Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 51 - Ho Ho NO!

The beginning of the week was all about getting the last things on my to do list done. I didn't have much - a bit of wrapping, packing and last minute house stuff. My super productive weekend had gotten the majority done but there must have been something on my mind because I slept like crap for the first few days and so was getting more tired with each passing day. But I was ready to go by Thursday, plants watered, cats fed and suitcase in the car when I left for work. I had slept better the previous night and was anxious to just be there.

The first flight was delayed but so was everything going into Chicago so I'd still make my connection. I'd be getting in after 1:00 and Carolyn had to work on Friday. Reminder to self - pay more or take another vacation day because we're too old to be at the airport after midnight! I got on the second flight and so was finally able to relax. Then my stomach started feeling off. Before I knew it, I was in the bathroom. Puking on a plane - not the way to start a trip, nevermind at Christmas. I was sick twice before we landed but still felt OK. I was hoping it was nothing because I had a full day planned on Friday.

Nope. I was sick again on Friday morning so had to call Cornelia and cancel breakfast then Auntie Margaret and cancel lunch. Everyone left for work and I curled up on the couch. When Carolyn called at her lunch break and woke me up, I'd been asleep for 3+ hours. Yikes! I still felt pretty good and by the end of the day was able to eat a bagel. I was on the mend, which was a good thing because Carolyn and I had a full day on Saturday.

I woke up feeling pretty darn good so ate a bagel and started in on the day. Carolyn had a cookie swap to go to so I had made plans to have lunch with my oldest friend, Deanne. She picked me up and we had a lovely lunch at The Chapel Grill, which is in the church at the old reform school we used to be threatened with. "If you kids don't stop it, I'll send you to Sockanosett!" It was the bad boys/girls school but is now a lovely shopping center. I had delicious chicken escarole soup (a RI thing), a salad and dessert. We chatted for almost 3 hours, leaving just in time for Deanne to meet up with Carolyn. 

From there, Carolyn and I went to the East Bay. If you grow up in West Bay, going to East Bay is an excursion. If you could go by boat, it'd take 5-10 minutes but to drive takes the better part of an hour. I'd probably only been there a handful of times before I moved to Nebraska. It's another RI thing. Our destination was Warren, where there was a yarn shop (an endangered species in RI) and The Cheese Plate - a restaurant specializing in, you guessed it, cheese. Carolyn had a groupon and we'd had it planned for months. The yarn shop was fine and I managed to find a couple of skeins to buy but the person on the register was having Old Home Week with the customer in front of me so it took a ridiculous amount of time to get out of there. So long that I was contemplating leaving. Sheesh! The restaurant was lovely and we shared a fun grilled cheese and a plate of slice meats. We bought some unusual cheeses for the open house the next day and left. I was still feeling fine but was pretty darn full. I was thinking I was over my bug.

At 3:15 I made my first trip downstairs to the bathroom with diarrhea. Two more trips over the next few hours and I was spent. There was nothing left in me and it was clear I wasn't over it. Oddly enough, I still felt fine. I got up and took an immodium and called it good. I ate another bagel and felt fine. The open house was scheduled at 4:00 so I needed to feel OK. Between the cookies from Carolyn's swap and the shrimp, olives and cheese plate, most of the food was ready to go. Carolyn made hot artichoke dip and I stayed away from the food just in case. It was lots of fun. Sharyn and Butch, Bob and Daisy, the Buttis, Maruta and Cornelia all came. Everyone had fun and left with full bellies. Another successful holiday open house. And with that done, we could relax for a bit before the next round of cooking and entertaining. I was hopeful that I was over my bug for sure now. Time would tell.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 50 - It's Not Fungal!

Well, the week started with me feeling pretty desperate. Not only were my hands not better, they were killing me. Putting on the cream, which I was doing religiously, stung so much that I had to ice my wrists. It was clearly time to call the doc. I needed some immediate relief because I had a lot to do this week. Also, Carolyn was beginning to freak out about the idea of me bringing a fungal hand rash to her house over Christmas. With her eczema, it was the last thing she needed.

I called and made an appointment for Tuesday at 4:00 then go busy. I had lunch with Marcy from HR at lunch on Monday then picked up the photos I’d printed for the calendars at Walgreen’s. I knitted at the library after work and then went home to make a swag for my back door so I could bring the leftover greens to work for Cheryl who had a plan. Don’t we all this time of year?

When I got to the doctor’s on Tuesday afternoon, she took one look at my hands and said it wasn’t fungal. I had dyshidrotic eczema! With that it was all about moisturizing constantly, which was the exact opposite of what I’d been doing when treating it as fungal. She gave me a prescription for cream and a shot of steroids and sent me on my way. My hands sucked up the cream and instantly felt better. No stinging now! I got out my white gloves and aquafor to wear to bed. That felt great too. I was overjoyed to have a good diagnosis and a plan. It was like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. That felt even better than the newly hydrated skin on my hands.

