Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tapetum Terror

And other events.

Let's see, the camping trip went great, the kids got so much work done at the park, I was very proud of them all.  Today is Park's last day, hopefully not forever but certainly for this season.  He worked twice as hard as any of us, doing the bulk of the actual 'work' and having to keep us organized and motivated and where we were the most help.  I think left to our own devices, we'd still be throwing rocks in the creek.

We are so badass.  The whole trip is blogged at the camping site.
Jason, Jake and Brit failed to get the 'we are smiling in this shot' memo.
We built this wall in FIVE hours!
It's a platform for the climbing route.

We picked up this old trash from a section of new trail.

And this trash we got out of Grundy Lake

And finally we put in this 25 foot bridge support plus leveled and squared the supports and got those in place.
AND we had to haul the wood back to the build site!

I ran out of steroids Friday morning so by Saturday night, I was back to wheezing like crazy and gasping for air.  Back to the doc, longer round of steroids and a script for Claritin.  That's going to screw up my blood test this week for our insurance, but between having low blood sugar count and breathing, I'll take breathing, thanks.  Matt pointed out that the next blood test when I am magically non-diabetic again, I will get points for taking charge of my personal health.  hahaha.  It's SO stupid, all the hoops.

Tonight I was feeling WAY better, and though I weighed in a pound less today than last Sunday at the doctor's, I wanted to get some exercise to help ward off the potential steroid chubby that 3 weeks might induce.  So, we went for a walk here on the driveway, back and forth so that when my energy crashed, I could just go inside.  We had on headlamps and had 3 cats and 3 dogs with us.  As we walked, we could see hundreds of green dots in the grass along the side of the road and they were all spider eyes!  Tapetum is that shiny stuff that makes an animals eyes glow at night.  Nia kept hiding or maybe just running off to play in the grass and we would see the tiny spider dots and her two HUGE eyes bounding toward us, then Kuma got in on it and finally 2 of the cats.  They were so scary, shiny eyes popping out from the side of the road.  I lasted all of a mile before I was done for.  Between all the eyeballs and the cats dear love of running JUST ahead and then collapsing in the road so you have to not step on them 10 times in 20 feet, it's back to the track for me until I redevelop cat amnesia.

Hoping for a VERY low-key and easy-going week so I can get back on my feet, 5 weeks is long enough for this crud to affect every moment of my day!  If the fall allergy season is this bad, I dread winter.  The kids want to do another play, they always get sick in the winter plays, all those PS kids are just crawling with germs.  Oh well, no need to borrow trouble, they have not even auditioned yet.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall 1: Work Weekend 2

This weekend we got the old tile out of the shower and Matt patched the hall bathroom floor, replaced the leaking faucet and water valves in the hall sink and sealed around the tub.  I put down new grout and tomorrow I am going to reseal the tiles and grout in both bathrooms.  Matt put fresh cement in the shower floor, when it was redone before we moved in, the floor was below the drain opening.  I tiled the bottom and we used it for years.  Over time from wear and cleanings, the tiles were getting discolored and the grout could not hold up, water was getting between the tiles and there was no way for it to drain out-so there was mildew ALL the time.  It looks SO much better in there and cleaner, too.

The sink was a surprise, we thought just one part was leaking and bought that one part and then discovered the whole faucet was leaking and the water valves and the lines, there was a cracked fitting cost a small bundle that was not in the budget.  I would still rather have a budget than just guess at everything, but it stinks when things crop up like that to wreck it.

This morning I woke up coughing and it was my 'new' cough which involves lots of gasping and Matt freaked out.  I was at the walk-in clinic by lunch.  I have walking pneumonia and some kind of bronchial something. They wanted to give me SHOTS and a chest x-ray.  I am on meds and have to go back in a week for blood tests, chest x-ray and shots if I am not breathing any better-he made lots of 'hrm' noises listening to my lungs and feeling my neck.  He and the nurse practitioner looked in my ears for about 30 seconds each and swapped significant looks.  Looks like 'that may be an opossum in there'.  And they both made noises about my throat, I left feeling like I may be secretly more sick than I thought. That was only $25 and $10 for my meds, then another $20 for probiotics and yogurt.   I think it's adult onset asthma myself.  It's not just coughing, if I talk more than 2-3 minutes in one go, I get totally winded and my voice just goes away and I have to wheeze a while.  I imagine I will be back in there Saturday for more poking.  I am bummed, I need to be healthy fast.

