Category Archives: Foolishness at HOME

Recovering from Sepsis. An extremely slow process.

Anyone that has had a massive infection run riot through their body will tell you they are nothing compared to what they used to be.  A previously active and upbeat person will seem to have a total personality change.  The person recovering from Sepsis will be easily fatigued, dizzy, nauseated, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and sweating more than normal.

This is what I am experiencing.  Two weeks ago, when we first got home, we had to go to the grocery store.  I didn’t make it very far in the store and had to find a place to sit down before I passed out.  A week later, and another trip to the grocery store, I was able to make it through the store with the aid of a shopping cart to support my wobbly self.

Grocery shopping

Grocery shopping

Joe is in front of me with the main cart while I bring up the rear.  For the first time in several years….Joe walks faster than I do.  Normally I am far ahead and have to wait for him to catch up to me.  Now it is the other way around.  And of course, there was no way I was going to ride one of those motorized carts around the store :/  By the time we were finished with the small amount of shopping we had to do I was totally wiped out.

Nauseous, headache that would not go away, falling asleep in the car on the way home (a two mile drive), and my body felt weighted down.  Kind of like in that nightmare dream phase when you can’t run away from whatever monster is chasing you.  Once inside the house I had to go sit down for a while.  Joe brought in the groceries and put most of them away.

There were no further adventures for the remainder of the week.

At home I go through periods when I feel energized.  Feeling like my old self again.  Ready to take on a small cleaning chore.  Let me tell you….there are NO SMALL CLEANING CHORES!

Joe’s bathroom needed to be cleaned.  This small bathroom took me about 5 hours to only get it half finished.

Joe's bathroom

Joe’s bathroom

Cleaning the toilet took me an hour to do.  Stooping over to clean the base and the floor around it made me light headed, dizzy, and nauseous.  I squirted a bowl cleaning product in the toilet and left it to do its work while I went to lie down until I didn’t feel so ill.  Swishing out the toilet bowl and wiping down the seat and tank left me drenched in sweat and wobbly on my feet.  Just cleaning the toilet made me feel like I had done an aerobics class.

Cleaning the sink, mirror, and door of the cabinet was the last thing I got done in that bathroom.  The tub still has not been cleaned and I’m not even sure it will get cleaned in the near future.

While I was in Arizona, Home Depot had a mega sale on the Shark Steam Mop.  I picked up one for $48.  That device normally sells for $70 to $100.  That was before I became ill and had all kinds of pleasant thoughts of cleaning my home.

Shark Steam Mop

Shark Steam Mop

I used the Shark Steam Mop on Joe’s bathroom floor.  It did a great job and I was quite pleased with the results of the mop.  Not so much with the results of my physical abilities afterward.  That was the end of my 5 hour cleaning stint and it took me three days to recover from that.

The nausea hits me at the oddest times.  When I get warm, go outside in the sunlight, or exert a bit of energy.  Following the nausea comes a headache that begins at the base of my skull and moves to the top of my head.  This headache remains for several hours and will sometimes make my vision blurry.

Another thing I am experiencing is not quite a depression, but a frustration with myself.  I will feel really great.  I will feel like there is nothing wrong with me.  Do something that entails a little exertion and I get overwhelmed with fatigue and then feeling sick to my stomach followed by a headache.  This is really frustrating.  I don’t want to spend my days sitting on my butt and doing nothing!

I have lost interest in doing my craft stuff because I just can’t muster the strength to even think about being creative.  That really has bothered me.  I have had moments where I feel great and think I could gather a few things together and make a card.  The process of gathering items together to make the card is just as hard on me, physically, as cleaning the crazy toilet!

I thought, how about doing something for myself.  Do a bit of grooming and put on some makeup to make myself feel better.  What used to take about 5 to 7 minutes from this face….

My bare face.

My bare face.

To this face took 50 minutes to do.  A lot of fanning myself between product applications to stop the sweating and heart palpitations.  Thankfully no dizziness or nausea.

Made up face

Made up face.

So, recuperating from Sepsis – even though mine was caught in time – is enough to make me feel really frustrated and wonder if I’m going bonkers.

IMG_9292

Today I had a burst of energy and decided to clean my kitchen counters and stove.  This is only as far as I got in 25 minutes before I was brought down to reality.

Trying to clean my kitchen

Trying to clean my kitchen.

The photo is out of focus and wobbly because I was battling myself to stay upright, breathe, and conquer the dizziness.

What I’m learning about Sepsis recovery is that it is not like exercising at the gym or working out.  Pushing yourself just a little further each day to go further or go longer “Ain’t Gonna Happen”.

When I feel I have good energy and want to do something, even vacuuming the floor, is the time to make an effort.  Take the time necessary to sit out the dizzy spell and the nausea.  If it takes an hour to vacuum the floor then take the hour and call your day DONE!

