Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Little Break

Sunday Kristin and I went shopping but I was dressed in a sweatshirt and she in a sweater and we eventually were too warm and also hungry so we came home before we finished.  She continued wrapping the gifts that need to stay here for Christmas.  We have a Christmas chair instead of a tree!  There are many behind the chair to conserve space.  By the time the other nine folks arrive for Christmas, you won't be able to get near it.

Ted had gone shooting and I made dinner using one of my frozen meatloafs and leftover mashed potatoes turned into potato pancakes along with a salad.   It was a good day of not doing much.  

Our sprinkler guy came Monday early and found a cracked one inch pipe in our system and fixed it.  Then we drove to Brenham to have lunch with old friends, Gus and Melissa, in Texas visiting their son in Austin.  After we left them we stopped by Blue Bell to see their Christmas schedule and availed ourselves of their $1 generous dishes of ice cream.  Rocky Road for me and Cherry Vanilla for Ted.  Here is their tree but it was too big for a full picture and still be able to see the ice cream container decorations.

Kristin had accomplished what she stayed behind to do and was packed and ready to go.  Both bedrooms had clean linens thanks to the girls and the floor vacuumed.  We drove Kristin to the airport and almost immediately she texted she was through security and heading to her gate.  Much later she texted she had landed.  It was a nice Thanksgiving with Kara, Bill and Kristin here.

Tuesday I putzed around getting things back where they belong, laundered our bed linens and did a bit of paperwork for my bunco group and Regent Care Nursing Home Christmas parties.  I can't believe how quickly November is passing!  Late afternoon I dressed for our Forum Christmas dinner - in November! - and was picked up by my friend Donna.  There were 110 in attendance and was an enjoyable event.  I wore black pantyhose under a black and silver dress, a first in a very long time for both items.

Wednesday I spent a good part of the day Messaging with Kristin.  We are trying to rent a 7 bedroom, 7 bathroom house in Kona, Hawaii for next Christmas.  It took a lot of looking and reading to zero in on the one that would work for us.  There are 5 couples plus 3 single girls and 1 boy.  Makes for a lot of detective work on sleeping arrangements.  We have a message in to the one we want and now we wait - again!  This sounds far out in time but half of the ones we considered were found to already be rented.  

But my waiting is over in setting up my GYN surgery.  Everybody is on board so I am scheduled at noon on 12/12.  It will be out patient with just a two day recovery.  Now as long as they don't find anything in what they remove, I can move on from that.  It will then turn to the question of removing the vena cava filter.  The Dopplar being done on the DVT in my left leg on 12/4 will hopefully give us the info we need.

Thursday we continued pursuing our Hawaii house but responses are slow in coming.  I found an awesome one at a bit higher price but we can make it work so again we are waiting.  My first thing to check is the cancellation policy.  Some want half the rent now with no refunds.  And we are talking thousands of dollars.  I am not going there!  I already lost two plane tickets to Vancouver this year because of my medical issue so I am watching this carefully.  

I did the ironing, just about six pieces, and made a turkey pot pie for dinner so it was Adios! to our Thanksgiving turkey.  We really made good use of the leftovers and the only thing left was gravy.  The Hallmark Christmas movies continue.

Friday was our community theater night and we saw the longest presentation of Little Women ever!  Everyone looked somewhat dazed at Intermission!  It was after 11 when we got home but we enjoyed our dinner with Gene, Jennifer, Gerre and Barry and the play, for the most part.

Saturday we did absolutely nothing all day except Kristin and I continued our Hawaii search and Ted watched sports.  We finally gave up on a house.  The few we found with acceptable sleeping arrangements were unavailable - already!  The one I really wanted, advertised as sleeping 14, didn't mention 2 of them had to be children under 5!  I wrote that our two youngest will be 14 and 16 and her answer was a simple NO!  Others had 10-14 day minimum rentals over Christmas.  

