Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013 - AZ

Hopefully, I have had my last "barely" shower in this house and after the plumbers finish today, I will have pleasant showers and even luxurious baths.  I hate the thought of spending so much money on this place but it may be a selling feature at some future time and it will sure make life better for me while I am here.

Well, the plumbers showed up around 9:15 and by 10:45 he came to ask if they could do the job on Friday as it is going to take more time than he estimated (at least a full day and maybe a bit more) and their late start today (due to availability of materials) they could not get it to a point where I could have water overnight if they start today.  There will be no additional charge for the added time and he will include the cost of new shower fixtures - that will save me close to $200 alone.  What's another few days of inconvenience??  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23 - 29, 2013 - AZ

Monday, September 23.  Today is the anniversary of my engagement to Mike back in 1967, as we were parked in his 1958 Chevy Impala in the driveway of the Starr School.  Romantic, huh!  We had been dating for almost a year and he would be heading off to Long Beach for 2 years of active duty in the Navy.   It sure didn't matter to me because I was up for it and he had picked out the most beautiful ring with the help of my older sister, Rita, who worked at Condon Jewelers on State Street in Madison at the time.  Needless to say, we had to run around to make the announcement to various family members that night. 

Back to today.  Allan and Sharon came over for coffee this morning as a plumber was coming too.  The verdict is that my hot water lines to the bathrooms should be replaced - there is no other fix - for a cost of about $2300.  All of the current lines are 3/8" galvanized pipe that is corroded on the inside.  Apparently, the main line into our community is partially to blame but the owners refuse to do a thing about it.  Secondly, they used poor material that only lasted for 30 years.  I was glad to have Allan here, as he agreed with what the plumber had to say.  I will get another estimate before I go ahead with the repair.

We had a cool night last night - near 60 degrees - so I had windows open and no AC running.  Yeah!

Wednesday, September 25.  I had a dentist appointment yesterday and when I showed up they told me that it wasn't for a cleaning (last done on May 7) but was for X-rays ($225.00) to determine if my bone was strong enough for an implant.  I didn't remember the reason for the appointment and haven't even fully decided if I'm going to get the implant.  I probably will at some time in the future, but have also considered a trip to Algodones, Mexico to have it done.

I got a second opinion on my water problem and this guy's plan was the same as the previous guy, but his quote (not estimate) came in at the same price but included replacing all of the water lines (both hot and cold) with the same material.  $2,400 for 2 guys working sbout 10 hours and including all if the materials.  Needless to say, I gave him the job and it will be done next Monday.  I think I will shop this weekend for new faucets for the entire house - no plumbing issues to worry about in the future.

Today was my annual physical and all was good with one exception - she told me I have a slow heart rate (45 and good is considered to be 60 or less) but as long as I don't have shortness of breath or dizziness, it is probably ok.  She also said that she has a male patient that is an athlete, runs marathons, and regularly has a rate of 42.  I'm going to look back at my records for 2011 when I was checked out in Lee's Summit Hospital and will decide whether to see a cardiologist or just watch for symptoms.  Kind of scary, but I'm not real concerned.

I went by Jim and Jan's tonight for a cocktail.  They just got back from their summer of workcamping on the Wyoming/Utah border.  It was good to see them again.

Friday, September 27.  Shopping, shopping, shopping was how I spent my morning and not for fun stuff either, but for faucets.  At both Home Depot and Lowes, I would find a kitchen faucet that I liked, but then not find something that matched for the shower and bathroom sink or the other way around.  When I got back home, I did the same thing online and found it to be quite depressing.

I made some Maple Dill Carrots for TGIF tonight and it was nice to see all of my friends in the community again.  As usual, we have a great time and plenty of good eats.

Sunday, September 29.  Friday's faucet shopping wasn't enough, so I did it again on Saturday and finally made my decisions.  Just when I would pick out shower fixtures, they didn't have sink fixtures that matched, or only one set was available.  

I spent a good part of the afternoon finishing Charlotte's sweater.  I had to alter the pattern a bit to get the front panel to look right, but I finally got it after about 5 tries.  It looks good, a piece that I am proud of.

This morning, Connie and I headed to the Salt River in hopes of catching a glimpse of the wild horses. We stopped at several river access access points, but no horses were near by.  We did hike the trail along the river until we came to an area where a rockslide had covered the trail, so we turned back and walked back in other direction we came from.  It was a beautiful morning, the views of the east side of Red Mountain and the west side of Four Peaks were gorgeous.  Frisco had a great time, sniffing, squirting, and cooling off in the river.

It was a good day, I heard from Pat who sent me a video if the fall colors in northern Wisconsin, got a photo of Charlotte at the playground, had a nice nap, and had a Skype conversation with Ben and family.

