Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sheesh, when it rains, it pours

Sheesh, when it rains, it pours and I'm not just talking about the weather, although I think it's rained 80% of the days since we've been home.  The poor farmers in our area are having trouble getting into the fields to get the crops planted.

So, be warned, this post is full of whining, as this past month has not been a particularly good one, for our family.

First note:  I love it when actual readers of my posts leave messages or comments, but I'm getting so much spam that I am going to have to not allow anonymous comments.  I just have a problem with comments from s_x, drug, weed, etc. sites that have nothing to do with my blog what so ever.  As any TRUE readers of my blog are well aware, I take and include a LOT of pictures in my blog posts.  I actually had someone write that they enjoyed the content of my blog but had I ever considered that some photos or videos would add much more interest to my blog. . . ummmm, if anything, I use TOO many pictures in my blogs. . . Oh well, I hope it won't keep true "friends and followers" from commenting.  (*Mom, use your gmail log in, that's your google id, LOL, I love you.)
We did come home to some very pretty sights:  the lilacs were in full bloom, as were the lovely violets our yard is full of.
The early spring flowers in the front perennial garden were just finishing up their run, with the Monarda and Yellow Loosestrife making their annual comeback (actually taking over) in the background.
I have gotten very little claying done this past month because of the "pouring" that's been going on.  We arrived home on May 13.  We took the Big Sky into the shop, on the 14th, to have the "landing gear" (my sister started laughing when I called it that, but that's what the leveling equipment is called, LOL) worked on.  We started having problems with it last year in New Mexico and it has gotten progressively noisier and "clankier" (yes, it is a word, at least NOW it's a word, I just now made it up!!!)  So we took BS in to have it fixed or replaced (our choice was to have it replaced, even though that was the more expensive option).
We were especially glad we chose to have it replaced when the technician told us that Keystone has changed the landing gear.  They made the motor stronger and changed the gears from plastic gears to metal ones. . . ummm, wouldn't you think maybe metal gears would have been better in the first place when they are lifting and lowering 5000 lbs or so of weight every time they are used?  So now we have metal gears and new front jacks and they are so quiet I wasn't sure they were even working, I had to stand there and stare at them to see them going up and down.  So even though expensive, we feel it was money well spent and should last us longer than the first set, which was about 5 years.  So one whine down, with a happy ending.
When we got home we found our yard, grass and weeds (we live in the country, so yes, our yard is 3/4 weeds, LOL) was about 16-20" high.  We got the ditches done and half the front yard (more or less, at least chopped roughly, until we could do the second pass at a more reasonable length) but it was so tall the mowers kept dying because it was too tall and thick, so we knew it would take us more than one time through it to get it workable.  Then it kept raining and we couldn't get into it and so it kept growing, I didn't think we'd ever get it done.
I went out back to check on something and noticed something was wrong with some of my planters.
I have half barrel planters in front of the pool and deck with ice plants and other succulents in them, as with succulents, I don't have to water them much, they can manage to survive when we are away.  I've had them for about 3 years starting with an ice plant daughter, B, gave me.  When I went out this particular day I noticed the half barrel closest to the house was half empty (of dirt) and had no plants left.  The one on the other side of the steps was the same way and the third one was almost as bad although only half its plants were gone and the fourth one was clipped drastically, but was still intact.

I was so upset, I've had those for 3 years. . . I called Mr. C, and all we could figure out was maybe Rabbits had used them for nests since we've had to much rain this year.

One other year (before the succulents) they did that and I was planting some new plants in them and this alien thing came rising out of the dirt as I was watering it, (something all covered in mud and dirt was clawing itself up out of the wet mud).
I was scared to death, (I remember backing away in horror calling to Mr. C, to come look at this, something's in the flower box) until I realized it was baby bunnies and of course Mr. C was laughing hysterically at me.  I quickly quit watering and let them get resettled and didn't bother then until they were old enough to leave the "planter".

Anyway, Mr. C said, get replacement plants and we'll get dirt and we'll replant them, so that's what we planned to do that night when he got home from work.  He came in laughing and said, go look in the half barrels, it's your stupid chickens taking dust baths, and it was. . . stupid chickens. . . So, the upshot is, we replanted them and used some left over fencing to make a fence around them (the same diameter as the barrels)
but the chickens just reached through the fencing and started eating the new plants, so back to the drawing board and Mr. C enlarged the fences to protect my barrels of succulents.  Isn't he a dream husband?  He spoils me rotten.  I think it looks crappy with the fences though and can't wait until the chickens live out their lives and we no longer have chickens, LOL.  Those chickens cost us a lot more to raise them than it would cost to buy a dozen eggs at the store from time to time, LOLOL.  I just love fresh eggs, though.

