Lot’s Going On

This has been a busy, busy week. The best news is that Nancy has been recovering from the knee surgery with a good level of mobility and modest pain levels – manageable with a tylenol now and then. The level of mobility has proved to be important. Aside from the knee issue, we were dealing with losing the fridge from Wed to Sunday, requiring a nominally constant ice crisis – trying to save all refrigerated items by shuffling ice between our 2 stand alone freezers and the inoperative fridge. So we were in full, 1900, ice box mode for 4 days. Tom jumped into the breech by coming over to help get Nancy to the surgery (on Friday) and ice for the fridge crisis. I think we could have managed without him but it was starting to stack up and it was sure nice to have the help.

On Friday night we got a call from Nancy’s 93 year old bridge friend in Palm Coast saying that she thought she should be going to the hospital on Saturday. We drove over Saturday morning and were surprised to find her in bed in a seriously weakened condition, having trouble even breathing but telling us of her decision to wait until Tuesday to go to the hospital. We told her that wasn’t an option and got her up, in her walker/chair, packed whatever we thought she needed and headed for the emergency room at Flagler Hospital. That’s about 5 minutes away so we had her in examination in about that many minutes. It took the doc about 5 minutes to say she needed to be admitted and immediate care. A quick blood test showed her hemoglobin at 6.0 compared to an expected 12. So she was seriously anemic and in need of blood transfusions. Her blood pressure was 50/33 and her pulse was 35. She has an existing heart condition and had visited her cardiolist just the week before and had scheduled all the same stress tests I had last week for mid June. She has no relatives in Florida and we’re her closest friends so it all dropped on our shoulders. While she was “out of it” we met with a barrage of doctors and hospital workers all needing to fill out paperwork. Not sure how they would have dealt with it all had we not been there. Her blood level was so low and her heart numbers so weak that they couldn’t just give her a “fill-up” Too much blood in her condition would have more than her heart could handle so it had to be done very slowly. When we left she was stable with a transfusion happening.

We had a refrigerator delivery scheduled for Sunday AM and needed to get all the stuff in the “ice box” into short term coolers and disconnect the old fridge to make room for the new one. And certainly we needed to be back at the hospital early. Tom and Tina could see our dilemma and volunteered to come to the lake Sunday morning to deal with the refrigerator and also prepare dinner for us when we came back from the hospital. Oh yeah, the weather folks had forecast a heavy duty rain for all day Sunday so that was going to add to the job of switching out the refrigerator. Our luck turned and the delivery happened earlier than expected and between rain storms. Tom got the ice maker connected and we were ready to head to the hospital before noon.

We were amazed at how well Wilma had recovered over night. She was bright and eating a beautiful lunch. Her blood had recovered from 6 to 7.9 which is still seriously anemic but way better. I asked the doctor why they had stopped adding blood and he said her heart couldn’t handle more. So they had changed her heart meds to get her rate up where they could continue adding more. They scheduled an endoscopy for today (Monday) because they think she was bleeding in her stomach and they planned to cauterize those leaks. It didn’t make sense to keep filling her with blood if they hadn’t solved the loss problem. So we left the hospital on a high note late Sunday afternoon and came home to a fully functioning fridge and a great meal of smoked chicken and sides – compliments of Tom and Tina.

What a Week!

Since coming home from NC, we’ve had 7” of rain and the lake is the highest we’ve experienced in quite a few years. The dry season ends and the wet season starts June 1 and it’s more normal for the lake level to be quite a bit lower. If we have anything approaching a wet June, I’m sure the dock will be overtopped. A mid summer hurricane could also be a fun event.

Nancy has a knee (arthroscopic) operation the end of this week. It’s an in and out kind of event but she’ll be mostly off her feet for a couple of days and using a walker. complicating her life just a little more, her blood count dropped off again. This problem has been going on for about 3 years and they just don’t seem able to pin point the source of the blood loss. Can’t catch a break.

We had a bad experience driving Nancy home from her bridge game in Crescent City. We were on US 17 about halfway between Crescent City and Seville – that’s halfway between nowhere and nowhere squared when we developed a flat tire. To make matters worse, I had left the cell phone home so had no way to call AAA. Luckily a kind hearted young lady passed and figured we were in some kind of distress so she rendered assistance – calling AAA for us. Luckily we did have a useable spare in the trunk and an hour later we were heading home and then to the tire place in Deland. I was going to change it myself but the spare itself was low on air and I couldn’t fit the jack under the frame – that’s what I pay AAA for. Turns out the tire was worn down to the steel on the inside edge where it was totally invisible – clearly an alignment problem. So we ended up buying a new tire and having an alignment job. Surprisingly the tire on the other side was ok. The whole episode consumed about 4 hours and ended at cocktail hour so we finished off an otherwise bad day with taco’s and brew at Persimmon Hollow.

