Tuesday, October 31, 2023

No trick

 Today we received the very good news that Tim's lymph nodes and tissue samples came back clear. The doctor believes they got all the cancer.

Best Halloween treat we could ask for.

Monday, October 30, 2023


 We are supposed to get our first wet snow tonight. 

Houdi (aka Houdini) the formerly feral cat who adapted quite nicely to life inside until summer weather came and he made the decision that he was an inny-outy cat has now seemingly made the decision that he is once again an inny. He is stretched out in front of the space heater. 

Tomorrow is Halloween. It is alsoi Weaver's  91st birthday. Stop over and wish her a happy one, if you would. After that, it is November. My gosh, time is flying. 

That's it really. Tim had a nice hot shower this morning. 

We went to the new build to check on things. 

After that, we came home and watched a couple episodes of Antiques Road Trip. They went to Sheffield and Bakewell and Matlock. and they showed the crooked spire church, and I cannot tell you how foolishly happy it makes me feel to know that I have seen those places with my own eyes. 

Tim's tired tonight and cross. A new problem has cropped up and he is frustrated. Tonight he even had a good swear, and he is generally not a cursing man.

Other than that. not a lot to report. 

And that is, in and of itself, good news. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Miracle.

 Last night when Tim went to bed, I was quite worried about him. He was shivering violently (not feverish). He was shakey and in terrible shoulder pain from the CO2 gas. 

The doctor was very clear: he did not want to hear from us unless Tim began running a fever of 101.1 or higher, or if he suddenly began throwing up to the point that he could no longer keep liquids down. 

That just left such a large expanse of gray area. He wasn't eating. He was drinking a lot of fluids. He was trying to walk off the pain, but it wasn't helping. Google advised motion, walking, and icing the shoulder. We were doing all those things, yet 24 hours later, he was still in pretty serious agony, and I didn't know what to do about that. 

At about midnight, I was considering waking up my sister, the nurse, but took one more chance on Dr. Google, and there, I found (contrary to everything else that I had read over and over and over throughout the day) a doubtful sounding bit of advice: "Perhaps heat might help." 

I figured that we had tried everything else. If he woke up one more time, I would give it a try. 

He woke up again. 

I went into the bedroom and told him my latest reading. "Try it," he gasped. We got the heating pad situated with difficulty because he couldn't bear being jostled around. Finally I got it under that shoulder. I turned it on and got him tucked back in again and tiptoed back out of the room. 

After an hour, he had not woken up, and so I tiptoed back in and put myself to bed. He woke up a little, and I asked him about his shoulder. Miraculously, the pain was gone. Completely. 

We both slept better for that. 

The shoulder pain has not reoccurred. He has other pain, of course, but all of it is bearable. Well, except for watching his football team lose. That degree of pain could not be managed by tylenol extra strength. 

He has a bit more appetite. He's still doing well on the fluids. He even shaved today!

Saturday, October 28, 2023


 Yesterday was a loooooong day. We had to be at the hospital by 5:30 AM, which meant that we had to leave the house at 4:00, which meant that I had to get up at 2:30. 

We said our goodbyes at 7:30. I got to see him about noon for five minutes. I had lunch, and by the time I got back up, he was much more awake. We certainly were not going to make the doctor's estimate that he would be on the road by lunchtime, but the recovery room thought 3. I was pretty worried about it because he did not seem all that ready to go home but by 3, we were on the road. 

There was a bit of a kerfuffle. I had asked his son if he could pick up the prescriptions and be waiting at the house when we arrived in case I needed help getting him inside. There was a problem with the pain killers. Although the prescription had been called in by the doctor, they needed to speak with the doctor before releasing it to him. They couldn't reach the doctor. I was quite worried about that, since it was Friday afternoon, the office was closing in an hour, and if we did not get the prescription, he'd have to go the weekend without it. 

We were able to get them in the end, thank goodness.

They've collected some more tissue samples and lymph nodes to be biopsied, I imagine we'll know more about that on November 8th, when we have our next appointment. 

He doesn't have much of an appetite, but I'm making one of his favorite soups for supper. He's doing a great job on drinking his fluids. He's doing a lot of walking which seems to help with pain. 

We're both glad to have yesterday behind us. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Supper Out

 Levi and Mattie invited us up for supper tonight, and it was just what the doctor ordered. A gaggle of kids around a long wood table, the oil lamps casting a nice glow across the table. Mattie made pizza and I brought along a couple bags of nacho chips and some taco dip I'd made. I also made dirt cups for the kids which made them laugh. 

