Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I'm one of those weird people who like a very flexible schedule. As in, I want to have a to do list for the day, but no set time those things have to be done that day. My husband is super-organized, and prefers to knock out the least favorite chores first and have a more "gelled" schedule. I figured it would take us a week or two to mesh our two versions of scheduling together. We're not quite to the end of week one yet, and I've been reminded that both flexibility and schedules are paramount in the SCI life.

Life with a spinal cord injury means mornings and evenings are not all. We can switch things around as in who gets ready first, or whether or not I get ready before or after breakfast, but that's the extent of our flexibility. Evenings are the same way. Every other night our routine, should things go well, takes about an hour and a half. Non-bath nights we can both be in the bed within 30 minutes.  But on the nights things don't go well, I can be up for hours. As in, I don't get in bed until after midnight and then will be up and down a few times after going to bed. On those nights I wonder how on earth quad couples who don't use a waterbed or air mattress manage (without those two marvelous gadgets quads have to be turned every two hours when laying down..."be turned"...that phrase always reminds me of meat on a spit). But I greatly digress.

Tuesday morning at 1:16am I finally crawled into bed, SO thankful for the first time I didn't have to set the alarm for 6am regardless of the time and that Bobby would actually be able to rest instead of going into work totally wiped out in a few hours. What I didn't know was that for the next 36 hours he was going to be absolutely miserable.  So this afternoon I had to call and cancel a class I had for tomorrow (and lose my deposit), because even if he feels better there's no way he's going to feel well enough to be on his own for 8 hours. It's one thing to be sick; it's another thing to be sick when you are unable to lay down by yourself, or roll over, or get what you need. And at times like this, it's almost pointless to call a doctor's office. Trust me. The conversation would go like this:

Dr's office: What are his symptoms?
Me: Dysreflexia and a slightly upset stomach.
Dr's office: long pause. Does he have a fever?
Me: Only when the dysreflexia kicks in.
Dr's office: How high is his temperature?
Me: It's 97.4 when the sweating caused by the dysreflexia starts. It's normal when it stops.
Dr's office: Is he hurting anywhere?
Me: long sigh...he's a quad. He doesn't feel anything.
Dr's office: Welll, unless he's running a high fever there's not a real need to bring him in.

And all this time I just want to speak with a nurse or doctor who KNOWS his condition, who understands what dysreflexia is and why immediate action is urgent (we actually had a nurse in a hospital once who made us an appointment with a cardiologist because she knew NOTHING about dysreflexia and thought he had heart problems because of it).

I really do think he just had a stomach bug, but the reality is, we never know. And I think that is what drives me crazy more than the extra laundry and uncertain schedule...we seldom know what is truly wrong. And I seldom know when to suspend my role as wife and when to pull rank as caregiver and demand a doctor's appointment whether he wants it or not. Meanwhile, I've rejoiced these last three days that Bobby is at home where he can rest as much as he needs without a million job questions pressing on his mind. That is a blessing all by itself.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

spring fun

Besides the trees budding and the different flowers blooming, I always know spring is on the way when the egg production picks back up. We had a surprise recently when we had the tiniest of eggs in the hen house. I don't know if it's from the youngest hen we have (who's barely a year old), or if it's from an injured hen. We've had two this size in the last month, and neither one have had a yellow part.
 Sooo sleepy. Wish I had a video camer on it so you could see it topple over.
 All four of them: two Auracaunas (lay colored eggs) and two Wyandottes
 I think I may wind up with another "Hawk". Don't you just love that look?
And guess who found the food first?

Monday, February 25, 2013

my spoiled brat

So you don't want to play with me, huh? You think you can get away with going to Raleigh two days in a row and then stay inside 3/4 of the next day doing housework and when you do come outside you only play with me a little bit before feeding those squawking things. And you think that's going to cut it?

I'll show you.

 Your grill just thought I chewed on it before.

 And your camellia bush that is finally blooming? I'll not only prune the bottom half of it, I'll knock of most of the blooms as well.

 And that huge flower pot that took two bags of dirt to fill and has held your dead tomato vine for all of my life? I'll not only finally mess with it, I'll empty it in the driveway and attempt to drag all my toys through the dirt after it rains.  And then I'll chew apart the connectors on the hose pipe...just for fun!

