Manual Labor

At 10:20 pm last night, this creature came through the front door:

After working all day removing burnt fencing in Fruitdale

This is what manual labor looks like after working all day to remove burnt fencing (charred in last year’s fires).

I told EB that he looked like a miner and sent him to wash in the laundry room utility sink.(I’m not mean — I also filled a dinner plate with meat & veggies and poured him a glass of milk and a glass of water.)

He drove 90 minutes home looking like that and he plans to return on Thursday to finish the job. Tonight he hits the shower before he hits the sack; tomorrow he drives an hour in a different direction to chop and split firewood.  All this for $10-15 an hour.  Sometimes I wonder if he regrets dropping out of college.

It could be worse…

DSCN2529  Bruised toes, and this is my GOOD foot!Was it just 2 weeks ago I was nursing sore toes on my right foot? Apparently my left foot was jealous because in my sleep I somehow managed to jam or pull or otherwise bruise/sprain the littlest toe on my left foot (my FULF as Barb so succinctly puts it) prior to waking up on Wednesday morning. It’s too ugly to show you a picture, but I can assure you it’s really purple and coordinates nicely with my purple nail polish. (Maybe I do need to take a picture?)  And yes, it hurts.
It’s all adding insult to injury since I’ve also been having additional ankle pain — this time on my outer left ankle. The current suspicion is that the hardware on that side (one long plate, 6 screws) is somehow irritating the more natural parts of me.

I did manage to get out and about last weekend, putting at least 800 miles on the minivan (124,000 and counting) all by myself. My ankle truly hates me for all of that driving. (I’ve been hating my ankle lately, so the feeling is mutual)  On Friday I drove to Seattle for a quick visit with H-J. I got to see the lab where he is working this summer and I took him out to dinner at Ivar’s on Lake Union. It was one of those nights that makes a person love Seattle even if it is crowded: so many boats out on the lake full of happy people, beautiful weather, drawbridges allowing passage for the larger boats, evening glow on the buildings downtown.  After dropping my university student off at his place (college students, please don’t leave your dirty dishes in your room… science experiments belong in the laboratory!) I drove to my friend Annie’s house for 2 nights to celebrate her 50th birthday and recent home purchase.  This was the most relaxing part of the weekend, with little to do but a bit of cleaning, cutting up vegetables, drinking wine, and chatting with old friends while elevating my FULF. 

Is it wrong to high-five friends over mutually crummy injuries? We must be getting old. Next we’ll be talking about fiber supplements! Oh, wait…

Sleeping baby on my chest while mama gets allergy testing

Slightly feverish baby sleeping on my chest. I love him so much!

Sunday morning I slept in a bit, then packed up and drove back across the state, but not home — instead I drove to spend 2 nights with The Author and Little Foot. No new pictures because Mama was getting allergy testing done on Monday morning, baby was feverish and couldn’t go to daycare, and Daddy was out of town at a conference in another state. LF’s other grandma was able to come on Monday afternoon and stay for the week, so she’s still there now. It’s no fun to have a sick baby but the timing is great. The Author works for the university and it would be difficult to take time off right now as they are gearing up for fall courses.

cobalt blue lanyard

My blue lanyard: made it to sell, loved it too much and kept it

Tuesday morning I dropped my DIL off at work (hello, $15 per day parking? No, thank you!) and drove 90 minutes back home straight to work for me, too — only to discover I had left my lanyard with work keys at home. SuperDad to the rescue! He brought my work keys and my lunch to me. I was very grateful. He also went to the store and purchased several gallons of ice cream for the neighborhood block watch party held in our driveway that evening. I had enough time between the end of my work day and the start of the party to ice and elevate for 45 minutes on my bed. My ankle hates me and was badly swollen all day.

I’ve made an appointment (first one I could get, at the earliest time available) for August 18th. I’m hoping for some answers as to why I’m having “new” pain 8 months after surgery. By the time I see my PCM, it will be more than 9 months since injury. Did I mention that my ankle hates me?


DSCN7274 ..COLD.. cropped, websized

Photo taken by SuperDad who can walk around outside (unlike yours truly)

Although we’ve had snow on the ground for several weeks, it feels colder these days — or perhaps that is simply because there is no longer a baby here with whom to snuggle.  At our house, we’ve shrunk back to four humans (plus the dog and cat) from the eight of us who were living here for nearly two weeks.  Gone are the sounds of Little Foot as he protests having his diaper changed; gone are the voices of brothers playing games together; also gone is the need to text the college student to tell him to turn off the music and go to bed.

DSCN7267  my snuggle partner

I miss my sweet snuggler (and his parents).

The dinner conversations have devolved as well. What starts out as intelligent conversation, centered upon lab results in the genomics studies course taken by the teenager, ends abruptly on this sub-freezing evening by a simple statement from The Barefooter:

I saw some insects today — outside. I ate two of them.

I stop and stare… and hope desperately that no one observed this occurrence (for employment purposes if nothing else). In his defense, he claims that the bugs were quite small and he scooped them up with snow, which he also ate.  Whether or not this happened on his lunch break, I do not know.

I’ve been avoiding snow and ice, but not for the reasons one would think, given my injured ankle; I can’t walk, so going outside is a moot point. But I did discover last week that it is a Very Bad Idea to ice my ankle, regardless of swelling. Applying a cold pack to an ankle that has the equivalent of a K's left ankle x-ray, websharehardware store section attached inside causes the person who just had surgery 6 weeks prior to actually feel each piece of hardware in that ankle.  I thought I was imagining it, but my feeling (I was especially feeling that bowed plate on the left) was corroborated by a nurse and several friends with metal hardware in their limbs.
Lesson learned! I plan to keep my ankle away from extreme cold.

Later this week I will get to see an updated X-ray and hopefully it will show some positive progress toward healing.


Once upon a time, there were 3 little boys:

From left: EB, MM, and H-J

From left: EB, MM, and H-J — Germany, 1997

And then they grew up.

MusicMan went off to college 3,000 miles away from home.
The following summer, we moved much closer and Encyclopedia Blue  joined his older brother at college a mere 80 miles from home.

From left: MM, H-J, and EB Fall 2012

From left:
MM, H-J, and EB — August 2012

In a few more weeks, MM and his wife will graduate from college. One month after that, Humorous-Juniorous will graduate from high school and begin his own journey to college.

My four boys, summer 2000. Note the very dark tan hand around the baby's middle.

My four boys, summer 2000, El Paso, TX. Note the very tan hand around the baby’s middle.

The baby of the family will be the only one living at home with Mom and Dad.

SnakeMaster, age 1 year

SM, July 2000

Although he’s not so little anymore!

SnakeMaster hiking at Yosemite National Park

SnakeMaster hiking at Yosemite National Park — April 2014