Levi, Andy and Amos got their first deer and Mattie and Katie have spent the day processing deer meat. They can it and they make sausage which is smoked.

The kids were very excited when we came in because they immediately spied, with their little eyes, a Pie Face game. They couldn't have it until after supper, but it was such an exciting thing that they had to run next door and get Grandma over to see this marvel. Grandma got a giggle out of it too. 

At some point during the summer, I'd taught the girls how to play cat's cradle, a string game I'd played for hours as a child. I was pretty surprised they'd never heard of the game before, and they got quite excited about it. I thought it was for my benefit, really, because it is just a simple repeating pattern game. I guess I was wrong about that. I was pretty surprised when Reuben pulled out a string and sat down with me to play a game. It has become a favorite recess game at the Amish school. They all had never managed to get through the diamond pattern, and they were determined to learn it. Reuben got it first. Then he taught Elizabeth, chattering the instructions in their own tongue. After a few tries, Elizabeth got it. They were all quite excited at that point, and gathered around to teach Katie as Sarah and Druscilla crowded in to watch closely. Grandma looked on fascinated. She'd never seen the game either. 

So we all sat there playing games as the lamplight flickered, the adults visited, the children giggled, and little David sat on his blanket in the middle of the floor contentedly chewing on a teether as Rudy hung upside down from a chair making faces at him. 

We began gathering up to leave. One of the children ran down to the smoke house and brought us a venison summer sausage. 

This week has been a challenging one and it was wonderful to set all the worries aside and just relax with friends. We left and they crowded out on the porch to wish Tim luck. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Eye yi yi.

 Tim and I both had appointments for eyeglasses at Eyeglass World, the place that offers two pair of eyeglasses starting at $89.99 including the lenses. 

Now I haven't had an eye exam for quite some time. My distance vision was good. It was not always. When I was a kid, I was very nearsighted, with my weakest eye being my left. Every year or so, my parents had to take me for new glasses, an expense they couldn't really afford and always made me feel guilty. 

My weak eyes and I joined the Army. In basic training, the Army issued you two pair of glasses, black framed ugly things. In basic training, you could not wear 'civvie' glasses. The problem was that the glasses were too strong. They actually made me physically sick to wear. I tried to explain that they were not right, but my drill sergeant told me that the Army doesn't make mistakes. I could have argued the point. I was there, wasn't I, and that was sure seeming like a mistake to me. Anyhow, I discovered that I was a better shot without those glasses than with them, and so I quit wearing them. After finishing AIT, the first thing I did when I got home was to get a eye exam for my new glasses. Except that I no longer needed them. 

So. the next few years were corrective lens free. When I took my eye exam to get my license renewed, I always passed it. 

As I left my forties, I began to notice a decline in my close up vision. I was prescribed bifocals, and I can tell you, I never fell up stairs so much in my life. I was told that my brain would learn to accomodate them. It was not the first time that I figured out my brain doesn't work like most everyone elses. I abandoned the bifocals and began to use  'cheaters', those inexpensive pairs of readers that you can pick up at Walmart or even Dollar Tree. I picked them up a half dozen pairs at a time and artfully scattered them around the house. Sometime between then and now, I noticed that I needed to change my cheater strength to something a bit stronger. Being a person who eventually gets around to it, I got around to it a couple weeks ago. Much to my surprise, I discovered that I could no longer rely on the easy fix. The vision in my left eye was once again much worse than the vision in my right. 

I also noticed that the last time that I drove to my son's house at night, the headlights of oncoming cars had rainbow halos in my left eye. I knew what that meant. I was in serious dread of this appointment. 

Long story short, I have cataracts in both eyes, the left being much worse than the right, but still a couple years away from requiring surgery. (-1.75, whatever that means.) The right one was neglible. As I already knew, the left eye was also much weaker than the right, requiring two very different prescriptions for both far and near work. She noted that my right eye needed scarcely any correction for far vision. She asked me if I was thinking of bifocals. 

I said, "You know, I had bifocals and I never could make them work for me. I finally pitched them and went to the cheap cheater glasses. I've been wearing them until the vision got so different that I couldn't do that." 

She said, "I was not going to recommend them in your case. The cataract is bad and you've got significant scarring from the laser surgery on your right. In your case, as inconvenient as it is, having a pair of reading glasses and a pair of driving glasses is going to be the best route. A couple years from now, when your cataract is bad enough to remove, the lens they replace it with will correct your vision enough that you won't even need glasses unless the right cataract gets substantially worse."

