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Category Archives: snow

Shave and a haircut…

…two bits.

Mom finished her radiation treatments today. The nurses at the radiation center are beyond amazing women. I can’t tell you how phenomenal it is that these women go in to work every day and help people who are battling life-threatening diseases. How they go in every day, knowing that they’re seeing people who are so sick…who might not make it in for the next treatment. Some who can’t get out of chairs because they are so weak and frail. And yet these nurses smile and hug and encourage…and they love.

This was the second round of radiation for Mom. The first was pelvic radiation, this time it was brain radiation. When Mom came back in for this second round–the first was last summer–the nurses recognized her. They hugged her. They carried her puke bucket for her. They showed her pictures of their lives–weddings, children–and they remembered that she crocheted special hats for them. They greeted me and they greeted Dad like we were friends.

So Mom rang the bell at the radiation center for a second time. The nurses gave her a certificate–that they each signed after they wrote very sweet things–as well as a cover for her puke bucket that re-assigned as her “crochet bucket”. I took pictures of Mom ringing the bell, but it was harder to feel excitement. This was the second time she’s rung the bell for treatment completion at the radiation center. Adding in the chemo center, she’s rung a bell three times…and yet I know that the cancer is continuing to grow. There’s no question in my mind. This cancer is so aggressive, there’s not going to be any stopping it.

I smiled and cheered Mom on as she rang the bell. Afterward, we went out for lunch with Hub and my oldest brother, and my other brother and his wife surprised Mom by showing up as well. After we all stuffed our faces, I went back to my parents’ house with them to get Mom settled. We talked about cutting her hair as we drove back to the house because the radiation was causing Mom to lose her hair again (due to the location of the radiation beams). She had pulled out some clumps already and we’ve seen her shedding hair at home. It was clear she was irritated, so I offered to cut her hair really short. She usually wears her hair short-ish, but I’d say it was about 4″ long at the longest area. I started cutting and then my brother brought down his hair clippers, so I proceeded to shave her hair (with a guard) really carefully so I didn’t irritate her scalp. I left her with about half an inch of hair. Enough to keep her head from freezing, but not long enough to irritate her when it continued falling out. She thanked me and then we got her settled onto the couch so she could rest. Dad and I cleaned up the hair from the floor, then we ordered pizza and calzones and strombolis from the local pizza place. Mom wanted the food for the weekend (she had a hankering for it), in case the restaurant wouldn’t be open after the snow. I rubbed Mom’s fuzzy head, kissed her cheek, and I came home.

I never expected to have that memory with me. I’m glad I was able to help her feel more comfortable by shaving her hair, but I don’t know how to cut hair. I do a terrible job trimming the dogs–even though I do it when it’s needed so they don’t have to sit in a cage at the groomers waiting to get trimmed–so I wasn’t looking forward to cutting Mom’s hair. I did it because she needed it, but I hated doing it. I hated that it needed to be done. I hated it.

I walked home in the lightly falling snow. We’re expecting an actual “official” blizzard here (it’s going to meet real criteria for a blizzard, they’re not just saying it’s a blizzard…who knew?). 20-30″ of snow when all is said and done. It was that eerie quiet outside as I walked home. I let my mind stay blank and felt the snow touch my face, wet my hair, linger on the scarf I was wearing that my grandmother crocheted for me a million years ago. Inside my house, I took off my coat and hung it on the back of chair, then went to throw something away in the trashcan in our mudroom. The can has this latch thingy that requires you push the lid down to latch and unlatch. I pushed it to unlatch it, threw out the paper in my hand, then pushed it to latch it again. Only there was a towel on top of it (that we use to dry the dogs from the snow) that got caught under the lid. So I yanked on the towel while simultaneously trying to push the lid down to release the latch again. It didn’t work, and I swear I stood there and pounded my fist on the lid repeatedly as I yanked on the towel. BANG BANG BANG BANG. Hard. Loud enough that Hub stuck his head in the doorway to see what was going on. I finally got the lid to pop open, pulled the towel out and closed the lid again. I shrugged at Hub and said, “Guess I had some rage to get out.”

Poor guy did the right thing and scurried away without comment.

