The Monday After…

Saturday morning started out much like many others.  I hadn’t slept well the night before, so I was moving slowly.  I went over the 50 pound bag of chicken feed that sits in the corner of our pool room. I bent down to fill up a bowl for the chickens, like I do every morning… and that’s when it happened. I felt a “catch” in my back, in other words, a sharp pain, and I could hardly straighten back up.  I don’t know exactly what happened, but it sure was painful!

I don’t like to give up easily, so I went ahead with my chicken chores.  I fed the chickens and cleaned their coops. Once more, I felt that sharp stabbing pain in my back when I tried to bend over.  I avoided all bending, after that!

Call me crazy, but, a few minutes later, I still decided to change out the towels that are protecting the swing [from cats] on the front porch.  It was at that particular moment I  also got stung by a wasp!  How was I to know a huge wasp nest was located on the back of the swing?  Wow, two painful episodes within an hour.  I couldn’t decide which felt worse, my back or my ring finger.  It quickly became obvious that Saturday, the 13th wasn’t going to be my day!

Our daughter-in-law had a cookout planned for Saturday evening, so I willed myself into the kitchen to make some rice krispie treats.  I didn’t want to let my aches and  pains get the best of me. By lunchtime, my back was good and sore, and I moved slowly and painfully the rest of the day.  I took pain medication twice that day, so I was able to make it to the cookout.

The Saturday afternoon cookout was to honor our oldest son, who finally finished up his degree.  He graduated from high school in 2000, and has been s-l-o-w-l-y working toward his college degree for many years.  Nobody could convince him to take more than one class per semester, but just like the tortoise, he very slowly and very steadily completed his task.  We couldn’t be prouder!  He graduated with honors, but the very best part is he graduated with no student debt, too.  There aren’t many who can say that, these days!

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College Grad

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful.  I spent the majority of it alternating between laying down and sitting because of my sore back.  I tried to do a little grocery shopping, on Sunday afternoon, but started having back spasms, and had to let Ed finish the job.  I’m blessed that he can take over my duties when I’m not able to do them.

Speaking of Ed, he had a checkup with his cardiologist, on Friday, and got a very good report.  His doctor told him if all of his patients got along as well as Ed has, it would make his job a lot easier.  Praise the Lord for Ed’s smooth recovery!  He’s approaching the 10 month anniversary of his heart attack.

It has started raining, as I’m writing this post, and I’m glad!  Our grass has turned brown due to extreme temperatures and lack of rain.  Perhaps a good shower will help to bring it back to life.  It would also be nice not to have to water my plants for a day or so.  Speaking of watering plants, there’s nothing like being “down in the back” to show a person they have too many things to take care of!  And speaking of being “down in the back”, I think I’ll go and rest mine for a while.  I hope it helps!

Have a great Monday!

 

I

 

 

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Published in: on August 15, 2016 at 2:28 pm  Comments (4)  
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Living In A ‘Special Needs’ Household…

If you’ve read my blog within the past three weeks, then you know I’ve been somewhat ‘out of commission’ with a back ailment.  During this time, my husband, Ed, has taken on the majority of the household chores.

As if this isn’t enough, he’s been shouldering all of the animal-related duties, as well.  Yes, poor Ed has been dealing with the feeding and care of  every single member of our ‘special needs’ household–including me.  Caring for an ailing wife and her pets is one thing, but, in our case, it borders on being downright ridiculous, as you will soon see.

For instance, our dog, Morris, is an outside dog, and he’s old.  He’s pretty much blind and deaf, and, therefore, marches to the beat of his own drum.  He doesn’t come when called, because he can’t hear, and it’s not always easy to find him at mealtime because he lays low, these days.  Making sure Morris gets fed can be quite a task.

Next come the cats–all fourteen of them.  Two of our cats are pretty old.  Trouble, the oldest cat of the bunch doesn’t even live at our house, but lives at Ed’s parents’ vacant house.  (You could say we inherited her, along with the house.)  Ed has to drive about a quarter of a mile, each day, just to feed her.

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Charlie, our next oldest cat, is about 12. Both Charlie and Trouble now require some canned food at both meals, in addition to a little dry food.  Their teeth aren’t as good as they used to be.  Cans are just more aggravation and expense to deal with, but we do what we can to keep our oldest felines satisfied.

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Charlie

Drake, our male tabby, is the next oldest of our clan.  I’m not exactly sure how old Drake is, because I adopted him from the animal shelter, as an adult.  My guess is he’s not far behind Charlie in age, but Drake is senile.  He gets agitated and confused easily, and his equilibrium is off, as well.  Bless him.

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Drake

Smut, Kyle, Big Red, and Fat Susan are more of our shelter rescue cats, and all are close in age.  They’ve  just celebrated their 11th birthdays.  All are still in relatively good health, with the exception of Fat Susan, who’s overweight, and Big Red who has a bad limp from an old leg injury.  The problem with this bunch is we have to watch Fat Susan, carefully, because she’s a bully and a food hog!

