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Saturday morning coffee pot post

Okay, here goes.

I was getting ready to drive down to Lake Waccamaw for several days, see my sister and brother-in-law and work remotely from the lake house. I put it off until tomorrow because of a dinner invitation (!!!) and my sister reports incoming mayflies. That is normal for this time of year, and I don’t think it is going to make a difference in my decision since I can sit on the screened porch looking out at the lake, but I do enjoy sitting on the edge of the lake unless it is in a swarm of mayflies or midges. I usually do a Easter visit every year but we missed this year because of Sandy’s health issues. (Update: I just had a crown come off a molar, so I guess I will go to the dentist on Monday instead. Damn it.)

Sandy will stay here. Apparently the lab results are back but the doctors haven’t looked at them and Sandy needs to make an appointment. He has been busy because YAY! He sold the condo! As is, a little over tax value. I am so glad to have this burden off our backs. It seemed like every time we went out of town for more than a couple of days something major would go wrong at the condo. This last renter was okay, but we have had a couple of nightmare renters in the past, including one who we had to evict who stopped paying rent and then trashed the place. This condo was my mother-in-law’s residence in the late 80s/early 90s.

Anyway, he is heading now out the door to meet the buyer and do the transfer. The buyer has a real estate license so hopefully this will be quick and simple. A friend recommended him so we feel pretty good about it.

This week’s other big news for us is that we adopted another parakeet. Meet Senorita Frida.

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A farmer friend of mine posted this photo on Facebook after she was found in her chicken tractor! So I wrote to her and told her that Bernie could use a budgie friend if she didn’t find the owner. Fortunately we did not get rid of the other big cage that we bought for Bernie and Liz, the one we bought before Sandy ordered the HUGE cage for them. Miss Frida is isolated in the next room over from Bernie for a month, then we will move her close to Bernie, then transfer her into his cage.

She is tame, although a bit traumatized and angry. Right now she is very active.  She likes hearing the budgie video and chirps and climbs around the walls of the cage, so I think that she will be fine. She has been very tired. We have no idea of how old she is, but she is definitely an adult. She and Diego gaze at each other calmly and so she seems to have no fear of cats. This is probably not a problem with Diego, as he went to the shelter at a week old and didn’t learn about hunting, but it is a problem with Pablocito, who has jumped at Bernie’s cage a few times. Bernie figured out a while back that he is safe from the cats in his cage, but if Pablocito jumps at the cage Frida is in, it is much more lightweight and he could knock it to the floor. So he needs to be kept out of that room.

Anyway, as I have said before, we are accidental parakeet people. Bernie and Liz were rescues from a relative who had them in a very small cage and they seemed to be an afterthought to him. We do not like the idea of birds in cages, and we don’t want to contribute to the pet bird industry. Sandy has enjoyed the keets and my fondness for them is growing. It is nice to have a tame one, although we haven’t handled her yet because we are trying to give her a little time to adjust to her new home.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, Reading

Sunday morning coffee pot post

Ooh yuk, the pollen is kickin’ ass in North Carolina. We just had another line of heavy storms come through so I hope that will clean the air some more today. My neighbors downhill and across the street are struggling with flooded basements. We used to have a lot of problems with that too, but sandbagging a couple of places and the swales that Justin dug into the back garden helped a lot with that. I checked on ours briefly yesterday and saw some water on the steps and a little at the bottom but otherwise the cement was dry down there. We keep a box fan and a sump pump going all the time.

I’m not going to type a long post. My hands are not up to it. Too much reading and holding the phone and computer mouse, I guess.

We haven’t gotten the results from Sandy’s muscle biopsy yet, but he is feeling better this week and can lift his feet higher without using his hands to lift his legs. He has been running errands and we walked around the block yesterday. Yesterday he got his second Pfizer vaccination. Last night he was afraid that his shingles was coming back but my bet is that it was a side effect from the vaccine or general achiness from doing too much too soon.

