Thursday, December 29, 2011

Creeping toward The Years End

I can smell the tacos. The hamburger, seasoned and spooned into the corn tortillas that have been fried in hot oil and shaped into a "U" to hold the meat, lettuce, tomatoes and cheese have started the tastebuds  gasping. I'm hungry.

The husband is cooking. For the past two evenings we have gorged on fast food from McDonalds' and Burger King. I have to say, it was a nice change. Occasionally a nice greasy burger and some crisp fries hit the spot. The best part of the burger experience is the lack of leftovers.

Cooking for two people leaves enough leftovers for too many days following. Since I'm the only one here that will eat them, we waste too much food. I cringe everytime I open the refrigerator door and see all those plastic containers of leftovers that will soon merge with the garbage disposal.  I say we eat out more often. The kitchen would stay cleaner, the dish detergent would last longer and my fridge would have empty shelves which would save on cooling all those leftovers that will eventually get trashed anyway.

I have the arguments. I don't have an audience that will listen. The husband likes to cook and there in lies the problem.

I've had a relatively quiet day. More Christmas decorations were packed away. I had time to give some attention to my GPS.  The GPS update disc I got for Christmas defeated me. I couldn't load it into my GPS to update the maps. It's really not that critical for me that I have the latest updates but it is for the husband. His GPS guides him to the nearest hotels while he is on his trips for business.

I deleted most of the different languages from it to obtain more space but it still wasn't good enough. The maps required more space.

 The husband went off to Walmart and bought a new one for himself. He will gift his old one to the daughter. I will keep the one I have; it will serve me well based on the small amount of traveling I do alone now.

I'm sick of being sick. I'm on the mend except for the sinus problem. I can hear my heart beat in my ears. When I talk my voice echoes from a barrel or at least that's the way it sounds to me. I've been told that living in a humid climate long enough will eventually cause these problems. I can imagine creepy crawly things growing in the fungus and mold that line my sinus cavities. I tilt my head back while standing in front of a mirror to inspect my nostrils. I'm relieved each time I don't find a green moss crawling out to rest on my lip.

I have a very active imagination.

It's very quiet on the job scene here. The husband has the next week free and commented that if I wanted to go some where, this would be the time to do it. I haven't a clue where I would like to escape to on this side of the pond. If it were early spring, a trip abroad would be high on my list but a week is not long enough. 

I'm off to watch some television. Why break the momentum I've had going all day? Now where is that sinus pill..... 

Testing..Yet Again...Dang Computers!

Whatever the illness that has been spreading like a house on fire, it's still hangin out here. Almost everyone I know has it and has had it for weeks. I can feel my heartbeat throbbing in my ears. My sinus cavities are not cavity like.

Ear pressure, pressure behind my eyes and the aching head keep me confined to the sofa. 

It's now 3 days post Christmas and I still had the tree and the decorations spread around the living room. Even with the head aches and the other discomforts, I packed everything in it's containers and dragged them to the little house for storage.

I miss the lights. It looks a bit dull here in the house.

........and to continue the next day..
I'm waiting for my turn for the shower. The hubby is getting a new GPS and I'm hanging on to the one I have. We tried uploading new maps to them and found they don't have enough memory to be upgraded. It's a shame that was discussed while paying for that new upgrade....

I'm going to keep my old one for a while. The husband needs the most current one because of his frequent travels. That's how he finds the motels on his trips...the new motels.

I'm off to take some sinus medicine and hopefully get out of this house for a while. I'm also anxious to see if cleaning out all the bugs on this laptop will allow me now to post the link via the icon at the end of this to Facebook. Here goes! 

Ploughing Through Life: Catch Up

Ploughing Through Life: Catch Up: Somebody should have told me. I've been trying to post blog link to Face book and two days of trying different things have left me with a f...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Catch Up

Somebody should have told me. I've been trying to post blog link to Face book and two days of trying different things have left me with a few more grey hairs. Finally this evening I tried the new version of blogger which had been encouraging me to update to it for months now. I've denied those changes. We all hate change and nobody more then me. All else failing, I switched and Voila...success. I could hit the Face book tab at the end of my post and it behaved as it was designed to. Now I can obsess about something new for a while.

Since Christmas Eve, we have had cold weather and if that wasn't bad enough it had to be raining the whole time. Again on Christmas day and the day after and finally today there was sunshine. The mercury is climbing and we are headed for more normal weather. My bones will appreciate this.