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Fat Susan, who lives up to her name

Next we have Kitty Bee and Sarah Callie Girl, two calico cats, who were also rescued from the shelter.  They’re around age 11, as well.  The problem with these cats is they didn’t bond with the others, for some reason, and have to be fed separately–far away from the rest of the bunch.  More special needs kitties.  Both stay in the woods most of the time–in two different places!

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Kitty Bee (left) and Sarah Callie Girl 

Smut, Suzy, Bobs, Jo Jo, and Baby–who comprise the rest of our feline family–usually get along pretty well, and don’t seem to mind sharing a meal together, but then there’s MAC (acronym for Mean Ass Cat).  When MAC chooses to come and dine with the others, he always comes hissing and growling.  We have to keep a close eye on MAC to make sure he doesn’t attack anyone–including us!  He’s very temperamental, and a bit paranoid.

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Last, but not least, we have our nine hens, ‘the girls’.  (Sadly, we lost one of our ‘older girls’, to a health issue, yesterday.)   I love ‘my girls’, but let me tell you, it’s a lot of work taking care of them properly.  The coops have to be cleaned, the sand in the runs has to be scooped twice daily (think humongous litter box), and the chickens have to be fed and watered twice daily.  Oh, and eggs have to be gathered and washed each day, too!  Then, of course, there’s the occasional ‘booty washing’ that must be done… and let’s not forget the chore of trying to keep our two free-ranging girls in their proper place!

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One of those pesky red hens, sneaking up on the front porch…again!

Yes, poor Ed has his hands full, at the moment.  The good news is things are slowly beginning to get better with my back.  As my back improves, I’m trying to help Ed out in any way I can.  The bad news is, progress is coming slowly.  I’m thankful Ed is a patient man.  He’s outside feeding animals and cleaning coops, in the rain, as I am writing this…Bless him.

 

 

Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 7:55 am  Comments (2)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Reflecting On The Past Week…

Tomorrow will make one week since Ed lost his job–and what a week it’s been!  As you can imagine, we’ve experienced all kinds of emotions this week–shock, anger, disbelief, fear, sadness, and relief, all rolled into one week!  I’m happy to say, as the week has worn on, relief has become the most prevalent emotion in our household.

Seven years ago, Ed was happily working at another hospital.   One day, EMH contacted him and asked if he might be interested in coming to work for their hospital.  Although Ed was happy with his current job, the hospital where he was working was 55 miles from home, which meant a two-hour commute every day.  EMH was located just 7 miles from us, and offered a higher salary.  It wasn’t an easy decision for Ed to make, but, ultimately, he chose to take the job at EMH.  It didn’t take long to figure out that he might have made a mistake.  While the commute was much shorter, and the pay much better, the working conditions were much more stressful, and, over time, they just got worse.  It was the worst working environment Ed has ever experienced, in his forty-three years of employment!  Some of the problems included poor hospital management, lots of back-biting and back stabbing among the staff, not to mention poor morale among ALL employees.

Due to the government’s involvement in healthcare, times are tough for small rural hospitals, with most of them really struggling, these days.  Not long after Ed took the job at EMH, it became apparent that this hospital was struggling, as well.  Years ago, Ed had worked [for twenty years] at a hospital that ended up having to close its doors, so he knew all of the warning signs.  The same scenario was beginning to play out at EMH.

At the beginning of last year, it became apparent the hospital wasn’t going to survive, unless some drastic changes were made.  By the end of the year, a management firm had been hired to take over running the hospital, on a trial basis, for one year.  We had a pretty good idea of how the next scenario would go. Employees were warned that ” some cuts would be made” when this company took control.

Since Ed was a department director, making a higher salary, he stood a greater chance of being targeted.  Some employees sought other employment, but Ed chose to ride out the storm.  He turned 65, in November, and knew retirement would be in the not-too-distant future, anyway.  We hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst.  The worst happened last Friday, when Ed was “let go.”

In hindsight, we’re now beginning to view what we considered “the worst” as a blessing. Living and working in stressful conditions can eventually take a toll on one’s health, and Ed was no exception.  In the wake of this particularly stressful past year, minor health issues had begun to plague Ed.  I feared for his over-all health, and joked with him, at one point, that he was going to stay at that hospital until they carried him out on a stretcher.  Fortunately, that didn’t happen!

As each day passes, Ed looks better and better.  He says he even feels better.  He looks like a man who has had the weight of the world lifted off of his shoulders, and, perhaps, he has.  Perhaps a better analogy would be this:  After years of riding on a sinking ship, Ed finally got tossed a life-preserver.  May he happily find his way to the shore of retirement bliss, and live happily ever after!

 

 

 

 

 

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (7)  
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Memory Monday ~ My Husband

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday

Finally, a subject I can write about without absolutely no sadness or remorse!  If you’ve been reading my previous Monday posts, then you know that my childhood was less than perfect, and downright painful, at times.  However, all of that was before I met my future husband, Ed!