Well. That was not what I expected, but it was okay. We were at Eyeglass World. Two pairs of glasses, including lenses starting at $89.99. I went out with my paperwork. Tim was already sitting there looking glum. I picked out my frames, and took them to where Tim was sitting. She efficiently began to list off various options typing very quickly into the computer. 

"Hold on," I said. And I began asking her the price of every single option. She began to give me quite a eyewatering list of prices. 

I began saying no a lot. She began trying to 'sell' me on the upgrades. "No," I said. 

I turned to Tim. "How much did your glasses cost?" 

My eyes bugged when he said, "$640." 

The woman quickly explained that it was because he had bifocals and was getting the transitions lenses too. 

I said, "Is that for two pair of glasses?" I was shocked when Tim said, "I didn't get two pair." 

"Why NOT? The second pair is free!"

Meanwhile the lady went back to my glasses. "Do you want insurance?" 

"No," I said. 

She explained that I'd get new glasses free if they got broken. She also stressed that it did not cover loss of the glasses. 

It's far more likely that I'd lose glasses than get them broken, so I said, "No, I don't need that," once again. I asked Tim whether he'd gotten the insurance. He had. I said, "But Tim, if you got the second free glasses, then you'd have a spare if anything happened. You wouldn't need the insurance. When in your life have you broken a pair of glasses anyway?"

He looked thoughtful. 

I said, "So he'll take his free second pair of glasses, and you can remove the insurance." 

I could tell that she was not happy with my interference. 

We had alloted $69 apiece for eye exams and $89 apiece for the glasses. We expected a total bill of about $320. The fnal tab was $956.

Afterwards, while sitting at a restaurant killing time until I could pick up my glasses, we both discussed it. We should have taken our prescriptions and gone elsewhere for his glasses. Mine were probably not too far off, two pair of glasses for $250, which included the eye exam,  but we could have very probably gotten a much better deal at an optometrist in town for his glasses. 

Hindsight is 20/20.

Monday, October 23, 2023


 Thanks everyone for you encouraging words yesterday. They were much appreciated. Pixie, your words sent me off on another google search and I was able to see that you are right, that prostate cancer rarely turns into brain mets. 

The neurology department is not going to answer any questions, which I really do think is shameful and tells me a lot about UPMC. Their primary focus is not patient care. 

I'm feeling calmer tonight. Call it a weak moment. I don't know. I can only tell you that I'm not nearly as wobbly as I was last night. 

Thanks all of you. As Weaver says frequently, we do have a wonderful little community going.  

I hope that Jenny and her husband Keith) and Pixie all get over covid.

The Big Question

Tim's surgery is at the end of the week.  It's been such a far away dread for such a very long time, but now, it is upon us. 

We've got plenty to keep us busy this week. Tim is still archery hunting, hoping for just one more deer. 

We've got eye appointments. 

Today, I'm getting a haircut. I will get it cut shorter than usual, in case I can't get back for a while. 

This is uncharted territory, really, and we don't know exactly what we are dealing with yet. The big question is whether or not it has spread. 

I will tell you the thing that haunts me in the middle of the night. When Tim had his stroke earlier in the year, a brain scan was done. The doctor said, "I did not expect to see this. Usually, when a patient has a stroke, the lesions appear on one side of the brain or the other. It affects one side of the brain. He has the lesions on both sides of his brain, tiny white spots everywhere."

My questions are pretty straight forward. Do cancer and stroke damage 'present' differently? Are there differences between the two, or did he interpret the white spots as stroke damage because that is what he was looking for? 

I think they are sensible questions. If the cancer has spread, I'd think that the medical team would want to know. If the two things look completely different in a scan, my god. There would be one woman sleeping a little better at night. When I asked Tim's family doctor the question last week, she listened and then said that she could not just pull up the diagnostic tests of another doctor and question them. I had to take my question to the neurology department that originally ordered the testing.

So I did. 

After four days with no response, I called the family doctors office and spoke with the nurse. She looked in the records and said, "Oh yes. Here it is. They noted you'd called, but could not understand what you wanted."

Yet they could not be bothered to return a phone call to find out. 

It's the little things like that make me crazy. 

Sunday, October 22, 2023


Somehow, my facebook got reactivated for a short time last week. I didn't do it, and I had one heck of a time trying to deactivate it again. The way I deactivated it the first time no longer worked. I had an awful feeling I was hacked, and worried about what nefarious scams were being committed with my face and name and account. 