On the 14th, I also started seeing a new Chiropractor for my lower back and sciatica/hips the next day and have been going into town (30 miles one way) every other day for adjustments and am actually doing so much better it's unbelievable.  They use a new technique (at least new to me) Pulsar that is fantastic, doesn't twist me all over or make me tense up which makes the adjustment harder or twist my neck off, which I HATE.  So, a second little whine with a good ending, LOL (although since it's on-going treatment, I suppose it's not an ending yet).
Mr. C returned to work on the 15th and, on the 17th, we had our annual May celebratory dinner with my Mom and Sister (G) to celebrate our missed Mother's Day and Mom's Birthday (84, this year, Congratulations, Mama) and Mr. C's and my 23rd Anniversary.  We ate at Bandana's and a good time was had by all.   Our Mom gave us girls the cutest little Fairy Gardens:
So that first week back wasn't too bad.  The second week back was busy, with visits to the Gastroenterologist to schedule both of us for our first ever colonosopies, which will take place later this summer.  Snuffles went in for her regularly scheduled grooming appointment and after that all H--- broke loose around here.
My Dad went into the hospital for a possible stroke or heart attack and spent the night and next day having tests run etc.  Fortunately, all came out okay, this time (he had a bad stroke about 8 years ago).

Two days later, my sweet Mother was returning an umbrella to a friend who had left it in her car and Mom tripped on some uneven pavement and went flying through the air with the greatest of ease.  However, she did not LAND with the greatest of ease, she landed HARD, on her left shoulder.  So, another trip to the Emergency Room, with her being admitted.  She had totally shattered her left shoulder, splintered the long bone in her upper arm, and dislocated the entire shoulder and arm down into her arm pit.  She also hit her head, but not badly, just a bit of bruising around her left eyebrow and temple area.
So, the question comes up, what to do.  There is no chance of saving the shoulder at all, it is in too many little splintered pieces.  She's 84 years old, will the bones hold a replacement?  Finally, after spending some time with her, the surgeon decided to try a reverse total shoulder replacement.
So, the next morning, she went in for surgery.  It took about 6 hours, but it seemed like forever.  My sister and I were both there waiting.  The Dr. finally came out to talk to us.  He said the surgery went well, in fact better than he expected.  He felt she would have good use of the shoulder although it would always be limited.  We talked to him about how our mother was a completely self sufficient person, living alone, driving, shopping, busier than I can imagine having the energy to be.  I questioned; given how badly the shoulder had shattered, if her bone structure was sound enough to hold the replacement parts.  He told us that was his worry going into the surgery, but as young as she "appeared and acted", her bone structure was also much "younger" than her actual age.  He said, "In fact, if she were the average 84 year old woman we would not even be having this conversation.  The average 84 year old with this kind of break would be a patient in a wheel chair at a nursing home without the knowledge of what was going on in the first place and so they would have just stabilized the arm and left it be, leaving the person no use of that arm for the rest of their life.  But that with my Mom's "youthful 84 years" he felt it was worth trying this surgery."  We understood him to say this is the first time this particular surgery has been attempted at St. Joseph Hospital, but he later told Mom it's the first time it was done in our city.  Where the shaft goes into the arm bone, he took any little sliver of bone with tendon still attached and left it in place wrapping the tendons around the repair in hopes of facilitating healing, but the tendons were too torn up to even try to reattach.  The rest of the bone fragments he just removed as they were just loose in there.  He expects her to get enough arm movement to reach her head to help with hair care, but she will have a 5 lb lifting, pulling, pushing limit for life.  Fortunately, she is right handed and this is her left arm.  Mom chose to go to a Nursing Home for rehabilitation, for however long that takes.  We have no idea, but suspect it will be a long procedure.  There were some problems at the Nursing Home at first, (such as since they didn't get her a recliner to sleep in, which we asked for and told them she had to have, they ended up putting her out in the entry way in a recliner to spend the night, with no way to call for help or any way to get up if she needed to or anything. . .) but once we got them straightened out, things have been going fairly well.
Next, the air conditioning on my car went out (or partially out, we think it's just low on Freon) but we haven't been able to  get it in to the shop yet, LOL, because Mr. C's car got a flat tire and we had to get that fixed, so 4 new tires later (he requires special tires on his Mustang), which is another good, if expensive, ending.
Our daughter, B, had to have back surgery on the 29th and that isn't going as well as they expected.  So we hope it's just that it's still irritated and inflamed, but today, a week later, it still isn't better, in fact it seems worse and the affected leg is definitely weaker and the pain is actually worse.  So they gave her a steroid/pain shot and medication and said give it a week and we'll check it again.  So we're glad the surgery is over but are still hoping for a "good" ending to that.