Okay, other than finishing painting the front of the house, which is Jake's project and I just have to be here to help, my goals this week are finishing the round of meds and being 100% better by Friday.  I want to get the shower floor sealed and new shower curtain up.  I want to have a great camping trip-6 teens, that should be interesting!  I guess I need to get my camping gear in order, menu planned and shopping done for that. Like...tomorrow.  Ack.  Come on meds, kick in!  My final goal is to pick up my camera and shoot some pictures.  I have taken seven all month.  Seven.  It's the 22nd already.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Work Weekend!

Saturday, Matt and Jake took down that huge tree in the front  yard.  It was covered, COVERED in wooly aphids that had drained the leaves until they were black.  It had lady bugs, blood sucking cone nose and other undesirable things all over it.  It had started to spread to my maples, I ended up cutting several of their branches to add to the fire we kept going all afternoon.  Luckily there was no wind and it was totally clear, so the smoke went straight up-no lung attacks for the hacking population.

The tree was also directly in front of the internet antenna, so our connection speeds are better now.

We mowed, I mean super mowed where you get the corners and edges and all that.  I ran around with the clippers and clipped down the bigger weeds growing along the fence across the front and foraged into the brush pile across the road and an hour later, found the mailbox.  Well, 1/3 of the mailbox, but it's the third she puts the mail in, so that was good.  The past couple of months it's been just a door in a wall of green things that was fast becoming a tunnel to a door in a wall of green things.  I had to take scissors with me if I needed to raise the flag. I trimmed the rose bush, the butterfly bush, the forsythia, the quince and took down one million or so privet springs with the clippers or the mower.  Then I raked them all up and burned them.  Then I put weed killer directly on the stumpy bits.  YES.  Death-dealer.

The tree limbs and all the brush were burned over the weekend, all that's left is a stack of wood from the trunk and bigger limbs and the stump.  And a huge pile of ash.  Update: we made a fire pit!

I love it!

We bought stuff to finish fixing the hall bathroom floor and redo the shower floor in here, we bought enough paint to at least finish the front of the house and the kids already have a whole section double-coated, it looks great!  We bought wood to replace that last row of fascia board, we bought curtains for 3 more windows.  I bought paint for Ben's previously pink and purple closet doors.  Now they are green.  They need one more coat to be done.  We bought solar lights to go next to the frog pond I dug as a joke in the spring.  It has 11 frogs now!  It's very badly located as far as walking around at night, so now there's a little light right by it, I hope the frogs don't mind, but I did not want to step in it and squash them all.

The new curtain for the front door.  Still lets in light, but makes it more private!
The budget house is spent for this month, but it's a great start.  I got up one day last week with enough energy to do something big, but not enough lung capacity to exert myself, so I tackled the budget for next year and worked out how much we can set aside to put on to projects and still do things like get a down payment for Matt's newer car, replace the roof, pay off Ben's braces and take a vacation.

I have tried to take it somewhat easy this week, after making the fire pit yesterday I felt like my rib was jabbing into my lung.  I ended up calling the nurse line out of sheer nothing else to do for myself.  She went over my symptoms and said it sounded like that rib may be broken.  Well, there's nothing to do for that other than prescription pain meds, which honestly have never helped much anyway.  They make me feel more like I don't care that I hurt than actually make it NOT hurt.  Tylenol is fine, thanks.  Found out if you wrap it, you can give yourself pneumonia.  Makes me wonder if bras are such a good idea.

We have a camping trip next week and Matt's vacation is coming up next month, I am looking forward to being elsewhere for a little while, even getting so much done around here, I have been around HERE for a solid month, barely even left the yard.  Have not even seen friends since we got back from Tennessee.  It's been a very lonesome summer!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Summer Day 81: Nearly Done

Nearly done with these damn allergies, that is!  I feel better today than I have in nearly 2 weeks-the fact that I have not thrown up for the first time in 12 days is enough to warrant a celebration.  Even if I am still coughing so hard, I break a sweat.  Whatever has set us off must be dying off.  To be safe, next year I am going to the beach for September-the whole month.  I can't do this level of ick again, it's horrible.  Every aspect of being under the weather is like a shard of glass poking me.  I don't like feeling weak, I don't like being tired, I don't like coughing and having to blow my nose ALL the time.  Every time I had a spark of life, I would jump up and clean.   I don't like clutter and I hate having the laundry back up at all.  It made the times that all I could manage was sitting up more bearable.  The kitchen suffered the most, as usual.  With everyone making what they felt like eating and only one person a day assigned to wash the was bad.  Matt kept bringing home food and it would get unloaded on the counters and table and just sit there.  Cold stuff got put away and everything else became a total mystery as to where it went.