In the end, I was able, once again, finally, to get it deactivated, but in the brief time that it was up, I could see that it had not changed much. It was the same drama. The same misinformation. The same "if you love Jesus, you'll share this post' memes. A life hack I saw helpfully pointed out that you can use a washer instead of a quarter to get yourself an Aldi cart. 

For those who do not know, in order to keep their parking lot clear of shopping cart, you pay a quarter deposit to free your cart. You do your shopping. At the checkout counter, you unload your cart as the ever busy cashiers ring you up and put your merchandise into the cart at the end of the counter. You pay for your groceries, push your cart to the end of the counter, taking the fully loaded cart over to the bagging area, where you bag your stuff up. You push it out to your car. Load your car. Push the cart back, activate the little thingamabob and the quarter pops out. 

The cart with your washer in it is being loaded by the cashier for the customer behind you. 

I pondered this. I mean, really, how LOW do you have to be to cheat someone out of a quarter? What kind of a wierdo do you have to be to be so delighted by your little scheme that you make a facebook post about it? And all the people 'liking' the post. My god. 

After a month away, it all seemed especially ridiculous to me and I was glad when I was able, once again, to deactivate the account.

LATE EDIT: I believe that I have figured out how it was reactivated. William's VR is a Meta account, which uses my Facebook as a sign on. My daughter added two games. I think that is when the Facebook got reactivated.

Friday, October 20, 2023

A load of sheets.

I am a no nonsense kind of person. We have 3 double beds in this house and William's loft bed. I have one set of sheets for each bed. 


I don't like to fold sheets, and so I take them hot from the dryer, and put them directly back on their beds. (Follow me for more practical housekeeping advice.) 

When family came, I set up an extra bed for Iris, sliding a twin mattress under the loft bed in William's room. I was short a set of sheets. (Try saying that three times fast!)

In a closet at the house we are rehabbing, there are sheets. Lots and lots of sheets. Still in their original packages. All from JCPenney, all of them still with the original price tags: $2.99 for twin flat and fitted, $3.99 for double sized flat and fitted sheets.

Imagine! The last set of sheets we bought cost about $50, and that's not counting the fact that we had to buy an extra pair of pillow cases.  I like pillows, okay?

Anyways, I grabbed a set of sheets for a twin bed from the rehab the last time I was there. When I got home, I opened the packages and was amazed to see that the elastic on the fitted sheet was still in perfect shape. I tossed them in the washer, then the dryer, and then put them on the mattress. They were perfect, Dated probably, with yellow roses, and the embroidered yellow trim, but they'd work just fine. 

I figured to gather up the rest of them and drop them off at the Restore It is a store that sells everything for 50 cents, and it benefits a lot of people who struggle. They are my first choice for donations in these days.  

But that elastic! I mean those sheets have to be 50 years old and the elastic is perfect, not dry rotted or stretched out. I really was curious about the approximate time frame that these would have been sold, so I tried to find old JCPenney ads for sheets on line. Much to my shock, I see that these sheets, the very sheets that I have, are selling on Ebay, Etsy, and the like.

Prices seem to range from the $15 to $40 mark. Per sheet. 

I've got a closet full. In packages. Your choice. White. Blue roses. Yellow roses. Orange and yellow flowers. 

Blew my mind. 

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Normal is more than a setting on the dryer.

Tim's been away in the woods, hunting today. He left while it was still dark. I slept on, waking up just before 8 when the cat wandered in to loudly inquire as to what I was still doing in bed. His inquiries continued until I got myself upright and out of bed. 

Once Houdi had his breakfast, he was at the door, I let him out and finshed brewing my coffee. 

Today was laundry day and stripping the bed day. It all sounds very organized, doesn't it? Except that I don't have a set day for this. It happens once a week at some point, and is dictated by what is going on. Today, Tim was gone, and so it was stripping the bed and doing laundry day. I will put the bed back together this afternoon and spend an hour folding laundry while watching an episode of 'Antiques Road Trip'. 

So very exciting, but as I have discovered, when life takes wide detours into difficult times, the mundane and routine become a bit of a comfort, a familiar touchstone in unfamiliar times. I imagine that this is exactly why Tim was so anxious to get out into the woods this morning. He has hunted all his life. It is his routine. It is his familiar activity. It lends a touch of normalacy to a chaotic time in his own life. 

I'm not allowed to call him while he out. His phone pings and he does not want to alert any already wary deer in the area so I drank my coffee and wandered around blogs while the first load of laundry ran through. I was just tidying the livingroom when he called. 

He wanted to tell me that there seemed to be a problem with the charger in the living room. I'd left his phone on it over night, and it did not charge. I told him that I'd replace the charging block. 

