Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April?????

   After almost 2 weeks of beautiful, improving weather conditions...including some near 70's!...the forecast for yesterday was not welcomed.  I was scheduled to work in Cooperstown and was not looking forward to a cold, wet day in the shop without any customers.  I packed 2 books (one that was almost finished and the next one in that series), a hank of sock yarn that needed to be wound up, my short circular sock needles and my lunch. (oh, yeah, and the 2 cowl scarves I had made for the shop), dropped off Fanny with Jeff's and headed up the mountain.  It was raining but not very cold.  In fact the temperature was actually going up!  The shop looked fantastic when I got there.  We have rearranged and set up new displays and it looks bigger (than it's postage stamp size) and better than ever.  We have a new candle maker and a chocolateer!  I added the cowls to my display and moved things around a little.  Looking good!  I was surprised by the light, but steady stream of people coming in...and buying!  It took a little longer but I finally got the yarn rolled into a ball and cast on for a sock...for me.  The yarn is a handpainted washable merino wool blend in a color combo called Watermelon. Let's just say it's 'different'.  I ate my lunch and read when I was alone and knitted when there were customers in the shop.  The day actually moved right along...until I looked out the window and noticed...snow!  (This was after it had rained so hard it came down sideways!)  At first the snow was just big wet flakes.  Then it started to accumulate on cars and the ground but the roads and sidewalks stayed clear.  When it was finally closing time (5pm) the ground was white, and visibility was next to nothing cos of the falling snow and rising fog!  The road was wet but without any ice or slush...until I got past Richfield Springs and started over the top of the hill.  Then the slush started to form.  I was in a line of traffic with one wise ass who obviously couldn't see the car in front of me coz he had to zip by me only to find he had to slow down.  (Poor, baby!)  We traveled to Mohawk in that order where I pulled my quick change (instead of going north thru the traffic light on Main St and Columbia, I turned right and took Main through the village, crossing 5s at  the next traffic light...and waving at my traveling companion who thought taking 5s would be faster.  I think he may have learned something.)  It was still snowing in town but the roads were in much better shape.
   Fanny met me in the driveway, popping out of the woods (definitely, not 'having stayed in the yard') and jumped in the car as soon as I opened the door!  She was alone, wet and rather muddy.  Sometimes Jeff leaves her outside alone while he refills his coffee cup but there were no foot prints near the stairs but her paw prints and it wasn't snowing that hard.  Jeff was inside working on my computer chair (more later) and fuming.  Fanny has a hard time understanding that I'll be back when I leave and tends to carry on some...a lot!.  She has to check the driveway every time she goes out so see if I had sneaked back home.  He caught her trotting down the driveway and out on the road but she would not come back into the house.  (Maybe his tone of voice or vocabulary?)  She's lost her freedom for awhile...and knows it.  If a dog can be grounded, Fanny is!  It's on the long lead every time she goes out and she doesn't like that one bit.  She spent a lot of time last night trying to cuddle up to Jeff without any response.  He wasn't accepting her apologies.  Maybe she'll learn 'stay in the yard' means stay in the yard.  I doubt it.
   My computer chair came from the library when they bought new chairs for the staff a couple of years before I retired.  I had liked it and took it home when it was offered.  Had to patch the arms with black electrical tape but on the whole it was still good. And the price was great ($0). Over the years it had fallen backwards several times and used by a wide variety of people in a wide variety of ways (would you be surprised how fast it can go?) so it was not a surprise to me that the seat cracked last summer...and continued to crack if a lot of pressure was put on the arms when trying to get out of it.  I had it on Jeff's  'Honey do' list for awhile but since I wasn't complaining (he was) I didn't think it would be done soon.  I was wrong.  When I came home yesterday, the chair was apart and a new plywood seat had been cut and was being installed.  Jeff had even bought insert nut & screws (at $1+ each) to reassemble it!  After I made a fresh pot of coffee to appease the dog trainer, he handed me the old seat and told me to finish taking off the black fabric that was stapled to the underside and holding the foam seat in place.  He screwed the old seat over the new covering the tops of the insert nuts (a little protection?).  Next came the old foam seat and finally a lawn chair cushion.  It's gives about an hour pain free before it's time to get up and move so I think a new, thicker cushion is now on the list.
   Today it's house cleaning day...especially since Jeff cut and assembled the chair seat in the TV room.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April...Spring At Last!

