Monday, January 11, 2021

The JimJam Conundrum

 For as long as I can remember, I have been a JimJams for sleepwear proponent.  JimJams, pjs, whatever one calls them, allowed me to blur the line between inside and outside wear.  Of course, that was BL (before livestock), when all I needed to do on a weekend was to make a bagel/Sunday Times run.  I could literally stay in my JJs from Friday night to Monday morning.  It almost makes me weepy to think about it.  Even now, when the likelihood of doing barn chores in my JJs is slim to none, I tend to stay in my sleepwear for as long as possible.  Then the hip gave out.  Suddenly, the mere idea of having to put on/take off JJ bottoms can have me thinking of going au natural in the middle of winter.  I have - very begrudgingly - turned to nightgowns.

Having not given a thought to them for decades, I had to do some research.  I knew I did NOT want flannel. I am not Laura Ingalls and, by the time I am done tossing and turning on my fleece or flannel sheets, I would be bound as tightly as a geisha's foot.  And was I ever shocked at the prices!  I much prefer natural fibers - cotton, wool, linen - so I bought one cotton and one cotton blend.  On sale.  With free shipping.  When I slipped on the cotton nightgown, I was immediately reminded of Uncle Fester.  Or, Uncle Fester joins the Army, as it is an Army-like green.  It went from neck to toes in a long, shapeless green tube.  But it is comfy and the dogs could care less about my lack of fashion sense.  The second one was tres chic and I had an overwhelming desire to sashay all over the place.  Until I realized that my present version of 'sashay' is more of a slow, crablike gait, entirely lacking in graceful moves.  

I am not sure that this switch in my nightwear allegiance will outlast its present convenience.  It is awfully nice to be able to get ready for bed in minutes, rather than 10s of minutes.  And there is a little Gloria Swansonesqueness (whoa!) about the idea of sashaying around in a nightgown, when my sashay comes back.  Plus, I can always pull on a pair of jeans under the nightgown and go do chores!  Woot!  Woot!

Monday, January 4, 2021

Older, yes, but wiser?

 There appears to be a cutoff date for age=wisdom and I have arrived.  Before you contest - "Oh, no, no, no, no.  You're such a smart cookie" (you were going to say that, right?) - let me lay out my case.

My sister provides a wealth of chicken goodies every visit.  I decided, in my 'wisdom', to put it all into a small, covered bucket with handle, so it's easier for me to manage one-handed (second hand has a death grip on my cane).  So far, so good.  I also have to carry a bucket of water in the same hand.  Hmmm.  Light bulb! (and what a dim bulb it was)  I will float the smaller bucket in the water bucket, thus having one bucket to carry!

Off I totter to the chicken yard, practically glowing with smugness.  Until I discovered that the covered bucket had small holes drilled around the bottom for gawdknowswhat reason.  Soggy treats and flavored water.

My neighbor, bless him, continues to make sure that all snow is shoveled off deck and paths.  With our wacky weather (rain/snow/rain/snow), most of the walkways have developed a treacherous layer of ice.  As I prepared to make the daily trek to the mailbox, I briefly thought about footwear/ice.  Then, poof, it was gone.  Out I went.  If I could have clocked my progress, it would have been about 1 mile per 2 hours.  I minced my way across the yard as far as I could go - heading toward grassy/crunchy spots.  Then there was the driveway - a virtual river of ice.  I ratcheted down my progress and contemplated levitating.  I eventually made it to the mailbox and then had to make my way back.  Yak-Traks for cane bottoms should be a thing.

Let me add here that I have Yak-Traks.  And they are conveniently set out by the boots.  However, I thought it was wise to set off over the tundra in my moderately skid-proof boots.  I rest my case.

To add insult to injury, I was recounting my adventure to the mailbox to my sister, comparing my progress as the graceful gait of a three-toed sloth (trying to smooth over the lack of sense by focusing on a much nicer visual aid), when she said, "Oh, I think it's creepy the way they move."  Okay.  Sloths are creepy, snails are slimy and hermit crabs move faster than I do.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Apparently, I exist in a Universe of my own.

In the countdown to New Hip Time, I was required to attend a class at the medical center for all joint replacement candidates.  Securely masked and safe-distanced, the six of us sat - canes propped beside us - in a semi-circle, waiting to be enlightened.  Well.  