I also told him that I'd made eye appointments for both of us in Erie, his at 12:30, mine at 12:45, next Tuesday, He seemed glad to hear that. 

I should have wondered at the time. It was not yet lunch time. He wouldn't be calling from the woods. 

"Oh," he casually said, as if this were an afterthought, something that just popped into his head. "How do you want the venison done?" 

"You got a deer?" I asked stupidly. 

He did. It's a big doe, so big that he got it part way out of the woods and left it, walking home to get the four wheeler to pull it the rest of the way. 

He told me that he did not need my help. In the end, we decided to do things as we always have. The first deer is our 'hamburger deer'. We mince the meat (except for the tenderloins. I think that you go to hell if you grind up the tenderloins) and divided into 1 pound packages for the freezer. Since it is a big deer, it is probably an older deer and the meat is likely to be tough anyway, which made the decision even easier. 

"Yes," Tim jubilantly agreed. "We can do it differently with the next deer." 

And he sounded a lot like his old self again. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023


 We spent this morning at Wayne St, and we finished the drywalling in one of the bedrooms. We are on hiatus now. 

It is hunting season. 

Tim bustled around once we were home getting ready to leave. He is sighting in his rifle. Thursday, Friday and Saturday are rifle days for senior hunters, and he is taking advantage of those days. Tonight, he has one last night with his crossbow. 

I made myself a very tall glass of green juice and sat myself down to begin chopping. I am emptying out the freezer on the downstairs refrigerator in expectation that we will have venison at some point. I had taken out a chicken breast to thaw in the refrigerator over night, with the idea of making a chicken pot pie. So I chopped vegetables in my quiet kitchen and thought about life. 

It's been a while since I made pie crust from scratch, I'm ashamed to admit, and I was afraid that I'd lost the knack, but as I cut the butter into the flour, it felt comfortable, like I knew what I was doing. I added the ice water, and I rolled it out. It behaved just as one expects a pie crust to behave. 

I transferred the chicken, vegetables, and gravy into a pie dish, and draped the crust over the top, pinching the edges, and piercing it with the leaf pattern my mother taught me years ago. 

Somehow, I felt as if making the chicken pot pie had reminded me who I am. I felt centered and calm as I popped it in the oven. It cooked as I cleaned the kitchen. When I took it from the oven, it looked good. Smelled wonderful. Tasted great.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023


Ms Post on etiquette on the street and in public:

"Victorian books on etiquette which said that a gentleman must offer to carry a lady's bundles must have been thought amusingly quaint for many, many years. Bundles never suggested ladies or gentleman to begin with." 

(What? It was, in my understanding, how things were done before the advent of shopping bags. Your purchases were wrapped and tied with string...like...well...a bundle.) 

Anyways, she goes on: "But since the Second World War's shortage of delivery trucks, package carrying has become necessary, even for officers, who had been hitherto forbidden to carry so much as a box of candy or a single book! Suddenly they found themselves obliged, when on leave at home, either to carry the groceries or go supperless."

(Oh dear god, fetch me the smelling salts! Those poor souls!)

But still, she continues on, as she is wont to do: "The roles therefore have undergone a change. It is still true that a man will gladly stagger under golf bags or suitcases, but to carry a 'bundle'? Not twice! War or no war, any young woman who asks a man to carry something suggestive of a pillow, done up in crinkled paper and odd lengths of string, will wonder, as her grandmother did, why John Nubeau never calls upon her anymore!"

The illustration from Little Women looks a bit risque in that light, does it not?

I find myself musing at the dirty minds of society women back then as well as the fragile natures of WWII officers. One would get the idea that carrying home a bag of groceries was so terribly traumatic that the poor men could hardly wait to return to battle.

I read an essay about Emily Post that commended her sense of egalitarianism, the idea that 'class' was not soley dictated by whether or not you had been highborn, but could be achieved by any person who learned to speak properly, behave properly, run their home properly. Her book is a 640 page list of rules. 

Not all of them are so ridiculous as the one I've listed above, I suppose. 

Again, I am laughing in a manner unbecoming to a woman of breeding and class. 

Monday, October 16, 2023

The Decision.

 Well, Tim had an appointment this morning with his family doctor. She's really very good. She asked him why he was second guessing things. His concerns were discussed. She explained to him why his situatuation precluded most other treatments. She discussed life post treatment. She listened. He listened. I kept myself quiet for the most part, although I did have questions and I asked them too.