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Edward, as a baby, 1950

My husband, Edward, now known as “Ed” or just plain “E”, was the second born of five sons.  Ed’s older brother, Allen, and his younger brother, Dale, were both born shortly before and after him. Unfortunately, both of these brothers died from Cystic Fibrosis, and Ed doesn’t even remember them now.  Allen lived to be three, but little Dale barely made it past six months old.  For a while, after the death of his two brothers, Edward used to ask his mother if he was going to die, too.  I can’t begin to imagine the heartbreak Ed’s mom must have gone through, in those days!

Edward was a sickly, only child for several years, until, finally, another baby brother was born.  Fifteen months later, another baby brother was born, too.  Now, Ed’s mama really had her hands full!  She was an older mom, and depended on Ed to help her, quite a bit, which probably helped shape him into the husband and father he would later become.

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Edward and his family, 1960

As a child, Ed took piano lessons for many years.  He became an accomplished pianist, performing in many recitals and receiving several awards for his performances. I recently learned that Ed learned how to play the organ, as well!   Ed was the only one of his brothers to take any formal music lessons.

At age 17, Ed graduated from high school in 1967, and attended Georgia Southern College (years before it became a university), where he says he wasted his parents hard-earned money by not applying himself.  The following year, Ed attended Vocational-Technical College for a year, but failed to return the second year to complete the electronics course.  Instead, Ed and a friend of his, decided to join the army and see the world!  Ed and his friend signed up to go into the army, and attend x-ray school.  Soon the two found themselves immersed in the world of anatomy, physics, and techniques!

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Ed, with his younger brothers, 1969

Shortly after Ed signed up for the army, but before he and his friend were called to report for basic training, Ed and I were set up, on a blind date, by a mutual cousin.  Yes, I said “by a mutual cousin”.  Ed’s mama’s sister, married my daddy’s brother, and the couple had two children.  Susan, the oldest cousin, paired me up with Ed, so she could go out with his friend.  The four of us went on a double date to the drive-in.  Susan and Ed’s friend didn’t hit it off, but Ed and I sure did!  I was just three weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday, while Ed was three months short of his nineteenth, when we met.

When I first met Ed, he was working a summer job, of mowing grass at a nearby army post.  Ed was lean and tanned, and he quickly stole my heart.  What a gentleman he was!  Ed told me he’d recently joined the army and would be leaving for basic training, in just a few short weeks. By the time those few weeks rolled around, Ed and I were already in love, and committed to each other.  I told him I’d wait for him. Much of the rest of our courtship came in spurts, between Ed’s army assignments.

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Ed and me, taken shortly before he left for Okinawa, in 1970

 Ed completed his basic training on an army post about three hours from where we lived.  We didn’t see each other for the first three weeks of training, then the army let all of the new recruits go home for Christmas break! After the Christmas break, basic training quickly resumed, followed by four months of x-ray schooling at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.  About three months after completing x-ray schooling, in Texas, Ed shipped out for an eighteen month tour of duty (which turned out to be twenty-one months) in Okinawa.  We’d been dating just over a year, by this point.  Ed gave me an engagement ring, and officially asked me to marry him, shortly before he left.

Ed’s friend, who joined the army with him, had gotten married that summer, and was taking his new wife along to Okinawa.  Oh, how I wanted to marry Ed and go along, too!  However, Ed pointed out that I needed to stay at home, and finish high school, while he finished his time in the army, then we could get married.  So, that’s exactly what we did.  Now, I know it was the right thing to do.

Ed returned home on May 30, 1972, just in time to attend my high school graduation!  He quickly landed a job, working as an x-ray technologist, in a big city hospital, about 55 miles away from our home town.  At first, Ed thought about moving to the city alone, and working for a while before we got married, but I had other ideas!  I was tired of waiting, and I told him so.  He agreed that we would get married.

Ed and I found a place to live, moved our things, and planned a wedding–all within three weeks! We got married on Sunday,  June 18th, on the birthday of the mutual cousin who introduced us.

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Our wedding day

I’ve heard many couples say that marriage is a struggle, and it takes a lot of work.  I’ve never felt that way while being married to Ed.  I do remember the first year of marriage was an adjustment, being away from home and everyone I knew, as well as trying to learn how to cook, but it was never a struggle.

Ed and I had lived in the big city for just over five years, when the urge struck us to move back to our hometown.  By then, we were thinking about starting our family, and we had no desire to raise a family in the city.  (We’d already been robbed twice!) We moved back home, to the family farm where Ed grew up, and we’ve been here every since.  Ed commuted back and forth to the city, over 115 miles per day, for almost two years, until he finally got a job closer to home.

Ed and I eventually became parents to three children, first a daughter, followed by two sons, all born three years apart.  Ed has always been a fantastic father, just as I knew he would be, from watching him with his younger brothers. He changed diapers on our first born before I did!

