Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Week 2 - Normal Life Returns!

You have never seen anyone so excited for a Monday. But this Monday was the beginning of my return to normal and I couldn’t have been happier to start my week.

I was so excited to get back into the pool that I was skipping knitting to swim – something I never do. But I’d just had the knitters’ tea the day before so it was well worth it. I jumped in the deep end and it was like a baptism to start life with my new knee. I was careful with which moves I did but regardless, it felt great to be back in the pool. Even getting out, which had been my main concern, wasn’t too hard and I managed on my own but with Rene spotting me from behind. Happy happy.

I did wake up to a swollen leg – not just my knee but all the way to my ankle. It was well worth it as far as I was concerned and when I went to my LAST PT on Tuesday afternoon, they didn’t seem worried about it either. That last session was pretty useless and I danced out of there after thanking them for helping me all year. Between my shoulder and knee, I’d spent 6 months there and they really are wonderful. But with that last PT session done, I was truly approaching normal. Sort of.

I swam Wednesday night and had no swelling. Progress! But then I was faced with Thursday. Despite it being in the high 50’s after work, a storm was predicted that would start with rain late Wednesday night, which would them freeze and be covered with snow. Many schools had already cancelled but I wasn’t taking any chances on UNL, which is miserly in awarding snow days, so had told Nora I’d be taking a vacation day. I had more vacation time in my bank than I’d ever had so it was worth it so I wouldn’t have to chance falling. But nothing in my life is easy. Of course my cat’s mouth was stuck open and she was freaked and so wouldn’t come in despite me trying just about everything. I had no choice but to go to bed at 10:00 even as the temperature was plummeting. Needless to say, I was up several times during the night trying to get her in without success. At 2:00 a.m., I saw no trace of rain and it was already snowing. Hmmm....

I woke up on Thursday to wind and blowing snow but very little actual accumulation. I still happily stayed inside, knitting and streaming. Only when I watched my neighbor walk across her driveway like it was nothing did I suspect that there was no ice under the dusting of snow. I decided to try it but took no chances, putting on crampons to go to the mailbox. Yup, no ice at all so it never did rain in Wahoo. I was still happy to have taken the day off. I was even happier when Pie finally came into the house. She had been out all night in the storm and came back late morning with her fur covered with snow, her mouth still wide open and dead leaves frozen into the drool on her chest. She wouldn't let me near her but at least she was inside and warm. 

I was determined to be somewhat productive with my bonus day off so went through all the shoes in my house, ending with a big bag to donate and a couple to go to the cobbler. Then I sat down to prep the year end treasurer's report for my Friends of the Library meeting, which lead to doing the long overdue update to the membership list. I had no luck with Pie but All in all, it was still a good day.

When I got up, Pie ran to the back door and I was able to grab her and easily got her mouth shut. I opened a can of wet food and mixed half of it with water, which she gobbled down and then ran downstairs. I left for work knowing she'd be good as new by the time I got home. I had a nice catch up lunch with Layton and grabbed a few groceries at HyVee afterwards so I could head right home after swimming. It was a 3 day weekend so nothing wrong with that. I had the Friends meeting first thing in the morning, which got me up and out. Afterwards, Lorri, Glenda and I went out for coffee. After a quick stop home, I headed to Nancy Meyer's for tea and catching up. It was a lovely day and I ended it with Guinness, tuna nachos and a new British series - The Detectorists. LOVE it! You should check it out on either Prime or Netflix.

There was a lecture at the library on Sunday that I was interested in going to but I completely spaced, not remembering about it until the next morning. It was bitter cold so staying inside wasn't all bad. Sunday was just my regular chore day but even that felt good. My knee was doing fine and other than my fear of walking on ice, I just ignored it and did whatever. Normal, see? And Monday was a day off so more good to add to an already fabulous week. Here's my happy laundry picture to end the week with - pair after pair of handmade socks drying in the sun.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Week 1 - Work and Tea

Happy 2018! In case it's not obvious, I have big plans for 2018. Not having major surgery is my #1 goal and getting back to normal, including eating healthy and moving every chance I get, is #2. That's good enough for me. But New Year's Day didn't cooperate with any return to normal.

One of my favorite holiday traditions is my New Year's Knitters' Tea where I pull out the china, sweets and goody bags for my knitting friends. But with the high temperature forecast of 1 degree with a windchill well below zero, I postponed the tea until Sunday. That left me, you guessed it, streaming and knitting on my own all day but everyone was safe and sound so it was the right decision.

