Sunday was a lazy day.  Ted went to a memorial service for a fellow from the gun club that passed away.  It was in Willis, TX  and wearing dark slacks, a white golf shirt and Navy blazer he was the best dressed he said. Actually he said overdressed but I put a positive spin on it!  He said he was glad he didn't wear a suit!

I did some paperwork getting ready for my busy week ahead.  I need to get my plants back from Judy, go to church Monday or Tuesday evening, doctor on Tuesday, Mahjongg on Wednesday, a 2-hour trial run working at the thrift shop Thursday and Forum sign-ups and meeting on Friday.  Life is getting back to normal.  Certainly hope I am up to it!

Monday, August 7, 2017

And The Big Day Arrives

Kelly arranged the seating at the shower and every table had a hostess so I had Diana, Kelly's friend (and mine) from our old church, Anna from Marriage Encounter (Kelly and Pat are Detroit area leaders) and her two daughters Lea and Sister Marla, a nun, home from her assignment in Italy (she comes home once every two years) and Larry, my son-in-law, the photographer.

Lunch was soup, salad, choice of an Italian entrĂ©e, bread, drink and Casada cake (three layers with cannoli filling in between each one).  Yum!  I didn't eat the rest of the day.  And I didn't eat breakfast either.

Ally received lots of nice gifts and we played some games.  I got 100% on Who Knows Them Best but I couldn't win!  Since I was the actual hostess, I guess that was right but I had nothing to do with the questions!  

Ally is 23 but is so tiny it is hard to believe.  I will have more photos when Larry gets home and shares them.

Everyone had a good time and Bidkar's parents who had driven over from Kalamazoo went back to the apartment with them to see it.  We went home where I couldn't wait to get out of my dress.  I don't remember the last time I wore a knee length dress.

Kara cooked us eggs, goetta and toast for breakfast Sunday and then we all went to Mass, including Pat's mother, and I got to visit friends who still belong to that church.  I feel more at home in that church than any other.  When I left St. Ann's in Florida I felt that way but Florida remains a very transient area and the last time I went there I knew no one.

We left and headed to Indiana.  There was no reason to leave for Shipshewana too early because the Amish town is closed up tighter than a drum on Sunday.  After checking Into Der Ruhe Blatz (The Restful Place) we backtracked to Howe to their diner.  We eat there when we are at DRV having the RV repaired.  This time we just drove by to check out the new overnight sites they have put in.  

We had 3 things to accomplish - getting coffee for Irene at Das Essenhaus in Middlebury, ordering furniture for the RV at Lambright's (Amish made) and making an appointment for some things to be done on the RV when we return in October.  Ted ran over to Middlebury while I got ready, we picked out a new couch and a pair of theater seats with a center console at Lambright's and made an appointment  with Paul Cross in LaGrange for 10/4.  Happy Birthday to me!    

We headed south and stopped at the shoe outlet where I found one more pair of shoes then settled into the same hotel in Bowling Green where we stopped on the way up.  Ted ran over to the Russell store and came back with three more shirts and dinner.  The finale of the Bachelorette was going to come on and I wanted to stay in.

What a weird ending!  How can you cry your eyes out for someone who wants to just move forward slowly and then accept an engagement ring the next day from someone else?  If she planned to do that anyway, why all the tears?  Does that guy feel like second runner up or "winning" by default?  Between that scenario and the overbearing mother, I give these two a snowball's chance in Hades to be a couple next month.  Statistics are on my side!  

We left early on Tuesday because we needed to stop at Nashville Shores and check out the venue for our 2019 family reunion.  It is a different sort of venue but I think we can make it work.  There are cabins, RV spots, zip lines park, HUGE water park, boat rentals, marina, food, drinks, concerts, private tented areas for our dinner, etc.  We need to run the numbers and discuss the pros and cons before making a decision.  

We left this area east of Nashville at 11:00 and drove to south of Little Rock and stayed in the same motel we stayed on the way up.  One more day on the road and we would be home!  We were on our way at 7:15 with a few rest stops along the way, arriving home about 3:00.  Emptying the car is a lot easier than emptying the RV, cleaning it and putting it away.

We will be home until mid-September when we will head back to OH, MI and IN for two weddings and picking up our ordered furniture.  We were so relieved to know I was able to travel without incident.  Another Doppler is scheduled before we leave to check on the DVT and the effect the blood thinner is having on it.   We feel with needed stops for restrooms, gas and eating plus my pedaling machine that I can travel safely while pulling the RV.  We just need to plan ahead.  I have an app showing every truck stop and rest area so we will use that to insure I stop for a walk when necessary.