We eventually tuned our eye to a lovely townhouse complex. The availability in the townhouses is limited already.  There are lettered buildings and numbered units.  I can only get one unit in each of three buildings next to each other.  But they are beautiful with King, queen and twin beds in the 3 bedrooms, tile and granite in the 3 baths, granite counters and stainless steel in the kitchen as well as a washer and dryer.  Kristin, Larry and Maureen will be with us.  Kara and Kelly will have their families with them in the other two units! 5-5-4.  Woo!  That took some doing.

We went to church then out to eat with Terry and Carol.  Next week is a lot of doctor appointments!  Wish me luck.  It would be nice to wrap up this incident and move forward.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Kids Are Coming!

Saturday and Sunday were fairly quiet days.  The most we did was go to church, Ted shot and I washed all the things for Thanksgiving Day and set the table.  Of course that entails leaves, pads, cloths, napkins, etc. before you get to dishes and things.  

On Monday Ted bought his brining bag, a new slicing mandolin, and two Christmas gifts.  My old mandolin is at Kara's and the new Pampered Chef one is impossible for me to figure out. If it only slices one thickness, I got it.  If it does more, I don't know what it is.  Ted also brought home a rotisserie chicken so he made Stove Top while I steamed asparagus and set out applesauce.  Easy dinner!  

Tuesday I was going non-stop.  Up at 7, we left at 8 for the airport.  Kristin was arriving shortly thereafter.  A situation in Larry's family had him heading south in Florida so she opted to come see us.  They will both be back for Christmas.  We barely made it home to drop off luggage before leaving to pick up Jennifer.  We were meeting Gerre at the Whistle Stop Cafe for lunch and a little shopping.  Since I was already going to be in the area, I had booked a haircut for 2:00.  Jennifer had PT at 4:00 so we immediately took her home when I was finished and we made it back to the house but didn't stay long.  It was another run to the airport to get Kara and Bill.  We stopped at Sweet Tomatoes for dinner since it was past dinner time.

It was a whirlwind on Wednesday.  Ted and Bill eventually went shooting and Kara and I spent most of the day in the kitchen.  Before he left though, Ted set his turkey in brine in preparation for baking it on Thursday.  I was the sous chef for Kara. I had shopped for all we needed and set up little stations for her to work in.  I also chopped the onions and celery for the stuffing.  Kara hates to make mashed potatoes so I peeled the potatoes using my handy-dandy rotator potato peeler.  She made Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, stuffing with bread I pulled apart and dried in the oven and three pies.  She did use all my recipes though.  

 She added a double batch of brown bread, a traditional holiday treat in our family.  Aunt Carol was bringing the sweet potatoes and cranberry dish.  I filled and emptied the dishwasher several times.

Bill, Kara and Ted ran over to Carol's for a bit and when they returned we headed out to our latest Mexican restaurant for margaritas and dinner.  Everyone was tired when we returned.  We watched our recorded Survivor and everyone drifted off to bed.  

Thursday was not too much hustle and bustle.  Ted got his turkey into the oven.  The potatoes and stuffing were all ready to go in the oven, the salads, veggies and rolls were ready to go and the serving dishes and utensils were at hand.  Only the gravy needed to be made but we needed to wait for the drippings.

It didn't bother us inside, but the landscaper chose Thursday morning to lay the new sod, replacing what was killed by Harvey.  They also found a leak right next to the deck so a sprinkler guy is coming Monday to take a look!

Terry and Carol arrived with their contributions and several bottles of wine.  I think there were a half dozen bottles at the end of the evening waiting to go into the recycle bin.  We are a sit around the table family and that's what we did until about 9:30.  

But the last thing we did was bring Sam's full orchestra performance up on the TV through You Tube (learned something new!) for everyone to see.  If interested, and you know how to bring up You Tube on the computer or TV, search Orchestra Association of Troy High.  It is the 2017 Spooktacular performance.  Sam is the cello player on the right side, second row, behind and one to the right of the girl in the princess dress and tiara (who later was in a skit).  This is the entire orchestra with members all up and down the stairs playing without a conductor and no music!  Truly awesome.  