Last night when Mom texted me (she’s getting into this texting thing now that she has a stylus…she’s texting her grandkids and my non-local brother) “Alarm! Hair is falling out! Just thought you’d want to know.” she also told me she was eating some store-bought ice cream leftover from a recent visit from my nieces. So after the rage incident, I mixed up her favorite ice cream–chocolate peanut butter–and dumped it into the ice cream machine to churn. When it was done, I put it into a blue freezer container, then called Mom to say I was coming over and I was bringing the snow with me. She said, “Only if it’s chocolate covered snow.” The steroids have really cranked up her appetite for everything, including her beloved chocolate. She’s eating a lot of food now, and we make it into a joke…that no one should stand still too long in her house or they might get chewed on. So I suited up in my coat and scarf, and walked back to her house to deliver the freshly made ice cream. Again, the quietness of the snow, the gentle touch of the icy flakes, it was all so serene and so…engulfing is the only word I can come up with. I’m not sure how it really made me feel, it just was so noticeable.

I showed Mom the container of ice cream and promised that by her snack time later that evening it would be firm enough to eat, then I stuffed it into her freezer. She told me she talked to her good friend on the phone, she talked to my brother who lives in another state, and she thanked me again for cutting her hair. I told her I loved her. I told her to text me later to say good night. And I was outside for the walk home. Crunch crunch crunch. The snow was sticking the ground by now–maybe two or three inches-and I tried to duck-walk my way back home, following my footsteps only now I was leaving prints that were backward to the original. I know it sounds confusing, but at the time it seemed important to make those marks in the snow in just the right way.

When I got home, I realized how tired I was. I realized how much my body hurt. I cleaned up the stuff from the ice cream machine (it cleans easier if you do it right away) and got myself a big glass of water. I sat down and nearly couldn’t get back up when it was time for dinner.

If it really does snow as much as they say, I won’t be able to get over to Mom’s tomorrow. That’s why I ran back over tonight with the ice cream, so she had it for the weekend. If it really does snow as much as they say, I’ll have nothing to concentrate on. Mom’s doing well enough that they don’t need me over there if Dad and my brother are there (my brother lives with them). I don’t have to worry about figuring out how to get over there in 2+ feet of snow. I can stay home and do my best not to think.

Maybe I’ll be able to get outside with the dogs. I might not be able to get off the deck as my knees are really unhappy and walking through the snow in the back yard would be too painful. But maybe I’ll get some pictures. Maybe I’ll see the dogs romp. Maybe I’ll be okay.

 

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Jonas the snow storm

Warning: picture heavy post. Enjoy!

Yep, we got pummeled by Jonas Friday night and all day Saturday.

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It was nice for a while on Saturday because I had no responsibilities. Mom was safely ensconced in her house with my dad and brother. Hub was here with me. We watched three episodes of House of Cards on Saturday. We’d been wanting to check it out but just hadn’t found the time. We sat around and did nothing while the storm blew and spewed and accumulated. Every couple of hours Hub would go out and shovel a path off the deck and into the yard for the dogs. I tried to go out to help broom off the stairs and like a dumb-butt, I put my foot down where I thought it was ground only it wasn’t ground yet, I twisted my knee, fell sideways and barely caught myself from slamming into the stair post and the house and the ground. My knee was sore and my back was tweaked. Needless to say Hub shuffled me back into the house right away and settled me on the recliner with an ice pack on my knee.

For most of Saturday the dogs did pretty well. They would run off the deck, pee in one of the paths Hub had shoveled, then run back into the house. Butthead even found a spot to poop in all that snow, but Le Moo held out until Sunday morning.

We enjoyed the day of nothing Saturday, without really thinking about much about the front of the house. Friday afternoon before the snow started, we parked my four wheel drive SUV parallel to the garage door, thinking if we got it close enough to the door, it and the roof overhang would protect the garage door from the snow. And also, the truck would be out of the way of the plow guy that comes to take care of our long driveways.

The best laid plans of mice and men.

This morning when I came downstairs, Hub told me that Le Moo pooped after a long, drawn out wander through the 28″ of snow we got. She refused to poop in any of the paths Hub had shoveled, instead she “swam” over the snow to try and get to the back of the yard to poop. At some point she gave up and pooped somewhere, which Hub then shoveled out of the way. Butthead, on the other hand, didn’t poop at her normal time first thing in the morning. So I took her out when I came downstairs and watched as she frantically ran along all the paths–back and forth, back and forth–sometimes jumping up onto the walls of snow around her. She FINALLY climbed up into unshoveled snow, pooped, then couldn’t figure out how to get back to the house without jumping OVER the poop. And not making a clean jump…literally. I had to clean her fur when we got back to the house. YUCK.

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After that, I went to the garage to see how well our ultra-smart SUV/garage setup went. I opened the access door we have in the garage (a standard size door that leads out to the driveway right next to the garage so we don’t always have to open the garage door to get in and out)…and found this.

