Friday, June 3, 2011

Mucinex D, how I love thee.

I had a cold in the early part of May.  Actually, a full month ago. When it started, I just attributed my issues to allergies. 

It was a cold.

The cold has come and finally gone, but I still have this cough from a tickle in my throat.  I kept feeling like I had a constant massive dangling mass of mucus in the back of my throat that made me gag from time to time.  I finally had it when I realized that I had coughed so much that I had obviously pulled something in my neck, causing a tendon or something to snap occasionally when I swallowed.  It was at that time that I went into hypochondria mode.

I panicked.

I didn't sleep. 

I kept feeling my neck to see if there was a mass or some type of lump or something. 

I would finally fall asleep, swallow hard, whatever was angry would snap, it would wake me up and I did the rinse and repeat of the above all night.  Add to that the stress and sadness of losing a good friend and all that could come to my mind was, "I'm coming Home, Karen!"

After a night of no sleep, helping to take a class of 21 children on a 5 mile hike, taking care of 100 book challenge, helping to prepare/set-up and tear down the funeral luncheon, I was shot.  Add to that, that the neighbor girl came over to hang out for about an hour and a half, I had walked to get K- from school (2 miles round trip) and that we've been going for a family walk each night after dinner that is probably about 2 miles. 

I came up with a more reasonable plan than panic.

Take 2 Zantac.  Perhaps acid reflux is aggravating my condition. 

Take 1 Mucinex.

Sleep without a pillow.  Maybe my neck is being bent weird and that's aggravating the already aggravated. 

Go to bed early.  That one wasn't hard.  My body decided that 8:30 PM was the time it could no longer be doing the business of uprightness, so I curled up to watch TV.  I woke up about an hour later to find that I did the most attractive thing of sleeping with my mouth probably wide open because my pillow was, well, rather moist.  I flipped it over, went out on the hunt for Hubs and could not find him anywhere.  I figured he had gone running, but I didn't know what time he had left, what if something had happened . . . Then, the door opened and shut.  Hubs was home.  He was well, he didn't tell me he was going because he didn't want to wake me and let's face it, he probably couldn't have anyhow.  But you know something I did realize?  I felt better.  No thick feeling in the back of my throat.  No snap.  It was massive allergy drainage from all the tree pollen. 

Mystery solved. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Incessant vulturing.

The neighbor girl, E-, is in class with a few boys who her mom okay'd to have them come over to play occasionally.  Remember that word occasionally?  The boys are here all the time.

On Memorial Day and before 10 AM, D- and A- show up to play.  Michelle and I were out gardening while the girls played in the 20' x 15' plot of their yard that sits between their garage and our driveway.  They boys really wanted the girls to go three blocks up the road to play at the baseball fields.

All of these children are 7 and are in the first grade. 

We live in the city. 

D- and A- live all the way around on the other block, a street that sits behind my house.  Michelle thinks that the mom says, "Oh, go have fun!" and just sends them off to play where ever they can. 

While D- and A- were at Michelle's house on Memorial Day and in the early morning, confirming that no day is sacred at all and without regard to the fact that they could have plans or be having a special occasion at their home, the mom drove past and waved. 

Michelle and Mike are rather burnt.  Michelle would never say anything because she isn't that way, but Mike however . . .

The other day, Mike and Michelle were giving a slick coat to their hardwood door entry pad and I had the girls over here playing.  The girls ran over to get something and D- came around the corner.  "We're going to have to send you back today, Buddy.  The girls are playing at my house because Mike and Michelle are busy."  (Mike had come out at this point and was just standing there, watching.)  "Well, I can come over to your house to play."  "I'm sorry, Buddy.  I can't have you come to play.  I really don't know your mom, we've never talked about it and she wouldn't know where you are at.  We have to send you home today."  "Well, can they go to the baseball fields?"  "No, they are hanging at my house today.  We'll see you later." 

If I allowed D- to come and play at our house, the mom would treat it as the public park.  There would be complete disregard to the fact that we have a fence that we keep latched.  We're the ones in the neighborhood with the big, fat swing set.  Since we sit on a hill that overlooks their street, she would probably just drive half way up their road to look at the boys on a very rare occasion, then go back down.  (Remember that their road section is only a city block.)  The boys seem nice enough, but rather parasitic. 