But this?  This I do not understand.

You bring home these little squeaky things but won't let me play with them. I even climbed on my dog house so I could climb on top of the box and drool, and you moved my igloo away. You put this bright light beside the squeaky things that has a nice red cord attached to it, but you yell at me when I unplug it and begin to chew the prongs apart. And if that's not crazy enough, every time I start to bite the wood cover off so I can get to my new toys, you yell like a maniac. And then you go and powder the entire area around them with the red stuff you know I hate.

I don't care if you did play with me for 15 minutes outside in the cold. You are not my favorite anymore. I do not care if my whole life I have always come to you for petting first, and if you looked my way no matter who or what I was playing with I dropped it for you, I will no longer even look your way. Especially now that you moved my squeaky toys inside the house where I am not allowed to go. Red pepper is one thing. Stealing my toys...this means war. If you thought the shredded phone books and dead bream and the mole in the garage where something, just wait. I am Buster, and I'm in charge.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

horror stories

I'm starting to feel like I'm expecting...I keep hearing horror stories. We are excited to be entering a new chapter in our lives, while at the same time a little nervous. (Okay, maybe I should insert a disclaimer here and say that I'm nervous and excited while my husband is his normal calm self.) No matter where we go, someone who knows this date is approaching feels the incessant urge to tell us about some poor housewife who almost goes crazy with her husband at home all day long and either gets a job or makes him get one. We smile, laugh, make a joke, and I inwardly sigh. Do I expect there to be some adjustments down the road? Of course. Every stage of life brings some. But I also expect to enjoy this. I'm looking forward to having Bobby at home, to having someone to pester  give me feedback on ideas or tell me whether or not I have the right color of thread.

The reality is: my life probably won't change all that much. I'll still be a caregiver and housewife, still have chickens to feed and eggs to gather and a pen to clean occasionally; there'll still be a dog to handle (more on Buster tomorrow), the laundry isn't going to go away, nor will my list of projects. My level of  housework will increase some as there'll be more tiretracks to sweep up throughout the house, but I'll probably have a little more time as I imagine someone other than me will be using the computer. :)

It's hard to imagine that today is my last "normal" day. Tomorrow we join Bobby's immediate office for lunch, then I'll take down all his pictures and scrub all the ink stains his special pen has left on the desk. I don't think Amanda wants a messy desk on her first day in her new office. Then Thursday morning I'll head to his office to take pictures of his last commission meeting, and they'll be a reception for everyone he's ever worked with plus family. When we get home tomorrow night, he will be on his last week of "sick leave", and on March 1st his retirement will become official.

I was looking forward to his first week at home so we could get into some type of routine and rest a little, when I got a text from my Dad last night that Mom is having surgery again next Tuesday. I wasn't able to be there for them at all this last year during her surgery and aftermath, so we'll be heading to AL sometime in Feb or March to help out some. I'm thankful that the timing is working out after his retirement and not before (his work load has been a little crazy this month), and I'm trying to get stuff done here around the house in case we get a phone call telling us to come early. And so the ending to this chapter of our life is ending with quite a bit of activity!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

tomorrow night

I know this is not the way to end week one of "healthy" eating (healthy by my standards, anyway), but tomorrow night we are celebrating VDay/aka Naomi's birthday, by going to Meadow Restaurant. It's this little "town" about a 35-40 minute drive away, and it has no traffic lights. None. But it does have a major four way stop intersection that holds a gas station, small shop, fire station, and a school. OH. and the restaurant.

It's small. It's a non-descript brick building with an old plastic sign out front. I'm not even sure the sign lights up. The parking lot isn't paved, and there's nothing elaborate about it all.

But the food. Oh my word. They have a very small and modest fruit/salad bar. A vegetable bar with all  your southern veggies: black-eyed peas, green English peas, boiled potatoes, collards, fatback (which Bobby likes), stewed tomatoes, fried apples, and then at the end will be either rice and country style steak or meatloaf and mashed potatoes. On the next little bar is fried chicken and a wide variety of seafood.

