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» Saturday, February 27, 2021Nothing Very Exciting (And We Like It That Way)
Spent the usual week doing the usual chores along with some extras. Did a financial "thing" to save up for future tax payments. Fixed a dresser drawer in the spare room so the rail was more firmly seated. Cleaned out the fall and winter magazines downstairs. And it was warm enough one day to air out the library.
We finally had a successful return trip to Sam's Club on Thursday, and brought home a free rotisserie chicken and two pounds of strawberries, which I hulled and cut up on Saturday. With some Reddi Whip they made two delightful desserts, no shortcake needed. Also took a long-overdue visit to Patak's Meat Market for more Italian sausage. I like theirs because the sausage flavoring is so mild it doesn't aggravate my acid reflux.
Alas, while the nurse took the calamine unna boot off James' leg on Tuesday, it went back on Friday—he had raw spots here and there on the leg. On the other hand we had lunch with both the Spiveys and the Boulers on Friday, so it still turned out to be a good day. The 6-ounce steak and green salad at O'Charley's hit the spot.
Saturday James had to prep his ground meat to use in his breakfasts, but we did get to have lunch at Tin Drum (I had an extra protein offer), and of course we had the yummy strawberries. Spent some of the afternoon watching old episodes of Decorating Cents on Discovery+. Those "hand-painted" kitchens and porches of the late 1990s look funny now, but some are much preferable to the cold plain things they have now. Some of these modern kitchens look like hospital rooms! I love the snug warm kitchens they show in the British magazines much more.
» Saturday, February 20, 2021Into Each Life a Little Sunshine Shall Fall
It was a mixed bag of a workweek after Jen’s joyful visit. I hit a couple of stores on Monday to get needed supplies (especially stocking up on Command Hooks at Hobby Lobby before they ditch the 40 percent off coupon). James had been wearing the compression sock again on his left leg, but Deborah (the visiting nurse) put him back into the calamine lotion unna boot after she saw the two small blisters on the arch of his foot. This seems like a setback, but I’m sure the leg can stand the extra moisture that the calamine brings. Sure was a downer, though, along with the fact that I had to make Snowy his annual appointment with a completely different vet. The avian vet we have had for years, Dr. Karolyn Akins, has quarantined herself during COVID, and the other avian vet at the office left. I had to call three vets before I could find one that would give Snowy a polyoma shot, which they require before he can board at our vet. And the vet we will be going to is still doing curbside pickup. I do not like that at all.
Wednesday I had to call our insurance agent to question why I can’t see both our auto and our home policy online. (The short answer is that the auto insurance is in my name and the house policy is in James’ name with mine as the secondary name. To be able to combine them, the agent needs to change my name to primary on the house insurance.) I haven’t called our agent since the Smallwoods retired, and I had a rather long, hilarious chat with the new guy, Bruce, who’s originally from Long Island. I also paid our house insurance through him. We received two communications from Nationwide, one that had the complete house policy in it and said “This is not a bill” and didn’t have a due date on it, and then the second that said “Hi, your payment was due February 3.” So I paid the bill on my credit card (yay! Amazon points) and then paid off the credit card.
Thursday was kind of a sweet and sour day. We went off in the car (because it was supposed to rain) and did the shopping at Publix, then at Kroger. This was a great experience at Publix (even if they didn’t have chicken and wild rice soup) and a not-so-great experience at Kroger because the only electric cart left squeaked like the dickens through our entire trip through the store. We got home expecting to find out how the Mars landing came out, but it turned out Perseverance wasn’t landing until 3:55 p.m. So we went out to Sam’s Club. They had five free items you could get if you used the coupon we'd received by the 20th. Our membership was expired, but we renewed it when we walked in, then hurried around getting the five items, and a few other things, only to get to the cashier, who told us we didn’t have memberships! It turned out the membership renewal takes a while to “register” on the computer. (I call bullshit. We have renewed our Sam’s membership and bought stuff immediately afterwards on previous years.) So because the computer didn’t register us as being members, we had to leave all the stuff we bought behind, including a rotisserie chicken and a frozen pizza, which of course would have to be thrown in the trash! What a waste! 😠
Friday was a better day. We had the nurse coming, but she showed up at ten (alas, still re-wrapping his left leg, as he had a raw spot on his lower leg near the thighbone) and, amazingly, we had the rest of the day for ourselves. It felt insane. We’ve had six straight weeks of having to be at a doctor’s office at least once, and sometimes three times, on Thursday and Friday, along with the inevitable grocery shopping, and here we had a free afternoon! And not only that, it wasn’t raining! It was bright and blue and just chilly enough to make you feel alive but not bone-chillingly cold. So we did it! We loaded up the power chair and went out! We drove up to Canton, a 30-minute drive (my commute to work used to be longer) and went to Uncle Maddio’s Pizza for lunch. The Uncle Maddio’s near us closed during the pandemic, and the next-closest one, out in Acworth, closed not soon after. The closest one is now in Canton. We walked in the door and I began salivating immediately at the wonderful scents. Amazingly, the manager was all by himself in the store, doing all the work (assembling, topping, putting in the oven, taking payment, bringing out the food). We left him a big tip! And it was so good to have a no-cheese bacon-black olive-basil pizza again!
