Friday, February 27, 2015

Out of My Comfort Zone

Today I did something that I've never done before.  I went out to meet someone in person, whom I had earlier "met" on line.  And before you ask, JP knows all about it!

I "met" C on line in November when we were both undergoing the "Orange Rhino" challenge and virtual Book Club.  She initially contacted me personally because my data mentioned my general geographical location, and it ends up that we live less than 1 hour away from each other.

We emailed each other several times a week during the month of November, mostly to encourage each other in our commitments to stop the yelling, and to vent about how incredibly hard it was to do.  Once the virtual Book Club ended, we continued to text each other periodically.  Yesterday she told me that things were rough this month, as her husband was recently laid off from his employment, but said that on the up-side, she suddenly found herself with more free time.  She asked if I'd like to meet her for coffee or lunch sometime, and I-know-this-is-short-notice-but...she would be about half way between our homes today.

I was pretty anxious about it...wondering if we would have anything at all in common besides our desires not to yell at our families.  Would I say something stupid, or would there be a lot of those awkward silences in our conversation?

So, we met at Krispy Kreme for coffee and a donut this morning, which turned into a 2 1/2 hour conversation about our families, our parents, our jobs, summer camp, school, not yelling, 2 hour delays, running, yoga, pets, coupons, interesting local festivals, you name it.  I came away with a new friend, AND a dozen donuts.

Not a shabby accomplishment for this morning!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Making Trouble

So...this hand surgery thing is proving to be a bigger dealio than I was expecting.

When my Family Doc asked about latex allergies at my yearly physical/pre-op check, I mentioned that over the past couple of years that I had developed an allergy to kiwi fruit, with itching and swelling of my mouth.  There can be some "cross-over" allergies between kiwi and latex, so she decided to test me for this during my pre-op blood work.

Lo and behold, the latex allergy test came back showing moderate to severe latex allergy!  Now, I've had lots and lots of latex exposure after working in medicine, particularly in the Operating Room, for 20 + years.  However, I have never had any reaction to gloves or medical equipment.

The results of this test surprised me, but apparently they freaked out the Orthopedic Surgeon.  His nurse, the Anesthesiologist, and he all called me yesterday.  I also sneaked in to see my kids' Allergist yesterday, to get his opinion.  He actually recommended that I carry around an Epi-Pen, which is to self administer epinephrine should I start to have an anaphylactic reaction to something!


The Anesthesiologist refuses to do my surgery at the (much closer) Outpatient Surgery Center where it was initially scheduled because of the lack of ICU facilities there.  So, it has been moved to a (more distant) hospital instead.  This is only the 3rd time in his 5 year history there that it has been done.

I'm sure I got the personal phone calls from the Surgeon and the Anesthesiologist because I did NOT simply say "ok, go ahead and move my surgery."  Instead I told them that I was disappointed that they were not accommodating my allergy, and that I was getting a second opinion from an Allergist.  (Turns out THAT didn't really help my case!)

Kicking and screaming...totally.

Let's hope that surgery and recovery go far better than the whole Pre-Operative thing has so far!

Where's the Bear? #15

Oops!  I caught the bear in the shower, with shower caps on each ear!

Sunday, February 22, 2015


My Dad called this morning to ask if Kali had been down the hill in the past 24 hours.  He saw big dog prints on the Spring Road (halfway down our driveway), and wondered if they were from her.

She had not been that far from the house, so I went down myself to check things out.  On the way, I saw rabbit tracks.

Those little guys can really move!  You can see that they can hop further than my biggest stride, which is about 4 feet.

These I think are from a squirrel, as they ended at the base of a tree.

At one point, it also dug in the snow...looking for a buried acorn?

I also saw raccoon prints and opossum prints, but they did not photograph well.

When I got to the tracks, they were confusing.  At one point they looked typically canine, which is to say that you can see the toenails in their print. 

Here is Kali's print, which is not very clear, but a big larger than those previously.

This is Stella's print, quite a bit smaller.

Some of the tracks looked more cat-like, meaning they were rounder and did not show claws, as cats retract their claws when walking.  These were about 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size.

These are from our barn kitties, only an inch or slightly less in size.