The third bar I've never been to but it's a favorite of cream and toppings such as gummy bears, marshmellows, and nuts.

But the last bar...that is the bar that makes this restaurant famous. As in, they've won awards for this tiny table.  Desserts.  Home-made chocolate pie with three inch high marangue (which I don't like marangue, but the pie base is still good), home-made red velvet cake, german chocolate, basic yellow cake with chocolate icing, chocolate cake with buttercream icing, and at least three others.

And we are going to celebrate. I'm going to be a little reasonable and limit myself to a salad and grilled shrimp so I can have more dessert, even though I do like all their other foods. We've agreed we can eat normal on holidays and special occasions, and I think this will certainly qualify. I know the next week will probably be painful in dealing with sweet cravings, but that's okay.

So get ready Meadow we come! :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

quilt top

I'm trying to reserve my quilting page for actual FINISHED quilts. Since lately it seems I keep working on quilt tops and not quilting, that page hasn't been updated in very long time. Hopefully by this spring that will change drastically.

Every quilter has a favorite type of quilting to do. My first love is piecing, and I somewhat enjoy the the challenge of a difficult pattern. I have a quilting buddy that hates piecing and prefers the more modern quilts (where you saw strips in different designs). The traditional piecing makes her cringe, mainly because she hates triangles. She hates them so much that she gave me an entire kit she had bought years ago and started. I finished the top and gave it back to her to quilt, but she laughed and said no. So it's in my stack of quilt tops to be finished.

While I would have chosen the star pattern, I would have never chosen these fabrics. The entire quilt was green, pink, and brown prints. Sometimes I had to get help from Bobby as the directions would say "use the dark green prints" and I was seeing brown.  Some of them were actually brown with a little pink or green in them, but number-wise they had to be included with the dark greens to make it work. I'm relatively pleased with how it turned out (not sure I've had a quilt I've ever 100% been proud of), and am a little excited to know that I can survive stepping out of my color comfort zone to quilt. We would laugh that I'd sew one day and think "Yes, this is working." and then the next day I would be moaning "This is the ugliest quilt ever. It's going to be hideous!" But when all was said and done, it came together. I've saved the pattern instructions, and I may have to attempt this in either blues, a red/white, or a black/yellow/white combo.

Now back to laundry...

Friday, February 8, 2013

a good but crazy week

Since my last post, a LOT has happened.

On Wednesday we received word that a friend of ours lost her husband. I've never met him, but we were among many who prayed for his salvation. He grew up in a pastor's home and wanted absolutely nothing to do with faith. His wife didn't grow up in church, and found Christ, after marriage, to be the missing piece in her life. Within a few months of his cancer diagnosis, he came to Christ. So I hurt for my friend and her loss, but am rejoicing that we know where her husband is today. His funeral is tomorrow, and I can assure you that the wife's church will be rejoicing to an answered prayer of over 20 years.

On the other hand, my heart is still hurting for a family in our church in a similar situation, but with a different outcome. It's definitely a double loss for them.

Thursday - the insanity began. We returned to healthy eating (by our standards - making sure we eat the required amount of fruits and vegetables and less meat and bread, and for me going back to myfitnesspal and counting my calories). I am giving myself official holidays and birthdays off, and that's it. It's not been easy. At all. I don't have a timeline, but I need to lose 110 pounds. That will still have me overweight on the charts, but since I've never matched the charts, that doesn't bother me. The longest I've ever lasted on this journey has been three months, but I'm trying not to think about the future and just worry about today.

That night at our ladies book club at church (we're reading Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges), I found it SO applicable to the day (not being thankful for my healthy vegetables, anxiety over whether or not I'll fail again, etc) and I love being able to laugh with the ladies in our church. I love their openness and the honesty, and the fact we can talk about areas in our lives that need improvement without fear of condemnation. That is such a blessing.

And while I was at the meeting, Bobby's last remaining aunt (the youngest of his Dad's siblings) was at the hospital undergoing a partial hip replacement. We had seen her Saturday and she could barely walk, so I wasn't terribly surprised to hear she broke her hip. I'm thankful for the care she has received where she lives (and I'm making myself a note to blog about it soon). I don't know what the future will hold for her now, but as I watch her I often wonder will I one day be in her shoes (she doesn't have childen and never married...totally on her own).