I got that knocked out, I took the dogs for a long walk, I got the mail all caught up, the laundry all put away, cleaned the porch, washed and refilled all the water and food dishes for the cats and dogs, reorganized my Netflix queue, watched the first 4 episodes of the new season of Supernatural with Jake and he and I fleshed out our action hero guy.  We are tired of action heroes with limited death-defying abilities, this guy can make a silencer for his gun from his own fist.  He's super tough.  Jake wants to name him Gui Mann.  Mr. Mann. It's almost as good as my favorite hero protagonist's name ever-Hiro Protagonist from Snowcrash.  Even Hiro had his limits.  In the opening scene alone he nearly failed to deliver a pizza on time.  That is an AWESOME book...I have the t-shirt.

I am still working on my story with Chan. Sam and Jane are currently still in a canoe, but are about to find their dog, Jones Bones Jones, who will aid them in many future adventures.  Jones is a real dog, not like this dog we have staying here this week.  Bailey is the weirdest dog ever.  She has a tiny head and little shiny button eyes.  Her legs are each as long as her entire body and she's covered in shag carpeting.  She has a tiny mouth, like the size of a preying mantis mouth.  Yet she can make this...sound.  It's like she's on fire, so there are these yelps of panic mixed in with lower 'arooo rooo rooo' sounds, high pitched yarps and the entire time, she's doing this scramble dance with her legs going all over.  And she does this all with next to no provocation.

Other than a valiant effort to simply feel human and not squint with envy any time I see someone laying down and NOT coughing out a lung as a result, I have been reading.  I read The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Excellent book.  I read Dan Brown's Inferno.  I read Winter's Sea by Susanna Kearsley, I read a translated version of Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Alder-Olsen, which I loved.  I have developed a 'thing' for Scandinavian crime novels, though I have yet to find any crime novel I have liked as much Tana French's debut novel, In the Woods, even her next three.  I read R.L. Stine's book Midsummer Night's Scream, too. I read The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson, which is a second book in the Shades of London series.  Loved the first, the second did not have the same feel, hoping it was a set-up for the third to get back to 'normal'.  And finally, I finished up Bill Bryson's book about Shakespeare.  Now I am sitting in the void of between.  Matt is reading The Passage by Justin Cronin, the one I read a couple weeks ago via my Nook.  He got it from the library, sucker is nearly 800 pages long!  No wonder it felt like I was reading 6 different stories.  It's still top 5 for the year.  I should make a top 10 list this favorite book ever is still The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  They are making it a movie, I hope they don't screw it up.

That's it-a full recap of the last couple of weeks.  I am concentrating on getting past this funk, Matt and I are dreaming big and tent shopping, planning how to get everything in the van after several years of hauling it in Poppy.  We have some stuff coming up next week, this weekend is set to be a work weekend around the house, I hope I will be able to pitch in.  Just trying to breathe like a normal person has been work enough lately.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hack hack

Ben started it 3 weeks ago with a horrible cough.  By the time we were back from Tennessee, Chan had it and in a day or two, so did I.  The doc said allergies-post nasal drip to be exact.  Something has us making snot, THAT'S for certain.

At first, it killed my appetite, then as the weekend hit, I started coughing any time I ate anything.  Coughing until I throw up.  The last thing I have kept down was a cantina bowl from Taco Bell that I had Friday with Amanda and her kiddos.  Since then, even applesauce triggers a hacking fit.  So,  I have been drinking blueberry kefir and V8 smoothie in tiny sips.

I have tried so many allergy and cold medications that my face feels like it belongs to someone else.  I brush my teeth and I can't FEEL the toothbrush.  But my nose is still going nuts, Ben still has his cough-though not as bad any more.  Chan is still going strong, I can tell the second she wakes up-she heralds the day with a bout of hacking.  Her eyes are watery, too.  Mine might be if I had any interest in looking in a mirror.

The worst of it is how WEAK I feel.  I know it's low blood sugar, but my usual chores leave me panting and my head pounding.  And I am sore from head to toe.  That's likely dehydration.  BLAH, I say.  BLAH.  My tennis elbow is acting up and I have not done anything more athletic than hold my Nook.  :(  I am really tired of feeling crappy.