Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life and Death

Today, I was sitting at a red light at an intersection. The light changed and the cross traffic stopped. As I prepared to pull out, I noticed a semi truck coming very fast to my right. I hesitated, and watched him apply his brakes hard. The tires were smoking, and the brakes were hissing, and there was this horrifying moment when I realized that he was about to hit the little car waiting at the light.

My horrified gaze met the horrified gaze of the driver of the car and there was nothing to be done. I knew that it would be bad, very bad.

The truck got stopped. I mean, you can not even imagine how close this was. Seriously, the truck was no more than six feet from that little car.

It was over in seconds, really, although it seemed to take forever to unfold.

I finished pulling into the intersection and made my left turn.

I imagine that it was a terrifying moment for both the driver of the car and the truck. I pulled off to drop off a donation of hunting clothes to the Goodwill, and I watched that truck coming. He was flying in a 45 mile an hour zone.

I drove home the rest of the way wondering about that. How can you have such a close call and not be changed, not be filled with such relief and gratitude that you slow that rig down?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Cheap entertainment

Tim has been talking about a house.

He's been talking a lot about this house, and yesterday he said, "I've got an appointment to go see this house. Come with me."

I said, "Tim, I don't want another house."

And Tim said, "It doesn't cost anything to look."

I said, "But I know how you work. We've been down this road before."

He pushed. I did go to see it, because I really did want to see what it looked like on the inside.

It is a big house with about 20 rooms on three stories. It has a big front porch, and across the street there is a big house that looks like a castle. The thing is THAT house caught the imagination of a child many years ago, and I imagined what it would be like to live in a castle. Every time that I see that house sitting there in it's quiet dignity, it reminds me of being a little child in the back seat of a car, daydreaming. I wondered what it would be like to remember that memory every single time I looked out my front window.

The house is huge, and it's got a bunch of neat details that appeal to the two of us. Like, for instance, window seats in the big bay windows. A winding staircase to the second level. A servants staircase going up to third floor which is not completely redone, but has the remains of an antique bathroom there that could be renovated. I looked at all the angles and knee walls and windows and that space runs the whole length of that big house.

We agreed that it would make a great bedroom for us, using the southern end of the space for a sitting area for the two of us. The north end could be walled off for his 'mancave'. The space is so huge that even with a bathroom, we could have a bedroom that our bedroom furniture would be lost in.

On the second floor there are six bedrooms, two sitting rooms, another bathroom. The second floor is a split level design which we've never seen before, but is remarkable. On the first floor there is small room that would be a perfect office, a kitchen, a butler's pantry, formal dining room, a half bath, a laundry room, and a living room.

On the plus side, there's lots of parking, something that is a problem right now. A little garage which could be used for a business venture we've been rolling around in our heads for some time now. It has a huge basement, with a walkout, which would make a great workplace for Tim. Plenty of room, exquisite details that neither of us have every seen in a house before: a dutch door for the main entrance, arched doors to the living room, five fireplaces that have been set up for gas. A dumb waiter that was used to ferry the firewood between the 3 stories. A new roof.

It would certainly be a nice investment property.

Downside: lots of renovations. The kitchen needs to be redone completely. One bathroom would have to be redone completely. Carpets ripped out. Some windows replaced.  Way bigger house than we actually need. A bunch of very crappy 'modernizations' that need to be ripped out completely, including huge fricking plate glass mirrors installed everywhere (including one in a fireplace! Who DOES that?)

Long story short, this is a sweet house, but a lot of work, and we can take it or leave it. We're in no rush, because we are happy in our own house now. But we will watch it carefully. Last night, in bed, Tim and I held hands in the dark and dreamed out loud.

That's always fun, and dreaming is still free.

http://www.njshattuckhomes.com/index.php?action=listingview&listingID=1349


Monday, March 30, 2015

Seasons

I've been back from my vacation for a week now. Aside from missing Cara, probably the thing that I miss the most is that there in New Orleans, it was warm and sunny, and we spent most of our time outside. There were birds and blooming jasmine. They were well in the throes of spring there. Here? It's snowing. It's cold.

There are signs of spring everywhere. It's even supposed to get into the fifties this week, and I am looking very forward to that. The grackles are back, and the redwing blackbirds and the robins. You can see buds on the trees, buds waiting for their moment to open. The snow is certainly melting off - there's a lot less of it, and there are patches of grass peaking through. The promise of spring is everywhere, but the promise is not realized yet.

Tim and I went out to buy our meats for the week yesterday. There's a store which has good meat prices, and so we generally go there on Sunday afternoon or evening. We see what is on sale, and that determines what we eat for the week. This week I saw packages of catfish. I saw packages of crawdads. I got an idea. I bought some andouille sausage (not such a bargain, but a necessity). I'll pick up the shrimp at another store today.

I'm making the base for a gumbo.William helped me shuck the crawdads (he played with them, and cried when I 'ope'd' the last one. He was having a good time.) I cut up the sausage, and dumped it in with the catfish, crawdads, onions and celery. I added a can of tomatoes and chiles and let it simmer over night in the crock pot.

I've shut down the crockpot now (I had a cup of broth for breakfast and it was good!) In a few minutes, I'll put the base into the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll skim off the grease, and then I'll spend the day putting together gumbo. Invites issued, and I'm looking very forward to it.

