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» Sunday, November 26, 2017We Need a Little Christmas...
Okay, it was this morning James couldn't sleep. I tried to, but nature screamed, and that ended that.
So when you're dressed by nine o'clock on a Sunday morning, what's the best thing to do? Yep: go to Kroger. Lots of handicapped parking before ten o'clock! We found out they also carry the Boar's Head no-salt turkey breast lunchmeat and reduced sodium ham, at the same price as Publix. Bought bread for work lunches, yogurt, milk, and a couple of other things. There were good BOGOs at Publix, so we went there, too.
There was an unpleasant, invisible little man beating on my temples as we completed the grocery shopping, so I took two Tylenol and "rested my eyes" for about an hour. At one, James and I went to the La-Z-Boy store to check out their Black Friday sales. The poor recliner has been, to put it mildly, "rode hard and put away wet." We got it before we moved, so it is probably about thirteen years old. I keep it vacuumed, but nevertheless it's full of dog hair (Willow's and Tucker's), saggy, fluff is coming out under one arm, and it's torn a little where the top meets the room divider. (The room divider is in even worse shape.) James has slept in it when he's sick, it was Willow's favorite bed, and it got banged about when we moved. Also, we got the cheapest chair that they had way back then, which was a really icky tobacco color. (We remember bringing it home on the truck. It rocked so much we had to pull over and turn it around.)
We gravitated to the cheapest of the sale recliners, in a nice grey, and then we found one for a little more that had more back support, still in grey. I could get behind that. And then, of course, ended up with one a teeny bit more that that one, because it was even more supportive. (I daresay if we had the cash we would have come home with the power one. There was a point where James' knees were so bad he couldn't get out of the chair.) This one was red. That one we bought; it matched the autumn theme of the house.
The last time La-Z-Boy had the one we bought in stock, and, as I said, we got it home on the truck. We can go get this one, too, except we'd have to drive up to Buford. Are you kidding me? And then we'd still have to get it up the stairs! So we are having it delivered at a price that merely makes me squeal. It is $80 more [eyes goggle] for them to take the old one away! Sheesh! The appliance stores will deliver the new one and get rid of the old one for a lower price than that! So we will find another way. Maybe Terry and Aubrey can help us. The "new broom" is coming Saturday.
Stopped by Bed, Bath & Beyond with two coupons. If we'd had plans for them, we changed them: we bought a big bath towel and two big washcloths, to use on the new recliner.
Finally, for a bit of fun, we stopped at Starbuck's and had peppermint hot chocolate.
It was still midafternoon when we got home, so I put on some working clothes, had a hunk of the French bread, and got to work: took down the Thanksgiving decorations on the porch and also the mailbox cover, and put up the Christmas mailbox cover, the Christmas banner (oh, my poor Father Christmas; he's looking a bit threadbare, and I'll never find another one like him), the Christmas wreath, and the set of net lights we bought at Lowes yesterday (which means I had to program that meshuggeneh timer). I also put up all the door wreaths and the candles in the dining room windows and in the front bedroom windows.
There was some drama with the front room candles this year. We have been doing all blue lights in the candoliers for years, but since we have the multicolor net lights, it looks mismatched. Last year I grabbed the last three sets of five, rather than four, color C7 bulbs they had at Kmart. They were unusual because they were red, orange, green, blue, and a rare yellow (usually if you get a five-set, the fifth color is white). My original two sets of five-each candoliers came from my mother, but one year one of the end candles quit illuminating the bulb put in it. So I ordered a second set of two from the Vermont Country Store, and I've been using this pair since then. I actually had an idea for the older set. Unfortunately as I began to screw bulbs into the candoliers I discovered trouble in the offing. One green bulb didn't work out of the package. I had an odd green bulb and put that in. The other set of bulbs worked perfectly. Got the candles put in each window. Check! When I went back to look at the spare room set, the blue bulb was out! I gave it a little twist, it lit—and the fuse blew on the whole candolier. Sigh. I'll see if I can find some at Ace Hardware. So I had to substitute the one of Mom's old ones that worked on all five candles. Then when I took Tucker out I noticed the central yellow candle in the craft room set was out. I said a naughty word.
The candle came back on.
I can see this is going to be a fun year with the lights...
Anyway, more of "Monty" the turkey for supper, hot in gravy with roasted potatoes and a bit of stuffing. Turkey made me feel like watching Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol tonight, and so we did (and I cried through "All Alone in the World"), with an Alaska: the Last Frontier chaser. What a shock about Shane's accident! He fell off a ladder and has broken his back!
» Saturday, November 25, 2017A Glimmer of Christmas
On Saturday mornings, unless we have to get up early, James' usual habit has been to wake at 8:30, decide he can't sleep, and get up. This morning we were snoozing until almost ten. It was quite lovely. Thus followed perambulation of the pooch and eating of the breakfast before heading out into the world. James still sounds like a frog, but not quite as croaky as previously.
Our first stop this morning was Goodwill. If I'm going to start Christmas decorating, I need to put the everyday decorations in boxes in the laundry room, and that meant finally getting rid of the old microwave cart. We loaded that, plus a few clothes, a few housewares we don't use, a stuffed dog, and the old crock pot, and took it to Goodwill. They almost didn't take the cart; I guess I acted pitiful enough. Then we bought gasoline at Costco, and could finally enter the fun portion of the afternoon: going to Trader Joe's.