He has lost a lot of weight and I have gained weight and if I don’t start getting some more exercise and eating better it won’t be long before we weigh the same.

My next door neighbor is eager for us to get rid of the jet ski so I cleaned it up and he was going to get a couple of guys and move it out next to our driveway for us. I would be extremely happy to get rid of this mosquito incubator that hasn’t been used since at least 2008, when we last had a car with a trailer hitch, but now is not a good time to push us on this issue. Not only because of our health, but because Sandy’s renter in his condo gave notice, so Sandy is trying to sell it. We haven’t seen the inside yet, but from the one time I was over there, I suspect that it will be a mess. He won’t get a whole lot for this place. The tax value isn’t much but the location isn’t too bad. He has talked to someone with a real estate license who is interested in either buying it for himself to rent out or to sell it for him, and they will look at it this week. It is a seller’s market right now, so I hope that we will get this albatross off our back now that Sandy isn’t able to deal with it physically. I announced my departure from this situation about ten years ago. No more landlady Laurie.

This week I read “Lost Nation” by Jeffrey Lent. Part of the reason I didn’t post yesterday was because I couldn’t put it down. At first, I thought, ugh, this is extremely brutal and gory and I don’t think that my sensitive nature can handle it, but when the writing is this good, I can, and I did. The plot moved quickly, but I am a fan of character development, and boy, did this novel have it. The choices that they made based on their assumptions were at the crux of the plot, and sometimes those assumptions were way off. Sometimes they were more subtle. Trust was a major motivator in the plot too – trust or the lack of it. His descriptive language left me with full vision of the world he created. Books like these are why I would much rather read a book before seeing a movie based on it. I’m not sure who would do a movie based on this plot these days though – it would be a tough one to maneuver through the ugliness to deliver the watcher to the end.

Okay, my hands have had it. My spirits are better though.

bloggy stuff, coffee pot posts, critters, More gardening, Reading, Wildflowers

Good Friday 2021

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^^^My favorite flowers are multiplying well.

I dislike this new WP block editing mess. I have fooled around with pressing different buttons and got the text editor bar to appear, but I’m not sure that I could find it again. It is under Options/Visual Editor/Block and I unclicked all the buttons except Classic. Now I can’t find that again. Good luck, friends, who also relied on the classic editor, that is the best hint that I can give you. I suppose that I will figure it out eventually. I switched the Tapestry Weavers South site over to WordPress because I liked the interface here, grrr. Now, at a time when I am stressed out over having to learn too many new software platforms at work, WordPress throws its hat in the stress ring. Anyway, I guess it was inevitable and I will get used to it.

Mama always planted her garden on Good Friday. I planned to plant a few lettuce and borage seeds today, nothing major, but we had a hard freeze early this morning and will have another tonight, so I’m going to wait. They will go into the containers in the front so that I can protect them from being eaten by critters.

Here are some of my favorite flowers from the front garden: bloodroot, grape hyacinth, and dandelion. There are lots of Lenten roses also, but I am not so fond of them anymore. They reseed like crazy and I think that I’m going to have to dig up a lot of them.

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The groundhog is definitely back and I haven’t seen Robbie Rabbit lately. I would not be surprised if Robbie became dinner for a fox family, since there have been many red fox sightings in the neighborhood. Robbie was never very careful.

Sandy had his muscle biopsy yesterday and he is sleeping right now. I imagine by now the numbing medication that the surgeon put into the incision has worn off and I haven’t spoken to him yet this morning. He has a two inch incision that they closed with waterproof super glue! We are amused that his surgeon’s name is Dr. Martin. I hope that we get some answers from this and that it is not super expensive, since there was anesthesia involved. Sandy was in fine spirits yesterday, very alert on leaving the hospital, and focused on eating, as usual. He is taking some good pain meds, but he doesn’t like to take meds. I mean, if this condition turns out to be toxicity from taking statins for years, who could blame him. However, he is still convinced that it is all due to his shingles. I am anxious to get the results of the biopsy.