Right after our company left. Kristin, Ted and Kara took off for the mall to buy a few Black Friday specials.  I, on the other hand, hit the couch and fell asleep.  Bill emptied the dishwasher and refilled it while I slept.

Friday found Bill and Kara back out shopping and Kristin and I started taking down the fall things and getting all the Christmas stuff out of closets, garage and attic.  I was determined to get rid of everything except just what I use.  We have never put a tree up here in Texas so I had no need for ornaments but it broke my heart to give away my travel collection started back in the early 80s.  But it was my travel, no one else's, so out they went except for a special ornament case storing the round glass ones just in case I buy a very small tree some day.  All in all, about 7 boxes went to the resale shop.  They indicated so many lost their things in the flood that there was a big need.  I had already sent a huge box of lights to my niece for use in her volunteer fright house.  

After two days of turkey, we opted for pizza at home for dinner.  Everyone was pretty tired and went to bed before too long.

We all were invited by Terry and Carol to lunch at the country club on Saturday.  We ate in the bar area so we could watch the Ohio State versus U of M football game.  

It ended just in time for us to return home for suitcases and off to the airport we went to drop off Bill and Kara.  Then it was back home to church where we ran into Terry and Carol again.

Once we made it home, it was "whatever" for dinner and more Hallmark Christmas movies!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Almost Time For "Over the River and Through the Woods"

We are having all of our kids here through the holidays at one time or another.  Kara and Bill will be here for Thanksgiving.  Sam and Morgan will be at Disney World with their Dad.  Kristin, Larry and his sister Maureen will be here over Christmas.  The Duda/Acosta families will be in Texas over Christmas but there are others to see so I don't know just when they will be here.  And Ted wants to leave 1/1 for the valley!  No pressure!

Saturday while I had my nails done, Jody stopped by.  She had ended up with one of my spoons and was dropping it off.  This is what I found when I got home!  A bottle of Riesling which she knows is my favorite in a beautiful bag with an F tag, her last initial, holding up my errant spoon!  She has such beautiful ideas that make gifts so very special!  I would have wrapped the spoon in a paper towel and put it on the porch chair!!  I so enjoy my creative friends. I know she reads this so "Thanks again, Jody!"

I remembered to take the HEB gift cards to church but forgot my card holder for Shanghai later so we went back afterwards for it.  We played cards at Pam and Wayne's and I won!  It has been a long, dry spell and my dimes certainly enjoyed getting replenished.  I had good cards all night.  Two couples that aren't usually there came and it was a fun night.

I tackled two jobs on Sunday while Ted went shooting - cleaning the pantry and the linen closet in our bathroom.  So many things hiding in the shadows.  It won't stay straightened for long, but it's a start.

I had a doctor's appointment for Monday morning and then Canasta at 1:00.  Ted had left for Beaumont so when I arrived home I had some leftovers and then was picked up by neighbors to go to our Painting With A Twist outing.  

Van Gogh I am not!  It was a fun night and my deer didn't look like elephants but that's the best I can say!

I had to go for bloodwork first thing Tuesday morning, then meet Laura at 11:00 to pass her my card table and chairs to use for bunco next Monday.  Ted was home from Beaumont when I returned and we had a few hours before going to the GYN.  He did another ultrasound and another biopsy and told me to come back Friday morning.  And so we wait!

Wednesday was errand day.  First up was picking up my scripts from Walmart and a few groceries.  Then we bought a keypad garage door opener at Lowe's for Bill to install next door.  The problem of garbage cans needing to go in and out in their absence will be solved!  We dropped off a check and the women vet toiletries at Donna's.  Since I have to miss the meeting Friday when I go back to the doctor she will take them for me.  Dr. C called and said ALL my bloodwork was perfect and he had ordered more tests than usual.  He wants to know the outcome of my GYN issue and also the results of the Dopplar on my leg but that isn't until 12/2.  