The new Whole Foods opened in Lincoln on Wednesday so Nora and I decided to brave the crowds and check it out for lunch. We went at 1:00 and it wasn’t too bad. There were lots of people but not crazy. We had a lovely lunch and I vowed to go back and do the aisles before Christmas. I stopped at Yarn Charm on the way home to pick up Ginny’s socks, which had been on display for the last couple of months. I managed to spend $70 too. Chalk it up to supporting my local yarn shop. : )

Thursday was our office Christmas party. It seemed rushed and less festive than usual but the white elephant swap was fun. I ended up with a Husker condiment set that will be the start of a Wine & Dine door prize. Nora donated her gift towards the Wine & Dine too. Two down and I have at least one more at home. Nice. Did I mention I’m in charge of door prizes this year again?

I had continued to check things off my to do list all week, fitting things in either at lunch or after work. The best part of the week was I was finally getting some Darla time. We met at Cracker Barrel for dinner on Friday and caught up over fish fry. We then hit Bed Bath and Beyond for her Christmas gifts, which are a swap of As Seen on TV gifts. How fun is that! Anyway, seeing Darla was a wonderful way to start the weekend. It had to be a productive one.

Saturday’s to do list included errands, picking up the house, doing the calendars and putting up the tree. After a nice chat with Carolyn, I got busy and got it all done. NBC did fail me. I always put up my tree while It’s a Wonderful Life is on and it had been on the schedule but when I turned on the TV, their live  Sound of Music was playing instead. Good thing I have a small tree so I got it up in an hour while watching Rudolph on CBS.

Sunday was my last day before flying to get it all done. I did the house cleaning (must find a cleaning lady after Christmas!), cleaned the frig out completely including scrubbing the shelves and bins (I have a huge pile of food for Lori’s chickens) and then started wrapping. I had Dottie and Ginny’s stocking packages ready to ship but my printer failed me (it won’t print in black) so I had to save the shipping labels as pdfs and will print them at work and walk the packages over to the union. Then it was on to Carolyn’s stocking, which I finished at 10:00 p.m. All that’s left are gifts for Aaron and a few friends, which I’ll do one night this week.

The paper from the calendars and all the wrapping sucked the moisture out of my hands so they are a bit red. All the cleaning didn’t help either but the to do list is mostly done and I’m in good shape to fly out on Thursday. It’s all good.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Week 49 - More List Making

With just 2.5 weeks until I head east for Christmas, I went into full list mode. The weather was also going to get frigid cold so I was front loading the week’s list to get as much done in the first couple of days as possible. And I planned to make full use of my expensive parking, running errands over lunches too.

Monday was Christmas trees. I ran to Menard’s over lunch and got 2 trees – 1 for the deck and 1 for inside. It was so beautifully warm out that I put the deck tree up after knitting and then struggled with my old, lame saw to make a fresh cut on the inside tree. It was after 9:00 when I schlepped the tree down to the laundry room where it’ll stay for almost 2 weeks before I put it up on the 14th (I always put it up the weekend before Christmas while watching It’s a Wonderful Life on NBC.)

I started Tuesday with a fasting blood test at the student health center. Lunch found me at Trader Joe’s, where I easily spent $100 on mostly Christmas chocolates, which was the last thing I needed for Dottie and Ginny’s stockings. I was exhausted but forced myself to swim after work. It felt good to swim but it killed the rash on my hands. It felt so good to go home, lube up my hands and sit.

I had planned to run more errands – Big Lots and Joann’s – over lunch on Wednesday but the weather had turned cold earlier than forecast so I stayed inside and called it good. I had a haircut scheduled after work and then got some online shopping done so still crossed things off my list despite the weather. Sharyn called right after Survivor to thank me for the socks I’d mailed her and we had a wonderful chat. But the best part of the day was getting the results of my blood test, which showed no problem at all with blood sugar. The rush of relief was unreal! I need to work on my LDL and triglycerides but at least it’s not diabetes.

I talked to my doctor’s office on Thursday about my results and at that time asked for another round of the oral antifungal meds because my hands were still a mess. I thought the pharmacy was open until 6:30 so I dinked around after work and got there at 6:12 – 12 minutes after they closed. I was pissed as I headed home to grab a quick dinner before book club. I’d only finished the book that morning and the questions were all aimed at 12 year olds (it was yet another young adult book) so the conversation lagged. To top it all off, the library commission had sent the wrong book for next week. Sheesh. And my hands were killing me.

Friday was a new day! I was at the pharmacy when they opened at 8:00, hit Starbuck’s, fed three feeders (last day covering the 2 extra – yay!) and was at my desk by 9:00. I had a nice lunch with Layton and picked up cat food next to the Chinese buffet (cross that off) and the afternoon didn’t drag. I skipping the market and headed straight home. By day’s end I had rebooked my return flight on the 26th ($68 more seemed well worth not having to leave for the airport at 4:00 a.m.), ordered all Aaron’s presents and had a plan for a productive weekend.