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16 - 22, 2013, SF to Mesa

IMonday, September 16.  So what happened?  The last 2 nights I have slept so well and then last night I couldn't get to sleep and actually got only 4 hours.  By 12:30 when I hadn't yet fallen to sleep, I got up and took a Benadryl since that usually helps.  I know I was still awake at 1:30 and then was wide awake again at 5:30.  I'm going to be a zombie today and I was planning to take Charlotte to the zoo.  We shall see how it goes.

I did take C to the zoo and had a fun time.  I'm glad we went, as she was so eager to go, she had her shoes and jacket on for an hour before we left the house.  Her favorites are the monkeys and two of the chimpanzees were carrying on a crazy, loud conversation, swinging around and throwing a ball around - quite entertaining.  We sat on a bench facing a large, silver backed gorilla while we ate a snack.  He was quite impressive.

This afternoon, I packed up my stuff and changed the sheets on the granny bed.  Lois arrived about 6:30 and that meant that this granny was pushed to the sidelines.  I didn't even get a good night hug.  

I tried another Martha Stewart recipe today and we had Spinach Lasagna for dinner that was really good - another keeper.

Tuesday, September 17 and 18 - SF to Oxnard.  After a nice pancake breakfast this morning, I loaded up the car and was on the road again.  It was an easy 6-hour drive and the traffic moved smoothly, and I traveled through some very beautiful country.  There really is nothing that can compare to the beauty of the California coast.

It was great seeing Mary and Lance again and I felt right at home, settling in for an evening of much talking and catching up.  We slept in the next morning and then headed to the Santa Barbara Zoo - none of us had ever been there before.  Unfortunately, there was a huge traffic backup and we turned around and went into Camarillo and walked around the downtown until we came across Sly's and the menu sounded good so we stopped for lunch.  It was a great choice, we all loved our choices.  Mary and I had a 4-ounce steak that was served with a yummy sauce poured over it and some of the best french fries I've ever had.  Needless to say, I put a huge dent in the large serving - not a wise choice but I just couldn't stop eating them.

After lunch we walked a couple of blocks to the beach and then did a bit of shopping before heading back home.  According to the news, it was a good thing we didn't keep heading toward Santa Barbara and turned around, as traffic was backed up for hours.  We will have to see the zoo on another visit.

Thursday, September 19.  Home Sweet Home.  It was a long, 7-hour drive today and it might have gone a little quicker if it hadn't been for a huge traffic backup at the I-5 interchange near Burbank, where I traveled very slowly for about 20 minutes.  Other than that holdup, the traffic wasn't bad and I had no problems.  It felt good to get back home with the exception of the house feeling way too empty. 

All of the reminders of Mike were welcoming, although the thought of living the rest of my life without him is saddening.  I'm just so glad that we had 46 years to hang out together.

Saturday, September 21.  I'm getting back into the swing of things around here; morning and evening walks, stopping to chat with friends along the way.  

Allan and Sharon came by yesterday because Allan offered to check out my water problem.  He crawled under the house and learned that there is no leaking going on (good news), verified that there are 2 pipes carrying hot water to my house and it seems that one of them is blocked.  The hot water pipe that comes out of the water heater has been modified, adding another pipe that goes to the bathrooms and that pipe is hot right up next to the water heater but cold about 2 inches away. Regardless, it requires a plumber, so I got a referral from our maintenance man and they will be here Monday morning to repair it.  That will be a relief to have that fixed.

They took me to lunch at Vito's and I had a yummy sausage sandwich with peppers, onions and cheese. I had planned to go to TGIF for dinner tonight but they were having lasagna and I just couldn't get up the gumption to get ready to go.  Besides, I didn't need any dinner after that big lunch.

Arlene stopped by and I was glad to see her since she is leaving on a one-month vacation.  She has someone staying at her house to take care of her cat and she wanted me to meet him since she was leaving my phone number in case the guy needed help.  He reminds me of Mike's long-time friend, Larry - what a resemblance.

Connie stopped by to see if I wanted to go to a sale with her and Donna (a coworker at Mesa Spirit) in the morning.  I can't pass up a sale, so I was up at 5:30 this morning to go and the sale was a busy.  We stopped at a few others that weren't very good either.  Breakfast at the Farmhouse Restaurant in downtown Gilbert was great, though.

Sunday, September 22.  I felt like a retiree again today, starting with sleeping in until 7:15.  After Frisco's walk this morning, I enjoyed my coffee before starting to prune the Palo Verde trees in my back yard.  That is a big job, and I got everything cut off the trees but most of it still on the ground waiting for another cool morning to cut it into manageable pieces and get rid of it.

I had a nice conversation with Pat this morning and then later on with Rene this afternoon.  I told her I was headed to the pool and was going to drink a couple of beers since my fridge is full of the stuff.  She asked me why I had so much beer on hand, so I told her "because you aren't here".  That got a chuckle out of her.

