We spent a lot of time driving in December, seeing the grandsons and their parents every weekend for various activities (some babysitting, some special holiday events, and a certain 3-year-old’s birthday). As I write this post, Christmas has come to a close with the passing of Epiphany; the new year is one week old and I’m still slowly addressing envelopes for the annual Christmas letter between attempts to pack away tree ornaments and other decorations. Sometimes I suspect I drag it all out because I am sorry to see it all gone.
These two boys ♥♥
Little Foot is now 3 years old.
We’re calling it the T.S. Enterprise. It’s awesome! #goingboldly
Home improvement gifts was a theme this year. #grateful
Post-Christmas visit to extended family while Mama and Daddy went to work.
My BFF knows me and loves me. ♥
Not everyone can receive a magical flying unicorn onesie and pull it off with aplomb, but SuperDad most definitely can and did. The video is awesome and slightly horrifying.
Me, my ankle brace, and my great loves ♥ Standing (L-R): The Barefooter, Humorous-Juniorous, The Scout, The Engineer & The Author
Chomper and I sent everyone else to bed and had a late-night party. Then we rock-a-byed to sleep. H-E-A-V-E-N.
Three years ago today was when I misstepped, broke my ankle three different ways, and propelled myself into a new trajectory of life. So… crappy breakiversary to me!
I noticed new/different pain about 7 months into my metal-infused life, so I called the clinic. My surgeon had moved; his replacement told me it was too soon to do anything about removing metal (true) and the placement of all pins, plates, and screws was still in perfect form. The proof was in the X-ray. Tramadol is not my friend, so I was left with tears of frustration and chronic pain.
I saw a new orthopedic doctor a few weeks ago. It wasn’t just my imagination that the pain was getting worse! While the metal is still in perfect form (kudos to Dr. M), the cartilage above my heel is nearly useless now, and I have a large bone spur on the front of my ankle. The new X-ray isn’t pretty so I’ll leave it to your imagination. Since it’s too soon (according to Dr. B) to talk ankle replacement, I’ve been cast for a serious ankle brace.
Dr. B told me the metal was only about 15% of my pain; the rest is being caused by the grinding of the bones together. I’m trusting that he’s right about this and that the ankle brace will bring about relief by holding things in place.
I’m obviously now a woman of a certain age and at least half of my topics of conversation are about health concerns. If you take cholesterol medication, that can raise your blood sugar readings, which might then take you from pre- or borderline diabetes into Type 2. And if you are stressed in the clinic, your blood pressure will be elevated; if you take BP readings at home with a smaller-than-you-need cuff, you will get false high readings, and then you end up on BP medication as well. Or maybe they’re not so false because this chronic pain is pretty stressful. It’s the middle aged version of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
I’ve been trying out a new class at the YMCA. They use some of the same exercises but it takes place in the lap pool instead of the therapy (warm, 4′ deep) pool. In this new-to-me class, we strap on pool jogging belts and utilize deep water. Standing on a pool noodle in 10 feet of water as if it was a skateboard is a balancing act I can barely manage. I’m getting a better (harder) workout but my ankle is pretty much DONE for the day after this class. Leaving my job was supposed to get me to the pool more often, and that does seem to be showing success.
October was my first month of being retired (or should I just say “not working”?) but I kept quite busy. I started the month with a 4-day crafting retreat up north, then had one day at home to do laundry and pack before SuperDad and I drove off for a 2-week trip by ourselves. We visited misty geysers at Yellowstone National Park in the cold for a few days, then headed for Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park. The weather there was sunny and cold during the daytime; the skies at night were amazing with a visible Milky Way. I had thought my tent camping days were behind me, but I was wrong. (For trailer news, check out this previous post.)
The rest of the trip was warmer: we spent several days in Tucson to visit my dad before driving home via Las Vegas. It was really nice to not be in a big hurry to drive home before school started back up; my pain level ratchets up during long car rides despite keeping my ankle elevated, so an 11-hour drive in one day is excruciating.
Las Vegas is much more enjoyable on a Thursday evening without impressionable children than it was on a Friday evening during spring break with the kids! Or perhaps The Strip has tamed down a bit? We don’t gamble, so this was all about seeing the lights and some of the amazing scenes. Walking through the Venetian, it’s easy to forget you are indoors. We stayed in a simple place about a 10-minute walk off The Strip so it was fairly quiet.
The annual quilting retreat closed out October and brought me into November. I didn’t get as much accomplished as I had hoped, since I had to take regular breaks to elevate my foot/ankle, but I am close to being done with the quilt for Chomper. Next up: squaring (trimming) the sides and sewing on the binding. I’ll be able to finish it before Christmas.
One of the things I’ve discovered about not going to work most days of the week is that I am often clueless when it comes to knowing what day it is! When I was a SAHM, I knew each day because it was my job to know it; the kids had activities and school buses to catch, and SuperDad had long hours being gone for work. With us both at home and 3 young men coming and going all the time, I lose track of days of the week — at least Monday through Friday. One thing I do know is that Thanksgiving Day here in the USA is coming up in another week. By not fighting pain brain while working, I’ve actually managed to plan the menu, contact those coming to divvy up some of the food assignments, and make a shopping list! This might not seem like a big deal but I recall last year when I had no brain power left for such things.
SuperDad and I went camping at Glacier National Park in August. On day 2, we managed to head west on the Going-to-the-Sun road at the perfect time.
Today is my last day of work. I will miss many things about the job but it is time to make more room in my life for family and other activities. Two weeks from now my dh and I will be traveling to Arizona to visit my dad and his wife — both of whom have been hospitalized in the past month. As full as our house is right now with 3 adult children living with us, their presence allows us to go on this trip without worries about things back at home. SuperDad and I will [tent] camp a few nights on the way down to Tucson. If the perfect trailer presents itself while there, we may be camping all the way back home.