When the children were babies, Ed always helped feed them supper and give them baths.  As they got older, he helped each one with their homework, if needed, and tucked them into bed every night.  Our children will tell you, Ed was never too tired or too busy for them.

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Ed and family, Easter in the mid-eighties

As for being a good husband, I could have searched the world over and I’m positive I couldn’t have found a better man to share my life with!  Ed’s always been my friend, my lover, my soul mate, and, at times, even my care-taker.

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celebrating our 42nd anniversary, on St. Simon’s Island

When I became sick with rheumatoid arthritis, over twenty years ago, Ed may have felt like he got a little more than he bargained for, but he’s never let me down.  Ed’s been to the majority of my doctor’s appointments with me, gets my prescriptions filled every month, and has taken over the household duties, many times, during my bouts with this illness. I have been blessed beyond measure, and I thank God, very much, for my wonderful husband, Ed!

*I’m linking this post up, along with others, for Memory Monday, over at retired-not-tired.

Published in: on December 15, 2014 at 8:30 am  Comments (9)  
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Three Mockingbirds In A Pear Tree…

Ed and I have two old and very large pear trees at the edge of our yard. Those pear trees usually cause drama every year.  This year has been no exception!

Usually the ‘pear tree drama’ centers around a few greedy squirrels, who want to take more than their fair share of our pears, and Ed trying to keep the squirrels at bay with his trusty BB gun!  (Ed uses BB’s to discourage the squirrels, not harm them) However, this year we have had a whole different kind of drama going on.

Our drama begins with what can only be described as ‘pear over-load’. Seriously, we trimmed all of the lower branches on those pear trees, but they’re loaded with so many pears, the branches are practically touching the ground in some places!

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pear over-load

Notice that lowest limb, on the right of the pear tree, with two poles sticking under it.  Those ‘legs’ are there for a couple of different reasons.

Back in early spring, a mother Mockingbird decided to build a nest in our pear tree–in that lower limb on the pear tree!  Ed noticed the nest and eggs right away.  As time passed, the limb kept getting lower, and, eventually, the nest began to tip toward the right, too.  Before too long, the eggs hatched, and became three Mockingbirds in the pear tree!  Ed voiced his concerns about the baby birds falling out, as he continued keeping a  regular vigil over the nest.

Sure enough, shortly after the eggs hatched, Ed walked outside and found that a baby bird had fallen from its lopsided nest.  He happened to have a napkin in his pocket (like always), and he used it to scoop the baby up and place it back in the nest.  It was at that point, Ed decided to take some action!

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so much fruit, so few limbs

He found some old poles and some twine, and fashioned a couple of ‘legs’ for the drooping limb of the pear tree.  In doing this, he was able to straighten the angle of the bird’s nest so, hopefully, the babies wouldn’t fall out again.  Ed worried that Mama Mockingbird might not accept the ‘fallen baby’, so he continued his regular vigil over the babies in the nest.

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Mockingbirds in a pear tree

Mother Mockingbird continued to love and care for all of her babies, even the fallen one.  She must have known that Ed was trying to help her babies because she didn’t even put up too much of a fuss over him being near ‘her tree’.  However, if I walked near the tree, (along with about five cats following me) that was another whole story!   Hell hath no fury like a mother Mockingbird who thinks her babies are being threatened!

Mother Mockingbird particularly disliked “Jo Jo”, the tom cat.  I’ve seen her dive bomb “Jo Jo” and nearly knock him off his feet on several occasions!  Any time “Jo Jo” walked within thirty feet of Mother Mockingbird’s pear tree, you could bet he was going to get attacked relentlessly!  I almost felt sorry for the poor guy, but I knew what he’d do to those babies, if given a chance.

Ed watched the baby Mockingbirds grow quickly, and hoped the now semi-lopsided nest would hold them until they were ready to leave.  We hoped and prayed that none of our cats would discover the baby birds.  I stayed away from the nest, on purpose, for this reason.  (Usually, wherever I go, the cats will follow.)

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For some reason, I was only able to photograph two of the birds

About two weeks after the babies hatched, I arrived home from grocery shopping just in time to see the last little birdie leaving the nest.  It was mid-day, and he was running and hopping across the yard, a few steps at a time.  Every so often, he’d stop and spread his newly discovered wings.  I held my breath, as I watched, and prayed that no cats would discover him as he headed toward the Japanese Magnolia at the edge of our yard.  Fortunately, it was mid-day, and all of the cats were sleeping at this time of day.  I’ll bet Mother Mockingbird knew this, too!

For a few days afterward, Ed noticed Mother Mockingbird still carrying food into nearby bushes/trees.  He noticed a young Mockingbird or two in those trees, as well.  We never saw any tell-tale signs of half-eaten birds, so we’re assuming all of the babies safely made it to freedom.

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I sure hope Mother Mockingbird chooses a different nesting site next year.  I’m not sure our nerves can take another adventure with three Mockingbirds in our pear tree!  As for the pears, they’re continuing to grow.  The lowest limb with ‘legs’ may touch the ground before much longer.   Ed’s counting down the days until the pears ripe enough for eating.  He’ll gladly remove some of the weight off those limbs then!

