Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Week 39 - Michael Got Married

The week was all about the wedding and seeing the California side of the family, who were arriving on Thursday. Between the preparation and the wedding weekend, time just flew by.

I started Monday at physical therapy for my thumb, which was feeling back to normal. Monday was the last day for “normal” of the week – work, knitting and bed. Tuesday was a food day at work and AP/Payroll was cooking so I had extra time in the morning so I went to Wal-Mart at 7:30, getting the first of the groceries and supplies for the weekend. Despite working late while Mary dictated a to do list for the F&A proposal work before she was leaving for a conference, I still went to swimming, figuring it’d be my last time in the pool for a week so 30 minutes was better than nothing. It was a good move because it felt great to swim after more than a week out of the pool because of my thumb. Wednesday was my last physical therapy session (they wanted me to come for more but I insisted. God knows what this will have cost me!) then a busy day at work, lunch in the sun with Nora at Maggie’s (the best veggie wraps ever) and food shopping after work. The California clan would be arriving in less than 24 hours and I was pretty much ready. Yay!

Their flight got into Omaha at 6:00 so I had planned to go to Contagion with Darla (we’ve been trying to schedule a movie for months) to kill the time until they arrived in Lincoln. The movie was good and I met up with Helen and her friend Annette from Oregon afterwards and only waited half an hour before they got there. It was great to see them all – Debbie (my cousin) and her kids, Danny, his wife Zena, Marcie and Kelley. They were starving so we went for a late supper of yummy sandwiches at Bison Witches, which had a fun, college bar vibe they seemed to like. It was fun to just hang and chat with everyone. Duh! I went home and right to bed but slept badly. Little did I know that was the beginning of a trend.

I had cranberry cole slaw to make for Friday lunch and since I wasn’t sleeping, I got up at 2:00 a.m. and made it then, thinking that it not being done might be contributing to my lack of sleep. I did sleep well after it was done but not for long enough. I woke up earlier than I’d wanted to and got ready then sat watching morning TV waiting for them to call. I was in Lincoln just after 10:00 and we hung out in Helen’s room, munching homemade granola and chatting while everyone showered. From there we went to The Apothecary Loft, where the rehearsal and dinner would be held that evening but we had the room all day. We did a brief Goodwill run while Helen and Annette did some last minute food shopping then went back to the loft. Helen and Annette worked to put together the cake she had made for that evening's dessert while we all hung out. Helen had made food for lunch (and I made cole slaw ) so it was a relaxing afternoon. The rehearsal dinner was bbq and then we all played games. We played some new dice game that had me doing timed push ups at one point and running from room to room (again being timed) at one point. It was lots of fun.

I had the only good night of sleep that night, probably because there was nothing expected of me on Saturday. I waited for the call that they were all up and about and then headed to Lincoln to hang out with the family while Helen was doing wedding stuff. We went to a couple more thrift stores and an antique store then headed to the capital, arriving just in time for a tour. By the time we were done there, it was time to get dressed back at the hotel. My mission was to get them to the wedding venue between 4:00 and 4:30 and we arrived at 4:23. Yay! But Helen was in a panic, sure she'd told me to have them there at 3:00 for pictures but she hadn't said that and I had specifically asked about time when I wrote up my schedule and to do list on Tuesday. It was no problem though. The photographer snapped a couple of pics of Michael's side of the family and we were done. The ceremony was outside and it was a bit windy but nice. The surprise for me was that Michael had changed his name legally to Densmore, Helen's maiden name, so that the Witkowski name of his turd of an adopted father would not follow him, Brenda and any future kids. How wonderful! But no one had told me that (Helen was sure she had but NO!) so I was surprised and, of course, teared up. There was lots of that this weekend. The reception was fun. We danced and sang and had lots of fun. I left just after 11:00 and went food shopping AGAIN on the way home. It was a long day.