The alarm going off Tuesday morning, which was the first time in 2 months, was brutal. Not only was I heading back to work full-time for the first time since my surgery but I had PT scheduled at 7:00 a.m., which was my method to fit 3 sessions into a 4 day week. So my version of full-time included leaving early Wednesday and Thursday after going in late Tuesday but I was in the home stretch so it was hopefully my last week of PT.

Work was super quiet with many people on vacation but even more in my office out sick. Colds, stomach bug and influenza (confirmed) were in the mix. Lana and I were the only ones unscathed so it was a quiet week, which worked for me to ease back into a normal-ish work routine. I even managed to do some long overdue thrifting at lunch, which was fun. Friday was there in a flash and I left at 3:00 to drop some cat pee at the vet for testing (Gansey has a kidney infection so I left with antibiotics) and then head to PT. I had hoped it would be my last but when they heard I was planning to swim on Monday for the first time, they wanted me there Tuesday to assess how my knee did. Just one more is fine by me. I'm ready to be done!

My cleaning lady had come on Wednesday and the laminate floor was a mess when she left. I had told her repeatedly not to use anything but laminate cleaner on the floor and clearly that had escaped her. There was a layer of gunge so thick on the floor that you stuck when you walked on it so I spent 3 hours on Saturday afternoon bent over at the waist scrubbing the floor by hand. I moved all the furniture in the family room except the TV stand and desk and the floor was squeaky clean when I was done. With that taken care of, I only had tea prep left for Sunday morning.

I started at 9:30 with moving furniture into the family room and then started washing teapots/cups and baking. I had my favorite store bought German cookies and homemade candy plus a cherry stollen from Aldi so made lemon chip cookies to add to the sweets. I had a cranberry covered goat cheese log and crackers but needed something savory so googled a bit and winged something with a can of crescent dough I had bought on a whim my first time at Aldi after surgery. I mixed blue cheese crumbles with snipped golden raisins, chopped walnuts and a bit of butter then spread that between 2 layers of dough, cut it in strips and twisted them before baking. They were delicious and a hit with the knitters. 

I had one no show (Anne Marie - go figure) so there were 7 of us knitting and snacking in the sun all afternoon. The tea always starts at 1:00 and people start leaving when we lose the sun. The goody bags were a hit and it was another successful tea and still a wonderful way to start the year, even when delayed. The dripping from melting snow and ice as people left was the icing on the cake. 

Since I was going into my first full 5 day week of work, I got busy as soon as everyone left and had everything 100% cleaned up and put back to normal before I sat down to dinner. I had sent everyone home with baggie of leftovers so I only had a few cookies for dessert and that was it. Because my plan for the next day was to start rotating and lose some of the weight I'd gained after 2 months of sitting on my butt on top of holiday eating. I'd also be swimming Monday and going to my last PT Tuesday so normal was right around the corner. And as for my knee, I was on it all afternoon Saturday (damn floor!) and from 9:30 until 1:00 doing tea prep Sunday with no problems so that's getting better too. 

I hope my plans for a healthy and active 2018 come to fruition. Hopefully your 2018 will be all you hope for too. Happy New Year!

Monday, January 8, 2018

2018 - Just One Word

So, it's time to pick another word for the year. I've tried all kinds in recent years and thought last year's word - Curate - would be a good one. But who knew when I chose it that I'd be having 2 major surgeries, 2.5 months off work and 6 months of PT! Survival and bare necessities were all I managed in 2017. Oh well. Best laid plans and all.

Well now that my shoulder is fixed and my knee is nearly there, I've chosen a very practical word for 2018:


Now who'd have thought that I could get sick of sitting, knitting and streaming with a cat on my lap. Not I. But with so much down time and so few options, by the end of the year, I couldn't wait to move. Swim, walk, bike, anything! So hopefully 2018 will bring lots of opportunities for movement of all kinds, with the added bonus of not having to worry about blowing my knee from overuse. Now for the ice and snow to melt so I can start with walks around campus. 

Weeks 41-52 Catch Up Post

Well, it’s been awhile since I posted but I’m clearly not ready to give up on my blog so I’m doing a quick catch up to finish out 2017 and will start fresh for 2018. It’s absolutely ridiculous that I got so far behind, especially because I had all the time in the world to blog but that’s life.