Drink A LOT OF WATER!  Don’t get hot.  If going outside in the hot sun makes you feel sick then just don’t go.  I think my having been dehydrated and having Heat Exhaustion along with the Sepsis has made me more intolerant to the heat than normal.

When a headache starts, after the nausea, get sat down or lie down until it passes.  Exerting more energy and pushing yourself further to complete a task will do your body more harm and lengthen the healing process.

I have been working on this blog post for three days now.  Updating it and adding stuff to it as I go.  It is time to get this uploaded and hopefully help someone else who is going through this know that they are not alone in the frustration and feeling like a fraud when we tell our family members that we just don’t have the energy to do something.

Leslie


What can I eat on 1700 calories a day?

Fruit and yogury parfait

Fruit and yogurt parfait

Grown up grilled cheese sandwich

Grown up grilled cheese sandwich

Baked pork chop, braised cabbage, and sweet potato with apples

Baked pork chop, braised cabbage, and sweet potato with apples

These photos are a little out of order but they are up there.

BREAKFAST 270 Calorie Fruit and Yogurt Parfait:

Either fresh or frozen sliced strawberries in syrup is placed at the bottom of a 12 ounce tumbler.  That is what I used since I don’t have anything fancy here.

Two heaping Tablespoons of strawberries in the bottom of the glass.  Two tablespoons of Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt atop the strawberries.  Half of a banana cut in quarters then chopped into bite sized pieces.  Another two tablespoons of yogurt.  Top that with another two tablespoons of strawberries.  For crunch, add one tablespoon of Grape Nut cereal atop the strawberries.  Top it off with a one inch wedge of cantaloupe chopped into bite sized pieces.

LUNCH 379 Calorie Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Cantaloupe Wedges 1 sandwich per person:

Here is the “Grown Up Grilled Cheese” recipe I butchered to make my lunch.  We are not big fans of Dijon Mustard so that was left out.  This is how I made it.  If  you want to make this at work and heat it in a microwave I would suggest you toast the muffin at home first.  Get a good brown on it from the toaster before you add the butter or Dijon Mustard.  Assemble the sandwich and just pop it in the microwave oven and heat for about a minute.  Until the cheeses melt.

Two 1 inch wedges of cantaloupe are included in the calorie count for this meal.  Cut it into bite sized pieces and enjoy with your sandwich for lunch.

Grown Up Grilled Cheese ingredients

Grown Up Grilled Cheese ingredients

THESE INGREDIENTS ARE FOR 2 (TWO) SANDWICHES

  • Black Forest Ham slices from the grocer’s deli.  1 slice per sandwich.  Each slice cut in half.
  • 1 – Big Eye Swiss cheese slice from the grocer’s deli.  1 slice is cut in half then in half again.  4 quarters.
  • 4 – Thin slices of Low Fat Mozzarella block cheese – 2 for each sandwich
  • 1 – Golden Delicious Apple cored and thinly sliced.  Two slices per sandwich
  • 2 – Oroweat Double Fiber English Muffins
  • Butter or margarine to spread inside and outside the muffins

NEXT TIME I MAKE THIS SANDWICH I’M GOING TO USE RYE BREAD.  The Double Fiber English Muffins were tough and bitter.

Butter the insides of both bottom English Muffins.  Top each muffin with the quarter slices of Big Eye Swiss.  Place apple slices on top of the Swiss cheese.  If you like the taste of Dijon Mustard, use that instead of the butter in this and the last step.

Butter the inside of each muffin and top with Swiss Cheese

Butter the inside of each muffin and top with Swiss Cheese

Place apple slice on top of Swiss Cheese

Place apple slice on top of Swiss Cheese

 

The Black Forest deli ham slices cut in half, one each, will go on top of the apple slices.  Place another apple slice on top of the deli ham.

Put deli ham on top of the apple slices

Put deli ham on top of the apple slices

Place another apple slice on top of the ham

Place another apple slice on top of the ham

 

Cut the Mozzarella cheese slices in half.  Put two halves of the cheese on top of the apple slices.  Place the other half of the deli ham on the cheese and add more Mozzarella cheese on top of the ham.

Put Mozzarella cheese on top of the apple slices

Put Mozzarella cheese on top of the apple slices

Add the last slice of deli ham and Mozzarella cheese

Add the last slice of deli ham and Mozzarella cheese

 

Place the muffin on top of the sandwich and you are ready to heat this up until you have ooey gooey cheesey goodness.  And…if you have a George Foreman grilling machine then you have a fake pannini grill 😀

Put the top on and heat the sandwich

Put the top on and heat the sandwich

Dust off the George Foreman grilling machine

Dust off the George Foreman grilling machine

 

DINNER of 555 Calorie Baked Pork Chop, Braised Cabbage, and Sweet Potato with Apples.

Here is a recipe for Braised Cabbage.  I didn’t use carrots in my dish because I was using sweet potatoes in the next dish.