But on the way home from seeing Mom the next day my car started "rumbling" and we looked at one another and said, oh no, we have to have the exhaust checked now.  So, next day, on the way home from picking up the Mustang, I started hearing clang, clang, clang, so I honked for Mr. C to pull over and he came and checked and sure enough, the muffler was dragging, now. . . There was nothing we could do where we were so we decided to go on home and wire it up as we have to take it about 30 miles away to get it fixed.  We had to go over a railroad track and it stuck and ripped away more, so it dragged and roared the rest of the way home (right past a policeman, I was just sure the way our luck has been going that he'd pull me over, but I lucked out and he ignored it--or figured I must know about it and since I was obviously not a young kid into a loud car, LOL, ignored it).  So this afternoon after Mr. C got up (he's on mids this week) we took it down to the Muffler place and lucked out again.  The muffler guy said, "Luckily I was able to weld a piece in place to put it back together because I don't have any idea how much that kind of muffler would cost to replace."  This same piece has been replaced/patched before, but it rusts out faster than the rest of the exhaust system, as the muffler was okay and able to be reused, Hooray.  So another good ending.
We did finally get our lawn mowed, although by the time we got it done, it was ready to do again, after another 4 days of rain. . . We still haven't gotten all my new plants planted yet, oh well, we'll get to them when we get to them.  We also plan to clean out and redo our little pond with a filter and aerator.  The frogs and toads are trilling up a storm, but since I bought goldfish for the pond last year, we probably won't have tadpoles or baby frogs (the fish would think they were a yummy treat, LOL).  Mr. C says he's glad we won't add to the frog and toad population, as they're noisy enough with the number we already have.
We haven't yet gotten our pool up and running.  We did manage to get the cover off (between storms) and Mr. C is starting to get the solar heating hoses set up.  The weather has been so crazy (storms and temperatures) that we haven't been in a real hurry to get it set up (temp was 51* this a.m. when Mr. C got home from work).  That's too darn cold for me to be swimming, LOL.

Another good piece of news is that our son, N, has qualified for an interview for a permanent position with the company he's contracting for at present.  We have great hopes and prayers set on this situation. It would be doing basically what he's doing now, but with a permanent position with benefits etc.

So, is it any wonder that I haven't gotten much claying done this past two weeks?  I have been working on color sticks (something we used in the Carol Simmons Kaleidoscope Workshop I went to in April in Wisconsin).

They are very fiddly and take a lot of time and clay and this is all the further I've gotten so far.
 I have to get some dragons made up for the grands and daughters and sister and self with mementos of our Texas Trip.  I already know what I'm making, just need some time to "get 'er done", so to speak.  I also have a bunch of canes started that I need to get cracking on.

For anybody wanting to know, this is what my home studio looks like when it's got a "mess in progress" oops, I mean WORK in progress, LOL.

In the meantime, my body decided it was time to pass a kidney stone, so I'm not feeling my best and am "mad at the world" and in pain.  I don't have time for a kidney stone.  At least it appears to be passing on its own, so that will be another good ending, I just wish it would hurry up.

Actually all I wanted when I started writing this post was to warn people about the problem I'm having with spam commentors, and I ended up spewing all my frustrations all over on everybody.  I'm sorry, but thanks for listening, apparently I needed to tell "somebody", LOL.  I do have some positive pictures to end this post on, however.  Pictures of our perennial garden.(although it needs weeding).  Today, the Yellow Loosestrife is in bloom, the Monarda (Bee Balm) is growing like mad, some iris are blooming (and the lilies won't be far behind.  I love that we interspersed lilies and iris, as the iris bloom early and then the lilies take over and then the Monarda finish out the summer.  The only thing I don't have
are any fall plants.  Maybe this year I'll have to finally put in a few mums to finish the year out (my problem is that by fall I am over my Spring planting and "rebirth of the earth" spree and I never feel like planting in the fall, but I do love the fall colors, too.  So maybe. . .

We only have this small amount of plants left to fill in spots in the perennial garden that didn't make it through the winter.

I hope you all have a wonderful summer; summer's going to be here (June 21) before we know it.  I can't believe we're already half way through 2013.  Where does the time go?  Until next time. . . smiles, Sue C