Last month we stocked up on pumpkin bars, which they only sell in October; today we stocked up on cranberry bars, which they only sell before Christmas. James likes to have the throughout the year, along with the apple, strawberry, and blueberry bars. And we ended up stocking up with Christmas dessert treats: candy cane Joe-Joes, peppermint bark, peppermint puffs (we like to have extra so we can eat some when summer is getting on our last nerve). Plus chicken sausage, tomato soup (they had a sample of it; it tasted like a grilled cheese sandwich...LOL), pumpkin crackers, and finally something called "gingerbread sticks." We ate one each on the way home, and think we may have a substitute for gingerbread boys, since Books-a-Million no longer sells pastries at all and we can't go up there at Christmas for cocoa and gingerbread anymore.
We came home via JoAnn. Sometimes when we have the power chair with us, we don't want to bring it in a small place and we leave it on the lift. To warn people it's there, we tie the red bandanna from the emergency box on it for higher visibility. But people drive so crazy these days that we keep worrying that's not enough. JoAnn has bandannas in different colors and I bought one that's a mix of flame yellow and flame orange. If they miss that they deserve being sued! Also got bulbs for the window candles, some small cross-stitch craft items, little pine trees for the Christmas village, and, because I had a 25 percent off coupon on the entire purchase, a mindfulness magazine called "In the Moment."
A funny: I was surfing Facebook as we drove home—we came through the battlefield park and the trees were gorgeous!—and came upon a live broadcast of a tuba Christmas concert from in front of Faneuil Hall in Boston. We listened to this on the way home; they played all sorts of tunes and the audience was so appreciative. I love the internet!
Chilled out for the rest of the afternoon, and then I finally got my barbecue pork ribs at Fried Tomato Buffet. We were supposed to go two weeks ago, but I was so sick, and then last weekend was Hair Day, and we were both sick. Didn't eat very much: probably about four or five ounces of the pork, some cucumbers, and some olives. I don't have much of an appetite since I was sick, which I guess is a good thing, but which doesn't show up very much on the scale.
We stopped at Lowes on the way home to get a new set of net lights for the bushes outside. We'd lost a quarter of our current set a couple of years ago, and then right before last Epiphany lost another quarter. I stepped on a couple of the bulbs two years ago as well, so the set were pretty well shot. We looked at other outdoor lights and then headed for home.
Watched a recent (90s?) animated special called The Story of Santa Claus tonight on CBS. Kinda cute, in that old-fashioned soft animated style that I prefer; I hate the current cartoon stuff that's all angles! Nicholas Claus and his wife Gretchen are evicted from their toy shop because they can't pay the rent because Nicholas, remembering his lonely life as an orphan, gives away all his toys. The nasty landlord even takes Gretchen's wedding ring! Lost in a storm, Nicholas and Gretchen are transported to the North Pole, where they save the life of a young elf named Clement. The reward for this, the cranky old head elf tells them, is to have any wish come true. Nicholas, true to form, says he wants to give every child a toy on Christmas Eve instead of asking for something for himself. The elves have to pull this off or they will lose all their magic. With the help of little Clement and the stereotypical little bossy, eyeglass-wearing mathematically-inclined girl Aurora, they go about making it happen, even though old cranky guts doesn't believe they can do it. Wished it had a bit more "heart," but it was cute.
» Friday, November 24, 2017Only What You Need...Sort Of
...or "This Year's Black Friday Expedition."
I woke up at 5:48 a.m. thinking "Why am I getting up at six o'clock when the store I'm going to doesn't open until 7:45? So I reset the alarm for 6:30 and fell back to sleep. Postponing it a half hour didn't help chivvying Tucker outside for a walk; he gave me an incredulous look like "You want me to get up? Now?"
I was waiting at Office Max seven minutes before opening with a lot of people mostly waiting on a laptop deal. Previously they have opened at six and I was practically the only person in the store.
With my Windows 10 upgrade, my telework scanner (which was made for WindowsXP after all) quit working and I turned it back in. But I wanted a scanner for myself, and, in case of OCR scans, wanted one with a sheet feeder. I had gotten a cute little all-in-one Epson from Amazon Vine and it worked fine, but it had only a flatbed, not a feeder. I was going to pick up the cheapest sheet feeder Office Max had, but the one $10 more had network access and a photo tray, so I got that instead. I also got a crosscut shredder. I have a straight one only on which the blades are growing dull and the statistics on identity theft are getting to be appalling. The shredder I got will also shred credit cards.
James' wireless mouse had acted up a few months ago, which brought into sharp focus that we had no spare wireless mice. The ones we like, the big Logitech M310s, are regularly $30. Today they were $9, so I bought two. James also expressed interest in having a wireless keyboard and mouse for work, so I picked up one for him. I also got a new set of InkJoy ballpoints (as the free ones I got from Vine were running out of ink) and what is frankly a toy, a Boogie Board "Blackboard." You write with a pen on a liquid crystal display. It's like a scratch pad.
Frankly, at this point I was already tired, but the one thing I always do on Black Friday morning is go to Best Buy to get the newest season of Big Bang Theory on DVD. The first year Best Buy opened on Thanksgiving night, there was not one blessed person in the store when I got there on Friday. Sorry to say this has not been a trend. This morning the store was mobbed with people buying flatscreen TVs. I found Big Bang and a Blu-Ray copy of Wonder Woman for $7, so grabbed it and spent time in line reading my phone and trying not to pay attention to the antics of the guy behind me. I thought the lady behind him was going to belt him. He got in line with a 42 inch television and a Dyson hand vac. About halfway into the line progress, he left the hand vac and disappeared with the TV without a word to anyone in line. The lady behind him was bewildered. "Where'd he go?" So she just stepped around the Dyson and got in line after me. Five minutes later he reappeared with another TV box, and jockeyed his way behind me again. The lady got testy with him and said "Are you going to move again? Because if you do I'm not giving you your place back!" Sheesh, all he had to do was tell one of us that...I dunno, maybe he noticed the box was dented on the TV and wanted to get an undamaged one. I could see that. But say something. That was rude.