I'm not usually a procrastinator. Christmas is barely a memory when I have the tree dismantled, all the other decorations shoved into a container and hauled back to storage. Not so this year. The tree still stands, the space beneath bare of all packages. The hearth has all the stuffed Santa's and elfs lined up and waiting.

The metal deer still stand on the lawn. The husband took down the lights that rimmed the roof line. I'll get to it tomorrow. 

Today we made tamales. We found a new market or at least it was new to us. Masa was purchased premixed, cheese and green chilis was spread on corn husks and steamed. This is not a favorite chore. Anything that requires more then 5 minutes of my time to prepare will never be a favorite thing for me to be doing in the kitchen. 

Tamales are a  Christmas tradition. I've skipped making them for the past few years. Today was a catch up day.

Carrie left today to spend the next 5 days with her dad unless I can talk her into coming home early. I'll give her a few days there then call and offer to go get her. I'm trying to think up suitable bribes that might get her to agree to come home. Shame on me. I know she enjoys her time with her dad and gets so excited when she can spend time with him.

Isn't three days sufficient?

It's a little past my bedtime. I'm tired. I'm sleepy..and I'm gone.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

December 25, 2011

At six years of age, my memories are few and vague. I know I believed in Santa Claus and I think I might have even believed for quite a few years more. Television at my house was limited and programs were few anyway so most of our interaction was with each other and our parents. We went to school but the other children were about as clueless as we were to what went on around them. Our world was small. That is the only way I can explain or justify what I'm about to say.

Carrie knows there isn't a Santa Claus. Sad as this makes me, I know she truly does not believe there is a Santa Claus. She cocks her head to the side, her eyes bore into mine as she questions his existence. Of course I lie and tell her there is a Santa but I know she doesn't believe me. Carrie is every analytical and very observant. I don't believe Carrie is alone in this either.

The children today are so much more aware; they are old at 6 years of age. I blame this on all the information so available to them. Carrie has surfed the web since she was barely 3yrs old. She watches the educational shows on television and she has access to all sorts of informational material.

Her toys are more sleek, more intricate then what was available to me, my siblings and my peers.

She saw Santa at her school and then again when I took her to the mall. She questions why they look different. Oh, sure they wear the same clothes but the facial features is what she focuses on. She doubts.
I think she goes along with it because she wants to appease us and I can barely face her when I lie to her.

Carrie doesn't appreciate infantile talk. She gets a disgusted look on her face when people talk "down" to her. We never threaten Carrie with dire consequences when we want her to do something. All she requires is we explain why we are doing and wanting what we want from her. I constantly remind myself to explain and reason which is what any adult appreciates.

I wonder what she thinks when she looks at me when I try to reassure her there is a Santa. Should I give it up and tell her the truth? Does she wonder why her Nanny would lie to her about something/anything?  I wonder if it's the time to explain to her the "spirit" of Santa Claus? I'll let it ride for a while or at least for this Christmas.

It's very quiet right now here at my house. I'm sitting across from the Christmas tree, the gifts beneath glitter from the wrapping paper and bows. Even with the tree lights off, the bulbs pick up rebound light from the lamps around the room. I can hear the dishwasher softly swishing water in it's cube and for now those are the only sounds I hear.

Soon the door will swing open bringing noise and laughter as the daughter's family sweep into this house to exchange gifts and have Christmas dinner. There will be much noise and confusion, chaos and mess. My tidy house will have paper and bows discarded, boxes left at where they were emptied and as each child disappears to find a place to further examine their gifts, a short quiet time will follow.

The daughter and I will collect the papers and boxes and reestablish a path through the house.

It's a bit too early to start preparing our meal for this afternoon. It's a cold morning, the pavement wet from a small rain. Not a sound of a car on the pavement.   I'll sit here and sip my coffee and relish the quietness for a while longer.

Merry Christmas to one and all. Happy Holidays to those that prefer that greeting. I'm going to get a second cup of coffee and enjoy doing nothing for this moment. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday Before Christmas

I start winding down around 1800 hrs. Any thing left undone from the day will not get done and if it does get done it will be with much grumbling. I explain this to Carrie and to her this means she must be bathed and dressed for bed before the magical witch hour of 1800.