Since all of the prints down on the Spring Road came from the same animal (they were in the same line of tracks), they had to have been canine, and most likely from a coyote.  At the closest, I found its tracks within 200 feet of the barn (and therefore from the chickens.)  I think it is likely male, as I found urine markings, without signs of squatting.  Perhaps he has had an old injury on one of his hind feet?

I also saw deer tracks.

And in the chicken run, I saw the chickens' typical asterisk print.

That is the extent of my afternoon walk in the Poplar Ridge woods!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where's the Bear? #14

You will all be glad to know that news of the bear's demise was somewhat premature.  He is alive and well, and enjoying the snow.  The girls have already had 2 snow days this week, and he was out there sledding right along with them!

The verdict is still out on whether or not his fall last week was intentional.  It was certainly suspicious!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling 22

Ok, Taylor Swift, maybe I'm not feeling *quite* 22, but I thought I was doing pretty good for my age.  True, some mornings I wake up and feel about 72, but a cuppa Joe and 20 minutes on the elliptical usually gets me going.

Last week I had a Physical scheduled with my Family Doc.  When she walked into the exam room, she handed me this envelope filled with information for folks my age.

Middle Age?  Really?  I can hardly believe that I'm at my peak right now and it's all downhill from here!

Yesterday I had an appointment with the Orthopedic Hand Surgeon.  He told me that I have fairly advanced arthritis in my thumb for someone MY AGE.  I am now scheduled for hand surgery in a couple of weeks in which he will actually remove one of my hand bones, and re-route a tendon so that the joint in the base of my left thumb will no longer be rubbing bone-on-bone.

Young people do not have surgery for advanced arthritis, right?  So it must be true.  I must have reached Middle Age.


I went to visit my 99 year old Grandmother a week ago.  She is starting to show her age.  But if she was labeled "Middle Aged" at my age, she would still have over half of her life to live!

I refuse to believe it.

I also would have refused surgery, if it were not for gardening season coming up soon, in which I want to be able to dig without being slowed down by advanced arthritis in my thumb.

So there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where's the Bear? #13

The bear appears to have had an accident going down the stairs.  Or was it an accident?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Completely Unexpected

I woke up this morning, anticipating a lazy, laid back kind of day.  We didn't have any concrete plans, except to perhaps watch a movie.

When I went in the kitchen to make my daily pot of coffee, there was a puddle of water coming out from under the refrigerator.  Great.  We had issues with the water for the ice maker/water dispenser leaking which cause flooding about 3 months ago!

Last time (luckily) the water drained through the floor and right into the girls' bathtub, which is directly below.  The paint above and around the shower surround bubbled up and peeled off, and I had intended to paint that bathroom this winter.  I even finally chose a paint color!

This time, the water again ran into the tub, staining and peeling more paint in the process.  It also travelled into the girls' room next door, and made a hole in the ceiling! 

Long story about the refrigerator, (which I actually blogged about back in 2009), The space for the refrigerator was too small, we couldn't open the doors, so our builder revised the plans and we consequently lost the door to our pantry.  Also, all of our appliances were from the Sears Scratch & Dent outfit near here, and almost every single one had problems that were more serious than scratches or dents.  When we tried to remove the fridge from the kitchen to be repaired or replaced back then, it wouldn't fit back out once the countertops were installed!  Back then, JP and 3 other men actually lifted it over the island to get it out.  Today, JP and I removed all the knobs from the base cabinets and slid it under.

We initially planned to order a new refrigerator, and had either Sears or Lowes had the right thing in stock, we may have a new refrigerator now.  They did not, and we do not.  The fridge is, however, the first thing you see when you walk in the door.  We discussed the issue, and we might just switch this one (since it still actually works) with the extra fridge, which is a bit smaller.  It's definitely the cheaper option.

While the fridge was empty, I decided to thoroughly clean it out, as it was fairly disgusting inside.  JP wondered why I did that since at that point in time, we intended to get a new one.  I told him that I didn't want the movers to think I was a slob!  Since we are likely keeping it, I'm glad it's clean!