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and this…

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and this…

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and this…

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That last picture? Can you see the very top edge of my SUV there? And on the right side, my garage door? With the snow piled up in between? Pressing against my garage door so hard it was bowed in on the inside?

Yeah. So pretty much we were actually STUCK IN THE HOUSE. The access door and the garage are the only way out of the house, with the exception of our front door which a) we never use (and it doesn’t even have a walkway to the driveway) and b) it was completely blocked in by 28″ of snow just off the porch. Gah.

I actually started getting a little freaked out. I don’t mind being in the house for days at a time. I was happy to have Hub stuck in the house with me. I don’t get “cabin fever” and don’t really understand people who do. I certainly don’t understand people who get “cabin fever” and MUST leave the house after 24 hours (to the detriment of their own well-being on roads that aren’t drive-able or even walk-able). C’mon, really? So I was all fine and well with being in the house…until I realized we were literally STUCK IN THE HOUSE. Unable to get out if we needed to. And no one could get in to us. Unh.

Saturday late morning (sorry, this is all out of order), our “regular” plow guy–who is actually our mechanic, he happens to moonlight as a plow guy during the short snow season we have–called to say he BROKE the axle on his plow truck very early that morning on a job. I was really concerned because with the huge storm, we were sure that all the plows would be booked with jobs days ahead of time and no one would be able to get to us for days. So after the call from our regular plow guy, I waited a couple of hours in case he could find the parts he needed to fix his truck. When he didn’t call back, I went to Craigslist…which I never do because I’m entirely suspicious of people who post services on Craiglist. Actually, I’m entirely suspicious of anything posted on Craigslist, but that’s another story. I didn’t know where else to look. I emailed four different listings looking for pricing and availability. The first guy who responded to me turned out to be a guy who had driven down from New Hampshire to help a friend pick up plow jobs during the storm. He gave me a price, I asked him for something a little better, and he agreed to come out the next day to plow us (and my parents) out.

When I emailed him Sunday morning to tell him that my parents would pay him because I literally couldn’t get out of my house, he responded saying that he had a co-hort in the truck with him and they’d help shovel to my access door from outside after they plowed out the driveway. Seriously, these guys were a God-send. They showed up, they had an amazing plow (the blades moved in every direction and also changed from pointed plow to scoop blade…), they did MORE than we had arranged for, AND they helped dig out my truck. We gave them extra money for all the work they did, wished them safe work, and continued cleaning up our driveway.

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That’s the mound of snow at the end of our driveway (about seven feet high by twelve feet wide by about 8 feet deep), right up to the fence gate that leads into our back yard.

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Aaaaaaaand that’s my fence gate on the other side. See it cranked into a Vee shape? Bent backward into the yard. Whoops. We have NO idea how badly the gate is damaged. And honestly, we probably won’t know for weeks until all the snow has melted enough for us to get over there. Okay, maybe not weeks, but probably at least a week. We’ll deal with whatever the damage is. The plow guy saw the gate initially, but when he was pushing snow on the other side of the fence, at some point he was no longer able to see the gate. I was standing in the access doorway while he was plowing and I heard craaaack and I yelled at the plow guy to stop pushing! I yelled across the expanse of snow “stop! you’re breaking my fence!” He apologized and didn’t push up against the mound of snow again. But the damage was already done. Oh well.

That was my weekend. How was yours? LOL

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, family, Le Moo, snow

 

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Traveling

So, Hub’s birthday is coming up. We rarely travel because neither of us really sleeps well in hotel beds. We’ve tried hotels, bed & breakfast locations, inns, rental houses…it never seems to be relaxing. At some point, we just gave up and stopped traveling.

Every now and then we get the bug to try again, but the truth is we rarely follow through. But this birthday is one of those ones that ends in a zero, so I kind of pushed Hub a little. After much hemming and hawing and waiting for other things to occur, we made the decision to do it. We’ve made reservations for an area that has a big lovely lake, snow activities, and lots of restaurants. I’m looking forward to it almost as much as I am not.