We play in the tub, polish nails and brush hair gently as long as we don't wait too late to get to these activities. Last night was no different. I felt exhaustion cause my step to waver along with my patience. As Carrie lay soaking in the tub, I visited the master bathroom and discovered the place a mess. I should visit more often. This is the bathroom the husband uses and it was evident. The laundry hamper was spilling forth jeans, sweatshirts and wet towels.

Way past my witching hour which means I'm now into full "bitchin" mode, I was hanging the heavy jeans, towels and sweatshirts on the clothes line aided my the motion sensor lights that flicked on from their spot on the Little House. A great decision, those motion lights.
Between trips to the laundry room, the bathroom where Carrie was bathing and the clothes line in the back yard, I was working myself into getting a good night's sleep. I was tired but determined to get all the clothes washed and hung on the line.

Needless to say, I slept better then usual last night. As I stood in the kitchen preparing a pot of coffee, I could see the trees and bushes moving softly in the breeze. By the time I had finished my first cup of coffee, I could hear the metal flashing on the roof around the chimney battling the breeze. The wind has picked up and I realize that storm predicted is arriving earlier then what I expected. Grabbing the laundry basket, I almost got into race mode on the way to that clothes line. I'm ripping clothes off the line, clothes pins flying  through the air, I didn't want to have all the heavy stuff hanging on that line saturated with rain.

I made it back into the house and as I passed before that kitchen window, I could see the rain coming down in sheets. Barely made it, close call!

I'm listening to the dryer leach out the little bit of moisture in those clothes. Carrie is beside me, having just got out of bed and the husband is on his first cigarette and cup of coffee.

It's time for me to get dressed and make a list of those last items I need to purchase for Christmas dinner. That's my plans for today. 2 more days till Christmas.

I don't feel the excitement that the children are feeling. Carrie picks up packages, rearranges them beneath the tree and reads the labels. Ah, to be a child and have that anticipation. I remember it well.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is Closing in on Us

Countdown! A beautifully mild day, I puttered around inside this morning and eventually dressed and with Carrie beside me, we headed for the daughter's house to pick her up.

I had two stops to make. I wanted to get Carrie a Justin Beiber doll and then on to the market to pick up the roast for Christmas day. I found a beautiful rib eye roast for the eight people that will be having dinner  here. My menu looks sparse compared to the one served on Thanksgiving. A rib eye roast, baked potatoes, rice dressing, mac and cheese(Carrie's food), the inevitable green bean casserole, a tossed salad and hot rolls. The green bean casserole is often joked about but my family would be missing a family traditional meal without it so I oblige them and serve it. Deviled eggs. Oh, this menu is getting way out of hand now but everyone wants the dang deviled eggs. I'll delegate those to the daughter to contribute.

Brownies with a scoop of ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, a maraschino cherry and some chopped walnuts will be dessert.

 I may con the daughter into making a lemon cake, the eggs and the rice dressing. I have a plan!

And I still have a few more days to change, add or delete on this menu. I'm done for today. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And the Beat Marches On but sometimes without me!

It has been one of those mornings where I'm just a step or two off the game. My rhythm is not in sync with others around me.

This morning I peeked out between barely open eyelids to scan the clock and noting that it was only 0600 hrs and I don't have to get Carrie out of bed until 0700 hrs, I found a fresh position to lie in and closed my eyes. The next time I woke it was 0715hrs and I was profaning mildly. I leaped up and raced to the bedroom, shook Carrie awake and gave her the usual piggy back ride to the living room sofa telling her we had to hurry. "We're late." I included her in this statement knowing all the while it was "I" that was late. Carrie just follows my lead so I shouldn't expect her to take the blame for being tardy.

"We have to dress quickly. Here. Put these on while I go pack your lunch."

I poured the Beef A Roni's into a glass bowl and shoved it into the microwave, while fingers quickly skimmed the keypad entering cook time and I was off to the living room again. We quickly dressed. There I go with that inclusive "we". Carrie passively and while still half asleep let me drag her red uniform shirt over her head, pull on her bright red tights and slip on her tan uniform skirt. On with the Keds, laced up and tied and back to the kitchen to pour the noodles into her Thermos.

I threw everything into her new lunch box, grabbed her book bag and her hand and went racing for the car. Poor Carrie. I think she was still asleep as we headed for the bus stop.

As we turned on Palermo, I could see the big yellow bus sitting at her bus stop, door open and the children climbing aboard. I was waving my arm out the window to make sure the driver didn't leave without us. I'm sure she recognized my car from seeing it at the bus stop every morning this year but I was too stressed to think about it.