Last stop was HEB.  We did the bulk of our grocery shopping just passing on four things that need to be bought closer to next Thursday for freshness.  After putting the things away we watched two Hallmark Christmas movies.  After a light dinner, we hunkered down for the evening.

I played Shanghai with the girls on Thursday and I won again!   My dime purse runneth over!!  I received notification that my last biopsy was again benign.  Hopefully we will get the procedure moving along now.  It is such a busy time and not being able to commit to things is getting old fast.

We arrived at 9:45 for our GYN consultation and just as we were given a room we were informed Dr L had emergency surgery and would be an hour.  They put us in at 11:00 and we took off to find a cup of coffee.  We ended up at Starbucks where we seldom go and sat outside in a beautiful morning with sunshine.  I saw a friend Janet but just waved.  A young man was there with a photographer and eventually stopped at our table.  He is running for the US House but not from our district.  He spent time with us anyway and asked if we would allow a photo with him.  Lord knows where they may end up!

Dr L saw us about 11:40 and agreed the D&C is still advised because of the problems that could develop if left alone.  But ... we need agreement of both the cardiologist and hematologist plus Medicare (first time anyone has said that) before we can schedule.  I had my calendar in my lap!  I am busy!!  We took the script to the cardiologist office and she is gone until 11/27!  They would check with the doctor who inserted my filter but if he would not sign off I need to wait.  We had better luck at the hematologist, they said they would fax what was needed Monday since he was gone for the day and call me to let me know it was done.  And so we continue to wait!

I did three loads of laundry when we got back home, had dinner and watched more Hallmark!  It is like reading a Danielle Steel book.  You know the middle and end as soon as it begins.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Glad That Week Is Over

What a busy week!  Here is a group REACH photo from the Halloween party.

We had four couples come for cards Saturday night and the food just piled up.  I had jumbo shrimp, summer sausage and crackers, apples and caramel sauce, lemon tarts, candy and nuts to go with Jody's guacamole and chips.  Irene brought stuffed celery and deviled eggs.  No one went home hungry I don't think.

We played two tables - men in the DR and ladies in the kitchen.  It worked well except for the full glass of red wine that John sent flying sending a three foot wave of red wine onto my very light beige carpeting!  I gave him a two quart bottle of club soda which was poured on to the stain and soaked up with a terry cloth.  Then he used Spot Shot and was on his hands and knees rubbing the stains.  I got the carpet cleaner out of the garage and Ted put some water in and went over the area, adding a bit of water and then vacuuming up all the liquid.  Surprisingly it looked really good this morning.  Or, it could be a reason for new carpeting!

We were glad for the extra hour Sunday morning because we attended church at 9:00.  We spent the afternoon at Gerre's for the Texan game party and stayed afterward to talk about the Greece cruise with Mike who is spearheading the trip.  Ephasus, Turkey has been taken off the itinerary and replaced with Rhodes, Greece.  I saw a report about visas not being issued between Turkey and the U.S. and wondered if we would be affected.  Apparently so!  I wasn't even sure I was going to do more than walk down the gangplank, put two feet on Turkey soil, and then go back up!!   I wonder if the Colossus of Rhodes is still there? (Just asked Siri and it was destroyed in 226 BC!!).  I did learn Rhodes is a Greek island.  I spent a lot of time on the phone with Kristin about plane flights and hotels on Monday. 

Ted went to Dallas and I had a quiet day.  There was a very long phone call with Go Medigap about our Supplement insurance.  Because I am still under doctor's care, I told them to not look to move my policy.  I don't want to ever be denied by underwriting.  Maybe next year.  But they found two other companies with cheaper premiums for Ted so he is looking to go back to Mutual of Omaha.  When you buy a Supplement it is the exact same coverage regardless of company, only the prices vary.