P.S.  There’s been no sign of the greedy squirrels–yet!

Published in: on July 15, 2014 at 9:37 am  Comments (5)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree…

I’ve always thought my husband, Ed,  inherited more traits from his dad than from his mom.  Ed’s dad was always happy and calm. Rarely did you see him get excited over anything.  Ed used to be like that, but these days I see more and more of his mom’s traits manifesting in him.

Ed’s mom was what I commonly refered to as a ‘fliterer’.  The definition of flit is to move or fly quickly from one place to another.  For instance, if Ed’s mom lost a personal item, she’d ‘flit’ about like a bee until she wore herself out looking for the lost item!  In the past few years, Ed has officially begun to flit. 

The other day, Ed lost his pocket knife–again!  Ed was all in a tizzy (again) looking for his lost knife.  He even turned over his recliner chair twice before I finally yelled at him to stop! (The recliner is a haven for Ed’s lost items.)  A few days later, our oldest son was outside spending time with grandchildren, Caden and Madison, when guess what they found on the edge of our dirt road?  Ed’s knife!  Thank goodness, another  flit crisis was aborted!

Ed’s mom was never without a roll of paper towels or a box of tissues in her possession, at all times.  She usually carried both in her vehicle, and always kept a box of tissues beside her,  while at home!  (Ed must have purchased hundreds of boxes of tissues for his mom, during the last two years of her life.  He ordered them by the case!)  Guess who [else] always has napkins, tissues, or paper towels in his pocket or beside him, at all times?  Unfortunately, this has become a source of distress for me, on more than one occasion, while doing laundry without checking Ed’s pockets first!

Last weekend, Ed and I were doing some cleaning at his mom’s house.  In the process, I brought home some of my late MIL’s clothing that needed to be washed before we donate it to Goodwill.  I  proceeded to do her laundry–without checking the pockets first.  Guess what was in the pockets of several items?  Tissues and napkins!

While cleaning out some drawers in my mother-in-law’s kitchen, I discovered something else Ed has in common with his mother.  They both liked to peel the labels off of prescription bottles, and save the empty bottles!  How many empty, label-less bottles does a person need?  Apparently, Ed and his mom believe they needed SEVERAL!  The ones pictured below are just a few of  his mom’s former collection.

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My mother-in-law had one other idiosyncrasy.  For some reason, she could never remember how to use the remote to the satellite receiver/television.  No matter how many times she was shown, she just couldn’t remember.  We finally bought her one of those really simplified remotes, but she couldn’t use that one either!  After she died, I found this note beside my MIL’s chair:

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The other night, I left Ed alone with the satellite remote, while I went to take a bubble bath.  Guess who managed to mess up a recording of one of my shows, while in the process of watching a movie?

Like I said, the apple didn’t fall from the tree, but I sure loved that old tree, and I really love the ‘fruit’ she produced 🙂

Published in: on January 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm  Comments (7)  
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One Hundred And Fifty Hodgepodges And I’m Still Having Fun…

If you’re reading this post, then I thank you for joining me for the 150th edition of the “Wednesday Hodgepodge”.  I’d, also, like to thank our hostess, Joyce, for providing the questions and hosting this fun meme each week!  Now, let’s get down to business, shall we?  Here are this week’s questions:

1. Describe a typical Sunday from your childhood.

I can’t remember much about Sundays from my earliest childhood, so I’ll concentrate on my t’ween years.  On most Sundays, my parents and I would attend church services, eat lunch, then, later in the afternoon, we’d usually go for a drive in the car.  We’d ride around on some of the country back roads, usually ending up at the cemetery where my granddaddy was buried.  If we happened to stop at the two vending machines, located under a shelter,  just down from the cemetery, it was a very good day 🙂   Our local Dairy Queen  wasn’t built until a few years later.  Once the DQ came to town, sometimes, we’d get ice cream on Sundays.

2. How comfortable are you with uncertainty? Explain.

I’m not comfortable, at all, with uncertainty!  I’m a creature of habit, and I don’t like it when life throws curve balls at me.  The year of 2013 has brought us more than our fair share of uncertainty, and, unfortunately, we’re still caught in the midst of some.

3. What have you accomplished recently that might be described as crafty, as in ‘arts and crafts’ crafty? If crafty doesn’t work for you, how about handy? Or both?

The only thing I’ve created, lately, are a couple of photo books at Shutterfly.com

4. Have you ever worked in a ‘food place’? What did you take away from the experience?

When I was a young teen, I worked a couple of days in my uncle’s restaurant/souvenir shop before I quit.  Following those two days, I realized I’d never have a future working in ‘a food place’!

5. Cold turkey, talk turkey, what a turkey…in recent days, which turkey phrase or idiom best applies to you and why? Click on the word turkey if you need to read more about the meaning behind each phrase.