I’m not yet willing to give up my stand by comfort foods.  Joe and I like baked sweet potatoes with plenty of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  We also like candy fried apples with their sweet taste from brown sugar, molasses, and the wonderful note of bacon grease used as the oil.  Oh…YUM.  I thought to myself…..brown sugar and cinnamon sweet potatoes or brown sugar fried apples.  Why not mix them both together and see what I get.  So here it is….my concoction.

  • 1 – 5″ sweet potato peeled sliced into 1/2 inch slices.  Each slice is cut into 1/2 inch Julienne’s then diced into bite sized pieces
  • 3 – small apples cored sliced into 1/2 inch slices and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Tbsp of dark molasses
  • 1 Tbsp of white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Heat a skillet with olive oil on medium heat.  Dump in the chopped sweet potatoes and apples and cook about 5 to 7 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.  The apples will be tender and fully cooked at this time.  Add the molasses, sugar, and cinnamon and stir to combine well.  Put a lid on the pan and allow to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes.

For the pork chops – 350 degree oven temp for 25 minutes.  Lightly coat both sides of the pork chops with olive oil.  Lightly sprinkle them with salt, pepper, and ground marjoram.  Rub the spices into the meat on both sides.  Spray a baking pan with PAM and place the chops in the pan then into the oven.

These three meals total 1204 calories.  This leaves lots of room for some ice cream and a brownie for dessert for 355 calories.  A couple snacks of fruit or nuts during the day to take up the last of the 140 calories.

I’m still trying to figure out how to keep my food in the optimum range and am making progress.  At least I’m not over in our fat content for the day.  And my weight is not skyrocketing with all the food I am eating.

A smidge over on carbohydrates

A smidge over on carbohydrates

At least it is heading downward

At least it is heading downward

 

What is your favorite lunch?  Do you have a recipe you have tweaked to keep it in your caloric range?  I’d like to know and would appreciate any suggestions.

Leslie


My Fitness Pal and this binge eater.

This post is for anyone that is “clinically obese” and trying to work their way through the foreign territory of eating healthy.

Diets, to me, mean restriction.  I have to give up the foods I like in order to lose weight.  The food I have to be eating to lose weight is often tasteless or, in some cases, down right nasty tasting.  My family doctor tells both Joe and I we have to lose weight.  The internet is chock full of ads and articles proclaiming the obese need to lose weight.

Have you done a search on Google, or whatever search engine you favor, on eating healthy?  How many results have you encountered?  I have found, at one search, over 8 million results.  Most of the results are totally useless.

Joe has been in the hospital, once again, with another Pulmonary Embolism.  He was taken off Warfarin in November of last year.  Partly he is to blame in this but the doctors he sees have not been steadfast enough to prohibit him from doing so.  Let me tell you he has more doctors to see than I even knew existed.  His long list of “Ologists” is crazy.

The first issue at hand is he has “Possible” Deep Vein Thrombosis, or blood clots in his lower right leg.  I say “Possible” because there either are blood clots or there is scar tissue in the veins from previous DVT’s.  This current blood clot in his lung came from somewhere.

Joe is a truck driver.  This means sitting in one position for HOURS at a time.  The only walking done is when he stops to put fuel in the truck then visit the bathroom facilities.  Then the walking into a truck stop or restaurant for food.

For many of you, your job entails a lot of sitting.  Mostly office workers.  You do get up and move about in your job.  Go for a cup of coffee, walk to the bathroom, walk to another office area to deliver documents or retrieve them, file away papers.  Whatever your work entails you do get up and move around during your 8 to 10 hour work shifts.  Joe doesn’t move for eight to ten hours except for about half an hour in between times.  I can attest to this fact because I was a truck driver myself and know the business.

We both are “Binge Eaters“.  Have been for most of our lives.  A typical week for me, at any given time over the past 12 years as a truck driver, played out like this.

Skip breakfast.  If either of us ate breakfast at 6 a.m. by 10 a.m. we would feel like we were starving.  Our stomachs would cramp and roil to the point of it being painful.  Don’t eat breakfast and we would not have that issue.

First meal of the day would be around 3 p.m.  That meal, for me, would consist of a giant cheese burger and fries.  Sometimes a salad would be added to the meal.  Joe would eat a hamburger steak (which to my way of thinking is crazy because it is essentially a hamburger without the bun and other stuff) mashed potatoes with white gravy, a salad with both Ranch and Bleu Cheese dressing, an over cooked vegetable of peas or corn.  Most often Joe and I would order a dessert as well.  My favorite is Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.

Some days I would opt for the truck stop staple of Chicken Fried Steak, mashed potatoes with white gravy poured over the meat and potatoes, a salad, and a dessert.  The Chicken Fried Steak at some of the truck stops is over 8 inches in circumference.  Some truck stops offer a double portion of the deep fried meat.