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^^^I want this shrub. It was blooming at the hospital.

A big front came through and blew a lot of the cherry blossoms into drifts. Last weekend, with the help of our neighbors, we got the Honda Fit battery charged up and running. I am going to clean the inside soon and see if I can get the musty smell out of the carpet with enzyme shampoo.

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See that brick wall? That is where I plant my lettuce. The old bird cage keeps the birds and squirrels out. When we get the steps rebuilt, I guess that will need to be rebuilt as well. It certainly needs a good cleaning and paint job, but I will wait. You can see how close the houses are in this neighborhood. My neighbor is back from Tanzania and his wife and son will be back from Thailand very soon. They are good neighbors and it is fun to watch his son play.

In the meantime, we received our 2020 tax refund and it included the $600 stimulus for both of us. We are still waiting for the big 2019 tax refund and the latest stimulus checks. I went ahead and booked the rest of my flight and saw that I could get a decent deal on the same flights for Sandy, and then went ahead and bought him tickets too.

I think that I’ll save this chat about the trip to Ireland for a separate post. It’s exciting.

Reading: “Holy Fools” by Joanne Harris. So far I am intrigued by it.

agoraphobia, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, old couple, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

Well, this week could have gone better, but I’ll take it. I stood up for myself concerning a particularly awful process I was expected to use at work that was inaccurate and basically unusable, and I feel like I was heard at least one step up the pecking order. Then I concentrated on what I could do. I got a lot done.

The weather is absolutely lovely and we spent a lot of time on the front porch yesterday evening. I cleaned out most of the junk in the Honda in preparation to clean the inside and shampoo the carpets. I took out at least 20 books. I also did some front garden clean up – pulled the “weeds” that the bees no longer need but left the dandelions, which I love. My favorite flowers are in bloom right now, and the yoshina cherry trees are bursting with light pink flowers. The peppermint that I shouldn’t have planted is spreading through the fieldstone path across to the other section of the garden, but it smells so good that I don’t mind (now). I planted it in several places in the hope that it would deter both mosquitoes and groundhogs.

Reading: Almost finished with “Good Harbor” by Anita Diamant, which I have mixed feelings about. At first I thought that I could relate to the characters, but instead I have found it pretty depressing. I liked her other novels much better, especially “The Last Days of Dogtown,” which was a recent read. Part of my problem with novels about women who struggle with children or fertility is that I feel no connection to motherhood. I have never felt the urge. The other character is having serious mental health issues revolving around cancer and death, maybe not the best reading choice for me right now. I’ll finish it, because I don’t have much farther to go and it is a short book.

It seems like I’m breaking out of the agoraphobic tendencies, although I am typing this in my bedroom, where I spend way too much time. On Thursday morning I drove Sandy to what we thought was going to be his muscle biopsy under local anesthesia at an outpatient surgical center in Burlington. Instead, it was a consultation with the surgeon and pretty much a waste of time other than him telling us that the biopsy would be done under real anesthesia in Greensboro, maybe at Wesley Long Hospital. He didn’t have Sandy’s lab work or records, and he was quizzing him to see if he really needed the biopsy. Once I told him about Sandy’s CK test results, those kind of questions stopped and he moved on.

It was frustrating, not only because we expected this to be behind us by now, but that the communication has been so bad. These days I know to be wary of any anesthesia that puts you all the way under – it can trip an older person into dementia and Sandy had a difficult time maintaining his oxygen levels under anesthesia during his oral surgery a couple of years ago. It definitely has cognitive effects. And the surgeon was not encouraging about it being scheduled right away, although he said that he was on duty at Wesley Long next week and would try to get it on his schedule.