My last post was right before my trip to Ireland. Needless to say, I had a fantastic trip. Here's a link to pictures in case you're interested. The 6 day tour was great but the icing on the cake was spending the final weekend with Francoise and Bridget in Northern Ireland. I would travel with them again anytime! We got along famously and spent our days leisurely exploring in our rental car, taking turns on a whim based on brown (tourist attractions) and gold (galleries and craft places) and having a wonderful time. Anne and I flew back on a Tuesday and I was back at work on Wednesday because I only had 5 working days before my surgery.

My knee replacement went really well and I was back home the next day. My sister was there to help me out for the first week and after that I was on my own. Other than driving myself to PT (just 5 blocks from my house) and an occasional trip to the library or local supermarket, I barely left the house until Black Friday. I drove to Omaha as a trial of my 30 minute commute to work, which I thought I’d go back to part-time after Thanksgiving. Yeah, that didn’t happen. My knee swelled so ridiculously after my brief foray to the yarn shop in Omaha that I was down for another week. Then when I was supposed to teach classes the first week in December, Nora and Cindy informed me that they’d rescheduled them all to the following week so I didn’t start back part-time until December 12th. I wasn’t even full-time by Christmas. Oh well. Best laid plans and all. I do work with the best people, btw.

I didn’t let my knee stop me from my Christmas trip back to Rhode Island. I took my cane with me just in case (I hadn’t been using it for weeks) and was one of the first people on the plane in both directions. The trip was fun as always but low key all around with every celebration being small and intimate. I flew home the Wednesday after Christmas but was miserably uncomfortable on the 2nd flight and got home at 1:00 a.m. after a delay with my leg swollen down to my ankle. I was supposed to see the surgeon the next morning but woke up with such a bad headache (and I rarely get them – not even once/year) that I threw up. So I rescheduled the appointment and went back to bed. Bitter cold weather set in so I was back to not leaving the house except for PT on Friday. By Saturday the swelling was down but I didn’t push it, staying inside for the rest of 2017.

So as you can see, I had all the time in the world to blog when I was home for weeks on end after surgery. I just didn’t do it. Call this good and 2018 is a new year. All good.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Week 40 - All Plan B

The pre-surgery list got pared down a bit this week as I sandwiched appointments between all my other commitments. My manically busy week was followed by a fly the seat of my pants weekend. I didn’t get everything on my list done but made some progress at least.

Monday was the first run of monthly reports that Brook was taking the lead on so he’d be ready to fly solo when I’m out in November. I spent the morning with him but then stepped away and he finished it all. Since I didn’t hear anything to the contrary, I’ll assume it all went well. He really is a fabulous addition to the reporting team.

My evenings were even busier than usual. Monday was knitting, of course, and then I had an eye doctor appointment after work on Tuesday, which was not technically on the pre-surgery list but had been a reschedule from the appointment I made last October that fell during my Ireland trip. I swam Wednesday and in my ongoing effort to take advantage of more of the free events on campus, went to a lecture by Jeff Zeleny at 6:00 on Thursday. Friday morning was mostly pre-surgery – pre-op physical at 8:00 followed by blood work and a mammogram. I was scheduled to go right to work after that but that didn’t work out.

When I was changing the toilet paper Thursday night, I looked down to see that the baseboard next to the toilet was mildewed. Now it had been a super rainy week but not enough to mildew woodwork so I really got down for a good look and found a puddle between the toilet and the wall. The water was clear, which is why I hadn’t noticed it, but it was clearly serious. I googled and was worried it was the wax seal under the toilet, which would have meant it was bowl water. Ick! Having failed to find any plumber I’d let into my house in the phone book and only finding iffy options online, I decided to ask everyone I saw at the clinic who they used in hopes of a recommendation. Because everything in Wahoo is word of mouth and who you know. I got one recommendation from the PA and left a message but the plumber the mammogram tech recommended picked up  and said he could come right away. Eureka! I headed home to meet him, happy to have found someone.

Well, his right away was an hour and then he couldn’t get the water shut off so I had to call the city to do it at the street. I was happy to hear that it was a failed washer between the tank and base, which meant it was tank water rather than bowl. But the bolt was stripped so he ended up cutting it from below the tank, which filled the house with the smell of burnt metal. It also took for flippin’ ever! And he was a negative soul so regaled me with everything that could go wrong, even when stuff went right. I didn’t leave Wahoo until after noon and went right to lunch with Layton. Sheesh! Who needs this? As if I wasn’t busy enough! Despite being exhausted, I swam Friday night. Carol and I were the only swimmers so we had a lovely time chatting as we aerobicized.