Again, I didn't sleep well, this time getting up at 2:00 a.m. to take a shower, hoping that'd make it easier to sleep, which it seemed to. I woke up at 7:00, ate a bowl of cereal and started getting ready. I was doing lunch for 11 at 1:00. My original plan had been chicken kabobs and brats on the grill but since I had all the leftovers from Friday's lunch in my frig, I went with plan B - chicken enchiladas, leftover salads and brownies for dessert. I got the table ready (put in the leaf, brought up chairs from the basement and cleared off the cobwebs), cleaned up the deck and made 3 appetizers. But the 1:00 start time turned to 3:00 so no one ate them but the enchiladas were a big hit. We all ate and then started playing Pit, which is an absolute blast! Only 8 can play at once so we took turns sitting out but it's just as much fun to watch as to play. Everyone left ~6:00 and Debbie had done most of the dishes so all I had to do was put the food away and sit like a zombie until bedtime. I was exhausted but the fun was all worth it. I went to bed relatively early, hoping for a good night's sleep before their last day, which I'd taken off of work. What a wonderful week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 38 - My Left Thumb

Well, I don’t know if I should call it a highlight but this week was definitely dominated by my left thumb. It has started hurting on Sunday but nothing bad so I just ignored it and kept going. By Monday night at knitting, it was getting worse. Still ignored it though. Then I went to bed and the pain was so bad that it was keeping me from sleeping. I wasn’t sure if I could take anything (I had some old Tylenol with codeine from my hand surgery) with the anti-inflammatory I take for my knee so just tossed and turned all night, sleeping not much at all. I made a doctor’s appointment first thing and called in to work.

The doctor asked me what I’d done to my thumb and I couldn’t come up with anything so she poked and prodded and called it tendonitis, sending me to the physical therapist next door for a splint. He poked and prodded some more, fitted me for a splint and scheduled me for PT sessions. I filled a new Rx for Tylenol 3 and headed to work. That was a BAD idea! I was still in a lot of pain but couldn’t take the pills and function so I sat in pain for the rest of the day. Dumb! So I went right home after work, popped a pill and felt much better. I sat on my butt all night, took another pill at bedtime and, surprisingly, had trouble falling asleep. But once I did, I slept through the night and my thumb felt much better the next morning.

So I didn’t swim at all this week. I mostly went home and sat, which was weird because I couldn’t knit. The weather turned cold and damp mid week. I was fine with the cold but the gray damp got a bit old. On Thursday night, I was so chilled (the AC was still pumping out in my office) that I went home and made tuna casserole to warm me up. I also prepped some wool to take to spinning on Saturday. I had grilled someone at Dye Day about how to do it, which involves lots of soaking and spinning in the washing machine with absolutely no agitation. I was up and down the stairs all night and ended with a grocery bag of clean wool but it had lots of vegetable matter in it and I wasn’t sure I’d done it right but a call Friday night confirmed that it was fine.

I had 2 swap packages to prep so got everything together on Friday night and then headed to the post office on Saturday morning. It felt good to cross that off my list. I was picking Andrea up at 1:00 to head to Fremont for spinning so had a couple of hours to kill before then. I should have started some chores but instead got out my kool aid and dyed 2 skeins of yarn. Sheesh! Spinning was fun because Jeanie brought her English wool combs and cards so I could try them out with my newly prepped wool. It was a perfect thing since I couldn’t knit and it was fun. I’ll definitely be investing in some combs, which will mean a trip to Lawrence for The Yarn Barn. Nice.

After spinning, we headed to Omaha for a Penzey’s/Trader Joe’s run. I spent way too much at TJ’s (nothing new there) and didn’t get home until 7:00. I had a TJ’s picnic (sushi, pate on bread and cheese) and a glass of wine, going to bed early. It was a nice day but now I had all my chores to get done on Sunday. With the California clan arriving Thursday night and the wedding stuff starting Friday, I had to get everything done. And not knowing if Debbie would be staying with me or not, I had to reclaim the spare bedroom. That meant sorting through lots of yarn, which is always fun. The day flew by and the sun was out by the end of it (at last!) so it was a good day. I had taken my thumb brace, which disables my entire hand, off when I got up and never put it back on. By the end of the day, having done all those chores, my thumb was fine so I took the plunge and did some knitting, finishing a sock I’ve had on the needles for months. No pain! That had to be the best end to the week. Life is good!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Week 37 - Back to Reality