This biopsy really has to be done soon. Sandy dreads it so much that I worry that he is going to back out. Yesterday he was feeling much better and started working on getting the Honda battery charged and the car aired out. He brought me lunch at work. I am very happy that he feels better and is trying to do more. However, he has a denial problem and I have my hands full trying to stop him from health self-destruction since he wants so badly to believe that all he needs to do is get back into shape. This has been the case for years, not just with this issue. I do not want to play the role of his mother or nurse and I want to treat his medical decisions with respect, but I also don’t want to be a widow in my early 60s. I love him and I want to grow old with him. He will be absolutely miserable if he doesn’t get better. His family history is full of disability, including his father who was quadriplegic and his brother and mother who had strokes affecting their ability to move. He also has a serious aversion to asking for the simplest help.

Anyway, the good aspect of this trip was that I drove to Burlington to an unknown location in heavy traffic and even drove around the area a bit without any anxiety or panic. So I haven’t descended into that agoraphobia hole. I feel better, knowing that.

And I feel better that I am officially fully vaccinated, having passed the two week mark yesterday. I haven’t heard from Lora about the residency in Ireland yet, but considering the problems that the EU is having with a third wave and getting the vaccinations out, it looks more and more unlikely. If I can’t go to Europe this year, we will pick a national park to visit. I wouldn’t mind a train trip, or going to Maine to Acadia NP. I’ve never been farther north than Connecticut.

We got a small tax refund back from the state but not either federal tax refund yet. That will be welcome money that we will probably use to hire local people to work on our house. I also try to donate to a lot of individual causes and charities that I see people advocate on Facebook. We are very lucky, despite what we are dealing with at the present time.

Coronavirus Chronicles, depression/anxiety, Rants, Reading

Sunday afternoon

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I need to put a title on each post and I seldom try to come up with something witty or appropriate to what I have written any more. What I noticed when I went through almost every one of my posts last year was that sometimes I wondered what day of the week it was when I wrote it. So instead of leaving the title blank, I usually name it with the day of the week.

Yesterday I got some stuff done. Getting anything done is significant progress. I picked up popcorn shrimp burritos from Fishbones – so delicious – and did a bit of grocery shopping at Bestway. Normally I shop at my coop, but Bestway has Smithwick’s ale and some frozen dinners that Sandy likes for when I just can’t cook or even eat. They have some organic and local foods too and it’s right beside Fishbones. I cooked a good simple dinner with marinated baked chicken, brown rice, peas and corn.

I haven’t been to the farmers’ market in ages. I just can’t make myself leave the house that early on Saturday morning. It’s very important that I have the weekends to sleep in and catch up since even melatonin and Xanax can’t get me to sleep some nights before 2 or 3 a.m. Once they start staying open after 11 a.m. I might be able to manage it.

It was cold after that storm front came through but the plants that I moved outside seemed to survive without damage. Today it will go back up to the 60s for the highs this week so I hope to stir up some enthusiasm for gardening.

Early yesterday evening, we went through the FEMA drive through vaccination clinic in the Four Seasons Mall parking lot. We found out that they were doing the Pfizer vaccine, but it would still be quicker to do that one and have to come back for the second shot than to wait for the one dose Johnson & Johnson. This has repercussions for Sandy, who most likely needs to get on immune-suppressive meds ASAP, but can’t do that until after he is fully vaccinated. He is not feeling well at all, but no side effects from the vaccine. His second shot is scheduled on April 10, so I’m not sure if we will go to the lake Easter weekend.

I spent some time weaving on “Cathedral,” so that is a very good thing. Today we will both try to pitch in and get laundry and vacuuming done. Laundry is harder than you might think since we have to catch a lot of the rinse water in buckets and dump it out side. The cat hair is at disaster level. I combed several handfuls of Diego’s undercoat fur out this morning. Pablocito doesn’t have that much.

My mood is also lifted because I am considering going alone to Ireland in September for an artist residency if my family can’t manage the trip to Portugal. I have the plane ticket from Boston to Dublin. They have waited to buy tickets until they see how things pan out. This would be at the same place where I had planned to go this past summer, on the Wild Atlantic Coast on the western edge of Ireland.