Whipping open the door, I grabbed all Carrie's belongings while she crawled across the seat and behind the steering wheel to get out of the car. We made it. A minute later and we would have been driving to school. I wasn't wearing matching pajama tops and bottoms but I was wearing flip flops and I'm sure the school has seen much worse fashion then what I would have displayed.

This is not the way I like to send Carrie off to school. She should be calm and unhurried nor harried. This was her first day to pack her lunch and I worried that she would leave her lunch on the bus, especially noting how she arrived on that bus today.

I returned home, showered and dressed and did a few chores. Today was the day I promised myself I would make it to the salon to get a hair cut.

I watched the clock. I planned on surprising Carrie at lunch today with a visit. I did get the haircut and managed to find Carrie's school and then found I was not on the "list" of parent approval to interact with her at the school. There goes that rhythm thing again. The daughter had to drive to the school and register me as one of the people that could be allowed to see Carrie and also a "contact" person should Carrie need someone to check her out of school.

While I waited on the daughter, I sat in the office and watched as each class of kindergartners marched to the lunch room. Soon Carrie's class appeared and each child smiled, paused and waved at me. Carrie eventually came by and the look of surprise was priceless. I popped open the door and told her I would meet her in the lunch room as soon as I could.

Hamburgers were on the menu. I watched again as most of the food served was scraped from the plates and into the garbage. What kid doesn't like hamburgers? I asked the children and they said "They don't taste real."

I'm still appalled at the waste. The trays today had the fake hamburger, a small bag of Doritos, pineapple chunks and chocolate pudding. The chocolate pudding was prepackaged small containers  that can be found in the grocery stores.

I watched as the children that packed their lunches finished their meal while their peers left that lunch room just  as they had appeared 30 minutes earlier. Unfed.  

Carrie ate her Beef A Roni and her chocolate pudding and drank her water. This is much more then what she would have consumed had she picked up one of those trays.

We will have a Christmas break and when she returns to school, she will again pack a lunch.

Me? It's nap time for me. I'm hoping "rythm" kicks in for the remainder of this day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bon Apetit

I can breathe. Both nostrils are clear though the sneezes are still around and the lung conjestion remains but I can inhale!

I've spend hours in the office this morning. I entered with one intent. I want to burn a few CD's and print some personalized labels for them.

How does all that stuff accumulate on that desk? I sorted through it and spent another bit of time shredding mail that was weeks old and spread on the desk. I really need to pay more attention to that office. I've lost all interest in it as the husband promises to make it a project and redo the whole thing.

That was yesterday..and today I was back again. My friend Pat wanted some pictures scanned and printed. That was my afternoon. My morning was spent at Carrie's school. Parents and grandparents volunteer to assist the teacher in the projects she has for the children and today they were making ornaments.

21 children at 5 big round tables that only rise about two feet from the floor gathered around to make an ornament assisted by a parent. As that ornament was finished, each table group  moved to the next table and the parent in residence would help them with the next ornament. Reindeer made from pizza slices with pretzels as horns and raisens for eyes, gingerbread men on brown cardboard and Christmas trees made from brownie cakes and decorated with M & M's, the children glued with Elmer's or cake icing and finished their projects an hour before lunch.

The daughter and I were going to spend lunch with Carrie so instead of driving home we went to a grocery store closeby and did some shopping. We insist Carrie eat a school lunch in the hopes that she will observe the other children eating vegetables and if nothing else, get hungry enough to eat them too. 

I can still remember the smells of home cooking drifting down the hallways and into our class rooms as noon hour approached. The aroma of the hot rolls baking, the baked steak and gravy, spaghetti, meat loaf and mashed potatoes and all the other wonderful meals prepared by those cooks was the best part of our day. I assumed this was how food was still being served at the schools.

Back to the school and in time to escort the class down the long hall to the dining room we paced quietly. "Hip and lip" the teacher chanted to remind the little ones to put one hand on their hip and one finger on their lip with the results of having both hands occupied and to themselves.

Pizza, grapes, corn niblet and salad filled the trays. We stood in line along with the little ones and found a table to sit together for lunch. I now know why Carrie begs to take her lunch. When did the schools quit cooking and start putting prepackaged "stuff" on those trays. I watched silently as most of the children drank their milk and carried their untouched trays to the window to be scraped into the trash. Not even the Pizza was consumed. What child doesn't like Pizza?

