Monday, August 29, 2016

Notes and Notables and a Rico Update

Notes and Notables

Ross and I had stuff going on the past few weeks and the stuff will continue into the next couple of weeks.
Some of it is hum-drum, some not, but all noteworthy.  At least I think so.   And since it's my blog I guess I get to decide.

So, the painter, after a 6-week delay due to a family thing (his family) will start painting our house on September 19th.  Last week we went to the paint store and picked up a half dozen quart cans of various paint colors.  We currently have patches of paint samples on our walls all throughout the house.  We probably started applying the patches of paint too early because the more I look at the decisions I've made the less I like them.

Picking colors for an entire house is hard!

In June of this year, our area was hit with a hail storm.  A few weeks ago we noticed some of our neighbors were having their roofs replaced.  At first, we didn’t think anything of it.  The houses are in our community are starting to age.  The older ones were built about 20 years ago.
Ross stopped to talk to one of those neighbors and found out that their roof was damaged during the hail storm.  We decided we should have someone check ours.   Apparently, according to the roofer,  our roof has storm damage.  We contacted our insurance company.  The adjuster came out last week.  Now we are waiting to see if our insurance will pay for a new roof.

Okay, this one isn't so hum-drum and in fact, it was quite scary. Ross spent a good part of his early days outdoors, life guarding in the summer and skiing in the winter.  He admits that he was never diligent about applying sun block.  Last month he noticed a few suspicious looking areas on his skin.   He went to a dermatologist who removed and tested several spots.
One of the tests came back positive for squamous cell carcinoma.   On Thursday Ross had surgery to have it removed. The doctor also took out part of the area around the original spot and had that tested.    That result was negative and the doctor said it is unlikely to recur.  Whew!

Last week I met my long time friend, Cathy for breakfast.  Cathy and I have known each other for 60 years.  Although we only meet every couple of years, we have managed to keep up with each other's lives.
A few days after our meeting, I received a thank-you note in the mail,  my actual mailbox!  I don't remember the last time I received something in my actual mailbox that wasn't a bill or an advertisement.  It was a nice surprise.
"I know we'll continue to keep in touch and am truly happy that our friendship has remained steadfast all these years and will continue to do so."

How lovely is that!

Last weekend Ross went up to his hometown, which is about 100 miles from here, to attend a 55th high school reunion committee meeting.
After the meeting, one of his classmates took him aside and told him how much she enjoyed reading my blog.
That next day I received a note from Kathy (yes another Kathy).  Even though this was an electronic note, it was just as much of a nice surprise.
"Hi Lynda, I asked Ross to tell you but wanted to let you know myself that you are an amazing writer. I don't follow blogs or do much on the internet but I read some of your blog and was blown away by it. Keep it up. You have a real gift."
Wow, Kathy, I am shyly and humbly appreciative.   Makes me want to resurrect "Me and Marymae".

Yesterday we had what we hope to be the start of a regular thing.  A once a month Sunday dinner with the family.   We all have busy lives.  Well okay, Ross and I not so much.  After all, we are retired.  But making time, like we did yesterday, was a special treat.

Up and coming:
Perhaps a new season of “Sundays with Lynda and Ross”.  Maybe after Labor Day.  
Ross' 55th high school reunion is at the end of September.   I'm not sure I will accompany him.  I haven't decided yet.  But most likely not.
Last week we found out that a favorite aunt, my mother's sister, is ill.  She is in our thoughts.  I hope to get over to see her this week.
Also, we are planning a long overdue visit to see Ross' sister Joan.  Maybe in October.  That might depend on how Rico is doing.

Speaking of Rico,  he continues to have sleeping issues but at least not every night.  Although, one of those nights was last night. It’s one of the reasons I had time this morning to write this post. Since I was up with Rico at 3:00 a.m.,  I overslept and missed my 8:30 aerobics class.
I feel, at this point, it seems that Rico still enjoys hanging out with us and...well it’s hard for me to think of the alternative.