Then off home, where James was already up and done with breakfast. He liked the keyboard and mouse so much he wanted one for working at home. So, before I fell asleep again, we went back to Office Max for another. Then, with 25 percent off coupons in our hot little hands, we went on to Barnes & Noble, where I used mine to buy Judith Flanders' Christmas: A Biography and he used his to buy Cards Against Humanity (we've wanted a set). O frabjous day! All the magazines were 30 percent off and the new "Breathe" and the new "Bella Grace" were out. But James had no luck finding the December "Airfix" that usually has an airplane calendar.
I was shameless. "We could go into Buckhead..."
Well, first we had lunch at the Corner Bakery, which kind of has a Panera-type menu. I had chicken noodle soup and it was dreadfully salty and tasted out of a can. James fared better with a small chili and a steak-and-cheese sandwich.
It was a lovely day to drive into Buckhead, not much traffic, and we got a handicapped place right out front. Alas, no December "Airfix," but he did find a few more magazines, and I found a "Best of British" and a "Saturday Evening Post" Christmas cover salute and a few other things, and a stocking stuffer for Emma. We came home through the opulent neighborhood that spreads between Peachtree Road and West Paces Ferry, and almost every house seemed to have a gorgeous RED Japanese maple in the yard, and many had some type of tree where the leaves turn a dictionary-defining orange. There were trees the color of old gold, and trees mixing green and bright yellow. One of the treats of Thanksgiving in the South are that many trees are not past peak by that date, so the old trees around the old properties were spectacular. Plus the weather was in the low 60s and we rode around with windows down.
Of course all that fresh air made us sleepy and we ended up falling asleep for the rest of the afternoon!
We picked at the dark meat left off "Monty" the turkey for supper, and had the little chocolate bundt cake we'd bought at the Bakery for dessert, and then I figured it was time for Christmas and put some Britcoms on: The Good Life (one of our especial favorites) and To the Manor Born and Keeping Up Appearances (with just about everyone in the Father Christmas suit) and Vicar of Dibley, finishing up with the warm and wonderful "Merry Gentlemen" from All Creatures Great and Small. Love all the vintage decorations—look at those C6 bulbs on the Christmas tree!—and the homey interior of Skeldale House. God, I want to live in that episode.
» Thursday, November 23, 2017Relatively Speaking, It Was a Great Thanksgiving
I was up a bit late last night watching The Thanksgiving Treasure, because it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it, so 8:30 came a bit quickly. James got up sounding a bit better, which was hopeful, but his actions all morning prove he's still not well, and he certainly needs more treatments for his anemia. The two conditions have dealt him a sucker punch.
In short order "Monty" the turkey was out of the fruit dish. James wrangled him into the roasting pan, stuffed with an orange, an apple, and some onions. He does this adaptation of an Alton Brown recipe where you cook the bird at 500℉ for 30 minutes to get it brown, and then cook it the rest of the time at 350. This is our first time using the whole oven rather than the top half (and I made sure we didn't start preheating it with the divider in it by removing it yesterday), so it was rather a big test!
Meanwhile I was clearing things up when James gave his mother a call to see if they had left yet. Yes, he was told, they were in our driveway. Yipe! We whisked the rest of the sofa and the rocker clear and went to open the door.
Mom and Candy brought their little dog Jenny with them because she is too old and frail to be left alone. We put out some piddle pads for her, but she still had an accident or two before we learned where to position them. She was very suspicious of the stairs (there are none at her house), but she made it up eventually. Tucker was on the deck and I put him on a leash to introduce them; he's never had another dog in his house before and I wanted to make sure he remained a gentleman. His tail wagged a mile a minute and they got along fine, but Jenny didn't seem to know what to make of him and he was puzzled because she wouldn't play with him. He didn't seem to like her taking a nap on his blankie, though. I guess she has girl dog cooties. 😀
James was flagging, so I did a lot of work on Monty as he cooked: made up a basting sauce of Grade B maple syrup and red wine and kept him shiny. Did notice the oven seemed to have a "cold spot" as one small portion of the breast did not brown with the rest. I cured this by turning the bird, but when he was done it left one of the wings underdone. We'll know to turn the bird more next time.
Mom and Candy brought mashed potatoes and peas, carrots, and a crustless pumpkin pie, plus a big fruit and veggie tray. The latter was yummy; I started stealing olives off it almost immediately. By the time the dog show was half over, the turkey was done and we were seated at table enjoying Monty and his side-dishes and delectable things off the fruit/vegetable tray: strawberries, watermelon, pickles, olives, and more. We were quite stuffed and retreated back to the living room for football before eating dessert (a small French silk pie each and some of the pumpkin).
They left about four with a big portion of breast meat and dressing and gravy, and James concatenated Monty for shoving into the fridge (we figure we can just make cold turkey sandwiches out of him on Friday) and we loaded up the dishwasher with almost everything and ran it again. Instead of supper, we ate off the fruit and vegetable tray: more olives, pickles, blueberries, cranberry sauce, cheese wedges, cantaloupe. We watched the news and Wheel of Fortune and then James found the Thanksgiving episode of WKRP in Cincinnati and we watched that ("As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly...")
Finally I put the dog show back on because we'd pretty much missed the second half. We were so tickled by the 6-year-old girl handling the long-haired chihuahua! It was so adorable, yet she was as soberly professional as an adult.
I had originally thought the winner was an affenpinscher, but it was the darling little Brussells Griffon.