I had a Friends of the Library meeting at 9:30 on Saturday morning but at least I’d gotten my treasurer’s report done while the plumber was there Friday. I don’t mind a Friends meeting because it gets me up, out and starting my day early. My plan for the weekend was to slog through more of the spare room, do a bunch of cooking (for post-surgery freezer meals) and do my regular chores. 

I had done a bit in the spare room on Saturday when the sun came out and drew me outside. What started as just pulling a few weeds turned into full blown tree trimming and taking another carload to the city’s burn pile. This put me behind but I enjoyed it and it needed doing. I went inside and started cooking – sausage and peppers with peppers from my garden. I had them bubbling away on the stove when my cell phone announced, “Call from Helen.” 

Now I hadn’t seen Helen since April and am not even sure we’d so much as messaged on Facebook since. My first thought was who died or is in the hospital? You could have knocked me over with a feather when she just wanted to know if she could come over and hang out, which she did. We knitted and chatted for hours and she didn’t leave until 11:30. Now I was even more behind but went to bed to deal in the morning.

Andrea and I were going to Omaha to meet Lori and Michelle for breakfast then knit at Lori’s for awhile. The problem was, I’d said I’d bring a baked good so I got up at 6:30 Sunday and started baking molasses cookies. Now when you make cookies that are rolled in sugar, they’re not really stuck to the cookie sheet so if you tip it when you’re putting it in the oven, they roll right off. Yes, I lost a row of cookies to the bottom of the oven so had to take out the hot racks and get a pair of tongs to dig the cookies out lest they fill my house with smoke as they burned. After that fiasco, I had the cookies done before I sat down for CBS Sunday Morning. But I had barely hit my chair when the phone rang and I talked to my sister Ginny and then Carolyn beeped in after that. I talked to her briefly and then ran to get dressed and pick up Andrea. Whew!

We had a lovely breakfast at First Watch then went to Penzey’s to use our coupons. Lori headed home from there and Andrea and I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few things then on to Lori’s, where we knitted and chatted until 3:00. From there we went to Aldi (more groceries) and I had Andrea home by her 4:30 deadline. I now had one evening to do a weekend’s worth of chores. I threw on some laundry, put the groceries away and made a pot of red sauce, again for the freezer. I managed to get it all done somehow, including more spare room reorganizing, and was watching Poldark at 8:00. I was in my last week, and that a partial one, before Ireland but had made enough progress to not be facing a stressful week at home or at work. Mission accomplished! And just 5 days before leaving for Ireland on Saturday. : )

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Week 39 - Cat Hell Weekend

It was a quick week when I look back at it, with the work days seeming to fly by. But I was super tired all week so was dragging when I got home every night. My usual fully booked after work schedule didn’t help. I had something every single night and was even doubled booked on Thursday. Go figure.

Tuesday night a bunch of us from work went to Karen from HR’s downtown condo, which she just moved into this summer, for a fun evening of drinks and snacks. We laughed and laughed, harder than I have in a long time. I didn’t get home until after 9:00 but it was worth it. Thursday, which is usually a night I can go right home, was double booked with a Husker Cats meeting at 5:15 and I had to be in Wahoo by 7:00 for book club. I made it there in the nick of time and we had a good discussion on the Vietnam book. Monday was knitting and Wednesday and Friday were swimming. Better busy than bored came into play for sure.

Maybe fatigue played into this but I was sitting in a meeting on Wednesday, twisting me head to see the screen when I somehow pulled a muscle in my neck. I swam anyway and seemed none the worse for wear, until I woke up on Thursday morning. My neck was so stiff that moving my head even a tiny bit hurt. But with a full day ahead, staying home was not an option. Luckily I had a single lidocaine patch left from my shoulder problems so I took that to work and Cindy put it on my neck. It took the edge off and I was able to power through my day of lunch with Layton, training all afternoon and my double booked evening. Sheesh!

I had the wrong week on my calendar for the Friends of the Library meeting so was happy to get an email saying it was a week from Saturday. This should have left me free to sleep in and relax but then there was Pie. She didn’t come in Thursday night and when she did show up on the deck Friday morning, her mouth was stuck open. She wouldn’t let me near her so I went to work in hopes that it would fix itself (doubtful, although it has a couple of times that I know of) or I could catch her and manhandle it shut. Well, she didn’t come in Friday night so I was up twice in the wee hours calling her then woke up early Saturday (boy, would I have loved to sleep in!) to try again. She did come in eventually but immediately hid under the bed in the spare room. I pulled all the under the bed boxes out and she made a beeline to the basement. I shut the spare room door and then went to her hidey hole in the basement, at which point she ran up and under my bed. At that point I shut the door to lock her in there and called Andrea. She came over so she could poke her with the broom from one side while I grabbed her from the other. I got her on the 2nd try but couldn’t get her mouth shut. It had been open so long it was all stiff so I put her in a carrier and carted her to the vet, where I left her pending sedation.