I have to be the meanie.  I told K- that under no circumstances ever will D- and A- be allowed to come over to play.  Their moms don't care where they go, what they do and I can't be held liable for children coming over to my house all the time to play regardless of whether we are here or not. 

We like our time outside.  K- and E- are 6 months apart and they have basically grown up together.  E- can come over any time she wants.  In fact, on nice summer days, the girls run between the houses, letting us know where they are and what they are doing.  E's respectful and we don't hesitate to say if we are or aren't available (from either house). 

The mom never calls to ask if it is okay.

If something ever happens to the boys, we have no idea who to contact.  We'd have to go hunt them down, and obviously, she runs errands when she sends him off to Mike and Michelle's place. 

If you tell D- no, he continues to come back, again and again. 

I absolutely refuse to be the neighborhood babysitter.

What's your take?  Don't worry, you can be harsh.  I won't be offended.

Smiles in my day:
-  Laundry on the line.
-  Being able to walk K- to school each morning.
-  Leftover Chinese food for lunch.
-  A child that loves to go to school.

Have a great day!

A side note:
I attended the calling hours for my friend Karen this evening.  There were almost no parking places to be found.  I ended up at a car repair joint across the street.  I put a note on my dash, on the back of a church bulletin, pleading for someone not to tow me for lack of parking at the funeral home.  The line I stood in was an hour long.  We ladies cried and hugged.  Karen's husband sobbed.  Karen's daughter sobbed.  Karen is whole, but we are not.  We love that she is in heaven, but we mourn the wonderful friend that we had.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A weekend of things and an update of sorts.

K- wanted to catch a caterpillar.  She wanted to bring it inside.  I told her that we had to leave them out in their proper creature home.  She figured that if they walked into the bug house, that would be fair game.  Just to let you know, the caterpillar remained on the dill.  In fact, it is still there tonight.

This tube dealie may not seem like anything significant, but it is attached to  . . .

Our new rain barrel!  :)!!!  We have it tucked in behind our fence, in our back yard.  We thought that if we had it visible, people might goof with it.  We live in the city.  We're not a bad part of town, mind you, but we still live in the city.  We feel better about having it in the back and besides, it's closer to the garden. 

An interesting thing that I didn't know until we were trying to install the rain barrel, is that they want you to have a pad underneath it.  Crud!  We had a stone step that Hubs either dug up in the yard or found or something, but it wasn't big enough just on its own.  I told Hubs that I was going to go next door to the neighbor's fill pile (he's trying to fill a big depression in his yard) to see what he had that might work.  When I went, I found a concrete drain for a downspout.  It was perfect.  I called, got permission to pick this lovely from his pile, then off we went.  I was so happy that we didn't have to go out to spend more money.  We were able to re-purpose junk from the neighbor's fill pile and the funny thing is that he said he doesn't even know where that drain piece even came from.  It was in perfect condition! 

It came with a hose and a spiffy end so that you can shut the water off.  Hubs pulled a hook just a little wider so that I could hang the hose to keep it out of the way.

The rain barrel (AKA water urn) that I bought has a 4" deep planting depression in the top with a lovely weep hole, so that your flowers don't rot to death.  Very nice.  The combo I have going (please keep in mind that it was 90 F that day and these were in need of some water) are some volunteer Lime Green Nicotiana (purchased from Baker Creek seeds probably 5 years ago and they STILL! come back), a million bells petunia (has perked up since) and multiple colors of dianthus.  I'm excited to see how the plants will look once they are all grown up!

These are peonies from Hubs' grandmother's plant.  Aunt Debbie shared these with me right after we moved here.  I had them on the shade side of the house and they didn't do anything.  I moved them to a spot next to the drive (I really don't know why I put them where I put them) and they seem to be very happy.  Aunt Debbie shared the story about these this past weekend.  Her mother lived next door to a woman that moved here from Czechoslovakia.  Before coming to the states, she packed some of these in her bag.  She had them in her yard and shared them with Hubs' grandmother.  Aunt Debbie got some from her and once we purchased our home, some were passed down to me.  She asked me how ours are doing and I reported that they are doing wonderfully!  I should send a photo off to her.

I am so excited.  Hubs edged and mulched the front beds for the first time in a few years.  I was able to plant a mixture of dianthus (Strawberry Parfait, Diana Scarlet and Raspberry), as well as some mixed marigolds.  I can't wait to see how the colors work together when everything is grown and blooming beautifully.  Eeee!