I have to be careful not to get my hopes up too high for this trip, though. The ride down that emotional hill was pretty rough last year, plus having all this worries on top of that.

I’m reading “Enduring Love” by Ian McEwan right now. A very disturbing book, and although I can’t put it down, I am ready for it to be over with. This was a freebie, and I suspect that I picked it up out of a free bin to use the cover in collage. I always try to read these books first. This is the first novel that I have read of his.

One thing I accomplished this past week was filing our 2020 taxes online. We STILL have not received our 2019 refund. I finally called our Congressperson’s office and the staff person put me in touch with the local taxpayer advocate volunteer service. However, they can’t do anything about it either until somebody puts the information in the IRS database. The staff person said that a lot of people who mailed in their returns are experiencing the same thing.

It also means that we didn’t get the last round of stimulus payments. I was able to roll that into the 2020 tax refund. Hopefully we will get the next round. I am going to use it to make some repairs to the house – mainly the front steps to make them safer. Because we live in a historic district, we have to get a certificate of appropriateness and use a special kind of brick if we go with that option.

Doing the taxes is frustrating because there is one tiny thing on our return that requires us to choose an answer to a question, and neither answer is correct. That’s why we mailed it in last year. Then this year there was that AND at the end a series of required responses about last year’s return that were not applicable. The Turbo Tax person told me to check them all and e-file it. No freaking way I am mailing that sucker in this year.

In the meantime, I read that the IRS chooses to audit a much higher percentage of lower and middle class tax returns instead of the tax returns of the rich because they are more complicated, so the rich get away with paying billions of dollars less than they are supposed to pay.

I am so disgusted with this government and the voters who can’t see how they are being abused by income inequality. They are so worried about somebody getting some government money to feed themselves or get health care who might not deserve it in their eyes, but it’s okay to cut taxes for the people and corporations who make so much money that they would not miss millions of dollars in taxes paid.

Okay, political rant over. Time to do some house cleaning and tapestry weaving.

Back Forty

Back Forty Update

I don’t know, I guess I will always call it the Back Forty.

It is cleaned up to the extent that I can clean up the rest of it now! You couldn’t even get into the area in the back of the outbuilding because it was so grown over and tangled up in wisteria. At one time I had started a shade garden back there, and my compost pile was there until it lost all sun.

They clipped and pulled all the vines off the gazebo structure! I don’t know if we will buy another fabric roof and screen for it. They kept getting ruined by big tree limbs falling on it. It was my “wet” studio for a while. That rusted metal thing is a press for my handmade paper. I do miss it, so maybe I will look into a reorder on the screen replacement.

First, here is a before photo.

Now this:

Now flowers – the purplish Lenten roses just started blooming this year. The other is a flowering quince that has been there forever.

coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles

Saturday morning coffee pot post: Vaccination Day

Sandy gets vaccinated with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine tonight! Since we are not really vaccinated until both of us are vaccinated, I call this a holiday. I never had the side effects that some had, and I hope that Sandy’s currently overactive immune system will not cause him grief from this shot.

So, two weeks from now is Easter weekend, which we usually spend at Lake Waccamaw with my sister and brother-in-law, the only close family that either of us have now. I hope that we will be able to make the trip down there. They have always been precious to both of us, but that feeling has grown with their absence from our lives. It’s like my sister and I are each other’s mother now.

We have other family that we love dearly, but three of them are far away across the country. One of them I have never met – Sandy’s niece, Lena. We have an online relationship that is good. My niece Brooke is in Chapel Hill and is currently working hard to get her life back on track, and we have always been close. My nephew in North Carolina seems to have distanced himself from our side of his family, which, to be honest, I can hardly blame him. We found out through his brother’s post on Facebook that he got married. It hurts because I often have said that if I could have a son, I would want him to be just like my nephew. I love him very much too, although I never got to know him in the depth that I wanted. It wasn’t for lack of trying. I even offered to buy him a plane ticket to travel with us several years ago when we went to Oregon. Anyway, it has taken me several months of grief but I have come to accept it. I can’t do anything about it, so…I am taking this very big hint and letting him go.