She had already put in a request for a second opinion from another urology practice. In a quiet, considering voice, Tim told her to cancel the request. She told him that she was submitting the preop paperwork to the surgeon, but assured him that if he had doubts, or changed his mind, it was not too late to do that. He said in that quiet voice, "No. We'll do the surgery." 

Walking out across the parking lot, he said, "At least I know for sure." 

What a mixed bag of emotions. I felt so very relieved. I felt ashamed of that relief. I also felt very sad for him.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Good Old Days

In the house we are rehabbing there were a great deal of old books that needed going through. We've hoed out a great many of them, sadly, most of them going to a recycling center, but one book I set aside was entitled simply, "Etiquette" by Emily Post. 

It was printed just after WWII, in 1945, and what caught my eye immediately upon randomly opening it, was a section entitled 'The Well-Appointed House". The good lady holds forth on her opinion on using the word 'servants':  "...this obloquy (I had to look it up too) of the word 'servant' spread that everyone sensitive to the feelings of others avoids it exactly as one avoids using the word 'cripple' when speaking to one who is slightly lame. Yet are not the best of us 'servants' in the church? And the highest of us 'servants' of the people and the state?" 

Having gently chided us all for our reluctance to call a servant a servant, she goes on with a section called "How Many Servants?"

Fascinating. This is a topic I needed to know more about. We have just the one servant in this house, and I've had a great deal of difficulty with her. 

Tonight, I started reading the book, and I began on page 286. I needed to know more this well appointed house and the servant business. My education has been sadly remiss. 

The topic is covered in great length and I read it with interest. The servant in this house is a slatternly thing who does a poor job of maintaining our home, falling short of the ideal servant who "cleans incessantly, maintaining the house to flawless standards". This servant also displays "a quiet manner, a low voice and correct behavior, such as is exercised by a well bred politeness everywhere." (The present servant can get a bit mouthy.)

It seems the minimum requirement to have an efficient household is three. One for the kitchen, and one for cleaning. The third? She reminds us that the cook and the maid will need a day off every couple of weeks, and that sometimes people are indisposed. 

(What ever shall we do?!!! Fetch me the smelling salts!) 

You must have an alternate on hand for those days and for the special occasions when extra help is needed. I read this and found myself nodding. The current servant would probably be a bit easier to get along with if she had help. 

A sensible weekly schedule is laid out for us, beginning at 6:45 and ending at 8PM six days a week Of course, if there is a special event going on, the servant is expected to work late, without complaint. 

The employer has certain responsibilities. The help must have an attractive place to take their meals. Servants should all be treated the same or it causes problems. One should never say "Selma, the silver is dirty!" Instead, you should trustingly say, "You have not had the time to polish the silver, have you?" It gives her the benefit of doubt, allowing you to point out that the silver is dirty, but kindly, in case she has truly not had the time to polish the silver. It also warns that if you know that she has had the time and simply not done it, well, that is carelessness, and must NEVER be tolerated. 

(I wonder what she would think of the servant here who has stuffed a beautiful silver coffee service into a steamer trunk and has steadfastly avoided looking at it ever since because she can't be arsed with keeping that stuff polished and gleaming?) 

This particular chapter begins on 286 and continues on until 315. I've learned a great deal, and very little of it is applicable, but it's given me a good laugh. 
But, alas. I am a 'vulgarian'. 
Women of good breeding do not howl with laughter. 

Saturday, October 14, 2023


 Rainy Saturday here, cold, blustery. Sadly, the solar eclipse was not viewable due to the heavy cloud cover. Other than that, the weather didn't bother me.  We were working indoors. 

We got a late start. Our friend had a traffic accident this morning. Tim just happened to be passing by. The police were already there and he recognized Dick. It looked quite serious. Tim headed back to make sure that Dick did not need a ride home, but was surprised to see he was already gone. 

"I don't believe his car was driveable," Tim mused. 

But when we got to the Wayne St. house, sure enough. Dick's poor old car was sitting forlornly in the driveway. 

We knocked on the door, and Dick answered. "Want to buy a car?" he asked. 

"No," we said, "but Tim saw you and wanted to make sure you were okay." Tim said, "Boy. I did not think your car was driveable." Dick said, "Surprised me too." 

We visited for a few minutes. I had an apology to make. It is Dick who told Tim about the Proton Therapy, and made Tim wonder if perhaps there was a way to avoid the radical surgery. As Dick had tried to explain it to Tim, I could see that Tim was excited about the possibility. I walked away, not because I was angry, but because I was scared. I had asked a few questions about Dick's cancer and there was a lot that he didn't know. 