As September ends I’m letting go of a part of my life (I enjoyed the work, and paychecks are very satisfying!) and saying YES to more sunsets, more camping, more time with family.
There’s a mama and baby turkey hanging out in our neighborhood these days, and by neighborhood I mean they mostly seem to be hanging out in our yard — front, back, peering in the windows, basically whatever they feel like doing.
The first time I looked out the window at the mama turkey looking in at mewas a bit startling but we’re getting used to seeing them daily now that it’s been about a month. Junior has grown quite a bit since I took these photos. My DIL who loves birds and majored in animal science tells me that turkeys normally have about 5 eggs to hatch, so we don’t know what happened to Junior’s siblings.
As I’ve written before — several times — we have a small wilderness park behind our home. Every year around the 4th of July I get a little tense, worrying about wildfires due to fools and fireworks. Well, this year it happened, more than a week after the holiday, and we’re lucky the fire department arrived quickly. (Personally, we’re lucky it happened on the other end of the street and the wind wasn’t blowing our direction so we didn’t even have to breathe the smoke.) The fire came close to several houses but only one is having to replace siding that melted in the heat of burning trees.
It could have been so much worse.
And nature is resilient.
May all of those who are so terribly affected by the [much, MUCH WORSE] wildfires in other places be shown grace, hope, mercy, and respite from the anxious worries that now consume their thoughts and lives.
July is over and I’ve hardly written. We had Little Foot here one weekend while his parents had an adult weekend with baby brother, and then all 4 of them were here this past weekend. The Engineer and the Author have purchased an investment property/rental home and he’s been cleaning and preparing while she hangs out here with Little Foot and Chomper. I miss having the extra time with my son but nothing beats snuggling grandbabies!
In fact, that snuggle-time helped me come to a decision: I’ve given notice at work and will be done by October 1st. Because how can I miss out on this?
Little Foot, age 2.5 years, with Chomper, age 3 weeks
We’ve hit peak heat and more this summer: mid- to upper-90s and we’re supposed to reach 100 degrees tomorrow while I’m at work in an old brick building (the office portion was built in 1926) with a wall of southern facing windows. There’s a single wall/window air conditioner unit far from my desk but by 3pm it cannot keep up on a 92 degree day even with additional fans blowing the air my direction.
Normally we have perhaps one or two weeks in August where it is too hot for those of us without air conditioned houses — and even then it cools down sufficiently at night to sleep comfortably with the windows open. The cost of installing A/C is probably equal to replacing our 6-inch high deck, and the deck is more crucial to fix (yes, we’ve repaired it once already, but thanks to apparently second-rate composite decking, the previous owner’s DIY job is disintegrating badly). Next will come the convincing ourselves to spend the money.
Anyhoodle, we’re hanging out with our family and trying to beat the heat.
My private glamping tent set up inside my friends’ trailer.
Last week SuperDad and I finally had our first trailer camping experience together. I’ve trailer-camped with friends, enjoying my own little glamping hideout, but this was our first time as husband and wife.
We don’t yet agree on what size of trailer or layout so this is going to be a process of discovery and discussion. We’re renting from the local military installation’s outdoor recreation store while we weigh the pros and cons of trailer camping. I am personally a big fan of indoor plumbing, coffee pots on timers, and pillows. I’m also a big fan of fresh air and seeing the stars at night, so that rules out traveling via motels 100% of the time. After all, I traded in my beloved minivan for a big SUV last winter in order to tow a trailer, so I’m obviously committed to doing this.
SuperDad told me he was being tailgated by a giant trailer.
While I agree it was intimidating, it was also close to being what I want in a travel trailer. It had a walk-around queen bed (“trailer queen” so a bit short in length but still 60 inches wide), a full bath mid-trailer with a good sized shower, a fridge with separate freezer, and a u-shaped dinette in back that gave us the window view at the top of this post . Not bad!
The campsite was near home, so I went to work from here and my better half stayed and played. SuperDad brought along his kayak (which rode in the truck) and mountain bike (trailer) and is now thinking about a toyhauler as compromise (“Think of all the TOYS we could bring inside it!”) while I am sure that would ruin the glamping vibe. Kayaks and bikes don’t needto ride inside the trailer. I want a cute space for my crafting supplies. After all, I need to have something to do while he’s out being outdoorsy.
Once upon a time, I would have thought this was all ridiculous. I was a committed tent camper. But now that we are getting older and I cannot get up off the ground easily (understatement) thanks to my Frankenstein ankle, this is where we are at. How about you, dear Reader? How do you feel about camping?
It’s prom season.
In fact, tonight is prom for my youngest son’s high school.
He’s not going.
He’s not into loud crowds or loud music or pop culture, but none of his brothers have been either, and two out of three of them did attend prom. I don’t know if he would have gone had he not fallen out of that tree.
It’s also the season for announcements of which university the high school graduates are heading off to in the fall. I’ve seen multiple pictures of my friends’ high school seniors proudly holding their acceptance letters and wearing their new college t-shirts. I get a little jealous pang but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them. I truly am pleased for the parents and the students.
My youngest son will graduate (thanks to his IEP and his hard work) and he plans to attend the local community college in September. We are still hoping that by the time he has two years of CC under his belt, he will be recovered enough to go on to a full university. But there are no promises. I know it, his dad knows it, and I’m pretty sure he knows it.
We still cling to hope.
I have to keep reminding myself that we are so very lucky to have him as whole as he is, despite the constant headache and the times his brain refuses to function properly for him.
Dear God, I amgrateful.
At the same time, though, I sometimes grieve for what he has lost.