Nine Weeks and More

It’s been nine weeks since ankle fusion surgery. Unlike my searching at this point after the original ankle repair surgery, I have been unable to find any blog posts from others about this fun experience. I did find some trusted medical sites that gave much of the same information I already knew along with some research that tells me that in approximately 20 years time, I will likely be suffering from severe arthritis in my foot because the pressure relieved by fusing the ankle will be transferred to other places. Oh, joy.  And also? Oh, well! I put this surgery off for as long as I could, and here I am — basically in less pain now than I was prior to surgery, despite not being able to walk. I’m hopeful, in a desperate sort of way, that this really-and-truly works. I need it to work.

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Little Foot and Chomper 

Our oldest son and his little family came to visit on Tuesday night. The mama and daddy went to see Les Miserables while Oma and Opa babysat. We are so blessed to have them less than 80 miles away, and we had a terrific time with the kiddos (and their parents on Wednesday morning).  The Engineer‘s company had purchased the tickets nearly a year ago, so they had really good seats.

 

 

The Barefooter has been working 15 days on, 6 days off for the US Forest Service as a timber cruiser (not barefoot). We only see him when he comes home for his time off and Colorado has been keeping him busy, so I don’t have a photo to share.  He was home for the week of his next-in-line brother’s last week here, which was nice for both of them. Air Force, Tom

 

Humorous-Juniorous began his USAF career last week and is currently in Alabama for Officer Training School (OTS).  He has been able to send us a few e-mail messages to let us know things are going well.   

 

IMG_20190701_170725 (2) 4x6 self-portrait

 

 

 

The Scout, who is hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, southbound (PCT, SoBo) has completed the Washington State section and is well into Oregon by now. He called us last Friday from Cascade Locks and met up with extended family near Timberline Lodge. Hooray for safety, family, food, shower, and clean clothes!   

 

Basically, our family has become a far-flung entity while I’ve been stuck at home. I know the latter is only temporary and the former is perfectly normal. And yet… Facebook memories keep popping of from 10 years ago when we all lived together. They were so cute and young and living at home then! But birdies grow up and fly away from the nest, don’t they?

Handsome 4

 

It’s been a while…

…so why not a Ten on Tuesday post?

  1. Dad died at the end of March. In April we took our already-planned trip to Tucson, which felt odd because we weren’t there to visit him anymore.  SuperDad and I, along with my younger brother and his wife, were at the assisted living facility for a small celebration of life (which was very nice) with the residents and staff.
  2. All 9 of us were here for Easter. The Barefooter and I sang with the choir (it was my last hurrah with them for a while because of travel plans when I am actually able to travel again).
  3. Little Foot stayed with us the week after Easter while his Mama and baby brother, Chomper, returned home for the week and Daddy went on a business trip.  We love having him with us and he had a great time burning through the energy reserves of every single adult in the house.  Little Foot, Oma, and Opa shared their first night of sleeping in the trailer. He loved it!
  4. The Barefooter was briefly in the news for his determination to run the annual 12km race in his usual form: barefoot. He’s run it 5 times in the past 6 years, always barefoot.
  5. I enjoyed my annual K2A weekend with two friends in an area with a lot of wineries. We’re slowing down and making it to fewer wineries in our advancing ages (ha!) but still had a great time together. Another friend joined us on Saturday which was a real treat.
  6. Dad’s memorial service was a weekend filled with family. The celebration of life was held at the church where I grew up and most of us stayed in one house together. Had everyone slept in that house, there would have been 20 of us! Those 20 people are my dad’s children, their offspring, and spouses. The weather was perfect: not too hot, not too rainy. Bonus: we all still like each other.
  7. After another 5 days at home, SuperDad and I left on our first big trek with the trailer. We spent 8 nights camping (9 days on the road).  Success! It was also quite the learning experience. Have you ever tried to back a truck and trailer? Pull-through sites are much easier than back-in sites.
    Bella and Beast, Olympic Peninsula, May 2019
  8. We returned home on Sunday, June 2nd. After helping to unload the trailer on Sunday afternoon/evening, I had a pain day on Monday — meaning I got very, very little done.
  9. Ankle fusion surgery was on June 5th. The surgery itself lasted about an hour and a half; we were home before noon. Since then I’ve been confined to lying on the top of my bed, ankle elevated, with the exception of using the bathroom (that is accomplished by holding onto a walker and hopping with my “good” foot).  On Thursday morning I have an appointment to (hopefully) remove stitches and get a new cast. My skin looks forward to 15 minutes of air time.
  10. There are a lot of changes happening for the young adults living in our house, but they deserve a post of their own. Of course, blogging about family members includes considering what is mine to tell vs. what is their own stories.

Ankle surgery, take 2

ankle fusion surgery

Twelve days ago I had ankle fusion surgery, adding to the long saga of my trimalleolar fracture back in November of 2015. When I finally took myself to a new orthopedic doctor last fall, I was told the metal in my ankle was perfectly wonderful, doing its job, and was likely only 15% of my pain. That was the good news; the bad news was that my cartilage in my ankle was basically destroyed and the pain was from bone-on-bone rubbing… scraping… grinding…

So! I’m spending the minimum 2 weeks with this view (above and below) and the rest of the summer off my foot/ankle/lower leg. Once released from constantly elevating my ankle I have a knee scooter to use, along with my trusty yard sale walker and an old wheelchair. But no walking allowed for three months! Let’s get this ankle thoroughly fused and let go of some chronic pain, shall we?