I explained my reaction and thankfully, Mary and Dick both understood. 

After visiting with them and petting their dog, we headed back over to the house and got to work hanging drywall. I was taking measurements and writing them on the wall, cutting drywall. and then together Tim and I would hang the glued sheet. He screwed it securely, while I went on to the next piece. We're a pretty good team when we are working together. When we see it differently, everything stops while we hash it out and that annoys both of us. Today was a good day though. 

As I worked, I thought about those numbers on the wall. In several of the old houses we've worked on, we've seen the measurements written on the wall. I always wondered about the hand that wrote them. I wondered if way far in the future, would there be someone studying my numbers? I wondered what their world would be like. I daydreamed as I worked steadily, and Tim quietly worked away at his end of the project. 

We came home shortly after 3, because Tim was anxious to get out and do some deer hunting. 

I cooked down the last of my tomatoes and made a nice goulash. I'm done with tomatoes. I've cooked down 2 1/2 bushels, turning them into stewed tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, and tomato soup. That's enough for two people. 

I grabbed 4 sets of sheets out of the dryer and made up the beds upstairs. I found Iris' little bat necklace that lights up. A pair of socks. Cara's sweatshirt. I put away the pack 'n play Ruby had slept in. I went from room to room, putting everything back together again, missing each one of them in turn. 

Outside the wind was howling around the eaves. I never noticed that it did that before. It certainly fit my mood though.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Second thoughts

It is a bit of a white knuckle time here. Tim has decided that he wants a second opinion. He will need a referral, so he has an appointment with his family doctor Monday morning, bright and early. 

I'm not sure what will happen. I'm not sure he can get an appointment with another oncologist that quickly, but he wants to make sure that there are not some less radical options. 

I understand it. I do. But it is a terrifying thing to think that it took us three months to get an appointment for this surgery, which is scheduled for the 27th. What if the second opinion agrees with the first? Will he have to wait 3 more months to get that surgery rescheduled? 

I don't know. I've got an awful lot of questions right now and not one of them has answers. 

The only thing that I do know for sure is that Tim has every right to look at every option, to get every question answered. If it were me, I'd feel the same way. 


Oh my god. 

I'd be a liar if I said this did not scare me to death.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The Little Engine that Couldn't

We've been working on the rehab for the past couple days. It's hard to explain, but we are hauling in sheets of drywall. We bring them from the truck straight into the front door, straight down the hall into the gutted kitchen. We then stand them up on end and push them through the floor joists of the gutted bathroom above. They are then ready to haul to whichever of the three upstairs bedrooms we are working on. 

Can we build it? Turns out, no. No we can't. 

The problem is that in the kitchen, I have to move and then push the drywall sheets up through the floor joists into the bathroom where Tim is waiting to grab hold and pull them up into that space. The sheets are heavy and they bend and give. The instability requires me to constantly adjust my center of gravity to maintain the balance. This has wreaked absolute havoc on my bad knee. Upstairs, I could hear Tim struggling too, although he wouldn't admit it. Not ever. 

After two days of this, my knee is as bad as it has ever been. This morning, I was lurching around like a drunk person. 

I told Tim, "I cannot do those sheets by myself any more and I'm not going to do it. I think you're struggling too."

He said, "Do you think you could help me hang the drywall up there already?" I agreed that was doable. It is not a problem to carry the stuff with a person on each end. I just cannot handle the entire weight of the whole sheet by myself any longer. My sister and her husband are stopping in Sunday. We're going out to eat and then we'll use the extra hands to get that drywall where it needs to go. 

I had to face it.  I'm getting older. 

In any case, we went to the house today, and we worked together. It went well. After using all the full sheets of drywall we had upstairs, we were able to continue on the job by cutting the drywall to size downstairs and carrying the smaller pieces up the stairs. We still need full sheets upstairs to complete the job, but we were able to get quite a bit done today.

When we stopped for lunch, Tim got a call from Levi who wondered if Tim could come up in the truck and drive him to an auction. Tim likes auctions and said yes right away. 

It will be a nice break for my knee. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Lovey and Leo

It was a sad and tragic discovery: Leo and Lovey had been left behind. The stuffed animals are important to Iris, and in her five years, she's never gone to bed without Lovey. 

They were gathered up and within minutes of receiving the message, they were at the post office. They are on their way, and should be there on Thursday. I messaged my daughter-in-law with the tracking number and told her to tell Iris to prepare a welcome home party for them.

If I had one wish, it would be that I could so easily right the problems of all the world's children. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The Day After

 After everyone left, I dragged through the afternoon. I tried to catch an afternoon nap, but I kept waking up. It just felt unnatural to sleep in the middle of the day. 