I know that the blog has been quiet. It's been a 'withdrawing' time for me. My life has been dreadfully unbalanced. Too much focus on work. I've also lost some friends. Two have died, another dear friend has withdrawn after making it clear that in her mind, I have 'called Jesus a liar', news that came as a dreadful shock to me. After examining my own conscience, I realized that she was hearing a different message. She feels that we have been charged to tell people that without Jesus, they are going to hell. In my thinking, I would never tell anyone that they are going to hell. Judgement is God's job, and it says THAT in the Bible too. I'm not sure why she views it so very differently from me, why it is such an issue in her heart, but I know her. She is my oldest friend, and it is a shock to lose the comfort of that friendship after all these years, but I have spent much of the winter pondering my thoughts on the subject, and I cannot change what I feel (and feel strongly). At the same time, I know that my friend has a good heart. Whatever is happening here is not happening because my friend is a bad person. She says that she cannot talk to me about the things that are most important to her.

There's also been the concern about Tim's shoulder, and the worry about Cara, and concern for William and his safety. Yeah. It's been a long winter.

But, like I said, the promise of spring is everywhere. Yesterday at work, I realized that I was truly enjoying myself, enjoying the interaction with my customers, the busyness of the job. A coworker asked if I'd always lived in Warren, because it seemed like I knew everybody, and that everyone knew me.

I thought of that last night as William and I worked together. The crawdads weren't the only thing coming out of their shell. The season is changing, and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Update

Hi, folks.

All is well here.

Tim is back to work. He has regained full range of motion, and is continuing to strengthen his arm.

William has turned 4, and is still a joy.

I spent last week in New Orleans with Cara, who was home for an educational conference. It was a joyous week and a nice break from bitterly cold weather here in Pennsylvania. It was in the 80s every single day, and we spent most of that time outside, soaking up the beauty of full-on spring. I took a ton of pictures on Cara's Nikon, and I've been well and truly bitten by the photography bug. Will share pictures later. They are on her camera card. Cara is back in Kabul, and I miss her terribly.

We have a house to put on the market in a couple weeks. Tim and our hired man completely renovated our home in the woods, and it is beautiful.

My life is good and sweet and busy.

Although there was that great and glorious moment when I was laying sleepless in bed and pondering things...and it occurred to me, apropos to absolutely nothing that in 12 years I'll be 70. I laid sleepless in bed for quite a while after thinking that think...

Today at work: A fellow is jawjacking in line, and half paying attention. I got his prescription and said, "Your copay today is a hundred dollars.' His eyes got wide, his face got red, and he stuttered around. I burst out laughing and said, "Just seeing if you're paying attention. It's $11.' Hard to tell who was laughing harder, him or the people in line behind him.

It was a funny day, with lots of chances to joke and laugh with the customers. I enjoy that part of my job very much.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Update on Tim

Tim is still in his sling. His shoulder was far more damaged than expected. He has been in his sling since the 3rd of December, and he has at least two more weeks to go.

We all joke about the time that Tim had the flu for 20 minutes several years back. He simply never gets sick. We had all succumbed one by one to a terrible flu and Tim kept saying, "It can't possibly be THAT bad." Not the sort of thing one wants to hear when they are in the midst of a two day bug that keeps you close to a bathroom for one reason or the other, or both simultaneously. (Sorry for the visuals, but this was some bad stuff...)

Anyways, after over a week of one person or another being sickened, there came the great and glorious day that we all once again sat down to have supper together. Granted, there were some pale faces among us, and none of us ate heartily. Suddenly Tim pushed his chair back from the table, and said, "Gees. I don't feel so great..."

I would like to say that we were sympathetic, but we all muttered, "NOW he'll see..." He staggered over to the sofa, flopped down, fell soundly asleep. After 20 minutes, he suddenly popped up. We dove out of the way, knowing what was coming.

Instead Tim said, "Man. I don't know what that was, but it was awful." And then he got up to go work on a car down at the garage. We all sat in shocked silence. Dylan finally said, "If he ever dies, we need to donate his body to science. His immune system is a super power."

That's Tim. I can count the times that he's been sick, really sick, during our sixteen years of marriage on one finger. And now this.

He had great plans. He knew that the doctors were being over dramatic. Two days after surgery, he had some reno work planned. I cautioned him that he might feel quite differently about it after he actually HAD surgery, but he pooh-poohed me.

He had the surgery, and it took nearly three hours. Thank goodness for a new friend Helmuth who kept up his end of a fascinating conversation. I was grateful for his presence. When Tim finally was done with surgery, he was fretful and ready to go home almost as soon as he woke up.

He didn't like that he couldn't feel his arm at all. He didn't like that several hours after surgery, he could still not feel that arm. I tried to convince him to take the painkillers as prescribed. We had both been warned about letting the pain get ahead of the painkiller, to take them as prescribed to prevent the pain from getting out of hand. But no...I am married to Tim. He was fretful, and he wanted Pizza Hut Pizza, and he was not happy about that arm being numb, and he wasn't taking painkillers that he didn't need.

And this is how we wound up in the ER at 2 AM. Tim's IV 'pain cocktail' knocked him for a loop, and this time he was ever so grateful for the numbness. I trundled him back home to bed at 5 AM.

That experience was an eye opener for him. He has been following the doctor's orders to the very letter, and I have heard no more about reno work. He has been taking it easy, and has not take that sling off except for short showers.

He is healing well. At least two more weeks in a sling before they can ever begin physical therapy. Only then will we know whether the surgery was successful or not.