I can understand wanting to divorce your family in certain circumstances. I was lucky to be raised by my parents, who, although they definitely had their problems, were so far and away more normal than my husband’s family. Last weekend we visited with friends outside and he started telling some stories from his childhood and teenage years that reminded me just how appalling his home life was. Then he talked about how that when he met my family, he felt so lucky to be able to become a part of it. It made me much more appreciative of what I had growing up. My husband and his brother were abused and neglected.

One story he told, which I don’t think that I’d ever heard before, was that when he was a teenager, his stepfather stole his mother’s car and ran off to Florida. The police wouldn’t help her, even though it was in her name. So they flew to Florida, she distracted him while Sandy hot-wired the car, and then they stole her car back.

Is that badass or what?

It also is a good example of the hurdles women faced in the 60s. Women still had very few rights when it came to employment, money, credit, and possessions. She was a social worker with a graduate degree. I think that Sandy’s experience growing up informed much of his feminism. He got to see firsthand the damage that misogyny and poverty creates.

Whew, I didn’t expect to go off in that direction.

Sandy finally got an appointment for the muscle biopsy. We will be heading to Burlington this coming Thursday morning, since that was the earliest appointment we could get. Both of us will be relieved to get a firm diagnosis so that he can begin getting treatment. He is very, very frustrated at his condition and talks a lot about going back to either the Y or the aquatic center to begin swimming again.

We both need haircuts in the worst way. Sandy started cutting his hair at the front and now he has an old man mullet. He says that he is going to shave his beard and mustache. Mine is long and getting very gray and falling out a lot. Between that and the cats everything in the house is covered in hair. When I find long silver strands, there is little doubt that I am the culprit.

We had a couple of small tornadoes in our county on Thursday night. It is not unusual for North Carolina to get winter and spring tornadoes, but it is always scary to get that tornado warning. Sandy barely looked away from his computer screen while I was piling up pillows in the center of the house away from the windows. He is never concerned about the weather. I focus on it a lot – I guess partly because of being a farmer’s daughter and we were expected to tell my father the weather report when he got home. Pre-internet and cable/satellite TV, you had to rely on local TV and radio stations, and we didn’t have many. When you grow up in a farming family, and you are a gardener, the weather forecast is very important.

Speaking of, the next post will have PHOTOS!

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, Coronavirus Chronicles, critters

Saturday morning coffee pot post

It has been a real roller coaster week.

Last Sunday, Porfirio and his work partner began clearing out the back yard of the wood chunks and the vines invading from everywhere. They took down small trees that had popped up and were covered in English ivy and grapevines and wisteria. The vines were crawling over the roof of the building in the back. They worked their way around the border of the lot without needing reminders of what to do or asking a lot of unnecessary questions or proposing to do something else rather than the task I had laid out for them. Only cost me $400 and Porforio is going to do the maintenance on the back and side yards.

I cannot tell you how much this relieves me. And because Porfirio has worked for my friends for years, I know that he is really this great and it is not going to change on a whim.

Workwise, it was, and has been, very stressful because of egregious communication and decision making at higher levels. At one point I took off my headphones during a Zoom “training” meeting and stormed into another room and vented about the person leading to meeting to Sandy. I came back and noticed that I had not muted myself, and then I hit mute (my video was already off) and cried like a baby. I had such a panic attack that I didn’t get much of the rest of the meeting, but the little that got through was obviously not useful. Anyway, I doubt that anybody heard me, and like a co-worker told me, if they did, they probably all agreed with me.

I constantly try to remind myself of how great my job is, but meetings like that are so incredibly frustrating that I can’t wait to retire. I just wonder sometimes if I am going to last another two years before I either get fired for going off on someone or get carried away in a straitjacket.