Due to a certain ‘situation’, I’ve been doing a lot of ‘talking turkey’, lately.  The ‘situation’, which began two weeks ago, still hasn’t been completely resolved.  I’ve been aggravated and stressed, but not nearly as aggravated and stressed as my daughter and her family have been!  Fortunately, we’re a close family, and have our faith to help carry us through until this thing is resolved.

6. If you could have any one guest join your Thanksgiving dinner table, who would it be?

My mother-in-law passed away two months ago, so this will be our first Thanksgiving without her.  If I could, I’d chose to have my mother-in-law join us at our table again.

7. What is one thing you must accomplish today?

Today is a special day for someone in our family who LOVES German Chocolate cake.  Ed always looks forward to one of my cakes on his birthday, so I MUST bake a cake!

Random:

Today is a special day for two members of our family.

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Ed, who’s now the oldest member of our family, turns 64 today.

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Evan, who’s now the youngest member of our family,  turns 2 weeks old today.

Happy Birthday, guys!

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 8:50 am  Comments (6)  
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Sometimes Good Things Happen Because Of Bad Circumstances…

8-19-2010 9;37;24 AM Edward, Kerry, Kevin

Ed and his brothers, standing in front of their home,  cir. 1966

When a loved one dies, suddenly the family is thrust into the frenzy of making funeral arrangements, and therefore, are forced to spend a lot of time together.  In the case of Ed’s family, as well as our own, this was a good thing.

After Ed’s daddy passed away, eleven years ago, the distance between Ed and his brothers began to grow.    An unfortunate incident during the funeral planning of Ed’s dad,  caused hard feelings among some.  The family began to drift apart.

Vivian (Ed’s mom) depended heavily upon Ed for everything, during the years following her husband’s death.  Many decisions had to be made, sometimes resulting in jealousy or friction within the family.   Eventually, the brothers no longer kept in touch, except to send yearly Christmas cards.

Many months ago, one of Ed’s brothers, who happens to live on the family farm, too, became seriously ill, and came near to death.  Through this occurrence, Ed and his brother became close again, after Ed offered to help with his brother’s home health care.  Still, the other brother remained aloof.

On Vivian’s last day on this earth, all three of her sons were in her hospital room.  It was the first time her three sons had all been together with their mother, at the same time, in many years.  I realized this, and immediately felt at peace.  Although Vivian was very sick, I believe, somehow, she realized, too, and felt that same peace.  Her family was finally together again.  She passed away about twelve hours later.

In the days following their mother’s death, the brothers spent much time together.  It’s such a shame that it took their mom’s death to bring them together.  Much talk and prayer has taken place, and I believe some healing has begun.  Each has expressed their thoughts and feelings to the other and the air has been cleared.

Upon the death of their mom, the brothers discovered a letter in her safe deposit box.  It was hand-written, and dated March 2003.  Nearly one year after their father had passed away.  By then, Vivian had become aware of the distance between her sons, and, as a mother, I know it worried her.  A portion of her letter confirmed her concerns.

In the letter, Vivian tells her sons how much she and her husband loved them.  She reminds them that their father’s blood runs in their veins, and that by loving and honoring each other, they would be keeping their dad’s memory alive.  She says this would make him proud and happy.

She, also, asks that her sons please don’t fight over what little she and her husband had to leave them.  She asks them to share and honor their parents’ memory.  She says that she and her husband loved their sons with the same love they had for each other, and that they loved each other dearly.

Last, she asks that the property be kept in the family as long as possible, and that nobody sell unless they give the other a chance to buy their part.

Ed and his brothers have some difficult days ahead, as they attempt to carry out their mother’s wishes.  Ed has been left the unenviable task of being executor of his mom’s estate.  He’s a good and honest man, and I have no doubt that he will do the right thing by his brothers.  We’ve attempted to reassure his brothers of this, and I pray they will trust, and work with Ed.

Soon they will begin the unpleasant task of dividing up and dispensing with Ed’s mom’s household goods and personal items.  I pray it goes smoothly.  I know it’s going to be heart-wrenching to experience, as I’ve already been there.

At the moment, we are in a very difficult place concerning Vivian’s house.  None of the brothers really need or want the house, which, unfortunately, happens to sit in the middle of the family farm.  The house needs some repairs, but still has lots of potential.

The farm land has already been divided among the brothers, and two of them live on it, as well as two of our children.  Ed and I feel that selling “the home-place”  to a stranger is simply unacceptable.  His parents bought that house, shortly after they married, and raised their entire family there (including a grandson).  They worked hard, all their lives, to make it nice, and were very proud of their home.

So far, God hasn’t revealed a clear option for the house, yet.  Ed’s going to move slowly, making sure the right decision is made.  He wants to honor his mother’s wishes, we’re just not sure of the best way to do it.

God has been at work among this family during the past seven days.  It’s my prayer that He continues to speak, and all will be listening.  I’m praying for a peaceful and honorable solution to the house dilemma.  I’d love for someone in the family to decide to make Vivian and W.A.’s house a home again.  It would make Ed’s parents so proud.

