Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Present

After buying new living room furniture this fall, we sort of agreed to not buy each other Christmas presents, but I actually kind of got a late Christmas gift from That Man. 

I was getting dressed yesterday morning and making exasperated noises at the ceiling fan lights in the bedroom.  Now, please note that I have told him over and over that the sockets for the light bulbs in that fan are going bad (one doesn’t work at all, one makes the light flicker), plus one bulb just blew the night before.  So, out of 4 60-watt bulbs, one was working, and one was fitfully flickering on and off.  I was making the aforementioned noises, and That Man asked what was wrong.

I pointed at each dark bulb in turn and said, “That socket doesn’t work at all, that bulb is burned out, and that socket only works sometimes.”

“Would you like me to get some LED bulbs for it?”

“Well, that won’t do any good if the sockets are bad.”  (Snark.  Snark.)

When I got home last night and turned on the bedroom light, I was nearly BLINDED!  My word!  All four bulbs blazed forth in all their LED glory!  He had gone out and replaced all four bulb sockets, upgrading from Bakelite to porcelain, and replaced two of the bulbs with pricey LEDs.  WHOA.  The bedroom has stadium lights now.  I can SEE in there.  I hadn’t realized just how dark it was until it was fixed.

Now THAT’S my favorite Christmas present!!! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Secret of Happiness

"...the true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life..."
          - William Morris

My Great-aunt Ruth.  That's who I thought of when I read this quote.  I want to be like her when I grow up!

Monday, December 12, 2011

I'm So TIRED of Hospitals!

I've had my fill of hospitals this year.  That Man's mother spent some time in one off and on before she passed.  That Man himself found himself undergoing open heart surgery for a birth defect (a bicuspid valve that should have been tricuspid).  My mom made a few trips to the hospital and then passed.  I went (outupatient) during the week of Thanksgiving for the infamous festive colonoscopy, and a mammogram on Black Friday.

I thought it was late enough in the year that I would finally be safe.

Uh, no.

My dad has lymphoma - a non-Hodgkins type.  He has blood tests every three to six months, and when the numbers get to a certain level, it's time for a round of chemo.

This is one of those times.  Friday, Dad went to the IU Medical Center for the first of four weekly infusions.  I got a call in the middle of the afternoon. He needed me to take him home after I got off work - he'd had a reaction to the medicine.

And what a reaction!

When I got there (after frantically calling friends to see who might be available to help me shuttle his car back to his apartment), he was pale, his speech was slurred, his blood pressure was way down, his temperature was way up, and he was so weak he couldn't sit up well.  Frightening!

Long story short, they gave him two units of blood, and suddenly he decided that lying down was uncomfortable, he wanted the Fox News channel turned on, and started ordering me around.

We left the hospital aroun 12:30 a.m., with me following him home.  HE DROVE HIMSELF HOME.  What the heck?  I didn't get home until after 2:00 a.m., and I hit the sack around 2:40 a.m.

Yes, he's mega-tired (but he's ALWAYS like that after a round of chemo!), but he's up and out and going and doing.  I was barely functional on Saturday, and there's nothing (physically!) wrong with me besides sleep deprivation.

Sunday, he drove himself to church and sang in a men's chorus Christmas concert.  I skipped church, did a miniscule amount of Christmas shopping, and watched the wretched Indianapolis Colts football game at Baltimore.  I did a little laundry, too, but that consisted of throwing some clothes in the washer or dryer, and heading back to the couch to watch the game.  Dad did better than I did!

Only three more infusions to go!

Here's a link to some information about his specific type of lymphoma:

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Emergency Tree

Our Christmas tree is up! Sort of.

We hauled the tree out of the attic and got ready to set it up, then discovered that about half of the pre-lit tree wasn't any more.

I REALLY like the tree, so I decided to remove all the lights and keep the tree - just use conventional strings of lights like we used to do in the dark ages of the 1990s.

So I sat down and began stripping the tree of its lights. I unwound and untangled the wires and the wire branches and fake needles made lots of little cuts all over my hands.  It looked like I'd been in a cat fight - with REAL cats - and I'd lost.

After two solid hours of this, I had removed all the lights from the bottom third of the tree. Hmmm... This is going to take longer than I had hoped.

I decided that was enough of that for one evening - I had to go to work in the morning! I took the whole tree (in pieces), put it in the laundry room, and shut the door to control the cats' curiosity. Steve came home and wondered whether the tree had met an untimely death.  I assured him that it was still viable, but undergoing renovations.

I was feeling the pressure of my self-imposed decorating deadline. I needed a tree and didn't know when I'd be able to have THAT tree ready.

I let it simmer in the back of my brain for a couple of days, and voilá! Inspiration! I had a four-foot pre-lit tree in the attic! If we put it on a small table in front of a window, it looks like a full-sized tree from the street.

So, I sent The Boy up to the attic to bring down The Emergency Tree. We set it up in about fifteen minutes and I immediately felt lighter - less stressed.

I can still mess with the other tree, but I don't have to get it done in any specific timeframe. The house looks fine, I can enjoy the holidays, and when it's time to pack everything up, it will be FAST.

Thank you, Emergency Tree!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Lessons Learned - WARNING: May be TMI

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year - the first time in about 5 years, what with Mom in an extended care facility and not being able/willing to go out anywhere.

We'd had Thanksgiving dinner at our house for several years, and I have a notebook of schedules and lists telling me exactly what to do when for the entire week preceding the event, so I was ready, right?


As I indicated in my previous post, I added a new festive touch to the week by scheduling a full colonoscopy on that Monday. That was okay, right? That's my scheduled Monday off.  No big deal - just my doctor celebrating the fact that I turned 55 in September. Oh, goodie.

So Sunday, I had to "prep" for Monday. That means you eat NOTHING all day, and take these nasty pills, then later start drinking this nasty concoction - a half gallon of it! UGH. And I couldn't GO anywhere. Well, except the bathroom. FUN. So, the first day of Turkey Day activities came and went with nothing accomplished except my personal cleanout.

I got through all that, and The Great Day arrives. O. M. G. They knock you out! Then you get to sleep it off after you get home. Then you eat like a crazy person because you haven't eaten anything for about 40 hours. So another day down the drain with nothing accomplished.

I worked both Tuesday and Wednesday, so I only had the evenings to clean up the house (oh my - how did it get that way???) and make the food that didn't have to be made on Thanksgiving itself. I was getting worried!

But Thanksgiving came, and I pulled it off. The food was good, the house looked fine, the company was great, and everyone had a good time. But I learned my lesson, and I learned it well enought to print in big letters across the week of Thanksgiving in next year's calendar - NO MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS THIS WEEK!