Joe and I would eat like this for a week or two.  Then BAM.  One day hits and we start with breakfast at the hotel.  Especially if the hotel provides a hot breakfast of sausage, scrambled eggs, bagels, and pastries.  A few hours later at the truck stop getting fuel I would run in and purchase a couple candy bars (one for each of us) a bag of chips for me and a bag of crunchy Cheetos for Joe, a bottle of Ruby Red Grapefruit juice for me and a bottle of V-8 Juice for Joe.  Another two hours and one of us would have to stop to relieve our bladder.  That would result in a purchase of beef jerky for Joe, another candy bar for me, a large diet coke for Joe, and a coffee refill for me.  Another couple hours later we would be stopping at a favorite restaurant along our route and Joe would order a steak and a baked potato while I ordered my cheese burger and fries.  Reaching the hotel at around 9 p.m. we would be hungry yet again and order pizza to be delivered to the room.  To be frank…Joe and I were actually “malnourished” if you can believe that.

By the time we wake up the next morning both of us feel like crap and go back to eating once a day….until the binge happens again.  A vicious cycle we had.  Joe’s weight fluctuated between 310 to 314.  Mine fluctuated between 224 and 227.

I got to the point that I hated eating.  I wished that I didn’t need to have food.  I dreaded coming home because I would have to cook.  The time necessary to prepare meals was time I felt was a total waste of energy.  Three or more times a day spent cooking usually meant about four hours of preparing and cooking.  I had better things to do with  my time than COOK!

After Joe’s return home from two hospital stays in one month (an outpatient Carpal Tunnel surgery and the Pulmonary Embolism with a surgery to install an IVC Filter to catch blood clots) made him decide to lose 100 pounds.  Great.  Now I have to figure out how to cook and eat healthy.

Thus began my internet search for healthy meals and how to eat better.

My new companion would be My Fitness Pal.  This is a major pain in my a**.  Recording everything we eat and drink on a daily basis.  I not only  have to enter my information into my app I have to help Joe enter the information in his app.  Sometimes that man surprises me with his helplessness!

This month I have been diligently working out a way of cooking and eating that allows us to stay within our “Caloric” goals for each day.  If you need to find out what your daily caloric intake should be check out the site link I’ve included.

It is not my intention to make this blog another “cooking” site but I thought if there were someone out there struggling with what to eat I am hoping to help.

One final note.  You will find yourself in the produce section of your grocery store more than you ever thought you would be.  During your food prep for salads and meals KEEP THE BITS OF VEGETABLES you would normally toss out.  Put the peels, skins, cores, and any other stuff  you cut away from your vegetables in a gallon size zip lock bag.  Put this bag in the freezer and continue adding your food trash to the bags.  Check out this recipe for Vegetable Broth.  I will be making this broth at a later time.

Save your vegetable trash and freeze it

Save your vegetable trash and freeze it

I don’t have this healthy eating perfected.  We are generally over on carbohydrates, protein, and fats by a small percentage.  The portion sizes of the main entrees have been reduced while the salad, fruit, or vegetable portions have been increased.  I will be honest here.  There is a lot of work involved in eating healthy.  A lot of work.  Plus eating three times a day makes our scales go up and down.  This, I think, is normal because our bodies are not used to the frequent food intake.  I get headaches and have read this is normal because my body is adjusting to the difference in good carbs versus all the bad carbs I had loaded my system with.  The headaches are getting less extreme…especially on the days I increase my water intake.

This is what I’ve had to eat so far today.  A fruit smoothie, half a plain bagel, and cream cheese for breakfast.  Half a ham and cheese sandwich and salad for lunch.  You can see the caloric count of these two meals so far today.  Dinner will be grilled chicken (approximately 140 calories), Royal Blend Texmati rice (approximately 140 calories), a salad (approximately 155 calories), and some cantaloupe (approximately 102 calories).   That will take up 537 of my remaining 817 calories for the day.  I think there may be some Rainbow Sherbet in my dessert future for tonight.

Food consumption so far today

Food consumption so far today

Next time I will post about cooking in bulk and freezing the extra for later meals.  Might as well get a stash going since I have to be chopping and peeling so much.

Leslie


Carpul Tunnel Syndrome and Out Patient Surgery.

Joe has had a problem with the fingers of his left  hand going numb for quite a long time.  Several years, in fact.  The past two years the numbness has increased to the point that his left hand muscles have atrophied quite a bit between the thumb and index finger webbing.  Our family doctor thought Joe might have some spine or nerve damage in his upper back.  He was sent for lab tests and MRI screenings a few times during these past years.

A visit to a nerve specialist last October provided a different diagnosis.  During the testing, which included Joe being hit with an electric taser gun in his left hand and left elbow, proved there was no spine or spinal cord problems.  Joe was told he had Carpul Tunnel Syndrome and would need to have a follow up with a doctor which specializes in hands and wrists.