The hanging baskets.  The front basket was purchased at a mom and pop nursery.  Hubs and K- gave me a gift certificate for Mother's Day and I couldn't resist.  The three other hanging baskets we have, I've planted myself.  I'm okay with them needing a little longer to fill out.  It's a lot cheaper that way and they don't get leggy so quick.  This post is our bird feeding area post in the winter and in the planting season, we'll have hanging baskets.  Works for me!

Speaking of, here's one of my self-planted baskets.  I have $1.50 worth of plants in there and a 20 cent pack of seeds.  This basket is at the wind corner of the house.  It takes massive abuse, so much so that I actually had to switch the geranium basket that I had wintered over for this one.  The geranium wasn't taking the abuse of this particular corner that well at all.  It is much happier hanging out at the laundry line post.

Finally, we've finished the bottom portion of K-'s swing set tower.  Hubs and K- pulled the lawn up, I fit and pinned down some landscape fabric and dropped some pea pebbles on top.  Very nice!  Hubs dug in a little bed for K- to grow some sunflowers.  We're excited to see how tall they grow next to her tower.  What's nice is that I'll be able to tie them to the tower once they get big, heavy heads on them. 
Hubs and I weren't able to finish all of the weeding and mulching.  We have one more long bed to go.  On Memorial Day, it was 90 F, massively humid and we don't really have much for shade.  That's why at the hottest part of the day, we all huddled under the eaves to get the rain barrel installed. 

We hoofed it and we are thrilled with the progress that we've made so far.  Yes, I promise pictures when everything is finished.

My Memorial Day marathon gardening session started with my friend Kim calling me to say that our friend, Karen (the church secretary) had died.  She had been ill, but Karen had always triumphed over everything.  We all knew how sick she was, so in one sense, I'm not surprised.  In a totally different way, I was absolutely shocked.  I couldn't help but to think of sweet Karen and her family.  Oh, how my heart breaks for them.  Karen was a woman of faith, Jesus was her Lord and Savior and we absolutely know that with all of our hearts, she is looking down on us.  Still, Karen was a mom to many and a friend to all.  There are times that I had to tell her that she needed to remember that she could say no.  Still, Karen was everyone's go-to girl.  You might think something is impossible, but with Karen (and God at her side), nothing was impossible at all.  Needless to say, our church has been rocked.  One of our cornerstone members is gone.  We will move on, but until then, we all grieve her passing. 

Be warned, this is gross and you may want to skip it:
In an update in regard to my grandfather's condition, he is still pressing on.  Since Grandpa has nothing other than a sound mind, he decided to not have life support removed.  He wants to "breathe his last breath" and that for him is being done by machine.  For the lack of any other way to explain it, my grandfather is necrosing from the inside out.  A vent provides oxygen to your brain and your upper torso, but the way it was explained to me is that it isn't a major long term thing to keeping limbs and whatnot all pink and healthy.  Grandpa has a flesh-eating (from the vent and not contagious) wound on his backside that has left bone exposed.  His lungs can no longer be drained, since the fluid has turned into a pudding-like substance.  The lung doctor has already signed off and has removed himself from my grandfather's case.  The present doctor in charge has explained that eventually, the vent will stop working.  He also added that eventually, the kidney dialysis will stop working.  Family members asked about resuscitating grandpa and the doctor said that the vent is doing that continually.  He also stated that two doctors can "end a life" and if two sign off, that is a case where life support can be discontinued regardless of stipulations in papers.  (Mom told me this and don't get mad at me if I'm wrong.)  Fact of the matter is that Grandpa is alive by mechanical means.  If those mechanical means are removed (Grandpa will NOT be getting any better), he has 2-3 hours max.  He had us come in last Tuesday.  He wanted to see all of us.  I saw Grandpa.  I gave him goodbyes.  This is so hard. 

I didn't write the last part to bum anyone out.  Karen has been continually on my mind and I knew that y'all might be wondering about Grandpa's status.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do you see what I see?

The winter had been very long, so we were surprised to see these little guys so early!  :)

ETA:  In case you were wondering, the caterpillars are eating the daylights out of my dill.  That's okay.  I have it there as a host plant for them.  I don't actually use it myself.  I do admit that it took me a while to remember what I planted there, though.