Sandy’s rheumatologist appointment was on Thursday afternoon. We like the doctor very much – I had to participate by speaker phone, though. He looked at Sandy’s lab work, did some more tests and a chest x-ray, and is going to arrange for Sandy to have a muscle biopsy, which has to be done by a surgeon in the outpatient surgery center. He is pretty sure of a diagnosis but the muscle biopsy will confirm if Sandy has polymyositis. It can be treated but it is a chronic disease. He said that Sandy needs to get vaccinated ASAP because the treatment will include immune system suppressing medications, since polymyositis is an auto-immune disease.

So even though this isn’t exactly good news, at least we have a plan moving forward and that is somewhat of a relief.

You can feel the hope rising in the air as more people are getting vaccinated. Of course we will still have to do all the pandemic things until most of us are there, since the vaccinated can get catch and transmit the virus, but we’ll no longer have to worry about getting so sick that we will have to be hospitalized or die.

I was vaccinated with the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine yesterday afternoon. So far I have a bit of a headache, but I normally have a headache this time of year anyway. My arm is only a tad sore, which is a bit surprising since that guy jabbed me hard and seemed to wiggle it a bit. I jumped and yelped a little and only gasped once. It’s important for me to keep my breathing steady because I get vasovagal syncope and I hate fainting in public much worse that I hate needles. Because of that I had to sit for thirty minutes afterwards, but I was fine. The shingles shot was much, much worse, and I still have the second shot of that to look forward to in late April.

Sandy tried to get a vaccination appointment all day yesterday, even driving to the Coliseum to talk to the people out there about what to do. He was not successful, but last night as I was going through my email, there was an article from WFDD (our local public radio station) about how to get an appointment, and I followed a link and HALLELUJAH, Sandy now has an appointment next Saturday evening for the one dose J&J in the drive through FEMA clinic that is being set up next week in Greensboro.

The weather was beautiful this week and we have enjoyed being out on the front porch. Today is the beginning of cooler weather, and we may go to a friend’s house and sit on their back deck for brunch.

Yesterday, this guy sat on a neighbor’s fence for most of the afternoon. I think that it is a juvenile red shouldered hawk. I just hope that he doesn’t kill my favorite bunny who hangs out between our house and the house next door.

I hope to be able to go to the lake for Easter weekend and hug my sister and brother-in-law.

Back Forty, coffee pot posts, critters, Reading

Saturday morning coffee pot post

This time, in the morning!

I am waiting for Porfirio to come this morning to clean up this HUGE MESS in the Back Forty. He has worked for a couple of my friends for years, and they absolutely love him. He gave me a great price on this job, and will do the maintenance work for me after the big areas are taken care of. I say “huge” and “big” but our back yard is actually pretty small.

And here he is!

I guess that I won’t be calling it the Back Forty any more. Just my little garden in the back. I’m going to keep up the beds at the side fence and the one that Justin made for me next to the fig tree, and probably move my herb garden back to it. It will be a job that I will putter away at as the days get warmer. But my days of big urban food gardening are over. I’ll plant some more asparagus, since the groundhogs leave that alone, and leeks and onions. I’ll plant some tomatoes and peppers in the side beds and in containers.

The two-decade fight over the back yard design will be over because I am compromising and letting Sandy have a grass lawn in the area that is not my garden. I am done arguing about it and it might help us sell the house. And now I will be hiring someone to mow it. I (and others that I have confided in) have NEVER understood why he so disliked my garden, especially at the height of its beauty. I mean, there was even a big newspaper feature about it!

But, whatever. I am done with it. I can’t fight off the groundhogs and take care of all that anyway. Moving the herb garden will give me a doable project to focus on.

We saw this tree with a ribbed texture on our walk last Sunday. I wonder what it is and if that is normal?

Pablocito has been getting too much camera time, so here is Diego trying to take a nap. He doesn’t much like the camera.