The week started with a day of wading – perfect! It was my last day in the Black Hills and Connie woke up feeling much better so we went on a tour of Spearfish, did a little bit of shopping (many stores were closed for Labor Day, which was weird for such a tourist centered town) and met Gordy for lunch. We went to a local Chipotle type place and took our lunches to Spearfish Park, where I finally got my feet in some mountain water. It was SUPER cold but just heaven. There’s nothing I like more than wading.

After lunch, Connie and I headed up Spearfish Canyon. There was gorgeous scenery everywhere, especially the waterfalls. We stopped wherever we found something to see. Roughlock Falls was wonderful and we both took advantage of a platform over a pool to wade in the breaktakingly cold water. You couldn’t keep your feet submerged for more than 10 seconds. It was that cold! We stopped to see the open pit mine in Lead, got more truffles at The Chubby Chipmunk and then headed home for the chicken dinner Connie had put in the crock pot before we left. We ended the night with another fire in the outside fireplace. Nice! So many of my favorite things and people in one day.

My plan had been to be on the road by 8:00 but when I woke up at 5:30, I changed that. By the time Connie but up, I had eaten breakfast, packed and made a hearty lunch to eat on the road. I left the house before 7:00 after Connie woke Gordy up for me to say goodbye. The ride back was endless! I took I-90 the whole way because I wanted to stop in Yankton to photograph the old state hospital. Other than one stop to pee and another for gas, I didn’t stop at all, arriving in Yankton in early afternoon (I’d lost an hour when I went from mountain to central time.) I stopped at McDonald’s for a frappe, drove through the hospital grounds, taking pics from the car, and then headed south. I was home just after 5:00 so had some time to unpack and settle back home before bedtime. It had been a long day but the drive was worth it to see Connie and the Black Hills. I’ll be going back for sure.

Since I was able to go to bed early, going to work Wednesday wasn’t that bad. I slogged through email and finished my monthly reports so the day flew by. I swam after work, picked on ton of veggies in my garden and made a big salad for dinner. Then I sat down to finish the last 2 CD’s of The Lost Symbol, which I’d listened to both to and from SD but hadn’t finished. I knitted while I was listening and finished the hat for my color swap. It was a good day.

I had my annual eye doctor appointment Thursday afternoon and, as usual, I was there for almost 2 hours. They dilated my eyes and it was so hard to see that I went straight home. And what did I find when I got there, just wanting to hole up in the dark? The twitchy painter was there finishing up the last of the window trim and repainting some spots on the side of the house. With the sun beaming off of the west side of the white house, it was impossible for me to check his work. I could NOT look at that wall and I just wanted him gone. Sheesh!

My swap package had arrived and I was excited to open it. It was full of amazing things! Two tote bags (one in my colors and one with Paris fabric), tons of Paris themed stuff, two Royal Worcester egg coddlers, which I’ve wanted for years, anodized aluminum glasses and handmade lampwork beads. She even bought my favorite yarn, which was just by chance according to my swap partner, and some undyed yarn. This woman did a wonderful job of cyber stalking me and getting perfect stuff. It made my day!

Friday was over in a flash, ending with a pleasant evening at Kate's, and the weekend was here. I had a Friends meeting on Saturday morning and then I ran errands, which included a stop at the Senior Center Thrift Shop, where I filled 2 bags with clothes – t-shirts for Debbie, who will be here in 2 weeks for Michael’s wedding and needs them for a quilt she’s making, a few things for me and a big bag to divvy out to friends. I went to Andrea’s shop to drop what I’d found for her and we decided to go to the flea market at Venice Antiques, after a homemade pizza lunch at Andrea’s. I found all kinds of good things at good prices – a white metal plant stand, some avocado canisters, some linens, etc. It was hot in the sun but we had fun. Since I had so much to do to reclaim my house, I started when I got home, picking up the kitchen, running the dishwasher and mowing, leaving only laundry and cooking for Sunday.