In my universe, I would awake on the appointed day, take a shower, check my toenails for chipped polish, pack a few things, and head to the hospital.  There, I would be sanitized, anesthetized, pain-relieved, fitted with a new hip joint, then wheeled to my sister's car and scooted home.

In reality, I need to see my doctor, get a special blood test, get tested (again) for Covid, get an okay from my dentist, take extra strength Tylenol for two days prior to surgery, change my sheets constantly, changed my jimjams daily, take a shower every day for the five days leading up to and including the day of surgery, using special soap, use additional special body wipes the morning of, use a special nasal spray the morning of, drink Gatorade (never!), and more.  More!  I am not allowed to have anyone with me, but cannot take my phone.  I suppose I am to use ESP with my sister.  It is such a complicated procedure that I have to make a chart so that I don't forget anything.  I suppose I should be thrilled that they take such precautions, but good golly.

As we all sat and listened in stunned silence, the other 'hip' piped up and said that she didn't HAVE that many pjs.  Amen, sister.  Then the RN went around the room asking, "do you live alone? Who will be caring for you the first week?"  There were two of us loners - me and a long-haired, bearded fellow, wearing voluminous brown sweats.  He was a 'knee'.  Two of the other knees were there for the second time, both men and both with long-suffering wives in tow, who were obviously not looking forward to reliving the recovery experience.  When she came to me, I chirped, "I am being tag-teamed by my sisters, who will each take a week to take care of me and anything I need."  You could feel the hostility and envy being generated in my direction.  Then it was revealed that I was going in as an outpatient.  One of the wives seemed very nervous that there was a chance that her husband would NOT be in the hospital for two days.  

My neighbor is building a temporary ramp for when I (and my new best friend, Walker - not Johnny...yet) perambulate into the house for two weeks of shameless pampering recuperation.  My surgeon does not start PT for two weeks.  After spending two weeks in the loving care of my wonderful sisters, I may cry copiously after they leave.  I am looking forward to getting my life back.

On  seasonal note, I hope that everyone had a quiet, safe and happy Christmas.  Ours was very small and quiet and just right, although we missed the NYC sisters.  We did some face-time, had a lovely meal and I tottered home at a decent hour.  It's looking like New Year's Day will be a repeat, which is fine and dandy by me, although I would really prefer to spend it at home with the kids.  Fingers crossed that 2021 is a year of kindness and healing.  And good gardening weather!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

And I thought I'd be bored.

Although I now move in sloth-time, it seems that I seldom get to lounge around.  I left the house for a couple of hours last Thursday and, when I oozed through the front door, I found that Peanut had broken into the utility room and (with the help of his faithful sidekick, Lovey) had gotten into the kibble.  He resembled a fully stuffed bratwurst (emphasis on the brat).  After he had pooped his body weight twice (TMI?), I started the vigil to see how badly he had upset his system.  It's been a week of special diet (as in, I get up at 4A to poach chicken and cook rice) but I think we are making progress.  At least Lovey had the decency to look contrite, although that tends to be her normal expression.

I'm gearing up for the "Big One" this evening and into tomorrow.  I do hope the snow (10+") is as dry, light and fluffy as they predict because I can handle dry and fluffy.  I cannot handle wet and heavy.  Thank goodness I was able to shuffle around and get the interior of the carport organized, so that I could slide my car in.  She's zipped in, nice and snug.  The chickens have water and feed, the sheep and llama have a full, heated water bucket and plenty of hay.  Good thing, as it will take me a long while to make my way to either coop or barn in the morning.  Neighbor No. 1 is lined up for deck clearing and roof raking.  Neighbor No. 2 will plow the drive.  I don't have to go anywhere tomorrow.  Hurrah!

When I am not providing hand servant service to dogs and cat, I have been furiously working on some holiday knitting.  To entertain myself, I have been watching an old series starring Boris Karloff as James Lee Wong, detective.  It is so bizarre that I can't stop watching it.  Who, on god's green earth, thought Boris Karloff would make an excellent Chinese detective?  It looks as if he is wearing an oiled, rubber toupee.  At least he doesn't deliver his lines in the stereotypical bad English (chop-chop) of the Charlie Chan era.  He sounds just like Boris Karloff.  You really have to see it to believe it.  The supporting cast is cringe-worthy.  It's as fascinating as a train wreck.