Not only that, but the Uncle Maddio’s was one parking lot away from a big new shopping center (Canton Marketplace) that has a real, live full-size Books-a-Million! (I know, I’m sprinkling this with far too many exclamation points, but this was an exciting and wonderful day compared with our lives since December 24.) We went in and wandered about for over a delightful hour. I picked up three bargain books: Creating Sherlock Holmes (one of those oversized volumes illustrated with a lot of old photos), Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It (which is partially based on his podcast and partly a biography), and Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, which I never bought full-price because it was too expensive. The store was chock full of books (unlike good ol' Barnes & Noble), and the magazine rack was long and inviting. (I talked myself out of the magazine about the history of London, though.) James got a new “Cook’s Illustrated” and some game cards, and we drank peppermint hot chocolate at the Joe Muggs coffee bar. About three o’clock we came home happy and relaxed.
I’d dreaded Saturday, but it wasn’t too bad. It was another bright and blue day, and we were headed to the Kaiser facility in Gwinnett County to get the first of our two COVID-19 vaccine shots. Alice had called us on Thursday just as we pulled into Kroger saying she had gotten a text that appointments were available. By the time we got home from Kroger, the Friday appointments were gone but they still had ones for Saturday afternoon. So we braved the interstate—really, drivers are getting worse!—and arrived there with time to spare to use the rest room. Because I did that whole allergic thing with the Zostavax and James is on blood thinners, they made us wait 30 minutes after the shot instead of fifteen, but we just sat and read and it went by quickly.
By then it was nearly two o’clock and we were really wanting something to eat. The east side of Atlanta is a really good area for Asian markets and restaurants, and we found, less than a mile away, a Hibachi Grill buffet. They were still doing it as buffet, but they made you wear gloves and a mask to go to the bar to get food. This cost a bit more than the lunch buffet at our Hibachi Grill, but they had seafood all over the bar: at least two kind of shrimp, crab, crawfish, tilapia, etc. I wanted the crab so badly, but I didn’t dare after having the shot and not knowing how it would affect me. And for about a minute or two, I did feel a little strange while I was eating. I can’t even describe what it was. I didn’t have chest pain, or shortness of breath, or feel dizzy…just felt a little odd. I stopped eating and took a couple of breaths and was almost about to say something to James when it went away. It didn’t come back, and I went back to dinner. Amazingly, they had ice cream cups in a freezer up front and instead of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, they had strawberry, vanilla, and coffee! Enjoyed having a coffee ice cream cup!
On the way home we stopped at Costco for gasoline (we’d tried to stop at the Costco on that side of town, but the line was out into the street). The only bad thing about the day was seeing a “carbeque” on I-85 North. Somewhere there is a dead red Mazda now in a junkyard. We could see the smoke from quite a distance, then it turned from white to grey to black, and as we came by the car we could see the flames involving the whole engine compartment and burning underneath. I hope no one was hurt.
The other thing we did this weekend was turn on Hulu and watch the first four episodes of the new Animaniacs. I was…underwhelmed. Really, the best joke in the first four episodes was the promo they showed for the series where they parodied Jurassic Park. There were a couple of good bits: Donald Trump as the Cyclops in the takeoff on “The Odyssey” was a good laugh, and there were some good bits in a “Pinky and the Brain” sequence that paralleled the McCarthy hearings. They were trying too hard to be clever most of the time. I found most of the skits dull.
» Sunday, February 14, 2021A Very Special Valentine Visit!
It was an eventful week, starting with a successful clean-up campaign. I have been needing to clean up the drawers in and the space under the vanity of the sinks. I tossed out 10-year-old peroxide, old everything else, concatenated other things, and made lots more room down there. I also cleaned off James' dresser, which was, frankly, looking like a bomb went off on it. There were old grocery receipts, pens, bits of models, pocketknives, loose coins, a remote control helicopter, a bottle of paint, and other things that didn't belong. It's now all clean and pretty, and I washed all three bureau scarves to boot. As an encore, I cleaned out all the appliance/electronic manuals and threw a bunch away (like the one for the stove we no longer have), and followed it up by rearranging the books in the spare room. "Viola" and all that.