So that’s what I did Sunday. I had lots of laundry with all I’d bought at the thrift shop and cooked on and off all day – coffee cake to have with my tea, quiche, a peach pie to take to knitting, etc. I also finished the last of my drink cozies and started the market bag for my next swap. While the house wasn’t completely neat when I finally went to bed, it’ll just a matter of putting things away to prep for the cleaning lady. What a wonderful week. Life is good!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 36 - Black Hills Bound

What a super busy week! I feel like I say that all the time but this week really took the cake. I had a pretty typical Monday of work with knitting afterwards but that was the end of typical for the week.

I had taken Tuesday morning off so I could go to a season extension seminar at a local community farm. While I hoped to learn something, it was more about finishing my annual master gardeners CE’s. I met Lorri and Barb (another Saunders County MG) there and slogged around in mud learning all about hot houses, cold frames and row covers. It was pleasant and my old friend Kristi’s mom was there so we caught up and I finally met a local fiber artist, Rhonda McClure, who lives near Wahoo, keeps sheep and spins, dyes and sells yarn. All in all, it was a nice morning. The three of us went to lunch and then I headed to work, where I just had time to change into work clothes before teaching my ever gripping Online Reconciliation class all afternoon. By the time it was done, I was toasty fried. But I forced myself to swim and then headed home to prep for the cleaning lady and meet my contractor, who was coming to discuss his end of having a whole house fan installed, something I’m considering as my next project. I fell into bed exhausted.

Wednesday morning started with taking Big White Kitty to her new home. A woman across town (which, keep in mind, is only a mile in Wahoo) who I recognized as a one-time waitress at The Wigwam CafĂ© (Wahoo’s only non-ethnic, non-fast food restaurant), wanted her and the only time we could find that worked was 7:15 a.m. The woman had 4 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats so BWK was a perfect addition. Despite wafts of animal smells, it was clear she would take good care of BWK so I headed to work feeling good about that and hoping I’d get calls on homes for the kittens soon. It was another busy day at work because I was teaching again that afternoon – a full class for Summary Financial Reporting. I know! Such an exciting topic! But the day flew by again.

I had started the day stripping everything soft I could find – afghans, throw rugs, etc. – and putting the first of many loads of laundry in. I’d left a note for the cleaning lady to vacuum everything to death, hoping to nip my flea problem in the bud. Yes, my cats had fleas. I had found some on BWK first, which was my fault because I hadn’t Frontlined her when she started letting herself out the whole in the screen. And when I found them on her, I checked the other cats and they had them too. Now I can’t be sure that I hadn’t missed a month of Frontline but didn’t think I had. Regardless, I was now on a mission. I went to PetSmart after work for pills that you give the cat and all the fleas die almost immediately. Getting enough for all of them cost $70+ but I called it a godsend and went home to dose the cats. It was a blazing hot night so I threw them out for the night and started with the laundry. I also stripped my bed down to the bare mattress and vacuumed every quilted stitch and surface I could reach. By the time the night was done, all the laundry was done and hanging on the line and I was feeling good about my progress. I could only hope the pills were working and the cats were shedding dead fleas all night while I slept.

Thursday was the first day of the month so that meant deans’ reports. Needless to say, the day was gone in a flash and then it was the pool and home to finish cooking. Lorri had picked me up some cannellini beans, which I needed to finish my red sauce. I put that pot back on to simmer, stripped the meat from the bones, added the beans and divvied it into single serving Tupperware to freeze. I also made up three casseroles for Kate and started banana bread. But my dead bananas were too dead so I had to take frozen bananas from the frig and make the bread before work on Friday.