I got through my annual dermatology check-up with relative ease.  There was one dodgy bit that she sent off for a biopsy, but everything else was okeydokey.  And the dodgy bit was on the opposite side to my surgery.  Apparently, this is a big deal.  My doctor is 12 and I do love the nurses and medical staff at the center.  The nurse that picked me up from the examining room to take me to the procedure room (they've gotten so fancy), was warbling away and swung the door open to discover the previous patient - an elderly man - was still in the process of getting dressed.  Luckily for all of us, all he had left were his socks and shoes.  As he looked up, startled, and the nurse gasped in horror, I said, "Well, now that I have seen your bare feet, I suppose we are engaged."  Sometimes I have no idea where these things come from.  At least he had a sense of humor, and we all had a good laugh.  I was sent to the ultraviolet room to wait.  I contemplated an upright suntan.

I'll check back, apres storm...

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

I'm getting a new hip for my birthday! Woohoo!


Peanut, just awake

After meeting with my surgeon - who I love - I am scheduled to get a hip replacement on January 26.  I was also thrilled to know that it will be an outpatient surgery - morning in, afternoon out - and she performs the surgery from the front, between the muscles, so the recovery is much faster.  Both my sisters are lined up - one week each - so now all I have to do is wait impatiently.  I have to go to hip replacement surgery class, where the surgery is discussed, as well as what to expect vis a vis recovery.  Hurray!

And none too soon.  The weather has become more seasonal (as in cold) and it's slowed me down even further.  I'd lose in a sloth race at this point.  I'm just hoping that we don't get an ice storm between now and recovery.  Hahahaha.  I've been working on my small item list - things that need to be done without having to move fast, climb ladders, etc.  The bird feeders are out and my annual battle with blue jays has begun.  

It's going to be a quiet Christmas, which is hunky dory with me.  My sister got a tree and had it inside and decorated in record time.  She is a marvel in every conceivable way.  I will take a picture of it the next time I am at mom's.  I've been having Sunday dinner with them - it gives me a chance to spend more time with mom and my sister.  At 97, mom is starting to decline.  It's also a chance for my sister to spend time with someone under 90.

I've got a run to make for Marianne tomorrow and I am going to do some Christmas shopping while I'm at her store.  If I can manage to remember, I will take some photographs of the store, inside and out.  She has created a wonderful spot.  Since I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket, I bought a piece of handmade Irish ceramics that I had been eyeing for some time.  Marianne on a brave front when I told her I was going to use it to store dog biscuits.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

So special!


I had to replace the old pooper-scooper recently and when I received the new one, it came with a pair of white gloves.  According to the illustrated instructions, one was to don the gloves before putting the parts together.  Is one to also don said gloves whilst scooping the poop?  I wish Erma Bombeck was still around - she'd know the answer.

I opted not to gather on Thanksgiving this year.  The instances of Covid are rising and I have too many at-risk loved-ones.  The thing that pushed me over the edge was the last minute arrival of my niece - who I doubt follows any protocol for protecting herself from the virus.  I consoled myself with the thought of leftovers but, to my dismay, it appears that they dipped the turkey carcass in the Amazon River after dinner and the piranhas got anything edible.  At least there will be broth.  Geez.  While I was wallowing around in my pool of self-pity, I got a text from Marianne asking how my Thanksgiving went.  When I gave her the lowdown (boohoo), she packaged up a heap of leftovers for me.  Bless her.

The pups' holiday gift came early - two faux fur throws - and I might not see Peanut until spring.  He is burritoed on the left and you can just see Lovey's ear on the right.  I'd say they were pleased.  Slimmie has taken over the dogs comfy saucer bed, so we are set for the cold weather.  Whenever it comes.  So far, November has been warm and rain-filled.  And grey.  And gloomy.

On the medical front, there has been a victory!  After mulling it around, I decided that I would rather change doctors than change insurance.  I had visions of bureaucratic snafus abounding, as I tried to change from one company to another within a month.  I went online to check Humana's doctor network and, lo and behold, there was my orthopedic surgeon!  I took a deep breath and called to make an appointment.  When the receptionist asked, "Still BCBS?" I plunged in - no, Medicare with Humana.  She took my membership number without batting an eye.  It is a mystery, but I have an appointment with the surgeon next week.  Who would have thought I'd be so excited to see a surgeon!