   Spring has finally arrived with it's many chores and jobs.  The floor of the garage (covered with water from the compost fire extinguish that froze across the width and length of the garage 4-6" thick) finally thawed and things could be picked up, so yesterday Jeff decided to put the skin on the greenhouse.  He's been talking about it for a month but the roll of plastic was stuck in the ice.  Our greenhouse has a frame of conduit with pvc pipe and 1x2's screwed in for re-enforcement. Jeff split some foam pool noodles and taped them over the conduit to keep the plastic from tearing on the screws.  Then he hoisted the folded plastic over the frame and we un-folded it and spread it out.  There was a gentle breeze and the plastic unfolded was 20x24' so there were a couple of times I thought we were going to become airborne with a giant parachute bellowing in the wind!  It took some time but we finally got the plastic open and the greenhouse covered.  Jeff wrapped one end like a package in wrapping paper and he stapled it in place.  The other end needs a door and both ends will get ventilation openings before he puts plants in.  It looks pretty good...just like a greenhouse should!
   The shop opened in Cooperstown on Thursday and we had our annual meeting Wednesday night, but 
since Wednesday was my birthday* I decided to skip the meeting.  I took my stock down on Tuesday and my shelves look pretty full.  I did more of theose cotton lace tank tops in adult sizes that sold well last year and ladies cotton socks with lace cuffs as well as the usual baby sweaters, hats and socks.  I also did a couple of cowl scarves that I'll take down with me Tuesday when I work.  My next work day is in early May so I can do some other things I've been thinking about to take down then. The shop has a Facebook page (Cooper Country Crafts) with plenty of photos. We're open 7 days a week 10am-5pm, so if you're going to be like Joe Torres and go to Cooperstown this summer, stop it.
   By the way, my tests showed nothing (I told you so) but I still have to see a neurologist. After the EEG I felt as if I had let a teenager put styling gel in my hair...it was really sculptured!

*I have been complaining all winter about how cold I am.  Blame it on the rat poison(Warfarin) I have to take to keep my blood clotting ratio in range coz I sit next to the woodstove and wear wool socks...even to bed!  I have 2 thermal blankets, a comforter and an old heavy blanket of Jeff's on the bed and the dog...and Jeff...to snuggle with without any relief. Jeff's been telling me to get one of those emergency blankets that reflect your body heat back to you but I never thought they worked.  For my birthday he gave me an inexpensive one from Walmart.  He suggested I put it next to the top sheet under the blankets and tuck it in across the bottom of the bed.  It spread out across the bed (a queen size) and about half way up to the head.  I put the rest of the blankets back in place but didn't have much faith in the thin sheet of foil to keep me warm.  Boy, was I surprised!  That was the 1st night in a long time that I didn't wake up shivering...or have to check my feet to see if my wool socks had slipped off!  It works!  I think I'm going to get a couple more of those things...one for the car in case of emergency and another one just to have on hand in case Fanny splits the foil.  The only thing I don't care for is the crackling noise it makes when one of us rolls over or is restless but it's a small price to pay to be warm!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Another Friday, Another Lost Week