Since we’d be knitting at Christmas on the Prairie from 2:00-5:00 on Saturday, I was determined to get tons done before I left for the bank to do the Friends’ deposit. I slammed through my list, neatizing the entire house, sweeping the back room, doing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom. After stopping at the library to pick up more money, I hit the bank, the thrift shop bag sale (mostly got clothes for Lori but a few things for me) and Burger King for lunch. Check, check, check. The afternoon was perfectly pleasant and then it was home to make turkey soup for dinner and watch The Wire. It was a very productive and fun day.

Sunday was chores, a bit of cooking, shoveling (we got 4” of snow – it was gorgeous to watch falling) and calendars. I went through boxes of pictures looking for just the right ones for each page. It took hours! Then I had to scan, upload and order prints. I had planned to cook dinner but ran out of time. Good thing Andrea stopped by with homemade soup to save the day. I also managed to finish my last pair of Christmas socks so it was another good day. Now to work on the list for next week. I fear there will be yet another trip to the clinic for my hands. Bummer.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Week 48 - Checking Things Off

What can I say about a 3 day work week – isn’t it great? The work gods smiled on me and the days flew by. Then, as usual, they let us leave early (3:00) on Wednesday. I stopped at my favorite thrift shop on the way out of town and scored this gorgeous scrap quilt for $10. What a wonderful way to start Thanksgiving break!

For years I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house on the weekend because Helen works on Thanksgiving but this year Brenda was hosting on Saturday. All I had to do was make a couple of pies, which I’d do Saturday, so I had all the time in the world. While everyone else was slamming to have turkey ready on time, I got to sit totally relaxed knitting in the sun. Perfect! For the first time ever, I watched the entire parade and then the dog show. It was a lovely day and I was thankful for that. I had bought a turkey but didn’t get my butt in gear to have it done in time for Thursday so had ravioli and called it dinner. That was what we ate on Thanksgiving when I studied in France so it just felt right.

I did get the turkey cooked on Friday but had a bit of a mishap trying to manage getting the juice out of the cooking bag solo. I ended up with a broken bag and all the juices running down the sink. In falling into the dish drainer, the turkey lost all cohesion. Even the stuffing fell out. Since it was already a mess, I pulled it apart right after I ate and had the bones in the crockpot to make stock overnight. Done.

There was a complicating factor for the pies though. I had a rash all over my hands and had gone to the doctor on Tuesday for drugs. Since it was contagious and Brenda’s pregnant, I had to make the pies wearing Playtex gloves. Let me tell you, that is NOT easy. And since peeling apples would have been a bear, I made pecan and pumpkin instead. I also dug out white cotton gloves to wear so I wouldn’t spread anything. Talk about odd. I was called Minnie Mouse and a mime. Family – gotta love ‘em! Everything was yummy and we had fun playing farkle after dinner. It was a perfectly pleasant Thanksgiving.

Since it was going to be gorgeous on Sunday – high 40’s – I decided to start the day outside. I needed to neatize the yard, put the hoses away, clear the deck and mow to mulch the leaves. It took a couple of hours but by 1:00 I was done, showered and enjoying turkey dinner leftovers. My laundry was hanging on the line and I’d made a dent in my chores so was feeling good about life. Andrea had asked me to come over and give her ideas on reorganizing her sewing room. I got there ~2:00 and ideas lead to moving furniture, sorting yarn and general reorganization. Why is it so fun to do that with other people’s stuff but not my own? Oh well. I made a cup of tea when I got home and sat for awhile to give my knees a break but was up again cleaning up the kitchen and finishing the laundry.

I didn’t get everything on my list done but will attempt to make a dent before and after work this week. Beyond chores, I made my Christmas to do list and have to be diligent to get everything done sooner rather than later to minimize pre-holiday stress. I live in hope. How’s your holiday prep going?

Week 47 - Not Ready Yet

Am I the only one struggling to get into Christmas this early? My regular radio station went Christmas a week ago and then my back up station went on the Friday before Christmas. That left me flipping between a rock station and NPR. I won’t be ready for Christmas music until mid-December so I’m sunk.

Not helping the holiday spirit was the weather, which was so warm at the beginning of the week that I was able to take knit breaks and sit outside. That all changed Wednesday, with some snow and bitter cold. I guess if that keeps up, I’ll be getting into the spirit soon.

Otherwise it was a pretty average week and it ended on a culture note. Andrea and I did one of our rare culture days. We had planned to see Twelve Days a Slave then do lunch and the quilt museum but my cousin Debbie called me out of the blue on Sunday morning we talked long enough that it was too late for the movie. We did the museum, which is always fun and just the right size to do in an hour, and then had lunch at Dempsey’s. Guiness and truffle fries were the stars. I ended the day with chores like a typical Sunday and was looking forward to the upcoming short work week. Hopefully I’d be able to get in the spirit after Thanksgiving.