The cardboard-like crust was thick and dry. I thought for a moment it was wheat crust. It was frozen pizza that had been heated.  The grapes were tasty and so was the corn but few children were enticed to eat them. The salad was served without a dressing unless the child knew it was in little cups at the counter. Italian dressing was in those little cups.

I can't imagine how many little children really want to eat Italian dressing.

I'm so impressed about the standards that have been set for healthy meals at the schools said sarcastically. The snack machines and the soda machines have been removed to encourage the children to eat healthy. It isn't working. Now all the food served is being scraped from those plates and into the garbage.

I did notice that not one teacher picked up one of those trays. They packed their lunches and that's exactly what we will be doing for Carrie in the future.

I called the daughter and arranged to pick up Carrie. We drove to Walmart and purchased a  lunch box and a Thermos.

Carrie was so excited that we had finally agreed to let her pack her lunch. She covered my face with kisses and thanked me over and over as we drove to Walmart to purchase her lunch box.

The school year is now half over. Better late then never I suppose. Carrie will look forward to her lunch hour instead of dreading to go into the lunch room.

I did check with other parents and found they had tried the lunches early in the school year and  had been packing lunches all these months of school.

I'm so sorry Carrie. I promise to be more alert to your complaints in the future.

The evening was spent with Carrie rewrapping all the Christmas gifts. I went today and bought pretty bright glittery wrapping paper, bows and ribbons and made all the packages gorgeous. Note to self: give up on cheap wrapping paper. It's ugly. It tears easily. It looks gloomy and so UNholiday like.

I'm tired and I'm going to bed early. I have a lunch to pack tomorrow morning and I'm all done in.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

and Continued

I've hugged the sofa most of this day. With remote control in hand and a warm fuzzy blanket to wrap around myself, the ceiling fan pushes cool air over me for those times when a hot flash attacks and I rip the blanket off to cool down.

It has been quiet here today except for the television that is always on, sometimes with sound and sometimes muted. The husband stays in the bedroom  buried in his book "Mac for Dummies" where he is learning to do his Office program on a Mac instead of a PC. When he becomes proficient on the Mac, he won't have to carry two laptops on his jobs. The mini scanner he carries is compatible with his Mac and so is the mini printer that travels with him. That saves him a few more hundred dollars on replacing them.

I'm finishing up my evening by watching the local college team play their bowl game in New Orleans. It's been over 40 yrs since this college has had a season that allows them to have a bowl game. Amazing what a new coach will do for a team.

I'm going to put myself to bed right after I swallow a handful of pills that are supposed to help with the sneezes and the snorting and the headaches. With a little luck I may even be able to breath while I sleep.
I'm done..

Friday, December 16, 2011

Reindeer, Sleds and Lights

Most of my shopping is done..except for the food I'll be preparing for Christmas dinner. I'm not in a hurry to buy and then try to find a place to stash it until the big day.

The last time I wrote, it was to announce how crappy I felt. Nothing has changed. Sometimes my nose is so obstructed, I can't breathe at all through it so I resort to looking like an oxygen deprived  gaping fish, mouth open, eyes mere slits while I toss and turn on the sofa trying to find just that right spot for comfort.

The daughter stopped by with the Netti Pot and some antibiotics. Clutched in my fist  is a bottle of nasal spray. When I remember to use it, I can breathe normally for a while and I zip off for a nap. 

Carrie will be spending the weekend with her father. Exposing her again to this cold after she is on her road to recovery from her misery last week will be avoided which  means I'll fore go seeing her today. She will be back Sunday afternoon and I'll feel better by then.

As the holiday approaches, the wrapping paper and decorations go on sale. I've been watching the newspaper ads and yesterday I made a trip to Big Lots, home of the discounted everything and bought a few of those lighted metal figures and amid the dripping nose and aching head, we put them together and took them to the yard. A deer draped in white mini lights, the head swings from side to side and another figure of a sleigh and a deer pulling it has squatted in my day lily bed. A snowman stands in the concrete planter on one of the half columns of brick that border the front porch.  Extension cords snake across the porch and into the yard. Every one of them are hooked to a remote control device allowing me to hit a button and turn them on and off without ever having to step out into the 40 degree temperatures. Carrie will love them.

And finally, my friend and neighbor Pat stopped by the house last night. She was dressed in a beautiful white sweater covered in seed pearls and a pair of dress black slacks. Pat was on her way to a Christmas church dinner where she would meet up with friends. I had to shoot a few pictures of her.