Ted spent the night in Dallas so I was able to get the bed made and the few things out of place put back where they belong before I headed out to Good Shepherd Church for the Senior Day Out.  I had to stop to buy a pumpkin pie and as bingo prizes I took two boxes of Keurig K-Cup coffee.  For the record, the biggest pie at the best price came from Costco.  There were all sizes and prices represented.  

We welcomed our guests, got them settled with coffee, juice and bingo cards!  My table did well with 5 out of 8 winners!  

Then we were all entertained by the Old Geezers, a group of four that are tremendous!  We had lots of folks up dancing.


Lunch was chicken and dumplings, cucumber salad and applesauce plus pumpkin pie!  I ate afterwards and it was delicious.

Ken power washed our driveway and walks while we were both gone.  The landscape guy came by to see what needs to be done about our Harvey damaged grass.  He said the area behind the deck needs to be resodded.  We need our crepe myrtles trimmed and one more limb taken off one of the Live Oaks. Also, pansies will be planted out front to replace the dead impatiens because they will live through the winter.  I swept out the garage and took a nap!  

On Wednesday, Isabelle came early so Ted slept in the twin bedroom so he didn't have to get up at 7:30.  Since the bed was unmade I stripped them both to freshly launder the linens since we are having company come.  I still have to do the queen bed linens since they were slept on but we left for New Braunfels so early I told Sue to just make the bed and I would do the sheets later.  

I did lots of computer work.  I switched my Medicare D to Silver Scripts to better accommodate my Eliquis.  Ted keeps Humana Walmart. My Supplement stays the same and he switches to Mutual of Omaha.  I was able to bring our Greece cruise plane reservations up on Delta's website despite having purchased them through RCCL Air N Sea.  I picked two aisle seats, one behind the other, on all four flights.  It was an extra $116 but gave us a free bag so it was almost a wash!   I sit in front of Ted so no one leans back into him causing him to sit spread eagle for 9 hours.  And I can stand every hour and walk a bit without bothering anyone.

I made our hotel reservation in Rome and found a company that can transfer our group from FCO to  Rome and then Rome to the cruise ship.  It is all coming together very well.  

Thursday was my neighborhood luncheon to celebrate November birthdays.  

Jeanette always goes all out when it is her month to pick.  We all had a dish of candy with a "turkey" cookie and a turkey centerpiece using a pineapple as the body.  The restaurant cut it up and served it to us!  We always have a fun time.

I have caught up on many little things I had to do.  I bought two presents for my bunco and neighborhood luncheon Christmas parties.  I also have a small gift for each lady in my bunco group.  When I bought the pumpkin pie and Keurig coffee I also bought two HEB gift cards for our church Thanksgiving drive.  I already have two big Teddy Bears for our church Giving Tree and Forum Giving Tree.  And our forum chapter is making up boxes for homeless female vets so I bought a bag full of toiletries that I will deliver at my next meeting.

Then ... I bought new Thanksgiving linens.  My Lenox China is pastel and doesn't do well with fall colors.  Last Christmas I received a white Fitz and Floyd set so I am going to use that instead.  The small plates are a bit big to use as bread plates so I bought the small appetizer plates to use.  And I bought new sheets for the queen bed.  I could not get the fitted sheet on and Ted was barely able to so I just bought a new set.  So now both guest rooms are all set for our company!

Re-reading this I realize my life is back the way it used to be!  Keeping busy like a duck, calm on the surface and paddling like hell underneath!  It feels really good and I look forward to our company, the holidays and our three months in the Rio Grande Valley.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Getting Behind

Ted went shooting Sunday and I awaited Tucker's arrival.  Besides finishing up the unpacking and laundry, nothing much else got done.  Ted made a pot of chili for dinner that tasted real good with the cooler weather.

Monday I met Gail for lunch to go over the plans for our Vote!! Party for Regent Care.  This is a questionable theme for a nursing home party but we had so many red, white and blues supplies that this was the only time we could use them.  We don't meet in the patriotic months!  Buying more fall stuff just adds to expenses and storage.  And it is sad to say that most residents are only interested in the music, sugar free cookies and lemonade, not the decorations.  They are not real concerned with our color scheme.  