This weekend I am making chili and we are going to Office Depot to try to find an office chair that Sandy will be happy with. He spends a lot of time in that chair and his is worn out. It reminds me of Martin’s chair on Frasier. Yes, it is that bad. He’s been trying to make it last until after the pandemic but it is falling apart.

Since I managed to get laundry done over the course of this week, and a bit of cleaning, I am going to try really hard to do something that is fun for me this weekend.

I finished “Gentlemen and Players” by Joanne Harris this week and I absolutely loved it. The fastest I have read a book in a long, long time. Now I’m reading “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout, and seeing why it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Coronavirus Chronicles, old couple

Wait, wait, wait

People who don’t know any better or don’t have friends who live in other countries often cite long waits for health care as a reason that they don’t want government sponsored health care for all. Yet, we have long waits for specialists in this country even with expensive insurance, so there’s yet another bullshit reason against socialized health care.

Really, as we wait for this rheumatology appointment, we are both feeling a bit desperate. Sandy tried to get a vaccination appointment at Walgreens and they turned him down because he filled out the form stating the he had health issues. Aren’t those the very people who need the vaccine the worst? So he called his GP office to ask their guidance and they said to wait until after he sees the rheumatologist on March 11. Still a week away.

In the meantime, his condition gets worse and we are worried, very, very worried. He wants to start swimming at the Y again because he thinks that would be good exercise for him right now. He does a couple of minutes of the video exercise, when before he got shingles he had gotten where he could do 15 minutes twice a day. We worry about the rapid acceleration of his muscle loss. He needs to be able to get out and about for his mental health. I think that he will need physical therapy.

I should be able to sign up for a vaccination early next week, according to an email I received from my workplace. A clinic is being set up for all the higher education workers in the area. Plus, FEMA is setting up a mega-site here in Greensboro at a closed Dillard’s store in Four Seasons Mall, with a drive-through lane.

We are treating each other with loving care these days – each of us trying to do our best under these circumstances.

But we have things that need to be attended to – like the plumbing problem. Like the Honda Fit that has been sitting with a dead battery for several months now. Like rebuilding the front steps, which involves getting permission from the Historic Commission. The possibility of having to put in a ramp. Like the pile of big chunks of dead silver maple that I had hired two different people to split for firewood for me last year. One stopped answering my texts. The other gave it a valiant try before he smashed his thumb and now he has a back injury. Since then, it’s become a termite incubator. So I’m calling a couple of landscapers today to see if I can get estimates on cleaning up the yard, then bi-monthly maintenance. That will be a start, and it would be good to get it done now before mosquito season begins.

That is likely where the Ireland/Portugal trip money is going to go.

However, the good thing is that we do have the lake retreat. I went for a walk with some of our friends on Sunday morning and we sat on an outside deck and chatted over coffee for a couple of hours. Hopefully by this summer we will all be vaccinated and go down to the lake for a weekend or so. One couple just sold their big truck rig and bought a huge RV. Maybe we will buy a small RV instead of moving to Portugal.

The biggest challenge for me in all of this is the possibility of a giant change in our lives. I have spent most of the pandemic, and really the last 15 years, relying on travel planning as my therapy. Finding the cheapest flights. The quirkiest old motels. The AirBNB rooms. Recently, planning to emigrate to Portugal. In a way, the emigration plans are the easiest to give up, since thinking about transporting the cats and what possessions we would ship over was sometimes overwhelming.

I have to find a new way to cope. I hope that my instincts are wrong about this, and Sandy will bounce back and we will still be able to travel to national and state parks and museums and walk on trails. But, if not, we’ve had a good run, and we are luckier than most people to have the memories. I am thankful that I documented our trips so well on this blog, and hopefully there will be many more. We haven’t checked off our bucket list yet, but we’ve knocked off a few major items like Cahokia, Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Newgrange, Giant’s Causeway, Yellowstone, Glacier NP, an Alaskan cruise, Tuscany, Cornwall…pretty amazing when you list them all. There is a lot in this country we’ve yet to see.