So that's it for now.  In my next post, I am going to address how I feel about Facebook and the way it has changed so much in the last couple of years.

Legacy Fiber Artz - Etsy
I am also going to talk about my addiction to YouTube podcasts, knitting podcasts in particular, and why it has started to become a very expensive hobby habit.
Toad Hollow

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Poor Old Dude

This week has been challenging, to say the least. We have definitely experienced the dog days of August. And I'm not just talking about the two straight weeks of 90+ degree weather.  I'm not quite sure who has been challenged the most, though.  It's a toss up for sure.  But since this is my blog, I'll grouchily say me.

Our first encounter with him was about 15 years ago.   Well, let me back up a few months prior to our first meeting.

I was newly single at the time and suffering from empty nest syndrome.
I began thinking about getting a puppy.  I saw an ad in the paper for "Breeder's Assoc-America".

 "Breeders Association of America,Inc is a licensed kennel providing purebred and designer mixed breed puppies. Our vet checked puppies come from professional breeders from all over the country. With boarding services, dog training and our in kennel boutique. We have it all for you and your new puppy!"  

Sounds pretty reputable, doesn't it?

I won't go into details, but I didn't have a good experience with them.  The puppy I bought from them died within a week.  It was very sad.  I paid $1200 for the little guy, he was a Maltese.   Luckily, NJ has a lemon law and after quite a hassle with Breeders Assoc. I was able to get my money back. 

About a week later, I saw an ad from a private breeder.

He was born on a farm.  As we drove down the winding driveway, we passed a couple of kids out in the field riding racing tractors. A little girl with pigtails and bare feet, perched on a sturdy branch of an old oak tree, waved as we went by. 
After we parked and got out of the car, the owner, and her husband came off the front porch of their house to greet us.
She told us about the two puppies she had available.   One was a little girl, about 10 weeks old.  The other was a boy about 12 weeks old.
The woman told us that the boy's mother had died after chewing through the electrical cord of the heating pad they had put in her bed to keep her newborn puppies warm.  Aww, I thought, how sad, an orphan.
The girl, she said, was very docile.  The boy was not.
As we walked over to the pen to see the puppies, the woman pointed to a clump of trees a few yards away from the house and said, "Oh, there's Sadie, coming for her afternoon visit.  Would you like to meet her?"
As it turned out, Sadie was a deer.  We were pretty amazed that we were able to actually walk up to her and pet her.
When we got to the pen the boy immediately came up to us, jumping up, spinning around, tail wagging, and of course barking.  Something he still does, by the way, each time I come home.
The girl was shy and stayed her distance.
The woman opened the gate to the pen and the boy came running out.  The girl had to be coaxed.
The boy started nipping at the girl.  She ran, to get away from him, I suspect.  He chased her.
The woman tried to convince us to take both of them.  And if we had, it would have been about $300 cheaper than what we paid for the one puppy from Breeders Assoc.
Anyway, I guess he, the boy, grabbed my heart right away.
Rico and I and Rico and we (me and Ross) have had quite a life together.  He’s traveled with us to Florida and upstate New York.
He loved Joe.  Joe would puppy sit for us when we vacationed and couldn't take him with us.
All of the grandkids have had their special times with him, each wanting to take a turn with the leash, "Can I walk him, Grandma?"

Rico just celebrated his 15th birthday.