So I started the day baking – 4 loaves for me, work, Kate and to take to Connie’s – and then did my second day of monthly reports. The work week was over in the blink of an eye and I was pretty tired with the only rest ahead the 9 hour drive to Connie’s the next day. But before that, I went food shopping and then to Kate’s (my friend from water aerobics who was just out of the hospital from a hip replacement.) I had arranged to drop off the food I’d made and some I’d picked up for her at the grocery store after work. When I walked in and saw her sink full of dirty dishes, I did those and then made her some jello and pudding, which was not instant and took forever to boil. The I sat with her for a bit and helped her with a knitting question. It was wonderful to see how good she looked with the grimace of pain that I’d seen for the past year gone. She was all smiles and like her old self. But with all the chores and chatting, I didn’t leave her house until after 8:00. I was leaving for South Dakota in less than 12 hours and hadn’t done laundry or packed yet. Sheesh!

I threw laundry in when I got home, called the electrician (who had installed my garage fixtures that day) and went to bed exhausted, figuring I’d be up at 6:00 and could pack then. I set my alarm and got busy Saturday morning, watering plants, packing and getting the cats ready. Since the front that was hovering just north of Wahoo was going to break the heat and humidity, I had opened the windows before I left. I had warned Lorri, who was feeding the cats, that I was leaving the house a wreck so walked out just after 8:00 and headed north.

It was so pea soup muggy that I had had to shower again before getting dressed so the AC in the car felt wonderful. But I had to drive through the front, which meant rain, fog and mist for the first 2 hours. Other than being pulled over for speeding in downtown Columbus, Nebraska (my third warning this month!), the ride was uneventful. I had hoped to wade in Long Pine Creek but the sun was only just coming out when I got there and it was too cold to think of wading so I just ate my leftover frozen pizza in the car and kept driving. I got to Connie’s just after 5:00 (having gained an hour when I hit mountain time) so I was right on schedule. It was great to hug her and we had tea and chatted for hours. Gordy came home with dinner and I got to know him over yummy chicken. I love him! Hanging with him is completely comfortable and we hit it off. We ended the night sitting by a fire in the backyard. What a great end to a nice day.

Gordy had plans to fish with his son on Sunday morning so Connie and I headed west after breakfast to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. I’d heard about this place for years and was excited to see it. It did not disappoint. Words like majestic and awesome (and the true meaning of that word rather than the overused current use that can apply to a hot dog or pretty blouse) don’t’ do it justice. We walked around the base a bit, took lots of pictures and then headed back. We were picking Gordy up at Lake Pactola and then going to Mt. Rushmore. The ride to the lake was gorgeous, winding through mountain roads with beautiful scenery all around. There was also a stop at The Chubby Chipmunk for the best truffles I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted a few, let me tell you.) We found Gordy and started towards Rushmore. I was underwhelmed. Compared to Devil’s Tower, Rushmore seemed small, contrived and just a bit goofy. Oh well. Cross that off my list. Done!

As the day had progressed, Connie was like an ad for bladder problem drugs. She was stopping at every bathroom we passed. Despite not having drunk much, she was having to pee with more and more frequency. By the time we got to Rushmore, she couldn’t go 10 minutes without a bathroom and it had started hurting. We had planned to go to Sylvan Lake and take the scenic route back but instead we hopped on the interstate and headed to the hospital in Spearfish. By the time we got there, she was doubled over in pain and spent the entire 2 hours we waited in the bathroom. Luckily I had brought my knitting so I sat in the lobby and knitted for the 2.5 hours we were there. She did indeed have a UTI but they dosed her up and by the time Gordy and I got back from a Wally World run (for pro-biotics and cranberry juice for Connie and sweats and a lighted alarm clock for me (I must be able to see the time when I wake up in the wee hours or I’ll spend hours awake wondering what time it is. Just call me goofy!)), she was already looking better. Gordy made us omlettes for dinner (it was 9:00 but we were all starving, not having eaten since the afternoon) and we went to bed early. It was a fun day for me - not so much for Connie – but she was on the mend and hopefully would be better in the morning.

See? Busy week like I said.