   I spent most of last week taking it easy and trying to feel better.  That bug was brutal!  By Tuesday (3/25) I felt almost normal and went out to do errands...mainly lab visits.  Had a mammogram, a thyroid scan and a regular INR finger prick.  My 3 appointments had been scheduled 20-30 mins apart and I was surprised to get finished 45 mins before the last one was scheduled so I went home a took a nap feeling rather proud of myself.  The cashmere blend yarn I had ordered finally arrived (more about that later) and I tried to start the hat.  
   The next day Jeff and I went to Donna's Dinner for an early supper and ran into a family friend.  She sat with us and talked and we ate our supper.  Toward the end of the meal I started to feel a little strange. For the last 33 years or so I've been having strange episodes every now and then, not more than 3 or 4 a year and none in the last 6 months, ever since I went thru treatment for Hodgkin's Disease.  No one could ever verify what happens to me and all I can say is that I can't speak for the 3-5 mins the episode  last. Whether they're TIA's or petite mal seizures, there's no evidence.  And Wednesday was the 1st time I had a witness to the episode.  By the time we left Donna's and headed to the ER the episode was over and I knew there wasn't any evidence but Jeff insisted we visit the ER so we did.  All that the 3 hr stay, complete with chest plate, blood work, CAT scan of my brain showed were enlarged ventricles in my head (where spinal fluid is made), low INR factor, low BP, low K and I was dehydrated.  No blockages or fluid build up. I got a bag of saline and 2 large K pills and was told to go home and be sure to call my doctor for an appointment ASAP.  (About what I had expected from Little Falls Hospital.)
   It took 3 phone calls the next morning before I was able to schedule a visit with someone, anyone, today. The lst call got me an appointment with my doctor on April 15th. (ASAP???) The 2nd one found that there was a PA available next Wednesday.  Finally I called my anticoag nurse, Jenn, and she got me in to see a doctor today.  Now I have appointments for an EEG, a carotid artery scan and with a neurologist, and a follow up with my doctor next week.  I had blood drawn for a basic metabolic panel and half a dozen other tests!  But still no evidence of what these episodes are.  Just what I had expected.
   The beautiful cashmere blend yarn I had ordered  from WEBS in East Springfield , MA, about 3 1/2 hrs away, finally arrived.  It was worth the wait (maybe) and the hat is about half done but the next time I may just have to orchestrate a road trip to WEBS.  It might save the agata!
 

Friday, March 21, 2014

There's A Week Missing!

  I lost a week.  Last Friday I was planning a dinner...to re-celebrate Jeff's birthday and to celebrate my cousin Ed's. (Since they're about 18 days apart, one gets to be enjoyed twice.)  Jeff got a nice piece of top round and it was going to be roasted on the Ronco and served with baked potatoes and gravy, fried carrots with pineapple upside down cake for dessert.  Ah, the best laid plans...  I was just getting the cake into the oven on Sunday morning when Ed called to beg a raincheck...felt awful and didn't want to share the germs. OK, no big hassle.  The cake would still be enjoyed.  I got the smaller half of the beef ready and going, the potatoes in the oven and sat down to knit.  Next thing I knew the timer was ringing and dinner was ready.  I stood up and got very dizzy...no, more than usual...but made it into the kitchen.  The roast smelled wonderful!  Dinner was on the table but I couldn't eat.  One mouthful of beef was it.  God, I felt awful. Made it back to my chair by the fire and wrapped up in an afghan.  Jeff brought me a cup of coffee but the aroma of that turned my stomach even more.  Spent the entire evening half out of it  wrapped in my blankety.  I gave up around 9pm and headed for bed when the phone rang and I tried to answer the TV remote.  Even tried to put the remote in the phone holder!  Jeff says I shuffled...not walked...rather like an old woman. I'm not sure I even took my pills...which is not good when you have an artificial heart valve and depend on rat poison (Warfarin)to keep the blood flowing. Missing just 1 day's dose can effect the INR or clotting factor.  And I just got mine back into range after some extra helpings of lettuce.  Yes, that's all it takes to mess things up.  
   Jeff said I was restless all night...and burning up. Before coming to bed, he even moved the cars to clear the driveway...in case he had to call 911 during the night!  Even the dog knew something was not right...every time Jeff got up during the night Fanny followed him and if he tried to sleep in the other bed 
she would bark and whine until he came back to bed. (It was ok with her for him to doze in the lounge chair in the den...just not for too long.)  By morning we were both beat.  I was so dry my lips were cracked and my nose bled when I tried to blow it. (That's why I snored that night, Jeff.) He tried to give me coffee but it still didn't appeal to my stomach.  OJ...nice cold OJ...was all I could manage. I spent most of Monday wrapped up next to the fire... munching on cheerios and not looking when the dog ate most of them. (Hey
even part of Tuesday, too, until we ran out of clean dishes and Jeff decided to take me to Donna's Dinner. Good choice.) 