REACH is a disabled adult center that Forum services but because of the distance, I had never worked there.  But I am so far behind in hours with my limited availability between traveling, doctor appointments and tests that I decided to bite the bullet.  It took me an hour to drive each way Tuesday.

A LOT of work went into the preparations to carry this party off.  My hats off to Beth who chairs it.  My job was playing tic tac toe with many who "three in a row" meant nothing.  I had to throw games and finally gave them 5 felt cats to my 3 felt ghosts to give them a big advantage.  We saw all degrees of disabilities and God bless those who work there each day.  I was hugged tightly by a Down's Syndrome policegirl and other than being told repeatedly that "No one's afraid of you, Michael" and being pointed out that "I am taking you to lunch" I had no difficulties.  I did go to lunch, but with 7 of my Forum friends,

Ring Toss and Tic Tac Toe.  Heddi had folks simply put the ring on the bottle.

Ping Pong Ball Toss.  Dropping more than tossing.

Bowling with Pumpkins, knocking down rolls of TP!  Mobile clients had a lot of fun with this.  Also there was Hula Hoop Toss over pumpkins, corn hole, etc.  Something for everyone.

Everyone had a great time and a bag of goodies to take back inside.  

I had a headache when I got home but we decided to go to the vigil Mass for All Saints Day anyway.  Ted had beef stew in the crockpot for dinner but my headache kept me from eating.  It poured rain and I think Halloween was ruined for many little ones.  I went to bed very early.  

I stayed home Wednesday and didn't do much of anything.  I got the boxes together for Regent Care and printed out the paperwork I needed to get filled out.  After Survivor I got a shower since I had to leave early in the morning.  Then I watched the Astros win the World Series!  Yeah!

Gail was already at the nursing home when I arrived about 8:45 on Thursday but the lady who had the key to the Activity Room didn't come to work until 9:15!  We had to put tablecloths on 15 tables, set out decorations on them, blow up 45 balloons and tie ribbons to them, make 3 gallons of lemonade and fill 8 trays with sugar free cookies.  It was 9:30 when the other 8 ladies arrived and they all pitched in.  In the meantime Gail had to get the couple being our entertainment all set up and paid.  We had 46 residents attend and it turned out really great.  They so enjoy the live music!  We are not allowed to show the residents faces so the best I can do is take their backs.  

Gail treated me to lunch afterwards and we discussed our plans for December and February.  We had 5 boxes of "stuff" so I told Gail I would take it home and see what I could do with it all.  I put all the red/white/blue stuff in two boxes and marked it OK To Use.  It will go to the office tomorrow in the storage unit.  Then I put green/red/white tablecloths, napkins, balloons and ribbons in one spot for Christmas, the rest of the red/white stuff together for Valentine's Day and some pastels to use in April.  Now we have only 2 boxes to carry and the red/white/blue stuff can be used by others.  All we need to do now is come up with table decorations.  

On my way home I stopped and voted since Ted did it Wednesday.  After thinking I had mastered my computer training I was faced with two changes - a no show and a sub I was unaware of.  Adding and subtracting should be easy but I inadvertantly removed the wrong person as the no show and then had to undo that and delete the correct lady.  Nothing like making my job harder on myself!  An email to Renee at the office fixed up my records.  She is so patient!

Ted worked half a day on Friday at the gun club for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes charity shoot.  He is scheduled to work the Texas Collegiate Sporting Clay Championships on Saturday.  That will be a long day for him.

Gerre and Barry stopped on the way from the airport to pick up Tucker.  They had a good time in Cabo San Lucas and said it is certainly growing.  We are invited to their house Sunday for the Texan game that all their neighbor's attend.  We have people coming to play cards here tomorrow.

Enough for now!