If you would like to know, exactly, what Carpul Tunnel Syndrome is you can read this article I found on the Internet during my research.

Joe has not only been diagnosed with Carpul Tunnel Syndrome but he also has Ulnar Nerve Damage as well to further complicate matters.  You can check out this article on Ulnar Nerve Entrapment I also found on the Internet.

Joe had Out Patient surgery today, March 6th, 2014.  We arrived at the hospital at 10:00 a.m. and his hands looked like this.

Joe's hands at 10:00 a.m.

Joe’s hands at 10:00 a.m.

He was checked in through Administration and this is his hands at 10:09 a.m.

Joe's hands at 10:09 a.m.

Joe’s hands at 10:09 a.m.

We were taken to a part of the hospital that looked like an emergency room.  Curtained off cubicles filled with patients awaiting their procedures for the day.  At 10:25 a.m. he was filling out the obligatory health history forms.  Nurses were in and out of the little space taking his blood pressure, temperature, and getting him stabbed for the IV drip.

Joe at 10:25 a.m.

Joe at 10:25 a.m.

At 11:05 a.m. Joe had been seen by the final nurse before his surgery.  The next person to appear through the curtained “doorway” was the Anesthesiologist.  This woman doctor asked what he was allergic to and if he had any concerns.  That bit took about 30 seconds to accomplish before the curtain was pulled closed once again.

Joe at 11:05 a.m.

Joe at 11:05 a.m.

Joe’s surgeon appeared at 11:06 a.m. to ask how he was doing, and if Joe had any questions about the procedure.  Joe asked how long he would be off work.  The doctor said 4 to 6 weeks.

Joe got his “Big Dog” look on  his face and asked the doctor how soon before he could use the hand after surgery.  When is the “earliest” I can use my hand?  The doctor, poor guy, sensing Joe’s bull head was now making a stand knew this patient was not going to cooperate.

You will NOT use the hand for 4 weeks.  You will NOT use a screwdriver, or any hand tool which requires you to hold tightly and twist.  Nor any tool which weighs over 5 pounds.  You will NOT strain the hand for any length of time during the 4 week period.  If you do as you wish, the consequences are the tendons that facilitate the use of your hand will snap and you will no longer have use of the hand.  Do you understand?

“So I guess it is about 2 weeks then Doc.”  Is what Joe said to the surgeon that would have him on “Night Night Juice” and a sharp implement cutting into his tender flesh.

What is going on between the ears of my husband?!  I ask you!  What kind of ego trip is happening in that space?!

The doctor looked at me and finished his pre-surgery consultation with the words “4 Weeks is what it will take before I release him to go back to work.”  With that, the doctor took hold of Joe’s left hand and wrote on the inner lower arm.  One word in blue felt marker.

Joe's arm at 11:06 a.m.

Joe’s arm at 11:06 a.m.

People came for Joe at 12:09 p.m.  Not the “People in White Coats” mind you.  He was whisked away and I was told to wait in the outer area until I was notified he was back from surgery.

Joe at 12:09 p.m.

Joe at 12:09 p.m.

The doctor came to the waiting room to see me around 2:00 p.m.  He told me of the cut he made in Joe’s palm which followed the natural creases.  He had to extend the cut into Joe’s wrist in a “Z” shape because the Ulnar muscle that goes into the wrist had twisted and laid itself atop the Carpul Tunnel and nerve bundles.  It had been enlarged drastically and was putting a lot of pressure on the other nerves in Joe’s wrist.  The muscle had to be snipped and placed where it belonged to take the pressure off the rest of the nerves.  The doctor further told me Joe’s problems stemmed from many years of hard physical labor.

I was given instructions to have Joe’s hand held upright over the next 72 hours to keep the swelling down.  He further told me to have an ice pack ready for Joe to use on and off every 30 minutes.  He also cautioned me that 4 weeks would be the minimum time necessary for Joe’s wrist and muscles to heel properly.  I think he was kind of hoping I would have more influence over Joe.

Uhmmm, I think I will need to go through the closets in the house to find the broom I used to ride all the time 😀

The surgery went well and Joe handled it well.

Joe at 2:07 p.m.

Joe at 2:07 p.m.

When I arrived, in his little curtained off space, the nurse was going over his discharge orders.  Telling him what he could and could not do, telling him of the pain medication prescribed, what to watch out for if a problem arose.  When I entered the room she went through the instructions and orders with me as well.  Who knows what planet Joe was visiting after his “Night Night Juice” episode.

Sorry for the bad shot.  I expected to see his arm in a sling.  Possibly a cast on his wrist with little sausage fingers sticking out the top.  I sure didn’t expect to see his hand tightly wrapped in some elastic bandaging.  While his hand was in the air I told him to wiggle his fingers and thumb from time to time over the next 72 hours.