» Wednesday, November 22, 2017Creeping Toward Thanksgiving
In retrospect, it was a bit of a crazy idea. There we were, both sick, and not only did we still make the centerpiece for Hair Day, but we still picked up a turkey at the supermarket. He lived in the fruit dish for the week and was dubbed "Monty" in a fit of whimsy.
Since we were having company for Thanksgiving and I needed to tidy up, plus that I'd rather shovel manure than drive on the freeways in Atlanta on the day before Thanksgiving (or any holiday, for that matter), I took today off. The morning was reserved for last minute grocery buying: James wanted oranges to stuff into Monty, and there were a couple of other things to pick up. I quickly ran through my list, or as quickly as I could do so, because Publix was already crowded. At one point I needed to ask James a question, but he didn't pick up his cell phone and I couldn't get him to pick up the house phone. I tried an alternative idea: "dropping in" via the Alexa app on our Echo Dot. It was goofy, but it worked; I got my answer!
Once home, I asked James if he was interested in soup for lunch. He expressed an interest, so I toodled down to Sprouts, where they had clam chowder for the first time in a long time.
I got behind a woman in the Sprouts checkout line who was getting the tiniest container of soup they had, but she only had the $3 for the soup, not the tax. She said she would have to get out of line and find something cheaper. The bagger pulled a dollar out and gave it to the cashier to pay off the rest of the soup. I was so tickled by that that when I paid for my soup I gave the seventeen cents for the tax back to the bagger. Cheered me up no end.
I had James promise to have a no-salt dinner because the clam chowder was very salty, but also very good. After lunch I vacuumed everywhere, including the awful stairs, shook out the rug, made sure the hall bathroom was sanitary, and then started to clean off the chair and the sofa. James scrubbed the stove and cleared off the counters and we did a load of dishes and completely emptied the dishwasher for tomorrow. Things do get cluttered when we just live. 😀
We found a sort of "best of" Forged in Fire running tonight, followed by a 20/20 special that wasn't about unsolved crimes for once: this was a salute to popular Christmas films. They talked to Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo about Christmas Vacation, argued whether Die Hard was a Christmas film or not, talked to Tim Allen about being in "the fat suit," and the host of all of it was Peter Billingsley, Ralphie himself. They also talked to the woman who was the voice of Lucy in A Charlie Brown Christmas.
And this was not forgotten today: Where Were You? November 22, 1963
» Sunday, November 19, 2017Sniffling Toward Recovery
Well, it's been an interesting two weeks. I don't care to be that interested again, thankyouverymuch.
James and I hacked and coughed and croaked our way through Wednesday and Thursday at work. I finished my antibiotics and I guess I felt better. Poor James sounded like a raven as he did calls for eight hours each day and more than one person on one of his calls noted that "You sound like you're breaking up." "No sorry, that's my voice."
He had to soldier on Friday, and I was so glad for my compressed day off. I slept in and slept well, with my brain reminding me repeatedly that I must, must get up and take the chuck roast out of the refrigerator (where I'd put it overnight) so we could cook it to bring to Hair Day tomorrow. However, sleep overrode everything for a while, and I didn't manage to claw it off until almost ten o'clock, and then had those pesty things like breakfast and dog walking come first.
And then I had, had, had to go to Kaiser, to make sure the final bill that we have gotten from Wellstar should be paid to Wellstar. (I'd intended to go several days ago to check on this, but had been so sick I couldn't). We have been on Kaiser since 1988 and in that time Kaiser has always been clear that we should pay no medical bills to anyone but Kaiser. So when the bill finally came from the hospital I was worried. What if I paid it and then Kaiser billed us? They will not reimburse us for third-party bills that we pay. So I get there and the business office executive (there's only one) is in a meeting. So I went to kill two birds with one stone: picked up two prescriptions and went to the bathroom, something that took no longer than ten minutes, and, in that time, he managed to finish his meeting and escape to lunch. At this point I was already feeling lightheaded, but I had to get this done. So I went to hang around Barnes & Noble for an hour because anything was better than sitting in that overheated waiting room (and knew I was still feeling sick because I didn't enjoy it) and went back, and found out, yes, the bill is ours to pay and when I got home, I did, but of course today the mailman came early. He never does unless I have something to go out. Screw it. (We put it in the box Saturday. It's gone now.)
On the way home I stopped at Publix to get something for me to eat, but since I was there anyway, I might as well get all the twofers, right? This included cranberries, but I didn't get everything because I had a coupon for one of things on BOGO. I'll need to come back. We ate supper in, but that was okay, because it was the second and final night of the most fun Jeopardy Tournament of Champions ever, with Adam, Buzzy, and Austin the goofy bartender. Last night they did a coordinated intro where each contestant pointed to the next person and then finally to Alex Trebek; tonight they did "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil." Alex commented dryly, "I seem to be in the company of monkeys." No one guessed Final Jeopardy—well, I did!—and Buzzy won because he just pulled away with a zoom tonight.
So, anyway, the chuck roast didn't go in the crock pot until four, which means we had to cook it on high, which I didn't like; it comes out much more tender at low, but I wanted us to be in bed at a decent time. James was pretty fuzzy with congestion, so I concocted a vaguely oriental sauce that was supposed to either be teriyaki or orange, and we got it packed up around 10:30 and then wandered off to bed. James coughed and wheezed and sneezed his way through the night and then woke up at five all congested, so I cranked the back of the bed up. He went off to sleep, but with the bed in nearly upright position, the only way I can sleep on is my back, and I don't sleep on my back. If I sleep on my back I'm either terrified of something or I can't breathe. So I retreated to the spare room, only to not be able to lie down because my own nose was so clogged. I ended up sleeping the rest of the night propped up.