He's an old ornery guy now and is suffering from a variety of old guy maladies.  Arthritis being the main issue.
Up until a few years ago, Rico would lead the way on our walks.  Today, he walks a few steps, usually behind us and will stop to rest under the first shady spot he comes to.  He used to bark at cars and other dogs on our walks.  Now he can't see or hear them.
I have to help him up and down the curbs.
About four days ago he started to become restless at night.  He sleeps with us in our bed.  He falls  asleep and then about two hours later he wakes up, walks over to the edge of the bed and whines.  He can't get down by himself.   The first night he did this, I got up and let him outside, thinking he must have to go.
Afterwards, I put him back on the bed and he began to pace.  Ross got up and at 3:00 a.m. took him out for a walk.   And so began our challenging week.
After the second night of this up and down and not sleeping we took him to the Vet.  The Doc checked him out and speculated that his bones may be aching.  "He's very healthy for an old dude," the Doc said, after doing a blood test.
Since his kidneys and liver functions are excellent, the Vet prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine for him which we were to give him two hours before bedtime.
That was two days ago.  The medicine didn't help.
Ross and I are now walking around like Zombies.  We're so tired.  Probably me more so, since Ross seems to be able to sleep more soundly than me.
Rico, on the other hand, sleeps all day!
Someone suggested Benadryl.  We tried that last night and it seemed to make him worse.  He was up from 1:00 a.m. until about 4:00.  Me too.
This morning I had the crazy thought that maybe I should sleep during the day with him.  Silliness!
I'm at my wits end trying to figure out what's wrong with our boy and what we can do to help him.
Have you ever had this type of experience?  I sure would appreciate any advice.
I have begun to wonder if Rico’s behavior is a preview of what our old dude and dudette future will be like.
Maybe we should book that trip today, Ross!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Part Six of “Me and Marymae"

This is part six of my story "Me and Marymae".  If you want to refresh your memory or if you have not yet read the first five parts, click on the tab at the top of my blog (underneath the photo) titled "Me and Marymae".  All six parts are included there. 

     I stammered, "Junie, I...uh...well..."
     "Well, what?" Junie demanded.
     "Marymae and I have spent a good deal of time together lately."
     "And?" Junie persisted.
     "She was beginning to open up to me.  I'm afraid I may have frightened her off."  I said softly.
     "Don't be ridiculous!"  June admonished.
     "Come on, you have to admit, she was a little eccentric," Junie said.   "Remember how she used to walk around her house three times.  Every morning at exactly the same time, she would walk around her  house.  Three times!"
     "What was that all about?"  Junie squinched up her eyes and looked at me.  "I suppose you know why she did that, too!" she exclaimed.
     I looked away because, in fact, I did know.
     I convinced Junie to go back to her house and make the phone call to the police department to report seeing the car that was parked in front of Marymae's house the night that she went missing.
     I needed time to think.
     During one of our talks, Marymae told me about the why of the "three times around the house" ritual.
     It all had to do with the package she gave me the last time I saw her.
     "Can you hold this for me?" she asked as she handed me a...
     Handed me a what?  What would Marymae have handed me?
     Marymae was a ghostly figure without bones or flesh.  She was only a whisper of a woman.
Oh, sure I could conjure her up, give her a face with the bluest of eyes, and snow white hair, but actually, she was the one who frightened me.   I had to make her disappear.  She was beginning to reveal too much.
     Perhaps, it was a bit foolish of me, but I thought, this time, I might have been able to have a complete and intimate relationship with someone like Marymae.  I fantasized about how I would nurture her, tend to her needs, care for her until she trusted me with her entire being.
     I imagined a conversation that I might have with Terry Gross during an NPR interview on "Fresh Air".
    "I loved Marymae.  I cared for her, cared about her.  She was strong, yet vulnerable.  I cried when I found out...Well, I don't want to give anything away," Terry would say.
     "Was she based on a particular person?" she'd ask.
     "Well, Terry, isn't there a little of Marymae in all of us?" I would answer.
     Dr. Thomas would have a field day with that one, I thought.
     "Marymae may have buried her treasures, but you have the key," Dr. Thomas would say in her best non-threatening therapist voice.
     Frustrated, I clicked on the "Me and Marymae" file and dragged it over to the wastebasket where it would unsteadily teeter on top of a virtual reality trash pile of other unfinished stories including the "Red Sweater Serial".
     Lovey bounded down the stairs.  She stopped at the front door, barking and running around in circles, her tail furiously wagging back and forth. 
     "Okay, okay, Lovely.  Let's see who it is," said Fiona as clicked on the porch light and peered out the side window. 
     A shadowy figure stood there, under a black umbrella, his or her face barely visible.  It was a dark and stormy night.