It's time to warm up a bowl of the chicken soup the husband cooked last night. I won't be able to taste it but I'll have some anyway. Based upon my husband's recovery from this illness, I should be feeling better by tomorrow and brand new by Sunday. I'm counting on it.

...and now for the chicken soup.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Had I Known

My pointless inexcusable whining would have been stifled. Had I known that the weather, be it too hot or too cold was only a matter of dressing appropriately for it and not a reason to complain.

This morning I have a reason to whine. My head is being held in a vise causing my ears to pop and my ear drums to flutter from theri moorings and along with the flutter comes a giant twitch of pain.

My sinuses swing from being a spout that has been left in the open position to a hermetically sealed vault trapping all that drainage and shoving it up towards  my ear drums.

I have moments of clarity short lived and then I'm dosing off again while sniffling and snorting and moaning.

Mouth breathing leads to a sore throat, dried mucous membranes in the mouth  which only adds to the crappiness I'm feeling here.

It's time for me to swallow a few more pills..drink a Alka Seltzer solution and let the Ambin kick in. If you will  excuse me, I'll be leaving the room to find a place to plant myself. 
I have to leave right now..the Ambien is kickin in, the eyelids are barely open and I'm on my way to 7 hrs of sleep. g'night...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

SEC Champs

I would hardly classify myself as a gung ho football fan. I'll sit still for an LSU game and most of the Saints games. My husband gorges all weekend on all the games played and so do a few female friends of mine. The husband is in Arkansas on a job and I'm home alone.

This afternoon around 1430 I crept upon the sofa and settled in to watch LSU play Georgia for the SEC Championship game. It was touted as an easy win for LSU and the husband assured me there was nothing to worry about on this one. The first half of the game the Tigers made NOT ONE down. I had to listen to the announcers repeat this over and over and watch as the Bulldogs put 10 points on the board.

I looked around for my car keys. It was time to go shopping. 

The second half of the game started and from there it was all game for the Tigers. The Bulldogs didn't make another point while the Tigers fired up the scoreboard for a total that ended the game in the high 40's while the Bulldogs had their 10 points from the first half of the game. LSU collected their trophy along with the title and the party was on. The best part of this was that I spent the last half of the game with the neighbors and their usual group of friends where the wine, beer and snacks were plentiful.

The pot of Gumbo I had left simmering on the stove was ready for the chicken and sausage to be added. Right now I'm waiting for it to reach the finish line so I can store it in the freezer for the daughter and then go to bed.  While I'm waiting, I may as well watch the Big 12 play their championship game. The Oregon Ducks and UCLA are playing and the fourth quarter has the Ducks at 49 and UCLA at 24. It's obvious who will be picking up that trophy.

I'm full now..of football. I've had enough. I only allow a few hours for it and that time has been spent.

I'm trolling the channels for some mindless entertainment before I call it a day and head for the bedroom. I'm done.

High Tech Nightmares

"Are you there?"  A pause, and a deep breath and "Can you hear me now?" and the conversation signaled it was dead when I heard that digital beep and the screen on the iPhone switched  back to the menu.

The top drawer of the dresser in the master bedroom houses an impressive collection of "old cell phones" that have went to the bone yard for various reasons. They are now kept as spares to be used in the event that the ones we are carrying now get lost or are stolen. Both these events happen often with cells.

The husband is in Eldorado, Arkansas. My cell phone blasts a disaster siren, the ring tone assigned to him, and I slide the screen selector to the "on" position only to hear a sputtering of sliced and diced words. I speak into the phone telling him I can't understand a word he is saying and then touch the "end call" on the screen and pocket the phone. This is not the first call attempted from his location there so there was no point in waiting around on the phone for it to clear up. We are back to communicating via email. Technology...don't ya love it?

Yesterday while shopping, I was approached by a salesman for Direct TV. Do I really want to go "satellite" on my television reception? Do I need 214 channels? After listening to his spiel for about 30 minutes, I told him I would get back to him.

I came home and made some phone calls to family and friends about Direct TV. One person is still waiting on customer service to come to her home to find the problem with her reception. It's been weeks since she had TV reception. Another says "I can call cable TV and they are quick to address the problem; I wouldn't have Direct TV even if it was free!"