Needless to say, not a happy waking for either of us on Saturday morning. While James was getting himself together, I walked the dog and then loaded the truck. Yep, it was that time of the year again: Free Electronics Recycling Day. Time to get rid of old fans, the old receiver, the old tape deck, and our flip phones that have been shoved at the back of the laundry room, and a bunch of other crap.
It was a nice day for it, sunny and in the 40s. James sniffled and coughed through the wait, but it was a pleasant half hour, and we just talked or breathed in the nice cool air. It was silly for us to have to wait, though, because 75 percent of the people in the line had yellow stickers, which meant they were waiting for paper shredding. I don't know why they don't just shunt these folks off on their own. If they have a mixed load, that's different. It's silly to wait a half hour, only to have someone say, "Oh, you only have electronics?" and have them detour you off to a station where everyone's waiting for something to do.
Finally off to Hair Day. James sat in a corner and interacted germlessly. He could only get his hair cut, because Sheri was not comfortable working near his face with his cold. We couldn't blame her; her husband has had two surgeries and still is not recovered; all he needs is to get is a cold, too! So James still looks a bit like the wild man of Borneo. The chuck roast came out well; the sauce tasted neither of teriyaki or orange, but a nice unique taste all its own. Ron made two kinds of potatoes as a side and it was a nice meal.
We made our excuses early, and went home; eventually both of us fell asleep in the living room and didn't wake up until 3:30. Had more leftovers for supper; I have not been hungry at all because of the post-nasal drip. Everything tastes bad. Good diet, but don't recommend it. Ended up watching The Great Escape on WPBA in the evening, but missed the very end tragedy with Richard Attenborough and his compatriots because the cold front whooshed through in a great gust of cold air and pouring rain, not only knocking the satellite feed off the air, but knocking WPBA off the air period (yes, even on OTR).
The cold front meant we had a good long sleep this morning, although James still woke up sounding like a frog. We still had to go to Kroger, so I perambulated the pooch and grabbed some milk before we went off to the store. We sort of sleepwalked through Kroger—it's so cluttered that it's confusing making your way around it when you don't feel well—picking up other things we needed, but all their turkeys were too big, so we ended up going back to Publix anyway. The smallest one we could find there was thirteen pounds. I've named it Monty and for now it's living in the fruit dish. Tried some "mint chocolate chunk blended" Greek yogurt, which was a pale green and indeed recognizably minty. The "chocolate chunk" was the size of glitter.
At home I finally sorted out all the groceries, leaving James to relax. With a little bit of effort everything got put up, the pills were sorted for the week, the bed got made, and James bucked the cold to make himself more burritos. I put them in snack bags for him and they were pretty well put away as they were finished.
Really enjoyed the season finale to The Durrells in Corfu. Leslie really came into his own in this episode; I quite liked him here, and he was very unlikable in first season especially. A very fecund episode, as it were!
And now it's time for a Thanksgiving episode of Alaska: the Last Frontier.
God help me on the freeway tomorrow.
» Wednesday, November 15, 2017The Short, Short Version
All coughs, little sleep Monday morning. Was on the telephone at 7:30 to get a doctor's appointment. At this point I am either asking they give me something to alleviate the misery or put me out of it. Got in at 10:20 and out a lot later with a diagnosis of "acute sinus infection" and—oh, joy!—conjunctivitis in both eyes. So, antibiotics and eyedrops, a doctor's excuse for the week (!!!), and I was able to come home and do my coughing in private.
Which is where I've been since Monday. Today and yesterday I logged on to work, mainly to make sure things kept going: answered letters, forwarded e-mails, and requested quotes. I feel dopey and I can't really see the computer screen well because of the conjunctivitis, although it was better today, and last night, for the first time, I didn't go to bed with a fever over 100.
The absolute worst thing that has happened is that despite my airing out the bed every day until James gets home (and spraying it with Lysol at least once), he started coughing on Tuesday. He still went to his cardiac rehab, but today was feeling so awful that he made an appointment with his GP before he saw his rheumatologist. Guess what he came home with: antibiotics and eyedrops! Yes, he too has "mucupurulent conjunctivitis." He came home looking dreadful, with his laptop because the doctor told him not to go back to work until Tuesday.
I guess I can say I am feeling a little better, if feeling awful is better than feeling terrible. The cough isn't wearing me down as much and my fever is lower at night—yet it's still not gone.
Still waiting for the damn antibiotic to fully kick in! It's as bad as those wretched cold fronts.
» Sunday, November 12, 2017Who Let that Cough In Without a Badge?
Oddly, when I got up Saturday, I felt a little bit of energy. James was heading to his club meeting, so I had a leisurely breakfast and determined that I did feel a little better. Now, I really wanted to go to Fried Tomato Buffet tonight for the barbecue ribs. I love their ribs; they serve them with cartilage, and that part is always nice and tender. So this would be a good test to see if I was up to going.
It was a very brief trip: I took the shortest route to the Dallas Highway Barnes & Noble, bought On Trails with my coupon and picked up two more Christmas magazines, then moved down a couple of stores with some credit and bought a gift and three cards. By this time I was already feeling a little shaky, but Pier 1 was so appealing with their Christmas displays that I had to go in for about ten minutes and look at the woodland animals, tinsel-y pillows, Yuletide trays, etc. I even found a cute Christmas platter with dogs in scarves on it that had a collie.