   I don't know what caused this bug..a little nausea 
and high fever..but I got dehydrated(taking HCL and Metoprolol and not drinking tends to do that to you). I didn't even feel like knitting until yesterday.  Yea, I guess I was sick. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Waiting for Vulcan

   All the weather reports are predicting another (maybe the last one of this winter??) winter storm, named Vulcan, which will leave about 8" of snow, for tonight and tomorrow.  Now, 8" isn't that bad but when the town plow piles another 8-12" inches on top of it, the driveway will be effectively blocked until Wally or Jeff snowblow it open.  So-o I made sure the refrigerator and pantry are well stocked, went to the library and picked up the 3 books I had ordered(new author for me: James D. Doss who supposedly does for the Utes what Tony Hillerman had done for the Navajos.  I'll let you know.)  and have a variety of yarn in my on-deck box.  I brought in another bag of wood from the shed, too.  Now, it can snow all it wants.  I'm good for 2 or 3 days...but it doesn't have to!  I'm ready for spring.  I've even started checking the yard for daffodils...but those beds are still under 8-12" of snow and ice.  I've caught up with my knitting orders except one but that yarn is on back order again...seems there's a shortage on cashmere. Oh, well, everything I knit this time of year just goes into the stock bag.
   

Friday, March 7, 2014

Another Day in the Life

   Jeff's been looking for a new hunting knife (and portable water filter kit) to put in his fishing pack so yesterday we went shopping at Gander Mt (disappointing) and Pro Bass Shop (always fun!).  He found what he was looking for at Pro Bass Shop and we exchanged stories (compost bin fire, etc) with the sales staff while he made up his mind.  They told us the dog didn't have to wait in the car, she was welcome in the store, so next time we're going to bring her in and I can sit in the waiting area in the front of the building while he shops.  If she doesn't freak out there we'll try walking around the store another day.
   While we were having coffee before we went to Utica, Jeff's sister Sherry called.  She has 2 dogs (a miniature Schnauzer named Max who's about Fanny's age, and a miniature Cocker-Schnauzer mix about a year old named Sunny)  and Sunny had engineered an escape from the back yard that morning.  She caught her walking calmly down the driveway after digging under the back fence.  Sherry had tried to block the escape route but she wasn't sure she had done a good job. We stopped at Sherry's so Jeff could re-enforce the blockade.  The 3 dogs get along fairly well, Sunny is a little intimidated by Fanny's size and Max doesn't want the 2 girls to be friends but we're working on it.  
   After being out all afternoon I wasn't in the mood to cook so we stopped at KFC and got a family bucket with 3 sides...a good meal at $19.99.  
   I finally got the cashmere blend yarn I had ordered from WEB's in Massachusetts but I'm not pleased with it.  Unfortunately, I balled up the yarn (it came in a hank) and started the hat before I made that decision so I can't return it.  Today I ordered another cashmere blend, again from WEB's, but this time I will not ball up the yarn before I make a decision about it. I never realized how difficult finding a cashmere blend sport yarn would be.  My favorite yarn company, KNITPICKS, was out of it and wouldn't restock until the end of March, and I couldn't find it anywhere else. I'm beginning to think I should have waited.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jeff!

   Jeff's birthday was last Saturday, 3/1.  He officially became an 'old man'...61!  I had planned on doing a roast beef dinner but I took the wrong bag of beef out of the freezer and we ended up with steaks instead.  Still a good meal with baked potatoes and green beans.  For a 'birthday cake' I did a yellow sugar free cake mix and after it was baked, put holes in it with a large toothpick and poured sugar free strawberry jello over the cake.  The holes didn't work out quite like I had planned and most of the jello soaked the cake around the edges.  Only a few of the holes actually led to streaks of jello thru the cake.  But it was good, anyway, and we ate it!   I knitted him a pair of socks and bought him a bag of potatoes chips (joke).  Tried to buy him a new jacket but the XL at Walmart wasn't roomy enough for him.  Oh, well....
   In the mean time I've been keeping busy filling my stock bag with more cotton socks and tops for ladies. Even started another pair of fingerless "tea-gloves"...this time in black with a Celtic knot lace pattern on the back of the hand.  I decided to wait until the beginning of Spring (3/20) to start the baby stuff.  They work up so much faster...could be the larger needle and thicker yarn.  I've also done a couple of orders (baby socks and ladies socks) and I'm still waiting for an order of cashmere yarn to arrive so I can do a hat my cousin asked for.  I am getting tired of knitting and am looking forward to a week's vacation from the needles after the shop opens in April.