So, not the morning I’d planned on but since all the yarn boxes were out of the spare room, I kept going in that room, which was on my weekend to do list but just not for first thing Saturday morning. By the time I called the vet at 3:00 to check on Pie, the bed was cleared and all the yarn was sorted and back under the bed or in the stacked totes. Pie’s mouth was shut so I picked her up and let her out. Having not eaten in nearly 2 days, she scarfed down half a can of wet food and eventually went outside, where she’s happier anyway. Big relief! And they only charged me $35.

Sunday was a bit of a recuperation day after the fiasco that was Saturday. I did manage to do all my chores, prepped some produce, cleaned out the upstairs freezer and got more done in the spare room, including swapping my summer clothes for cool weather clothes. There were still a few boxes of gifts and such on the floor of the front room but those and the ones that have been on the dining room table for months are top of the list for next weekend, which is my last before Ireland. And since I only have one weekend between Ireland and surgery, I want to have as much done before my trip as possible. So far, so good. : )

Monday, September 25, 2017

Week 38 - Done with Vietnam

This week was pretty normal during the days but I went home every night to Vietnam – both on PBS and the book I was reading for book club. It was a lot to take in and lead to some disturbed sleep. Let’s talk about the happy stuff first.

I had a lovely catch up dinner with Anne and Rene on Thursday night. I see Anne once a week at swimming but haven’t seen Rene since spring because she quit swimming as a protest, which went unnoticed and has only hurt her. Anyway…. The food at Cheddar’s is mediocre at best but they let us use 2 coupons for a free appetizer and free desert so at least it was cheap. There was no rush for us to leave the table so we talked for a couple of hours. I got home just in time to watch the auction of 30+ skeins of someone’s leftover sock yarn that I’d bid on and ultimately won, despite being sniped in the last seconds. It was to no avail since my proxy bid was for much higher so for $33 + shipping (almost exactly what I won at the state fair), I got all this. I’m super excited and can’t wait for it to arrive.

It was homecoming weekend on campus so there was no swimming Friday, which meant I could go straight home. Nice. I had a big to do list for the weekend and had high hopes for productivity. But then there was Vietnam. Luckily I’d finished my book club book (Death Zones and Darling Spies about a Nebraska woman who was a war correspondent there for 7 years in the 60’s) mid-week but I absolutely could not stop myself from watching PBS. I was able to stream the entire series so after a couple of nights of watching the broadcasted episodes, I found myself streaming it instead and watching multiple episodes each night. By the time I went to bed on Friday, I only had 2 episodes left. I was determined to watch them on Saturday so I could move on to happier things. Because the more I learned, the more disgusted I got.

So after starting the morning with more Vietnam, I headed out for errands. My coffee pot had died during the week and I’d bought a replacement at the thrifts, only to have it be too tall to fit under my cabinets. I then attempted to buy another but it too was too tall. Sheesh! So with measurements in hand, I went to the little hardware store in Wahoo and paid $36 for a Black & Decker. After hitting the market, the bakery and the bank, I went home for lunch and more Vietnam. I did hit pause several times to get my kitchen cleaned up and finally finished watching just after 4:00.

It was more disgusting with every passing minute but I was glad I watched it. I was too young to remember any of it but do recall the whole family being worried because my cousin David’s draft number was up just as Nixon was withdrawing the troops. Luckily he never went but I have a friend whose brother was killed there. It makes me want to call my Auntie Margaret, the last family member of that generation, and pick her brain about it all. Anyway, I was happy to be able to move on from watching it all.

I had big plans for Sunday but struggled to get motivated.  I did manage to get the laundry done and dishes put away but any attempts at tackling a major project fell flat. I did do a bit of yarn organization, which usually is fun, but didn’t manage much by the end of the day. I had also planned to clear out and organize the refrigerator and freezer. Neither of those things happened either. Oh well.

With only 2 more weekends before I’m off for Ireland, I cannot let another weekend slip away. Not only do I need to finish clearing the spare room and the dining room table, I need to get cooking to stock the freezer for when I’m home after my knee surgery in November. I will have one weekend at home between Ireland and surgery but I’m sure that’ll be busy enough without adding anything else. So, productivity will have to rule the day until I head to the emerald isle. I live in hope.