On the way home I made a five-minute stop at Staples to buy a set of colored pens (that was, quite frankly, a waste of $5), and, hoping my tiredness was just hunger, bought two plain "pups" at Krystal. No dice. Even those mild little hot dogs made me queasy and I crawled back into my sickbed. James called to see if I still wanted to go out. Instead I asked him if he might go to Dragon168. So I had my pork fried rice, but ate very little of it in the end because everything just tastes like mucus.
James walked Tucker that night and next morning, and he ended up doing the shopping as, even with the pills the doctor had given me, I was hacking all night. I had a 101.5 fever at Saturday bedtime; it was, as usual, go ne by Sunday morning and sailing back up by Sunday night. I sat on the sofa and coughed and snurgled and had to keep wiping my eyes because they were all gummy with white matter. During the afternoon I found National Velvet running on TCM and stuck around for that as I hadn't seen it in a while. The story told by the book is still firmly in place (girl wishes to race her horse in the Grand National), but it also becomes the story of the reclamation of the self-respect of Mi Taylor, who in the book lives with the family and has no need of being redeemed. This somewhat takes away from the story of Velvet, who in the book fully intends to ride the horse in the race from the first, rather than riding only because the scheduled jockey was not a good match for her horse. Many good sibling spats in the movie between older sister Edwina and the two younger girls (three in the book).
(And of course after finishing the movie I had to go hunt up the book and read it again!)
One of the things James had bought at Publix were pork chops, so we had those for supper, with some shells in cheese sauce. I finished neither because I could really not taste either. My mouth tastes like the inside of a goat's stomach.
Once it was off to bed, fortified with every drug I had, my temp was back up to 101 something and it was hack, hack, hack all over again. Glory, if there was only a way to shut the damn thing off at night without strangling myself! I hate most the spasm-y ones where I cough so hard I almost throw up.
» Friday, November 10, 2017I Just Want to Be Bored...
You know that supposed "old Chinese saying" (or is it a curse?) "may you live in interesting times"? Well, I'm done with interesting. Seriously. I want to be bored.
The last time we met, it was Sunday night and we were all prepared for work. Wish we were prepared for sleep. Not only did we not sleep well, but James woke up at 3:30 a.m saying he "felt weird." This is a signal that his blood sugar is low. We did the usual stuff: juice boxes and a Trader Joe's fruit bar, then tried to reenter the arms of Morpheus. Good ol' Morph wasn't having any of it. By the time the alarms rang, we were both dazed and lightheaded. I teleworked; James carefully chose his diet to keep his sugar even. Ever since he got home from the hospital he has been having trouble with this. They changed his dosages and he has been waking up often with low scores.
Tuesday morning was not only the absolute nadir of the week, it tied with some pretty bad nadirs in previous years. Last week I had had a problem with a stuffy nose. So not to sleep with my mouth open, I was taking half a dose of Sinex before bed only. It wore off very quickly and I'd get up in the morning feeling tottery and half awake. So since it was my telework day, I was bad and hit the snooze alarm once, and then had to rush to get up to wash my face, take my Protonix, and then boot up the computer for work.
As I was about to leave the bedroom, I realized I hadn't heard a very routine sound yet.
A couple of years back I started using this app called Life360. It was basically a personal tracker. I put it on my phone and James' phone, and then also marked our workplaces. It kind of irritated James at first; he grumbled "Don't you trust me?" to which I replied, "Implicitly. It's those other morons on the road I don't trust." Eventually he got to like it. When he was in the hospital last year he would use it to "follow" me home and back when I went to take care of Tucker and Snowy.
Anyway, I have the app set to make a little "tweedle" when James gets to work in the morning. It also tweedles when he leaves work so I can start cooking on days when I telework.
I realized that I had not heard the morning tweedle and checked my phone. The app said he was still at home.
I knew he didn't sleep well, so I wondered if he'd fallen asleep in the kitchen. No one there. Perhaps he left his phone at home. It wasn't on the charger, though. Uneasy, I ran down the steps and looked out the sidelight next to the front door, and the truck was still in the driveway! Shit! I raced outside through the garage and found the truck, with the power chair already mounted on the back, halfway in and halfway out of the garage door, and James was slumped sideways in the seat!
I banged on the passenger side window, heart in my throat, and he started, then stared at me, and I shouted "What are you still doing here?" and he snapped back "What?" I ran around to the driver's side door. He looked fuzzy and just picked up a water bottle and started to drink. I shouted at him to open the door, and he did, looking very woozy but grumpy. I asked again "What are you still doing here?" and he gave me a confused look. It was very, very obvious that he had crashed again, although he told me when he got up that his score was 140, because when he answered my questions he answered as if he were drunk.
At that point I saw a pumpkin bar balanced on his chest and more or less got him to eat it, because at that point he could barely chew, and I took the chance and ran in the house for juice. There was none in the refrigerator and in panicking I knocked every bottle of insulin down and broke one. Instead I fetched two juice boxes from the bedroom closet and raced back downstairs. He had to drink two of those juice boxes and eat most of one of his breakfast burritos before he was even coherent enough to explain what he remembered. Apparently he had done all his morning activities, including taking his usual dose of insulin, warmed up his burritos, gotten his lunch, gone downstairs, backed out the truck, mounted the chair (and he did it perfectly), and went back into the cab of the truck to start to work. He said the truck would not start, and that was the last thing he remembered until I hammered on the window.
Well, apparently God, in the instrument of the truck, was with us this morning. And he had not had a chance to close the garage door, so it was okay, too; it looked like the truck had rolled forward and come to a stop on the lip of the garage.
He finally got upstairs and ate the other burrito, and he was fine, but we were pretty much both in shock. I logged on to work and said I wouldn't be working that day, and James called up Kaiser, both to cancel his cardio treatment for today, and to get an appointment. His GP had openings, and we got the earliest one.