Last week, I received two packages out of the blue from two of my ex-coworkers.  One packaged contained an almost lifetime supply of organic peppermint tea and the other contained this:

It is like a fairy cup - I swear!  It has irises on the saucer and cup, with a beautiful hummingbird handle.  Even the spoon is iris themed.  While they hoped I would think of them every time I had a cuppa, I cannot even think about using this precious object!  It is safely displayed in my hutch.

I am finally done with all the stuffies (although there are two very special ones I am planning on making for myself) and am moving on to more useful knitting, now that Christmas is looming large on the horizon.  How did that happen!?!  I'm working through my book purge - now combing the shelves of the cookbook collection - with tons more to go.  I have a particularly hard time parting with cookbooks, and my job is not made any easier every time I go into Marianne's store.  I have to be firm.  Pfft.

I hope you all had a comforting thanksgiving - or as comforting as it can be in these strange times.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Mi curtido sabe fantastico!


(Translated:  Damn!  My curtido is yummy!)  I finally remembered to check on the progress of my ferments.  I had made a half gallon of sauerkraut and a half gallon of curtido with ONE HALF of the giant cabbage.  This year I decided to go au naturel with my sauerkraut, as opposed to my usual blueberry/caraway seed sauerkraut.  I also decided to try a new curtido recipe, as I wasn't all that thrilled with previous results.  OMG.  It is delicioso!  I got the recipe from the book included in my Mason Fermentation kit.  In addition to the usual carrot/cabbage/red chili of yore, they added grated garlic and oregano.  I love it!  And it's purty.  

Since I know y'all can't wait to hear the latest in my social security wranglings, let me say that I found yet another reason to go local.  I laid out my concerns to a local representative of the SSA and she said (to paraphrase), "well, I wouldn't give the government more money than I have to - it will take forever to get it back.  You'd be better off just going with the flow and it will resolve itself."  When I voiced concern over getting cut off because I didn't pay the quarterly bill (there's a slight gap of 2-3 weeks between when the bill is due and when they will be taking Medicare out of my SS payment), she said, "if they harass you in any way, just call us."  So.  

I am tackling the insurance issue today with "Gary".  I have an appointment with my dermatologist in mid-December and I was dreading finding out if or if not she accepted Humana.  I finally pulled up the BGPs and checked this morning.  Hallelujah!  She does.  Good thing, too.  It takes a year to get an appointment with this woman.  She refuses to use a PA, so it's one doctor to every 5,000 patients.  Crazy pants.

I'm trying to find ways to bring the homogenous-ness of my days into some kind of focus.  So far, it's not working out as well as I hoped.  Some of it has to do with the fact that I am unable to do more than one largish task a day.  I cannot tell you how frustrating that is.  Yesterday, it took me an hour to get all my recycling and trash into my car for the trip to the transfer station.  At least they are still taking pity on me and sort everything when I get there.  I am planning a trip to the grocery store today - I figure I will get there when they open so that there will be fewer potential Covid-carriers milling about.  I have a short list, but I will go bonkers if I spend more time in this house.

Also on the agenda is:  take down wind chimes, take out compost, vacuum, sweep, clean bathrooms, wash dog blankets.  I can hardly stand the potential thrill of it all.  (sound of dripping sarcasm)  I have had the vacuuming, sweeping and cleaning on the agenda for an alarming amount of time.  I manage to segue off to something totally irrelevant every time I am faced with housework.  Such as waxing the top of Lorenzo, the dining room table.  I may need an intervention.  Or cleaning service.

In my defense, at least a little purging has been done - I have tons of books on gardening, homesteading and self-sufficiency type stuff.  Looking to the future - and my tiny home - my library is going to have to be severely curtailed.  I had a big box of books to put on FB marketplace and figured it would be one of those, "I'd like that ONE and could you deliver it to my house, 30 miles from you?"  However, it appears that there are a few young families that are taking the plunge, so I ended up with three requests in a row.  Miracle of all miracles, the second family (first one lived 40 miles from me and wanted delivery...) picked it up within an hour of requesting it.  I am going to go through the second batch and will just send them along to the same family.