We had another doctory weekend. Thursday we were up at six so James could be at the dentist at eight. (I drove him because it was raining and he couldn't take the power chair.) I finally bought some dental insurance (his work canceled the one we had when they reorganized), so he went to have his teeth checked. He needs several fillings and other work, and the dental insurance will not cover it for six months. At least we know how much it will cost. Eeek! Since the dentist is next to Kroger, we went there next, and then to Publix, and got the shopping done, and were home in time for me to take a nap. I am not a morning person.
And then...ta-da!...we went back to the infusion clinic and they removed the PICC line! His last intravenous treatment was yesterday. We are crossing fingers that everything is well internally. When I got home I got all the infusion stuff out of the way: the tray I did the prep on, the infusion pole, and all the supplies. Tossed out some, kept some useful stuff like the plastic gloves and saline, and recycled the heparin at Kaiser on Friday.
Friday we were up at seven for James' dermatologist appointment. He has them regularly to examine for skin cancer. She froze a troublesome wart on his right forefinger and also looked at his leg. She said the skin looked well and he could go back to wearing the compression socks!
You guessed it: we got home and I had another nap, at least until it was time to join Alice and Ken at The BBQ Place for lunch. We followed that up with a trip to Lidl.
We sorta got a chance to sleep later on Saturday, but had to get up at nine for Hair Day. This was fun. This month I remembered the Christmas gifts I forgot on the January Hair Day, and I gave out Valentine cards. It was so nice to see everyone. I don't miss going to a lot of stores, but I sure miss bigger Friday lunches and game nights. We came home so James could prep his breakfasts for the week and I could do some laundry and the vacuuming.
When we got ready for bed I noticed I had a message on my phone, and, holy cow, it was a great one! Our friend Jen, who lives in Oklahoma, was driving south from North Carolina (she had hand-delivered some paintings and then visited relatives) and wanted to stop by for lunch on Sunday! To say that we were thrilled was not the half of it. Valentine's Day or not, James was still working, but I was making chicken cacciatore as a special dinner for his lunch hour. So on Valentine's Day we had four hours of wonderful talk with Jen along with chicken cacciatore, elbow macaroni, a cucumber salad, and dark chocolate Oreos for dessert. It was so nice to see her. She was driving home via a couple of museums and is then going to have to prep to be deployed—she's in the Air Force—to the UAE from April to August. Oh, man, the Middle East in summer! I don't envy her that assignment!
The house was very lonesome when she left.
(Oh, yeah, and I managed to do all my Sunday chores, too! Yay me! (Tired me!)
» Saturday, February 06, 2021Homestretch?
It was quite a week!
It began with the cold, the first time this year it's really felt like winter. Monday it was 25 degrees with the wind chill and it was almost as cold on Tuesday. I kept warm Monday updating the copyrights on my web pages; usually I do this on New Year's Day after the Rose Parade, but I had other things on my mind. 😞 In the late afternoon I went out to the mailbox and discovered the last document we needed for our taxes, so I sat down and did them. We owe the Feds a small amount, but do have a refund from the state.
It was also a bit annoying because I was feeling rather blah at the beginning of the week and it nagged on for days, even into our weekend. Thursday was the usual trip to the infusion clinic. They told us unless they received orders to the contrary, they'd be removing the PICC line next Thursday, so next Wednesday is James' last infusion! I sure hope there are no contrary orders and they indeed think he is well; it would be such a blessing.
Friday when we went to the podiatrist we got even better news. I was still worried about the leg because he has a few little spots that, even with the medi-honey, are not healing but instead are being irritated by the edges of the non-stick gauze that's covering it, even though the arch of his foot is looking almost perfect, with only some thick hard skin remaining from the blister left on it. The podiatrist peeled most of that off, took a look at those pesky, tiny raw spots, and finally, finally dredged out a calamine unna boot kit and wrapped up his leg in it and told us to let the nurse remove it on Tuesday. 😀 I am crossing fingers this will do the final trick.
Oh, the other thing is that James is out of the walking boot and the thick sock and into a regular sock, so he could wear a complete pair of shoes this weekend! He said he was tired of feeling like the villain in "Ship of Spies" (on Get Smart) who walked with a "clip-clop" noise. Plus today his new slippers arrived; these are the Velcro kind that fit around your feet. So he doesn't need to "clip-clop" any longer, and he was very pleased with this development because he was planning to go to the IPMS meeting on Saturday. It is now being held in a larger venue than previously and he would wear his mask during the meeting, so it seemed safe for him to attend. Came Saturday morning and all the forecasts said it would be pouring that afternoon, so he did the Zoom meeting instead.
So, of course, it never rained. Typical.