And just when you think things can’t be worse – the compressor on the fridge gave up the ghost. We were lucky enough to get a service guy here in a couple of hours but he only confirmed what I thought – compressor problem with a fix that would cost more than a new fridge. Found one that fit the bill at Lowes but delivery not until Sunday – 3 to 4 days without a fridge. Nice. We do have 2 external 5 CF freezers but those are about 90% full. Part of the space was taken up with water bottles intended to use in coolers as needed so those bottles were moved to the dead fridge and the space created, filled with stuff from the dead fridge freezer. So I’m playing a game of rotating frozen water bottles between the working freezers and the dead fridge. I think this will work and we can supplement it with purchased ice if necessary. The fridge is the last of the original major appliances. In the past few months we lost the dishwasher, the stove/oven, and the fridge. They lasted about 17 years so I guess we can’t complain too much. The only original left is the microwave – and that’s not a critical item in any event.

And by the way, we have a tropical storm forming up in the Gulf which should keep us well watered this weekend. Could even raise the lake above dock level. We’re on a roll!!!

No more Swiss Chard; no more kale; no more cabbage -the only greens are the collards and the NZ Spinach. Lots and lots of cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini with other tomato types on the near horizon. About another week on the green beans. There are a few pepper plants that are still putting out and five eggplants that have loads of blossoms but no sign of fruit. Last year that was all that happened with the eggplant – blossoms but no fruit. My guess is that the whole summer crop will be peaking and winding down in June. Then a month or two before I start getting serious about next fall and winter. That’s good news because it gets way too hot to garden July thru September.

Great Vacation

Back from the Lake Lure cabin. We had a really fun time with everybody and the only negative was the stairs. No matter what you wanted to do, it involved a long set of stairs to navigate and Nancy had some problems. But we survived and everything else was great. We came home by way of Spartanburg SC and had a Mother’s Day breakfast with almost the whole Sheronik clan. A great pleasure. We’ll for sure be seeing them more now that Chris is all settled in charlotte. He loves his house, his neighborhood, and (so far) his job. His comment after the first day was that it was going to be a challenge and that’s usually a good thing. The store he’s taking over has a very low ranking so if he’s as good as he thinks, should be a piece of cake!!!

We arrived home after dark so I didn’t get to check out the garden until the next day. It was in a fairly high state of maturity when we left and we had no rain so I was expecting the worse. Normally I will putz around in the garden a couple times a day so a week away will always bring surprises. On the plus side, there was a couple pints of cherry tomatoes ready to pick, a load of green/red peppers, and the second planting of green beans was ready. Some zucchini had cratered and some had grown as large as watermelons. Zucchini is a crop you have to stay on top of because things happen so quickly. But all in all, it wasn’t near as bad as I’d feared.

Big rain since returning home. The rain gauge was empty when we got back on Sunday indicating no rain while we were away. We got an inch on Monday, five inches between Tuesday and Thursday and two inches on Friday – so eight inches this week. That brings the lake up to a fairly high level for this time of year. Another 6” and it’ll be over the top of George’s dock. With the forecast we have, that’s very possible this coming week. Our dock is 11” higher than George’s so we should be ok for a while. The thing is that in mid May, we should just be coming out of the dry season with the lake level at least a foot lower than it is now. A few years ago we were down several feet at this time. So if this summer approaches anything like normal rain, for sure we’ll go over the top.

Finished all the heart testing – just routine testing 3 years after the stents were installed. There were 3 tests spread over that many days. Only the nuclear stress test involved a few seconds of discomfort. Other than that, piece of cake. The results show everything totally normal – which is exactly what I thought.

Fun at the Cabin

Having a fun time in the Carolina mountains – fishing and just generally relaxing. The weather has been perfect. Chris picked up Joey at the Ashville airport and brought him to the cabin so we have the whole family here. Nancy and Kassem drove up from Spartanberg for the day. Simon and Amy are driving in from Alabama, I think scheduled for a very late arrival tonight. We take Joey back to the airport tomorrow and then Chris and Jamie and the rest of the Sheronik clan come on Saturday so it’ll be a full house again – the more the merrier. It’s been great seeing everybody and enjoying the setting. Fishing has not been great but we have caught a few small bass so it’s not been a total loss. We spent a few hours yesterday in a little town called Chimney Rock – had lunch and just did the tourist things. We leave on Sunday and should be home before dark.

From NC

We drove to Charlotte Saturday to spend the day with Chris in his new home before heading to the mountain cabin near Ashville with Tom and his family. Chris has a brand new townhouse in an area of Charlotte called Waverly. It’s on the south side of town in a totally newly developed community. It’s one of those new concept places with a highly retail center intermixxed and surrounded by homes and apartments so that everything you need for everyday living is within walking distance. There must be a dozen restaurants of all types, a really nice Whole Foods, and the standard mix of other retail. We ate at the Carolina Ale House last night and loved it. Jamie starts his new job today and Chris takes over his store next Monday. Tom, Tina and Olivia joined us Sunday afternoon, we did a late lunch at a Mexican place there and then headed off for the cabin at Lake Lure. Joey joins us mid week; ditto Simon an his newly announced fiance, Amy; and then other family members. The Carolina relatives, will join us next weekend. Should be a fun time.

The drive to the cabin was exciting. It was about half good road and half narrow, windy, mountain roads – reminded me alot of driving in the mountains in Utah. We hit a super market and loaded up with groceries for the week. The place is quite roomy and will get the job done just fine. There’s a nice looking lake out the back door and a canoe waiting on the shore so we’ll be running a bass test later. Report to follow.