I made a big, big, big mistake when I got to Kaiser. The nurse with the free flu shot cart was making her rounds as we waited. I turned her down last week, but in a moment of weakness said "yes."
In the meantime, we got in to see Dr. Mobley, and it was as we suspected. Since James' kidneys aren't working properly, they're not filtering the insulin out of his body properly either. He had taken a full dosage of long-acting insulin at bedtime, and taken another before leaving for work. The first dose was still in his system, and the second dosage hit just as he was about to back out of the driveway. Basically he was OD'ing on insulin. I don't know why the truck "refused to start," but I'm sure glad it did. We need to light a candle and say a nice long prayer!
Anyway, we got out of Kaiser long after our 12:20 appointment; it was almost three o'clock. So we went to Panera to have lunch. During lunch, I started to cough, initiated, possibly by a baguette crumb. Or possibly not, since by suppertime I kept coughing. And coughing.
I coughed all through the night, to the point I had to go sleep on the futon to keep from waking James, waking up like a zombie. So I teleworked, and James teleworked as well, as Dr. Mobley had cautioned him to make sure his blood levels were balanced before he drove anywhere again. He had been fine yesterday afternoon, but he was clumsy and a little shell-shocked for the first few hours. At one point he could not get the test strip bottle open, and then he asked me where the caps lock key was. It was more like he was sleepy than overdosed this time. As he ate, he perked up more, and he worked very capably, but he wasn't as chatty as usual.
Meanwhile my temperature started to climb, and I was miserable and shivering on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket, all evening. By then I had all the symptoms of a reaction to the shot except for nausea: fever, muscle aches, headache, tenderness at the injection site, plus the cough, which was being a stone-cold bitch. My sides and chest and neck were hurting from all the coughing, and my nose was beginning to get stuffy. I took some Sinex and ibuprofin, and with the help of three pillows, was able to sleep a little bit more than last night, and stay in our own bed without waking James. Otherwise I was a mess, and my temperature was starting to climb again when I got up on Thursday. So I called up the advice nurse and she thought I needed to be seen right away.
Thankfully Twilight can practically drive himself. I saw the nurse practitioner and she pretty much said it was what I thought: reaction to the shot. Since the flu shot has a virus in it, every so many people get "mild" flu symptoms from the vaccine. Usually, she said, people just feel tired and a little under the weather. But because it was virus, no antibiotics unless my temperature remained high. She gave me some pills for the cough [James had these the year he had pneumonia] and gave me the usual instructions: ibuprofin or Tylenol, lots of water, hot soup or tea, rest, and I could take Sinex for three days to be able to breathe out of my nose. Our favorite pharmacy clerk told me she'd had a reaction to the vaccine, too.
The pills actually did help the cough some. If nothing else, it made the cough wetter instead of a dry hacking one, and it got rid of the throat spasm I got every time I tried to talk that made me gasp and cough. The temperature, however, crept up and up until I ended up going to bed with a fever of 101.4.
However, when I woke up this morning, and except for creeping up to 99.3 at some time during the day, it has remained relatively normal. I got dressed to go out this morning, but was not up to anything but walking the dog twice. I am furious. It was so bloody hot last week it was uncomfortable to do just about anything outside and I was fine, and now that it is cold and I can walk more, I can't, because with this stupid cough and stuffed nose I can't get enough air to make it comfortable. Grrr! I spent the day messing around on the Roku stick and watching all of the 1948 "Superman" serial with Kirk Allyn and falling asleep in the meantime. The only useful thing I did was make the bed and take Tucker out. I hate feeling miserable.
There is good news: James did go to work today and had a good day all day; he brought home pizza from Uncle Maddio's for supper. Today is our anniversary: #27 and I hope many more. And the medicine Dr. Mobley gave me for that fugging heat rash combined with the cool weather appears to be working: it was both a pill this time and a fungal cream.
» Sunday, November 05, 2017Standard Times
Alas for that extra hour of sleep; we had an emergency before bed (not of the health variety for people or animals) and didn't get to bed until the DST clock was striking two. I tapped my Fitbit and watched the time go from 1:59 TO 1:00. Hello, beautiful Eastern Standard Time!
James woke up at eight and couldn't get back to sleep. So much for eight hours sleep, even, because I couldn't, either. We celebrated EST with fresh biscuits; I had one with blackberry honey and one with butter, with an eggnog chaser, and then we went to Costco, partially for milk and granola bars, partially for gasoline for the car, and partially just to look around.
Well, Christmas is in full bloom at Costco: trees, child-sized Santas, ornaments, large nativities, and big things like foosball tables, keyboards, etc. The book tables are groaning with books, but to my surprise The Book of Dust was not there as it was at Sam's. Still don't know if I want it or not. Lyra was the chief appeal in the original trilogy, and she's only a baby in this prequel. They had an entire table of cookbooks!
With milk, granola bars, and BreatheRights purchased and the car fed, there was really nowhere else to go that didn't involve spending money. So we came home. Watched three installments of Aerial America (Utah, the Dakotas, and Wyoming), washed towels, made the bed, got ready for the week (sorting pills and all that). Really a chill-out day.
Sometimes chill-out days give you too much time to think. ::sigh::
We had chicken and wild rice soup for supper and shared a piece of fudge for dessert. With the new time change it was soon time to take Tucker outside. It was still 73℉ at eight o'clock. I want fall to come. I'm tired of the heat; it's making both of us so miserable.
Anyway, time for The Durrells in Corfu and Alaska: the Last Frontier.