 I looked at flat screen TVs and admired the 46 inch Vizio that was reduced to less then 500.00 and was tempted. Maybe they have improved the life span on these flat screens? I came home and typed into Google "complaints on Vizio TVs" and the horror stories flung themselves against my screen.  Just for fun, I typed in "complaints on Sony LED"s" and "complaints on Samsung LEDs" and on and on with different manufacturers. Try it sometime and especially right before you go to buy an "upgrade" to that old trustworthy CRT  set you have been watching for the past 15 years.

I still carry a cell phone wherever I go and hope I don't enter a dead zone when it's crucial that I need to use it. I'm staying away from Direct TV and flat screens for now. Gone is the hope that those flat screens have improved since the 1500.00 one I purchased that lasted 3  years before it was kicked to the curb. I'm not ready to try another one until someone can assure me that they have improved.

I'm off to go Christmas shopping for non tech items. I'm back to stuffing stockings with toothpaste, brushes and gift cards for gasoline.

Merry XMass? and I'm done.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2 yrs, 9 months TKR Update

It's been a while since I've posted any information regarding my knee, the bionic one. March 2009 I was admitted into the hospital for a total knee replacement.

The weeks and months following that replacement sent me spiraling through a list of emotions ranging from anxiety pre surgery to relief at having it done post surgery then impatient to get moving again to falling into depression and anger and finally back to being grateful that I had it done but that didn't come about until almost a year post op.

Today I talked to a woman that was 9 days post op. She was anxious about where she should be in her recovery. I knew exactly how she feels. "Slow down, you're doing fine."
I think she felt there was some goal point she should be at by now. I hope our little talk today will carry her through the next three months; at that time she may need another reality check. The best weapon you can have when you enter into this surgery is patience. The hardest thing to acquire is that patience. As the days drag on and you're living with this leg that is weak, scarred and sore, you want the healing to hit a pace that you can recognize as progress. Unfortunately progress is so minute it's barely noticeable until one day you walk without pain, the swelling in the knee has decreased so much that the knee no longer looks like a part that belongs to someone else and you can stride along for long periods of time and the leg doesn't feel fatigued. This won't happen for months and months. Did I mention patience? Initially I would project myself ahead one month and how I would be pain free and moving about freely. My mistake was the time frame being so short. I should have started with a projection of three months minimum. Lessons learned.

There will be days when you worry that others are ahead in their healing and you are lagging. It's different for all of us. Their aches and pains may be different from yours. Your flexion and extension will define your knee. I had trouble with extension. I couldn't get the leg to fully extend so I went from hanging telephone books across it while sitting with the foot propped on the coffee table to sitting on the floor with a pillow across the knee and a 10 lb metal weight resting atop that pillow. I learned very quickly early on to take the medicines prescribed for pain and especially right before I plopped that 10 lb weight on my knee. I would make it through my rehab and then go to bed for a long nap. I slept a lot. I attribute this to the magical meds I swallowed every four hours.

Today I have about 120 to 130 degree flexion on my knee with full extension. Gone is the slight limp. My surgeon was correct when he told me to ease up on all the worrying I was doing. He said "in time  and with walking, your leg will eventually get full extension".

I'm not sure exactly when this happened but it did and it was a gradual progression. My surgeon says "your knee is 'functional' meaning I don't have full flexion but I can climb steps, ladders and do most things I could do pre surgery. It is not recommended that I run, or ski and impact sports and activities should be avoided. I'm ok with that.

I ride a bike to keep the knee limber and the leg muscles strong. I've been lax in doing that lately; I plan on getting back to it and get a schedule for riding with the next wave of warmer weather here.

That's my "almost three years" update. I'm still smoke free which happened on the day of my total knee replacement. Almost three years now and I don't crave a cigarette. I'm totally amazed that something I did for so long and was so addicted to is now just a memory. I like to tell people the reason I quit my RN career was my sense of smell is so sensitive now, the odors of a hospital were intolerable.

If you are planning on a TKR or are in the process of recovery, you have my empathy. You will recover. It won't be in a matter of days or a couple of months. Set aside a year to be done with the weird muscle cramps, the nights when there seems to be no position to put it in to sleep and the feelings that you are a prisoner to this surgery. There will be many days when you question your decision to have this done. It's "all normal". Just knowing that other TKRs had the same fears, doubts and emotions was the most helpful thing to getting me through it.

Here's to your decision to have it done and to many years of pain free walking that are in your future.