Bandaged hand

Bandaged hand

Joe hadn’t had anything to eat since 8:00 p.m. the night before and he was hungry.  I had to stop at a drug store to get his prescription filled before we got home.  Once home I heated up some soup I made a few days ago.  Hopefully his stomach would handle that.

We had a bit of back and forth going on for a few minutes.

Me:  You need to keep the hand elevated.

Joe:  I can’t eat if my  hand is in the air.

Me:  You have another hand.

Joe:  I want to use this one.

Me:  Fine.  When you are not using it…..put it in the air.

Joe:  unrecognizable mumble.

Me:  Don’t forget to wiggle your fingers and your thumb.

Joe:  heavy sigh and a bit more mumbling.

Joe at 4:14 p.m.

Joe at 4:14 p.m.

Hunting through our home I located an ice bag from one of Joe’s other hospital stays.  I filled it with ice and had him rest his hand on it.  30 minutes of cold and 30 minutes off the cold.

 

Joe at 5:05 p.m.

Joe at 5:05 p.m.

And so, now I have to deal with Mr. Cranky Pants who is coming down from his “Night Night Juice”.

Mr. Cranky Pants

Mr. Cranky Pants

I overheard Joe tell our friend, Jim, that he nearly backed out of the surgery twice today.  He was afraid the whole thing would be 10 times worse than what it actually was.

As for pain….Joe is not experiencing any more pain in his hand than he normally has the past couple years.  An ache and some numbness.  We’ll see what transpires tomorrow.  That could be a whole new kettle of fish.

Dear God.  Help me in the next few days.  This man has many ideas in his head and none of them involve rest and keeping the hand held high.  He is planning on getting his new table saw out….well actually me getting it out and changing the blade.  He is also talking about using the saw.  I think I am going to be getting a crash course in how to operate a table saw…..just what I’ve been longing to do :/  Dear Lord….another round of snow and or rain would be welcome in the next few days.  Even if you only make it rain or snow around our house.  That would do nicely.  Amen.

Leslie


Creativity is encouraged in this house.

Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found. – James Russell Lowell

In our truck driving job we earned a small benefit from the hundreds of nights of hotel stays.  Most of the larger hotel chains have “Reward” cards.  Points are earned for each nights stay at these hotels.  Accumulated points are redeemed for a free night stay or can be traded in for gift cards.

We had accumulated over 300,000 points over the past two years.  I put a bug in Joe’s ear before Christmas to start thinking about using the points toward gift cards for Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.  He has wanted a table saw for about 10 years.  There have been many reasons why NOT to get the table saw.

No garage.  No shed large enough to hold one.  No room in the house for one.  No time off the road to even use the saw if he did finally get one.  Not enough money to even buy one of the pricey items.  Of course, Joe has had his eye on one of the large saws with mega bells and whistles that will do everything except fetch him a beer from the fridge.  I won’t even do THAT!

Watching this creative man slip into a funk has been difficult.  No amount of harping, cajoling, or gentle prodding could pry him away from his computer solitaire or other computer card games for several years.  He just seemed to lose heart.  Work had become his life.  Truck driving had entered his heart and brain.  Thoughts of doing something different seemed impossible.  Recently though Joe has been making small noises about wanting to create something.

It was time for me to push harder and get him to redeem the Reward points.  We would lose them by the end of 2013 anyway.  That took about a week to accomplish.  He didn’t want to use the points in case there was something that I wanted.  He wanted to make sure we would have points left over for free hotel stays.  His  excuses were numerous and began to bring the harpy out in me.  He finally relented.  The gift cards for Lowe’s Home Improvement Center began coming in the mail.

That was back in December of 2013.  Since then he has been researching a table saw.  Reading the reviews of each one.  Trying to figure out what to get that would serve his needs and be portable.  Armed with a pocket full of gift cards we went to Lowe’s.  Joe got the table saw he has desired for quite a while.  His “out of pocket expense” came to $50.  Not a bad price to pay for a nearly $300 power tool.

Joe chose a Porter Cable 10 inch “Jobsite Table Saw”.  One that collapses for portability and is easy to move around.

Porter Cable 10 inch table saw

Porter Cable 10 inch table saw

Some assembly is required.  Our small kitchen/dining room was transformed into the assembly room.  The framework was assembled in the living room while the saw waited in the kitchen.  A little bit of finesse and deft maneuvering got the framework into the dining area.

Assembling the framework.

Assembling the framework.

The saw part

The saw part

Trying to get through

Trying to get through

Once Joe made his way into the dining area the actual work began.  Bolting the saw to the frame, fussing with adjusting the blade and other crazy business that is required before it can be used.

Fully assembled

Fully assembled

Leveling something

Leveling something

Leveling something else

Leveling something else

Checking the blade for another something else

Checking the blade for another something else

Once Joe had all the minute details taken care of it was time to take the saw outside.  Look at that cheesy grin!  He’s so proud of himself.  I am too, but don’t say anything to him though.