I went to the pool with Connie, Cathy, and Vicki this afternoon and we yak, yak, yakked the entire time.  It was a cool and breezy day, so the air felt chilly whenever you came up out of the water.

I don't know where my energy came from this afternoon, but I started off making a batch of liver treats for Frisco - yes, it stunk up the house.  Fortunately, it is a cool day and it is supposed to get down to 60 degrees, so I can open the windows.  Better yet, I decided to make a coffee cake so I have something to offer Allan and Sharon in the morning when they come for coffee.  It made a difference.

I also got to see and talk with Ben and his family - all is good with them except Jill's headaches are back but not as intense as they had been.  They will induce labor on October 7, if she doesn't start before then.  My wish is for healthy babies and a speedy delivery.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9 - 15, 2013 - SF

"Monday, September 9.  Charlotte and I went to Golden Gate Park this morning and saw the ducks on Sprechers Lake, the Bison, the horses, although they were napping, the windmill and ocean, and then the new Land's End overlook where we had a snack overlooking Seal Rock and the old Sutro baths.  Just as we were finishing, Jill called to say that her friend Tina and her 2 kids (Leo and Charlotte have known each other since infancy and Enzo is about 6 months old).  They had a lot of fun together and the house looked like a cyclone hit when they left, as Leo is everywhere and into everything - all boy!

My friend, Pat, had knee replacement surgery this morning and I was so glad to  hear that she is doing well.  Love ya and hope you have a speedy recovery, girlfriend!

Tuesday, September 10.  It's hard to believe that it has been 6 months since my brother-in-law, Dan, passed away.  I called to hear his voice recording on their home phone and to leave a message for Sharon this morning and I was surprised when she answered the phone.  We had a nice chat.

Charlotte and I went to Baker Beach this morning.  She just loves the beach and was giggling a lot when I covered her toes and she covered mine.  We piled up rocks (no shells on this beach) and attempted to make a sand castle and she dug, sifted,  and plowed through the sand.  It's a great place to spend the morning with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Point Bonita Lighthouse, and Lands End.  I think our little girl with grow up to be a biologist, veterinarian, or have some career in nature.  She loves the outdoors and explores everything.

Friday, September 13.  It has been a loooong 7 months without Mike and I still miss him like it was yesterday.  Right now, I am having a glass of "Dearly Beloved" wine and I think that is appropriate for this moment.  I think he would appreciate my choice - only wish we could be sharing it.  I actually chose this wine because it goes well with poultry and we forgot to open it when we had our roast chicken the other night.

On Wednesday when Charlotte was at daycare, I went to the North Bay and went for another nice hike with Marta and her dog, Spirit in Novato.  We hiked through a marshy area and as usual, had lots to talk about.  On our way back, we met up with a young gal who had injured her knee and ankle while running.  We invited her to walk back with us in case she needed help along the way, so she joined us and was able to make it back.  We had a very nice conversation together, mostly about pets.  A stop at Panera Bread for lunch topped off our good time.

Jill and I have been able to get a lot done in preparation for the babies from laundering blankets and burp cloths to clearing out space in the cupboards for bottles and sterilizer.  Her non stress test today showed that babies are doing well and today is the beginning of week 34.  If they are born now, they would not be considered to be premature - a great milestone.

Sunday, September 15.  I can't believe that my time here is winding down and we will be making the granny nanny shift on Tuesday morning.  

It has been an emotional morning for me, starting when I awoke with tears in my eyes, not from any specific thought that I am aware of.  This has happened before and it is followed by a day of very touchy emotions that are right on the surface - a thought, word, or even a glimpse of something makes the tears fall.  Maybe knowing that I will be moving on again and the thought of getting back home to an empty house has gotten to me.  Apparently it is part of the grieving process and it isn't a very pleasant one.

I kind of got my stuff organized yesterday when Ben, Jill and Charlotte went to another birthday party.  I also took some time to groom Frisco.  To top if off, I spent some time reading, trying to finish a book that I got from the local library.  

We started a pot of chicken broth in the morning and we made a pot of chicken noodle soup.  I have had a craving for tuna salad for weeks and finally was able to find some good tuna at Costco that didn't cost $24/pound.  I haven't had tuna from a can since I tried making it fresh several years ago.  Ben and Jill agreed that it really does make a difference too.

Ben went out for bagels this morning and after that we took Charlotte to the playground.  It is a beautiful morning, no jacket required.  It will be a while before I will hear the laughter of chatter of children again, so I really paid attention and enjoyed it.