» Saturday, November 04, 2017Stuffed in More Ways Than One
Another warm day. Will this madness never end? I wore my "kimono" (as WallyWorld calls it) to walk the dog and by the time we left for the Farmer's Market ten minutes later, it was too hot for it. [Later: It went up to 80℉ today. In November! Pathetic!]
We got up at eight, which was one hour too early for me. Even though I had some oatmeal before we left, I was lightheaded by the time we got done. In the meantime, we were able to get a parking space at the main parking area on Powder Springs Road due to a well-timed departure. The place was jammed due to a Heart Walk and 5K run. We didn't buy much, just dog biscuits and goat cheese (Capra Gia finally had all-onion and chive cheese balls again). We had heard there were fresh apple dealers there, but one had Granny Smiths that tasted funny (as if they were part Delicious, which they ain't) and the other had no Granny Smiths at all. So no apples for us. I did buy some Zesty Italian pretzels at The Local Exchange.
Came home, finished breakfast with an eggnog and three ibuprofin (and a handful of pretzels, of course), and finally felt better, so we went out to do errands about 11:30. First stop was Costco for gasoline, as the little light had come on in the truck. Then I ran into Barnes & Noble to pick up the book I wanted last night (Tru & Nelle, based on Harper Lee's friendship with Truman Capote), and then we did a circuit around Bed, Bath & Beyond with a coupon. James picked up a 360 degree cutter.
We were going to try to stop at Costco itself, but, as always on Saturday afternoon, space was at a premium. We just went home. My nose was stuffed again and I felt miserable. Used some saline, had a mortadella sandwich for lunch, and finally took a nap a half hour before we needed to get ready to leave for Betty Bouler's 70th birthday dinner. Since we weren't taking the chair, we took the car.
Dinner was at Top Spice, a Thai place we hadn't been to previously, and it was delicious. James got something spicy with pork, but I had Lad-Na (wide noodles in a tasty brown sauce) with pork, and it was heavenly and filling, and I have half left for a lunch for next week. Lin brought us our eclipse t-shirts which we had ordered back in August, which was nice (I never saw the design; they are gorgeous!). Betty was totally surprised when her brother, who lives in a tiny town in Mississippi just over the border from Memphis, Tennessee, showed up for the dinner! She said she did not have the books I bought her, which was a relief, as she reads a lot since she retired.
The only bad thing that happened was due to the stupid stuffy nose again. The Lad-Na came out very hot, which stimulated the stupid post-nasal drip. So at one point when I stopped to take one of my periodic sips of water, it combined with the mucus and I went to take a deep breath—and couldn't draw in a breath. Tried it again with a big gasp and felt like I was choking. Normally would have just breathed through my nose until it passed, but that was clogged. Of course my eyes were wide open trying to freaking breathe and I could see that every single eye in the restaurant was on me, which was embarrassing. You could almost see them thinking "Am I going to have to jump up to do a Heimlich on this woman?" And then the surface tension broke across my windpipe and I could gasp out, "It's just water!" and everyone relaxed. Good grief.
Two maniac drivers trying to kill us just to beat us to the red light and a stop at Publix—James needed Swiss cheese; it's the lowest sodium cheese he can find—and we were home. Nothing good on but Britcoms, and then the Cooking Channel because Alton Brown, of course.
And now I've turned back all twelve clocks (we need one more so it's a James Thurber reference) and five timers and what it's time for is bed. That fat bitch DST is gone until March.
(Good God! To get some medical records James has to fax them to the hospital! Did I just turn back the clocks to 1980? Who faxes anything anymore?)
» Friday, November 03, 2017A Stuffed Nose Makes an Unhappy Linda
Good grief, I have another cold. This one is not like the last. My throat was hurting, but is no longer hurting, but my stupid nose is stuffed. I'm needing to use a generic Sinex to sleep at night, which I don't like because I know you can get addicted to the stuff. Having a stuffy nose on a long weekend is just annoying.
I didn't have anything planned, and really, I didn't do anything much. Yesterday during lunchtime and breaks I put up all the Thanksgiving decorating, so the house looks all warm and hygge even though it's in the bloody seventies outside. Today I went to Sam's Club because I went downstairs last night and discovered we were completely out of Skinny Pop! It's cheaper at Sam's than Costco, as are the mushrooms (that's because Costco has "gourmet" mushrooms, f'gossakes).
So I scooped up both and then also found some pork chops on clearance and some nice thin steaks, and picked up a nice birthday gift for Betty Bouler on the book aisle as well as getting myself a Christmas issue of "Country Home." I stuck the meat in an insulated bag and went to Publix.
Now, we've been trying to find the mint-flavor FiberOne brownies for months now; we haven't seen them at our own Publix and I looked at the Macland Publix last week. So I gave it one more try and did my Publix shopping at what we call "the big Publix," the one on the East-West connector and I-285. Not there either. I will stop looking now. Either FiberOne has quit making them and not taken them off their web page, or Publix just doesn't carry them anymore. But, anyway, I picked up the twofers and skedaddled, but stopped at our Publix because the big one had no French bread.
Lunched when I got home, put the rest of the groceries away, made the bed, and changed all the clocks downstairs to standard time ("Ding-dong, the witch is dead...which old witch? the DST witch..."), and spent the rest of the afternoon relating with two of my favorite guys, Arthur Bryant and John May, in their latest book, Wild Chamber. I never suspected whodunnit, and it's nice to see Raymond Land growing a backbone.
We had supper at O'Charley's and then went to Barnes & Noble, where I picked up the December "Blue Ridge Country." I wanted a book but couldn't find it; maybe tomorrow at the Akers Mill store.
Spend the rest of the evening attempting to breathe.