Ready to go outside

Ready to go outside

Uhm….he couldn’t get out the door through the kitchen.  He had to make a try for it through the living room.

A little tight quarters

A little tight quarters

Uhm….he still can’t get outside.  The rest of  his cr….stuff is in the way.  Folks, I think we live in a garage or a shed.

Blocked still

Blocked still

Alright, he has made it to the door and is going out.

Finally free of the jammed up mess

Finally free of the jammed up mess

The next trick will be unfolding the saw out on the porch.  That was hysterical.  He nearly tossed himself into the outside recycling bin.

Outside isn't much better

Outside isn’t much better

Try  not to fall down

Try not to fall down

Now it is time to get busy!  Get the saw set up, send me inside to get his wood.  Joe is embracing the joy of creativity, or the start of it anyway.

Getting set up

Getting set up

Giving him the wood

Giving him the wood

Another bit of fussing and measuring before the first bite is taken out of the wood.  Then the sweet pure sound of metal cutting through wood being sacrificed to creativity.  The smell of saw dust and the plume of shredded wood being exhausted out from under the machine.

Measuring for the cut

Measuring for the cut

The first piece of wood to be cut

The first piece of wood to be cut

Saw dust exhaust

Saw dust exhaust

Joe is making me a Press.  This will allow me to make journal covers without using my heavy cast iron dutch oven anymore to apply the necessary pressure.  This is a Win-Win situation.  He gets to play with his tools and I get to benefit from his play.

The beginnings of my Press

The beginnings of my Press

His playtime is a whole lot messier than mine is.  I don’t care.

He's pretty messy!

He’s pretty messy!

Joe has been freed.  His thoughts are no longer on computer games to pass the time.  He is thinking of things he can make now that he has the proper tool.  Our hallway will become the “Library”.  A long line of bookcases will gradually replace all of his cr…..stuff that really needs to live outside in the shed.

I will have to keep this in mind as I encounter the saw in our entryway for a while.

For now this is the saw's home.

For now this is the saw’s home.

The price I have to pay for my husband to be out of his funk is so worth it.  I might hurl some bad words at times trying to get the groceries into the house with the saw in the way.  Seeing the spark back in my husband’s eyes and hearing the long lost lilt in his voice and the excited timber as his mind whorls….PRICELESS.

What can I say.  I love that man.

Leslie

 

 

 

 


More cleaning, some maintenance, and letting the “Big Dog” out.

Joe has been helping me with the maintenance of our kitchen while I go about the tasks of cleaning.

Thursday I pulled the stove out to clean that nasty space, and the gross spill over messes.  The last time I did this was about 7 years ago.  If you will be attempting this nasty challenge…the first thing on your list is to get the power shut off to the stove.  Go to your breaker box and find the switch/fuse for the “Range” or stove and flip the switch to the OFF position.

Shut off the power to the range

Shut off the power to the range

If you have a “Self Cleaning Oven” move the latch to the closed position.  This will allow you to pull the range/stove away from the wall using the oven door handle.

Latch the door closed and pull away from the wall

Latch the door closed and pull away from the wall

This is not as nasty as I figured it would be….but it was plenty NASTY!  The side of the stove had quite a bit of dried up spills.

Nasty dried up spills

Nasty dried up spills

The floor where the stove had been was in dire need of a sweep and mop.  Unplug the range/stove before you go to sweeping and mopping in there.  You can push the stove further away for easier access to this area.

Unplug the stove, sweep and mop the floor

Unplug the stove, sweep and mop the floor

The counter strip next to the stove needed to be cleaned, as did the cabinet walls and the back wall behind the stove.

Counter edge next to the stove

Counter edge next to the stove

The builders of this home slapped stuff up in their efficient hurry to get on to the next house.  We live in a mobile home so the construction process is done with less than quality materials.  The Formica strips at the counter edges were coming off or had completely fallen off over the years we have lived in this house.

Formica strip had come off

Formica strip had come off

Formica strip coming off

Formica strip coming off

Joe prepped the areas where he would be working.  Protecting the cabinets from any spills of Contact Cement.

Protect the work area

Protect the work area

Contact Cement can be purchased at any home improvement center or hardware store.

Contact Cement

Contact Cement

One of the cans had dried up.  The other can was still good.

Dried up and unusable

Dried up and unusable

Product still good

Product still good

With a paint stir stick, give the product a slow stir.  You won’t need to whip this stuff into a bubbly frenzy.  Work the stir stick all around the bottom of the can and the sides to get all the chemicals mixed together.

Stir the contents well

Stir the contents well

This REALLY needs to be done in a well ventilated area.  With the single digit temperatures we are experiencing the cold air coming in the front door was welcome.  I had nearly every ventilation fan running in the house.  This stuff will make you dizzy and give you a headache from the fumes.