When Cara came home, she brought me two books I'd requested. Sue mentioned them over at her blog earlier, and I'd tried to locate them here. They were very expensive for old books, much dearer than my normal book spending. I'd asked Cara to keep a look out there, and in very short order, she found both Henrietta's War and Henrietta Sees it Through. I was pleased to have them. 

I took those books to my bedside table last night, meaning to read while Tim watched his football game. In a matter of minutes, I was nodding. I gave up, set the book back on the bedside table, lay down and was instantly asleep. 

I woke up this morning after sleeping the clock around. 

Two snippets of visit: My youngest grandaughter is a hoot. Even though she is too young for words, she will make herself very clear. She squinches up her little face and gets very loud. I love that you can hand he some little bit of nibble. She reaches for it immediately, her little brow unfurling, her little nose unsquinching, and a happy smile returning to her face. (She gets that from her dad, we joked. He is grumpy when he is hungry. We call it 'hangry'.) She toddles off, both hands in the air for balance, happy for the moment. 

My oldest grandaughter is in kindergarten and quite interested in reading. She has been read to all her life, completing the thousand book challenge well before she started preschool. 

Aunt Cara brought her some books back as well, and one of them was 'A Squash and A Squeeze'

The book tickled her, and she found it "ridiculous", giggling at every page. That night, she bunked in with Aunt Cara in the big ornate victorian bed upstairs. The following morning, Cara related waking up with a foot in her ear, and turning over to see a sleeping face still on the pillow next to her. "How does she even do that? She had to be twisted into a U-shape!" The funniest part was hearing that she'd been awakened by hearty laughter in the middle of the night, laughter that continued for a long time. "You laugh in your sleep!" she said to Iris who did not know this thing about herself. But she filled us in. telling us, "I had such a funny dream! A pig came into our bedroom and said, "My! You look comfortable!" and curled up on my pillow. 

No wonder the bed was A Squash and A Squeeze.

It is back to the grind. I would much rather mooch around the house today, dreamily gathering those wonderful moments. Instead, we will be hanging drywall at the renovation. 

Monday, October 9, 2023

The Empty House

They've all departed, and once again, the house seems too big and too empty. 

It was wonderful to have everyone home, though. I enjoyed the time with the grands. 

The first to head out was Cara. Dylan and I drove her to the airport at 2:30 in the morning. It was hard to leave her there. Time just flies by quickly. Every visit seems too short, and this visit was jam packed with happy celebrations to include a wedding. 

We dropped her off and were back home shortly after 6 am. Dylan crashed on the couch and I went back to bed for an hour. The girls were up at 7, and I did not want to miss any of my last moments with them. 

The rest of the morning was spent gathering their stuff together. Dylan observed, "The smaller the person, the more stuff they need to bring along." True.

They had a quick lunch and then they were off too. They tried to time their departure to coincide with their youngest's nap time. If she took her regular two hour nap, they'd be nearly half way home by the time she woke up. She's not a great traveler, and when she is unhappy, she makes sure that everyone within earshot understands this. 

We walked to a restaurant yesterday, all of us.  My oldest daughter and her significant other and my grandson. My son and his wife and the baby in a stroller, the oldest skipping along, gathering leaves and trying to sound out the words on the signs we passed. My youngest. Tim and I. It was like a little parade. 

There were a lot of small moments to treasure and hold close and I will be forever grateful for them. 

Cara arrived back at her home at about the same time that Dylan and his family got back to their own home. As for Tim and I, well, not a lot got accomplished today in our own home. We are both tired, but happy. 

Monday, October 2, 2023


Stuff is still leaving this house at an amazing clip. It's probably the fourth car load. Books to the library. four large totes of stuff to the thrift store. 

A corner of a purple glittery prom dress. A collection of Beanie Babies. A old book with a picture of the Tower Bridge on the cover (did she know? Could she have had some prescience?) A Hogwarts cookie tin. A lot of stuff spanning childhood and adolescence. 

What grabbed my heartstrings is 'Wishbone'. She loved that series. I remembered the Christmas she received him.  

I picked that stuffed toy out of the tote, and amazingly, after all these years he still talked. "Do you want to hear a story?" he asked. 

It made me smile. 

But I know those stories. They are writ in my heart. 

So I put him back. 

IKEA and things that go bump in the night

 It is a clear sunny day today.  Houdi continues to mend well, and he is still outraged by the fact that he is being kept inside.  Tim's...