During this whole clean up and moving process, J got a phone call from her buddy who lives up the road, to say that they were offered a bunny with a fancy pedigree, along with cage, feeder and water bottle for $20, would she be interested?

Ultimately, our friends brought the bunny by to see if we wanted it, and he now resides in the Chickbit house, along with our 14 hens.  He is a cute little thing, soft as velvet.  J and Granddad are formulating the perfect high-falutin' pedigree rabbit name, so for now he's just "Bunny."

Downstairs is still a mess, with the ceiling tiles out in the bathroom, plaster all over the floor in the girls' bedroom, and fans running both places.  I'm trying to avoid going down there, as it makes me feel sick to my stomach.

JP has run to town for rabbit supplies, and to pick up some dinner...we haven't eaten since breakfast!

I should really go downstairs and clean up a little bit.  I really should...

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Chicken Update: Maybe Not Entirely Stupid, Appear to Have Some Common Sense

Just a quick update on how the chicken training is going.  I've mentioned that the hens have not appeared to be able to figure out the new "chicken door" that JP installed.  I have chased them outside almost every day for a week and a half now.  On Monday, 2 of them came out when I called for them (which means kitchen scraps).  But every day, I have had to herd most of them back into the hen house at the end of the day.

Last night, being the ineffective Farmer that I am, I forgot about the chickens until after dark.  When I ran out to check on them, they had all safely returned to the hen house.

I've chased them outside twice today so that they can work on their suntans, which means that they all returned on their own once.

I may not be a great Farmer, but I'm an excellent chicken it seems!

Where's the Bear? #12

Thanks to my Dad, who suggested that last week's bear picture be captioned "Old McDonald Bear".

It has been a crazy week, weather wise.  We went from snow to rain on Sunday, to a frigid low of 9* F Tuesday morning, to a balmy high of 47* this afternoon!  All of that precipitation, freezing and thawing, have turned our driveway into a sheet of ice. 

It's very exciting to slide down the driveway first thing every morning!  I have been extremely thankful for our new Subaru, which has a crazy thing called "X-Mode".  When I push the "X-Mode" button, a graphic pops up on the console, showing the 4 wheels and axles in green.  The car automatically will brake and maneuver down the driveway, all I have to do is steer.  The graphic shows in yellow when certain wheels or sets of wheels are being braked or stabilized or whatever.  It's pretty hi tech (ha!)

The bear seems to enjoy driving the Subaru too, but he is only allowed to do so on the "Farm", as he doesn't yet have an official driver's license.

Only 44 more days until Spring!

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Groundhog Saw His Shadow...

I should have known by the wild temperature swings.  It seems to happen every year on Groundhog Day!  When I got up this morning, it was 39* outside and windy.  3 hours later, the temperature had dropped 16* and it was snowing.

The snowflakes were tiny and perfect.  These are a few that landed on my jacket.

It feels chilly in the house.  I think I'll bake some bread and heat it up in here!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Playing in the Snow

5 years ago, on Superbowl weekend, it snowed a massive amount, the power went out, and it didn't come back on for 8 days.  We missed the Superbowl and the opening of the Winter Olympics, along with showers and some other things.  I really haven't enjoyed February since then.

Today, on Superbowl Sunday, the snow has been coming down in massive clumps.  To ease my churning anxiety, I decided to go outside and play in the snow with the girls.  They beat me outside, and were already crafting tiny snowmen on the hill by the time I was appropriately attired.

I began making a snowman of my own - a BIG one - to show them up.  I changed gears midway, and decided to roll a giant snowball down the hill like in the cartoons.  The ball got pretty massive, but then hit a bump and broke into 3 pieces.  J and I continued rolling 2 pieces down the hill, while L crafted the remaining chunk into a seat.

We planned to build a snowman with our snowballs at the bottom of the hill by the driveway.  Small problem though - the mid section was too heavy to lift on to the base!  Instead we decided to make a lying down snowman, who in the course of the crafting, became a tragically murdered snowman.

Here he is, with a stake through his heart. 

He ended up pretty large - J's feet don't touch the ground when she is sitting on his bottom!

The snow has ceased.  The temperatures are warming.  We are due for some sleet and rain this evening, which should turn our driveway into a sheet of ice.