Published in: on September 17, 2013 at 9:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Ed and Kathy’s Excellent Surgical Adventure…

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Several years ago, while building our current house, Ed got a piece of trash in one of his eyes.  His injury required a visit to the eye doctor.  While there, Ed learned he had cataracts which would need to be removed–a piece of information he tactfully neglected to share with me!  That happened over seven years ago.

Over the past couple of years, I began to notice a decline in Ed’s eyesight.  He no longer noticed things beside the road, the way he once did, and he began to wear his reading glasses for things other than reading.  Ed eventually  told me he had cataracts.

Getting Ed to a doctor, is somewhat like pulling teeth, but Ed finally scheduled an appointment with an ophthalmologist about a month ago–right before the doctor was leaving for an extended vacation!  Cataract surgery, for the worst of the two eyes, was scheduled for the doctor’s first week back from vacation.  The day finally arrived, last Thursday, August 22.

Ed works at a small, local hospital, and elected to have his surgery performed at the hospital where he works.  There’s nothing like having a little surgery among friends!  Ed knows everyone, so we felt right at home.

Ed and I were required to arrive for the surgery at 8:30 in the morning (I was required to drive him home afterward).  Of course, the OR was hopping when we arrived!  One lady was already being wheeled into the OR, while another man was being prepped to follow her.  Ed and I took a seat in the waiting room, but we didn’t stay there long.

Soon it was Ed’s turn, and they led us back to the little ‘prep room’.  Ed’s nurse, Sandra, happens to be an old acquaintance of ours.  In fact, her dad was once our pastor.  Like I said, there’s nothing like having surgery among friends.  Sandra began putting all kinds of drops into Ed’s eye.  Some of the drops burned, and she referred to those drops as “fire water”.  Then, with a black Sharpie, she wrote the word, “Yes” over the eye that was to be operated on.  Ed and I had a big laugh over that!  Soon, Sandra also brought Ed some Valium to take.

Ed never takes any kind of medication, except his required blood pressure & cholesterol medications, so within twenty minutes, it became obvious that Ed was ‘under the influence’!  From the prep room, we were moved to the ‘holding room’, to wait for Ed’s surgery.  By this time, Ed’s eye was completely dilated and he looked quite strange–with one blue eye, one black eye, and the word “yes” written on his forehead!  His speech was definitely slurred.

Ed was asked to lie down on a strange-looking bed, and an IV was started.  The top part of the bed was narrow–just barely large enough to hold a small pillow.  I suppose this was to allow the doctor better access to Ed’s eye.  For surgery, Ed wasn’t required to remove any clothing, except his shoes.  He was required to wear one of those funny surgical hats though.  The hat just added further to Ed’s strange look!

After a while, two guys came for Ed.  They put more drops in his eye, then quickly followed the drops with some salve.  They explained that both of these medications were to numb his eye for the surgery.   Both Ed and I were relieved to learn that the paralyzing shot in the eye is no longer required before cataract surgery!  Thank goodness! 🙂    They don’t even put patients to sleep for cataract surgery, instead they give them some medication which makes them drowsy, but leaves them awake.  The patient has to be able to follow the doctor’s instructions during surgery.

We learned the surgery is performed under a microscope.  The doctor makes a small incision to remove the old lens.  After breaking the lens into pieces , the doctor removes the lens through the tiny incision.  A new lens, folded to make it fit through the small incision, is then inserted.  Once in place, the lens unfolds, and, over a few weeks, will eventually grow to the eye.

Meanwhile, I was told to stay and wait in the ‘holding room’ while Ed went to have his surgery.  I sat on the couch, read a book, and kept a watchful eye on the clock.  Ed was only gone a total of eighteen minutes!  I barely had time to read one chapter of  my book, before Ed was back from surgery!

About fifteen minutes later, the IV was removed and Ed was released into my care–sporting a large, brand new pair of dark sunglasses!  Let me just stop here and say–at this point, Ed was feeling absolutely no pain!  I don’t think he was feeling much of anything at all!  By the time we left, we’d only been at the hospital just over two hours.  Many doctor appointments last longer than that!

At home, Ed had a funny little ‘swagger’ to his walk, as he exited the car, and he still had a slow slur to his speech. Following a very late breakfast, Ed retired to his favorite recliner and ‘went out like a light’!   It was much later in the day before the drugs finally wore off.  Ed has absolutely no recollection of anything that took place during surgery, or immediately after.  He says the last thing he remembers is having his eye washed out, then the next thing he remembers is riding out of the hospital in a wheelchair, on his way to the car!

Ed’s had virtually no pain since his surgery.  On the day after the surgery, he said his eye just felt irritated, like it had something in it.  Those must be some good drops used to dilate the eye for surgery, because they didn’t wear off until forty-eight hours later!  Once the pupil closed, Ed discovered how wonderful it is to be able to see clearly again!