It isn’t so much about the travel itself, because my Hub is very careful with me and my physical condition. If I need to stop to stretch or use the bathroom, we stop, no questions asked. I will take snacks for the drive that I can eat, and there are grocery stores there (and the room has a kitchenette), so food isn’t an issue. The issue is, every time we have set ourselves for a vacation, something has happened that required us to cancel. For the most part, I’ve been sick with some kind of issue or flare. One time, Hub came down with the flu as we were driving (over 6 hours) to the beach. He was in the driver’s seat, sweating and swearing, and when we arrived at the B&B where we were to stay, he collapsed on the bed and slept for eight hours straight. Then he spent the remainder of our trip hopped up on cold medication…and he was near recovered by the time we arrived home at the end of the vacation. I purposefully waited until the last minute to really make these reservations, in the hopes that nothing would come up to get in the way, for him or for me. In the past we’ve planned vacations months in advance, but that isn’t the way things work out for us. I’m hoping this will work out better.

Another concern is whether I’ll be up to doing things physically. I’d love to go horseback riding, but I haven’t been in ahem ahem years and horseback riding for a healthy person can be physically taxing (if they are not accustomed), let alone for someone like me. And Hub has never been on a horse. We’re hoping they’ll be able to do a sleigh ride instead, but that’s weather dependent. Also, there is snow tubing, but I have never been and the idea scares the crap out of me. If I bounce wrong or slip off…zomg, I could end up in bed for weeks. But I want Hub to do fun things, and he will often turn things away if I can’t do them with him.

So we’ll see how it goes. I’m going to not think about the trip until the day before we leave. It’s going to be a long weekend, so I won’t have to pack a ton or prep much. My parents are taking our dogs for the couple of days we’ll be gone. I told them we would plan to take the dogs, but my mother vetoed that and said they would keep them. It’s going to be a strain on them, too, but she wouldn’t have offered if she didn’t mean it. And I’m taking her at her word on that. If she only knew…

Snow day activities

Snow day activities

Good Lord help her if it snows while we’re gone. The three dogs were out running like crazy-machines today in the freezing cold weather after the snow stopped. When they get going, they really get going…and they’re hard to handle. I’m hope my brother is home to help them wrangle all three dogs, because they are a handful when they are together! Been there, done that when they were out of town….and that was during warmer months when I could kick them all outside to run off energy.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in anxiety, control, dogs, family, hub, snow

 

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Snow anxiety

It’s been mostly uneventful for us on this day of snow. We got about 12″ to this morning and now it’s snowing again. They’re saying another 2-4″ before the evening is through. We didn’t have to go out, so we were fine. The dogs went out a couple of times, did their thing, and have mostly been inside (with the exception of Butthead going crazy leaping around and running in a big circle around the yard). I actually came upstairs to lay down this afternoon because I haven’t been sleeping well and my back has been bothering me, so I took advantage of Hub being home and I tried to nap. Didn’t actually happen, but I gave it a try. In between laundry, of course.

So I went to make dinner as Hub was doing the dinner thing for the dogs. When they came in post-eating-post-outside, Hub went to give them a treat…and he gave me a look. Asked me for some juice, said he felt like he had bile in his throat and wanted to get rid of the taste in his mouth. I rushed to get him a glass of juice, then gave him some Tums. But he still didn’t seem right. After I ate, he had some toast and yogurt, but admitted he still wasn’t feeling right. But he can’t explain what that means.

Hub has a heart condition. His pulse rate runs high and sometimes his heart races. He’d been having the racing feeling and so he went to the cardiologist. They indicated that they weren’t too worried based on what they saw in the office, but suggested he wear a halter monitor for a day so they could get more information. But they only have a few of them available…and none were in at the time of his appointment. So he had to schedule to come back. He called again on Tuesday to find out when he could get the halter monitor, but they said next week, to come in the morning to get connected. So tonight he tells me he felt like his heart was racing on and off today, but isn’t sure if it was anxiety. The other night he felt this way, but went he checked his pulse on the bike (that has those pulse rate things on the handles), it wasn’t high. So now he isn’t sure if he’s really feeling the racing or if he’s dealing with anxiety. I went to check on him a few minutes ago and he said he still didn’t feel right. Maybe he was getting the flu…people in his office were getting it. But he doesn’t feel feverish or have the chills, no aches, no headache…only a mild feeling of nausea and the bile. He has some heartburn issues, so the bile could just be freaking him out, on top of the heart stuff. And I know he is worried that he’s falling into anxiety. I have no way to help him.

I am trying not to freak out myself, because if he gets sick and needs an ambulance? Our very long driveway is covered with at least 12″ of snow. We didn’t clear it because we literally cannot. It’s too long and too much snow. How the hell would an ambulance get to him? They would be able to get to the street at the end of the driveway, but our driveway is at least 150-200 feet long and filled with snow. Snow everywhere. And I’m working myself into anxiety thinking about it. It’s a real struggle right now… My own anxiety is making me feel like I am sick. Like things hurt and my heart is not working properly. I am worried about him…so much so that it’s working me into a really really anxious moment. I want to keep asking him if he’s okay, but it isn’t good for him or me. But I’m afraid if I don’t check on him, something will happen and I won’t know in order to at least TRY to get him help.