And today is my Dad's birthday. I got to talk to him this morning, though I don't think his card will make it to AL today. It's hard to believe I have a parent who is 71. I think my younger siblings will get together Sunday for lunch to celebrate with them. I don't think his cake will be as cool as mine that my sister got for me (see below), but if my 8 year old niece and 11 year old nephew have any say, it will be uniqe.

And now I need to sign off before I start craving chocolate chip cookies again. Bernina quilt sampler information will have to wait for another day.

Monday, February 4, 2013

boring excitement

Last evening we got home more than a little late from church (and stopping to get gas and pick up a pizza), and while I'm throwing slices on a plate, Bobby returns a phone call from the answering machine. Turns out a family friend who walks our road regularly spotted a "box" that had jewelry in it on the side of the road, and he picked up the jewelry, thinking it might be mine from the robbery last summer. We wolfed down our food and headed over, only to find out it wasn't. It really wasn't a big surprise. A box of your jewelry isn't likely to turn up on the side of the road seven months after it's taken. So this morning I called our investigator and left her a message. I didn't really know who else to call. (Have you ever seen how many phone numbers/departments there are for the county?) She forwarded the information on to the proper person, and he came out to pick up the jewelry and go look for the box. I hope they can identify who it belongs to and return it to her. So many times we would say "If we could just get this back, it would be nice." What may be junk jewelry to someone else is the  earrings your 11 year old brother saved up his allowance to buy as he gave you one of the few presents he's ever given you in his lifetime. And that jewelry box that looks like a hundred others?  To its owner it represents her first Christmas as a married person.

So all this is running through my mind and I'm hoping that the jewelry will actually make it back to its owner as I'm waiting on a police car, and then I realize how routine this is. Unlike television, there's no flashing lights (not that I have neighbors to see them), no drama, just a simple explanation, presentation of drivers license and signing of an evidence form, with constant interruptions from a dog who is sniffing of the officer, his gun, his cuffs, his shoes, his pants, his car, and I'm hoping he doesn't start sniffing the man's behind, which is one of Buster's favorite things to do.  How's that for handing over what we think is stolen jewelry?

I think our county officers often don't get the attention they deserve. People who live in cities don't realize the vast amount of territory these officers have to cover. And I'm appreciative of both the fact that we've not needed them a whole lot, but when we have, they have been very professional and done what they could. Unlike the Wake county school system, the Sherriff's Department more than earns my tax dollars.

Friday, February 1, 2013

21 days

I cannot believe this is February! Where has the time gone?
Today begins the countdown. The bar in our kitchen is covered with binders and notebooks from years past CLE (continuing legal education - lawyers have to get 12 credit hours a year to keep their law license, and at least three hours have to deal with substance abuse since 75% of lawyers are alcoholics) conferences. For most of January I would try to visit Bobby's office once a week and leave with an armload of stuff. We've cleaned out the bottom shelf of one bookcase. We've now got 21 days to clean personal stuff off his computer, his desk and counter, and the remaining two shelves. I guess his pictures and a plant that he's had for 20 years will go home with us on his last day at the office.

Does anyone need 1 or 1.5 inch binders that have stuff printed on their covers? I have a feeling we're going to have quite a few of them (which is the understatement of the year).

Meanwhile my brother-in-law is graciously coming over tonight to hang a curtain rod for me. After stripping a screw and cracking a board in two places, I finally gave in and asked for help. Once that is done, I'm hoping I can finish organizing my sewing room, which is going to be my "woman cave" when Bobby retires. A certain someone who I will not name has accused me of being a hoarder. I should have informed him that quilters don't hoard; they build their stash.

Regardless, I have four quilt tops waiting to be quilted, as well as two quilts in the process of being quilted. I would really like to have four of those projects totally finished by May. (We won't talk about the three quilt tops in varying stages of progression - yet). I'm hoping once I have things back in place and with some resemblance of order, my project list (or UFOs, as quilters call them - UnFinished prOjects) will begin to be a bit more reasonable.

So hopefully by Monday you'll be viewing pictures of a nicely organized studio.