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Birds and Burns

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.

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The first time I looked out the window at the mama turkey looking in at me was 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.

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It could have been so much worse.

DSCN5568 Resilient Nature WEBSIZED

And nature is resilient.

DSCN5599 circle of life, burn, WEBSIZED

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.

 

 

 

 

That went by quickly!

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?

DSCN5447 Sweet baby boy 4x6

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Little Foot, age 2.5 years, with Chomper, age 3 weeks

DSCN5469 (2) with big brother in background

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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.

What’s up in your end of the world?

 

 

 

Summer mileposts

Spokane RIver view from dining room window of TRAILER, websized

glamping bed
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.

Plesiosaur and the Beast, websized
SuperDad told me he was being tailgated by a giant trailer.

Trail Runner 21-foot trailer from AFB, camping at Riverside State Park, WEBSIZED

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 need to 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.

Happy Camper, websized

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?

Misnomer

In the springtime, blossoms fall
pink and white, yellow and purple—
like fat, flowery snowflakes—
each one different from the other.

In the summer, cold air collides with warm
causing thunderstorms. Lightning strikes
produce forest fires. Winds whip
and send ashes falling near and far.

In the autumn, leaves turn
yellow, red, and russet
and fall to the ground as surely
as their springtime cousins.

In the winter, the skies darken
and clouds release their moisture;
sometimes rain, sometimes snow,
but always falling to the earth.

Blossoms
Ash
Leaves
Snow

So could someone please explain
that with all of the downward vertical activity
why only one of these four seasons
is called fall?

This is the air I breathe…

Smoky everything, low res pic

SuperDad told me that he has hazy vision. Despite the knowledge that his vision is still a little wonky (hopefully from the pain medications he is taking), I knew that he was talking about looking out the window this morning. We cannot see far in this smoke-filled air. My drive to work includes a vista of downtown but today there were no buildings to be seen, only gray-white nothingness obscuring the horizon.  During the day there is a yellowish diffused light, more yellow than our 9.6% sunshine during the eclipse but fairly close to the strength of light we had at the height of it.

Looking up at the sun through smoky skies, resized

Looking up at the sun through smoky skies

For an hour or two after sunrise and the hour or two before sunset, the lighting hue is pinkish-orange.

DSCN7919  smoky sunrise, 7.26am

“Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” reddish-pink sunrise, compliments of the fires all over the Pacific Northwest

Our air quality index last night was a horrifying 303 = Hazardous. Today it was hovering at around 245 = Very Unhealthy.  Everyone who ventures outdoors has a sore throat, and disposable masks are seen on people behind steering wheels or walking; I saw the mailman wearing one when I looked out my window at work.

And yes, I went back to work today. SuperDad continues to improve (his hamstrings are the largest source of pain now, so we’re hopeful that he is nearing the end of needing pain medication) and while my brain is not fully functional, I’ve had 5 nights at home in my own bed and am making headway on those 10 nights of hospital-induced sleep deficit.

 

 

Manic Monday

Another Monday, another brief message from the barefoot backpacker — this one to tell me he’d made it to Crater Lake and “I have more that needs to be said than can be said in a voice mail so… I’ll call you back.” That his voicemail message two three hours ago… from a pay phone that doesn’t take incoming calls. My stomach is in knots.  I think I just sprouted a dozen new gray hairs.  This particular son is the cause of more than a few worries over the years.
It doesn’t help that I’ve been awake for the past 37 hours.
Did you know it gets light here at 4:30 AM?

So… how about some good news! Well, the heat wave has subsided and it’s been downright pleasant outside — a little too warm, because it is summer, but it’s cooling down at night again and that makes all the difference.  The Scout has assured me that his paperwork for Eagle rank has all been turned in.

Speaking of scouts, I spent 4 hours driving out to summer camp and back home again last night because SuperDad had inadvertently left several Very Important Items in the back of his car… in our garage. BFF rode out with me and got to see their campsite and the upper portion of the camp, and the scouts explained what they would be doing for the week. Possibly more importantly, we got to use the toilets at the beginning of the week instead of at the end of the week.*   And most impressive of all, we saw an adult female moose just before we reached the camp. Sadly, there is no photo proof because we didn’t have a camera with us.  And before you ask why I didn’t snap a picture on my cell phone, #1- I was driving, and #2- I accidentally left it charging on the table at home. We were supposed to be back at home being outdoorsy on the patio, but I was interrupted 5 sips into a nice cool lime-and-agave beverage.

To summarize: no moose picture, a rather different sort of outdoorsy experience for several of us, and no details on the barefoot PCT hiker (although we do have indication that he is alive and somehow ahead of schedule).  The northern lights were supposedly visible last night but it’s too light here in the city to see them, and I’m going to head to bed and pray for sleep — with the phone next to me, volume set to stun.

How is your summer going?

*I’m full of strange fun for her: as a birthday gift, I took her to an alpaca ranch — and now she’s had the experience of visiting a Boy Scout camp.