Of course on top of this my stomach is unhappy, which makes me more anxious. Urg.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2014 in anxiety, family, fear, health anxiety, hub, snow, stress

 

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Snowy days #2

As I indicated, we had more snow. It wasn’t as bad as the forecasts said, but still was enough to give us a good time. Well, to give the dogs a good time. And Hub worked from home since the roads were supposed to be bad.

I hobbled my way outside in boots on bad knees to let Cray-cray Lab into the yard so Butthead and Le Moo could play with her in the snow. Pictures abounded, many with weird-ass shots resulting.

I eat your face!

I eat your face!

and

Arrr!

Arrr!

Lots of action shots, some of which didn’t come out very well, and others that did.

Jumping the dog!

Jumping the dog!

and

Gotcher face!

Gotcher face!

I seriously got so many photos, I had trouble picking what to post. The dogs had so much fun out there it made me forget about my pain for a little while. It was worth the cold and the help I had to get from Hub to walk back to the house.

Also, one shot of our view in the snow.

View to the back

View to the back

They’re talking about some more snow over the weekend, but it doesn’t sound all that promising. We still have snow in the yard for Butthead and Le Moo to snack on, so I’m okay with a rain event this time.

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, Le Moo, pain, snow

 

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A season of snow

Well, it IS winter, which would lead you to believe we would have some snow here on the east coast. But generally speaking, our snow has been few and far between in recent years (with the exception of snowmaggedon). In fact, we haven’t pulled out a snow shovel (with the aforementioned exception) in probably five to ten years. We get little spits of snow here and there, sometimes covering the grass, sometimes not. I remember in my youth that we used to get multiple large snow storms per year, but not so much anymore. And yet, I live in the same state as when I was a child…weird I know.

Anyway, we had some winter here. We’ve only had Butthead since June, so we have no idea what her experience is with snow. If she really is 2 years old, then maybe she saw some of this stuff in Oklahoma, where she is from originally. But either way, she went a little nutsy. She was spinning and chasing her tail and pouncing in the snow. She would do a play bow in the snow, then jump up and pounce into another area of snow. I mean, she really looked like she was a few snowflakes short of a blizzard. (She is actually chasing her tail in this pic.)

I'm a top, I'm a top, I'm a top!

I’m a top, I’m a top, I’m a top!

Le Moo seemed less than impressed, but she is more laid back overall. (They did play together briefly in the snow, but mostly because Butthead wouldn’t let up until Le Moo played with her.)

Oh joy, it's snow.

Oh joy, it’s snow.

I tried to take a lot of pictures of them in the snow, but a) it was snowing pretty hard and the camera couldn’t seem to focus and b) they kept moving around so I’d get half of them in the picture and half a photo of blurry snowiness.

Snowy blurriness with two dogs.

Snowy blurriness with two dogs.

This was mid-way into the snow storm. I think we got about 2-3″ on the grass, which meant Butthead has spent the last two days eating her way through the yard and deck (snow, ice, snow, ice…I can’t believe her bladder isn’t exploding from all the frozen-water-eating she is doing). And we’re now expecting anywhere between 2-5 more inches tomorrow. Fun-tastic.

I wanted to try to take pictures of our back area where all the trees were covered with snow, but I didn’t get to it before it started icing over. Taking pictures from inside the house is hard because we have screens on all our windows and it really screws with the camera. Meanwhile, I gave it the old college try when I spotted our neighborhood fox PLAYING IN THE SNOW just behind our fence.

The fox says...SNOW!

The fox says…SNOW!

Can you see him/her? He (or she) has his head almost going sideways into the snow? Sort of to the left of the right-hand post near the top rail of the fence. I watched him from my window and he was jumping from log-to-log on some of the downed trees, then he jumped head first into the snow. Then he got up and rolled sideways (the picture is when he started to roll) into the snow. He pounced around a bit and then when I tried to find him again to take another picture, he had disappeared.

It was a nice day to stay inside and watch the snow coming down. Unfortunately, it did result in bad roads, accidents, and other yucky issues. Tomorrow could be equally as bad. I don’t have any outside appointments (except with the dogs), but Hub and other relatives and friends do. So wherever you are, stay safe on those roads.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in anxiety, Butthead, dogs, Le Moo, snow

 

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