Strong fumes, use caution

Strong fumes, use caution

Joe painted the Contact Cement to both surfaces on the strip that was coming off.  Paint the stuff on the counter board and the Formica.  He stuffed the paint stir stick between the strip and counter to keep the two painted pieces from touching while the Contact Cement dried to a tacky state.

Apply Contact Cement to both the strip and the counter

Apply Contact Cement to both the strip and the counter

Don't let them touch during the drying process

Don’t let them touch during the drying process

Joe painted the Contact Cement on the counter edge where the pieces had fallen off.  He then painted the strips themselves and left them to dry to a tacky state on the table.

Strips that had come off

Strips that had come off

Applying Contct Cement

Applying Contact Cement

When the Contact Cement had dried to a tacky state the strips were put back on the counter.  Using a “Maul” and a piece of wood, Joe tapped the strips into place causing the cement to fully adhere to both surfaces.  While he was at it Joe fixed the strip at the other end of the counter as well.

Tap the strip well to adhere it

Tap the strip well to adhere it

Joe put a smear of Vaseline on the blades of the electric plug before I pushed it into the socket.  He says “The Vaseline will keep the plug from getting corroded”.

Vaseline

Vaseline

Smear it on the plug blades

Smear it on the plug blades

Plug the range/stove back in, push the appliance back into position, then restore power to the unit from the breaker box.

Joe had an opportunity to go to Fort Worth, Texas for a “Single” move coming back up to Oklahoma City.  I went with him yesterday to help him with the move.  I think the “Big Dog” deserves to be let out after all the work he has helped me do 😀

Single truck in Fort Worth, Texas

Single truck in Fort Worth, Texas

He is ready to go

He is ready to go

Look at that face :D

Look at that face 😀

Following the delivery

Following the delivery

Team work is what this is called 😀

Leslie


Cleaning and sorting your pantry.

I’m still going clockwise in my kitchen this week.  A couple years ago I sorted my pantry and had everything all nice a organized.  Life happened and all that hard work went unchecked.

Disorganized mess

Disorganized mess

While Joe and I were out running errands the day before yesterday we stopped by Lowe’s Home Improvement Center.  There were some pantry baskets I wanted to get.  They are $6.95 each.  I bought all they had on the shelf.

Storage baskets

Storage baskets

I had some wire baskets from the last time I organized this mess.  I had to dig them out of the clutter first.

Hidden baskets

Hidden baskets

My intent was to lay the canned goods on their sides so I could readily see what I had and how many there were.  Joe had other ideas.  He came in to give me his advice and thoughts of proper use of space in the baskets.

If you stand them up you will have more room

If you stand them up you will have more room

See.....more room

See…..more room

Thank you, love of my life, for your organization skills.  Now would you please do me a favor and figure out how to put these baskets together for me?

What?!  Are  you banishing me?

What?! Are you banishing me?

Don't worry.  I've got this!

Don’t worry. I’ve got this!

So while Joe is busy chasing the little tie wraps and trying to make them wind around the wires to attach the baskets together….I’ll get back into the business of organizing the pantry.

Put “Like with Like”.  Get all your groupings of food items together and situated in baskets so they fit well.

Sort and organize the goods

Sort and organize the goods

You will find that there is more than one of anything and everything.

Thought I was out of spaghetti sauce

Thought I was out of spaghetti sauce

Noodles of all kinds appeared before me.

Noodles of all kinds

Noodles of all kinds

Some Mexican and Asian foods, and some canned fruit I didn’t know where to put.

Mexican, Asian, and fruit

Mexican, Asian, and fruit

Joe says “We need mayonnaise and I’m out of pickles”.  Well, not anymore you aren’t.

Mayonnaise and pickles

Mayonnaise and pickles

Peanut butter, jelly, and salad dressings.

Peanut butter, jelly, and salad dressing

Peanut butter, jelly, and salad dressing

Oh, wait.  The Ramen Noodles.  They’ll fit on this shelf.

Make room for the Ramen Noodles

Make room for the Ramen Noodles

I didn’t know we had all this sugar!

Sugar

Sugar

I had to get into Joe’s stash of boxes because I ran out of wire baskets.  Baking items are in this box.

Baking items

Baking items

There were still items left on the counter tops and table that needed to find a home.  I used more of Joe’s boxes to contain things and stashed other items in places that would be a likely spot.

Organized and done

Organized and done

Now…where did I put the salad dressing?  I can’t find it!  A minute or two of searching I found it :/  Organized chaos!

You can find a lot of pantry storage ideas on Pinterest.  You can drool over the large walk-in pantries with wrap around shelving.  See all the colorful baskets used to store the items.  Get some ideas for your pantry storage items.

Sooner or later you will need to get the sugar and salt granules that make their way to the floor then get tracked through the house.  Once you get your pantry organized, stand back and take a look at the work you did and feel the satisfaction of getting the job done.  Don’t think about the weeks and months to come when the pantry might get back into the shape before all this has been done.  Just enjoy the moment.

Leslie