Ed has to put drops in his eye for three weeks, and avoid certain activities that might cause extra pressure in his eye.  (Excessive lifting and bending could cause the lens implant to pop out of place.)  After three weeks, the new lens will have grown to the eye, and Ed can resume normal activities.  By then, it will be time to remove Ed’s second cataract, and part two of Ed & Kathy’s Excellent Surgical Adventure will begin!

Published in: on August 27, 2013 at 8:30 am  Comments (5)  
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Monday As Usual…

Life is getting somewhat back to normal today. It’s Ed’s first day back to work since having his cataract surgery on Thursday morning. Thank goodness, Ed’s been doing quite well since having the surgery! Ed’s eye was still dilated on Friday, and he felt tired from the drugs they gave him for the surgery, but by Saturday he was feeling fine, and couldn’t believe how much better he can see now!

Ed’s shingles, or whatever the rash was, is finally going away.  Fortunately, he’s had no pain, whatsoever, just some intermittent itching and the rash.  Once the second doctor gave Ed a prescription for some antibiotics, to go along with the anti-viral meds, the rash really began to improve.  The rash should be completely gone by the end of this week.

I was somewhat relieved when Ed decided not to ride his new lawnmower on Saturday, even though he had the doctor’s permission. There was no chance of dust blowing, due to recent excessive rain, but I did worry about some trash blowing in his eye! At one point, Ed actually walked over to the mower and started to get on it, then noticed the gas tank was almost empty, and changed his mind.

Speaking of that new lawnmower, with the almost empty gas tank,  it will be going back to the store today, after a replacement is delivered.  A few days ago, Ed discovered that the ‘hour meter’ on the new mower doesn’t work.  He called the company, and rather than repairing the meter, they decided to send us a new replacement mower.  Hopefully, the replacement mower will be problem-free, and soon Ed can happily get back to mowing grass.

On Friday and Saturday, Ed and I just hung around the house and did a lot of relaxing.  We grilled some hot dogs with our (neighboring) children and their families, and relaxed outside on the deck for a while. Family time is always good!  On Saturday night Ed and I watched “Dances With Wolves”( again), and I couldn’t help but remember how much I enjoyed the movie when I originally saw it at the theater.   The cinematography and musical score are superb–and, of course, I’m a Kevin Costner fan, too.  They don’t make movies like that often enough!

By Sunday, Ed and I were beginning to go a bit stir crazy, so we headed back to St. Simon’s Island for a little  more R-N-R under our favorite oak tree.  Ed drove the car, for the first time since his surgery, and commented how good it is to be able to read the signs again! ( Imagine how much better he’ll feel after having the second eye done!)  The wind at St. Simon’s Island was brisk on Sunday, and a hint of autumn was already in the air.  Our beach trips will be winding down soon, and I’m sure gonna’ miss them.

One interesting, and unusual, thing Ed and I did on this beach trip, was to visit a couple of new car lots on the way home.  We both suffered major “sticker shock”!!!  It’s been over twelve years since we’ve looked at any new cars, so you can just imagine our surprise!  And to think, our first brand new vehicle cost $5,400, back in 1975…  Sigh.  Ed and I both agree, there won’t be a new car in our future, only a slightly pre-owned one, when the time comes to trade.

Anyway, it’s Monday, and that means I’m going to join Heather & Wayne @ActingBalanced for “The Monday Quiz”…

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1. Yesterday (August 25th) was Kiss and Make Up Day… when was the last time you had to kiss and make up?

Ed’s such a patient person, I can almost count on one hand the number of times he’s gotten really mad with me in 43 years.   I, on the other hand, sometimes can fly hot in a New York minute.  I think the last time we “had words” was about a month ago.

2. Are you doing anything special for Labor Day weekend?

Ed’s taking off Friday, which is my birthday, so he’s going to work Labor Day Monday for being off for my birthday, on Friday.  He’s doing this swap so we can spend my ‘actual birthday’ at the beach (and I didn’t even ask him to do this!)  Our youngest son, Brad, and his wife, Jennifer, are coming for a weekend visit, and we’ll do some dual birthday celebrating because Jennifer’s birthday is just two days before mine.

3. If you could go back to school, what would you major in?

If I were twenty years younger, I’d definitely major in early childhood education.  I know, without a doubt, that I missed my ‘true calling’ by not becoming a teacher.  I worked as a first grade paraprofessional for nearly fifteen years, and I loved and enjoyed my job.

4. How much rain did you have this summer?

The summer of 2013 has been the wettest summer ever!  Our total rainfall for the months of June, July, and August (so far) is 16.74 inches!   Believe me, that’s a LOT of water!  The total amount of precipitation for the entire year is 32.95 inches–and nearly one-half of that total amount fell during the summer months!

My question for you is:

5.  Have you ever had a “bad food experience”?  (Finding a hair, a bug, trash etc. in your food )  If so, do tell!

Published in: on August 26, 2013 at 8:15 am  Comments (7)  
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