Jill was feeling good enough today that we walked to Oyaji for a sushi dinner tonight and a stop at the neighborhood playground for some bubble blowing fun.  Charlotte teamed up with a little girl named Gigi and they played together.  She was well behaved at dinner and ate a lot - full of surprises.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 1 - 8, 2013

Sunday, September 1.  Jill was feeling a little better today and had an acupuncture treatment this morning, which seemed to help.  Ben and I headed to another playground with Charlotte and the dogs.  We took turns walking the dogs and playing.  The playground is a huge sandbox and C loves the sand.

Jill is really feeling pretty good today and has been able to be up and moving around a bit.  Ben made a pot of Potato Leek soup for dinner that was delicious.  After dinner, Jill settled in to do her kick counts on the twins and to monitor for contractions.  She became a little concerned that Baby A didn't appear to be moving around much, so after nearly an hour and half of monitoring, they decided to go to the hospital to be checked out.  All is good, both babies have strong heartbeats and the reason she couldn't feel the kicking is because of the position (back up against mom's tummy and the protective layer of placenta between her and mom's tummy).  They were back home in less than 2 hours.

Monday, September 2.  Happy 2nd Birthday to Charlotte!

We did some marathon cooking this morning.  After oatmeal for breakfast, I got busy putting beef stew in the crock pot while Ben made a batch of muffins (a headache recipe that Lois sent - we're hoping they help Jill who is not having a good day today).  When that recipe was done, the birthday cake was made.  And while that was done, I ran to the store for party hats and balloons.  When that was done, we were off to the playground and to walk the dogs.  Then came lunch and nap time - yay!

Our days are very full, but I'm so glad that I am able to be here to help - they really need it right now. I only wish that Jill could be feeling better so she could enjoy her days at least a little bit.

The birthday party (with Granny and Papa on Skype) was a big hit, her little eyes just glowed when she saw the decorations, hats, and balloons.  My gift, a diaper bag, changing pad, diapers and wipes for her baby doll seemed to be a big hit, but she liked all of her other gifts too; puzzles, bug bowling, clothing, and books.

Tuesday, September 3.  I read that the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park was having Butterflies and Blooms, and I thought Charlotte would enjoy that, so we headed there this morning and we just happened to get in on a free day.  She was very interested and I was able to see a local landmark that I've never seen before.  After going through the conservatory, we headed outside to the Dahlia exhibit - San Francisco is the Dahlia capital if the US.  The grounds outside the building are also gorgeous, so we enjoyed a little snack there before heading back home.  That girl has some of her Grandma's blood because she loves poking around the flowers and never tires of playing in the dirt.

Wednesday, September 4.  It's my day off and I managed to get my bedding and laundry done before heading out to do some shopping.  Last night, I finished the second sleeve of the sweater that I am knitting for Charlotte.  I had to get some buttons for it, so I went to a yarn shop to pick them up.  Sadly, I forgot my pattern there and will have to go back and get it on Friday.  Darn - I hate it when I do stupid things that that - I was hoping to work on it this afternoon.

It was another beautiful day and Frisco got a nice walk when we got back home.

Saturday, September 7.  On Thursday morning, I took Charlotte to the Cabrillo playground and there weren't a lot of kids there, so she was real adventurous with climbing.  Until now, she mostly takes the stairs to get to the slides, but she climbed up a ladder to get to the 2nd floor and also came down a different ladder.  She was also interested in going around on the merry-go-round.  She's getting braver all of the time.

Ben and Jill went to Jill's appointment for an ultrasound and all is good there.  They are estimating them to be 5.2 and 4.7 pounds now.

Friday morning was Jill's regular doctor appointment, so I dropped her off and then went to pick up my pattern that I left at the knitting store.  In the afternoon, I took Frisco for a long walk while the cleaning ladies were at the apartment.  We're having a warm streak and the weather is beautiful.

Today was a joint birthday party for Charlotte and Leo in San Rafael.  Although Jill is feeling better the last 2 days (she decided to try the prednisone that she really didn't feel comfortable with), she did not come along but stayed home and got a massage (Ben's birthday gift to her).  The party was a lot of fun and all of the kids that we met last year are really growing up.  Leo is a fearless little guy who ran around with watermelon in his hands most of the time.  When it came time to sing happy birthday and have cupcakes, he smashed his and then traded Charlotte's for a teeny one.  She didn't seem to mind a bit.  She slept all of the way home but woke up when we got back home and wouldn't go back to sleep.

Sunday, September 8.  We all slept in for a while this morning and did that feel good. Then I had a nice conversation with Pat, I didn't talk with him much last weekend.  I was glad to hear that all is well with him, Tracey and  Sawvana.  

I'm off to get a massage this morning, a much appreciated gift from Ben and Jill, and it just happened to come on Grandparents Day.  My therapist did an excellent job of breaking up the tight muscles in my neck and shoulders and lower back.  I left there feeling all rubber legged and totally relaxed.

The remainder of our day was spent hanging out at home, doing some prep to get ready for the twins, and a great steak and baked potato dinner.